Master of Science in Environmental Science & Sustainability: Research Track
Climate change heightens social injustices, and global economies drive climate change. Solutions to today’s complex environmental challenges are informed by the sciences, and implemented in the socio-economic-political arena. Lasting solutions require diverse interdisciplinary understanding. At IES, we proudly take a whole-systems approach to our greatest environmental and sustainability challenges. As one of our Research Track graduate students you will have the opportunity to work with our diverse, interdisciplinary faculty in a range of critically important areas. Conduct an original research project with an expert and explore the scientific, social, political and business impacts on the changing environment with your fellow classmates through our diverse core and elective courses.
By the numbers
Major areas of research expertise among the full-time IES faculty and staff
Credit hours devoted to planning and conducting your original thesis research
Elective courses providing a solid foundation for your thesis research
- 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 an original research project and thesis.
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 thesis 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.
- You may even be able to complete one of the four-course online Graduate Certificates to further enhance your expertise and MS in Environmental Science & Sustainability credentials.
- Devote 12 credit hours to designing and conducting your research thesis work under the guidance of your thesis advisor and thesis committee.
This program is rolling admission.
- Bachelor’s degree from an accredited four-year college or university
- Undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0
- GRE results
- At least one letter of recommendation (three preferred)
- Statement of research interests identifying a thesis advisor (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.
Associate Professor, PhD, Environmental Toxicology
"Understanding how contaminants affect the natural ecosystem will help to develop better management guidelines to reduce the negative impact of these contaminants on the environment."
Associate Professor, PhD, Ecology
“As ecologists, we’re really interested in biodiversity and trying to conserve it. But getting people to listen to what you’re saying means coming up with something that’s socially relevant that you can get policymakers and managers interested in. You’ve got to go beyond ecology.”
Professor, PhD, Applied and Environmental Statistics
“I love working with ecologists and policy experts to implement ways to turn their GIS or data into commonsense understanding. At IES, we use sophisticated computer algorithms and programs to separate the ‘signal’ from the ‘noise’ to uncover associations and detect causality – all with an eye to safeguard our precious resources.”
Do I need to have completed a particular type of undergraduate degree or taken particular coursework to be admitted into the IES Master’s program?
Applicants who have completed any type of undergraduate degree, regardless of specialty, will be considered for admission into the IES Master’s program. Students who are admitted to the MSESS Research Track will work with their Graduate Faculty Advisor to determine if there are any courses they need to take before starting the program to prepare them for their particular research topic and study plan. Students admitted to the Professional Track will work with the Graduate Program Director to set a course of study. It is recommended that you select and choose courses and a program that are both challenging and of interest to you.
How do I apply to the program?
Please submit your application online here.
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 Research 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.
Research Expertise and Facilities
Students will conduct original research with one of IES’ interdisciplinary-focused faculty in areas such as:
- Applied plant biology
- Sustainable business management
- Restoration ecology
- Environmental economics
- Algal ecology
- Climate science
- Environmental statistics
- Public involvement in environmental management
- Invasive species ecology
- Wetland ecology
- Environmental history
- Natural resource economics and policy