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Graduate Student Handbook

Master of Environmental Science
Graduate Student Handbook


Information for Prospective/Current Graduate Students for the Master of Environmental Science

  • To gain admission to the Master of Science in Environmental Science Program, students must meet the general requirements for admission to the College of Graduate Studies and must hold an undergraduate degree in one of the sciences such as Biology, Geology, Chemistry, Hydrology, or other areas related to environmental science.

  • Upon the recommendation of the advisory committee, the head of the major department and the approval of the Dean of the College of Graduate Studies, the University may accept as much as 12 hours of graduate work completed at another regionally accredited institution. Course work in which no formal grades are given or in which grades other than letter grades (A, B, C, etc.) are given (for example CR, P, S, U, etc.) is not accepted for transfer credit. Credit for course work submitted for transfer from any college or university must be shown in semester credit hours or equated to semester credit hours. Courses that have been applied or counted toward a completed degree program cannot be transferred into a Tarleton master’s degree program. Also, courses accepted in transfer must have been completed within six years of the time that the student will complete his/her graduate degree program at Tarleton.

  • Review the Foundation requirements for the Master of Environmental Science. These may include undergraduate courses in Math, Chemistry, Biology or Geoscience. Actual course work will be decided upon by your advisor. These should be completed by the end of the first year in residence.

  • Submit formal application for admission to the College of Graduate Studies along with an official transcript of previous academic course work (each school previously attended).

  • Submit scores on the Aptitude Test of Graduate Record Exam (GRE) directly to the graduate office. All scores must be submitted by the end of the first long semester of enrollment in graduate courses at Tarleton.

  • Submit a one-page essay that describes your academic and career goals and how it relates to a Master of Science in Environmental Science.

  • Contact the director of the Environmental Science Program. This contact should occur before formal application to the Graduate College. The director will assist in planning initial course work prior to granting of full admission.

  • The director will recommend the enrollment status (full admission or conditional admission) for each student that applies to the program.

Graduate Assistantships

The Environmental Science Program has five assistantships for graduate students. Four are teaching assistantships for supervising undergraduate labs in chemistry and geology. One is a research assistantship for which a student will assist a professor with research. This is normally awarded after your first year and only if all teaching jobs are covered. Each fellowship is given for a nine-month period and includes benefits; however, the student must still pay tuition and fees. Salary ranges are set annually and approved by the President of the University. The current stipend for a graduate appointment is $9000 per nine-month period. A full-time assistantship in the fall and spring is teaching 6 contact hours or working 20 hours per week. Each laboratory hour is counted as 3/4 contact hour.

Graduate Laboratory Assistant: Students assigned to this category assume responsibility for the management and operation, including instruction, of laboratories on the campus. Graduate Laboratory Assistants do not assign final course grades.

Graduate Assistant- Research: Students assigned to this category are those who are engaged in a faculty-supported research project, part or all of which is normally used to meet thesis requirements for the master's degree.

To be eligible for an assistantship the student must meet the following qualifications:

  • Be accepted into the graduate program

  • Possess a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited university

  • Have a minimum GPA of 2.75 on the last 60 hours of undergraduate study

  • Maintain a 3.0 graduate GPA

  • Have acceptable English language speaking skills

  • Enroll for at least 6 semester hours

  • Meet the general requirements for employment at Tarleton State University applicable to all employees

Further training and instruction will be given all graduate assistants

Graduate Scholarships

The University provides the opportunity for graduate students to apply for financial aid through the Financial Aid Office. The College of Graduate Studies provides one scholarship available to graduate students only, the Foust Scholarship. This scholarship is based on academic achievement and is awarded annually. Students must complete an application package provided by the University Scholarship Office by February 1 of each year. The Foust Scholarship is based on GRE scores and scholastic performance only, no need analysis is required. The ENVS program web page has information on other fellowships and scholarships that are applicable.

The College has one Dick Smith scholarship for each graduate program based on scholastic performance.  This will usually be awarded to the best ENVS student their second year. Students must complete an application package provided by the University Scholarship Office by February 1 of each year.

Information for Newly Admitted and Currently Enrolled Students

The graduate experience is a shared responsibility between the graduate student and their advisor; however, the initiation of many necessary tasks rest with the student. Students should be aware of the various deadlines needed for successful degree completion.

Graduate Orientation

During the first week of classes during the regular semesters (fall and spring), each new student will be required to attend a college graduate student orientation session. Che ck with the director of the program or your advisor for times.

Advising and Courses

After receiving notice of admission to the Master of Environmental Science Program and enrolling for graduate courses, the student should consult with the director to appoint a graduate advisor.

The advisor will assist with course selection and advise as to when particular courses will be available. There is a form to be used for advising and tracking which allows both student and advisor to easily assess progress towards degree completion.

Some undergraduate courses are applicable towards the graduate degree, however, a form requesting approval for graduate credit must be completed at the time the course is taken. Typically, additional work is required of graduate students registering in undergraduate classes. Undergraduate course must be taken as 586 courses not as the UG course number.

