Environmental Sciences Program

Address : PO Box 70377, San Juan, Puerto Rico 00936-8377

Telephone : (787) 764-0000, exts. 7344.

Fax : (787) 772-1459

E-mail : cienciasambientales@vmail.uprrp.edu


MS in Environmental Sciences including emphasis options in Sustainable Management of Islands and Tropical Regions, Environmental Modeling and Spatial Analysis and an Interdisciplinary option.


Rafael A. Rios, Ph.D., PE, University of Texas, Austin, 1975, Professor.
Water and wastewater treatment .

James Ackerman, Ph.D., Florida State University, 1981, Professor.
Taxonomy, Plant Ecology.

T. Mitchell Aide, Ph.D., University of Utah, 1989, Professor.
Community Ecology.

Paul Bayman, Ph.D., University of California-Berkley, 1987, Professor

María Gloria Domíngez Bello, Ph.D., University of Aberdeen, 1990, Associate Professor.
Microbial ecology.

Edwin Hernández, Ph.D., University of Puerto Rico-Río Piedras, 2000, Research Associate.
Marine ecology.

Rafael L. Juglar, Ph.D., Kansas State University, 1986, Professor.
Ecology, herpetology.

Carla Restrepo, Ph.D., University of Florida, 1995, Associate Professor.
Landscape ecology.

Gary Toranzos, Ph.D., University of Arizona, 1985, Professor.
Environmental microbiology.

Rafael Arce, Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1971, Professor.
Physical chemistry.

Osvaldo Rosario, Ph.D. University of Puerto Rico-Río Piedras, 1978, Professor.
Analytical chemistry.

Mariano Marcano, Ph.D., State University of New York-Stony Brook, 1988, Professor. Sustainable urban systems.

Gabriel Moreno, Ph.D. State University of New York-Stony Brook, 1990, Professor. Sustainable urban systems.

Nicholas Brokaw, Ph.D., University of Chicago, 1980, Professor.
Tropical forest ecology.

Jorge Ortiz, Ph.D., University of Colorado-Boulder, 1998, Associate Professor
Carbon metabolism in tropical islands streams; applied limnology; water resources management.

Xiaoming Zou, Ph.D., Colorado State University, 1992, Professor.
Forest ecology.

Heeralal Janwa, Ph.D., Syracuse University, 1986, Professor.
Applied mathematics.

María Eglée Pérez, Ph.D., Venezuela Central University, 1994, Assistant Professor.
Statistics and applied mathematics.

Luis R. Pericchi, Ph.D., University of London ( Imperial Collage), 1981, Professor. Statistics and applied mathematics.

Gerardo Morell, Ph.D., University of Puerto Rico-Río Piedras, 1995, Professor.
Physical chemistry.

Indira Luciano, Ph.D., Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, 2005, Assistant Professor.
Regional economics.

Joseph Vogel, Ph.D., Rutgers University, 1987, Assistant Professor.
Ecological economy.

Maritza Barreto, Ph.D., University of Puerto Rico-Mayagüez, 1997, Professor.
Marine geology.

Angel David Cruz Báez, Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1997, Professor. Demography, agricultural geography.

Carlos J. Guilbe, Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 1999, Professor.
Urban geography.

Camilo Gomides, Ph.D., Tulane University, 2003, Associate Professor .

Humberto Cavallín, Ph.D., University of California-Berkley, 2006, Visiting Professor. Architecture.

Ariel Lugo, Ph.D., University of North Carolina, 1969, Adjunct Professor.
Tropical ecology.

Loretta Roberson , Ph.D., Stanford University, 2001,Research Associate.
Environmental Microbiology.

Mei Yu, Ph.D., Chinese Academy of Sciences, 1998, Professor.
Spatial analysis, modeling .

Olga Mayol, Ph.D., University of Puerto Rico-Río Piedras, 1998, Associate Professor.
Analytical Chemistry.

Alonso Ramírez, Ph.D., University of Georgia-Athens, 2001, Associate Professor.
Limnology .

Jess Zimmerman, Ph.D., University of Utah, 1989, Professor.
Plant Ecology .

Elvira Cuevas, Ph.D., Venezuelan Institute of Scientific Research, 1983, Professor.
Microbial Ecology.


Requirements for Admission

To be considered for admission in August, the student must submit the following documents no later than February 28:

  1. A Bachelor’s in Science degree (or its equivalent) with a major in Environmental Sciences or majoring in Biology, Computational Science, General Science, Physics, Mathematics, or Chemistry from a renowned university. Students that do not have a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Sciences may be admitted conditionally until approval of the undergraduate Introduction to Environmental Sciences with a minimum grade of B during their first semester. This does not apply to students who have taken the course as part of their Bachelor’s degree.

    Student with a Bachelor’s from a renowned university but not majoring in any of the previously mentioned disciplines can apply for admission to the graduate program once they have approved the following requirements with a minimum 3.0 GPA: one year of General Biology, one year of General Chemistry, the Calculus I course, and one Introduction to Environmental Sciences course. However, satisfactory approval of these courses does not guarantee admission to the program.

