How to apply

Program overview and deadlines


Thesis or major research project.


The program begins in September and you must enroll full time.

  • Thesis: 24 months
  • Capstone with research project: 12 months

CO-OP: You can apply for CO-OP at the end of your first month in the program. This extends the program for either option by two terms.

Application deadlines

  • Canadian citizens and permanent residents: February 1 (to begin in September of the same year)
  • International students: December 1 (to begin in September of the following year)
Admission Criteria

Admission is limited. Applications are evaluated both independently and in relation to each other.

Prior studies

You must have an honour’s bachelor with a minimum average of B (or 70%), preferably in one of the following disciplines:

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

We may consider applicants with honours degrees in other disciplines

Please note that you must submit an official transcript from each establishment of higher education that you have attended, including for educational exchanges.

Language requirements

Compulsory courses are offered in English. If your mother tongue is not English, you might have to submit proof of language proficiency.

See our language requirements.

Applying online

Apply online through the Ontario Universities Admission Centre (OUAC). Learn more about the steps to apply.

Required documents

You must submit these documents to complete your application:

Letter of intention
Provide an overview of your academic interests and career goals, and explain why you want to pursue this master’s. Describe your relevant studies or experience, and explain anything unusual in your academic history.

If your undergraduate degree is in something unrelated to environmental sustainability, indicate what background, experience or motivation you will bring to our program.

Recommendation letters
When completing the OUAC admissions application, provide the names and email addresses of two referees who can assess your ability to undertake this program. Choose university professors who can comment on your academic abilities. If you have been out of university for several years, select people who know your recent work experience, but can comment on your potential for graduate studies.

Contact your potential referees by the application deadline to see if they will agree to provide recommendation letters and to confirm their email addresses.

In the week after you apply, they will receive an email asking them to complete the online recommendation form. Follow up with them a couple of weeks after the application deadline to ensure they have received the email and are completing the letter.

Statement of Research Interests
The Statement of Research Interests shows your understanding of environmental sustainability issues, and your ability to describe the research you expect to conduct. It also helps to match you with a suitable supervisor, or to confirm that a supervisor you have contacted is right for you.

We understand that if you are admitted, your research area may change due to further research and guidance from your supervisor.

Your Statement of Research Interests should be no more than 1,000 words. It should identify an area of research in environmental sustainability that spans more than one discipline/knowledge area and has potential policy relevance.

Ensure that your statement is well written and structured. It should address the following, using sub-headings for each section (the word counts for each section are offered as guidelines only).

  • Research area:  The area of research that interests you, including the problem you wish to address. (300 words) 
  • Research question/hypothesis: One or more research questions you wish to examine. Narrow your scope enough that your project can be completed. A research question like “What is the impact of climate change on Africa?” is too broad, whereas a question like “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: How you propose to go about answering your research question, with a focus on the methodological approach. (250 words)
  • Relevant experience: How your previous studies and/or your professional or community experience will help you address your proposed area of research. (150 words)
  • Relevance: How your research will improve the current state of knowledge in the proposed area, and its potential policy relevance. (200 words)

You may want to consult some of the many texts about choosing research and research methods. Two examples for introductory empirical economics and public policy are:

  • Wooldridge, J.M. Introductory Econometrics. 4th ed. South-Western, 2009. (chapter 19)
  • Weimer, D. and Vining, A. Policy Analysis: Concepts and Practice. 5th ed. Longman, 2010.   (chapters 1, 9, 14, 15)

Writing sample
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 it to assess your research and writing abilities, so select a piece that best exemplifies them. Do not submit something that was jointly written or professionally edited.

An updated CV with your academic, professional and volunteer experience in environmental sustainability.

Email address

Email your letter of intention, statement of research interest, writing sample and CV to

Finding a supervisor

Your choice of supervisor will have a large impact on your work and overall experience. Find a faculty member who shares your passion and area of interest, and is available to take on a student.

See the list of our program’s faculty. To find professors with these research interests elsewhere at uOttawa, see uOttawa Experts.  Enter keywords such as “environment” or “climate change” to find professors with these interests.

You can contact potential supervisors yourself.


International students

This section contains specific information for international students. See the other sections for general information.

Deadline to apply: December 1 (to begin in September of the following year)

If you completed your postsecondary education outside of Canada, see the admission equivalencies for international students. You will see the minimum degree and grade you require.

The grade average required for this program is 7.0. Admission is limited. Applicants are evaluated both independently and in relation to each other.

Compulsory courses in the program are currently offered in English. If your mother tongue is not English, you must submit evidence of proficiency in English (scroll down to “Language requirements”).  Schedule your language proficiency test as soon as possible.

We accept supporting documents (such as TOEFL scores) after December 1. However, we cannot process your application until we have received all your documents. 

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

Contact us

For questions about your application or the application process, contact the academic coordinator for the Master’s of Environmental Sustainability:

  • Jean-Marc Thibault
  • 613-562-5800 ext. 5895


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