Environmental Systems

Environmental Systems is an interdisciplinary Master of Science program that helps students better understand and shape the complex systems that underpin our society. Each of the three focus area options listed below provide a solid scientific foundation for careers in scholarship or practice and opportunities to work on unique applications of systems thinking with peers and mentors during your graduate education at Cal Poly Humboldt.

Energy Technology & Policy

Energy is a central element in some of the most important and most divisive processes of our times. It is the fuel that powers the world economy and – not coincidentally – this same energy use is the central cause of global climate change. In the Energy Technology & Policy (ETaP) Graduate Program at Cal Poly Humboldt, we seek students who are interested not only to understand these multifaceted problems, but also to engage in work aimed at helping to solve them. You can find additional information at humboldt.edu/engineering/graduate/etap .

Environmental Resources Engineering

The Environmental Resources Engineering (ERE) option of the Environmental Systems Graduate Program emphasizes the application of engineering skills to planning, design, and management problems involving environmental resources. Three general areas of research activity are available in the program, Water Quality, Water Resources and Renewable Energy Resources. You can find additional information at humboldt.edu/engineering/graduate.


We are a small graduate program that matriculates about 3-6 new graduate students each year. We emphasize basic research and your graduate experience will revolve around your thesis research done with a mentor. The program consists of a set of required courses as well as completion of the Masters thesis. You can find additional information at humboldt.edu/ geology/graduate_program.


Program Coordinator

Dr. Margaret Lang, ES Graduate Coordinator
Email: engineering@humboldt.edu

Application Information

Apply Through Cal State Apply

Complete the California State University Graduate Application online at Cal State Apply. A $55.00 application fee is required at time of application. Please note that the Application Fee Waiver is no longer available for Master’s Applications. If you are unable to pay with a credit card, a check can be mailed to the address indicated below.

Please note, once the application deadline closes it still takes time for your file to be processed. Once your file is complete it will be reviewed by the faculty review committee, which can take up to 6 weeks. The earlier your application is completed, the sooner your file will be complete.

You can follow your application status by:

  • Checking your Student Services Center. Approximately two weeks after application submission, you will receive a Posted letter with your Humboldt Student ID and Log-In Information.
  • Contacting the College of Natural Resources & Sciences to check on the status of your application.
  • If you are denied admission and disagree with the decision, please contact the department directly.

International Students

If you are an international student applicant, please visit the Center for International Program Graduate Students page for information about how to apply. Please note that most international students must submit TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) scores. However, this requirement may be waived in cases where the applicant has a prior degree from a university where English was the primary language of instruction. Scores from the TOEFL test and the other material indicated at the site should be submitted to:

International Student Admissions 
Cal Poly Humboldt 
1 Harpst St. 
Arcata, CA 95521-8299 

Other Requirements

You will also be required to submit transcripts from your previous colleges, names and email addresses of three references, a detailed statement of purpose and a current resume.

1. Important
You must contact at least one potential advisor before you submit your application to see if the advisor is taking on new students. Please contact them by phone, email, or (best) in person. Make sure that your Statement of Purpose clearly states your research interests and career goals, to better determine which faculty will be the best fit, and to convince at least one faculty member that you would make an excellent graduate student. Check the department website for the list of faculty and their research areas. Graduate advisors are always on the lookout for promising students, so don’t be shy about making contact. You should be proactive and assertive about your strengths. Decisions about acceptance will not be made until your completed application file has been reviewed, so these prior conversations with potential advisors should reveal whether you are a serious candidate for consideration!

2. Official Transcripts
One official transcript is required from any college or university you have ever attended. They must be sent directly to Graduate Admissions (address below). Official transcripts must be in their original sealed envelope.

Cal Poly Humboldt 
Office of Graduate Admissions 
1 Harpst Street, 
Arcata CA 95521

Transcript Exceptions

  • Humboldt transcripts: You do not need to request transcripts for any work completed at Cal Poly Humboldt.
  • If you were enrolled at Humboldt as a regular matriculated student within the past 5 years we will still have your file, so you do not need to request a transcript for college work completed elsewhere unless you completed that college work after you left Humboldt.

3. Statement of Purpose & Current Resume

Send a detailed Statement of Purpose (SOP) and current resume of work experience. In your Statement of Purpose be sure to include:

a) Potential research areas that are of interest to you;
b) at least one or more faculty who should review your file;
c) your reasons for pursuing a M.S. degree.

​A detailed statement of purpose and current resume can be uploaded to your Cal State Apply application. ​