May 23, 2024  
2023-2024 Graduate Catalog 
    
2023-2024 Graduate Catalog

Natural Resources Major, Natural Resource Economics Concentration, PhD


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

Concentration (Required)


Natural Resource Economics

Campus Code


Knoxville Campus

Admissions Standards/Procedures


  • Applicants to the PhD program must have a bachelor’s degree or foreign equivalent. Generally, individuals who possess a master’s degree in addition to a bachelor’s degree will be given preference over those without a master’s degree. These additional requirements apply.
    • A minimum grade point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.
    • Completion 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.
    • Submission of the online application, application fee, official transcripts, and scores from the general portion of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) to the Office of Graduate Admissions.

Credit Hours Required


  • Complete 72 semester credit hours of graduate coursework beyond the bachelor’s degree.
    • Forty-eight credit hours must be in graduate coursework approved by the student’s doctoral committee.
    • Up to 24 credit hours of coursework completed for a master’s degree may be applied to the 48-credit hour requirement.
    • A minimum of 50% of required credit hours taken at UT (excluding dissertation hours) must be graded A-F.

Required Courses


Non-Course Requirements


  • Microeconomic Theory by qualifying examination. Students must take this examination in the summer prior to their second year of study.
  • Natural Resource Economics by written comprehensive examination.
  • All coursework by oral comprehensive examination. The examination is scheduled by the student and administered by the student’s doctoral committee when the student has completed all or nearly all of the coursework.
  • Written qualifying and comprehensive examinations will be given in the summer.
  • Students must take the oral comprehensive examination during the first semester after passing all written qualifying and comprehensive examinations.
    • Students are expected to take the required courses that prepare them for the written examinations and must take these examinations on their first offering after completing the recommended coursework.
    • Students failing any qualifying or comprehensive examination must retake the examination the next time it is offered or they will receive a failing grade.
    • Failing a qualifying or comprehensive examination for the second time will ordinarily result in dismissal from the program.
    • A qualifying or comprehensive examination may be taken a third time with approval of the Agricultural and Resource Economics faculty.
      • Students must file a petition with the Director of Graduate Studies who will submit the petition to the faculty.
      • Generally, extenuating circumstances are needed to warrant approval to take an examination a third time.
      • Failing a qualifying or comprehensive examination for a third time or not meeting the aforementioned minimum Quantitative Methods grade requirements will result in dismissal from the doctoral program.
  • Following formation of the student’s doctoral committee, submit a written dissertation proposal in the natural resource economics field to all members of the committee.
    • The student’s major professor will then arrange an oral defense of the proposal.
    • The proposal should be submitted and defended no later than one semester after the student takes the Microeconomic Theory qualifying examination.
  • Complete a doctoral dissertation in the natural resource economics field and pass an oral examination on the dissertation.
    • The dissertation, in the form approved by the major professor, must be distributed to the committee at least two weeks before the examination.
    • The examination must be scheduled through the Graduate School at least one week prior to the examination and an appropriate venue for the examination will be determined by the major professor and/or guidance committee.
    • The examination is announced publicly and is open to all faculty members.
    • The defense of dissertation will be administered by all members of the doctoral committee after completion of the dissertation and all course requirements.
    • This examination must be passed at least two weeks before the date of submission and acceptance of the dissertation by the Graduate School.
    • The major professor must submit the results of the defense by the dissertation deadline.