Graduate Programs

We offer two Master's degree programs: MS in Earth and Environmental Sciences and MS in Sustainability Science. Our programs emphasize a deeper understanding of environmental issues and sustainability that occur on regional, national and global levels. Students can choose either the thesis or the non-thesis options for an MS in Earth and Environmental Sciences. For the MS in Sustainability Science, students complete 6-credit hours of Sustainability Practicum.

Master of Science in Earth and Environmental Sciences – Thesis Options


Once you start digging into the earth and environmental sciences master’s program, you’ll find a concentration in archaeology. When you choose to follow this concentration, you’ll learn more about the relationship between human culture and the natural environment. Specifically, you’ll gain an understanding of the methods and principles of archaeological research from an interdisciplinary and scientific perspective. Plus, as an archaeology student, you’ll find opportunities to conduct research and take part in applied laboratory and field-based projects.

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Environmental Geology

Take your skills and knowledge of the environment to the next level with a master’s degree in environmental geology. This concentration focuses on the chemical, physical and biological aspects of environmental change both in the present and in the geologic past. With laboratory, research and internship opportunities, you’ll excel in the fast-growing field of earth and environmental sciences.

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Broaden your understanding of geospatial science with this master’s concentration. You’ll dive deeper in your study of digital mapping, GIS, remote sensing and GPS technology through laboratory, research and internship opportunities to apply geospatial technology while solving important environmental and societal problems.

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Watershed Science

Do you wish to learn more about the interdisciplinary approaches to watershed management? Through our partnership with the Watershed Studies Institute, you’ll have the opportunity to study and learn more about near-surface water resources and associated earth-surface processes. If you’re ready for a future in watershed management and science, this master’s program will prepare you for a career in the field or further graduate studies.

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Master of Science in Earth and Environmental Sciences – Non-thesis Option

Earth and Environmental Sciences

A master’s degree in earth and environmental sciences can take you in any number of directions. Understand the principles of the earth and the environment to take your career to the next level in this non-thesis graduate option.

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Master of Science in Sustainability Science

Increasing population, climate change and environmental pressures are forcing civilizations to reevaluate the way that they use earth resources. Many recent economic strategies propose sustainable approaches to human-environment interaction and resource extraction and use. The MS in Sustainability Science program provides students with an education that prepares them for a career in the Earth and Environmental Sciences with the concept of sustainability as a central component. Sustainability Science is an important field of study as it can lead to future opportunities in academic institutions, agricultural and conservation fields, and environmental industries.  Students in Biology, Chemistry, and School of Agriculture may also benefit from this program, especially if their research problems involve using earth materials.

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Geospatial Data Science Certificate (Graduate)

This graduate certificate is designed to complement interdisciplinary graduate and professional degree programs in data science to provide specialized courses that emphasize geospatial science and technology. This certificate program supports professionals working in the geospatial field and provides experience using industry and federal data standards and methodology for data acquisition/input, manipulation, analysis, modeling and output. It’ll also add value to traditional computer science and geography discipline areas, such as big data analytics, geographic information systems (GIS) and science, remote sensing and CyberGIS.

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Graduate Program Admission Requirements

Applicants must meet Murray State University admission requirements (refer to the graduate admissions webpage). The department also requires that three letters of recommendation and a written statement of the applicant’s interests be submitted with the application package to the Office of Graduate Admissions or to the graduate program coordinator. Additional requirements are as follows:


To qualify for unconditional admission, an applicant must meet the following:

  • An overall grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale in an earth and environmental science (or related) field


Students admitted conditionally are admitted to full standing after completing:

  • Any remedial courses required by graduate faculty
  • One semester of graduate work with an overall GPA of 3.0 or above.

Graduate Students

Graduate Theses

Faculty Contacts

Chair: Dr. Robin Zhang | and 270.809.6760

Graduate Program Coordinator: Dr. Bassil El Masri | and 270.809.3110

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