Master of Environmental Studies

MES Admission Requirements and Application

Admissions is closed for Fall 2016. Applications for Fall 2017 will be available Fall 2016. 

MES students at Elwha Dam

Fall 2016 Admission Information

Other Admission Information

Admission Requirements for Fall 2016

Applicants seeking admission to the Fall 2016 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 credits in social science and 15 undergraduate quarter credits 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 2011 and after for Fall 2016 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 2016

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

  • Starting October 1, 2015, 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 the online portion of 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. One transcript must verify the award of a bachelor's degree if the applicant has earned a bachelor's degree. Applicants who are admitted without a bachelor's degree 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 may be sent before or after you submit the online portion of your application.
  • Submit your official GRE scores. If you are taking the test this year, you will be able to designate that you want scores sent to Evergreen (code 4292) when you go to the test center. If you have already taken the test, contact ETS to order an additional score report for Evergreen. It takes up to three weeks for Evergreen to receive GRE scores after the test is taken or scores are ordered. GRE scores may be sent before or after you submit the online portion of your application. Scores expire after 5 years; as of 1/8/16 we are currently accepting scores earned July 1, 2010 and after.
  • 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 2016

Date Deadline
October 1, 2015
MES online application available for Fall 2016
December 2015 MES Financial Aid application available online
January 1, 2016 FAFSA submissions for 2016-2017 accepted
Early January Advised deadline for asking for letters of recommendation
Late January, 2016 Advised deadline for taking GRE (takes 2-3 weeks for Evergreen to receive scores)
February 15, 2016 Priority Deadline (complete applications are guaranteed review for admission and merit-based awards). We will continue to accept applications after this date but applicants may not be eligible for MES awards. 
March 1, 2016 Submit FAFSA and MES Financial Aid application by this date to be considered for non-loan aid.  FAFSA must be processed by this date, so complete by February 15 to be safe. FAFSA can be submitted after this date to qualify for loans.
Mid-March 2016
First round of admit/deny/waitlist letters are mailed; MES financial aid letters e-mailed to new admits
April 21, 2016
MES Admitted Students Afternoon at Evergreen (tentative date)
April 29, 2016 Tuition deposit of $100 due for first round admits and Fall 2016 deferred students.
September 15, 2016 Written documentation due for provisional admits (missing BA/BS)
September 2015
Mandatory MES Orientation
September 26, 2016 First Day of Fall 2016 classes
October 15, 2016 Transcripts due for conditional admits (missing pre-reqs) and provisional admits (missing BA/BS)

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 $36,744 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.  

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.