Master of Environmental Studies

Master of Environmental Studies students in the field

Industry connections and Ivy League academics to take on today's environmental challenges

The Master of Environmental Studies (MES) program at the University of Pennsylvania helps you translate your passion for the environment into a fulfilling career. Our program offers you a rigorous academic grounding in environmental science and exceptional opportunities to conduct research in the field. In addition, you gain the professional networks and individualized professional development you need to excel in your work, whether as a researcher, policy advocate, teacher or business executive.

Built with flexibility in mind, you can choose from a variety of concentrations or create your own—all with the guidance of our world-class faculty and built upon the foundation of Ivy League science courses. Many of our distinguished professors also influence practices outside the University, bringing their experience and broad networks from the worlds of policy, business and consulting into the classroom. Our working students find meaningful ways to blend their academic and current professional experiences by partnering with faculty to design projects and research that tackle real-world challenges from their workplace.

The heart of the Master of Environmental Studies program is the passion of our students and faculty to create change in the world, from helping to preserve habitats to implementing energy-efficient policies at the local and national levels.

Environmental impact goes beyond the classroom

The Master of Environmental Studies (MES) program at the University of Pennsylvania addresses the complex issues facing our ever-changing planet. Learn about our program with our faculty, advisors, and students. Look towards the future with MES and discover what you can do to stay on the cutting-edge of environmental science, environmental policy, resilience and adaptation, and sustainability.

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Fast facts

Number of dual degrees offered through MES
Number of years Penn has offered the Master of Environmental Studies degree
Percentage of students studying part time
Number of professional concentrations offered through MES

Courses and curriculum

The Master of Environmental Studies program equips students with the broad interdisciplinary knowledge necessary to address complex environmental issues. In addition to developing an academic concentration tailored to their career goals, each MES student selects four courses from four different disciplines outside of their concentration. Options include environmental biology, environmental chemistry, environmental policy, environmental geology, environmental law, urban environment, resource management, environmental health, environmental business, environmental sustainability, resilience and adaptation, and energy.

Tailor your curriculum to your goals >

Program resources

The Master of Environmental Studies program offers students a multitude of resources for getting involved on campus and around the region. Our network includes the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability, GRID magazine, the Sustainable Business Network of Greater Philadelphia, Stroud Water Research Center, the Global Water Alliance, the Philadelphia Field Station-USFS, the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education, and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Eastern Regional Research Center.

Environmental opportunities at Penn and beyond >

Career paths for Master of Environmental Studies graduates

Graduates of Penn’s Master of Environmental Studies program have entered a myriad of roles and industries around the world—scientific researcher, conservationist, and global corporate sustainability manager to name a few.

See student & alumni stories >

Master of Environmental Studies Virtual Café

Join us on the first Tuesday of every month for an online chat, hosted live from noon - 1 p.m.

MES information session

Meet our program director and hear more about the MES curriculum, application process, faculty, and more.

Application deadlines

The application deadline for spring 2025 is November 1, 2024.

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