Prospective Students

Many of the graduate students who work with Center-affiliated faculty are enrolled in the Natural Resources MS and PhD degree programs housed in the Department of Natural Resources and the Environment. Faculty affiliates in other academic departments will most often enroll students in their home department's graduate degree programs, and application procedures vary somewhat among programs. Most important is to communicate with particular faculty members.

How do new graduate students enter the program?

    1. Graduate assistantships are often advertised as they become available (i.e., a research proposal was funded), through the online job boards at the American Fisheries Society (AFS), The Wildlife Society (TWS) and others. Prospective students should check online to see if their research interests match available opportunities.
    2. Some students may have a focused interest in a particular faculty members research area and are willing to wait for an opportunity to enter the program. For projects that may receive funding in the near future, Center faculty often maintain contact with potential candidates. Prospective students should e-mail a CV/resume and tailored statement of research interests (i.e., explain how you could fit into their research expertise) to a particular center faculty member. After that, a phone interview or campus visit will best facilitate communications about your interest level, skills, and abilities.
    3. Additionally, some students receive specific fellowships or funding from government programs (e.g., EPA STAR Fellowships) that provide financial support. Students may at times fund their own graduate education by paying tuition and receiving no stipend. Note: Regardless of funding source, all students must meet the criteria for acceptance into the graduate program and have a faculty member who is willing to serve as the major advisor.

How will I be funded?

Center-affiliated faculty write and propose research projects to various funding agencies that, if funded, can serve as the basis for a graduate student's thesis or dissertation research.

Graduate students then become both students and employees of the University, simultaneously taking classes and working to develop their thesis or dissertation. They receive a tuition waiver and are paid stipends (called research assistantships) for the work they do on the project. Our program has few teaching assistantships. Often, they are used in combination with research assistantships to support students financially.

How do I apply?


There are no strict minimum requirements for acceptance, but recent successful applicants had a cumulative GPA above 3.0 (out of 4.0) and had combined verbal and quantitative GRE scores of 1100 or greater (on the old scale) or over 320 (new test). International students must submit a TOEFL or IELTS score. In addition, applicants who have substantial field experience in fisheries or wildlife are preferred.


Before officially applying to the University, students should communicate directly with center faculty to learn if an assistantship is available and to determine if a faculty member is willing to serve as the major advisor.

Submit the official application online with the Graduate School. Note that the three required reference letters of reference are crucial. Please select people who have worked with you and can attest to your knowledge, skills, and abilities.


After an official application is complete, a departmental committee will evaluate your qualifications, speak to your intended major advisor, and make a decision to hopefully accept you into the graduate program. While the Department of Natural Resources and the Environment does not stick to strict application deadlines for admissions, it does admit students in August and January. Because it usually takes 4 to 6 weeks to complete the process, applicants should contact potential major advisors early.