The Evergreen State College began the Graduate Program on the Environment in 1984. The program integrates the study of environmental science and public policy and leads to the Master of Environmental Studies (MES) degree.
The program's goal is to provide quality professional preparation for people working at the interface between environmental science, on one hand, and societal policy-making in the public, private and nonprofit sectors, on the other hand. Thus, we strive to produce graduates who combine an interdisciplinary understanding of the social and natural sciences with the skills and wisdom to intelligently address environmental problems.
The program emphasizes the links among the social, biological and physical sciences. Students acquire knowledge of specific resource issues and political relationships within the core and elective offerings. They then apply that knowledge to current concerns through thesis projects. The perspectives of the graduate program are national and international, but extensive use is made of the environmental issues in the Pacific Northwest. Treaty rights of Native American tribes are a particularly important component of these regional issues. Students with expertise in science and an interest in public policy learn how their science background can inform environmental policy-making. Students with expertise in public policy develop a broader understanding of the environmental sciences and how they apply to policy-making. The program sharpens critical and analytical abilities in preparation for professional growth.