Biological Sciences Graduate Programs

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There are two different paths (Thesis Option and Alternate Plan Paper Option) to a M.S. Degree in Environmental Science. The Master's thesis option is strongly encouraged for students planning to continue on for a Ph.D.

  • Thesis Plan Option - 30 graduate-level credits required
  • Alternate Plan Paper Option - 34 graduate-level credits required

REQUIRED CORE (13 credits)

  • ENVR 540 Environmental Regulations (3 credits)
  • ENVR 550 Environmental Pollution and Control (3 credits)
  • ENVR 560 Analysis of Pollutants (4 credits)
  • ENVR 570 Environmental Assessment (3 credits)

Choose TWO courses from the following:

  • GEOG 681 Environmental Issues
  • GEOG 673 GIS for Planners
  • POL 669 Public Policy Analysis
  • POL 670 Urban Law
  • URSI 604 Zoning and Legal Issues
  • URSI 609 Applied Urban Analysis
  • URSI 661 Long-Range and Strategic Planning
  • URSI 662 Operational Planning


  • ENVR 699 Thesis (3-6 credits)
  •      OR
  • ENVR 694 APP (1-2 credits)

Remaining 600 level courses are selected from other programs across campus in consultation with your academic advisor.


In addition to meeting the general requirements of the College of Graduate Studies and Research, students must have completed the following course work with a minimum grade of C: One year of Chemistry, General Ecology, College Algebra, and Plant Science or Animal Diversity. GRE is not required.

A completed application for the Environmental Science MS program also must include a letter describing your interest in the graduate program. This letter should explicitly identify your career goals, your research interests, and identify the faculty member(s) with whom you are most interested in pursuing a thesis research project.

International students from a country where English is not the primary language must submit an official internet-based TOEFL (iBT) score with minimum scores of:

  • 26 in the speaking component, and
  • 24 in the writing component, 
  • 22 in the reading component,
  • 22 in the listening component

Similar scores from an equivalent English-language competency exam can also be considered


Environmental Science is a Program in the Department of Biological Sciences. Graduate assistantships are available through the Department of Biological Sciences.


The Environmental Science Program is interdisciplinary.  An examining committee is required for both the Thesis and Alternate Plan Paper options. A minimum of 3 graduate faculty from MNSU-Mankato are required on the examining committee. In addition, we encourage but do not require;that professional from outside MNSU (industry, agencies) serve on the examining committee.

The chairperson must have Regular or Research Graduate Faculty status from one of the following departments at MNSU-Mankato: Biological Sciences, Chemistry & Geology, Civil Engineering or Geography .

Two members of the examining committee must be graduate faculty (Research, Regular, or Associate status) in the Department of Biological Sciences at MNSU-Mankato.  One member of the examining committee must be graduate faculty from outside the Department of Biological Sciences Faculty. This member has traditionally been from one of the following Departments: Chemistry & Geology, Statistics, Geography, Political Science or Urban and Regional Studies.


  • Input and Export of Phosphorus and Nitrogen Nutrients: High Island Lake, Sibley County, Minnesota.
  • Effects of Various Environmental Factors on Growth of Native and Transplanted Sago Pondweed in the Heron Lake System, MN
  • Assessing Water Quality in Minneopa Creek Using Macroinvertebrate Community Data
  • Standardization of a Wetland Seed Bank Assay and Its Application on Prairie Pothole Wetlands at the Wilder Farm Project, Wilder, MN
  • A Comparison of Sediment and Phosphorus Losses from Rock Inlets and Open Tile Inlets in the Lower Minnesota River Basin
  • The Quantification of Two Techniques for Introducing Macrophytes into Sleepy Eye Lake, MN
  • Relative Contribution of Nonpoint Source Pollutants from Urban and Agricultural Areas Implications on Implementation of Best Management Practices
  • Evaluating and Optimization of the Minnesota State University, Mankato: Department of Chemistry and Geology Laboratory Exhaust Hoods.
  • The Importance of Integrating Environmental Education into the School Curriculum
  • The Phosphorus Removal Efficiency of a Rotating Biological Contractor Treatment Plant in the City of Lake Crystal, Minnesota


  • The Effects of the SWANCC Decision on Prairie Pothole Wetlands
  • A Review and Evaluation of Section 319 of the Clean Water Act: Reducing Nonpoint Source (NPS) Pollution
  • IMTT-LEMONT Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasures Plan
  • Development and Implementation of a Regional Very Small Quality Generators Program

Application Information