M.S. in Tropical Conservation Biology and Environmental Science

Tropical Conservation Biology and Environmental Science (TCBES) Graduate Program

Accepting applications for the next cohort of TCBES.

Program Application Term: Fall 2023

Priority deadline: December 1, 2022

Applications will be accepted after December 1st on a rolling basis until all slots for Fall 2023 are filled.

In addition, we will have separate calls for funding opportunities, including graduate assistantships and scholarships.

View Funding opportunities for Fall 2023.

Browse our Seminar Schedule or TCBES News!


Welcome to the Tropical Conservation Biology and Environmental Science (TCBES) Graduate Program! The TCBES program is emerging as a center of excellence in the Pacific that is capitalizing on Hawaii’s unique natural resources that are integral to the state’s cultural, economic, and scientific enterprises, and by extension, to those of the entire nation and other Pacific nations. The TCBES Program mission is to provide MS-level graduate education that: a) fosters knowledge of theory and techniques in conservation biology and environmental sciences, including basic, applied, and socio-ecological research, and b) promotes scholarly activities in marine and terrestrial environments that will enable participants to pursue careers in research and natural resource management.

The TCBES program values personal connections to people, place, and culture, and therefore our program is centered on in-person interactions. Through on-campus course work, you will get hands-on experience in field and laboratory work. You will develop interpersonal and communication skills through collaborative group projects, oral presentations, writing of various informal and formal kinds, and peer review. We also emphasize professionalism throughout the program, to help you develop as future leaders in the environmental, local, and global communities. Furthermore, your Master's project is another outlet for developing connections. Most students conduct their project on Hawaiʻi island, but some of our students do their work on other islands within the state and beyond.

Program Description

The primary purpose of the Master of Science in Tropical Conservation Biology and Environmental Science is to provide graduate training in conservation biology and environmental science to those with baccalaureate degrees and those currently working in related scientific fields. The program will utilize the extraordinary biological, physical, and cultural complexity of the island of Hawaiʻi as a focus of investigation and study. The program will prepare students for technical positions and for entry into Ph.D. programs in related fields.

Two Plans of Study

Thesis Track
requires course work (30 credits) and a thesis of original research.
Professional Internship Track
requires course work (36 credits), a 600-hour internship, and research papers.

Please visit the Catalog to review course requirements for all M.S. TCBES students. Please note that the year you start the program is the catalog that you follow for graduation requirements--the catalog can change slightly from year-to-year. You can find back issues of the UH Hilo Catalog to review.

Recommended Baccalaureate Courses for Admission to the Program

  • 2 years of chemistry
  • 1 year of calculus
  • 1 course in geographic information or remote sensing
  • 1 course in statistics
  • 2 courses in life sciences
  • 2 additional courses in physical sciences