Graduate Program Information

Interested in Our Graduate Programs?

Here you will find answers to common questions that prospective students ask about applying to the NREN M.S. Programs and the affiliated NRESS Ph.D. program. Answers to general questions about the application process (e.g., submission format and portal, application fees, and application status) can be found on the Graduate School webpage.

Yes, The Department of Natural Resources and the Environment (NREN) offers M.S. degrees in six focal areas: Ecosystem Science, Environmental Economics, Forestry, Natural Resources & the Environment, and Wildlife & Conservation Biology. Our faculty also mentor students in the interdepartmental Ph.D. program in Natural Resources and Earth Systems Science (NRESS). The NRESS program draws faculty from across the university in the fields of environmental and earth sciences, life sciences, social sciences, and ethical and policy studies. The NREN and NRESS programs offer graduate students the opportunity to pursue interdisciplinary research to increase our understanding of the environment, advance solutions to pressing issues, and engage stakeholders.

Acceptance into either the NREN M.S. or NRESS Ph.D. program requires that a faculty member has agreed to serve as your advisor. Students who apply without having identified and communicated with an advisor are at a substantial disadvantage in the admissions process. It is strongly encouraged that you reach out directly to potential faculty advisors well in advance of applying. The conversations between prospective students and faculty during the application process help the student understand the expectations and for both parties to decide if the prospective student would be a good fit for the lab group. It is also recommended that prospective students reach out to current or former graduate students to hear about their experiences with specific faculty mentors or lab groups.

A list of NREN faculty and their research interests can be found here. Many faculty also have lab websites where you can learn more about current research projects and the lab group to help in identifying one or more potential advisors. After finding faculty whose research interests overlap with yours, send them a brief introductory email summarizing your background, your research interests, and why you might be a good fit in their lab. It is good practice to attach your CV or resume to this email. Keep in mind not all faculty recruit new students each year, and there are often many applicants for each lab opening.


Most graduate students are supported on either a Research Assistantship (RA) or Teaching Assistantship (TA). Assistantships include stipend, tuition, and health insurance. TA support is limited to the 9 month academic year. During the summer, graduate students are typically funded by RA support from their faculty advisor or through student fellowships or grants. Prospective students are encouraged to discuss academic year and summer support commitments with faculty during the application process.

On occasion a student is accepted into the program without a TA or RA. Most often this is the case when the student brings in their own support through an external fellowship or grant (e.g., NSF GRFP) or is sponsored by their employer. Very rarely does a student enroll in the M.S. program without support. Doing so means the student does not receive a stipend and that they must pay all tuition and fees out-of-pocket. We generally discourage students from putting themselves in that financial position. The NRESS Ph.D. program provides a flexible set of requirements (for students who already hold a M.S. degree) and can accommodate full-time working professionals.

Obtaining a MS takes 2-3 years, and a PhD often 5-6 years.

The M.S. program deadline is February 15th for Fall and December 1st for Spring. The NRESS Ph.D. program recommended deadlines are May 15th for Fall start and October 15th for Spring. For additional information, please see the Application Requirements & Deadlines under each of the NRESS Programs of Study

No. GRE scores are optional.

We encourage international students to apply. Applicants must have completed a 4-year BA or BS degree (or international equivalent). The university suggests prospective international students complete a preapplication to confirm eligibility. The preapplication form and additional information about the application process for international students can be found here.

Program Information

Faculty in the Department of Natural Resources and the Environment participate in the Natural Resources and Earth System Science Ph.D. Program (NRESS), an interdepartmental degree offered at UNH. For further details on this program, please visit the NRESS program page.

The Department of Natural Resources and the Environment offers a Master of Science program that provides advanced, research-based study in the ecology, biogeochemistry, economics, policy, and management of vital natural resources, including water, soil, forests, wildlife, and agricultural crops. Students often take an interdisciplinary approach to their research and use the tools of the natural and social sciences, including geospatial methods, to make fundamental and significant contributions toward local, regional, and global sustainability.

Students may choose from one of five M.S. Programs: Ecosystem Science, Environmental Conservation & Sustainability, Environmental Economics, Forestry, Natural Resources and the Environment, and Wildlife & Conservation Biology. Descriptions of each program can be found under Programs of Study.

A total of 30 credit hours are needed to complete a master's program. Additional coursework is to be chosen by the graduate student, in conjunction with the major professor and the student's advisory committee. Graduate credit is only granted for courses completed with a grade of B-­ or higher.

The advisory committee is composed of the graduate student’s faculty advisor and two other members of the graduate faculty. Members of the graduate faculty include UNH faculty as well as off-campus partners and stakeholders, and are nominated by the department chairperson or graduate program coordinator and appointed by the dean of the Graduate School.

External Transfer Credit: A maximum of 8 credits earned at the graduate level and completed on the campus of an accredited institution authorized to grant graduate degrees, may be transferred to count toward their graduate program. A grade of B or better must have been earned.

Internal Transfer Credit: A maximum of 12 credits earned by a non-degree student in UNH graduate courses may, upon approval of the dean of the Graduate School, be applied to a student’s degree program

All graduate work for any master's degree must be completed within six years from the date of matriculation (enrollment following admission) in the program.