Social Science – Environment & Community, M.A.

  • Application Deadline
  • 24 months
  • English (schedule IELTS)
, CA,
The graduate program in Social Science – Environment & Community is a two-year interdisciplinary Master of Arts (M.A.) in Social Sciences. The mission of the Environment and Community program from Humboldt State University is to prepare students to understand the relationship between communities and their environment, to analyze environment-community issues at different scales, and to act effectively in situations where values and interests diverge.


Capstone topics in this Social Science – Environment & Community program from Humboldt State University include the following general themes:

  • sustainable food systems
  • community-natural resource management interactions
  • environmental and social justice
  • environmental education
  • Native American/indigenous natural resource management
  • sustainable urban communities

Programme Structure

The Environment and Community in Social Science graduate program’s course requirements include:

  • Six Graduate Seminars
  • Graduate Colloquium
  • Research Methods Elective
  • General Elective
  • Master’s Thesis or Project Research
  • Field Research

There are two required graduate seminars: Environment and Community Research and Natural Resource Use and Restoration in the Mattole Basin. Environment and Community Research is offered every fall semester. Natural Resources Use and Restoration is offered in conjunction with the Mattole Field Institute and takes place in August during the week prior to commencement of fall semester courses. Students select four more graduate seminars, which are categorized by curricular categories: political-economic, socio-cultural or environmental. Students must take at least one seminar from each of these three categories. See below for a description of each category and sample seminar titles. Students register for the 1-unit graduate colloquium course their first three semesters in the program. Students may take research and general elective courses of their choice, choosing either from a recommended course list or after obtaining the graduate coordinator’s approval to take courses not on the recommended list. Students register for thesis or project units and field research units during their second year in the program.

Curricular Categories

Definitions and Course Titles

Political and Economic

Seminars in this curricular category:

  1. provide analytical frameworks for understanding the role of political and economic institutions, discourses, organizations, and movements;
  2. study competing normative arguments about the role played by the state, markets, democracy, liberalism, globalization, technology, and participation;
  3. cultivate recognition of diverse forms of power;
  4. critically examine strategies, obstacles, and opportunities for change.

Topics that may be addressed include political theory (liberalism, democracy, justice, property rights), environmentalism, environmental policy, environmental security, national and international environmental governance, environmental politics, conflict resolution, grassroots and transnational social justice movements, and international development.

Course Titles

  • Political Ecology
  • Politics of Sustainability
  • Environmental (In)Securities
  • Globalism, Capitalism, and the Environment
Socio-Cultural: Race, Class, Gender, and Place

Seminars in this curricular category:

  1. provide an understanding of the categories of race/ethnicity, class, gender, and place, including their social construction and varied intersections;
  2. explore the role of culture and its production/reproduction;
  3. cultivate critical reflexivity and a willingness to entertain multiple epistemologies and to explore other subjectivities/emic perspectives;
  4. explore historical processes behind and the global dimensions of contemporary issues;
  5. study how environmental perceptions and values are produced, reproduced, and changed by culture.

Topics that may be addressed include race, gender, and the environment, international development and post-development, rural communities and natural resources, subaltern studies, globalization, community formation, social movement theory, and environmental health.

Course Titles

  • Community and Place
  • Klamath River Issues
  • Natural Resource Use and Restoration in the Mattole Basin
  • Community, Ecology and Social Action
  • Social Influences and the Environment

Seminars in this curricular category:

  1. Provide a basic understanding of ecological system function as key to planetary life support systems;
  2. Focus on human-environment interactions;
  3. Explore analytical and/or applied methods associated with socio-ecological adaptation and resilience to dynamic change in ecological systems.

Topics that may be addressed include natural resource management, energy use and conservation, valuation and use of ecosystem services, biodiversity and conservation, adaptations to climate change, and other similar areas.

Course Titles

  • Ecosystems and Society
  • Conservation Ecology and Society

Detailed Programme Facts

  • Programme intensity Full-time
    • Full-time duration 24 months
  • Credits
    36 alternative credits
  • Languages
    • English
  • Delivery mode
    On Campus

English Language Requirements

You only need to take one of these language tests:

  • Minimum required score:


    The TOEFL iBT ® measures your English-language abilities in an academic setting. The test has four sections (reading, listening, speaking, and writing), each with a score range of 0-30, for a total score range of 0-120. Read more about TOEFL iBT ®.

