Master of Environmental Studies

MES Admission Requirements and Application

Applications for Fall 2015 now available. We are accepting applications on a rolling basis until we fill our cohort of 45 students. Applications completed by late April/early May will be reviewed in our next round of admissions. (updated 4.13.15)

Start Your ApplicationMES students at Elwha Dam

Fall 2015 Admission Information

Other Admission Information

Admission Requirements for Fall 2015

Applicants seeking admission to the Fall 2015 cohort of Evergreen's Graduate Program on the Environment must:

  1. Show evidence of writing, analytical and general communication skills of high quality and at a level appropriate for graduate study.
  2. Have a minimum grade point average of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) in the last 90 graded quarter hours or the last 60 graded semester hours. We will calculate your GPA when you apply. To find out ahead of time or for your own knowledge, you can use this GPA spreadsheet (Excel) to determine your GPA.
    Note: We are able to make a few exceptions to this rule about GPA, which applies to all master's programs offered by public institutions of higher education in Washington. We encourage prospective students who do not meet this requirement, but who are otherwise well qualified, to apply to the program for consideration as early as possible.
  3. Have earned a bachelor's degree (BA or BS in any subject) from a regionally-accredited U.S. institution of higher education prior to enrollment or its equivalent from a foreign institution.
    Note: A student may be provisionally admitted pending completion of the bachelor's degree. Before final acceptance, the applicant must submit a final official transcript showing completed courses and the degree awarded prior to beginning first-year course work. Financial aid is not awarded while a student is in provisional status.
  4. Complete at least 15 undergraduate quarter-hours in social science and 15 undergraduate quarter-hours in natural science (recommended).
  5. Complete the Graduate Record Examination (GRE); scores expire after five years. Not required for applicants who hold an advanced degree (e.g. Master's, PhD, JD, MD). MES does not require a minimum score, as applications are reviewed on a holistic basis. Please take the general GRE - do not take a subject test.
  6. Be proficient in English: Applicants whose native language is not English must demonstrate English language proficiency.
  7. Complete the following college-level courses (each worth 4 credits in a quarter system, or 3 credits in a semester system) within the five years prior to starting the MES degree (Fall 2010 and after for Fall 2015 admission).  Must earn a "C" or higher:
    • One course in social science (e.g. economics, sociology, political science, anthropology, human geography)
    • One course in natural science (e.g. biology, ecology, geology, chemistry, physical geography)
    • One course in statistics
    Please see our pre-requisite guide to find an appropriate course to fulfill this requirement. If you are unsure if a course you have taken meets our requirements, please email Gail Wootan, Assistant Director.
    We accept applications from people who do not have one or more pre-requisites.  If admitted, these students will be conditionally admitted and we must receive evidence that the pre-requisites are satisfied before Fall classes begin.

Application Checklist for Fall 2015

Completed applications include the following components. International students have three more requirements.

  • Submit the online MES Application. You may submit before we receive your letters of recommendation, transcripts, and GRE scores. Be ready to upload the following:
    • A résumé listing key experiences relevant to your interest in environmental studies; include any significant public and community service activities.
    • A typed statement of 500 to 1,000 words explaining why you want to pursue graduate study in environmental studies at Evergreen. This statement helps the admission committee assess your interest and motivation for graduate study and helps the committee gauge the fit between what our program offers and what you hope to receive from it. Describe in some detail your experiences in education, employment and public or community work and how they influenced you to seek a graduate degree in environmental studies. Your essay will also be evaluated for clarity, analysis, and general writing skills.
    • Three recommender names with emails, phone numbers, and addresses.  Recommenders will be notified by email to submit letters of recommendation electronically (you will submit the email notification to them during the application process). Letters must provide clear evidence that you are capable of doing graduate-level work, including evidence of writing, analytical and general communication skills of high quality and at a level appropriate for graduate study.  Letters should be written on official company, organization, or institution letterhead when applicable. Applicants enrolled in college-level coursework during the last two years must have at least one recommendation letter from a professor. offers some great tips for asking for letters of recommendation. Applicants may submit their application before all their letters of recommendation are submitted electronically.
    • Nonrefundable application fee of $50. You can pay by credit card or e-check (e-check requires a routing and bank account number). Please note that paying by e-check delays the submission of your application by six business days. AmeriCorps and Earth Corps members, AmeriCorps and Earth Corps alumni, military veterans, Returned Peace Corps Volunteers, and McNair Scholars may be eligible for an application fee waiver.
  • Mail or deliver official transcripts from every college or university attended (including Evergreen, please make transcript request through Registration and Records), regardless of credit earned, the nature of coursework or whether you earned a degree. We need official transcripts from any and all colleges attended, even if those credits were accepted and applied toward the award of a Bachelor's (or other) degree by any institution (including Evergreen). One transcript must verify the award of a bachelor's degree if the applicant has earned a bachelor's degree. Applicants without bachelor's degrees must submit an official transcript showing an earned bachelor's degree before the Fall quarter begins. A transcript is official if it bears the official seal and signature of the issuing institution and is sent directly by the institution to the Graduate Admissions Office; OR is enclosed in a sealed envelope from the issuing institution and delivered by the applicant to the Graduate Admissions Office. If the envelope is opened prior to receipt in the Graduate Admissions Office, the transcript is no longer official. Evergreen accepts e-transcripts from other colleges that are registered members with Docufide, National Student Clearinghouse, Naviance, Parchment, and Scrip-Safe International. If the e-transcript system asks for an email address, please use Students with non-English transcripts must have them translated into English and certified by a translation agency. Transcripts can be sent at any time.
  • Mail or deliver your official paper GRE scores. If you have taken the GRE within the past five years, have official scores sent to Evergreen's Graduate Admissions Office. It takes up to three weeks for Evergreen to receive GRE scores after the test is taken. GRE scores can be sent at any time.
  • Transcripts and GRE scores should be mailed or delivered to:
    The Evergreen State College
    Graduate Admissions
    Library 2002

    2700 Evergreen Parkway NW
    Olympia, WA 98505
    Attention: MES Admissions
    Materials may be sent separately. Faxed or emailed documents are not accepted.
    Note: Original documents submitted in support of an application for admission become the property of the college and are not returnable or reproducible. Transcripts for students who do not register for the term for which they applied will be held two years before being purged.

