Application Overview

Master of Environmental Studies application deadlines

You may apply to begin the Master of Environmental Studies degree during the fall or spring terms. Your application portfolio, including all transcripts, must be received by the following deadlines:

  • Fall admission: April 15
  • Spring admission: October 15

Application materials checklist

Applications must be submitted through our online application system and must contain all of the following in order to be considered complete:

  • Completed online application
  • Current résumé
  • Nonrefundable application fee (Make checks payable to the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania or pay by credit card through the online application.)
  • Application essays, listed below
  • Unofficial transcripts from each post-secondary school attended uploaded through the online application system 
  • Two letters of recommendation (details below)
  • Score reports for the Graduate Record Exam (GRE)*
  • TOEFL scores for International students*

*If applicable. See “Standardized test scores” below.

Master of Environmental Studies application essays

Your application will include essays addressing five topics. Responses may be as long or as short as you feel necessary. (Please compile your responses into a single document, but keep them as separate essays.)

  • Have you ever been placed on probation, dismissed or suspended from any college or university for reasons pertaining to academic integrity? If this does not apply, please write N/A in your response. If yes, please include any facts that you believe bear on the significance of this circumstance.
  • If you are applying to a Penn dual degree program, please indicate which program (MES/MBA, MES/MPA or MES/JD).
  • How did your interest in environmental studies develop?
  • Describe in conceptual terms the curriculum you hope to pursue as a Master of Environmental Studies student.
  • How do you expect to apply the expertise you would gain in the Master of Environmental Studies program? 

Letters of recommendation

Each applicant will submit two letters of recommendation, but you may elect to submit an optional third letter. Letters should come from individuals in a position to evaluate your professional and/or academic work, such as a supervisor or professor, and who know of your desire to enter the Master of Environmental Studies program.  Recommendations may be submitted online or by mail. For online recommendations, please follow the instructions in the Recommendations section of the online application. For paper recommendations, please download a copy of the recommendation form (PDF) and supply a copy to each recommender.

Standardized test scores

The Graduate Record Exam (GRE) is required of all applicants, except those with five or more years of professional experience or for University of Pennsylvania undergraduate students who are submatriculating into the program. Request that your scores report for the GRE test be forwarded to the College of Liberal and Professional Studies, using ETS institutional code 2986.

International applicants whose first language is not English must also submit Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) scores to demonstrate English proficiency. If the medium of instruction for your undergraduate degree was English, you may request to waive the TOEFL requirement by sending an email to lps@sas.upenn.edu. The minimum TOEFL scores required for admissions consideration are: 100 (iBT), 250 (CBT) or 600 (PBT). The TOEFL must be sent from ETS using the institutional code 2986. To locate a testing site near you or schedule an exam, visit the TOEFL website.

Upon review of an applicant's file, the Admissions Committee reserves the right to request TOEFL scores.

Walk-In Wednesday

Walk-In Wednesday

Members of the MES program team are here to answer your questions face-to-face on the second Wednesday of each month.

Walk Right In >

MES in the Community

MES in the Community

See how Johanna Rosen, MES '13, is turning her passion for gardening into securing land access for urban farmers.

Read Johanna's Story >

Application Deadline: October 15th

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Get your application started!

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