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School of Environment and Natural Resources


Master of Science (MS)

The Master of Science (MS) in the Environment and Natural Resources Graduate Program is a research degree that engages students in course work, study, and research leading to the production of a scholarly master’s thesis and publication in refereed, professional journals. The program prepares students to be critical thinkers who are familiar with the concepts, theories, and research methodologies in their fields.

While the creative idea for investigation may originate with the student’s advisor, students in our program will demonstrate rigor in becoming familiar with literature relevant to the research topic, identify questions that can realistically be pursued as a master’s thesis, design and carry out appropriate studies or experiments to address those questions, analyze the results of those studies or experiments, and incorporate those results into a coherent master’s thesis.

Students graduating with this degree will be well-prepared to pursue a wide variety of careers in environmental and natural resources science, management, policy, and education in government, non-profits, and the private sector. Some alumni enter employment in one of these fields after graduation, while others continue their education in a doctoral program in ENRGP or elsewhere.

Program structure

The time to degree completion will vary, but a typical timeline for a full-time MS student is two to three years, depending on the student's preparation and the demands of fieldwork and data collection. Students may pursue the MS part-time, but students taking longer than five years to graduate will need to justify the continued relevancy of coursework taken over five years ago.


Completing the MS requires at least 30 graduate credits in the following areas:

  • Core credits in coursework that will prepare students for master's-level research and thesis development in environment and natural resources, as well as semesterly seminars on current topics. (5 credits)
  • Area of specialization and supporting courses that will provide students with the understanding of the theory and methodology underpinning their chosen area of research. (At least 15 credits)
  • Research credit, which will be earned each semester under the supervision of the student's advisor. (10 credits will apply to the completion of the MS)

The choice elective coursework will be developed between the student and the advisor.

Students can follow one or more of our seven specializations, which can then be designated on the transcript upon graduation, or pursue a unique program tailored around their research interests. Additionally, students are encouraged to devote a portion of their studies to enhancing their research through academic breadth by pursuing a graduate minor or a graduate interdisciplinary specialization (GIS). Students can even pursue a dual or combined degree to develop breadth and depth and enhance their credentials for future employment.


Click here to find out how to apply!