Course Requirements

Course Requirements

Approved May 26, 2009

All graduate students must take at least one course in each of the following areas; Ph.D. students must fulfill this requirement before taking the qualifying exam.

  1. Environmental Physics:
    16-375:523 Environmental Fate and Transport
    16-107:532 Atmospheric Physics
    16-375:555 Soil Physics
  2. Biological Systems:
    16-375:510 Environmental Microbiology
    16-375:519 Wetland Ecology
    16-375:573 Soil Ecology
  3. Environmental Chemistry:
    16-375:517 Applications of Aquatic Chemistry
    16-375:522 Environmental Organic Chemistry
    16-375:540 Atmospheric Chemistry
  4. Management and Policy*:
    16-375:530 Hazardous Waste Management
    16-375:535 Environmental Law and Policy
      Legal Aspects of Environmental Planning
      (34:970:523) offered by Dr. Andrew R. Davis at
      the Urban Planning & Policy Development Program
      can be used as an approved alternate.
     ENOH-0656-001 Risk Assessment
     * Area D is currently under revision

Additionally, all M.S. students must take at least 1 credit of seminar, and all Ph.D. students must take at least two 1-credit seminars.

  • 16:375:613 Seminar in Environmental Science (1)
  • 16:375:612 Seminar in Environmental Science (1), or
    16:375:671 Seminar in Meteorology (1)

The above seminar requirements apply to students who enter the program after June 1, 2002. They do not apply to students (including those admitted to the program later than this date) who have completed the previous core, which consisted of 16-375:513 and 16-375:514, Fundamental Concepts of Environmental Science I and II, plus seminar. Students who have completed only 513 or 514 (but not both) must take the new core, but may use the one course they completed as a "wildcard" to fulfill any one of the four areas. Also, with advisor approval, a student may petition the Curriculum Committee for permission to substitute another course (including one taken elsewhere) for one of those listed within an area.

Core Course Substitution Guidelines

October 5, 2009

GPES students may petition the Curriculum Committee to request a core course substitution if a graduate course that is similar to one of the core courses was taken at another university. Students who took one of the core courses at the 400-level as a Rutgers University undergraduate may count that course as fulfilling the core requirement, however, the credits for such a course cannot count toward the graduate degree. In general, Rutgers graduate courses outside the GPES curriculum cannot be substituted for core courses; however, the Curriculum Committee may accept such proposed substitutions if requested in advance (i.e. prior to taking the course). Core course substitution requests submitted after a course has been completed will usually not be considered.

Complete a core course substitution request form (156k PDF) and send it along with the syllabus for the proposed course and any other relevant information to the chair of the Curriculum Committee

Option Requirements

Each student must also complete the requirements of one of the program options

Courses Outside the Selected Option

Students are encouraged to take courses not listed in their chosen Curriculum Option when these are considered desirable for their research or academic development. All course selections should be discussed with the student's faculty advisor. A minimum of 15 credits must be taken within the Environmental Sciences (375) curriculum. A maximum of 3 credits of Advanced Special Problems (16-375:625 and 626) or equivalent may be counted towards an M.S. degree. For Ph.D. students, the maximum is 6 credits.

Undergraduate Courses

In many cases 300 or 400 level undergraduate courses are appropriate and accepted for credit (G prefix) toward a graduate degree with advisor approval; however, the number of undergraduate credits associated with the degree must not exceed 12.

Transfer of Credit From Other Institutions

After completing 12 credits within the Program, students may petition to transfer up to 12 course credits towards an M.S. degree or up to 18-24 course credits (a maximum of half) towards a Ph.D. from graduate work completed at other institutions.


Students must maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0 for all coursework taken at Rutgers toward a graduate degree. No more than one course with a grade of C or C+ may be counted toward the degree.

Other Requirements

A minimum of 24 course credits, 6 research credits, a thesis, and a comprehensive oral examination with defense of the thesis are required for an M.S. degree (Plan A).   Alternatively (Plan B), an M.S. student may complete 30 course credits, and expository essay, and a comprehensive oral exam. For a Ph.D. (for students entering in or after January 2000, or prior admitted students who select to switch to the new requirements), students must complete at least 36 course credits (not including Special Topics/Independent Study) and 24 research credits. 12 additional credits must also be taken in either course credits or research credits (minimum 72 total). A written and oral qualifying exam must be passed before admission to candidacy, and completion and successful public defense of a thesis (dissertation) is also required.  For a Ph.D. (for students entering prior to January 2000, who elect not to switch to the new requirements), students must complete at least 48 course credits and 24 research credits (minimum 72 total). A written and oral qualifying exam must be passed before admission to candidacy, and completion and successful public defense of a thesis (dissertation) is also required. [Note: advisors cannot exempt students from any requirements; such a recommendation must be approved in writing by the Curriculum Committee for program requirements, or by the individual option coordinator for option requirements. The Graduate School has additional requirements, which may be found in the Catalog.]