How to Apply

This section identifies program admission requirements, steps to get your application started and special information that is relevant if you are an international student.

  • What? General info: program duration, study options and deadline to apply.
  • How? List of documents to prepare in order to submit your application.
  • Where? Where to find the application form, how to submit your application.
  • Who? Point of contact should you have questions about your application.
  • International Students

General information: program duration, study options and deadline to apply

Deadline to apply: February 1 for Canadian students, December 1 for international students

The program begins in September for all students. Students must register full-time.

Duration of program: Capstone with research project option (12 months); Thesis project (24 months)

Program options: Thesis or major research project

Degree requirements:

Honour’s bachelor with a minimum average of B (or 70%) in the following disciplines:

  • Environmental studies
  • Geography
  • Economics
  • Environmental science
  • Political science
  • International development
  • Environmental engineering
  • Law
  • Other

Check Admission for Language proficiency requirements


Documents to prepare in order to submit your application

Specific program requirements can be viewed on the Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies website. Below is an overview of the required documents to complete the application package.

We will consider applications with an honours bachelor’s degree or equivalent from any program. However, we are looking for candidates interested in studying environmental sustainability, so if your undergraduate degree is in something unrelated to environmental sustainability, you will want to clarify in your letter of intention why you are interested in this program, and what background, experience or motivation you will bring to it.

Letter of intention:
The letter of intention is an opportunity for you to provide an overview of your academic interests and career ambitions, and to explain why you want to pursue this particular Master’s degree. What is it about this program that motivated you to apply? Comment on your relevant studies or experience, and explain any anomalies in your academic history if there are any. This is the Admissions Committee’s best way to get to know you and understand why you want to be admitted to our program.

Recommendation letters:
When completing the OUAC admissions application, you will have to provide the name and email address of two referees that you have chosen who can assess your aptitude to pursue graduate studies in this program. It is best to choose referees who are university professors that can comment on your academic abilities. If you have been out of university for several years, you may select someone who knows your recent work experience, but aim for someone who can comment on your potential for graduate studies. In the week following the submission of your application, your referees will receive an email asking them to complete the online recommendation form. You should contact your referees before the application deadline to see if they will agree to serve as referee, and to confirm their email address. It is also helpful to follow up with them a couple of weeks after the application deadline to ensure they received the email and are completing the letter.

Statement of Research Interest:
The Statement of Research Interest helps the Admissions Committee evaluate your understanding of environmental sustainability issues, and your ability to describe the type of research you foresee conducting as part of the program. It is also used to help match you with Faculty members suitable for supervising your work, or confirming that a supervisor you have already been in contact with is the right person to supervise you. It is an important factor in selecting candidates for admission, so please ensure that it is well written and structured. It is understood that if you are admitted to the program, your research area may change as a result of further research and direction from your supervisor.

Your Statement of Research Interests should be no more than 1000 words. It should identify an area of research in the area of environmental sustainability that spans more than one discipline/knowledge area and has potential policy relevance. It should address the following, using sub-headings for each section (the word counts for each section are offered as guidelines only).

  • Research Area: Briefly describe the area of research which interests you, including the problem you wish to address. (300 words). 
  • Research Question/Hypothesis: Articulate one or more research question(s) you wish to examine. It is helpful to narrow the scope of inquiry sufficiently that the project can be completed. For example, a research question on: “What is the impact of climate change on Africa” is too broad, whereas a question such as “How does over-exploitation of groundwater in Africa affect girls’ attendance at school” is clearly defined and possible to answer well. (100 words)
  • Research Methodology: Explain how you propose to go about answering your research question, with a focus on the methodological approach. (250 words)
  • Relevant Experience: Explain how your undergraduate, other studies and/or your professional or community experience will help you address your proposed area of research. (150 words)
  • Relevance: Describe how your research will benefit the current state of knowledge in the proposed area, including potential policy relevance. (200 words)

It may be helpful to refer to texts about choosing research and research methods. There are many such texts. Two examples for introductory empirical economics and public policy are:

  • Wooldridge, J.M., 2009, “Introductory Econometrics, 4th Edition”, South-Western. (chapter 19)
  • Weimer, D. and Vining, A., 2010, Policy analysis: concepts and practice, Longman, 5th edition. (chapters 1, 9, 14, 15)

Writing Sample:
You must provide a sample (or an extract) of an article or essay that you have written in French or English, between 10 and 20 pages in length. We will use this to assess your research and writing abilities, so select the piece that best exemplifies your capacities. Please do not submit something that was jointly written or professionally edited.


Links to the application form and OUAC

Everyone must submit their application online through the Ontario Universities Admission Centre (OUAC). The link to the application as well as additional information about preparing your application can be found on the Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies' website.

In addition, the following required documents must be sent to

  • Letter of intention
  • Statement of Research Interest
  • Writing Sample
  • CV
Finding a supervisor for your studies

When undertaking graduate studies, it is important to know who you could potentially work with during your studies, as this has a large impact on your work as well as the overall experience. Ideally, you would find a faculty member who shares your passion and area of interest, and who is available to take on a student. As part of the process of finding your thesis supervisor, we invite you to browse the list of our faculty members to review the areas of expertise at uOttawa. You can also use the resource uOttawa Experts, enter keywords such as environment, climate change, and the like to find faculty with research interests in these areas.

You are invited to contact potential supervisors directly to discuss the possibility of working with them during your studies in the Master’s of Environmental Sustainability program.

Additionally, should you have any questions about the process or any other aspect of finding a supervisor, contact the academic coordinator:

Jean-Marc Thibault
613- 562-5895


Who can I contact with questions about my application?

Should you have questions about your application or the process of applying, please contact the academic coordinator for the Master’s of Environmental Sustainability:

International Students

Deadline to apply: December 1

Please read the Admission Requirements for the Master of Environmental Sustainability to ensure that you meet the eligibility criteria.

If your post-secondary education was completed outside of Canada, please visit the admission equivalencies for international students. This tool will help you understand your degree equivalency. The grade average required for this program is a minimum of 7.0. Please note that the program is highly competitive and that applications are carefully reviewed, and are evaluated independently and in relation to other applications.

The deadline for international students to submit an application is December 1. Applicants begin the application process by submitting the electronic registration, paying the application fee and following up with the required documentation.

The compulsory courses in the program are currently offered in English. Candidates whose mother tongue is not English must submit evidence of proficiency in English to ensure that they can communicate with professors, peers and stakeholders, understand and analyse master’s level course material, and translate their knowledge and understanding into thoughtful and original research papers or theses. Students should schedule their language proficiency test as soon as possible. We accept supporting documents (such as the TOEFL score) past December 1st deadline, however, we cannot process the application until all documents are received. 

Please note that you will need to submit an official transcript from each establishment of higher education that you have attended. This includes educational exchanges.


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