Degree Requirements


The curriculum of the Environmental Science and Policy MS degree has been designed with a five-course core to provide the strong foundation of environmental science and policy required of all professionals in the field. These core courses provide rigorous study of the primary subjects affecting environmental issues.

Students focus their studies through elective of five elective courses chosen from a broad range of environmental disciplines including science, policy and regulatory based subjects. These electives provide rigorous, in-depth exploration of specific environmental topics.

Courses are active, intense, and current, involving a variety of learning methods and techniques. Course work prepares students for science, legislative, and management position.

Course Requirements

Prerequisite Courses

The prerequisite courses below prepare provisional students for graduate work and do not count toward degree requirements. Students must be admitted as provisional in order to enroll in these courses.

Program Course Work

  • Five of the six core courses
  • Five elective courses
  • Capstone project (optional elective)

For more information about core and elective courses, please see the Course Descriptions page. Note: All electives are not offered every semester, and the mode of delivery (on-site or online) varies. It is very important that students consult the environmental sciences and policy course schedule for specific class offerings and times by semester.

The six core courses to choose five from are:

Electives should be chosen in consultation with the student’s adviser and should accommodate individual career goals. In order to customize the ESP experience, each student should choose electives that align with their scholarly and professional interests such as courses in environmental sustainability, monitoring, planning, or management. These electives may be chosen from any combination of the environmental sciences and policy offerings. Students may also consider related courses elsewhere in Advanced Academic Programs or in the schools of Engineering, Public Health, Advanced International Studies, Business, or Education. Students are permitted, with the written consent of the director of the program, to take up to two pertinent courses outside of the ESP degree. Please refer to the Advanced Academic Programs Course Schedule for exact dates, times, locations, fees and instructors.

Residency Requirement

Many courses are offered online, but at least one ESP course must be taken in an on-site classroom or as an in-person ESP field course to fulfill the requirements of the degree. Students may choose to come to D.C. for a whole semester or opt for an intensive field course. These are offered throughout the year, but the majority are scheduled during the summer or in January. Compressed field courses require an additional fee and often include lodging, course transportation, and some food (this is variable). Students are responsible for travel to the location of their residency course. Note: The University does not have lodging facilities in D.C.

Paul Kazyak discusses his approach to our intensive field course in Applied Sustainability.

Bill Hilgartner highlights a few salient aspects of our field based Environmental Restoration course.

Capstone Project

The Capstone Project is optional for ESP students. However, students in the MS in Environmental Sciences and Policy program with particular academic or professional interests, including those who are considering a PhD in the future, may wish to pursue independent research by completing an independent research project. This course is co-taught with the Energy, Policy and Climate program. 420.800 Independent Research Project is offered every fall and spring. Research must be original and bring a new perspective to a field or topic; it may include analysis of previously obtained data and overview and synthesis of published interpretations of such data or original primary research in the field or lab. The general guidelines and timeline for the capstone course can be found on the Capstone Project page. Note: If the project involves human subjects, clearance from the Johns Hopkins Institutional Review Board may be necessary and should be planned for as this process can take additional time.

Core Courses

The core courses introduce the relevant body of knowledge in science and policy upon which students will base their studies. Some students may have covered most of the material of one or more of the core courses in previous academic work or through pertinent work experience. Such students should consider requesting that the appropriate core course(s) be waived. If approved, the waived core course must then be replaced with an additional elective. The core courses can be taken in any order.

Students must complete five of the six core courses:

Accelerated MS for JHU ENVS students

Please see specific requirements for this degree.

*Note: Recent changes to the number of core courses required applies to students admitted for Summer 2017 and beyond. Students admitted prior to Summer 2017 will follow the degree requirements in previous year’s academic catalogue.

State-specific Information for Online Programs

Note: Students should be aware of state-specific information for online programs. For more information, please contact an admissions representative.