College of Science

Environmental Science MS

Careers and Testimonials

Student out in the field
Student in front of shrub

Environmental Science MS program graduates enter the workforce with highly marketable and competitive skills. Our leading-edge curriculum nurtures our students’ talents and provides them with the best tools and transferable skills to land fulfilling positions in research, resource management, education, policy, and other high-impact careers.

Graduate Alumni Employment

Employment Category Percentage
Private Sector: For-profit organization, business 24%
Government Agency: State  18%
Government Agency: Federal  14%
Education: Research focus  11%
Government Agency: Local  8%
Private Sector: Not-for-profit, Non-government organization  8%
Education: Teaching focus  7%
Other  6%
Education: Administration  3%
Military 1%

Graduates of the Environmental Science MS program (formerly Applied Marine & Watershed Science and Coastal & Watershed Science and Policy), consistently report a high satisfaction with the program. The program is carefully designed to address the demands of the field, and alumni find that the skills acquired through the program provide them with a unique competitive advantage in their job seeking and job performance.

AMWS Graduates

What our Graduates are Saying

"The ENSCI program helped me enhance skills I already had and gained many new ones that I can apply directly to my professional pursuits. I was rewarded with several opportunities to participate in class projects that addressed an expressed need in the community, and to communicate science to a diverse group of stakeholders including local city governments, researchers, and land managers. I feel better equipped to engage not only in my area of research but also in the broader environmental science community, and more importantly to communicate effectively to mixed audiences and the general public."

Stefanie Kortman '20, Research Scientist at CSU Monterey Bay

"The faculty were very approachable, committed to their students, and generous with their time. I really enjoyed working with and learning from my professors and advisors!"

Alexandra Thomsen '20, Independent Contractor at Elkhorn Slough Foundation

"The ENSCI environment was friendly, challenging, and thought provoking, while the courses taught highly applicable skills within the environmental science field."

Savannah Johnson '19, Environmental Education at Monterey Peninsula Regional Park District

"I am thoroughly excited to employ the skills I have acquired at CSUMB - both in the lab and policy realms - to help answer pressing biological questions posed by climate change"

Jake Cline '18, Head Naturalist at Sea Goddess Whale Watching

"I loved working with a team of incredibly intelligent and drive grad students on real local projects that made a difference in the community."

Nikki Inglis '18, PhD student in Geospatial Analytics at North Carolina State University

“I came into the program with essentially no experience in ArcGIS or R statistical software, but I suddenly found myself coding in R and conducting geospatial analysis in Arc – and I really enjoyed it. It showed me that I can still learn new skills and find new interests, which has made me more open-minded and confident about the jobs I can apply to and the tasks I can take on in my current workplace.”

Carrie Boyle '17, California Sea Grant Fellow, Coastal Conservancy

“The hands on work I did in graduate school with mapping and GIS can be directly linked to the work I do on board the NOAA ships. The courses in policy and climate change also are directly linked to my position here at the observatory, which measures atmospheric species such as CO2 and chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). Additionally, I really enjoyed the option to take courses at MIIS and MLML. I took full advantage of those opportunities to expand upon the coursework I did at CSUMB . . . Giving presentations in many of my courses really helped me hone in on my public speaking skills, and communication is key in my job.”

Cherisa Friedlander '17, Lieutenant, NOAA Corps

"The breadth of topics covered in the coursework helped me become a well rounded environmental scientist and prepared me to think critically and problem solve in many different projects with varying environmental conditions."

Amelia Olson '16, Environmental Consultant with Garcia & Associates

"Every day at work I use some combination of the skills and experience I learned through AMWS, especially GIS analysis, R and Python scripting, and database management. Along with those technical skills, the public speaking, science communication, and professional science experiences I had through AMWS have enabled my career. Between my first and second years with AMWS, I was hired as a part-time contractor with the USGS Pacific Science Center in Santa Cruz, CA, where they were thrilled with my internship experience through CSUMB's Seafloor Mapping Lab. After completing my degree, my position at USGS became full time, and shortly after that, I presented my work on the USGS Video and Photograph Portal at their other two marine science centers in Massachusetts and Florida. My whole experience in AMWS has allowed me to not only find a job I love, but to do it effectively. I am constantly reminded of how valuable all of the AMWS skills are in a professional science setting."

