Section Navigation: Graduate Programs
DNP Departmental Form (Prospective Advisor Form)
All MS students declare a concentration when they apply to the program. To switch concentrations, a Change of Program (Graduate) form from the University Registrar must be submitted: https://registrar.gmu.edu/wp-content/uploads/GCP-Graduate-Change-of-Program-0421.pdf
Mandatory Graduate Student Annual Report Form
(Required of ALL graduate students)
As a reminder, all students are required to fill out the annual report form by September 1. The purpose of this form is for the ESP Graduate Program Office to assess your academic progress.
Coursework Planning Forms
A very important planning tool is, in consultation with your advisor, to prepare a Coursework Proposal, laying out the sequence of courses you will use to achieve your academic and research goals and to meet program requirements. Before the end of the second year of graduate study but no later than consideration for advancement to candidacy, doctoral students must submit a Program of Study for approval by the Dean of the College of Science. The program of study must include major courses and supporting courses to be completed, research skills required subject areas to be covered by the candidacy exam, and a proposed date for the candidacy exam. Any changes in the program of study must be documented with an amended Program of Study. The final approved program of study must be signed by your advisor, committee members, and the ESP Graduate Program Director. This becomes the “official” document to submit to the Dean of the College of Science to recommend advancement to candidacy.
Beginning Fall 2020, there are no Program of Study forms required as per the new program structure outlined in the University Catalog: https://catalog.gmu.edu/colleges-schools/science/environmental-policy/environmental-science-policy-ms/#requirementstext
Seven current MS concentrations (links to the catalog) are offered and requirements are detailed in the catalog.
MS students must form a supervisory committee (chair and two committee members) and submit their Graduate Committee Formation/Amendment form by the end of the second semester.
Committee Formation and Amendment
All thesis, dissertation, and project students must form a committee by the end of their fourth semester of course work. In consultation with your primary advisor, MS students must form a committee of three members. PhD students must form a committee of four members. To change a committee member (due to retirement, etc.), please use the form below to amend your committee. Please consult the appropriate Guidelines and Timelines document for MS or PhD for details.
Individualized Study Courses
ESP graduate students may take EVPP 693 (Directed Studies in Environmental Science and Public Policy) or EVPP 793 (Research in Environmental Science and Public Policy) to gain individual knowledge or research experience that can help them prepare their project, thesis, or dissertation proposals (e.g., conduct literature review, develop methods). The faculty member who will supervise the student during the course and enter the final grade in PatriotWeb submits this Individualized Study template for the study plan or research proposal developed with the student to the ESP Graduate Office at email@example.com for review and approval by the Graduate Program Director. After approval, the student receives the CRN for this course to register for it. Please submit the template well in advance of the semester start date.
Internship for Credit
Internships (EVPP 894) may be taken for credit for students admitted to our degree programs. Work must be related to environmental science and policy. Supervisors must have a terminal degree or the student must be supervised by someone with a PhD. Students must complete an Internship Contract and submit it to the ESP Graduate Office at firstname.lastname@example.org to be considered for an internship and give it to the host supervisor for signature. Once the host supervisor has agreed to the internship, the student should give the Supervision of Internships form to the host supervisor. After careful review by the ESP Graduate Program Director, the student will be registered by the ESP Graduate Office. When the student has completed the internship and the written material has been graded by the host supervisor, the host supervisor must send the final grade to the ESP Graduate Program Director.
Proposal (MS and PhD) Signature Pages
Submit both the approved proposal and signature page to the ESP Graduate Office with all committee members’ signatures using the correct signature page:
Advancement to Candidacy (PhD) Process
Before you can register for your research credits, the following must be satisfied:
1) You must have completed all your coursework.
2) You must have an established committee using the Graduate Committee Formation/Amendment Form.
3) You must have an approved Program of Study form which includes signatures by all committee members.
4) For doctoral students, you must have passed both written and oral qualifying exams. This has to be completed before you defend your proposal. Your advisor must email the ESP Graduate Office at email@example.com and provide the dates on which you passed the exams. These dates are added to your Program of Study form.
5) You must defend your proposal before advancement to candidacy. See the COS PhD Student/Faculty Handbook. To announce your proposal defense, send the completed PhD Dissertation Proposal Defense Template to firstname.lastname@example.org.
6) When you dissertation proposal has been successfully defended, your advisor must inform the ESP Graduate Office at email@example.com so that your paperwork can be sent to COS for approval.
Full-Time Equivalency Status
ALL STUDENTS who are working on dissertation research (999) must register for a minimum of 3 credits of 999 per semester (excluding summers) until they have completed the minimum number of credits of 998 and 999 required by the university and their degree program. Then, they can register for 1 credit of 999 until the dissertation is complete and has been officially submitted to the library. See the Full-time classification section of the University Catalog for more information. PhD students must maintain continuous enrollment in 999 while writing and submitting a dissertation. The student, advisor, and the Department Chair must certify by completing the Full-Time/Half-Time Equivalent Status - Doctoral Dissertation Research form that the student is working full time on their dissertation.
