Photo by Angela Benito

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Frequently Asked Questions 

Program Questions

  • What types of careers can this degree lead to?
  • The EPM degree can lead to many types of careers. The program focuses on helping students gain skills that will work well in public environmental institutions, such as the Department of Fish and Wildlife or the California Air Resources Board. It can also lead to careers in NGO's or the private sector. One benefit of the EPM program is its proximity to Sacramento. As the state capitol, Sacramento is the home to many federal, state, and local environmental agencies as well as many environmental lobbying firms.
  • How will this program help me become a competitive job applicant?
  • Multiple courses in the program will build general technical writing skills. More specifically our EPM environmental law course will be integral to the program and will cover sources of the law, how to understand case law, and other core concepts necessary to understand how environmental laws fit in the American legal system. This course will be taught by an active environmental lawyer for the State of California, who is also an experienced lecturer. There are also opportunities to tailor the practicum experience to cover a particular topic of interest. Finally, we will also host a series of short course opportunities- these will be student-driven and could certainly feature more focus on the topic.
  • What agencies, NGOs or consulting firms have expressed interest in working with the program and EPM students on the practicum project?
  • You can see a list of formal EPM Practicum agreements here. We are constantly working on establishing more agreements with local organizations. However, there are many different organizations that you can partner with for your Practicum. You can learn more here.
  • What elective courses are open to EPM students from other departments and colleges? Would we be given priority during registration for these courses?
  • There are large numbers of graduate courses in ecology, conservation, and restoration, reflecting the large group of faculty and graduate students working in those areas. There is wide latitude for our students to enroll in courses in departments across campus (assuming you have the necessary background/prerequisites). At the graduate level, there is typically space for every interested student to enroll in a course (i.e. there is no need for priority registration). You can view a list of potential electives here.
  • How are environmental problem topics chosen for the policy clinic group project? Do students get to choose their topic or are they assigned?
  • Student preference will be an important factor, as will the expertise of the faculty lead and the timeliness of emerging suitable policy problems at partnering agencies. The way we envision this is to identify current problems that we feel we have the expertise to tackle and then engage faculty and students in a discussion of which to tackle, then make a joint choice. 
  • Is the EPM program also offered as a PhD (or just an MS)?
  • Just an MS.

Application and Admissions Questions

  • Can I apply if my undergraduate GPA is under 3.0?
  • The UC requires an undergraduate GPA of 3.0. This is a university requirement and is not program-specific. Exceptions to this rule can be made on a case-by-case basis. Students with GPAs of below 3.0 can still apply but would be less competitive applicants.
  • Do you require the GRE? 
  • No, we no longer require the GRE to apply to our program. 
  • Can I submit additional supporting materials to be reviewed by the admissions committee? 
  • No. The admissions committee will only review supporting materials that are required. No additional materials (such as GRE or an extra letter of recommendation) will be reviewed. 
  • What is the difference between the priority application deadline and the final deadline? 
  • Applicants who submit their application by the priority deadline (January 5th) will receive priority review for admission as well as fellowship awards. Applicants who submit their application by the final deadline (April 15th) will have their applications reviewed on a space-available basis. 
  • Can I apply if I am missing one of the prerequisite requirements?
  • Yes. In your application, please address any deficiency and either (1) your plan to complete the requirement(s), or (2) why you believe alternative experience addresses the same requirement.
  • Do you offer waivers for the TOEFL or IELTS exam?
  • International applicants must submit official TOEFL or IELTS examination scores unless they have earned or will be earning a bachelor's, master's or doctoral degree from either 1) A regionally accredited U.S. college or university where English is the sole language of instruction or 2) A foreign college or university which provides instruction solely in English. UC Davis Graduate Studies will only approve waivers for foreign colleges and universities which list English as the sole language of instruction in the IAU World Higher Education Database (WHED). If English is not the sole language of instruction listed (or if no language is listed at all), the waiver does not apply. No other documentation (e.g. letters, language certificates, school websites) will be reviewed or accepted.
  • Do you offer application fee waivers? 
  • Graduate Studies offers application fee waivers only to students who have participated or are affiliated with one or more of the graduate preparation programs that are listed here.

