PhD in Natural Resources with Emphasis in Forestry

Admission Contact Information
Dr. Stephen G. Pallardy
203 ABNR Bldg.
Columbia, MO 65211

Doctorate in Forestry

The PhD degree in forestry is designed to prepare students for academic careers in research and teaching or other advanced scientific or professional careers. Students entering the PhD program will often have a master’s degree, but this is not an absolute requirement.

PhD candidates conduct original research under the supervision of a faculty advisor or advisors and with the participation of a doctoral committee. Students are expected to engage in coursework to prepare for careers in research, industry or academia. The Department of Forestry expects students to take part in professional and educational activities by giving presentations at conferences and presenting seminars. Ph.D. candidates complete a dissertation and are expected to publish their research results in peer-reviewed scientific journals.

Admission Criteria

Fall deadline: May 15
Spring deadline: October 15
Summer deadline: March 15

  • Minimum GPA: 3.0 in last 60 hours
  • Minimum TOEFL scores:
Internet-based test (iBT) Paper-based test (PBT)
80 550
  • Minimum GRE scores:
When did you take the GRE? Verbal + Quantitative Analytical
Prior to August 1, 2011 1100
On or After August 1, 2011 300

50th percentile or higher preferred in each category.

Particular attention is given to the record of the last 2 years of undergraduate study, and/or the type and quality of professional experience since completion of the undergraduate degree. Doctoral candidates must demonstrate a higher level of achievement in each of these criteria.

Required Application Materials

To the Graduate School:

  • All required Graduate School documents
  • 3 letters of recommendation from individuals qualified to evaluate scholarly capacity and professional qualities
  • Letter of intent

To the Program:

  • Departmental application (use form)
  • GRE scores

 Doctoral Committee in Forestry

The student pursuing the doctoral program is expected to pass qualifying, comprehensive and final examinations administered by the student’s doctoral committee. This committee is structured as defined by the MU Graduate School and must have a minimum of 4 members, at least 3 members must be from the student’s doctoral degree program and 1 outside member from a different MU program. The Forestry Department strongly recommends a 5-person committee for Ph.D. students. At least 2 of the committee members must be MU doctoral faculty.

Doctoral Qualifying Examination

The qualifying examination determines whether the student’s background is adequate to enter the PhD program. It also is intended to ascertain if there are areas of weakness in which a candidate will be required to gain background through appropriate course work or areas that prohibit entry into the program.

Doctoral Comprehensive Examination

The objectives of the comprehensive examination are twofold:
1. to determine if a student has acquired sufficient depth and breadth of knowledge in selected areas of concentration
2. to evaluate the candidate’s capacity to apply that knowledge in solving applied or theoretical problems.

Final Examination

The final examination is directed primarily toward exploration of the dissertation research project.

Foreign Language Requirements

Requirements for foreign language and a collateral field, if any, are determined by the student’s doctoral committee. The doctoral committee is expected to make an assessment of the student’s needs as they relate to the student’s background and educational objectives.


An independent scholarly dissertation approved by the student’s advisor and doctoral committee must be completed.

Graduation 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 forestry and have completed significant independent research in their field.

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