The advisor will also assist the student in selection of an advisory committee. The student's advisory committee will consist of at least three members who are eligible for graduate faculty status at Tarleton State University and who are representative of the student's field of study and research. A co-chair may be selected among approved professionals from the Texas Institute for Applied Environmental Research (TIAER), the Texas Agricultural Experiment Station, the Texas Agricultural Extension Service or other professional agencies.

An initial degree plan should be filed after completion of 12 semester hours of credit. The students advisor will fill out the degree plan. The student is responsible for obtaining the necessary signatures.

In addition, a formal application of candidacy for degree must be filed. Full admission to graduate study is a prerequisite to admission to candidacy for the Master's degree. A graduate student may be admitted to candidacy when his or her advisory committee files an approved degree plan accompanied by the student's application for candidacy. The advisory committee will not file a degree plan until the student has completed at least 12 semester hours of graduate credit with an overall B (3.0) GPA.

A graduate student's degree plan includes all courses listed for degree credit on the official degree plan form. All courses on the official degree plan for credit must have the grade of A, B, C. Any course with a grade of D or F must be repeated. Any change in the courses taken will require a degree plan revision.

Thirty-six hours are required for graduation. Elective courses must be approved by the student's graduate committee, and at least thirty hours of the program must be at the 5000 level.

Any change in name, degree, and address requires a Graduate File Update form.

Course credits more than six years old may not be counted for a degree. Credits are considered to be earned when they are recorded on the official transcript.


Completion of a thesis is strongly encouraged for the Master of Environmental Science. Your advisor can assist you in developing a research idea. A non-thesis option is also available.

Students must have full admission to a degree program and the permission of the department head to enroll in thesis. A thesis will not be accepted unless a student has completed a minimum of six semester hours of thesis course work (5883).

If a thesis is required for completion of the master's degree, obtain a copy of the Thesis Manual from the graduate office. Students who plan to pursue a thesis should obtain a copy of this manual early in their graduate programs.

A thesis proposal must be completed and signed by all members of the advisory committee.

Students who pursue a thesis are required to enroll each semester in at least one thesis course until the thesis is completed. Those who make satisfactory progress will be given the grade of I. Once the thesis has been approved and accepted, the final six semester hours of thesis will be assigned the grade of S. The thesis grade of S is not included in the GPA calculation for the degree major or minor.

Comprehensive Examination

A Comprehensive Examination is required of all students seeking a master's degree. A graduate student must be admitted to candidacy for a degree before he/she will be allowed to take the comprehensive examination.

Written comprehensives will consist of questions covering core and elective courses. At least 50% of the exam will be questions from core courses.

A grade of 70% is required to pass the written comprehensives.

Oral comprehensives will cover either the same topics as in the written exams or, for thesis students, will consist of a defense of the thesis. It is the student's responsibility to find an acceptable time for orals by consulting with the student's advisory committee.

Students whose performance on the comprehensive examination is unsatisfactory may reschedule an examination during the next semester, or, at the discretion of the advisory committee and head of the department involved, at an earlier date. Students who attempt the comprehensive examination three times and are not successful will be dropped from the graduate program.


You are required to file for graduation the semester you wish to graduate. Filing dates are specified in the university calendar.

Evaluation Form

Each student will be asked to do an evaluation of Departmental Advising and Orientation Procedures. This form can be filled out anytime during the students last semester at Tarleton State University

Tarleton University Graduate Policies

Every student enrolled in the College of Graduate Students is required to maintain a high level of performance and comply fully with the policies of the institution. The College of Graduate Studies reserves the right to suspend any graduate student who does not maintain satisfactory academic standing or fails to conform to University regulations. Requirements are contained in the current academic catalog which is on-line.

Students who have achieved full admission to a graduate degree program are expected to maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA on work completed at Tarleton. If in a particular semester a student's overall GPA falls below the minimum, he/she will be given notice of unsatisfactory academic performance. The student must attain a 3.0 overall GPA during her or his next period of enrollment; failure to do so will result in suspension for one long semester or both summer terms. At the end of any grading period, if a student's overall GPA falls below 2.0 he/she will be automatically suspended.

Students who have been admitted conditionally to a degree program must meet the requirements stipulated for attaining full admission status. If requirements are not met, conditional admission will be rescinded, and any further enrollment will be allowed only as a post-baccalaureate student.

Graduate students who are suspended must apply to the Dean of the College of Graduate Studies for reinstatement. After review of the case, the Dean will make a recommendation to the Graduate Council for action. An appeal of the decision of the Graduate Council may be made to the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs who shall render final judgment.

Other Useful Graduate Student Information

  • Graduate assistants have special reserved parking spaces in many of the lots.

  • Graduate assistants will also be assigned office space. Other graduate students may be given office space as available.

  • The TexShare card program is a reciprocal borrowing program. It is designed to allow the registered users of participating institutions to directly borrow materials from the libraries of other participating institutions. Tarleton State University is a TexShare library. This allows students direct access to most of the public and many private universities in Texas including all A&M and UT campuses.