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Master of Environmental Studies

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Master of Environmental Studies

An environmental studies graduate degree program that spans science, policy, management, sustainability, resilience and adaptation, and many more fields

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 rigorous, Ivy League academics in environmental studies and exceptional opportunities to conduct research in the field. In addition, you gain the industry connections and individualized professional development you need to take on today's environmental challenges and excel in your work, whether as a researcher, policy advocate, management consultant, or 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 courses. Many of our distinguished professors also influence practices outside the University, bringing their experience and broad networks from the worlds of scientific research, sustainability, policy, resilience and adaptation planning, and management into the classroom. Our working students find meaningful ways to blend their graduate school and professional work by partnering with faculty to design projects and research that tackle real-world environmental 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 to planning for climate change 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 >

mes community

MES in the Community

Iliana Sepulveda (MES ’13) grew up in a town scarred by industry; now she is contributing to a more sustainable model.

Read Iliana’s story >

MES Virtual Cafe

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.

Learn more >

Application information

You may apply to begin the Master of Environmental Studies degree during the fall or spring terms.

Apply now >

LPS News

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    Volunteer groups organized by Penn Pre-Health students raise funds and coordinate donations for workers on the front lines of COVID-19. View Story
  • Association for Psychological Science spotlights Master of Behavioral and Decision Sciences alumna
    Sakshi Ghai, Master of Behavioral and Decision Sciences ’18, is on the cover of the Observer for her research collaboration with MBDS Founding Director Dr. Cristina Bicchieri. View Story


College of Liberal and Professional Studies Office

3440 Market Street, Suite 100
Philadelphia, PA 19104-3335

(215) 898-7326
(215) 573-2053


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Penn LPS

The lifelong learning division of Penn Arts & Sciences

3440 Market Street, Suite 100
Philadelphia, PA 19104-3335

(215) 898-7326