Sand Harbor, Lake Tahoe

The Natural Resources and Environmental Science Master of Science Degree offers graduate study of the ecology, management and restoration of rangeland, forest and wildlife ecosystems. Areas of specialization include (but are not limited to): 

  • Biogeochemistry and soil processes
  • Climate change & impacts
  • Conservation biology
  • Fire ecology
  • Forest ecology & management
  • Ecohydrology
  • Environmental science
  • Landscape ecology
  • Restoration ecology 
  • Wildlife ecology & conservation

The degree program is inherently multidisciplinary and capitalizes upon the broad spectrum of expertise offered by departmental faculty. Student learning outcomes include: 

  • Students will be able to demonstrate critical thinking, writing and communication skills that will enable them to succeed after graduation. 

  • Students will be able to demonstrate knowledge of the theoretical basis and experimental methods used for study of natural resources and environmental science. 

  • Students will be able to demonstrate knowledge of experimental design, field/laboratory instrumentation and procedures, computer models, and data analyses used in natural resource and environmental science research. 


To apply, please submit your application at the University's Graduate School page.  To receive full consideration for Fall admission, applications must be submitted by December 1 st.  For Spring admission, students must apply by October 1 st.

An essential criterion for admission to the master's program is the agreement of a department graduate faculty member to serve as a student's advisor. Prospective students must correspond with potential advisors early in the application procedure as no students are accepted in the absence of the agreement by a faculty member to serve as an advisor.  Refer to the Directory section of the Departmental website.

Additional admission requirements include:  

  • A Bachelor's degree from an accredited institution of higher education in an appropriate area of science.

  • An undergraduate grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or higher, documented with official transcripts.

  • Three letters of recommendation

  • A Statement of Purpose and Intent: a one to two page essay that describes your reasons for undertaking graduate work, as well as an explanation of your study and research interests and their relation to your undergraduate study and professional goals.

Plan A vs. Plan B:
The vast majority of incoming Master’s students are admitted to the Plan A Degree Program. In this option, the student is expected to write a thesis making an original contribution to the research field of a quality acceptable to a major, peer-reviewed scientific journal. A small number of students, primarily those without research funding and/or who have a full-time job commitment, are admitted to the Plan B Degree Program. This program requires the writing of a professional paper of a quality demonstrating a high level of scholarship. Occasionally, Plan B students transfer to Plan A if research funding becomes available. Only under very special circumstances is a Plan A student allowed to transfer to Plan B. 

A full description of the rules and requirements of the Natural Resources & Environmental Science Masters of Science Degree can be found in our Graduate Program Handbook.

Who do I contact for more information?

Kevin Shoemaker, Program Director
Kevin Shoemaker