Evan Dailey '16, Contractor, USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center

"CSUMB prepared me for a deep dive into the exciting world of ocean policy! After completing my thesis looking at the distribution of benthic communities and soft sediment habitats and the implication for MPA design, I began a Sea Grant Fellowship with the West Coast Governors Alliance on Ocean Health. In my fellowship, I helped conduct analysis and facilitate a public process to help the state of Oregon plan for ocean renewable energy. I also helped develop West Coast wide strategies for better geospatial data sharing. Since the Fellowship ended, I started my own consulting business, Sustainable Ocean Solutions, and continue the data sharing work to develop the West Coast Ocean Data Portal, a website to increase the discovery and connectivity of ocean data and people to better inform regional resource management, policy development, and ocean planning. Even though I could never have predicted this trajectory, CSUMB gave me the skills I needed to be doing a job that I never knew I would love." (Dec 2013)

Todd Hallenbeck '11, Program Coordinator, West Coast Ocean Data Portal,West Coast Governors Alliance

"I am currently working for the CA Dept of Fish and Wildlife in a regulatory position as an Environmental Scientist in the Lake and Streambed Alteration Program. The multi-faceted technical and policy skills I gained in the CWSP Program are highly marketable, and can be applied to a diverse set of careers that are essential in understanding and conserving our natural resources" (Dec 2013)

Kyle Stoner, Environmental Scientist, California Department of Fish and Wildlife Central Region

"The AMWS program supplied me with such a wide variety of skills - it has really opened up my job search and given me more confidence as a professional. After two years in the program, I know that I can handle any task that comes my way. It's a small program, but with that comes smaller classes and a suite of professors who care about you and where you want to go in life. The faculty are completely embedded in the local scientific community and therefore include relevant and engaging assignments in the AMWS coursework." (Dec 2013)

—Polly Perkins '13, Urban Watershed Management Intern, San FranciscoPublic Utilities Commission

"I use many of the skills I learned in the program everyday. As part of my CWSP degree, I worked on a fire management plan for the Monterey Peninsula Regional Park District for my PSM project and now I work in the planning department for the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District (in Los Altos) so getting hired was pretty much directly related to my experience gained in the PSM project as well as the knowledge gained from the CWSP courses! I am the GIS Technician at Midpen so my job mainly consists of creating maps, data management and spatial analysis. I support many other departments such as natural resources, operations, and public affairs. In example, I used my experience with LiDAR from the remote sensing course to create a more accurate stream and road alignment layer which allows for more accurate mapping and decision making for operations and maintenance staff." (Dec 2013)

—Michele Childs (Lanctot), GIS Technician, Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District, Los Altos, CA.

"I am currently a biologist with Hemmera Consulting in Vancouver, British Columbia. I am working on a potential port expansion project in Vancouver. The container capacity improvement project is a large project with a number of moving parts. Most of the projects I work on focus on habitat development and banking for the port to address requirements of the federal and provincial environmental assessment processes in Canada. Thus far, my academic experience with GIS, species habitat modeling, environmental policy, and technical writing have been invaluable in meeting the challenges at work. Also, my experience in analyzing environmental policy has been very useful in the context of Canada's changing environmental policy that is occurring in the middle of the project. The ambiguity of these changes requires me to interpret and synthesize how this affects the projects many work-plans. My CWSP experience was excellent in providing me with a broad set of technical tools to deal with practical problems and tasks that I experience at work. This experience has also provided me with an ability to understand and synthesize the, often unclear, world of policy within the context of California (with the OPC) and outside that context to such exotic places as Canada. Further, I would say that the program offers an excellent opportunity to learn exciting, forward thinking approaches to dealing with the environmental challenges that exist for academic, private, and public entities charged with environmental management. " (Dec 2013)

—Scott Toews '12, Biologist, Hemmera Consulting,Vancouver, British Columbia

"I regularly use many of the of the skills I learned at CWSP (now AMWS) in my work. To name a few: critical understanding of statistics, R for crunching data, GIS and GPS for mapping, critical writing and editing, ecology theory, and stream surveys. While restoring streams in the Catskill mountains, the GIS and GPS skills I learned were critical to evaluating the streams and surrounding watersheds. Having done stream surveys in the Advanced Watershed classes those skills went right to my toolbox for starting restoration work. In my current role, as a manager of an ecology lab at the National Ecological Observatory Network, I am involved with dozens of science protocols. My classes in ecology theory and critical reading, such as Grad Seminar and Research Methods, help me to put all of these protocols into practice. Also, we're just beginning our aquatic sampling regime in my lab. The folks that work for me are mainly trained in terrestrial and forest ecology. Lucky for us, we have a highly skilled, CSUMB-trained, watershed scientist on the team!" (Nov 2013)

