MSDP Application Process

The application process for prospective students is the same as the general graduate application process.

How to Apply

What to Expect

Applicants should plan to start in the fall semester. (Starting in the spring semester is allowed; however, several spring-semester courses have prerequisites that are offered in the fall, making it difficult to finish the coursework in 2 semesters. This is an important limitation to consider.)

Most admission decisions are made by early April for the following fall term. The students receive an e-mail from the Graduate School stating that they can view their decision on the online application system. Applications can be submitted after the official deadline posted by the Graduate School; late applications will be reviewed if there is space remaining in the program. Obviously, to receive the best chance of admission students should apply by the deadline.


To be considered for admission to the Master's Sustainable Development Program, applicants must have earned a B.S. degree in science or engineering, with a grade point average of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. We welcome applications from non-Civil Engineering majors.

Undergraduate coursework typically includes calculus, differential equations, two semesters of chemistry, two semesters of physics, fluid mechanics, and an engineering design class (for example, water and wastewater treatment). Students from outside disciplines might not have had all of the required courses. For applicants missing more than 3 required courses, it may be recommended that they complete some courses prior to entering the program. Students missing three or fewer courses may be able to complete the undergraduate requirements while taking graduate classes. Taking these extra courses could add an additional semester at University of Minnesota (totaling 3 semesters, rather than 2 semesters). If you are missing classes from the required undergraduate coursework, consult with the MSD Program Director Professor John Gulliver or a faculty member in your area of interest for a review and assessment of your academic background and coursework needs.

As an example of courses that might be needed, an undergraduate major in physics might need to take three additional classes: CEGE 3502 Fluid Mechanics, CEGE 4502 Water & Wastewater Treatment, and MATH 2243 Differential Equations. In that case, with a total of three background classes to be made up, the student could gain admission and take those three courses after enrolling as a graduate student.

As another example, consider an undergraduate major in pure mathematics. This student might have to take seven background courses: Physics I & II, Chemistry I & II, Statics and Dynamics, Fluid Mechanics, and Water & Wastewater Treatment. This student would need to complete many of those seven undergraduate requirements prior to being admitted into the program.

NOTE: When filling out the online application, remember to check “yes” when asked whether you are applying to the MSDP.