Natural Resources and the Environment (M.S.)

Natural Resources and the Environment (M.S.)

student studying in the forest

Why get a master’s degree in natural resources and the environment?

An M.S. in natural resources and the environment will prepare you for advancement or a new career that will allow you to make significant contributions toward local, regional and global challenges surrounding the use, management and conservation of our natural resources. UNH’s interdisciplinary program combines advanced research skills and training in the natural sciences, including ecology and biogeochemistry, with a fundamental understanding of economics, policy and resource management. This degree in natural resources and the environment is well suited to careers in the broad areas of environmental and social science consulting, sustainability, resource management, and environmental regulation, as well as doctoral studies.

Why choose UNH for your degree?

Our internationally recognized faculty and outstanding laboratory facilities make UNH the perfect fit for studies in this growing field. You’ll be able to pursue your research interests by specializing in one of five areas within the degree program: environmental conservation and sustainability, environmental economics, forestry, ecosystem science, or wildlife and conservation biology. Our main campus in Durham is located near the White Mountains and the Atlantic Ocean with access to a diverse array of terrestrial, marine and freshwater field sites. The university, which has earned the Carnegie Classification R1, is ranked among the nation’s highest-performing research universities and brings in more than $110 million in competitive external research funding each year.

Potential career areas

  • Ecological, economic or policy research
  • Environmental consulting
  • Environmental education
  • Land-use planning
  • Parks and recreation management
  • Policy analysis
  • Regulatory agencies
  • Sustainable agriculture
  • Sustainable resource management 


Rebecca Rowe

Phone: (603) 862-2810
Office: Natural Resources & the Environment, James Hall Rm 136, Durham, NH 03824

Wendy Rose

Phone: (603) 862-3933
Office: Natural Resources & the Environment, James Hall Rm 114, Durham, NH 03824

Curriculum & Requirements

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 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 are supported by a highly productive and internationally recognized faculty, outstanding laboratory facilities, and a diversity of accessible terrestrial, marine, and freshwater field sites. Research conducted by faculty and graduate students has resulted in UNH being ranked second of 316 North American institutions in scholarly contributions to the field of ecology.

Possible career trajectories are diverse. Some graduates pursue private sector environmental and social science consulting. Others seek positions in planning, environmental protection, research, or resource management with federal or state agencies (e.g., NOAA, USDA, EPA, NRCS), private industry, or with non-governmental organizations. Graduates from the environmental economics option may also find careers in agribusiness or banking. Graduates may choose to pursue advanced study at the doctoral level.

Students may choose to specify one of five options:

  • Ecosystem Science 
  • Environmental Conservation and Sustainability 
  • Environmental Economics
  • Forestry
  • Wildlife and Conservation Biology

Degree Requirements

An M.S. degree is conferred upon successful completion of a program of not less than 30 credits for natural resources and the environment options: forestry, environmental conservation and sustainability, environmental economics, ecosystem science, and wildlife and conservation biology.

Course Requirements or Equivalents

EDUC 904Qualitative Inquiry in Research (Policy oriented)4
NR 903Approach to Research2
And with NR 903, choose one of the following additional research methods classes for a total of 4 credits:2
NR 905
Grant Writing
BIOL 902
Writing and Publishing Science
BIOL 950
Scientific Communication
Or an alternative with approval from the Graduate Coordinator
NR 993Natural and Environmental Resources Seminar1-4
or NR 947 Ecosystem Science: Theory, Practice, and Management Applications for Sustainability
NR 996Natural Resource Education (1 credit )1 - 2
or LSA 900 College Teaching
Select one of the following Data Analysis courses:3-4
ANFS 933
Design, Analysis, and Interpretation of Experiments
BIOL 811
Experimental Design & Analysis
DATA 800
Introduction to Applied Analytic Statistics
ECON 926
Econometrics I
ESCI 801
Quantitative Methods in Earth Sciences
MATH 835
Statistical Methods for Research
MATH 840
Design of Experiments I
MATH #969
Topics in Probability and Statistics I
NR 909
Analysis of Ecological Communities and Complex Data
POLT #905
Introduction to Statistical Analysis
PSYC 905
Research Methodology and Statistics I
PSYC 907
Research Methods and Statistics III
SOC 901
Sociological Methods I: Intermediate Social Statistics
SOC 903
Sociological Methods III: Advanced Social Statistics
SOC 904
Sociological Methods IV: Qualitative and Historical Research Methods
Or an alternative with approval from the Graduate Coordinator
Select one of the following:
NR 899Master's Thesis (and a formal presentation of the thesis) 16
NR 998Directed Research (and directed research results) 24

