e s f home link - e s f college of environmental science and forestry
e s f home link - e s f college of environmental science and forestry

Descriptions of Degree Programs

GPES offers Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Master of Science (MS), and Master of Professional Studies (MPS) degree programs. Each of these degree programs is briefly described below. Note that GPES has no course requirements outside of one social science course, one natural or physical science course, and one methods/tools course. This allows students to design a program that fits their research and professional needs.

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

The PhD degree is a research focused degree program. The PhD degree requires a minimum of 60 graduate credits, of which 30 to 48 credits are coursework and 12 to 30 credits are for the PhD dissertation. Credit hour requirements within these ranges are developed in consultation with your steering committee. Graduate credits earned for a previous masters degree that are applicable to a student's doctoral program of study are determined on an individual basis by the student's steering committee.

The student may request to take the PhD Candidacy exam after completion of 48 graduate credits of coursework. The purposes of the exam are to assess the critical thinking skills and the depth and breadth of knowledge in Environmental Science in the Area of Study within which the student is enrolled. The PhD degree culminates in a PhD dissertation. There is a public capstone seminar presenting the PhD research, and a PhD defense involving the candidate's steering committee members. More on the PhD degree at SUNY ESF can be found here.

Master of Science (MS)

The MS degree is also a research focused degree program combining both coursework and a research experience. The MS degree requires a minimum of 30 graduate credits, of which 18 to 24 credits are coursework and 6 to 12 credits are thesis credits. Credit hour requirements within these ranges are developed in consultation with your thesis committee. The MS degree culminates in a MS thesis, including a public capstone seminar and thesis defense. More on the MS degree at SUNY ESF can be found here.

Master of Professional Studies (MPS)

The MPS degree is aimed at professional applications of environmental knowledge, allowing students to develop skills to aid their professional development. The MPS degree involves either an internship or a synthesis paper. The MPS degree requires a minimum of 30 graduate credits, of which 24 to 27 credits are coursework and 3 to 6 credits are for either an internship or synthesis experience. Applicants with a minimum of three (3) years of post-baccalaureate full-time professional experience directly related to the intended area of study may apply for 6 credit hours of advanced standing in the program. More on the MPS degree at SUNY ESF can be found here.