Important Dates for Fall 2015

Date Deadline
October 1, 2014
MES online application available for Fall 2015
December 2014 MES Financial Aid application available online
January 1, 2015 FAFSA submissions for 2015-2016 accepted
Early January Advised deadline for asking for letters of recommendation
January 15, 2015 Advised deadline for taking GRE (takes 2-3 weeks for Evergreen to receive paper scores)
February 15, 2015 Priority Deadline (complete applications are guaranteed review)
February 17, 2015 MES website announces whether or not admissions is closed
March 1, 2015 FAFSA must be processed (advised to submit by February 15) and MES Financial Aid application due. FAFSA can be submitted after this date to qualify for loans.
Mid-March 2015
First round of admit/deny/waitlist letters are mailed; MES financial aid letters e-mailed to new admits
April 23, 2015
MES Admitted Students Afternoon at Evergreen
April 25, 2015 MES 30th Anniversary Celebration. Admitted students invited for free.
May 1, 2015 Tuition deposit of $100 & confirmation due for first round admits and Fall 2015 deferred students.
September 15, 2015 Written documentation due for provisional admits (missing BA/BS)
September 22, 2015
Mandatory MES Orientation
September 28, 2015 First Day of Fall 2015 classes
October 15, 2015 Transcripts due for conditional admits (missing pre-reqs) and provisional admits (missing BA/BS)

Taking the Graduate Record Exam (GRE)

Evergreen's code is 4292.

The GRE is a graduate admissions test that measures your verbal reasoning, your quantitative reasoning, and your analytical writing. It is administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS) and is offered all over the US and internationally in both computer- and paper-based formats.  In many US cities, it is offered during most business days at various testing centers. The testing center closest to Evergreen is in Puyallup, and it offers the GRE Monday - Saturday. To register for the Puyallup center, call (253) 848-0771; otherwise, see below.  Computer-based test results take up to three weeks to reach Evergreen. You do not need to enter a school code nor a department code when you order scores.

Scheduling the GRE

Studying for the GRE

  • Information packets are available in the Evergreen Career Development Center in the Library Building, Room 2153, (360) 867-6193
  • Check out your local library for GRE prep materials; for example, the Timberland Regional Library offers free online classes through Gale Courses and other prep materials through LearningExpress. You must be a member of the library to use these services.
  • ETS has GRE prep materials; some are free
  • There are plenty of free and inexpensive GRE preparation smart phone apps
  • Education to Go offers affordable online GRE prep courses

International Student Requirements

International students have three additional admission criteria:

  • English Language Proficiency: Every applicant whose native language is not English must demonstrate English language proficiency through one of the following three ways:
  1. A bachelor's, master's, or doctoral degree from a regionally-accredited U.S. institution of higher education or from an institution in Australia, the Bahamas, Canada, Ireland, Jamaica, New Zealand, Singapore, Trinidad and Tobago, or the United Kingdom.
  2. Official documentation from an institution (other than those listed in #1 above) verifying that the applicant's bachelor's, master's, or doctoral degree is from an institution where all instruction is in English.  
  3. One of the following minimum English language proficiency test scores demonstrated through submission of official scores at the time of application: TOEFL paper test: 600; TOEFL computerized test: 250, TOEFL online test: 100, or IELTS: 7.5.
  • Students with non-English transcripts must have them translated into English and certified by a translation agency
  • If admitted, international students must have evidence of having at least $33,079 USD to pay all expenses for one academic year's enrollment at Evergreen.  This estimate includes tuition and fees, room and board, books and supplies, health insurance, personal expenditures, and transportation (excluding travel to and from U.S.). The Office of Admissions will work with admitted students on this paperwork. 

Prior Credit

Earning MES Credit Prior to Admission

Students who are not enrolled as an MES student may, with the instructor's permission and if space is available, enroll in one four-credit elective per quarter under "special student" status. These students must already have a bachelor's degree to earn graduate credit. Special students cannot register before the first week of class. Upper division Evergreen undergraduate students (including special students) may also take MES electives for undergraduate credit with instructor permission. They should contact the faculty directly to get an undergraduate Course Registration Number (CRN). MES courses taken for undergraduate credit cannot be applied toward graduate degree requirements.

To register as a special student, you must fill out a Special Student Registration Form during the first week of class.  The form requires the instructor signature. Forms should be submitted to the Office of Registration & Records.  Please see the Special Student Registration Instructions page for more information.

Transfer Credit

The Graduate Program on the Environment will accept up to 8 quarter-hours of relevant graduate credit earned at U.S. regionally-accredited institutions (or similar non-U.S. institutions) within the five years prior to starting the MES degree. This includes credit earned as an Evergreen special student. Graduate credit earned through extension or correspondence work will not be considered, neither will graduate credit be granted for documented life or work experiences. Credit from a previously earned graduate degree will also not be considered. Transfer credit, where appropriate, is awarded by the MES Director following review of appropriate materials, including transcripts and course syllabi. Students wishing to obtain transfer credit should make their intention known to the MES Assistant Director before, or shortly after, they begin their studies at Evergreen.