The Master of the Environment (MENV) Graduate Program at the University of Colorado Boulder is an innovative, interdisciplinary professional master’s degree that equips students with the knowledge, skills and experience necessary to address the complex environmental challenges of the 21st century. This 21-month, immersive, cohort-based graduate program develops students into leaders in a wide range of careers in conservation, consulting, energy, natural resources, planning, policy, sustainability and more. 

The MENV program focuses on application and problem solving, and the curriculum is comprised of four components:

  • Core courses
  • Required specialization courses in one of five specializations
  • Electives
  • Capstone project

Throughout the program, students develop and hone their skills and leadership capacities through experiential learning, theory and foundational knowledge building, professional development opportunities, career mentoring, and capstone project in lieu of a thesis.

Students become conversant in the language, knowledge, theory, techniques, and methodologies of various disciplines while developing general analytical skills, problem-solving abilities, and the adaptability that is indispensable to professional and career success.

MENV provides a foundation of multidisciplinary knowledge and communication and analytical skills that enable students to address increasingly complex sustainability challenges in a wide range of professional careers.

In addition, the MENV program values a diversity of backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives and is deeply committed to diversifying our student body, faculty, and staff; improving the equity of our systems; and creating an inclusive culture in the program, on CU Boulder’s campus, and in the environmental sector at-large.

For more information, visit the Master of the Environment website.


Application Requirements

To be considered for the MENV program, students must have a four-year bachelor’s degree from an accredited U.S. institution or the international equivalent. We recommend a minimum of one year of professional experience or applicable training prior to applying. The MENV program selects students who we believe will achieve academic and professional success while adding value to the graduate community. The MENV program selects talented and diverse candidates through a holistic review of the application materials. Decisions are based on academic and professional backgrounds, as well as individuals' potential to contribute both inside and outside of the classroom.

Program Requirements

Students must complete at least 48 credit hours of coursework during the 24-month program, to include:

  • Core courses 
  • Required specialization courses in one of five specializations
  • Electives
  • Capstone project


Core Courses
ENVM 5018The Scientific Basis of Environmental Change3
ENVM 6001Capstone Innovation Lab 11
ENVM 6002Capstone Innovation Lab 22
ENVM 6003Capstone Project5
ENVM 6004Capstone Leadership Lab1
Specialization Coures12
Elective Courses24
Total Credit Hours48

Capstone Project

All MENV students complete a nine-month capstone project. These projects provide students with hands-on experiences embedded within an external sponsoring organization while also providing client organizations with specific solutions to identified environmental, sustainability, and business challenges. Deliverables might include management plans, models, analyses, prototypes, or proof-of-concept projects.

Program Tracks

Environmental & Natural Resources Policy

Students learn how to identify and apply the best processes and tools to solve environmental and natural resource problems using a combination of theory, case studies, and practice.

ENVS 5100Special Topics in Environmental Studies (Environmental Decision Making)3
ENVS 5701Policy, Politics and Management: Foundations3
ENVS 5702Environmental Governance: Actors and Institutions (Environmental Governance: Actors & Institutions)3
ENVM 5004Public Finance and the Environment3

Renewable & Sustainable Energy

This specialization track is intended for those interested in both conventional and renewable energy policy, business, consulting and management.

Students must take a total of four RSE courses (12 credits), including two required classes and two other RSE courses.

ENVM 5006Sustainable Energy Policy3
ENVM 5007Energy Systems and Technologies3
Choose two:6
Microgrids and Distributed Energy Resources
Renewable Energy Development & Project Finance
Zero Carbon Buildings and Cities
Energy Markets, Transactions and Policy
Total Credit Hours12

Sustainable Food Systems

The Sustainable Food Systems specialization track will train students to approach key food system challenges critically and innovatively.

ENVM 5029Food & Agriculture Policy in the United States3
ENVM 5038Nourishing Humanity within Planetary Boundaries - Intro to Food Systems3
ENVM 5043Benefit Cost Analysis 1
ENVM 5044Life Cycle Assessment - Bringing Objectivity into Subjective Conversations1
ENVM 5045Introduction to Monitoring & Evaluation1
ENVM 5028Supply Chain Management for Food and Fiber3
ENVM 5051Humans, Environment, and Justice 3
ENVM 5063Agroecology3
ENVM 5068Qualitative Methods for Sustainability3
ENVM 5079The Science and Practice of Sustainable Agriculture3

Sustainability in the Outdoor Industry

Sustainability in the Outdoor Industry (SOI) specialization prepares its students to successfully engage with and be future leaders in the outdoor recreation economy.

ENVM 5064Introduction to Sustainability in the Outdoor Industry3
ENVM 5065Community Economic Development and the ORE3
ENVM 5066Environmental Stewardship: Practice and Law3
ENVM 5078Sustainable Business Practice3
SOI Elective Options
ENVM 5067Building Community Capacity 3
ENVM 5076Entrepreneurship and Applied Project Management3
ENVM 5077Circular Economy and Sustainability3

Urban Resilience & Sustainability

This specialization track prepares students for careers as resilience and sustainability leaders, designing, implementing and leading resilience and sustainability policies, programs and plans, and engaging and inspiring others to work toward a bold vision of what could be but isn’t yet.

Students will choose four courses:
ENVM 5012Water, Climate, and Sustainable Cities3
ENVM 5026Sustainable Land Use and Development: Principles and Practices3
ENVM 5030Planning for Resilient Futures3
ENVM 5041Sustainability & Resilience in Practice3
ENVM 5050Social Innovation and Sustainable Cities3
ENVM 5052Transportation, Mobility & Sustainable Cities3
URS Elective Options
ENVM 5040MENV Clinic3
ENVM 5060Governing for Sustainable Communities3
URS students are also required to take two electives from other MENV specializations.

Learning Outcomes

MENV students will develop an understanding of the interconnections and feedback loops within human and natural systems. Specific learning goals will be to:

  • Develop a place-based understanding. Students will understand and apply different approaches to thinking about places and their identities, specifically considering how context affects thinking about environmental issues and creation of appropriate solutions.
  • Learn and practice new methods and techniques in a wide array of environmental applications.
  • Apply understanding of the dominant structures, processes, and dynamics within and between environmental, social and economic systems.
  • Analyze contemporary concerns about the environment.
  • Create and evaluate new ideas to promote their own or others’ engagement in the environment and to find solutions to today’s pressing problems.