PhD in Natural Resources with Emphasis in Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences

Admission Contact Information
Graduate Secretary
302 Anheuser-Busch Natural Resources Building; Columbia, MO 65211
Janice Faaborg; faaborgje@missouri.edu; (573) 882-9422 or
Karen Decker; deckerkf@missouri.edu; (573) 882-3436

Admission Criteria

Fall deadline: Rolling

  • Minimum TOEFL scores:
Internet-based test (iBT) Paper-based test (PBT)
79 550
  • Minimum GRE scores:
When did you take the GRE? Verbal + Quantitative Analytical
Prior to August 1, 2011 1100
On or After August 1, 2011 1100 equivalent scores
  • Minimum GPA: 3.2 in last 60 hours of undergraduate coursework.
  • Experience in research or management of natural resources. Practical skills are strongly considered. Admission Criteria

Required Application Materials

To the Graduate School:

  • All application materials must be submitted to the Apply Yourself online application system
  • All required Graduate School documents
  • A minimum of three letters of recommendation and the accompanying evaluation sheets from people who can attest to the candidate’s scholastic and conservation field work abilities
  • Departmental application
  • Written response to 1 of 5 questions listed on the Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences Graduate Program Admissions page
  • GRE scores
  • TOEFL scores (when applicable)
  • Publications (optional)
  • Résumé or CV

We require applicants to contact specific faculty to determine the availability of research assistantships prior to applying to the program.

An applicant contemplating graduate work in fisheries, limnology, conservation biology, or wildlife should have a strong background in biological and physical sciences, including biology, botany, zoology, ecology, physiology, and genetics. In addition, such taxonomic courses as plant taxonomy, invertebrate zoology, ichthyology, ornithology, and mammalogy are highly desirable, as is a background in chemistry, mathematics, statistics, and physics.

A background of 25 to 30 hours in biological sciences courses is desirable. Minor deficiencies may be remedied during the graduate program; major deficiencies may require preparatory coursework prior to consideration for admission.

Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences degrees emphasize resource management at organismal, population, or ecosystem scales. An emphasis on resource management helps distinguish our program from basic biology; therefore, course work in fisheries or wildlife management, environmental science, resource policy, or other applied ecology fields is advantageous.

PhD Degree Completion Requirements

The PhD degree is conferred only upon those students who, after extensive study, have demonstrated a high level of achievement in their particular specialization in fisheries and wildlife and have completed independent research contributing to knowledge in the field.

Doctoral Committee

A student pursuing a PhD is expected to pass qualifying, comprehensive, and final examinations administered by the student’s doctoral committee. The committee shall be composed of a minimum of 4 members of the MU graduate faculty and will include at least 3 members from the student’s doctoral degree program and 1 outside member from a different MU program. At least 2 of the committee members must be MU doctoral faculty.

Qualifying Examination

The qualifying examination includes a general knowledge examination and is designed to evaluate the student’s background and determine areas that require further course work.

Plan of Study

The doctoral plan of study requires a minimum of 72 hours of graduate credit from courses taken at MU, transfer credits, and research hours. This program must include at least 15 hours of 8000- and 9000-level course work exclusive of problems, readings, and research credits. Up to 30 hours from an accredited master’s program may be applied to the plan of study, subject to committee approval.

Residency Requirement

Students enrolled in the PhD program must also satisfy a residency requirement of at least 3 consecutive semesters in which the student is in residence on the MU campus and enrolled for 6 or more credit hours, unless a prior exception is approved by the director of graduate studies.

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