Application Deadlines

The Department of Community Sustainability graduate programs are based on cohorts, beginning in fall semesters only (for both new applicants and those hoping to transfer from other MSU programs). We use a rolling admissions procedure (applications are reviewed as they are completed). Applicants are encouraged to apply early to increase their opportunities for acceptance and funding. August 1 through February 1 is the primary application window for the upcoming Fall semester.

NOTE: MSU has activated a new application portal (SLATE) that is now available to Department of Community Sustainability applicants. If you had started an application in the former application system, you will need to re-start in the new system. If you need help in transferring or re-loading materials, contact Jen Gailitis (contact information at the bottom of this page).

See Graduate Admissions overview.

To start a MSU application, see

  • SOFT DEADLINE: If Fall applicants submit all application items by November 1, they have an improved chance of consideration for university-wide fellowships and research assistantships, but these are not guaranteed. Work with your potential advisor, if they identify you as eligible for a specific fellowship or scholarship, to submit a funding application.
  • HARD DEADLINE: All fall applicants who submit all application items any time before the February 1 deadline may be considered for research assistantships or hourly pay, as available and offered by individual faculty members.

NOTE: All communications regarding the application process should be with the Graduate Program Coordinator, Jen Gailitis, Questions about the program itself can be directed to the Graduate Program Director, Dr. Adam Zwickle,

Holistic Application Review Process

CSUS uses a holistic application review process, meaning all items are reviewed as a package, or whole, representing the applicant in toto. Strengths can counterbalance weaknesses; unique characteristics or personal contexts or scholarly ideas are considered. Applicants have the opportunity to explain weaknesses in the documents submitted. No individual item in the application packet automatically disqualifies an applicant, and there are no strict cut-off scores in GRE results or grade point averages (GPAs). Rather, we use all the elements of evidence to get a more comprehensive understanding of the applicant than relying on a single criterion.

Application Reviews

Conversations or agreements with potential faculty advisers do not guarantee admission or funding. The CSUS Graduate Admissions Committee evaluates all of the required application items before an admissions and funding decision is emailed to the applicant by the Department and forwarded by the Department to the MSU Office of Admissions. The MSU Office of Admissions sends the final University admissions decision to the applicant via their applicant portal.

Applicants sometimes ask us to make a preliminary evaluation of their qualifications for admission. We are sorry, but this is not possible. We must receive all the required application items (by the application deadline) before any evaluations by the CSUS Graduate Admissions Committee can take place. Please review the information on our website for prospective students before completing and submitting your application.


If you have questions about the graduate program or application process, contact:

Adam Zwickle

Adam Zwickle

Associate Professor, Graduate Program Director

Jennifer Gailitis

Jennifer Gailitis

Academic Program Coordinator