Loyola University Chicago

School of Environmental Sustainability

Master of Science in Environmental Science & Sustainability: Professional Track

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There’s more to understanding today’s sustainability challenges than what you read in a blog or on Twitter. Build a toolkit of pragmatic workplace skills through coursework in some of today’s most prominent sustainability areas: sustainability assessment and planning, environmental law and policy, sustainable business practices, or several of our other areas of specialty.

Find the flexibility and diversity you need in a graduate program by selecting courses that are offered at the time and format that works best for you. Students in the Professional Track have the opportunity to take both classroom and online courses and can even complete this degree fully through evening and online course offerings.

The MSESS Program

MS in Environmental Science and Sustainability (30 cr)

Research Track

Professional Track

CORE Course (6 cr)

CORE Course (6 cr)

Supervised thesis research (12 cr)

Concentration area (9-12 cr)

Natural science electives (6-12 cr)
Additional Elective (0-6 cr)

Natural science electives (6-12 cr)
Additional Elective (0-6 cr)

Lab and field research opportunities

Online learning opportunities

Learning Outcomes

  • Deepen your understanding of complex socio-ecological systems and their connection with sustainable development goals.
  • Increase your ability to make accurate and ethical evidence-based decisions from scientific literature.
  • Expand your capacity to communicate environmental science and sustainability issues to the scientific community, professional colleagues, policy makers, and the general public.
  • Demonstrate competence of in-depth knowledge and skills through completion of one of the concentration areas we offer as an online course sequence.


Required Concentration

Professional Track students will complete a Concentration in one of the following areas as part of their 30 credit hour graduation requirement

Environmental Law & Policy

This Concentration provides essential knowledge in relevant areas of environmental law and policy for professionals who want to better understand the role of government, industry, non-profit, and other institutions involved in environmental advocacy, consulting, and compliance.

ENVS 410 – Introduction to Environmental Law & Policy
ENVS 411 – Natural Resources and Land Use Law & Policy
ENVS 412 – Water Law & Policy
ENVS 413 – Energy Law & Policy

Geographic Information Systems (GIS)

This Concentration provides essential knowledge on Geographic Information Systems (GIS) - a compilation of sophisticated, multidimensional software and tools used to capture, store, analyze, manage and present geospatial data. This curriculum provides essential training in the fundamental principles and concepts behind contemporary geographic mapping technology needed to solve complex geospatial problems commonly encountered in environmental sciences, urban planning, social sciences, public health, as well as business, engineering, and many more fields.

ENVS 480 – Introduction to Geographic Information Systems
ENVS 481 – Advanced GIS Applications
ENVS 482 – Remote Sensing

Sustainable Assessment & Planning

This Concentration delivers valuable skills for professionals who want to better understand how organizations can - and do – measure, regulate and report their own natural resource use. Students will develop essential skills used by sustainability professionals in government, industry, non-profit, and other institutions striving to improve and document their sustainability impact.

ENVS 451 – Introduction to Sustainability Concepts & Impacts
ENVS 452 – Assessment & Reporting I – Energy, Air, Buildings & Transportation
ENVS 453 -- Assessment & Reporting II – Water, Land, Food & Waste
ENVS 454 – Sustainability Plan Development & Reporting

Sustainable Business

This Concentration provides valuable skills at the intersection of business, sustainability, and society. Students will learn the social, environmental, and economic impacts of current business systems; explore alternatives to the current system; and understand the scientific, moral, and business case for sustainability.

ENVS 433 -- Circular Economy
ENVS 435 -- Ecological Economics
ENVS 436: -- Biomimicry: Design Inspired by Nature
ENVS 463: -- Sustainable Business Management

Required Courses

ENVS 401 – Sustainable Systems: Ecological Perspectives

Learn how an integrated viewpoint on environmental science and sustainability connects the goals of ecosystem protection and sustainable development. Joining these objectives ensures fair and just solutions for both people and the planet. Determine best practices in evaluating data in environmental science and sustainability and making ethically informed decisions about them.

