Apply Master of Environmental Studies

The Best Environment for Studying the Environment

The Evergreen State College is a a top-rated masters college located at the south end of the Salish Sea (Puget Sound) in Olympia, Washington. You’ll be close to mountains, rivers, wetlands, forests and shorelines. Center your core projects and thesis research in topics that fuel your passions.

Qualities of a Strong Candidate

  • Excellent writing, communication and analytical/critical thinking skills
  • Interest in collaborating in an interdisciplinary learning community
  • Coursework or professional experience in social science, natural science, and statistics (see pre-requisite information for details)
  • Interest in a holistic approach to environmental challenges 

Apply to MES for the Fall 2024 Cohort

Start or Continue Application

Fall 2024 Application Deadlines and Decision Timelines

First RoundApplication deadline: December 31, 2023
Application decisions by: February 1, 2024

This is a great deadline to meet if you would like to be considered for MES Scholarship opportunities for the 2024-2025 academic year.
Second RoundApplication deadline: March 15, 2024
Application decisions by: April 12, 2024

This is a great deadline to meet if you would like to be able to register for Fall courses in May when registration opens up. Students who apply by the first and second round deadlines will have priority registration for fall electives.
Final RoundFinal Application deadline: June 1, 2024
Final Application decisions by: July 1, 2024

This will be the final application deadline for the Fall 2024 cohort in MES.

Apply Online

Pay the $50.00 non-refundable application fee by credit card, debit card, or e-check.

Your application is only considered complete when we receive your online application, letters of recommendation, transcripts, statement of purpose, resume, analytical essay or GRE scores and application fee.

Admissions Requirements

We look at all of your application materials when considering your admittance.

Remember, you do not need to find a faculty sponsor before you apply. You'll be matched with a thesis advisor in your final year.

  1. Bachelor’s Degree in any subject from a regionally-accredited institution of higher education or foreign equivalent. You may be admitted provisionally pending completion.
    • Evergreen students and alumni - because you don’t have a GPA, we read through all of your evaluations to determine if you’re ready for graduate-level study.
  2. Prerequisites: You may apply to MES before completing all prerequisites. These courses must be completed within the five years prior to starting MES.

    Four (4) quarter hour or three (3) semester hour credits are required for each discipline. Coursework may be lower or upper division.
    • Statistic
    • Social Science
    • Natural Science
  3. Three Letters of Recommendation
    • Information that includes your skills in critical reasoning, data interpretation, quantitative analysis and written/verbal communication
  4. Official Transcripts from bachelor's degree-granting institution 
  5. Statement of Purpose
  6. Analytical Essay or GRE Scores
  7. Resume

Preparing Your Application

Prepare your references and materials

Select and Contact Three References 

Request recommendations from people who can provide evidence of your ability to do excellent graduate-level work in writing, critical inquiry, quantitative analysis and who can attest to your strong communication skills. Current or former faculty, supervisors and colleagues are potential providers of recommendations. If you have graduated from college within the last two years, at least one of your references needs to be from a faculty member.

Your recommender will be asked to upload their letter to our online application. You will need to provide the following information for each of your recommenders in the online application form:

  • Name
  • Title
  • Organization
  • Email address
  • Phone number

Once you enter your recommender's contact information, as they will be emailed by us (you do not need to submit your application to activate this email invitation). Make sure to contact them in advance so they know to expect this message.

Format Your Resume

List key employment or other experiences relevant to your interest in environmental studies, including any significant public and community service activities.

Write a Statement of Purpose

Tell us why you want to pursue graduate study in environmental studies at Evergreen in 500-1,000 words. Describe in some detail your experiences in education, employment and public or community work. Explain how they influenced you to seek a graduate degree in environmental studies.

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. Your essay will also be evaluated for clarity, analysis and general writing skills.

Completing Prerequisites

Prerequisites must be completed within the last five years

Prerequisite Coursework 

  • You can apply before completing all prerequisites, but you will need to provide proof of completion before starting the graduate program
  • These courses must be completed within the five years prior to starting MES
  • Four (4) quarter hour or three (3) semester hour credits are required for each discipline below
  • Coursework may be lower or upper division
  • A 2.0 GPA or satisfactory narrative evaluation is required

General statistics courses or research methods courses that include a significant statistics component should fulfill this requirement.

Course content must include: elementary descriptive and inferential statistics, including basic probability, binomial and/or normal distributions, null hypothesis testing and p-values, and some specific tests (e.g. t-test, chi-square test, regression).

In order to achieve a high level of success in MES we recommend taking an in-person statistics course (not online).

Social Science

Social sciences might include: economics, sociology, political science, anthropology and human geography.

Natural Science

Natural sciences might include: biology, ecology, geology, botany and chemistry.

Meeting Prerequisites 

If admitted, you will need to provide proof of completion before you start the degree. Your application will look stronger if all prerequisites are completed or in progress at the time of application.

If you are missing any prerequisites, consider a community college or other regionally-accredited institution near you (or online). Most colleges allow you to take some credits without being admitted to a degree program. 

Complete Your Prerequisites at Evergreen

You can take up to 8 credits at Evergreen without applying for undergraduate admission. Find out more about enrolling as a Non-admitted Student

If you find a course which fulfills our prerequisite requirements in the Academic Catalog, and want to confirm that it meets our requirements before you register, please email us with a link to the course for approval. 

If you have been admitted to MES and are required to take more than 6 credits of prerequisites, you may be eligible for financial aid. Contact Financial Aid for more information. 

Waiving Prerequisite Course Requirements

Professional experience may substitute for specific prerequisites. If you need a prerequisite waived, we suggest adding an additional attachment to your application with a short statement explaining why one or more prerequisite requirement should be waived. 

If you aren’t sure if you've met a specific prerequisite, please contact us. 

Analytical Essay or GRE Scores

You may choose to submit either GRE scores or the analytical essay

Analytical Essay

For those interested in submitting the analytical essay, submit your essay as an attachment in this section of the application. The analytical essay requirement is your opportunity to show your skill in analysis and writing.

Please write an essay on an environmental issue of your choosing. This component should:

  • Be no more than five pages, double-spaced, not including cover page, figures (graphs, tables, etc.), citations, etc. Please include a copy of all graphs or tables as an appendix.
  • Follow any standard style format for a college paper. Include proper citations of all source material. The Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL) is a good resource.
  • Provide clarity and coherence of its argument
  • Ensure overall quality of analysis and writing

You may use previously completed work, as long as your final document meets the requirements for an analytical essay.

This is your chance to demonstrate college level writing and critical thinking skills.

The following are good examples of environmental essays:

Atlantic Salmon Farming in Puget Sound and the Salish Sea

Long-term Capitol Lake Management Plan Review in Relation to the Sea Level Rise in Downtown Olympia

Harvesting Forest Biomass as a Sustainable Fuel Source

Management of Prairies with Prescribed Fire in the Olympic Peninsula

An Evaluation of Wetland Mitigation Banking in the United States: Positives and Negatives

GRE Scores

You may submit GRE Scores that are up to 5 years old from the date you plan to submit your application. For example, if you took the GRE on September 19, 2019, you may access and submit your scores from ETS until September 18, 2024.

If you have not yet taken the GRE, you will need to ensure that you take the test in time for your scores to be submitted to the Graduate Admissions office by the application deadline you are applying for. It takes ETS 10-15 working days from your test date to send your scores to your college(s) of interest. If for example, you would like to meet the First Round Application deadline of December 31, 2023, you will need to have taken the GRE by December 15, 2023 to ensure that your scores are received in time. Your GRE test fee includes 4 free score reports to be sent to colleges of your choosing, you can request to have ETS send your scores to Graduate Admissions at Evergreen via email to: graduateadmissions@evergreen.eduor
or mail to:

Graduate Admissions, Attn: MES
Evans Hall, 1200
The Evergreen State College
2700 Evergreen Parkway, NW
Olympia, WA 98505

Request Transcripts and Transferring Credits

Your transcript must verify the award of a bachelor’s degree

If you have taken courses or graduated from Evergreen you will need to request an official transcript from Evergreen. You can order your Evergreen transcript online through Parchment.

Your transcript must verify the award of a bachelor’s degree. Provisional admission can be granted on the basis of work in progress near the completion of a bachelor's degree. A final transcript must be submitted before classes start to gain regular admission status. Students with non-English transcripts must have them translated into English and certified by a translation agency.

A transcript is considered official if it bears the official seal and signature of the issuing institution and is either:

Evergreen accepts e-transcripts from 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, use

Otherwise, mail or deliver transcripts to:

The Evergreen State College
Graduate Admissions
Attention: Master of Environmental Studies
Evans Hall, 1200
2700 Evergreen Parkway NW
Olympia, WA 98505

  1. Sent directly by the issuing institution; or
  2. Delivered by the applicant, as long as it’s still in the issuing institution’s original sealed envelope.

International Students

International applicants have additional admission criteria
  • English Language Proficiency: Every applicant whose native language is not English must demonstrate English language proficiency through one of the following ways:
    1. A bachelor's, master's or doctoral degree from an 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) 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 $36,744.00 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.). Admissions will work with admitted students on this paperwork.

Application Fee Waivers

Americorps members and alumni and Peace Corps volunteers may qualify for an application fee waiver. Request a waiver before completing your application! We cannot reimburse the application fee if you request a waiver after you pay the fee.

Master of Environmental Studies (MES)


Office Hours

  • Monday - Friday, 8:30 am to 5:30 pm