    Schedule TOEFL®
  • Minimum required score:


    The TOEFL®PBT is administered in a paper format and measures your ability to use and understand English in a classroom setting at the college or university level. It accurately measures how well you can listen, read and write in English while performing academic tasks. Read more about TOEFL®PBT.

    Schedule TOEFL®
  • Minimum required score:


    The IELTS – or the International English Language Test System – tests your English-language abilities (writing, listening, speaking, and reading) on a scale of 1.00–9.00. The minimum IELTS score requirement refers to which Overall Band Score you received, which is your combined average score. Read more about IELTS.

    Schedule IELTS

Academic Requirements

You need the following GPA score:

Required score: 3

Applicants for graduate programs must have the equivalent of a bachelor’s degree with a minimum GPA equivalent to 3 on a US 4.0 grading scale. Admitted applicants typically have an undergraduate GPA of or better on a 4.0 scale. No exam grade should be lower than 4.5 (European grade scale) or D (American grade scale).

Your GPA (Grade Point Average) is calculated using the grades that you received in each course, and is determined by the points assigned to each grade (e.g. for the US grading scale from A-F).

  • Candidates for admission to the Environment and Community M.A. in Social Sciences Program must have a B.A. or B.S. degree from an accredited college or university prior to matriculation. While we accept applicants from a diverse range of disciplinary backgrounds, applicants’ coursework should include social science. Applicants whose coursework does not include social science should indicate in their statement of purpose how they plan to acquire a basic understanding of social science theory and research before beginning the program. Applicants are also expected to have maintained a minimum 3.0 grade point average in their last 60 units of course work.
  • A college-level course in statistics is also pre-requisite or a co-requisite for all students enrolled in the E&C program. This requirement must be satisfied by the end of the first semester of the program; the statistics course does not count toward the M.A. degree requirements.
  • GRE scores are not required.
  • The E&C program does not offer spring admission.
Applicants are responsible for submitting all application materials. Required application materials are:
  • Completed electronic CSU graduate application form. Select "Social Science Environment and Community, (M.A."’ where it asks for “Major/Program objectives.”
  • A 750-word statement of purpose should be submitted either as part of the electronic application form or e-mailed separately to the program. Note that the electronic application form’s generic statement-of-purpose prompt should be disregarded. Instead, address the following program-specific prompt: Discuss your interests and relate them to the central themes of the Environment and Community Program. To the extent possible, describe possible thesis or project topics and what you would like to do when you graduate from the program. A strong essay clearly articulates the nature of the fit between you and the Environment and Community Program.
  • CSU application fee
  • Official transcript from each college attended.
  • Three letters of recommendation from people in a position to assess your potential as a graduate student. Use the electronic recommendation request process on page 11 of the electronic CSU graduate application form.
  • A 10-page writing sample. The writing sample is intended to show the application review committee that you are able to communicate clearly and intelligently at a level appropriate to an incoming graduate student. The topic can be anything. Applicants usually submit research papers that they have previously submitted for an undergraduate class, but the submission does not have to be a school paper. Examples of some previous non-school-related writing samples include articles written for newspapers or reports written for work. Ten pages is a guideline for the submission; if your paper is a little shorter or a little longer, that is fine. If your paper is longer, please submit the entire piece rather than just the first 10 pages.

Tuition Fee

  • International Applies to you

    8476 USD/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 8476 USD per year and a duration of 24 months.
  • National Applies to you

    8476 USD/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 8476 USD per year and a duration of 24 months.
We've labeled the tuition fee that applies to you because we think you are from and prefer over other currencies.

Living costs for Arcata

  • 1100 - 1600 USD/month
    Living Costs

The living costs include the total expenses per month, covering accommodation, public transportation, utilities (electricity, internet), books and groceries.


StudyPortals Tip: Students can search online for independent or external scholarships that can help fund their studies. Check the scholarships to see whether you are eligible to apply. Many scholarships are either merit-based or needs-based.

The Global Study Awards: get funded with up to £10,000 to study abroad

Together with the ISIC Association and British Council IELTS, StudyPortals offers you the chance to receive up to £10000 to expand your horizon and study abroad. We want to ultimately encourage you to study abroad in order to experience and explore new countries, cultures and languages.

Apply with Studyportals

Did you know that you can directly apply to available Masters from our selected Application Partners? Check out a complete list of programmes to apply for right now.

Select a Master's and apply