Graduate Programs

Master of Arts in Environmental Studies

City View from Dike 14 Nature Preserve
"City View from Dike 14 Nature Preserve", by Chris Trepal, Envisioning Cleveland Photo Contest

On this page:
About the Program | Course of Study | Career Opportunities

Important Information:
Admissions | Student Resources | Student Handbook (pdf) | Curriculum Sheet | Contact

Welcome to the Master of Arts in Environmental Studies at the Levin College of Urban Affairs. The degree program is part of a campus-wide interdisciplinary initiative that offers students in environmental studies, environmental science and environmental engineering the opportunity to interact and learn in a cross-disciplinary setting.

We also offer a dual degree in Environmental Studies and a J.D. from the Cleveland Marshall College of Law, also at Cleveland State.

We are currently engaged in a strategic planning process for the MA degree, seeking input from former students, practitioners in the environmental field, and current students. For detailed information about the curriculum, please consult the MA Handbook.

About the M.A. in Environmental Studies Program

The Master of Arts in Environmental Studies Program prepares students for careers in environmental policy and management while providing students with a broad, interdisciplinary course of study. Developing and managing human institutions, organizations and behaviors that restore, protect, and sustain the environment requires careful study of both natural and human systems and their interdependence. This task is at the core of an environmental studies degree program.

To equip students with a core foundation in environmental science,  policy, law, and management for professional careers that will “bridge the gap” between environmental scientists and public policy and management professionals, in order to protect the integrity, diversity, and resilience of existing social-ecological systems and to shape them into sustainable human settlements.

We see the CSU M.A. in Environmental Studies as a highly ranked, regionally and nationally recognized program. We envision the degree program as attracting well-qualified students from the region's top undergraduate science and policy programs. We see a variety of internships in place where students will gain experience in policy, planning, management and analysis of environmental problems and in formulating policies and plans to manage sustainable development. We see graduates from the M.A. in Environmental Studies program placed in a wide range of work settings in the public, private and nonprofit sectors.

Curricular Goals
1. Students will have a core knowledge base in biology, environmental physics, and environmental engineering
2. Students will understand the institutional and organizational context in which environmental policies and decisions are made and implemented through law, regulation, and administrative and financial practices
3. Students will understand the processes of public policy decision making, including the links between scientific research and environmental policy and inter-organizational relationships
4. Students will be able to design a policy-based applied research project, collect and analyze scientific and other data using electronic technology, and pursue
 results using a variety of methods and techniques relevant for environmental policy and management;
5. Students will be able to specialize in public decision making-related domains positively affecting the environment

Course of Study

Environmental Studies is part of a three-program project at CSU, involving faculty from the three degree-granting colleges which collaborate to achieve our goal of an integrated, multi-disciplinary experience. (This collaboration is organized and coordinated by the CSU Environmental Institute. For information about the institute, contact (216) 687-4860 or

The M.A. in Environmental Studies degree consists of four components: core competencies, core classes, electives, and an exit project. Core courses are shared with the M.S. in Environmental Science and the M.S. in Environmental Engineering, to allow students from the three masters programs in environmental studies, science, and engineering to interact and learn in a cross-disciplinary setting. Four electives may be used to specialize in a track. Finally, all students complete an exit project. For detailed information about the curriculum, please consult the MA in Environmental Studies Handbook.

Required Core Courses:
Students in the M.A. in Environmental Studies Program must successfully complete the following course work:

Core Competencies: 9 credit hours
Core Courses: 19 credit hours
Electives: 12-16 credit hours (four class minimum)
Specializations: Minimum three courses from a concentration
Internship (optional): 3 credit hours
Exit Project: 4 credit hours
Total: Minimum 44 credit hours

All students complete the following core and core competency courses:

  • CVE 450: Environmental Technology
  • ENG 509: Technical Writing
  • PHY 570: Environmental Physics
  • EVS 506: Ecosystem Science
  • UST 595: Environmental Seminar
  • UST 601: Applied Quantitative Reasoning I
  • UST 603: Public Finance and Economics
  • UST 652: Environmental Policy & Administration
  • LAW 671: Environmental Law, Policy & Regulation

Areas of Specialization:
Students may choose to specialize in the following areas:

  • Policy and Administration
  • Environmental Planning
  • Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
  • Environmental Nonprofit Management
  • Sustainable Economic Development

Exit Project
Every student must register for four credits of exit-project course work (UST 698) and successfully complete an applied research report, an original project design, a policy-analysis-and evaluation paper, or a related project. Before registering for exit-project credit, the student and his or her advisor select a proposed exit project. The student must complete a Permission Form and obtain the required signatures prior to registering for the project. Students in the JD/MA program are not required to complete an exit project.

An internship is not required; however, students without related work experience are encouraged to seek an internship placement. Paid and unpaid internships are arranged through the Office of Student Services. Interested students may receive elective credit for internship work.

Career Opportunities

Students graduating with an environmental studies degree will develop skills currently high in demand in emerging domains. These skills are particularly suited to bridge the gap between science and policy. Students will become leaders in their communities’ efforts to protect, restore, and sustain environmental quality.

Environmental studies graduates work in organizations such as:

  • Environmental protection agencies at all government levels
  • Nonprofit environmental advocacy organizations
  • Environmental education organizations
  • Municipal government agencies
  • Regional planning and resource agencies
  • State and national parks and recreation areas
  • Private planning and environmental consulting firms
  • Law offices
  • Private industry
Contact Information

Prospective students please contact:
Lindsey Hobson, Levin College Admission Recruiter
Telephone: (216) 687-4506 / E-mail:

Current students please contact:
Dave Arrighi, Levin College Graduate Advisor
Telephone: (216) 523-7522 / E-mail: