MPA/MES Concurrent Program

The University of Charleston is one of a few programs in the country to offer a concurrent Master’s degree program in Public Administration and Environmental and Sustainability Studies (MES). The Concurrent MES/MPA program allows a student to attain two Master’s degrees in three years rather than four, without compromising any of the academic content in either program.

MPA/MES Concurrent Program Mission

The Master of Science in Environmental and Sustainability Studies and the Master of Public Administration programs offer a concurrent degree program that is aimed at preparing students for professional level positions in public organizations that address environmental issues.

To accomplish this mission, the concurrent program provides the following:

  • A core curriculum with courses in policy, environmental sciences (biophysical and social), program management, and research methods.
  • Academic internship or thesis with components of both environmental studies and public administration.
  • Elective courses in environmental law, nonprofit management, urban planning and GIS, and sustainability studies.

The concurrent degree program allows students the ability to attain two master’s degrees in three years while maintaining the academic rigor and field experiences necessary to support high quality management and administration of programs and organizations focused on environmental issues.

Degree Requirements

To attain both the MES and MPA degree separately, students would need to complete at least 76 hours of coursework.  The joint program allows students to earn both degrees with a minimum of 60 hours rather than the 76.  Each student is required to complete a set of core courses, a series of approved electives and an internship or thesis.  Both the internship and thesis are 6-hour courses, and the concurrent program internship requires a significant research project.

Core Curriculum

EVSS 601 Economic Theory for Policy Analysis (3)
EVSS/PUBA 602 Public Policy (3)
EVSS 659 Enviromental Statistics (3) or
EVSS 624 Biometry (4)
EVSS 632 Social Science Methods for Enviromental Studies (3)
EVSS 646 Graduate Core Seminar (2)
EVSS 610 Environmental Biology (3) or
EVSS 631 Pollution in the Enviroment (4) or
EVSS 640 Earth Systems Science (3) or
EVSS 650 Energy Production and Resource Management (3)
PUBA 600 Public Service Roles and Responsibilities (3)
PUBA 601 Research Methods for Public Administration (3)
PUBA 603 Managing Public Organizations (3)
PUBA 604 Managing Human Resources (3)
PUBA 605 Managing Financial Resources (3)
PUBA 701 Capstone Seminar (3)
EVSS 691/PUBA 777 Thesis (6) / Internship (6)
Total Core: Minimum 41 Hours.

Course Catalog and Descriptions

The student then selects a minimum of 5 elective courses from either program and approved by his or her advisor.

For more information on the concurrent degree program, contact MPA Program Director Philip Jos at 843.953.6697, or MES Program Director Annette Watson at 843.953.2002.


Each student conducts one project (6 credit hours) that consists of public administration and environmental studies aspects as directed by an advisory committee of four faculty members (for thesis) or one external project supervisor and three faculty members for internship.


Upon admission to the concurrent program, the Program Directors will serve as the student's advisors, and then an advisor will be assigned based on the student's program of interest. Students are expected to meet the standards of both programs as addressed in the Student Handbooks.

Admission Requirements

Admission to the concurrent program requires a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution. Applicants from any undergraduate discipline are encouraged to apply. Minimum requirements include:

  • Overall undergraduate GPA of 3.0 (on a scale of 4.0)
  • Scores from GRE tests taken prior to July 31, 2011 must have a composite score of 1100 on the combined verbal and quantitative sections and 4 on the writing assessment section. The minimum requirements for tests taken after July 31, 2011 require a minimum composite score of 305.
  • Must have undergraduate coursework in biology (two courses with labs), chemistry (two courses with labs), statistics (one course) and American government (one course). One year of another physical or natural science may be substituted for either biology or chemistry
  • Three letters of recommendation that specifically address the prospective student's academic qualifications and career potential in environmental studies and public administration.
  • A statement of personal career goals to be achieved by the student applicant during his/her time in the program.

Admission decisions will be made by the admissions committees in both programs. When decisions are mixed or an applicant appeals, both program directors must agree to admit the applicant to the concurrent program. Students currently enrolled in either the MES or MPA program are eligible to apply to the concurrent program.

Transfer Credit Policy

Students may seek approval from the admissions committee to transfer in 9 credit hours of courses equivalent to those offered by Environmental Studies, or 12 credit hours of courses equivalent to those offered by Public Administration, but in no case more than 12 credit hours total for their program of study in the Concurrent Degree Program. These courses require a grade of B or higher, or a grade of Satisfactory or Pass.

Application Deadlines

Fall: March 1 (priority); July 1 deadline
Spring: November 1
Summer: March 1

Contact Information

Program inquiries can be sent to:

Matt Nowlin

MPA Program Director


Tim Callahan

MES Program Director