  2. A minimum general grade point average of 3.00 (on a scale of 0-4) and a minimum grade point average in science of 3.0 at the undergraduate level.

  3. Submit two official copies of their most recent academic transcript.

  4. Submit three letters of recommendation from professors with whom they have taken science courses.

  5. Submit the results from the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) of the Exam for Graduate Study Admission (EXADEP) or evidence of having taken these exams.

  6. Have adequate knowledge of English and Spanish in both written and oral form.

  7. Submit the results from the TOEFL exam (foreign students only).

  8. Attend an interview, if required by the Admissions Committee.

In special situations, the Program’s Graduate Affairs Committee may award conditional admission to students with a Bachelor in Science (or its equivalent) from a recognized university, but who for some reason do not fulfill one of the admission requirements, including the required grade point average. Conditionally admitted students must fulfill all of the requirements of the Program’s retention index ( and any other imposed by the Committee depending on the case) and their continuation in the Program will be evaluated at the end of the second semester of their conditional admission.

Requirements for Graduation


Requirements for degree candidacy

Candidacy of any student interested in obtaining an advanced degree must first be recommended by the Program’s Graduate Affairs Committee.  Acceptance of the request for candidacy implies that the student has demonstrated capability to satisfy the degree’s requirements and has sufficient preparation to be able to carry out an independent research project.

Master in Sciences:

  1. Courses:  The student must complete a minimum of 20 graduate credits.  The graduate course requirement can be fulfilled as follows:

    Eighteen (18) credits in medullar courses (6000 level)
    Two (2) seminar credits (8000 level)

  2. Qualifying exam (Part A): After the first year as a graduate student, approval of Part A of the written qualifying exam integrating knowledge acquired in the CIAM 6115, 6117, 6118 and 6256 courses is required.  The exam will be offered during the summer of the first year, upon completion of the first two semesters of graduate studies.  The student will have two opportunities (June and July) to pass the exam (based on a “Pass” or “Fail” criterion).  Failure to approve the exam entails dismissal from the Graduate Program.

  3. Proposal: Students must present a satisfactory research time table to the Thesis Committee.

  4. Teaching or Research Assistantships: A minimum of one year as a Teaching or Research Assistant is required.

  5. Candidacy promotion: In order to be promoted as a Master’s degree candidate, academic performance, first year Qualifying Exam, research time table, counselor’s recommendation and the Graduate Affairs Committee’s decision are taken into consideration.  Evaluation of candidacy promotion will be carried out after the first year of graduate studies.

Requirements for degree award

Approval of a total of 32 graduate credits with a grade point average of 3.00 or higher; required credit breakdown is as follows: 18 credits in medullar courses, 6 credits in emphasis courses, 2 credits in graduate seminars and 6 credits in elective courses.

Satisfactory completion of degree candidacy requirements.

Approval of 6 graduate research credits and successful presentation and defense of a master’s thesis based on the research carried out.

Program of Study

Program Requirements


Required Courses


CIAM 6115 The Terrestrial Environment            


CIAM 6116 Tropical Ecosystems *


CIAM 6117 The Coastal Environment


CIAM 6118 The Urban Environment *


CIAM 5235 Remote Sensing I *


CIAM 6256 Methods for Statistical Analysis  of Environmental Systems


Emphasis areas. (must take at least two of the following three emphasis courses)


Graduate Seminars


CIAM 6901 Graduate Seminar I


CIAM 6902 Graduate Seminar II *


CIAM 6206 Seminar in Environmental  Modeling    and Spatial Analysis I *


CIAM 6205 Seminar in Sustainable Management of Tropical Islands I *


CIAM 6406 Seminar in Sustainable Management of Tropical Islands I *


Graduate Research


CIAM 6896 Master’s Thesis Continuation *


CIAM 6999 Master’s Graduate Research *


Elective Courses
Students with prior authorization of the thesis committee, may also take courses offered by other graduate programs


Total Credits


Emphasis Areas
Environmental Modeling and Spatial Analysis Option.

CIAM 6225 Methods in Spatial Analysis *



CIAM 6236 Remote Sensing II *


CIAM 6257 Techniques for Construction of Environmental Models * 


Sustainable Management of Islands and Tropical Regions Option.

CIAM 6425 Environmental Geology *


CIAM 6435Environmental Hydrology *


CIAM 6445 Environmental Meteorology *


Interdisciplinary Option

MATE 8990 Topics in Applied Mathematics I



MATE 8995 Topics in Applied Mathematics II


QUIM 8211 Advanced Analytical Chemistry I


QUIM 8212 Advanced Analytical Chemistry II


QUIM 8992 Special Topics in Analytical Chemistry


QUIM 8996 Special Topics in Physical Chemistry


Description of Courses (PDF)


Office of the Dean for Graduate Studies and Research©2009-2011
University of Puerto Rico-Río Piedras Campus

English Version