How to Apply

Update Regarding Fall 2021 Admissions

Admissions to the E&C graduate program have been paused for the 2021-2022 academic year.  Our plan is to resume taking applications for the semester beginning fall 2022. The decision to pause admissions for one year was not taken lightly.  We are excited about the opportunity to enhance the focus on the intersectional forms of social and environmental justice in the E&C program.  

We apologize for the disruption this may cause.  If you have already applied for Fall 2021 admission, we can retain your application materials and review your application for the 2022-2023 academic year, with no additional application fee.  We can also refund your application fee if you would prefer.  If you have any questions please contact us at

(Application instructions have been updated as of November 2, 2020.)

Applications are reviewed by an admissions committee comprised of program faculty members.

Application Deadlines

  • Application opens: October 1
  • Priority Application Deadline: February 15
    • Late applications will be considered on a space-available basis. If you would like to submit an application after February 15, contact the program office at
    • The E&C program does not offer spring admission.

Admission Requirements

  • Completed B.A. or B.S. degree from an accredited college or university 

  • Prior coursework in social science

    • Applicants whose coursework does not include social science should indicate in their statement of purpose how they plan to acquire a basic understanding of social science theory and research before beginning the program.

  • Coursework, training, certificate programs, written materials, advocacy, community work, and/or lived experience that foreground intersectional and decolonizing understandings of power/privilege and identity in environment and community.

    • This requirement can be met by taking an additional course on power, privilege and/or indigenous studies/decolonization in the first semester of the program.* 

    • Please describe how you have met or will meet this requirement in your statement of purpose.

  • A college-level course in statistics

    • This requirement must be satisfied by the end of the first semester of the program.*

  • Minimum 3.0 grade point average in the last 60 units of coursework

  • GRE scores are not required

  • *These additional courses do not count toward the M.A. degree requirements.

Application Materials.

1. Completed electronic CSU graduate application form (Cal State Apply).

  • See the Graduate Admissions page for more details.
  • Select the Humboldt State campus and the program "Social Science - Environment & Community."

2. Statement of Purpose (750 words).

  • Disregard the prompt in the Cal State Apply form. Instead, address the following two program-specific prompts:
  • 1) Explain the relationship between social and environmental justice as it relates to your interests. In your response, you can consider the current moment, the historical context, and/or your personal engagement with these issues. (Your statement should demonstrate an ability to think through intersectional and anti-colonial/decolonizing lenses. Please include a discussion of the role of power, privilege, positionality, and/or identity in environment and community relations. Some of the terms used here may be new to you; this prompt seeks to understand your familiarity with, and openness to, the frameworks that are central to the E&C program.)

For example, you might address one of the following questions:

Discuss the connections between climate change (or ecological degradation) and inequality.

To what extent do you understand structures of inequality to be the cause of environmental degradation? How does that understanding change the way people ought to go about addressing environmental problems?

What do Black Lives Matter, Indigenous, Latinx, and other antiracist movements have to do with climate change?

What’s the relationship between ecological health and decolonization?

In what ways has the environmental movement exacerbated social injustice?

How does your positionality shape how you frame environmental concerns?

If conservation and the science of ecology emerged historically out of movements for social engineering (such as eugenics or indigenous removal), how can we reconcile the role of ecology in environmental justice today?

What is needed for a socially-just approach to environmental science, conservation biology, and other environmentally-related scientific projects?

How have scientific claims about "nature" shaped social hierarchies?

  • 2) To the extent possible, describe possible thesis or project topics and what you would like to do when you graduate from the program.

3. Letters of Recommendation (3 letters).

  • Select recommendations from people in a position to assess your potential as a graduate student.
  • Use the electronic recommendation request process via Cal State Apply.

4. Writing Sample (10 pages).

  • The writing sample is intended to show the application review committee that you are able to communicate clearly and intelligently at a level appropriate to an incoming graduate student.
  • The sample can be a school paper, newspaper article, and/or reports written for work.
  • The topic can be anything.
  • Ten pages is a guideline for the submission; your paper can be a little shorter or a little longer. If your paper is longer, please submit the entire piece rather than just 10 pages extracted.

5. Official transcript from each college attended.


International Students

There are additional requirements for international students interested in applying to the program. Information about those requirements is available through the International Programs Office.

Financial Information

Students from the Western United States:

The Environment and Community Program is a member of the Western Regional Graduate Program, which is part of the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE). Membership in the WRGP enables students from any of the western United States to pursue graduate study in the E&C program while paying only California in-state tuition. For more information about the WRGP, visit:

Financial Aid:

All applicants are strongly encouraged to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and file it by the deadline. Completing the FAFSA enables applicants to be considered for federal graduate work study awards, in addition to federal and state financial aid loans and grants. Information about completing the FAFSA and about financial aid in general is available from the HSU Financial Aid Office.

Non-Resident Fee Waivers:

There is also a limited amount of non-resident fee waiver money granted to students in this program on a competitive basis. All admitted students who are neither California residents nor residents of the western states that belong to the Western Regional Graduate Program (see above) will be considered for this fee waiver.

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Environment and Community MA Program
Humboldt State University
1 Harpst Street
Arcata, CA 95521-8299

Phone: (707) 826-3653
Fax: (707) 826-4496