CFAES Give Today

School of Environment and Natural Resources



Meet with an admissions counselor

Ohio State is a great place for graduate studies. Graduate students advised by faculty in the Environment and Natural Resources Graduate Program have the benefit of the resources at one of the largest comprehensive universities in the nation, combined with the more personal connections among faculty and graduate students within the School. The Environment and Natural Resources Graduate Program welcomes applicants from all academic backgrounds.

It is important to understand your interests and specific career and education goals, as well as your own strengths and weaknesses. All potential applicants are encouraged to pursue internships, employment, or volunteer work with environmental and natural resources-related agencies and organizations after completing a bachelor's degree in order to gain valuable experience and knowledge about the career or research you want to pursue in greater depth. The decision to pursue graduate studies should not be taken lightly.

About Our Application Process

Once you have determined that a master's or doctoral program is right for you, you must complete any preliminary steps and then submit your online application through the Office of Graduate and Professional Admissions. Please read below for the full information on how to apply to your intended degree program.

Evaluation of applications for the Environment and Natural Resources Graduate Program is based on a holistic review, so we have no minimum test scores or GPA beyond those established by the university (see "minimum requirements" below). Admitted students might have weaknesses in one area that are overshadowed by strengths in another area. In some cases, students with significant weaknesses may be admitted conditionally if they show potential to succeed in graduate study. Read below for more information about how we evaluate students in different areas of their applications.


The large majority of students matriculate in autumn semester. Due to course sequencing, MS and PhD students are strongly encouraged to begin in the autumn semester; however, spring matriculation is possible with the approval of the prospective advisor. MENR applicants may apply for either spring or autumn matriculation, but autumn is recommended due to course availability.

Deadlines depend on the intended semester of entry and whether you wish to be considered for the full range of funding. The application and all supplementary application materials should be received by the relevant date.

Autumn Start

Funding consideration

Priority deadline: December 1

Strong applications completed after this point may be considered for funding if time permits and space is available


Final application deadline

International: April 1

Domestic: May 2

Spring Start

Final application deadline

International: September 15

Domestic: November 1


How to Apply

  1. Preliminary steps
    1. MS or PhD applicants must find a prospective advisor in order to be considered for admission. Prospective students are welcome to contact one or more faculty members from our various specializations to make an introduction and inquire about working with them. Once a faculty member has agreed to advise you, you may apply.
      1. Note: Prospective students may apply before finding a willing advisor with the caveat that their applications may not be reviewed. Fellowship-eligible students are encouraged to apply by the appropriate deadline even if they have not yet had a chance to contact a faculty member.
    2. MENR applicants are strongly advised to speak with an MENR advisor prior to applying to help determine their preparedness for the degree and whether it is a good fit for their professional goals. Please contact our Columbus campus office to schedule a meeting (in-person, virtual, and phone meetings are available). Prior to your meeting, please send an email to with a current résumé/CV and a brief statement (1-2 paragraphs) explaining your career goals.
  1. Begin an online application through the Office of Graduate and Professional Admissions website.
    1. Click on "Degrees and programs" and navigate to "E" to find Environment and Natural Resources.
    2. You can begin an application at any time; you do not have to pay until you submit the application.
    3. For technical issues and most questions about filling out the application, see the Frequently Asked Questions and contact the admissions office for assistance.
  1. Enter contact information for those writing your three letters of recommendation
    1. Note: You must click the option to use the online reference form if you want your recommenders to submit their letters online.
    2. Your recommenders will get an email from Ohio State within a few business days after you submit your application; this will let them submit their letters online
    3. See "letters of recommendation" below for more information about what we look for in your letters
  1. Attach a résumé/CV and statement of purpose to your online application (see below for details on these items).
    1. If either document is not ready, you can submit your application without them and use the admissions uploader to submit them; you will receive instructions on how to do this within a few business days after applying.
  2. (Optional) Attach copies of official transcripts from each institution that has awarded you undergraduate or graduate credit (see "transcripts" below for more information).
  3. Submit your online application
  4. If sending English proficiency test scores, send the scores directly from the testing company to Ohio State using institutional code 1592. Allow up to 4 weeks for receipt of these scores. (See “Minimum requirements” below for more information about the English proficiency requirement)
  5. Watch your email for a confirmation email and then another email that will provide you with your access to your online applicant portal
  6. Monitor your application status at Items that you submitted with your application may still show as "incomplete" for 5-10 business days as applications are processed.
    1. If anything seems unusual or you believe there is an error, feel free to contact the admissions office so that they can look at your application.

Minimum Requirements

The following requirements apply to all graduate applicants at The Ohio State University:

  • 4-year bachelor's degree (or international equivalent) complete or in progress
  • Minimum GPA: Applicants must have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 in their most recent degree.
    • Otherwise strong applicants who do not meet the minimum GPA may be considered for conditional admission, or may be encouraged to take additional non-degree coursework before reapplying.
  • International applicants: Applicants must demonstrate English language proficiency by submitting appropriate test scores or meeting an exemption requirement. For information on minimum test scores and exemptions, see the information here. We do not require English proficiency scores beyond the standard minimum requirement.

