Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Gregory Urquiaga/ UC Davis © Regents of the University of California, Davis campus. All rights reserved.

Frequently Asked 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?
  • Because the particular institution will depend on student's interest and there are a large number of potential institutions, we have not set up formal agreements with them. Once a student's interest is identified, they can connect with a faculty advisor with the appropriate contacts, for example to discuss a potential internship. Faculty in our program have extensive ties to institutions in the area. A sampling includes: 
  • 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). 
  • 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 timely 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.
  • 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.
  • Can I apply if I am missing one of the basic 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.
  • 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.
  • What type of applicants are you looking for?
  • EPM students will be diverse in experience (length, type, etc). We are particularly interested in students with at least a couple of years of professional work experience- this facilitates richer learning from fellow students, in addition to what they learn in the program. Undergraduate students with no work experience will still be considered but will need to be particularly strong in other areas such as GPA, GRE, and undergraduate research to be competitive.
  • 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.
  • Are there teaching assistant (TA) positions available?
  • There are many TA positions available around campus although they are competitive. Please contact individual departments to find out about possible TA positions. Applications for the Environmental Science & Policy department are usually due around mid-April. 
  • Can this program be done part-time?
  • Part-time status is not available in the EPM program. 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 adviser and the Dean of Graduate Studies. You can see more information about double majoring on the Grad Studies website. Applications for double majoring are accepted year-round. 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. 
  • 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.