The purpose of prerequisite requirements is to ensure that students are adequately prepared for their graduate-level courses in the Master of Environmental Management (MEM) and Master of Forestry (MF) professional degree programs. Students lacking prerequisites may be unable to complete courses in the recommended sequence and may find it difficult to complete the required courses for graduation within the normal two years of study.

Application and acceptance to the MEM and MF degrees is possible with prerequisite deficiencies. However, although we admit applicants with missing prerequisites, we only matriculate students who are missing no more than one required prerequisite.

If you have not yet fulfilled a prerequisite, you are strongly urged to complete it prior to matriculating in the Nicholas School. Courses taken after matriculation to satisfy prerequisites do not count towards the credits required for the degree.

Students who fail to meet the required prerequisites by the end of the first year of study are at risk of being dismissed from the program.

Admissions Prerequisites

Prerequisites for admission to the Nicholas School are:

  1. Some previous training in the natural sciences or the social sciences related to the student’s area of interest.
  2. At least one semester of college calculus that includes: algebra (graphing linear equations, solving systems of linear equations); functions (characteristics of functions in one variable, logarithmic functions, exponential functions); calculus of one variable (derivatives, definite and indefinite integrals); calculus of more than one variable (partial derivatives, total derivatives); and first-order differential equations (discrete and continuous time, rates of decay, initial conditions).
  3. A college statistics course that includes descriptive statistics, probability distributions, hypothesis testing, confidence intervals, correlation, simple linear regression, and simple ANOVAs.

Program-Specific Prerequisites

In additional to the school-wide prerequisites in calculus and statistics, additional courses might be required or recommended depending on the student’s program area of study within the MEM or MF degree. Although students must complete required prerequisites, completion of recommended courses is left up to the student’s discretion.

MASTER OF ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT (MEM) DEGREE

  • Business and Environment (BE): Microeconomics is required – either a full semester microeconomics course or an introductory course that is more than half microeconomics rather than macroeconomics)
  • Coastal Environmental Management (CEM): Microeconomics is required – either a full semester microeconomics course or an introductory course that is more than half microeconomics rather than macroeconomics.
  • Environmental Economics and Policy (EEP): Microeconomics is required – either a full semester microeconomics course or an introductory course that is more than half microeconomics rather than macroeconomics.
  • Ecosystem Science and Conservation (ESC): Principles of Ecology is required; Microeconomics is not required for the ESC program but it is required for ENVIRON 520 Resource and Environmental Economics, a course taken by a large number of ESC students.
  • Energy and Environment (EE): Microeconomics is required – either a full semester microeconomics course or an introductory course that is more than half microeconomics rather than macroeconomics.
  • Ecotoxicology and Environmental Health (EEH): One semester of college Chemistry is required; Organic Chemistry and Principles of Ecology are both recommended.
  • Water Resources Management (WRM): General courses in Chemistry and Physics are recommended; Microeconomics is not required for the WRM program but it is required for ENVIRON 520 Resource and Environmental Economics, a course taken by a large number of WRM students.

MASTER OF FORESTRY (MF) DEGREE

Principles of Ecology and an Introductory Economics course that includes microeconomics are both required.

Although students without the level of preparation described below may be accepted for admission, it is expected that deficiencies will be made up prior to entrance by means of formal coursework.

Choosing a Prerequisite Course

Students may fulfill prerequisite requirements by demonstrating successful completion of at least one of the following options for each required prerequisite. While highly recommended, students may choose whether or not to complete prerequisite courses recommended for their program area of study.

Traditional/standard college-level course

Complete a college level course at any accredited college or university (including community, technical or junior college); for graded credit and a minimum grade of C- earned (a Passing (P) or Satisfactory (S) grade) is also acceptable; and submit an official transcript to demonstrate successful completion. 

Coursera/MOOC/Opencourseware

Students may satisfy prerequisite requirements by providing a certificate of completion at the conclusion of a course taken through Coursera, MOOC or Opencourseware. Addendum: If you are unable to provide a certificate of completion, you can submit a copy of your complete grade history at the end of the course. Save a list of your final grades as a PDF (see the “Grades” section within the course portal). Upload certificates and grade reports in the transcript drop box.  Duke University offers chemistry and statistics courses at no cost to current Duke students; non-Duke Coursera courses are at the student’s expense. Search for course options that are covered by Duke Coursera. NetID login is required to take the statistics and chemistry Coursera courses at Duke. Login and then click on Go to Coursera at Duke. Below is the list of Duke and non-Duke options:

Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB)

We will accept advanced placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) courses if the student earns college credit for the course(s) from their undergraduate institution. College credit must be clearly documented on the official undergraduate transcript. In the absence of the appropriate documentation on the official undergraduate transcript, we will accept an official letter from the institution’s Registrar’s Office (sent directly to our office), which clearly confirms the student earned college credit for the advanced placement course(s); the letter may not be sent by the applicant or student.

Distance Learning Courses

Students may fulfill prerequisites at any accredited college or university. Students wishing to enroll in a distance learning course (i.e. online), in order to fulfill a prerequisite, are encouraged to seek prior approval to make sure the course is appropriate to fulfill the prerequisite requirement. Send an email to nsoe-registrar@duke.edu with the name of the institution, course title, course number, credit value, dates of the course and the link to the online course details. The Nicholas School maintains a short list of Pre-Approved distance learning courses (for required prerequisites only). To request a list of Pre-Approved Distance Learning Courses, send an email to nsoe-registrar@duke.edu.

Diagnostic Exams

The Nicholas School administers diagnostic exams in calculus and statistics. All students are expected to take the diagnostic exams. Students must complete the calculus and statistics prerequisites prior to taking the diagnostic exams. We encourage students to spend time reviewing calculus and statistics subjects prior to the exams. Although we want students to do well on the diagnostic exams, please do not stress about these tests in advance. The exams are intended to assess where students are in these subjects at the time that they matriculate and to ensure that students are prepared for graduate level courses requiring calculus and statistics as prerequisites. Students cannot take the diagnostic exams to waive a prerequisite requirement.

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