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California Institute Of Technology (Caltech) Course/Program Name
Application closes on
National :01 Jan 
International :01 Jan 

MS Environmental Science and Engineering

 Course Level
Masters / PG
Full Time

2 Years
 Start month

 Tuition fee

75345 USD
75345 USD

Application fee

International 100 USD
National 100 USD
Department of Environmental Science and Engineering
Scores accepted

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About this course

Aims and Scope of the Graduate Program
The ESE graduate program trains doctoral students to solve fundamental problems in environmental science and engineering. The problems cut across traditional disciplinary boundaries and span space scales ranging from global to local. Students are trained to acquire a broad base of knowledge of environmental systems, including the Earth’s atmosphere, oceans, and biosphere. They deepen their knowledge in one or more focus areas, culminating in research leading to a Ph.D. thesis. Reflecting the interdisciplinary nature of research in the ESE program, the program unites faculty from the Divisions of Geological and Planetary Sciences, Engineering and Applied Science, and Chemistry and Chemical Engineering.

Check further details on University website

Eligibility Criteria

Required tests

Caltech requires the verbal, quantitative, and analytical components of the Graduate Records Examination (GREs). Chemistry also requires applicants take either the Chemistry, Physics, or Biochemistry Subject Exam as part of the application.

There are no minimum score requirements for GREs.

The Verbal, Quantitative, and Writing components of the General Graduate Record Examination are required by all graduate options, and advanced GRE Subject scores are required or strongly recommended by several options. There are no minimum score requirements for admission. Testing schedules and information on the GRE may be obtained at www.gre.org. Caltech's institution code is 4034. A subject code is not required since all scores are delivered to the Graduate Studies Office.

For a list of the departments requiring or strongly recommending the subject exam, please refer to Required Tests.

Test scores are only one aspect of the application package.

Students coming from non-English speaking countries are required to take an English proficiency exam. However, students who have studied in the U.S. for 2 or more years, or who obtained a degree from a school whose primary instruction is in English are exempt from this requirement.

Caltech does not have a minimum GPA requirement. However, most successful applicants have a US GPA of at least 3.5 on a 4.0 scale and/or are in the top 5 to 10% of their class.

GPA's should only be reported for those schools attended in the United States. International GPA's or rankings do not need to be converted to the standard US grade point average.

More information on the TOEFL, TSE, TWE, and IELTS tests are available at the Office of Graduate Studies Checklist.

Applicants whose first or native language is not English are required to take a test of English proficiency as part of the application procedure. Caltech recognizes scores from the Educational Testing Service (ETS) (www.toefl.org), Pearson's Test of English Academic (PTE) (www.pearsonvue.com/pte), and from the Cambridge Examinations and International English Language Testing System (IELTS) (www.ielts.org). Applicants should arrange for the results of these tests to be sent to Caltech's Graduate Studies Office. Caltech's institution code is 4034.

The following exemptions apply: 

  • Applicants who have studied in the US for two or more years
  • Applicants with a degree from a school whose primary instruction is in English

Please note that regardless of whether or not the English proficiency exams are exempt during the admissions process, all non-native English speakers will be screened prior to enrollment and may be required to take additional English as a Second Language (ESL) training.

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Course Modules

Course requirements
During their first year, students, in consultation with their academic advisers, must design a program of graduate study that includes a minimum of 135 units of graduate work to be completed before the end of the third year. The course program should take into account the students’ individual backgrounds and focus areas, educate them broadly in fundamental questions and methods of contemporary environmental science and engineering, and prepare them for their research.

The course program must include the core courses ESE 101, 102 and 103. Attendance at the weekly research seminars (ESE 104 and ESE 110abc) is required for first-year students and is expected of all graduate students. All students are expected to have knowledge of methods of applied mathematics and statistics on the level of courses such as Ge 108 and ACM/ESE 118. In cases of unusual preparation, students may petition to substitute a similar but more advanced course for one of the required courses.

Additionally, students are required to take 36 units of elective courses from two of the three groups below:

  • Environmental biology: ESE/Bi 166, ESE/Bi 168, Ge/ESE 170
  • Environmental chemistry: ESE/Ge/Ch 171, ESE 175, ESE 176
  • Environmental physics: ESE 130–138, ESE/Ge 139, Ge/ESE 150, ESE/ChE 158

The remaining units of graduate work can be fulfilled by a combination of elective courses in ESE or related disciplines, reading or laboratory courses (ESE 100), and research (ESE 105, 300).  Of the total required 135 units, no more than 45 units may be in research. No more than 27 research units may be taken during the first year of graduate study. Exceptions may be granted by petition.

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How to Apply


The Admissions Committees will take several components of the application into consideration including letters of recommendation, grades in college particularly those in chemistry, biochemistry, and related subjects, any research experience including resulting publications or presentations, GRE scores, and the statement of purpose.

All documents related to the application must be submitted to the Graduate office on or before the December 15th deadline.

Three letters of recommendation are required.

The online application currently accepts three letters maximum, so keep in mind that it's important to submit three strong letters from individuals most familiar with you.

Letters should be requested from those individuals who know you best and can attest to your academic capabilities or training. While faculty members and research supervisors can provide the strongest academic recommendations, we recognize that some applicants may also have work experience that relates to their abilities and training. Keep in mind that those individuals writing recommendation letters should be able to address the following information:

  • How well the applicant is known and in what capacity
  • If the applicant has the intellectual capability, experimental ability, fundamental training, creativity, and motivation to be successful as a student at Caltech
  • Whether the applicant would be encouraged to do doctoral research under the recommender's supervision
  • If English is not the native language, how well does the applicant read, write, and converse in English?
  • How does the applicant compare to any previous students who have come to Caltech for their graduate work?

 Individuals unable to submit materials electronically may fax, mail or email materials to:

Graduate Studies Office
Mail Code 230-87
California Institute of Technology
1200 E. California Boulevard
Pasadena, CA 91125
FAX (626) 577-9246   
Email [email protected]

Be sure that the applicant's name is clearly indicated on any supporting documents not uploaded with the application.

For the purpose of applying, official, sealed copies of your transcripts are not required and scanned copies of an original transcript or university generated web printouts are accepted. Please note, however, that any electronic submissions must be official records from the university or college attended. Hand-typed listings of courses prepared by the applicant will not be considered. Official transcripts documenting attendance and the degree awarded at each college and university will be required prior to enrollment in the graduate program at Caltech.Please note that very few departments admit for the Master of Science degree. Currently, only applicants to Aeronautics, Electrical Engineering, and Space Engineering may apply for a terminal Master's degree. All other departments admit for the PhD degree only.

Check further details on University website