May 30, 2024  
2014-2015 Graduate Catalog 
2014-2015 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Natural Resources Major (FWF), PhD

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The doctoral program with a major in natural resources emphasizes interdisciplinary research approaches toward the understanding and management of natural resources in a broad context. Areas of study include forest, wildlife, and fisheries biology; ecosystem function and structure; natural resource economics and policy; human dimensions of natural resource management; wildland recreation; natural resource organization administration and management; wood sciences; and multidisciplinary natural resources management. Optional, formal concentrations include Bio-based Products and Wood Science and Technology, Natural Resource Economics, and Wildlife Health.


Applicants to the PhD program must have a bachelor’s degree or foreign equivalent, or have a professional degree in either medicine (including veterinary medicine) or law. Generally, individuals who possess a master’s degree in addition to a bachelor’s or professional degree will be given preference over those without a master’s degree.

  • A minimum grade point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. 
  • Applicants must complete the general Graduate Record Examination with minimum scores required. 
  • A statement of professional goals, natural resource management philosophy, and reasons for applying to the program. 
  • Three letters of reference from individuals capable of evaluating the applicant’s potential for graduate work in interdisciplinary natural resource management.
  • To the Office of Graduate Admissions submit online application, application fee, official transcripts, and scores from the general portion of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE).


A candidate for the doctoral degree must complete 72 hours of course work beyond the bachelor’s degree. Forty-eight hours must be in graduate course work approved by the student’s doctoral committee. Up to 24 hours of master’s-level course work may be applied to the 48-hour requirement. A minimum of 6 hours must be taken in university courses at the 600 level, exclusive of dissertation hours. Specific requirements are listed below.

Research Methods and Analysis (9 hours in at least two of the subject areas)

  • Research/Experimental Design. 
  • Statistics/Econometrics/Biometrics. 
  • GIS/Remote Sensing.

Core Subject areas (33 hours to be determined by doctoral committee)

Professional Development (5 hours)
  • Teaching – All students will be expected to complete Forestry, Wildlife and Fisheries FWF 601  and assist in teaching a course during their tenure in the program. 
  • Problem Solving – Forestry, Wildlife and Fisheries FWF 610  will be required of all doctoral students. This course will include participation in an interdisciplinary team to address a significant national or regional natural resource issue. 
  • Professional Communication – All students will be required to complete FWF 612  two times as part of their program of study.
FWF 600  or AREC 600  Doctoral Research and Dissertation (24 hours)

A doctoral committee consisting of at least four faculty members must be identified by the student and major professor. At least one of the committee members must be from the Department of Forestry, Wildlife and Fisheries and one member must be from an academic unit other than Forestry, Wildlife and Fisheries. Three of the committee members, including the major professor, must be approved by the Graduate Council to direct doctoral research. The committee should be formed during the first year of the student’s program.

All students are required to successfully complete an oral and written examination on all course work completed as part of the Doctor of Philosophy requirements. The exam is scheduled when the student has completed all or nearly all of the course work. The doctoral committee will determine the content, nature, and schedule of the comprehensive exam and will certify the results.

During the first year, the student should develop a research prospectus that outlines the research problem to be addressed as part of his/her doctoral research. The prospectus is presented to the student’s committee and the committee will approve the research topic and approach.

All students are required to complete, present, and defend a dissertation. The student should provide each member of the committee with a copy of the dissertation at least two weeks prior to the scheduled defense. All students are required to present a seminar on their dissertation as part of the degree requirements. The seminar can be part of the dissertation defense or presented before the formal defense.

Bio-based Products and Wood Science and Technology Concentration

The concentration in bio-based products and wood science and technology is designed to prepare graduate students for analytical, research, and academic careers in the public, private, and university sectors. This concentration is intended to accommodate students with interests in the traditional field of forest products and wood science, as well as the more contemporary fields of bio-based materials (including bio-energy and biofuels), nanotechnology, and industrial process control. The same requirements as specified for the major hold for the concentration. The student’s doctoral committee will assist the student in developing a program of graduate course work that will meet these requirements.

Natural Resource Economics Concentration

Students interested in pursuing doctoral studies in the area of natural resource economics may do so with a concentration in natural resource economics. The student’s doctoral committee will assist the student in developing a program of graduate course work that will meet the requirements for the concentration under the natural resources PhD major, while drawing heavily from the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics and the Department of Economics. (See Department of Agricultural Economics  catalog entry for detailed information).

Wildlife Health Concentration 

The wildlife health concentration is designed to prepare students for wildlife health-related service and research careers in the public and private sectors, and to prepare students interested in pursuing further professional training. The same requirements as specified for the major hold for the concentration, with the additional stipulation that up to 24 hours of course work completed for a master’s or professional degree may be applied to the 48-hour requirement, a minimum of 12 of the remaining 24 (or 30 of the 48 if no master’s or professional degree) hours must be graded A-F and be from wildlife health-related courses, and a minimum of 6 of the hours must be at the 600-level or above, exclusive of dissertation hours.

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