Master of Environmental Management 3+2 programs

Earn your bachelor’s and master’s degree all within five years. 

Western offers five ways to earn your bachelor’s and Master of Environmental Management together.

In these hybrid programs, students take three years of undergraduate courses followed by two years of master’s-level courses.

You can major in:
How does the 3+2 option work?

The 3+2 is an official emphasis within the ENVS, Politics & Government, Biology, Sociology, and ROE majors.

At the end of their sophomore summer, students apply to the 3+2 program. To officially enter the program, students must have:

  • maintained a 3.25 GPA within their major and a 3.0 cumulative GPA;
  • earned a B or above in two social science courses, two natural science courses (one with lab) and one statistics course;
  • fulfilled the three-credit internship requirement with a B or above and a positive letter from the project sponsor;
  • provided three letters of recommendation, at least one of which is to be a professional reference and at least one of which is to be an academic reference from the student’s major at Western;
  • submitted a Statement of Purpose to the MEM program, detailing early career ambitions, ideas and connections for the eventual master’s project.

Following their junior year of undergraduate studies, students in the program become “MEM Candidates with Provisional Acceptance.”

Students spend the Summer, Fall and Spring semesters of their senior year taking the first 23 credits of the MEM program. Those credits also count as their final undergraduate credits, and students earn their bachelor of science or bachelor of arts upon completion of the courses.   

Students then enter their fifth year as “MEM Degree Seeking Students.” They complete their MEM that year with a 600-hour “master’s project” serving an environmental organization. The project can be completed anywhere in the world.

How much does it cost?

*Costs are subject to change as tuition increases.

Meet our students and alumni

Loren Ahonen

As an undergraduate, Ahonen double majored, earning a bachelor of arts in both Politics & Government and Environment & Sustainability. He is currently a MEM student who works part-time in the Athletics Department, focusing on NCAA Compliance and Internal Operations.

“At this time, my ambitions are diverse but I hope to one-day work in higher education or at the nexus of environmental justice and the spatial planning of cities/human communities,” Ahonen said.  “My hope is to refine my interests in urban planning, public transportation, renewable energy and environmental justice into a well-defined MEM project in the coming months.”

“I chose to attend Western for the first time based on the reputation of the NCAA DII Cross Country and Track & Field teams. Now, for the second time, I chose Western for unity in my personal life, but also for a chance to re-engage in a community that inspired and allowed me to see my true potential as an undergraduate student,” he said.


Ryan Wilber

Wilber holds an undergraduate degree in in Biology; with a Wildlife Biology Concentration, Environmental Biology and Ecology Emphasis. He holds a second degree in Environment & Sustainability with a Business minor as well.

“I chose Western because it is in a remote town and enables you to have a one-on-one relationship with professors. I wanted to get out West and be in the outdoors,” he said.

For his master’s project, he assed bias in human-black bear conflict reporting in Durango, Colorado.

Currently, Wilber works for the Defenders of Wildlife as a Rockies and Plains Representative, focused on Wolf Conservation. 


Marissa Markus

Markus graduated from Western with Bachelor of Arts in Environment & Sustainability and one in Environmental Biology with an emphasis in Ecology.

“I chose Western for my master’s because I had a great undergraduate experience,” Markus said. “The class sizes were small, research opportunities were available and the relationships I developed with professors put me at an advantage to easily network with agencies.”

“The decision to enter into the Environmental Land Management Program was not an easy one, and I wish that there had been a 3+2 program when I was an undergraduate. After completing the Master's program, I hope to gain full-time employment in the valley,” Markus said.

For the last four years, Markus has been working with Colorado Parks and Wildlife as a seasonal Research Technician.

“I have been fortunate to gain the experience to lead different field crews, work in many different ecosystems and interact with a lot of different endangered species. As of late, I accepted another season technician position but with the Bureau of Land Management,” Markus said. “As a technician, I will assess the watershed health within the Gunnison Basin, as well as collect the data I need for my graduate research project. My long term goal is to work in the scientific field of water management and potentially work with social issues that surround access to clean water.”

Markus’s master’s project will focus on the hydrogeology of springs, the macro invertebrate populations and vegetation cover in order to classify springs located within the Gunnison Basin.