Graduate Program Overview

The Department of Ecosystem Science and Sustainability is one of five academic departments in Colorado State University’s Warner College of Natural Resources , the most comprehensive natural resources college in the nation. The Department brings together top faculty leading global research in ecosystem science and sustainability and watershed science. Students engage in field work, laboratory training, and technical instruction to examine and explore the sustainability of local, regional and global resources.  CSU’s campus is located along the Front Range of Colorado’s Rocky Mountains, providing students with unique access to a wide variety of ecosystems, such as alpine, subalpine, montane, foothills and shortgrass steppe, that serve as living classrooms for hands-on learning.

Graduates have a strong record of employment and acceptance to leading Ph.D. programs after graduation, with graduates holding positions in federal, state, and local natural resource agencies, consulting firms, nongovernmental organizations, industry, teaching, and research.

Preferred Application Deadlines:

Fall Admission: February 1

Spring Admission: Dependent on funding only

Minimum Requirements:

  • Confirmation from faculty advisor.
  • Undergraduate degree in a related field (Undergraduate degrees in unrelated fields may require additional coursework.)
  • Undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher (on a 4.0 scale)
  • Official scores from the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) general test
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • A personal statement
  • Resume or curriculum vita

Department Preferred Qualifications:

The Professional Science Master’s in Ecosystem Science & Sustainability is a coursework-based (professional / no thesis) degree that enables students from diverse academic backgrounds, such as environmental studies, business, engineering, natural resources, and agriculture, to understand the latest ecosystem science and develop the skills needed for emerging professions in areas such as sustainability science, greenhouse gas/carbon management, water sustainability and watershed management, and climate adaptation.

Students in the program gain practical knowledge through coursework and field-based training, as well as real-world experience through professional internships.

The Professional Science Master’s (PSM) degree option (30 credit minimum) is designed to meet the following curriculum requirements: 1) a majority of credits must be earned in advanced science, technology, engineering, math and/or computational sciences courses over the two year program; 2) there must be a professional skills component: and 3) a capstone activity based on an experiential component, that includes a field placement course (e.g. internship, practicum, affiliation, field work) must be a part of the curriculum. No thesis, project, or final examination is required. The PSM is to provide managers for organizations that provide technology-based outcomes in public, private, government, or non-profit sectors.

(The Master’s in Greenhouse Gas Management and Accounting is no longer accepting new students, but you can learn about our former program here.)

Upon admission, most applicants are funded through graduate research assistantships (GRAs) or graduate teaching assistantships (GTAs).

Funding availability is competitive and limited.

Admissions and Application Information

Prior to applying to the program, we recommend that you contact potential advisors, as students are only admitted to our research-based programs if a faculty member chooses to accept them as an advisee.

The Professional Science Master’s in Ecosystem Science & Sustainability does not require a faculty advisor be identified.

Check out our Choosing A Faculty Advisor page for more information on how to contact our faculty!

CSU Admissions does not offer tours for prospective graduate students. 

If you have been in touch with a faculty advisor in our department, there may exist the opportunity to visit CSU, meet with them, and tour our department/research labs.  Please inquire with our faculty directly about this possibility.

Your graduate application requires you to write a personal statement.  While there is no limit on length or specific guidelines for personal statements written for inclusion within applications to our graduate programs, we ask that you reflect on why you are applying, your career and research goals, and what life/educational experiences have led you to graduate school.

We recommend this resource on Writing your Personal Statement from Purdue University.

Waivers for the graduate application fee exist for participants of certain eligible programs.

Consult with the Graduate School about your waiver request, per the instructions on the Application Fee Waiver Request.

Please refer to the CSU Graduate School requirements for English language proficiency.

The Office of International Programs provides extensive international orientation information regarding immigration, arrival, campus housing, and campus involvement.

The Office of Financial Aid provides in-depth information on residency classification.