Master of Environmental Assessment

Assistant Professor of Environmental Technology Elizabeth Nichols works in her Jordan Hall lab. She has been experimenting with plants that can either slow or stop underground contamination. Photo by Roger WinsteadPollutants and naturally occurring substances pose a potential risk of having an adverse impact on human health and the environment. The proper management of these risks requires scientifically-based decision making. Environmental assessment bridges the gap between scientific research and the use of science in decision-making, regulation, and environmental management. By understanding and evaluating the sources, fate, and effects of pollutants in the environment we can develop a scientific basis for assessing risks and thus support regulatory, enforcement, and remedial-action decisions.

The Master of Environmental Assessment (EA) degree is intended for working professionals who seek advanced study beyond the undergraduate level but are not interested in pursuing a career in research. Administered by the College of Natural Resources (CNR), the program requires thirty (30) credit hours. Twenty-two (22) credit hours will be in required courses with the remaining eight (8) hours selected from a list of elective courses or equivalent. No thesis is required.

The Master of Environmental Assessment degree is affiliated with the Professional Science Masters program. The PSM program is an innovative 2 year graduate degree designed to allow students to pursue advanced training in science while simultaneously developing highly-valued business skills. For more information on the PSM designation watch the NC State University PSM video or visit the PSM website.

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Admissions to the Master of Environmental Assessment degree is based on an applicant’s undergraduate and post-graduate educational background and professional experience, as well as the availability and interest of faculty advisors. Applicants should be prepared to submit, along with their application:

  • A personal statement
  • A resume identifying educational preparation and work experiences
  • Email addresses for 3 people to provide recommendations
  • Official transcripts of all undergraduate and graduate work

All applicants should have a minimum 3.0 grade point average. For more information about the application process, please visit our Apply page.

Final admission to the degree is granted by the Graduate School upon recommendation of the Environmental Assessment Director of Graduate Programs. Students may start the program in either fall or spring semesters.

Students must be continuously registered (at least one credit hour each spring and fall semester), or apply for an official leave of absence. Students have a maximum of six (6) years from enrollment in their first graduate course to complete their degree. Full-time students may complete the degree in two (2) years.

The following guidelines apply to all credit hours applied to completion of the Master’s degree:

  • At least 18 credit hours must be graduate credits earned at NC State University while the student is enrolled in the graduate program.
  • A graduate course that was completed while the student was enrolled as a PBS-status student at NC State University may be considered for transfer to a Master’s program, provided that it is at the 500 level or higher and that the grade earned is a “B” (3.00 on a 4.00 scale) or better. A maximum of 12 credit hours taken while in PBS status may be transferred into a Master’s degree program.
  • Students may transfer credits in from other institutions, with restrictions. For more information, consult the Graduate School Handbook.

Technology Requirements

At NC State University, Online and Distance Education courses are offered and supported using various delivery formats. Some courses utilize more than one delivery format. The majority of courses are delivered via technologies such as the internet, DVD, or webcasting. Students with access to the appropriate technology (including the internet or a DVD player) may access these courses from their homes or other locations. Such courses make use of asynchronous scheduling, which means that students do not have to access them at a specified time. Occasionally a course may require visits to campus (or a remote location) for assignments or exams.

Courses in the Master of Environmental Assessment Program are delivered via the internet as web-based courses. Courses will provide content through an online Learning Management system such as Moodle or Blackboard Collaborate. Students will interact with the faculty through email, online discussion groups, and chat and video conferencing sessions. Technology requirements can be found on the Online and Distance Education website.

It is a good idea to go to ensure your computer meets the necessary requirements to view courses in Blackboard. On the same computer that you will use to participate, visit the NC State DELTA technology page. This page has links to computer requirements you will need, a link to configure your computer correctly, and links to online tutorials.

If at all possible, students should purchase a headset with mic that plugs into your computer (USB). You can pick up a basic headset for about $15 at an electronics store. Using the speakers and microphone built into your computer speakers causes an echo in the audio that is quite distracting when you participate in group chats.


Visit NC State’s Graduate Online and Distance Education Tuition rates page for detailed information about graduate tuition and fees.

The total Online Master of Environmental Assessment cost estimate (North Carolina residents) for 2017-2018 is $12,956.40 for all 30 hours of coursework.

Financial aid eligibility is determined by the Financial Aid Office. We encourage you to contact your financial aid advisor in the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid. A limited amount of grant funding is also available to students enrolled in Online and Distance Education degrees. Criteria for funding is based on academic merit, demonstrated financial need, and enrollment in multiple Online and Distance Education courses per semester. For additional information, please visit NC State’s Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid website, or call 919.515.2421. NC State also offers a monthly payment plan.

Core Curriculum

All students earning the Master of Environmental Assessment must complete the following courses (22 credit hours) to earn their degree. The courses are selected to offer a cohesive continuing education opportunity for people in agricultural, chemical, environmental, energy, natural resource, pharmaceutical, biomedical, and biotechnology fields. Companies and government research facilities in these fields, as well as regulatory agencies, all have a need for employees who understand the basic principles of environmental assessment, how to perform and review human and ecological risk assessments, and how these assessments relate to environmental regulation and management.

To learn more about each course, click the course number.

  • EA 501 – Environmental Stressors (3 hours)
  • EA 502 – Environmental Risk Assessment (3 hours)
  • EA 503 – Environmental Exposure Assessment (3 hours)
  • EA 504 – Environmental Monitoring and Analysis (3 hours)
  • EA 665 – Professional Project (1-6 hours)
  • GIS 510 – Introduction to Geographic Information Sciences (3 hours)
  • One of the following two courses:
    • EA 505 – Environmental Assessment Law and Policy (3 hours)
    • PS 536 – Global Environmental Law and Policy (3 hours)


Students will be able to select electives to enhance the degree program. Five to eight credit hours of coursework will be selected in consultation with the faculty advisor. These hours will be selected from distance education courses offered across the university. See the online course webpage for a list of elective courses.

Plan of Work

The Plan of Work (POW) is a planning aid for you and your advisor. It must be approved by the Graduate School before you can complete your program. Ideally, the POW will be approved when you are halfway (credit-wise) through your program. At the latest, it should be approved at least 2 semesters before you intend to graduate. Waiting past that point could mean staying additional semesters.

For more information on creating your Plan of Work, please visit the Student Resources page.


Environmental Assessment students are assigned an advisor sometime during their first semester. A student’s initial advisor serves as a point of contact for the student on questions related to classes, registration issues, and more. This initial advisor may or may not be the student’s project advisor.

During the semester prior to beginning their project, students in the Master of Environmental Assessment program develop a proposal for the faculty to read. After the faculty reads all proposals, students will be assigned a project advisor.

Professional Project

The Master of Environmental Assessment requires completion of a professional project. Learn more about the requirements and guidelines for this project, or explore the archive of completed projects.

Program Coordinator

Linda Taylor
Lecturer, Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources
North Carolina State University
Jordan Hall Addition 2223
Phone: 919.513.3972
Contact Me

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