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Washington State University

Graduate Studies

Photo courtesy of Lily Wallenbrock


The School of the Environment leverages our unique interdisciplinary capabilities in science to help our graduates demonstrate both depth and breadth across academic disciplines to support the challenging professional requirements of their future careers.

This broad expertise prepares our graduates to better understand and broadly collaborate with others in the world of science which increasingly relies on multi-disciplinary teams to address complex ecological and environmental issues.

Our students are financially supported through research assistantships and teaching assistantships that cover tuition, health insurance, and a living stipend. We also have many opportunities for graduate scholarships and actively promote our students to receive such awards.

If you are interested in pursuing a graduate degree under the advisement of one of our faculty members start by visiting their website and contacting them directly.

Welcome from SoE Associate Director for Graduate Studies….

*** Due to COVID The School of the Environment is currently waiving GRE exams for admittance ***


We offer 4 graduate degree programs:

The Master of Science in Environmental & Natural Resource Sciences and Doctor of Philosophy in Environmental and Natural Resource Sciences are offered at the WSU Pullman, Vancouver, and WSU Tri-Cities campuses.

The Master of Science and the Ph.D. in Geology are offered only at the Pullman campus.



Learning Outcomes

Objective 1: To Prepare Students for Professional Careers

  • Outcome a: Attain knowledge and expertise in core disciplinary areas
  • Outcome b: Think critically and develop creative solutions to scientific problems
  • Outcome c: Effectively communicate the results of their research
  • Outcome d: become visible members of the scientific community taking organizational and service roles

Objective 2: To Enable Students To Become Effective Researchers & Teachers

  • Outcome a: Recognize important scientific problems and contribute to solving them
  • Outcome b: Master the field, laboratory, data analysis, and theoretical skills necessary to perform research
  • Outcome c: Write research grant proposals or otherwise obtain research funding (expectation is higher for Ph.D. students)
  • Outcome d: Become effective teachers in field, laboratory, and lecture-room settings

Objective 3: To Provide Scientific Leadership & Expertise At The Local, State, & National Levels

  • Outcome a: Attract and retain world-class faculty in appropriate disciplinary areas
  • Outcome b: Assist students to engage in outreach activities
  • Outcome c: Prepare students to successfully compete for jobs in industry, academia, and government
Dr. Henry Adams + field crew after a day in the field (courtesy of Dr. Adams)

Find Faculty

Rebekah Lumkes in the field (courtesy of Rebekah Lumkes)

Admission Process

Grad students having fun at the annual Graduate Student Research Weekend

Labs & Facilities

Field research featuring graduate student Lulu Peach (courtesy of Dr. Henry Adams)

Contact Us

Field research featuring graduate student R. Alex Thompson (courtesy of Dr. Henry Adams)

Graduate Student Handbook

Geology field trip to Banff, Canada. Photo Courtesy of Dr. Sean Long

Guidelines For Graduate Faculty Advising

Photo courtesy of Edwin Jacobo

Graduate Bylaws

Photo courtesy of Edwin Jacobo

News from our graduates

Areas of research for both M.S. and Ph.D. programs include:

Earth System Science draws on knowledge across a wide range of disciplines to understand the processes shaping our planet. Topics considered include geochemistry, geophysics, structure of the Earth; hydro- and biogeology, including biogeochemical cycles, geologic and environmental hazards, watershed biogeochemistry and hydrology. Faculty combine knowledge of current processes with a strong focus on the geologic record that is the baseline for characterizing and understanding global change.

Photo credits: Lily Wallenbrock & Dr. Johannes Haemmerli in the field

Ecosystem and Landscape Ecology, including wildlife ecology and endangered species conservation; spatial and ecological relationships of plants and animals in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, in-stream physical and biological processes, and vertebrate and invertebrate ecology of wetland, lake, estuarine, and marine systems.

Photo credit: Western tanager research by Edwin Jacobo

Environmental Sustainability and Resource Management, including modeling and dynamics of ecological and environmental systems, population ecology and modeling, sustainable resource management including water resources, private land management, and analysis of policy impacts and the human dimensions of resource conservation.

Photo credit: Dr. Henry Adams

Research Collaborations:

In addition to working with School of the Environment faculty researchers, graduate students also have the opportunity to collaborate with a broad variety of research units including Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural ResourcesLaboratory for Atmospheric Research,State of Washington Water Research CenterSocial and Economic Sciences Research Center, Department of Geological Sciences at University of Idaho.