How long does it take to complete this degree?

The average time it takes students to complete the degree is 2.5 years. The program is designed for people working full- or part-time, and they take 1-2 courses per semester (we require a total of 10). We run three semesters per year, Summer, Fall and Spring. To be eligible to take out federal student loans you must take 2 courses at a time. However, private student loans may be an option for students wishing to take one course at a time. AAP has an upper limit of five years to complete the degree.

I was a non-science major as an undergraduate but have become interested in environmental sciences. Is this program for me?

Yes. We accommodate students from varying backgrounds and welcome those with non-science, social science as well as science backgrounds. If you have not had calculus, statistics, or chemistry (with lab), then you will have to make those up before you enter the program or during the first few semesters (See next question). Lacking those courses on your transcript is not a reason we would reject you.

I have never taken calculus, statistics or chemistry? Do I really need these to complete the program?

Yes. We require that our students have taken a basic calculus course, introductory statistics, as well as introductory chemistry with lab. If these were not taken as an undergraduate (or for advanced placement in high school), then we recommend that they be completed prior to entry to our program, although we do offer prerequisite courses that meet our requirements. These three courses can be taken at any accredited institution but we strongly encourage that you consult with the ESP program director (Dr. Burgess) or program coordinator (J. da Rosa) to make sure that the intended course will meet our requirements. We do offer two courses that meet the prerequisite requirements as part of the ESP program, though they are not offered every semester. We offer one course that combines calculus and statistics for environmental sciences (420.301, Quantitative Methods) and a basic chemistry course that prepares you for environmental applications (420.302 Chemistry for Natural Processes). If you are admitted with these prerequisite requirements (‘provisionally’), then you will need to complete the courses as soon as they are offered. Provisional coursework must be completed within your first year in the ESP program, and you must make a B or better. You will not become a degree candidate until these courses are completed.

I live and work in a place away from the Washington DC and Baltimore and cannot relocate due to family and/or work obligations. Can this program be complete as a distance student?

Yes. The JHU ESP program was not designed as a distance-learning program, however a number of students who either by choice or circumstance find themselves away from the Washington DC /Baltimore area have successfully completed our program. Our program does require students to complete one course in residency. This requirement can also be fulfilled by the various “Intensive Study” or “International Study” courses that are offered (See The Experience for a list of ESP field courses that satisfy the residency requirement).

If I am a distance student, will all the elective choices be available?

No. As a distance student you will not have the full range of electives available to you as some are taught only in-person in either Washington DC or Baltimore.

Is it possible to take courses in other programs at JHU?

Yes. With the permission of your program academic advisor, you may be allowed to take courses in other JHU programs that are relevant to your career objectives.

How do students support themselves while in the program?

The program is designed for working professionals so many students pay out of pocket. Some employers will offer tuition reimbursement for pursuing the degree, so a number of our students participate in such programs. Other students take out students loans to cover their tuition expenses. Note: to be eligible for federal student loans you need to take at least two courses per semester. However, private student loans may be an option for students wishing to take one course at a time.

Are there Teaching or Research Assistantships available in ESP?

No. The JHU ESP program is designed for part-time professional students and it is not housed in a traditional academic department. Our faculty are mostly adjunct professors and work as professionals in the environmental field and are typically not academic researchers.

What are the online courses like? Are they taught by faculty or are they self-paced modules?

Our online courses are taught by faculty in an interactive style that follows a semester format with a cap on class size that is the same as on-site courses (20). The courses are taught asynchronously, meaning that there are no lectures to attend at a certain time. The course content is delivered to you via the Blackboard course management system and comes in a media rich portfolio of course material that includes narrated PowerPoint presentations, problem sets, discussion threads, short-paper assignments, and various other means of engagement. Students interact with each other as well as the instructor. There are due dates regarding tests and assignments, and these are clearly posted online.

Who are the faculty who teach in ESP?

The ESP program uses mostly adjunct professors although there are a few full-time faculty members as well. Our adjuncts are practicing environmental professionals and bring their wealth of experience to the classroom. For more information, visit our ESP Faculty page. Some members of the faculty have taught in the program since its inception 20 years ago.

Where do students work when they complete the program?

Our graduates work in a wide variety of organizations including various agencies of the US federal government (EPA, USGS, USDA, etc.), as well as state and local agencies. JHU ESP alumni are also working for local and global environmental organizations such as the Nature Conservancy and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. Some of our alums have started their own consulting businesses and some have gone on for Ph.D. degrees.

I want to complete this program as a full-time student, is this possible?

Yes. The JHU ESP program is designed as a part-time program with the majority of our students taking 1-2 courses per semester while working full or part-time. However, it is possible to complete the program in an accelerated format if you prefer. Because we offer courses in the Fall, Spring, and Summer semesters, this means the program can be completed in a little over a year.  Please do note that all courses are offered either in the evening or online only. There are no day-time courses.

Where are the courses taught in the ESP program?

Most of our on-site classes are offered at the JHU Washington DC Center and in an online format. There is a limited selection of courses available at the Homewood campus in Baltimore. All on-site classes are offered in the evening to accommodate faculty and student working schedules. Some courses are offered off-site as intensive field-experiences (2-3 weeks).

Where can I find out more about the admissions requirements?

Please go to the ESP Admissions Requirements page. The application process is fully online.

I am an international student, are there any specific admission requirements?

There are several additional requirements. For more information, visit the International Applicants page.

I have been admitted to the program but need to defer my start to a future date. Can I do so?

Yes, you can, but please communicate this with the Admission office (Your admissions letter includes a form in which you should indicate when you want to enroll, aapadmissions@jhu.edu) and the Program Director. Once admitted you can defer for up to one year, after which you need to reapply. Please note that once you have taken a course in the program you can no longer defer, you then need to request a Leave of Absence if you break up continuous enrollment.

May I enroll to take a class or two?

Yes. Please see the guidelines for non-degree/special students on the AAP website.

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.