Student with a dragnet walking in lake.

Procedures and Timelines for the 5-year BS/MS in Sustainability Science Program

The combined BS/MS program in Sustainability Science allows students to complete two degrees in 5-years. A total of 12 graduate credit hours apply to BOTH the bachelors and masters degree. The program is designed for high-achieving students who are prepared to begin graduate level coursework while still seniors and to begin exploring topics for either a masters thesis or an applied internship project.

  1. During your freshmen through junior year, your major code is “SSCI.” Your program advisor can be found on NEST.
  2. If you are interested in applying to the combined BS/MS program, work with your program advisor to change your major code to “SSBM” in your junior year. Note, changing major codes is not automatic acceptance to the master’s portion of the program. You must apply for admission to the Graduate School and meet the criteria for acceptance. At this point, begin working with the Graduate Program Coordinator, Dr. Deng, for advisement on the “swing credits” (explained below).
  3. Apply to the Graduate School in the summer before your senior year or during early fall of your senior year. If accepted, the offer of graduate standing is contingent upon completing your bachelor’s degree.
  4. During your senior year complete these four 500-level courses that comprise the “swing credits”:
    • EAES509 Current Issues in Sustainability Science
    • EAES575 Environmental Economics
    • EAES591 Research Methods
    • A 500 level Sustainability Science Elective

    Note – consult with the Graduate Program Coordinator if a substitution is requested (for example if the course you need is not running in the desired semester)

    Swing credits apply to both your BS and MS degree. The swing credits serve as major electives for your BS degree, and they also serve as required core courses for the MS degree.  When enrolling in swing courses you MUST complete the Permission for a MSU Undergraduate to enroll in Graduate Courses form. This form is available on The Graduate School forms page. This allows you to pay undergraduate tuition for the four graduate courses. This form must be signed by the course instructor and the EAES Department Chair. You must submit this form every time you enroll in swing credits. Write on the form “Swing credits for BS/MS in Sustainability Science Program.”

  5. Complete your BS degree, after which you will become fully matriculated in the master portion of the combined program. Your swing courses will then move to your MS degree audit.
  6. In year 5, complete all masters level coursework. You no longer need the “permission to enroll forms” once you are formally a masters student. Students in the Sustainability Science masters program have the option to complete either a masters thesis or an applied internship project under the supervision of any EAES faculty member. See here for a list of recent masters projects in Sustainability Science.