Graduate Programs

Welcome to the Wildland Resources Department website. The Department offers opportunities for graduate study through MS and PhD programs.

Prospective Students

For the PhD degree, there is a more variable amount of required coursework, as well as a research dissertation. Compared to the MS degree, the PhD degree has a greater emphasis on theory, research methods, writing research proposals, and publishing research in peer reviewed outlets. The MS degree requires a minimum of 30 credits, of which 24 must be in residence. There are two options available in the MS. The Plan A requires students to complete coursework, as well as a research thesis. The Plan B is a nonthesis, terminal degree, based largely on coursework and a professional paper or project.

Admission Requirements

Students with undergraduate degrees in natural resources or sciences are preferred.  To be accepted to the program, it is recommended that applicants first contact a specific faculty member with whom they are interested in working.  If the faculty member is accepting graduate students and agrees to work with the student, the student can then apply by completing the following application requirements.

Application Requirements

  • Complete the online application
  • Pay the $55 application fee
  • GRE is not required by the Department or College, but specific advisors may require GRE scores
  • Have a 3.0 or higher GPA on your last 60 semester or 90 quarter credits
  • Provide transcripts of all college/university credits
  • Provide three contacts for letters of recommendation

International students have additional admissions requirements.

Current Graduate Student Resources:

Masters Programs
The MS degree requires a minimum of 30 credits, of which 24 must be in residence. There are two options available in the MS: The Plan A requires students to complete coursework, as well as a research thesis; The Plan B is a nonthesis, terminal degree, based largely on coursework and a professional paper or project.

PhD Programs
For the Ph.D. degree, there is a more variable amount of required coursework, as well as a research dissertation.  Compared to the MS degree, the Ph.D. degree has a greater emphasis on theory, research methods, writing research proposals, and publishing research in peer-reviewed outlets.

Graduate Specializations
  • MS & PhD Ecology - Conservation Biology, Forest Ecology, Wildlife Ecology
  • MS & PhD in Range Science - Range Animal Nutrition, Range Management
  • MS & PhD in Wildlife Biology - Wildlife Management
  • Master of Natural Resources (MNR)

Admissions Deadlines

Applications for graduate programs (Graduate Admission) are accepted year-round. However, chances for acceptance are best if students apply between October and January.  It is also encouraged that students begin in the fall if possible.

Master's Degree Plan Options

Students can receive the MS by pursuing one of two options:

  • In the Plan A option, students complete graduate-level coursework and must write a thesis.
  • The Plan B option requires the production of a paper or creative work of art and is expected to reflect equivalent scholarship standards as a thesis.

Financial Assistance

The Department of Wildland Resources provides financial assistance for most of its graduate students through research assistantships, available through professors having contracts, grants, or other awards.  A variety of additional funding opportunities are available, including fellowships, scholarships, and travel support.  Additionally, students may be eligible for subsidized health insurance through qualifying assistantships.

Find out more information about the Quinney Doctoral Fellowship.

PhD Qualifying Exams

PhD students must pass comprehensive examinations. When the student has completed the courses listed in their Program of Study they schedule a meeting of their committee for the comprehensive examination. This exam is used to assess whether a student is prepared to successfully conduct independent research. The assessment depends upon the student's knowledge in his or her area of study and in supporting areas, understanding of philosophical perspectives on scholarship, and ability to communicate this knowledge effectively. It is recommended that the comprehensive exam be taken by the end of the student's second academic year, and it must be passed no later than one year prior to defending the dissertation and before candidacy will be recommended. The Application for Candidacy for Doctoral Degree form should be taken to the examination and completed at that time. Committee members list the field in which they examined the student on the Application for Candidacy for Doctoral Degree and sign accordingly.

Life at Utah State University

Utah State University is located in Logan, Utah, in the heart of Cache Valley.  The Cache Valley region of northern Utah is a scenic mountainous part of the country with ample opportunities for nearby outdoor activity both winter and summer.  The city of Logan offers a small town atmosphere with an extensive cultural program sponsored by the University, the Utah Festival Opera Company and Utah Theater.  Salt Lake City is only two hours away, and readily accessible by well maintained highways throughout the year.