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Environmental Studies (MES/JD)

Joint program with Osgoode Hall Law School

Study in the only joint law and environmental studies program in Canada, offering you the opportunity to gain both a Master in Environmental Studies degree and a Juris Doctor in only four years. Through cutting-edge interdisciplinary teaching and research in law and the environment, you will explore how these two critical fields interconnect.

Our graduates are prepared for a range of career opportunities in areas that include:

  • Government
  • Business corporations
  • Non-profit sector
  • Private law firms

Program Details

4 years

Full time

Fall entry

Master in Environmental Studies (MES) and Juris Doctor (JD)

Program Structure

Students in the MES/JD program spend their first year full-time in either faculty. Their second year is spent completing the first-year program of the other faculty. The first year of the MES is made up of three consecutive terms, while the first year of JD is two terms, with the Summer term off.

In the third and fourth years, students enrol full-time in the JD for the Fall and Winter terms. The summer after third year is spent full time in the MES program, working on the MES major research paper or project, or earning field experience.

Starting in the MES Program

Years 1 & 2

Fall Winter Summer Fall Winter Summer

Years 3 & 4

Fall Winter Summer Fall Winter

Applying to Environmental Studies (MES/JD)

You must apply and be accepted into both programs separately. You may apply to both programs simultaneously or during your first year in either program. For detailed information regarding the application deadline and admission requirements for the JD program, please see the Osgoode admissions page.

MES Admission Requirements

  • Honours (four-year) bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution
    • B+ GPA over the past two years (or full-time equivalent) of academic study
  • Fall 2021 Online Application: February 15, 2021
  • Fall 2021 Submission of Supporting Documents: February 28, 2021
  1. Complete the online York University Graduate Application Form.
    • No documents will be reviewed prior to the submission of an online application.
  2. Pay the application fee.
  3. Submit supporting documents through the York university online portal, MyFile.
    • Within four business days of application, you will receive a confirmation email with your nine-digit student reference number, which will allow you to access your MyFile account and upload your documents.
    • It is important to check your MyFile regularly for any documents you are required to submit and updates to the status of your application


Academic transcripts or degree certificates (if degree conferral is not indicated on transcripts) are required from every post-secondary institution you attended. This includes:

  • Undergraduate and graduate studies
  • Exchange programs
  • Studies for which you did not complete a degree

Transcripts are not required for studies completed at York University.

If you are currently completing your studies, submit your in-progress transcript.

More information about transcript submission is available on the York University Graduate Admissions page.

Statement of Academic Interest

Your statement must follow the format below. Please keep in mind that it should specifically highlight your interest in the MES/JD program.

Part A: A title summarizing your research interests (20 words or less)

Part B: Five keywords that best describe your research interests

Part C: A description of your intended research (approximately 500 words):

  • Include key theories, concepts and practices central to your area of interest.
  • Outline why the MES/JD is best suited to meet your academic and professional goals.
  • Describe how your interests relate to our full-time faculty members’ research.
    • Note: You do not need to secure a supervisor prior to applying. If you are accepted into the program, a supervisor will be assigned to you.

Resumé or Curriculum Vitae

You may also wish to include the following information (if applicable) in your resumé or curriculum vitae:

  • Academic honours (scholarships, fellowships, awards, etc.)
  • Academic and professional qualifications and memberships
  • Publications and reports (if any are joint-authored, please provide a separate note describing your contribution)

Two forms ­– Referee and Supplementary Information –  must be completed. These can be found under the “Supplementary Information Forms” link in your MyFile account. It is best to prepare your answers in advance and then copy and paste them into the form.

Referee Information Form

  • You will be required to submit three references or referees.
  • Please provide us with the names, email addresses and mailing addresses of your referees. A link will be emailed, on your behalf, to your referees to complete a Letter of Recommendation form. 
  • Your referees will have two weeks to complete the form.

Academic references are strongly preferred. It is possible to use professional references if necessary, provided they address your critical thinking skills and how adept you are at dealing with theoretical concepts.

Supplementary Information Form

This is a standard graduate form, so some questions will not apply.

  • Question 1: Awards information – Please list any external awards you have applied for (such as the SHHRC and OGS).
  • Question 2: Language skill – Does not apply to the Master in Environmental Studies. Please leave this section blank.
  • Question 3: Program options – You must indicate that you are interested in the MES/JD program here. 
  • Question 4: Professors you hope to work with – Please identify three faculty members, as mentioned in your Statement of Academic Interest, who could be a potential supervisor. 
  • Question 5: Other information – You may include any additional information that you feel is relevant to your application that has not been previously mentioned.

(if applicable)

If your first language is not English, you must demonstrate you have an acceptable level of English by completing a language proficiency test:

  • TOEFL – paper-based: 600; computer-based: 250; iBT: 100 (York code: 0894)
  • IELTS (Academic) – overall band score: 7.5

Note: You must meet the required minimum score for your application to be considered. For more details, see York University’s English language proficiency information.