5-Year Program (BA or BS) for Yale Undergraduates

Joint degrees with Yale College or Yale NUS

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    Program Overview

    The School of the Environment (YSE) offers joint degree, five-year options that culminate in a Baccalaureate and Master’s degree intended for students who want to pursue careers in an environmental field. The joint degree option is available to all undergraduates in Yale College and environmental studies majors at Yale NUS College. The program provides well-prepared students with accelerated graduate training in environmental science, management, and policy. Eligible students may apply for either a Master of Environmental Management (MEM) or Master of Environmental Science (MESc) degree. The program is built on careful integration of a student’s undergraduate curriculum with graduate requirements. Graduates have become highly successful leaders within governments, corporations, non-profit organizations, and academia.

    Yale students interested in the five-year joint degree program should apply to the YSE program at the end of the fall semester of their senior year, or in the two years immediately following graduation. Applicants interested in applying to the MESc should make an appointment to talk to the YSE Office of Admissions at admissions.yse@yale.edu prior to applying.

    Preparation for the Five-Year Program

    YSE welcomes individuals from a variety of undergraduate backgrounds including the biological and physical sciences, engineering, social sciences, mathematics, humanities, or interdisciplinary programs. For Yale NUS students, however, the program is currently available only to environmental studies majors. To best prepare, it is highly recommended that applicants complete undergraduate course work is the following areas:

    • Ecological Patterns and Processes: One course (General Ecology, Biodiversity Science, Population or Community Ecology, Ecosystem Science or Ecosystems Ecology)
    • Physical sciences: One course (Earth science course covering geosphere, atmosphere, and hydrosphere, or 2 out of the 4 following: hydrology, soil science, environmental chemistry, and climate science
    • Social sciences: Two courses (Environmental Governance, Environmental Anthropology, Environmental History, Environmental Justice, Environmental Sociology, Human Geography, Political Ecology, Religion and Ecology)
    • Microeconomics: (A course in Principles of Microeconomics within the last 5 years or an undergraduate major in an Economics field)
    • AP courses taken in high school do not apply;
    • Non-Yale College/Yale-NUS courses may be approved by the Admissions Committee.

    Program and Course Requirements

    Master of Environmental Management (MEM)

    1 - 2 year gap year with confirmation of conducting an internship experience.

    Many of the requirements for students seeking a MEM-5 graduate degree are the same as those for all MEM students. These include

    • Attendance at the  two-week Summer Training Modules (MODS);
    • Enrollment in the fall “Perspectives” course for all first-year MEM students;
    • Satisfying the requirements of all Foundational Knowledge courses to ensure interdisciplinary; conversancy
    • An approved capstone course or project in either semester, preferably in the spring

    The two curricular differences are

    • The specialization requirement can be met by taking only the two core requirements of an established specialization or an approved self-designed specialization. While the two core courses meet the specialization requirement, receiving recognition of a specialization on a transcript requires satisfying all of its 18 credit requirements.
    • Completion of two professional skills modules rather than four.

    Master of Environmental Science (MESc)

    1 - 2 year gap year with confirmation of conducting a research experience.

    The MESc degree is designed for students interested in conducting scientific research that contributes to basic and applied knowledge. This degree is intended to provide students with a deeper disciplinary focus than the MEM. Training is provided through key courses in combination with extended research. All students pursuing a MESc degree must have an advisor in place before applying to the five-year joint degree program. The YSE faculty advisor must provide a letter as part of the student’s application stating their agreement to become the prospective student’s YSE advisor. The specific plan to meet the requirements of the MESc are to be worked out with a student’s advisor.

    Gap Year Recommendation

    Students in the five-year MEM program are encouraged to take a gap year, or a year away from academia, between completing their undergraduate degree and beginning study at YSE. Students use this year in a diversity of ways; some find a single job or fellowship in an environmental field for the year, while others combine multiple internships or research opportunities to occupy their year. Gap year plans must be communicated to the YSE Admissions Office.