MS in Natural Resources

Graduate research programs leading to the M.S. in Natural Resources are designed to prepare students for careers in academic institutions, consulting firms, industry, and state and federal agencies. The MS in Natural Resources has emphasis areas in AgroforestryFisheries & Wildlife ScienceForestryHuman Dimensions of Natural ResourcesParks Recreation and TourismSoil, Environmental and Atmospheric Sciences, and Water Resources. Please see the individual emphasis area pages for additional degree requirements and admissions information.

Degree Requirements

  1. A minimum of 30 hours of course work
  2. 15 hours or more at the 8000 course level
  3. GPA 3.0 or greater
  4. Research, problems, special investigations, and special readings courses shall not exceed 12 of the 30 hours

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.

Thesis option

Students in the thesis option will write a thesis based on their research. A thesis is a research report of original research. Students with thesis option should participate in a public defense of his/her thesis followed by an oral examination by the student’s graduate committee. Thesis and defense requirements are as defined by the MU Graduate School. The public defense should be announced at least two weeks prior to the defense.

Non-Thesis option

A non-thesis option is also available that requires additional coursework and a research project. No more than 6 credits are allowed to non-thesis research project. The non-thesis option is most appropriate for M.S. candidates who view the Master's Degree as the terminal degree, aspire for practitioner work within the profession, and/or desire additional course work to balance their program of study. Students choosing the non-thesis option will write a technical report based on their project and participate in a public oral defense of his/her report followed by an oral examination by the student’s graduate committee. The report requirements are defined by the graduate committee. The public defense should be announced at least two weeks prior to the defense.

Academic Process for M.S. Students

M1 Plan of study for Master's Degree

Together with their advisor, the student completes the M1 form and provides it to the emphasis area coordinator or Director of Graduate Studies. This form provides the student, the school, and the MU Graduate School with a plan for all course work, transfer credit and research hours that will comprise a student's program of study. This form should be completed by the end of the second semester.

M2 Request for Thesis Committee

The M2 form accompanies the M1, and should be submitted at the same time, by the end of the second semester. It is required of both thesis and non-thesis students.

M3 Report of Master's Examining Committee

The M3 form reports the final results of master's thesis or project defense. Submit to the MU Graduate School as soon as possible after the exam, project presentation or thesis defense.

Every candidate should review the Dissertation & Thesis Guidelines from the Graduate School and should consult the Emphasis Area Coordinator for academic program style requirements.

Thesis Committee

A thesis committee is composed of three members of the MU faculty: a major adviser from the emphasis area, a second reader from the emphasis area and an outside reader who is a member of the graduate faculty from a different MU graduate program.

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Admission Requirements

  1. Bachelor's degree in a relevant discipline from an accredited institution
  2. Undergraduate GPA: 3.0 on a scale of 4.0
  3. Graduate Record Exam score (GRE) is recommended but not required if an applicant demonstrates in-depth knowledge in their corresponding field
  4. Minimum TOEFL scores: iBT 80; paper-based: 550

Applicants will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Particular attention is given to the type and quality of professional experience since completion of the undergraduate degree.

How to Apply

  1. We recommend each applicant secure an adviser first before formal application. Information about potential advisers in all emphasis areas can be found at
  2. All application materials must be submitted to the Apply Yourself online application system.
  3. Statement of interest
  4. Résumé or CV
  5. GRE scores (check for the emphasis area recommendations)
  6. TOEFL scores (if applicable)
  7. Emphasis area application (if applicable)
  8. A minimum of three letters of recommendation and the accompanying evaluation sheets from people who can attest to the candidate’s scholastic ability and experience relevant to graduate study.
  9. Publications (optional)

Application Deadlines

The application deadlines are rolling. However, to ensure eligibility for some fellowship/scholarship competitions of the Graduate School, the following deadlines are recommended.

  1. December 15 for the summer semester
  2. January 15 for the fall semester
  3. Oct. 15 for the spring semester

Financial Aid from the Program

Check the School website ( or contact individual faculty for details on graduate assistantships that may be available.

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