Master of Environmental Sciences (MES)

Link to our MES Video

View our video on the MES program

In the MES program, you will study the most recent theoretical and technical advances through interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary teaching and research, so that you gain both depth and breadth of knowledge.  You will develop critical thinking skills and enhance your communication skills so that you can excel in a career with industry, government or the not-for-profit sector that will change the future.  The MES allows you to choose from two options:

1) courses + research project (six courses)

2) courses only (eight courses)

In both cases, the program can be completed in 12 months or less.  Most students finish the program in one year or three semesters.  

M.E.S. students are not guaranteed any funding for their studies, though they are eligible for internal and external scholarship and bursaries. The Office of Graduate Studies provides information on tuition and living costs.

Graduate Calendar MES Program Requirements 

Below are some common Questions and Answers:

Who is this program for?

Whether you are a recent graduate and have yet to start your career in Environmental Sciences, or you are already an Environmental Sciences professional who wants to upgrade your credentials, completing the Masters of Environmental Sciences (MES) will position you for success. For students entering the field, this will prepare you for a wide variety of careers, including collecting and analyzing field or lab data sets to address a particular environmental science question, assessing and managing environmental risks, establishing or ensuring compliance with environmental policies, and training others in environmental sciences.

What courses will I take? 

There are two required courses that MES students must take.  ENVS*6501 is a course where students examine a range of environmental issues focusing on the interplay between science and policy. ENVS*6502 is a seminar-based required course that enables students to examine a range of environmental issues by critically evaluating the literature and discussing and debating various perspectives; the interdisciplinary nature of environmental problems is highlighted. Emphasis is placed on developing critical thinking and oral and written communication skills.  You will be able to choose from a number of disciplinary specific seminar courses, independent study courses and lab or field courses spanning the following broad areas of expertise within the school: Earth and atmospheric science, soil sciences, and environmental biology.  You can mix and match a variety of courses to fit your personal goals.  Students may also select related courses from other departments on campus.   For more information, visit our graduate courses page.

Will I get any experiential training?

That is up to you! If you chose the courses + research project option, you will experience research first-hand with a faculty supervisor, by completing a project that requires critical analysis of existing data, meta-analysis of data from multiple sources, and/or generation of new knowledge and its interpretation. The research project could be part of your current job or could be with an organization that you want to work with. You can also take several courses that are almost entirely field and lab-based, combining hands-on experience with the tools and methods for that field of study.

How do I apply?

Admission requirements 

Application deadlines refer to the deadline for a complete application to be submitted. Please plan to apply at least a week in advance of the application deadline, as it can take several days for applicants to obtain access to the online document submission system and upload all the necessary supporting documents. You may also wish to ensure your referees are aware of the deadline.  Note that International students can only apply by February 1st.  This is to ensure that you will have sufficient time to obtain a student visa between the time you are offered a position in the program and when the program starts. 

Application Deadline for international and domestic students:   Feb 1st, 2022 
Second Application Deadline (Domestic students only): April 30, 2022

Please note: The MES program has Fall semester start intake only.

All applications are reviewed after the posted deadline and successful applicants will be notified after department review.

Space in the MES program is limited.


Apply to the MES program 

Where are recent MES graduates working now?

Based on 54 graduates from 2013-2017 found through an online search (out of a total of 85 MES students from those years), all were employed as follows: 17% found jobs in the academic sector, 22 % in the public sector and 59% in the private sector.  In the academic sector, our students have jobs such as technical writer and report coordinator, field coordinator, lab assistant or PhD or BEd candidates.  In the public sector, our recent graduates are employed in provincial and federal government ministries and agencies (e.g. Environment and Climate Change, Natural Resources and Forestry, Alberta Energy Regulator, Agriculture and Agri-food Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada) as well as Conservation Authorities in Ontario, a climate adaptation organization, hospital, and arboretum.  In the private sector, our recent graduates have found jobs in a variety of environmental and engineering consulting firms as Environmental Scientists, Risk Assessors, Project Managers or Coordinators, Lab or Environmental Technicians, Quality Assurance/Quality Control Specialists, Hydrogeologist, Ecologist or (micro)biologist.    

 Where can I get more information?

Graduate Program Assistant, School of Environmental Sciences Alexander Hall 275; email: