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 must speak with the MENR Director before they will be considered for admission. Submit a current résumé and a brief statement (1-2 paragraphs) explaining your career goals to, and we will contact you about setting up a meeting or phone call so that we can discuss how the MENR can help you with 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. Send official test scores directly from the testing company (see "test scores" below for more information)
    1. MENR applicants: see "test scores" below for information about possible exceptions for applicants with relevant professional experience.
    2. GRE and TOEFL scores are sent to institutional code 1592; no department code necessary. Allow 5-10 business days for receipt of GRE scores, or up to 4 weeks for TOEFL scores.
    3. If you sent your scores to Ohio State before submitting your application, you should monitor your application status after you get access to your applicant portal; contact the admissions office if your scores are not marked as complete within 1-2 weeks, as they may not be automatically linked to your application.
  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 3.0 for all previous undergraduate and graduate coursework (undergraduate and graduate GPA are calculated separately, not combined).
    • Otherwise strong applicants who do not meet the minimum GPA may be considered for conditional admission as long as they submit GRE scores that are no older than five years.
    • SENR does not establish a minimum GPA beyond this. However, a GPA of 3.56 or higher is considered competitive.
  • International applicants: English proficiency. Applicants with citizenship in or degrees from certain countries are exempt. Read more information here.

Supplemental Materials

  • Transcripts: Copies of official transcripts from any institution from which you have earned college credit, even if the courses were taken during high school. Transcripts marked "unofficial," advising reports, etc. 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.
    • Transcript scans provided by the applicant will only be used for your admission review. If admitted, students must have the issuing institution send sealed, official copies of their final transcripts in order to complete their enrollment.
    • You do not need to send copies of Ohio State University transcripts; we will take care of that for you.
    • Transcripts sent to Ohio State will only be accepted if they are sent directly to the Office of Graduate and Professional Admissions, regardless of how they are sent. For further information, please see the “transcripts” section of the help page for the graduate admissions office here.
    • You may have each institution send an official transcript when you apply. If you have no incomplete coursework from that institution, this will save you a step if you are admitted later on.
    • Please contact the admissions office if you have any uncertainty about the correct process for submitting your transcripts.
  • Test scores:
    • GRE scores: We require submission of scores from all three sections of the GRE General Test but do not require any minimum scores for admission. Applicants’ GRE scores are used as part of the holistic admissions process to look for evidence of current ability or highlight any areas that may need improvement or special attention.
    • English proficiency scores (for international applicants): SENR does not establish a minimum score beyond the university's minimum score (see "Minimum Requirements" above)
    • MENR applicants who have 5 or more years of professional experience in the field of environment and natural resources may be exempt from submitting GRE scores. If you think you may be eligible, please inquire about this when you send your preliminary materials to us.
  • Statement of Purpose
    • Your statement of purpose is your opportunity to provide a narrative explaining your goals and how you are a good fit for this program. An effective statement is clear, well-written, and highlights information about the following: academic preparedness for graduate study (especially research experience), relevant non-academic experiences, motivation for graduate study, career goals, and fit with our graduate program and prospective advisor(s). In addition, your statement should express how you have demonstrated academic resilience and other personal characteristics that have helped your academic achievement, as well as any ways in which your background and experience can contribute to the diversity of the profession and graduate program. The statement should be no longer than 1-2 pages single-spaced or 2-3 pages double-spaced.
  • Résumé/CV
    • Include in particular any experience with teaching or instructional assistance
  • Three 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 the Environment and Natural Resources Graduate Studies Committee.
    • Recommenders should identify or address their relationship with you in the letter, e.g. course instructor, master's advisor, undergraduate advisor, etc. Additionally:
      • MENR applicants: For applicants with fewer than five years 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. All letters should address an applicant’s suitability to pursue a graduate degree leading toward professional practice.
      • MS applicants: Letters should address an applicant’s academic abilities and suitability to pursue a research based degree.
      • PhD applicants: One letter should come from your master's thesis advisor, and one should come from a member of your master's advisory committee. If applying to the direct-admit PhD track, you must have a fourth letter of recommendation from your prospective ENRGP advisor.
  • 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:  You do not need to include this item. An item called “research experience” will show as incomplete on your application checklist, but this item will be waived when we review your application. You do not need to contact us to have this item waived, and it will not interfere with the consideration of your application.
  • 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.