Program FAQs

Do I need to have a science background to be considered for the program?
At the very least, students should also have taken chemistry and biology taught at the AP high school level. The summer term involves science classes including Climatology, Hydrology, Environmental Chemistry, Environmental Toxicology, as well as Ecology and Biodiversity, therefore a basic understanding of chemistry and biology are necessary.

Do all students have an environmental science background?
The students accepted in the MPA ESP program come from diverse backgrounds. Approximately half of our students come from social science backgrounds and half come from hard science backgrounds. Candidates have a wide variety of professional experience before enrolling in the program.

What is the average age of students?
The average age of the 2014-15 class is 26.

Are alumni making an impact after graduation?
Yes. By 2015, the program will graduate its 700th alum, making for a network of leading professionals, who are making unique contributions to business, government, and civil society. About a third of our alumni work in each of these sectors. Graduates are employed in large and small organizations throughout the world, holding positions as directors of government agencies and non-governmental organizations, sustainability managers, consultants, policy analysts, environmental protection specialists, teachers, and researchers. For more information about our alumni and their accomplishments, please visit the alumni page.

Do I have to do a thesis?
A 5-credit Workshop in Applied Earth Systems Policy Analysis and Management in the spring is the equivalent of a thesis for the degree. The spring workshop allows students to work as consultants for clients from the government and non-profit sectors. These teams, working under the supervision of faculty members, write a report analyzing an actual environmental policy or management problem faced by their clients. Past clients have included Transparency International, National Resource Defense Council, United Nations Division of Sustainable Development, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the New York City Economic Development Corporation. To learn more about the spring workshop course please visit our Workshop site.

What do I have to do to prepare for the program?
We advise those lacking an economics background and a basic understanding of chemistry, biology, and microeconomics to make up these deficiencies before entering the program. Proficiency in Excel will also be beneficial.

Does the program require an internship?
The intensive nature of the Environmental MPA Program requires a great deal of devotion and time and therefore an internship is not part of the requirement for the completion of the degree. Students are discouraged from having an internship in the summer and fall semesters so that they may fully engage in their studies. The 5-credit workshop in the spring allows students to obtain the same professional experience as an internship.

Do you provide campus housing?
On-campus housing is available for approximately 40% of incoming ESP students through the University Apartment Housing Office. All incoming students are given access to Off-Campus Housing Assistance (OCHA) to assist in searching for housing off campus. Many ESP students choose to live in International House, an independent residential community just a few minutes away from SIPA.