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Doctorate in Environmental Science

Founded in 1977, our program is one of the oldest programs in the nation. Our students are now lead scientists at EPA, professors and deans at major universities, industry and energy leaders, CEOs of environmental consulting firms, sustainability experts, tribal environmental program leaders, environmental educators, and leaders in a wide variety of municipal, state and federal agencies.


Our students are housed in one of many departments including Agricultural Economics, Economics, Leisure Studies, Plant and Soil Sciences, Natural Resources Ecology and Management, Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering, Geology, Geography, Political Science, Educational and School Psychology, School of Teaching and Curriculum Leadership, Sociology and Zoology. There are over 128 faculty affiliated with the ESGP at OSU and over 70 of these have served as faculty advisors.


Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) 60 hours beyond the MS degree.

ESGP offers a flexible curriculum which allows doctoral students to customize their program of study to their particular interests.  This is accomplished by selecting coursework to complement the student's research direction and career goals. The Doctor of Philosophy degree requires a minimum of 60 credit hours beyond the MS degree.  Students must also complete a program assessment form upon completion of degree, and return it to the program coordinator. The PhD curriculum includes 36-45 course work hours and 15-24 dissertation hours. The Plan of Study must be comprised of at least 75 percent of courses at the 5000 to 6000 level. 


Core curriculum requirements are:

  • ENVR 5123 Environmental Problem Analysis
  • ENVR 5303 Issues in Sustainability
  • Natural or Physical Science - 3 hours
  • Skills Component- 6 hours
  • Dissertation  - 15 to 24 hours
Environmental Scence Program


  • Advisory Committee

    The Advisory Committee will consist of at least two departments and least two different graduate faculty groups. Four faculty members are on the committee. The outside committee member is to represent the Dean of the Graduate College and must be a full member of the Graduate Faculty.

    The outside member may not be from the same department as the Chair. Students create their Plans of Study with the assistance of their advisor and committee. It must be completed prior to completion of their 28th credit hour. For more information about the Plan of Study, refer to the Graduate College.

  • Comprehensive Exams

    PhD students are required to take both written and oral exams for their comprehensive exams. The committee chair will be responsible for conducting the exams. Doctoral students must take the comprehensive exam after completing at least 30 hours but no more than 45 hours course credit and before enrolling in the last 10 hours of dissertation research. Exceptions may be granted only with approval of the student's committee chair and the ESGP Director. The presentation of the dissertation proposal is usually integrated with the oral portion of the comprehensive exam, although this is not a requirement. 

  • Dissertation
    Every doctoral student must complete a research-oriented dissertation. The ESGP program is an interdisciplinary program and thus the students’ research efforts are expected to address an environmental problem from multiple perspectives, which may include a social and/or economic perspective. Students will work closely with their committee members to develop a dissertation proposal; this is typically presented to the Advisory Committee in conjunction with the oral portion of the comprehensive exam.


Research and Faculty

The Environmental Science Graduate Program (ESGP) at Oklahoma State University prepares graduate students for careers as environmental scientists. Our interdisciplinary degree program attracts and produces students capable of thinking beyond a single discipline. We work with 30 different departments on campus so our students can choose from more than 200 courses to develop a plan of study which addresses their individual career goals.


Meet our Departmental Faculty



All students are required to have completed college-level courses that address the fundamentals and principles of chemistry, biology, and algebra prior to admission. Applicants must have achieved a grade of "B" or better in this curriculum in order to be eligible for admission into our program.  The recommended cumulative grade point average (GPA) for MS or PhD students is a minimum of 3.0 or higher.


To apply for the environmental science graduate degree program complete the following:

  • Submit an application for admission to the OSU Graduate College

  • Curriculum vitae or résumé. For PhD applicants, this should include the citation of the completed Master’s thesis.

  • A Goal Statement (1-2 pages) explaining how prior academic and professional experiences have prepared the applicant for graduate-level study and how the degree program will contribute to the applicant’s career aspirations and desired areas of competency.

  • Three letters of reference. These should be from individuals who know the student professionally, including academic advisors and former professors who can address applicant’s academic record and potential for successful graduate-level work.

An Agreement to Advise Statement from an OSU faculty member who will serve as the student’s advisor and Committee Chair; this can be in the form of an email from the advisor to A list of faculty with environmental science research interests is available under the "About Us" menu item. Applicants can be provisionally admitted with a temporary advisor, with the understanding that a permanent advisor must be identified to continue in the program.


Application Deadlines

Spring  - September 30th

Summer – January 30th

Fall – April 30th



Cost and Assistance 

Many students help finance graduate education through part-time, paid employment as a graduate assistant. As a graduate assistant, you can expand and apply your knowledge and skills under the supervision of faculty or staff.


Cost and Assistance

Assistantships and Funding Opportunities




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