An approved program of study plan is required during the first semester.


Applications must be completed by the following deadlines in order to be reviewed for admission:

  • Fall: Feb. 15 (for funding); April 1 (recommended US; final international); Aug. 1 (final)
  • Spring: December 1
  • Summer: N/A
  • Special: N/A

Application fee: $65

Campus: Durham

New England Regional: MA

Accelerated Masters: Yes (for more details see the accelerated masters information page)

New Hampshire Residents

Students claiming in-state residency must also submit a Proof of Residence form. This form is not required to complete your application, but you will need to submit it after you are offered admission or you will not be able to register for classes.


If you attended UNH after September 1, 1991, and have indicated so on your online application, we will retrieve your transcript internally; this includes UNH-Durham, UNH-Manchester and UNH Non-Degree work. 

If you did not attend UNH, or attended prior to September 1, 1991, then you must request one official transcript be sent directly to our office from the Registrar's Office of each college/university attended. International transcripts must be translated into English. We accept transcripts both electronically and in hard copy:

  • Electronic Transcripts: Please have your institution send the transcript directly to Please note that we can only accept copies sent directly from the institution.
  • Paper Transcripts: Please send hard copies of transcripts to: UNH Graduate School, Thompson Hall- 105 Main Street, Durham, NH 03824. You may request transcripts be sent to us directly from the institution or you may send them yourself as long as they remain sealed in the original university envelope.

Letters of recommendation: 3 required

Recommendation letters submitted by relatives or friends, as well as letters older than one year, will not be accepted.

Test Scores: GRE Required

GRE required. Request official test scores to be sent directly to the Graduate School by the testing service. Test scores more than five years old are not acceptable. Student copies and photo copies of scores are not considered official. Our CEEB code is 3918.

For general information about test scores, including waiver requests and current COVID related impacts, please visit our Test Scores webpage.

Personal Statement/Essay Questions

Prepare a brief but careful statement regarding:

  1. Reasons you wish to do graduate work in this field, including your immediate and long-range objectives.
  2. Your specific research or professional interest and experiences in this field.

Important Notes

All applicants are encouraged to contact programs directly to discuss program specific application questions.

Applicants should visit the Natural Resources program website and review the list of faculty in their area of interest. The applicant should contact potential faculty advisors to discuss their interests and determine whether the faculty member(s) may be willing and able to serve as the student’s advisor before applying to the program. See the Natural Resources Faculty List for a current list of faculty.

International Applicants

The University of New Hampshire recommends that international applicants who are living outside of the United States, and are planning on pursuing a research based degree, submit a preapplication form before submitting a full application. Your preapplication request will be carefully reviewed and a decision usually provided within 3 weeks. If your preapplication is approved then it is recommended you then submit a full application. If you are currently living in the United States (on a H1B visa, etc.), or you plan on pursuing a professional master’s degree, then you do not need to submit a preapplication.

Prospective international students are required to submit TOEFL, IELTS, or equivalent examination scores. English Language Exams may be waived if English is your first language. If you wish to request a waiver, then please visit our Test Scores webpage for more information.

Explore Program Details

take the next step

Undergraduate Student


A view of T-Hall on the UNH campus.


A female student at UNH gets help on her resume