MS in Natural Resources with Emphasis in Soil, Environmental and Atmospheric Sciences

The Master of Science in Natural Resources with an emphasis in Soil, Environmental and Atmospheric Sciences is designed to prepare students for academic careers in research and teaching or other advanced scientific or professional careers.  Students entering the MS program are required to have a BS degree.  MS candidates conduct original research under the supervision of a faculty advisor or advisors and with the participation of a master’s committee.  The Soil, Environmental and Atmospheric Sciences program expects students to take part in professional and educational activities by giving presentations at conferences and presenting seminars.  MS candidates complete a thesis and are expected to publish their research results in peer-reviewed scientific journals.  A non-thesis option is also available that requires additional coursework and a research project.

Degree Requirements

The degree program with emphasis in SEAS must include:

  • 30 hours of graduate credit, with at least 15 hours comprised of 8000- or 9000-level courses.
  • A minimum of one credit hour of graduate seminar must be included in each student’s graduate program.
  • All students enrolled in graduate programs are required to participate in a supervised teaching activity.

For an atmospheric science focus area, appropriate atmospheric science courses must be selected and approved in consultation with the student’s advisor and graduate thesis committee.

For a soil science focus area, at least 12 credit hours of soil science courses at the 7000, 8000, and 9000 levels, exclusive of problems and thesis research, must be included in the student’s graduate program.

For an environmental science focus area, at least six credit hours of environmental science courses at the 7000, 8000, and 9000 levels, exclusive of problems and thesis research, must be included in the student’s graduate program. To meet the six credit hour requirement, courses must be selected from the following list of approved environmental science courses:

ATM_SC 7520Environmental Biophysics3
ENV_SC 7305Environmental Soil Physics3
ENV_SC 7306Environmental Soil Physics Laboratory2
ENV_SC 7312Environmental Soil Microbiology3
ENV_SC 7318Environmental Soil Chemistry3
ENV_SC 7320Hydrologic and Water Quality Modeling3
ENV_SC 8400Solute Transport in the Vadose Zone3
FOREST 7390Watershed Management and Water Quality3
FOREST 8390Physical Hydrology3
SOIL 7308Soil Conservation3
SOIL 7313Soil Fertility and Plant Nutrition3
SOIL 7314Soil Fertility and Plant Nutrition Laboratory2
SOIL 7320Genesis of Soil Landscape4
SOIL 9422Pedology3
Total Credits41

To complete the environmental science focus area, an additional six credit hours must be selected from courses listed above or from the following programs: biochemistry, biological engineering, biological sciences, chemical engineering, chemistry, civil and environmental engineering, fisheries and wildlife sciences, forestry, geography, geological sciences, and natural resources. Selection of these courses will be determined in consultation with faculty members serving on a student’s thesis committee.

Integrated B.S./M.S. Program

Undergraduate students enrolled in Environmental Sciences are eligible to apply for the integrated degree program in soil, environmental and atmospheric sciences that will enable outstanding undergraduates in Environmental Sciences to obtain a B.S. and a M.S. (thesis required) after the successful completion of both degree requirements in five years. The program provides a challenging curriculum that will include opportunities and training in undergraduate and graduate-level research and prepare the student for a successful professional career. Increasingly, employers in competitive technical fields are looking for highly-motivated students with graduate training to meet the demands for their work force and this program will provide talented students with a unique and expedited pathway to develop their educational background and professional skills.


Undergraduate students in Environmental Sciences interested in the integrated B.S./M.S. program will be encouraged to participate in an undergraduate research experience during the summer of their sophomore year. They will apply and then be selected to enter the integrated B.S./M.S. program during the second semester of their junior year. Selected students will need to meet admission requirements for the Graduate School. Once selected the students will initiate work on their research during the summer of their junior year. During their senior year they will complete their undergraduate credits and can take up to 12 graduate-level credits (courses with numbering 7000 or higher) under MU’s dual enrollment program. After completing the B.S. degree, students will continue their research and take the remaining coursework on their M.S. plan of study necessary to meet the 30 credit hour minimum required by the Graduate School for the M.S. degree. Several scholarships are currently available at the University of Missouri to assist outstanding students for the costs of their undergraduate and graduate education and for conducting undergraduate research, including the Honors College Discovery Fellowships Program and CAFNR and Life Sciences Undergraduate Research Fellowships.

Recommended Preparation

Appropriate undergraduate majors in preparation for graduate studies in the soil, environmental and atmospheric sciences emphasis area include: agronomy, atmospheric science, biochemistry, biology, biogeochemistry, botany, chemistry, earth science, civil and environmental engineering, environmental science, forestry, geosciences, hydrology, mathematics, microbiology, physics, soil science, and watershed management. Check with the Emphasis Area Coordinator for specific recommendations for preparation for each graduate focus area.

Completion of a BS Degree

Undergraduate GPA of 3.0 for the last 60 hours of coursework

  • Atmospheric science focus area applicants: undergraduate program should include integral calculus and one year of college physics.
  • Environmental science focus area  applicants: undergraduate program should include general and organic chemistry, introductory biology, calculus, geology, physics, and ecology.
  • Soil science focus area applicants: completed courses in general and organic chemistry, calculus, geology and physics. Inadequacies in courses must be remedied through additional course work immediately after admission.

Graduate Emphasis Area Coordinator
Neil I. Fox, Ph.D.
Professor of Atmospheric Sciences
School of Natural Resources
University of Missouri
302 Anheuser-Busch Natural Resources Building
Columbia, Missouri 65211-7250
(573) 882-2144