PhD in Natural Resources with Emphasis in Human Dimensions of Natural Resources

The Human Dimensions of Natural Resources Emphasis Area (HDNR) addresses research and management questions including peoples' attitudes, knowledge, values, perceptions, and behaviors associated with natural resources.  As an interdisciplinary emphasis area, HDNR considers applicants with backgrounds in social sciences, environmental education, natural resources management and conservation, or related disciplines. The Ph.D. degree in HDNR is designed to prepare students for careers in academic research and teaching, or advanced scientific professions.

Degree Requirements

All students in the HDNR Emphasis Area are required to participate in the HDNR first year seminar and to take at least one course from each of three categories:

  1. Human dimensions research methods
  2. Quantitative and/or qualitative data analysis
  3. Social science theory

Each student's coursework requirements, including the selection of specific courses in the above categories, will be listed in the student's plan of study and approved by their graduate committee.

The HDNR doctoral program of study requires a minimum of 72 hours of graduate credit from courses taken at MU, transfer credit from a Masters or equivalent degree, and research hours. Doctoral students will be expected to follow a timeline toward completion of their degree:

  1. Within one year of initial enrollment in the emphasis area, doctoral students must pass a qualifying examination.  The qualifying exam will include a presentation by the student of their course of study. The course of study shall be approved by the student's graduate committee. The graduate committee may also request a demonstration of the student's research aptitude, competencies in subject matter, and communication skills.
  2. Within two years of initial enrollment in the emphasis area, doctoral students must present a written proposal of their research and an oral defense of that proposal to be reviewed and approved by members of the students' doctoral committee.
  3. Within three years of initial enrollment in the emphasis area, doctoral students must pass a comprehensive examination. The PhD comprehensive exam will be a written examination with questions from each of the graduate committee members followed by an oral examination.  Questions in the exam will cover human dimensions research methods, quantitative and/or qualitative data analysis, social science theory, and fundamental / applied concepts related to the candidates research. The format of each set of questions will be determined by the graduate committee members.  The oral portion of the comprehensive examination may be combined with the research proposal oral defense.
  4. Doctoral students will submit a written dissertation following the guidelines specified by the Graduate School. All doctoral students must present a public seminar announced at least two weeks prior to  the seminar date, and an oral defense of their dissertation. 


Application and Admission Information
Dr. Charles Nilon
302 Anheuser-Busch Natural Resources Building
Columbia, MO 65211
nilonc@missouri.edu; (573) 882-3738

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