Application FAQs

Application FAQs

As the admissions recruiter, I get asked the same types of questions all the time. And after almost two months on the road and countless emails later, it’s time for a FAQ blog post. In no particular order:

  1. Should I reach out to faculty?

YES! Regardless of what degree program you’re applying for, I think it’s always a great idea to talk to faculty. For one, faculty members are accessible and responsive (mostly!). Two, it’s a good way to introduce yourself to your potential adviser and get a feel for that relationship. And three, faculty sometimes take a leave of absence or go on sabbatical; so if you have your heart set on working with a particular faculty member, this would be the way to find out if they’ll be around.  And if you don’t hear back, don’t be too upset if you don’t hear back — they are world-renowned faculty involved in multiple things, after all!

  1. Do I have to choose a specialization?

As an MEM student, you’ll be asked to choose a specialization (‘General Primary Area of Interest’ on the form) on your application. You are not bound by this but rather should think of it as a ‘roadmap’ for what classes you can take that would fall under your interest. If you take a certain number of classes that fall under this specialization, you have the option of having the specialization appear on your transcript. But mostly, students just use it as a guideline for what classes to take.

  1. Can I wait to turn in my financial aid application until I find out about admission?

No. There is only one financial aid deadline of February 15, 2016. You will most likely be applying for financial aid before you know whether you’ve been accepted. Do it anyway!

  1. What are the minimum GRE/GPA scores?

There are no minimum scores. The average GPA is 3.6. The average verbal GRE score is 160, the average quantitative score is 158, and the average writing score is 4.5. For GRE scores, we would like to for people to be within 5-8 points of the average but, again, there are no hard minimums.

  1. Is professional experience a requirement for admissions?

Although not a requirement, professional experience is highly valued at F&ES. Students with professional experience are bringing with them their networks, perspectives, and knowledge of real-world issues and can contribute this to the rest of the student body. We also find that professional experience helps students gain a sense of focus in terms of what they want to get out of the Master’s program. Professional experience does not mean paid! It can be an unpaid internship or volunteer experience – as long as it’s something you did outside of the classroom that shows your demonstrated interest and dedication to the environment. This is not to discourage applicants straight from undergrad – we certainly accept some every year – but more to let you know what we’re looking for and why. If you’re applying right out of undergrad, professional experience could mean that you had some exceptional internships the summers or anything else that demonstrates leadership, passion for the environment and skill development outside of the classroom.

  1. Are there required undergraduate courses I need?

There are highly recommended courses (look here: Although not required, this is a competitive factor of an application.

  1. What kinds of jobs can I expect?

The Career Development Office keeps track of employment data for the previous 5 years of graduates. Along with publishing data on the sectors graduates move on to, there is also information on salaries. And importantly, the specific companies that graduates go on to work for are listed as well. This is a great place to make connections either for when you graduate and need a job or for that summer internship requirement you have to fulfill. Take a look here:

  1. Are summer internships funded?

There are a variety of sources available to fund summer internships/research including funding from research centers & programs, professors’ funds, and the Career Development Office. Take a look here for some of the available sources:

  1. Can international students receive scholarships/funding?

Yes — if you have demonstrated need and fill out the required forms, you will be considered for scholarship.  In terms of providing scholarships, the F&ES Admissions Office does not distinguish between domestic and international students. Contact Alex Muro (, the Director of Financial Aid, for more information.

10.  Are joint degree applications reviewed together?

No, all the graduate schools are separate and the admissions processes are as well. Admissions decisions are not contingent on each other.

And the most popular question is ‘what are you looking for?’ and to this I say: Showing a demonstrated interest & passion to the environment is extremely important in the personal statement – connect the dots of what you’ve been doing, how it’s led you to this point, and how coming to F&ES will help in your professional development and career trajectory.  It’s important to note why you’re a good fit for F&ES and similarly why F&ES is good fit for you.

As always, feel free to reach out to me with any other questions you may have at Good luck with your applications!