Cory Ritz '10, Ecology Lab Manager, National Science Foundation, National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON)

"The hands-on research skills I gained in the CWSP program gave me a competitive edge in the real world. I also gained a strong passion for discovery and made lifelong friendships" (Nov 2013)

—Carolyn Rosevelt '11, Research Technician, NASA-Ames Cooperative Agreement

"The CWSP (now AMWS) program teaches you the scientific foundations you need to be successful in today's world. The professors are brilliant at making sure that you leave the program with core skills that will enable you to be environmental problem solvers. I have truly benefited from my CSUMB education ~ and it has helped to shape my current direction in my PhD program at the Bren School " (Apr 2014)

—Ty Brandt '12, PhD student, Bren School of Environmental Science and Management.UCSB

"The pursuit of my PhD requires me to use the analytical skills and knowledge of marine science gained in the CWSP (now AMWS) program on a daily basis. The program provided the foundation I need for success."(Nov 2013)

—Jeremy Kerr '11, Research Scientist, PhD Student, Living Oceans Fellow 2011-2013. Nova Southeastern UniversityOceanographic Center

I oversee USMC installations' compliance with federal, state, and local environmental regulations. We conduct compliance evaluations every three years across all our installations worldwide. My office also coordinates conservation efforts at our installations. All new construction and real estate acquisition undergoes thorough NEPA, ESA, Historic Preservation Act, etc reviews. I would not have this assignment and occupational specialty (Environmental Engineering and Management Officer) without my graduate education/degree from CSUMB. The CWSP program is especially helpful because it focuses on the interface between science and policy. I'm clearly more focused in policy at my level, but I have to be able to read and interpret the research side to influence the policy side." (Nov 2013)

—Roger Arenas '12, Environmental Programs Officer, US Marine Corps Headquarters, The Pentagon

"Courses within the CWSP program are appropriately designed to emulate professional employment opportunities and serve as progressive introduction for developing quantitative, policy and interdisciplinary skill sets applicable within many research, private and government sectors." (Nov 2013)

—Kirk Post '13, Field Research Scientist, NASA/CSUMBCooperative Agreement

The CWSP/AMFS program taught me tons of practical technical skills in land surveying, GIS, and ecology, which I used every day in my job this summer. I used my thesis research to publish a paper in the Journal of River Research and Applications and land a job with the National Marine Fisheries Service doing salmonid restoration research on the Central Coast. " (Nov 2013)

—Colin Nicol '12, Formerly: Fluvial Geomorphologist/Fish Habitat Specialist in the Columbia Basin for EcoLogical Research. Starting: Lab Assistant in the Landscape Ecology Lab in the NMFS Southwest Fisheries Science Center

"The professional contacts and personal relationships I built during my time as an undergrad and post grad, within the ESSP (now ESTP) and CWSP (now AMWS) programs, have by far been the most valuable asset to my career. Without the contacts I and reputation I was able to build among the faculty, I would not have my current career. The hands-on learning, technology familiarity and working under tight high-stress deadlines definitely helped me grow and were skills I am very proud to have in my toolkit." (Nov 2013)

—David Nishijima '11, Math Teacher, Chartwell School

"I use analytical skills learned from the CWSP master's program for my current job as an energy efficiency analyst in a consulting firm. I am a program evaluator and learning R and ecological statistics help me with my job every day to think about utility program evaluation quantitatively. Learning how to be an effective science writer and speaker pitching projects to clients in a succinct manner helps me bring in business and write reports that receive positive feedback from clients and program managers within my company. Writing proposals for my research during CWSP translated to bringing in business at my firm writing project proposals, I am currently helping the VP of my company write a proposal to bring in 400k for a utility evaluation project." (Nov 2013)"

—Clover Lee '11, Analyst / Program Evaluator, Cadmus Group (energy efficiency consulting firm in Oakland, CA)

It was not until I returned to the workforce that I realized all that I learned in my time at CSUMB. The technology, ecological and policy knowledge as well as my hands-on experience in the field has definitely given me a leg up here at Oregon Dept of Fish and Wildlife. It is amazing how correlated and appreciated my skills are in my new job."

Meghan Frolli '10, Oregon Dept of Fish and Wildlife