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How to Apply

Welcome! On this page, you will find all the information you need to apply for the Graduate Program in Environmental Sciences at Rutgers NEW BRUNSWICK. Note that a separate program in Earth and Environmental Sciences is available on Rutgers' Newark campus. If you have any questions or just want to discuss the program, contact Professor Lisa Rodenburg at

What kind of background should applicants to the Graduate Program in Environmental Sciences have?

This is a hard science program, so we want incoming graduate students to have taken calculus, chemistry, and physics or related science. If you have not taken those courses, we suggest that you take them as a non-matriculated student at Rutgers or elsewhere (such as a NJ community college) before applying. The graduate program director can help you choose the appropriate math and science classes to take, and can evaluate your transcript before you apply to determine if this program is right for you.

What areas of study are included in the Graduate Program in Environmental Sciences?

The Environmental Sciences Graduate Program covers a broad range of environmental issues, including Soil Science, Environmental Chemistry and Microbiology, Environmental Engineering, Climate Change, Sustainability, and Exposure Science, among many other topics. See here for the curriculum and a list of focus areas within the graduate program.

When should I apply?

We only have one round of applications each year for fall admission. Applications for fall admission are evaluated from September-October until approximately May 15. However, if you want to be considered for financial aid, you need to apply before the deadline of December 15.

How do I apply?

When you are ready, apply for the Graduate Program in Environmental Sciences here. Make sure you select the Environmental Sciences program in New Brunswick!

Applications must include your transcript(s), the name of three referees that agreed to submit letters of recommendation to support your application, your resume or CV, and a personal statement. Your personal statement should describe your background and any relevant experience (such as research or internships that you have performed). It should also describe what area(s) of Environmental Science you want to study and name some specific professors in our program that you would like to work with. Also, your personal statement should address the following areas:

  • Academic preparedness
  • Research experience
  • Commitment to graduate school
  • Leadership
  • Commitment to diversity
  • Resilience and adaptability

Do I have to take the GRE?

No. The Graduate Program in Environmental Sciences no longer requires the GRE for admission.

Do I have to take the TOEFL or IELTS?

If you earned a degree from an English-speaking school, you do not need to take the TOEFL or IELTS, but international students should explain this in their personal statement. Otherwise, international students from non-English speaking countries are required to take the TOEFL or IELTS.

Should I contact professors before I apply? Do I need to have a research advisor before I apply?

It is not necessary to have an advisor, but you will have to indicate two or three professors as potential advisors on your application, so it is a good idea to correspond with them before applying.

What If I'm not sure whether I want to get an MS or a PhD?

This is an important decision that can affect your eligibility for funding. Contact the graduate program director to discuss. Note that you can earn a PhD without first earning an MS, although many students choose to earn both degrees. Also, MS students can switch to the PhD program with support from their advisor.

Does the program provide funding for graduate students?

Funding for graduate students in the Graduate Program in Environmental Sciences is unfortunately extremely limited. Typically, only PhD students receive financial support, and we will not admit PhD students to the program unless we have funding to support them. Unfortunately, this means that each year, we have many wonderful applicants that we cannot admit due to lack of funds. If we don't have funds, we may offer to admit you the MS program without funding instead of admitting you the PhD program.

What kind of funding is available for graduate students?

Graduate students can receive funding via fellowships, teaching assistantships, and research grants. Rutgers has a limited number of highly competitive fellowships. Completing your application by December 15th will ensure that you will be considered for these. Teaching assistantships are generally reserved for students who are nearing graduation. Research grants are usually awarded to faculty members, which is why it is a good idea to correspond with your target advisors before applying to the program. Once you enroll in the program, we encourage you to apply for funding with help from Rutgers GradFund.