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.

Matriculation/Enrollment Expectations

Students may not matriculate with more than one required prerequisite deficiency. Once the student confirms intent to enroll, their transcript is reviewed for prerequisite requirements for the program area to which they are admitted. Students will receive notification of their prerequisite deficiencies shortly after confirming their intent to enroll in the fall. We strongly urge students to complete their prerequisite coursework prior to matriculation. Students lacking a prerequisite may be unable to take courses in the recommended sequence and may find it difficult to graduate within the standard two years of study.

Courses taken after matriculation to satisfy a prerequisite do not count towards the credits required for the professional degree. Successful completion of graduate-level courses in the MEM and MF program does not eliminate a prerequisite requirement. Students who fail to complete their prerequisite coursework by the end of the first year of study are at risk of being dismissed from the program. NOTE: Students admitted to the cooperative college 3-2 program may not matriculate with any prerequisite deficiencies.

Prerequisites by Program Area 

View the key topics in a standard college level course for each subject.

Required Courses

  • Calculus: All program areas require calculus
  • Statistics: All program areas require statistics
  • Microeconomics: Business of Environment (BE), Coastal Environmental Management (CEM), Environmental Economics and Policy (EEP), Energy and Environment (EE) and Master of Forestry (MF)
  • Chemistry: Ecotoxicology and Environmental Health (EEH)
  • Principles of Ecology: Ecosystem Science and Conservation (ESC) and Master of Forestry (MF)

Recommended Courses

  • Microeconomics: Ecosystem Science and Conservation (ESC) and Water Resources Management (WRM)
  • Organic Chemistry: Ecotoxicology and Environmental Health (EEH)
  • Physics: Water Resources Management (WRM)
  • Chemistry: Water Resources Management (WRM)
  • Principles of Ecology: Ecotoxicology and Environmental Health (EEH)
2020 Revised Prerequisite Policy

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.

  1. 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. 
  2. 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 here. *IMPORTANT: NetID login is required to take the statistics and chemistry Coursera courses at Duke. Login here and then click on Go to Coursera at Duke. Below is the list of Duke and non-Duke options:
  1. 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.
  1. 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 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
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.

Coastal Environmental Management

Although students are permitted to enroll in the fall with one required prerequisite deficiency, it is especially important that students admitted to the Coastal Environmental Management program complete calculus and microeconomics prior to enrolling. At least one two-part graduate level course required for CEMs has prerequisite requirements in calculus and microeconomics; the course is Resource and Environmental Economics I-II (ENVIRON 520 & 521). Typically, this two-course sequence is taught only in the fall on main campus and is not available at the Marine Lab in Beaufort. Any CEM not prepared to take ENV 520 & 521 in their first fall will be required to take it in their second fall term and that could affect the student’s ability to study at the Marine Lab in the fall of their second year. Of course, CEMs are not required to spend two semesters at the Marine Lab during their second year, but most students in the CEM cohort tend to take advantage of this opportunity.


Master of Forestry

Although students are permitted to matriculate with one required prerequisite deficiency, we strongly urge students pursuing the Master of Forestry degree to complete all of their prerequisites prior to enrolling. This includes prerequisite courses in calculus, statistics, microeconomics and principles of ecology. Should the student need to start the program missing one required prerequisite, we recommend that be either calculus or microeconomics. Given the recommended course sequencing for the Master of Forestry degree, it is important that students matriculate with prerequisite courses in statistics and principles of ecology already completed. We expect students to enroll in graduate courses that require these two prerequisites in their first year study e.g. ENVIRON 710 (Applied Data Analysis) and ENVIRON 503 (Forest Ecosystems), ENVIRON 701 (Forest Measurements) and ENVIRON 731 (Dendrology).

Notification of Enrollment

Students who plan to matriculate in the fall should provide notification of enrollment in their prerequisite course(s) no later than July 1 (NEW EXTENDED DEADLINE).

Transcript Submission

Students may submit official transcripts, degree certificates, course certificates and grade reports at this link or if the undergraduate or non-degree institution uses eSCRIP-SAFE International (or similar transcript service) for the delivery of official electronic transcripts, please ask the university registrar to forward your official transcript to If the original transcript is not in English, you must also provide a certified English translation along with the original transcript.

Quick Links


For questions and/or concerns about prerequisite course requirements, send an email to or call 919-613-7459.