May 27, 2024  
2016-2017 Graduate Catalog 
2016-2017 Graduate Catalog Archived Catalog

Environmental Science, M.S.

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Dr. John Tucker, Head
(423) 425-4341 or email at
Dr. Jennifer Boyd, Graduate Program Coordinator
(423) 425-5638 or email at


The Department of Biology, Geology and Environmental Science at The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga offers a Master of Science degree in environmental science.  The mission of this program is to meet the needs of academia, business, government and the non-profit sector for scholars and professionals in this interdisciplinary field.  Toward this goal, the program provides sound scientific and technical training coupled with an understanding of contemporary socioeconomic, political and legal realities.  Our faculty offer courses that emphasize the development of advanced critical thinking and effective advocacy and communication skills and engage students in research in a wide range of subdisciplines including biodiversity and systematics, conservation and restoration, ecology, environmental and human health, environmental policy and law, evolution and behavior, geospatial science, and molecular biology, cellular biology and physiology. 

Learning Objectives

  • Students will demonstrate advanced core knowledge of areas of environmental science specific to the program of study. 
  • Students will be able to evaluate environmental issues with a holistic approach that reflects the interdisciplinary nature of the field.
  • Students will hone advance analytical and critical thinking skills and effective advocacy and communication skills.
  • Students will contribute to the development of knowledge in the field of environmental science through scholarly research and/or experience.
  • Students will be prepared to enter the environmental career sector and/or pursue advanced environmental studies in graduate or professional programs.


Academic Requirements & Recommendations

An applicant for admission to the graduate program in environmental science must meet the following requirements:

  • A baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited institution of higher education or foreign equivalent.
  • An overall GPA of 2.75 or a GPA of 3.0 for the last 60 credit hours.
  • Satisfactory scores on the general Graduate Record Examination (GRE), generally defined as scores above the 25th percentile for the verbal and quantitative sections.
  • Background knowledge of environmental science concepts equivalent to a two-semester undergraduate introductory environmental science sequence and/or an undergraduate or graduate ecology course.

The following additional academic preparation is recommended:

  • At least four upper-level undergraduate science courses with laboratory components.
  • One course each in environmental ethics and environmental law.
  • One course each in college calculus, introductory statistics, and computer science.

Application Components

A complete application to the program consists of the following materials:

  • The online Graduate School application.
  • Official transcripts from every institution of higher education attended.
  • An official report of GRE scores.
  • A cover letter detailing relevant experiences, reasons for pursuing the degree, and general plans for the graduate program of study, including identification of a graduate faculty advisor who has agreed to serve in this capacity.
  • A CV or resume’
  • Letters of recommendation from at least three individuals familiar with the applicant’s academic ability and/or relevant experience.
  • Optional supplementary materials evidencing any relevant and substantial preparation and/or experience of the applicant, such as a copy of a written capstone project or publication.


After submitting the online application, an applicant will receive a solicitation from the Graduate School for the additional application materials.  Complete applications are forwarded from the Graduate School to the program coordinator for review and recommendations in consultation with the graduate program faculty.

Program Requirements

Semester Hours

To earn the Master of Science degree in environmental science, a student must successfully complete a total of 36 semester hours comprised of required core courses, elective courses, and academic credit associated with a thesis, internship, or learned discourse capstone experience with a cumulative minimum grade point average of 3.0

Program of Study

During the first semester of graduate coursework, a student must submit a Program of study to the Graduate School that establishes the courses the student must take for partial fulfillment of the degree requirements.  The Program of Study must include all core courses and also may include known electives.

Admission to Candidacy

A student also must be admitted to candidacy by the Graduate School as partial fulfillment of the Master in Science degree in environmental science.  The application for admission to candidacy typically is submitted during the semester prior to the anticipated graduation.  The application must include all courses not declared by the student’s Program of Study and any changes to declared coursework.



Core Courses (15 hours)

All students must take the following courses:

Research (must take a minimum of 3 hours)

Total: 6 hours (Thesis or Internship), 3 hours (Individual Studies)

Unrestricted Electives (Thesis+internship option=15 hours; Learned discourse=18 hours)

Any courses taken for graduate credit as recommended by the student’s graduate committee and approved by the graduate program coordinator, totaling 15 hours minimum for thesis and internship options; 18 hours minimum for the learned discourse option.

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