Students registered in 998 or 999 are graded IP until work in 998 or 999, respectively, is complete; at that time they are graded S/NC, and previous IP grades are updated by the Office of the University Registrar to reflect the final S or NC grade. Please contact the ESP Graduate Office to initiate a change of grade through the Department. Degree conferral is dependent on all grades reflecting S or NC. International students must submit a Doctoral Dissertation Research form (DDR) to maintain their student visa status each semester after they qualify to register for 1 credit of dissertation research (999) as stated above.
MS students must maintain continuous enrollment in 799 while writing and submitting a thesis. MS students who are working on a thesis (799) must register for a minimum of three credit hours in their first semester. After that semester, students may enroll for one credit of 799 per semester and be considered full time. The student, advisor, and the Department Chair must certify by completing the Full-Time/Half-Time Equivalent Status - Master’s Thesis Research form that the student is working full time on their thesis. Students registered in 799 are graded IP until work is complete; at that time they are graded S/NC, and previous IP grades are updated by the Office of the University Registrar to reflect the final S or NC grade.
Defense (MS Thesis or PhD Dissertation) or Presentation (MS Project) Announcement Abstract Templates
“Notice of a defense must be circulated to the university community two weeks before the defense date. The public defense should demonstrate the candidate’s maturity of judgment and intellectual command of the chosen branches of the field of study.” – AP 6.10.8 in the University Catalog at http://catalog.gmu.edu/policies/academic/graduate-policies (click on Ap.6.10 Requirements for Doctoral Degrees).
The templates below are the most current abstract templates. ALL STUDENTS writing a thesis or dissertation are required to submit an abstract to the ESP Graduate Office at firstname.lastname@example.org two weeks before the public defense. This is a University requirement and the only way your defense will be advertised and is the only way it can be included in the departmental abstract archive.
Students completing the MS Project option for their degree may, if approved by their Advisor and committee, do a public presentation of their project instead of comprehensive written and oral exams. They must also submit an abstract using the MS Project Presentation Abstract Template to the ESP Graduate Office at email@example.com two weeks before the public presentation, so it can be advertised.
Final Submission Signature Pages and Process
All students are required to submit their thesis or dissertation to University Dissertation & Thesis Services in the library to Sally Evans, the UDTS Coordinator. A format review is mandatory for all students who are writing a thesis or dissertation. All ESP students are required to print one hard copy of their thesis or dissertation, include the signature page (signed), and submit it to Sally Evans for binding. She will send a bound copy to the Department to be included in the ESP Conference Room Library (Room 3006).
- FINAL Doctoral Dissertation Signature Page (https://library.gmu.edu/sites/default/files/common/udts/signatures_cos_phd.doc)
- FINAL Doctoral Dissertation Signature Page (with a Co-Chair) (https://library.gmu.edu/sites/default/files/common/udts/signatures_cos_phd_coad.doc)
- FINAL Master’s Thesis Signature Page (https://library.gmu.edu/sites/default/files/common/udts/signatures_cos_ms.doc)
Doctoral students are required to submit a completed Dissertation Defense Readiness Form that has been signed by their advisor and committee members, a PDF copy of the dissertation to be defended, and an abstract of 100 words at least 15 calendar days prior to their scheduled Dissertation Defense (pages 13-14, College of Science, PhD Student/Faculty Handbook, https://science.gmu.edu/media/2021-22-cos-phd-handbook) to firstname.lastname@example.org. These materials will be used to prepare the dissertation defense announcements by the department and COS. Contact espgrad.gmu.edu to schedule the date and time of the defense. For hybrid defenses, the student's advisor must provide their Mason account Zoom link with the understanding that the student can forward this to anyone who wishes to attend.
Blooms Evaluation of thesis/dissertation/project defenses is mandatory.
(Required of all faculty members who serve on dissertation, thesis or project committees)
The SACSCOC mandates that all academic programs evaluate the performance of graduate students with regard to the stated learning outcomes and objectives of the respective programs. Information regarding the accreditation of George Mason University can be found on the Provost’s webpage at https://provost.gmu.edu/administration/academic-affairs/accreditation.
For the MS program, this will include a standardized measure of performance for the comprehensive examination (for those completing an individual project), a thesis or project research proposal, and the thesis defense. For the PhD program, this will include the qualifying examination, the dissertation proposal, and the dissertation defense.
The standardized instrument for the evaluation of these activities is the ESP Graduate Blooms Evaluation form, which is a modification of Bloom’s Taxonomy. This form was adapted by Dr. Dann Sklarew (Oct. 2008) and will be very helpful in preparing for your proposal and final defense!
The Graduate Program Director will NOT sign any students’ signature page without the required Blooms Evaluation form. The form must be sent to the ESP Graduate Office at email@example.com.
RATING CRITERIA: Faculty will evaluate student performance for each of the six hierarchical categories as 4,3,2,1 or 0 – 4 being the highest – (with quarter part increments for flexibility) with the understanding that it will be progressively more difficult to earn a high grade as one proceeds up the hierarchy from “Remembering” to “Creating.”
All paperwork must go through the ESP Graduate Office, which will obtain signatures from the Department Chair and Graduate Program Director.
- All graduate students, current or prospective, should refer to the appropriate Guidelines and Timelines document (there is one for MS and one for PhD). You will learn a lot about how to succeed in this program.
- Are you an applicant looking for a Teaching Assistantship? Please visit the Graduate Student Funding page for more information and how to apply.
- For all other forms not found on this webpage, please visit the Office of the Registrar’s forms page.