General Info

  • Faculty working with students: 35
  • Students: 31
  • Students receiving Financial Aid: 100%
  • Test required: GRE General: Optional for 2023
  • Application terms: Fall (Spring applications generally not accepted*)
  • Application deadline: Fall: November 30; Spring*: October 2

* Spring applications supported by a research fellowship supervised by an individual faculty member may be accepted.

Application Info


Jennifer Wernegreen
Director of Graduate Studies
Nicholas School of the Environment
Duke University
Box 90328
Durham, NC 27708-0328

Phone: (919) 613-8002



Program Description

The graduate program in Environment (ENV), administered by the Division of Environmental Science and Policy (ESP), is distinctive in its interdisciplinary approach to research related to natural resources and the environment.  It offers students opportunities to work with faculty who specialize in an array of disciplines within the physical, chemical, biological, and social sciences, as well as integration among them.  Because of the intensive research nature of this degree, course work is tailored to the particular needs of the research topic agreed upon by the student, the faculty mentor, and committees involved.  Publications in peer-reviewed journals are common outlets for student dissertations.  Hence, identifying appropriate faculty mentor(s) participating in this program is encouraged before applying. 

The ENV program is organized around four research themes: 

  • Ecosystem Science, which emphasizes conservation ecology, landscape ecology, wetland ecology, forest ecology, soils, biogeochemistry and hydrology of watersheds
  • Environmental Chemistry and Toxicology, which emphasizes the fate and effects of natural and anthropogenic stressors, particularly chemicals, in the environment
  • Aquatic and Atmospheric Sciences, which concentrates on problems spanning natural divisions of the biosphere- soil, plants, lakes, watersheds, and the atmosphere
  • Environmental Social Sciences, which emphasize the management of natural resources and the environment by individuals and societies.  

While the program does not admit students for a terminal M.S. degree, this degree may be awarded as part of a Ph.D. program.  The A.M. degree is available only for students who wish to participate in the joint J.D. program between the Nicholas School and the School of Law.  NOTE:  Applications to the professional degree programs (e.g. Masters of Environmental Management or MEM) require a separate application procedure.  Be sure to inquire about the appropriate course of action. 


Application Information

Application Terms Available: Fall
Spring applications generally not accepted*

Application Deadline: Fall: November 30; Spring*: October 2

* Spring applications supported by a research fellowship supervised by an individual faculty member may be accepted.

Graduate School Application Requirements
See the Application Instructions page for important details about each Graduate School requirement.

  • Transcripts: Unofficial transcripts required with application submission; official transcripts required upon admission
  • Letters of Recommendation: 3 Required
  • Statement of Purpose: Required (see department guidance below)
  • Résumé: Required
  • GRE Scores: GRE General (Optional)
  • English Language Exam: TOEFL, IELTS, or Duolingo English Test required* for applicants whose first language is not English
    *test waiver may apply for some applicants
  • GPA: Undergraduate GPA calculated on 4.0 scale required

Writing Sample
None required

We strongly encourage you to review additional department-specific application guidance from the program to which you are applying: Departmental Application Guidance