The Professional Science Master’s (PSM) in Ecosystem Science & Sustainability (PSM) is an excellent course of study for students eager to work in environmental sustainability right away or for working professionals looking to transition quickly or advance their careers. 

  • The PSM is coursework-focused – the degree does not require a thesis. 

  • Through coursework, students gain expertise in sustainable management solutions through policy analysis, applied methods, and skills-based learning. 

  • Students choose from three different degree specializations: carbon management, watershed science, or sustainable food systems.  

  • Students are required to participate in an intensive 4-credit, 400-hour internship, where they gain hands-on knowledge in their chosen field, implement the skills learned within the classroom, and begin to establish a professional network. The program has successfully placed many students in paid internships focused on their career objectives.    

After completing the program, students are able to:

  • Describe ecosystem processes and sustainable management strategies to maintain those processes.
  • Discuss current issues in environmental policy related to ecosystem sustainability.
  • Evaluate the linkages between socioeconomic and ecological processes that influence ecosystem sustainability.
  • Apply quantitative and qualitative methods to assess ecosystem sustainability using systems approaches and integrative methods.
  • Build, work within, and lead interdisciplinary teams in a professional environment.

In addition to the PSM degree, we offer graduate certificates that provide further training through 9-15 credits of graduate-level coursework to be completed on the CSU campus or online, allowing credentialed specializations in carbon management and water resource planning, management, and policy.  

The PSM in Ecosystem Science and Sustainability enables students from diverse academic backgrounds, such as environmental studies, business, engineering, natural resources, and agriculture, to understand the latest ecosystem science and develop the skills needed for emerging professions in areas such as greenhouse gas/carbon management, water sustainability and watershed management, and climate adaptation.

The PSM in Ecosystem Science & Sustainability is an affiliated Professional Science Master’s (PSM) degree. Affiliation is administered by the Commission on Affiliation of PSM Programs (formerly named PSM National Office) to ensure a strong and distinctive PSM brand. The PSM is designed for students seeking a graduate degree in science or mathematics and understanding the need for developing workplace skills valued by top employers.


Effective Fall 2022

ESS 501Principles of Ecosystem Sustainability3
ESS 587Internship4
STAR 511Design and Data Analysis for Researchers I4
Select one course from the following:2-3
Greenhouse Gas Policies
Water Law for Non-Lawyers
Foundational Elective Courses 1, 210-11
Data Tools and Quantitative Analysis Elective Courses 312
Program Total Credits:36

A minimum of 36 credits are required to complete this program with 21 or more credits at 500-level or higher, including a 4-credit Internship (ESS 587).


Students who take ESS 542 to meet curriculum requirements must take 11 credits of Foundational Elective Courses.


Select courses (e.g. water resources, hydrology, foundations in greenhouse management and accounting, climate change, international climate negotiations, global agriculture and environmental change, etc.) with approval of advisor and graduate committee.


Select courses (e.g. GIS, remote sensing, numerical analysis, modeling, greenhouse gas inventory, hydrological data analysis, etc.) with approval of advisor and graduate committee.