Career Services

Five Year Programme with Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies

The Concurrent Degree Programme offered by Yale-NUS and the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies (Yale F&ES) is designed for students who want to pursue careers in an environmental field. Students will undergo five years of academic studies and a one-year internship. The programme is designed to provide well-prepared Yale-NUS students with accelerated graduate training in environmental science, management, and policy. Graduates from the School’s master’s degree programs have become highly successful leaders within government, corporations, non-profit organizations, and academia. Yale-NUS students must complete the Environmental Studies major requirements to be eligible to apply for either a Master of Environmental Management (MEM) or Master of Environmental Science (MESc) degree. Normally the School awards master’s degrees following two years of graduate study and admission is offered only to those holding a bachelor’s degree. This programme accelerates the master’s degree programme through careful integration of undergraduate curriculum with graduate requirements.

The following information provides guidance from the type of courses you must take in order to be considered for this programme, to advice on topics such as what to do during your summers to be a competitive candidate. CIPE is here to help you prepare for a successful application process!


Year 3, Semester 1 Students declare interest in the 5-Year Programme by 30th August and apply for semester abroad at Yale by 7th September
Year 3, Semester 2 Students study at Yale College taking courses in the areas of environmental economics, environmental history, environmental politics, ecology, climate science, environmental anthropology, and additional biophysical science courses
Year 4, Semester 1 Students submit applications in December to YFES Admissions Office
Year 4, Semester 2 Students receive updated on applications and acceptance letters
Year 5 Accepted students take on one-year log, full-time internship before matriculating at YFES
Year 6 Students complete graduate courses at YFES


Admission to the 5th Year Programme will require careful long-range curriculum planning by undergraduates to be able to meet all undergraduate and graduate degree requirements in only five years. Successful applicants will demonstrate academic excellence, outstanding written and verbal skills in English, maturity of academic focus, successful completion of a term of study at Yale University, strong faculty recommendations, capacity to conduct independent research, excellent progress in senior essay development, intent to spend a year of internship in an environmental field prior to graduate programme matriculation, and clarity of professional aspiration.



  • Completed online application form
  • Résumé or curriculum vitae
  • A personal statement (600-word maximum)
  • Official transcripts.
  • Three letters of reference, preferably from ladder faculty at Yale-NUS, Yale College or YFES
  • Official GRE or GMAT score report
  • Application fee


Once admitted to the F&ES 5th Year Concurrent degree programme, graduate students in Environmental Management and Environmental Science degree programs will have the following requirements in common, regardless of their undergraduate school:

  • Successful completion of the summer Training Modules in Technical Skills prior to the fall term in residence at F&ES.
  • Successful completion of 24 credits for graduate courses during one full academic year in residence (normally 3 credits are offered for each course successfully completed).

Successful completion of course requirements specific to either the MEM or MESc degree program.

Differences between the MEM and the MESc degree

The MEM degree is designed for students interested in pursuing careers in environmental policy and analysis, stewardship, education, consulting, or management dealing with natural resource, pollution control, and other environmental issues. The programme requires coursework in both the natural and social sciences, with a particular focus on the complex relationship between science, management, and policy. The ultimate purpose of the degree programme is to provide students with a scientific understanding of ecological and social systems, which then can be applied in a policy or management context.

The MESc degree is designed for students interested in conducting scientific research that contributes toward basic and applied knowledge. This degree is intended to provide students a deeper disciplinary focus than the MEM, while reflecting the core value of the school that students should be allowed flexibility in course selection in order to meet their educational goals. The course of study includes formalized training in the philosophy, ethics, and practice of science. If a student intends to apply for the MESc degree programme, then a Yale faculty member must agree to be the student’s master’s degree advisor before applying to the 5th Year Concurrent degree program. Additionally, the F&ES faculty advisor must provide a letter of this agreement to become part of the student’s application. This degree programme is often selected by students who will pursue the Ph.D. degree

NOTE: If a student intends to apply for the MESc degree programme, then he/she MUST secure a F&ES faculty member as an advisor for the MESc degree programme before applying to the five-year joint degree program. Additionally, the F&ES faculty advisor must provide a letter as part of the student’s application stating his/her agreement to become the prospective student’s F&ES advisor.

Internship / Research project requirements

Internships and/or research projects are a crucial component of the 5-year program. An applicant must complete an approved internship/research project during the summer between graduating from Yale College and matriculating full-time at F&ES.


There is no magic formula to ensure your admission to F&ES. And there is no prescribed course selection or capstone project idea that will guarantee acceptance. As you are questioning how to be the “best fit” for the F&ES programme, you should also consider whether the F&ES programme is the best fit for you. This line of thought, perhaps more than anything, will help you to prepare a compelling application. Although your course selection and grades are important, your personal essay is arguably the most crucial aspect of your application. It is with your essay that you can distinguish yourself from the crowded applicant field and give the most complete picture of who you are and what path you intend to follow. Make sure to use your personal essay to create a coherent narrative for your studies – why have you focused on certain topics, what will you study at F&ES if accepted, and how will your education contribute to your professional ambitions?

Another very important factor for bolstering your application to F&ES is a strong letter of recommendation. It would be a great idea to obtain a letter from one of the F&ES instructors whose course you took while studying abroad at Yale. During your time abroad at Yale you should try to immerse yourself in the F&ES community, get to know fellow students and instructors as well as the leaders of research groups and labs. There is no better signal of your scholastic abilities than if a current F&ES instructor vouches for you and tells the Admissions Committee that you will excel in courses at Yale.

Of course you should put together a compelling course of study in your undergraduate career, one that complements your Area of Specialization (AoS) with a strong capstone project – take this advice whether you’re applying to F&ES or not. If you complete courses at Yale-NUS, NUS, and Yale that build a cogent AoS and provide a foundation for a compelling capstone course your scholastic and professional goals will be much clearer to you and to the application committee.

Yale College applicants to the 5-year concurrent degree programme are strongly encouraged to have taken at least two quantitative courses (e.g., calculus, statistics, linear algebra, discrete mathematics); two biological science courses (e.g., biology, ecology); two physical science courses (e.g., chemistry, physics, geology/earth science, hydrology/soil science); and two social science courses (e.g., anthropology, economics, political science, and sociology). While the Quantitative Reasoning, Scientific Inquiry, and Foundations of Science common curriculum courses fulfill some of these quantitative and science requirements, students who do not elect the Integrated Science (IS) track are strongly advised to take an additional quantitative and/or science course as it fits within their AoS.

For example, a course of study for a student who does not elect the IS track could look something like this:


Semester 1 Semester 2
Year One ·      Common Curriculum Courses ·    Common Curriculum Courses
·    Introduction to Environmental Studies
Year Two ·      2000-level required ES course (Conservation Biology or Ecology and Ecosystems) OR course related to a student’s Area of Specialization (AoS) ·   2000-level required ES course OR major course related to a student’s Area of Specialization (AoS)
·   Courses related to AoS
Year Three ·      Courses related to AoS
·      Additional Quantitative or Science course
·      Study abroad at Yale College
·      Additional Quantitative or Science course
Year Four ·      Advanced courses related to a students’ AoS
·      Senior capstone
·      Advanced courses related to a students’ AoS
·      Senior capstone



Charlotte Evans
Centre for International and Professional Experience (CIPE)