ENVS 402 - Sustainable Systems: Social Perspectives

The solutions to environmental problems require understanding social and economic approaches to sustainable development. Explore the social science, debates, and practical examples behind the application of environmental sustainability goals. Learn the tools used in evaluating and implementing development strategies that are sustainable.


Work with your advisor to choose from our many courses to best advance your individual interests. Choose from our robust set of courses in environmental science and sustainability, including at least two from more than 45 courses we offer in environmental science and quantitative methods. You will also be able to choose from more than 20 of the courses we offer in Sustainable Society and Business.


This program is rolling admission.

  • Bachelor’s degree from an accredited four-year college or university
  • Undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0
  • At least one letter of recommendation (three preferred)
  • Statement of purpose (approx. 250-500 words)
  • For non-native speakers who have not earned a degree in an English-speaking institution: TOEFL/IELTS – 213 computer, 550 written, 79-80 iBT, 6.5 IELTS, PTE 53.

Tuition and Financial Assistance

There are a limited number of graduate assistantships, scholarships and relevant work opportunities available. Applications must be complete by January 15 to be considered for these opportunities.


What types of students are successful in this program?

The MSESS is designed to support students of all backgrounds. No matter what your undergraduate degree was or when you graduated, SES graduate students are encouraged to enhance their understanding of the growing world of sustainability. The admissions requirements reflect our goal to attract students from a variety of educational and professional backgrounds. The complete application helps the selection committee understand the whole student.

The Professional Track is designed to jumpstart your career in the many fields of sustainability. Students are able to mold the program to suit their schedules, interests and professional goals. Professional track students are not required to complete additional work outside of the required 30 credit hours.

How do I apply to the program?

  • Please submit your application online here.
  • Materials needed for application: official transcripts from any undergraduate and graduate degree(s), minimum one letter of recommendation, and statement of purpose
  • An official TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE score report is required for international applicants whose native language is not English. For the TOEFL, a score of at least 79 is required. For the IELTS, a minimum score of 6.5 is required. For PTE, a minimum score of at least 53 is required. Copies and faxes are not accepted as official documents; we must receive test scores directly from the testing service.
    This requirement is waived for those who have completed a four-year U.S. bachelor's degree program and those who are citizens of or have completed a bachelor's degree at a recognized institution at which the language of instruction is English in these countries: Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, or New Zealand.

Is there an application fee?

No, there is no fee to apply.

What is the cost of the program?

Tuition is based on the number of credit hours you are taking each semester. In addition to Loyola University Chicago student fees, some courses may have lab fees. For the most recent tuition and fee schedule, see the Bursar’s website here.

Are there any scholarships, grants or work opportunities?

We have a limited number of graduate assistantships and relevant work opportunities available. Your application must be completed by April 1 to be considered for any awards or positions.

What are the admission requirements?

See our admission requirements for the Professional Track here.

What is the minimum GRE score for admission to the program?

The GRE is required only for applicants to the MSESS Research Track and will be used as part of the overall review of the candidate. We do not have a mandatory GRE score for admission.

What are the required courses?

Each student will complete ENVS 401 and 402 and an additional 24 credit hours, regardless of track chosen. For more information about additional course work for this track, see here.

If I decide to apply and complete my file early, will this increase my chances of admission?

The same standards and criteria are used to evaluate all applicants, whether the application is completed early or not. We use a rolling admissions policy and will make admissions decisions for each student as soon as the application is completed.

How can I check the status of my application?

Once you submit an application, you can check the status of your application online. You should monitor the status of your application to ensure Loyola University has received all required application materials. All admission decisions will be sent by email.

Do you grant deferrals on offers of admission?

Deferrals will only be granted on a case-by-case basis. Candidates need to submit a formal request. There is also a financial deposit associated with deferment. Teach for America participants and those called for active military duty automatically receive a deferment upon request.