Supplemental Materials

  • Transcripts: Copies of official transcripts from any institution from which you have earned college credit are required for the review of your application. Please carefully read the requirements below to avoid any delays processing your application. Contact the Office of Graduate and Professional Admissions if you have any questions about how to send your transcripts and which documents are acceptable.
    • Include transcripts from any institution that has awarded you undergraduate or graduate credit, even if you took a college course during high school. The college/university offering the credit will have a record of your earned credit.
    • Submitted documents must be an official transcript issued by the institution’s registrar’s office. Transcripts marked "unofficial," advising reports, or other such documents are not accepted.
    • You may have your institution submit official copies directly to the admissions office electronically or by mail (electronic transcripts are the fastest and most reliable method, if available); alternatively, you may attach scans of your official transcripts to your online application. Do not send your transcripts to the School of Environment and Natural Resources.
    • Transcript scans provided by the applicant are acceptable for your admission review. If admitted, applicants must have their official final transcripts sent directly by the issuing institution in order to complete their enrollment.
    • If you are currently or were previously enrolled in credit through The Ohio State university, we recommend uploading a current Ohio State advising report to expedite the processing of your application. You do not need to request an official transcript from Ohio State.
  • Statement of Purpose
    • Your statement of purpose is your opportunity to provide a narrative explaining your research and career goals and how they align with this program. An effective statement is clear, well-written, and expresses all of the following:
      • academic preparedness for graduate study, including:
        • highlights of your academic background
        • relevant non-academic experiences such as internships or professional experience
        • any research experience, especially if applying for the MS or PhD
      • alignment with our graduate program, including:
        • your motivation and source of enthusiasm for graduate study in this field
        • career goals relevant to your intended degree
        • for MS or PhD applicants, alignment with one or more specific faculty members, especially your intended advisor
      • personal characteristics that have been key to your academic achievement, especially times in which you have demonstrated resilience in your academic and non-academic experiences
    • Please limit your statement to no more than 2 pages single-spaced or 3 pages double-spaced.
  • Résumé/CV
    • Include in particular any experience with teaching or instructional assistance
  • Letters of recommendation
    • Note: Please only ask your references to submit letters using the online reference form, which you can select on your online application. Each recommender will receive an email notification after you submit your application. Do not ask your references to submit via hard copy or email, as this may cause delays in processing. If your recommenders experience issues submitting their letters online, please contact the Office of Graduate and Professional Admissions, which maintains the online form.
    • Letters should be addressed to Graduate Studies Committee of the Environment and Natural Resources Graduate Program.
    • Recommenders should identify or address their relationship with you in the letter, e.g. course instructor, master's advisor, undergraduate advisor, etc.
    • Please note these additional requirements or guidelines based on your intended degree:
      • MENR applicants: Three letters are required. For applicants with fewer than five years of professional experience, at least two of those letters should come from faculty in their undergraduate programs, and one letter should be from an immediate supervisor who can discuss the applicant’s professional experience and potential for advancement. Applicants with five or more years of professional experience should include at least one letter from an immediate supervisor who can discuss the applicant’s professional experience and potential for advancement; academic references are encouraged but not required. All letters should address an applicant’s suitability to pursue a graduate degree leading toward professional practice.
      • MS applicants: Three letters are required. Letters should address an applicant’s academic abilities and suitability to pursue a research based degree. Academic references are preferred.
      • PhD applicants: 
        • Regular-admit track: Three letters are required. One letter should come from your master's thesis advisor, and one should come from a member of your master's advisory committee.
        • Direct-admit track: Four letters are required. One of the letters must come from the ENRGP faculty member who has agreed to be your advisor and should address why they believe that admission on the direct-admit PhD track is more appropriate than admission to the MS degree. Academic references are preferred for the other
  • Description of master’s research experience (PhD application only)
    • For regular-admit PhD applicants: Upload a document providing a summary (no more than one page) of the research done for your master’s degree.
    • For direct-admit PhD applicants:  Upload a statement (no longer than one page) highlighting your research experience. For examples of what types of research experience may qualify you for admission to the direct-admit track, refer to the PhD information page.
  • Updating your materials
    • If you submit any updated application materials (test scores, statement of purpose, letters, etc.), you must notify us by sending an email at, as we do not receive an automatic notification of this.

Monitoring your Application Status

  • After your application is submitted, you will have access to an online applicant center with an application checklist. Applicants are responsible for checking their status regularly to ensure that all required items have been received.
  • On your checklist, items will show as "incomplete" until they are received and processed, which can take up to 5 business days (10 business days in high-volume periods), after which they will show as "complete." We strongly recommend that you submit materials as early as possible to account for processing time.
  • The Graduate Studies Committee reviews applications on a rolling basis throughout the academic year. Your application status will be changed after a decision is posted, and you will also receive an email from the admissions office.
  • Most questions about the receipt of materials are best answered by the admissions office.
  • Questions about the decision timeline, evaluation criteria, or the content of items such as your letters of recommendation or statement of purpose should be directed to the ENRGP office at or 614-292-9883.