Master of Environmental Sustainability (MES)

Transform environmental science into sustainable solutions

The Master of Environmental Sustainability (MES) is an accelerated one-year, 36 credit-hour degree program that will prepare you for a career dedicated to transforming environmental science and policy into solutions that promote sustainability practices in the public, private, or nonprofit sector. You’ll get management know-how and technical training that will prepare you to meet the growing demand for “green” jobs across the nation.

By starting the MES during the summer term, you can complete your degree in a single calendar year, concluding with an intensive course in May, during the subsequent summer term. If you finish the program in the summer term (May-July), you will be eligible to participate in the May commencement ceremony and will have your degree conferred at the end of the summer term. Completion of this degree also makes you eligible for STEM OPT extension.

Take the first step to get started

Fields marked with an asterisk (*) are required.

You are not required to complete the program in one year — you may take the degree more slowly if that is better for your schedule.

Over 60% of O’Neill master’s students receive funding.

Competitive funding packages are available to assist in making our top-ranked school affordable. Email us about funding your degree. 

Learn more

Application deadlines

Summer term: 

  • Priority deadline: January 15 
  • Final deadlines: May 1 
  • International: January 15 

A degree that's in demand

According to the World Economic Forum's Future of Jobs 2023 report, sustainability specialists are the #2 fastest growing job.

Apply for admission

Find out how to apply

Gain core competencies

The core curriculum of your MES program emphasizes management and critical thinking skills to develop and implement environmental sustainability solutions. The program starts with the core environmental management course and one elective during the summer term. Your core environmental project management course will be completed before the fall semester as an intensive, two-week, 3-credit course.

The MES Core:

  • Environmental Management
  • Environmental Project Management

Choose one of four concentrations

By choosing one of our four MES concentrations, you will turn your area of interest into an area of expertise. Each MES concentration will be composed of both fundamental science courses and applications courses.

This concentration will teach you how to be a forward thinker with skills in environmental protection including air, water, and waste management, and toxicology. You’ll develop the management and critical thinking skills necessary to remediate environmental threats posed by energy production and consumption, hazardous waste, and climate change before they can make a negative environmental impact. 

Our Municipal Sustainability concentration emphasizes actions that cities and towns can take to maximize sustainability at the nexus of energy, water, waste, sewage, housing, and food. Coursework will cover municipal management topics to ensure you know the challenges public agencies face and how to address them. This concentration will prepare you for careers in municipal sustainability, including water, waste, and power utilities operators, sustainability coordinators, and managers of parks, forests, and greenways. 

The MES Sustainable Water Resources concentration emphasizes the science behind water quality and availability to help you develop solutions for sustainable water management. In this concentration, you will have the opportunity to look at ecosystem aspects of water, such as sustainable management of fisheries, lakes, watersheds and wetlands, as well as developing skills in water quality and water resource management, applications of pollution prevention, and storm and wastewater management.

Recognizing our planet’s bounty while also respecting its limits, our concentration in Sustainable Natural Resource Conservation and Management will prepare you to better understand and manage natural resources and biodiversity. You’ll take courses that focus on a variety of ecosystems and how to manage them, including forest and wetland ecology and management, fisheries and wildlife management, and climate change impacts on natural resources.

See the official Indiana University Graduate Bulletin and work with your advisor as you make your schedule.

Get real-world experience during your Capstone

Capstone students work in groups on a complex problem, often for a real-world client. Some recent Capstones have included:

  • Assessing climate change impacts on natural resources
  • Evaluating and making recommendations for the National Water Quality Initiative
  • Creating a Holistic Sustainability Index for Indiana and the Hoosier Environmental Council

Learn more about the O’Neill Capstone