Admission Criteria

Admissions requirements

For the most accurate, up to date information on application deadlines, language tests and other admission requirements, see our specific requirements.

To be eligible, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Hold a master’s or other graduate degree with thesis or research paper in a relevant discipline. Examples of relevant disciplines include environmental studies (broadly construed), geography, economics, environmental science, political science, international development, environmental engineering, and law.
  • Have an average of 75% (B+) calculated according to University guidelines.
  • Provide two confidential letters of recommendation.
  • Provide a up to date CV
  • Provide a letter of intent outlining your career goals.
  • Name at least one professor who is available to act as your thesis supervisor.
  • Provide an outline of your proposed research project.

Language requirements

You must be able to understand and fluently speak the language of instruction (French or English) in the program to which you are applying. We might require proof of your linguistic proficiency.

If your first language is neither French nor English, you must provide proof of proficiency in the language of instruction.

Note: You are responsible for any fees associated with language tests.

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 program. 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

We require two (2) academic letters of recommendation. They must come from qualified academic scholars who can attest to and demonstrate your potential for graduate-level study or research.

The information about the individuals providing letters of recommendation is entered in your uoZone account, the student portal. You will receive an e-mail, with instructions, after your submit your OUAC application.

  • Let the individuals know that the University of Ottawa’s letter of recommendation process is done online and is entirely confidential. They will receive a link by email to the secure online system.
  • It is helpful to provide the individuals with a deadline in order to ensure they submit their letters of recommendation before the application deadline. Your application will not be considered complete (and thus not evaluated) until all your letters of recommendation are received.
  • Letters of recommendation must be in English or French.
  • We do not accept letters of recommendation from family members, friends, students, former or current classmates, employees or teaching assistants.
  • It’s best to provide academic or work email addresses for those providing letters of recommendation. Email address from Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo, etc. are discouraged.

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)

Letter of Approval from your potential Supervisor 

A written statement from your potential uOttawa supervisor confirming their availability to act as your thesis supervisor.

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

Submission of documents 

Once you have submitted your application and it has been transferred to uOttawa’s servers, you will receive an email with instructions on how to access uoZone, where you will be able to upload your documents.

You must upload a full set of documents for each program you are applying to through uoZone, the student portal.

  • We highly recommend that you convert your documents to PDF formats.

Applying Online

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


For questions about your application or the application process, contact Institute of the Environment:

  • 613-562-5689


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