    If you are not eligible for a fee waiver through the Office of Graduate Studies, you may qualify to receive a Fee Fellowship from the EPM program. See eligibility requirements and the application here.
  • Does the EPM program require a student to seek out a faculty member who would agree to take the student as a mentee, based on their research interest?
  • Unlike research-oriented graduate programs, a faculty sponsor is not an element of applying to the EPM program. Admission decisions are made by the Admissions Committee and are not determined by a faculty member's interest in working with that student.
  • Do I need to list every college or university I have attended on my application?
  • Yes, you must list every college-level institution you have attended in the online application. 
  • How do I submit my official transcripts?
  • If you are admitted to the program, you will receive instructions from Graduate Studies on how to properly submit your official transcripts. Please wait until you receive these instructions to send in your transcripts. Do not send any official transcripts directly to the Institute of the Environment.
  • How long after the application deadline do I have to submit all of my supporting materials (test scores, letters of recommendation, etc.)?
  • We ask that each applicant provide their supporting materials within 1 week after the application deadline. 
  • How long after the application deadline will I know my admissions decision? 
  • We try to review applications as quickly as possible. Applications received by January 5th will be reviewed and decisions sent out by mid-late February. Applications received by April 15th will be reviewed and decisions sent out mid-late May. If you have less than a 3.0 GPA, it generally will take longer to receive your admissions decision notification because of the extra review that is required for your application.
  • When is the last day to submit my Statement of Intent to Register (SIR) ?
  • We ask that admitted students from the January 5th application deadline respond to our offer of admission no later than April 15th. Admitted students from the April 15th deadline should respond no later than June 1st. Failure to respond by the applicable deadline will be interpreted as a declination of our offer.

Admitted Student Questions

  • What is the cost of attendance?
  • You can find the cost of attendance here.  You can find a list of tuition and fees here.
  • Does your program offer financial support?
  • We award partial fellowships to select subset of competitive students.
  • I've been admitted into the program and am interested in visiting campus. How do I do that? 
  • EPM hosts an Open House for admitted students each year around March or April. Further details will be sent out to admitted students via email. You can also take a virtual campus tour here.
  • Are there teaching assistant (TA) positions available?
  • There are many TA positions available around campus although they are competitive. Applications for the Environmental Science & Policy department are usually due around mid-April. You can see more information here.
  • What other ways can I fund my graduate degree?
  • You can see more information about funding at UC Davis here.
  • Can this program be done part-time?
  • Part-time status is available on a case-by-case basis, if you meet the requirements. Documented reasons for part-time status are employment at 30+ hours per week, physical or mental health condition, accommodation for disability or primary care responsibilities. You can see more information here.  

    However, part of your schedule can include internship experience with a position relevant to EPM. We also offer an accelerated one-year track that would minimize the time required away from a full-time job. 
  • Is it possible to complete the MS in Environmental Policy & Management concurrently with another masters program?
  • Yes, it is possible to work on two masters degrees concurrently. You may share up to 12 units from one UC Davis program with another, provided the student has the approval of their graduate advisor and the Dean of Graduate Studies. You can see more information about double majoring on the Grad Studies website. While students are welcome to inquire year-round, for full considerations applications should be received by April 15th for the following fall. Please contact the EPM Graduate Coordinator for details on how to apply. (Note that if you are a professional student or on Filing Fee status additional steps may apply.)
  • I am an international student and I have questions regarding my student visa. Who should I contact?
  • For any visa related questions, international students should contact Services for International Students and Scholars.
  • Is the EPM program eligible for a STEM Optional Practical Training (OPT) extension that is available for international students?
  • Yes, our program is considered a STEM program for qualifying students to apply for an OPT extension
  • Can international students obtain off-campus paid internships?
  • The answer largely depends on which type of visa the student has. If a student has an F-1 type visa, the student can participate in Curricular Practical Training (CPT) as long as the training relates to the student's major area of study. Curricular Practical Training is defined training that is an integral part of an established curriculum and relates directly to the student's area of study. The student must already have an offer of employment before having CPT authorized by the school's Designated School Official (DSO). CPT authorization takes 5-7 days to complete. We recommend that you consult with the UC Davis Services for International Students and Scholars. Additional information is also available from the Department of Homeland Security's website Study in the States.
  • If I decide to utilize PELP for a quarter, would I still get my full stipend?
  • If a student is awarded a stipend, the stipend award is based on full-time enrollment. In an academic year if a student is enrolled full-time in only 2 of 3 quarters, then they will receive 2/3 of the annual stipend.
  • How many units of graded coursework do I need to take per quarter? 
  • All students must enroll full-time in 12 units per quarter. Of those 12 units, at least 6 of them should be taken for a letter grade.