Prospective Graduate Students

Next Application

September 30, 2014 for Spring 2015 admission to Forestry & Environmental Resources, Natural Resources, and Fisheries, Wildlife & Conservation Biology programs


October 15, 2014 for Spring 2015 admission to Environmental Assessment.

January 31, 2015 for Fall 2015 admission to Forestry & Environmental Resources, Natural Resources, and Fisheries, Wildlife & Conservation Biology programs.


The Department of Forestry & Natural Resources (FER) offers seven Masters and two PhD degree tracks in specific areas of Forestry, Natural Resources, Environmental Assessment or Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology. Some programs require a formal thesis; others accept a professional project and presentation in lieu of a thesis.

Graduate Curriculum

All FER graduate level courses can be found on NCSU's Registration and Records website. Graduate courses are designated as 500-level or higher. It is common for students pursuing graduate degrees within FER to follow a study program that includes courses from other NC State departments, particularly Botany, Genetics, Soil Science, Statistics and Zoology.

Because many entering graduate students do not have a forestry or natural resources background, FER also offers a series of mini-courses that provide overviews on relevant subject areas. Most mini-courses are taught over a period of five weeks and all earn one credit hour. Applicants with no forestry background who are interested in traditional forestry careers should read about prerequisites here.


Faculty available to graduate students includes experts on a wide variety of topics related to forestry and environmental resources, including leading researchers and teachers in such areas as the bio sciences, economics, forest nutrition, forest policy and management, hardwoods, hydrology, international forestry and global natural resources, landscape ecology, policy, physiology/ vegetative propagation, restoration ecology, silviculture, spatial sciences, tree improvement, wetlands/restoration ecology, wildlife biology and woodlots. For a complete list of department faculty members and Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology faculty members, please visit the Faculty & Staff Directory.

The Graduate School

All graduate students at NC State automatically belong to the University's Graduate School and are subject to its requirements. This organization is a valuable resource, as it provides comprehensive information on graduate studies at NC State, including links to admission and other forms, graduation requirements and more.

Degree Programs

Click the categories below for details about our graduate degree programs

Observation Tower at Alligator River National Wildlife Refure, part of on-going ecophysiological research on ecosystem response to climate change.

The Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources, offering a Master of Forestry, a Master of Science in Forestry and a PhD in Forestry and Environmental Resources, is proud to be one of America's foremost colleges for graduates seeking advanced degrees in forestry. Our training covers all areas traditionally associated with forest resource programs, including tree improvement, forest management, yield modeling and forest economics. A series of mini-courses provides students who enter without a forestry/natural resource background with overviews in several forestry subject areas.

Our non-thesis Master of Forestry program emphasizes the resources of North Carolina and the southern United States. Students may also address forestry problems throughout North America or leverage FER's expertise in tropical pine species and many other international arenas. No minor is required. The Master of Forestry can allow students without a forestry undergraduate degree to prepare for careers in forest management that require certification (see this link for more information).

Our Master of Science in Forestry program requires you to successfully complete a thesis within the field of forestry and to select a minor. It emphasizes the resources of North Carolina and the southern United States, but candidates may also address forestry problems throughout North America or choose an area of study that leverages FER's expertise in tropical pine species and other international arenas.

Our PhD in Forestry and Environmental Resources lets candidates explore a variety of advanced problems involving forestry and natural resources. Degrees are available in a number of concentrations, ranging from all aspects of silviculture and forest management to related areas involving hydrology, ecology, policy, wildlife biology and spatial information systems.

Natural Resources
Viola Glenn (far right) with her agroforestry survey team in Malawi.


The Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources administers several technical options in the intercollegiate NC State Natural Resources Masters Program that focus on different aspects of relevant policy and management. Students customize their education by choosing a degree option and a technical option, then combine core courses in natural resources issues with a series of related courses in technical disciplines.

The purpose of the Natural Resources core curriculum is to educate professionals at an advanced level to be well-versed in policy and regulation while also perfecting their quantitative assessment skills. The technical options are designed to enhance each student's understanding of the processes within an individual option. Courses within the various options are taught in several different departments and provide a broad background with rigorous technical emphases.

Technical options within the Natural Resource program are: Assessment and Analysis, Ecological Restoration, Economics and Management, Geographic Information Systems, Hydrology, International Resources, and Policy and Administration. 

Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology
Colter Chitwood, doctoral student, researching fawn survival at Ft. Bragg, NC


Advanced degree programs within Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology are intercollegiate degree programs co-administered by the College of Natural Resources, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and College of Veterinary Medicine. Currently, more than 40 graduate students are pursuing advanced Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology degrees.

The Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology area at NC State focuses on researching and understanding ecological principles as they apply to natural resource management as well as the subsequent effects on wildlife, fisheries and aquaculture. Our mission is to advance the scientifically-based conservation, management and use of fishery, wildlife and associated resources. This focus in reflected in the emphasis our graduate students place on identifying and resolving important questions ranging from fundamental scientific inquiry to technical, applied, management-oriented problems.

Graduate students interested in Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology at NC State can choose to pursue a non-thesis degree by enrolling in our Master of Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology degree program. Students interested in obtaining a thesis degree should select our Master of Science in Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology option. In addition, a PhD in Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology program allows students to obtain their doctorates in a wide array of related concentrations.

Admission into any of the above graduate degrees is contingent upon a faculty mentor agreeing to serve as the prospective student’s adviser. Therefore, before applying to the graduate program, students should contact faculty members in the Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology Program to explore opportunities.

Environmental Assessment
Training class

The Master of Environmental Assessment Degree is an interdisciplinary program focused on understanding the adverse impacts that pollutants and naturally occurring substances pose on human health and the environment. The program builds upon NC State University's expertise in environmental issues and problem solving. The program is designed as a completely online degree. This technology allows professionals to complete their degree while still working. In addition, individuals can boost their credentials through our (non degree) certificate program. Through the program, students combine multiple fields of study to tackle complex environmental problems.

The Master of Environmental Assessment (EA) degree is intended for working professionals who seek advanced study beyond the undergraduate level but are not interested in pursuing a career in research. The EA degree is a joint non-thesis graduate degree program administered by the College of Agriculture Life Sciences (CALS) and the College of Natural Resources (CNR). The program requires 30 credit hours. Twenty-two credit hours will be in required courses with the remaining nine hours selected from the list of elective courses or equivalent. No thesis is required.

The courses are selected to offer a cohesive continuing education opportunity for people in agricultural, chemical, environmental, energy, natural resource, pharmaceutical, biomedical, and biotechnology fields. Companies and government research facilities in these fields, as well as regulatory agencies, all have a need for employees who understand the basic principles of environmental assessment, how to perform and review human and ecological risk assessments, and how these assessments relate to environmental regulation and management.

For more information on this program, including how to apply, please see the Environmental Assessment website.

Note that we have another degree program in Natural Resources - Assessment and Analysis Technical Option. These programs are distinct.

Geospatial Information Science and Technology

This degree prepares high end professionals to lead North Carolina and the nation both in the development of new technology used to understand and manage spatial phenomena (economic development, disease, emergency planning and response, environmental resources, etc.) and in the management and application of this technology in corporate and service organizations. The degree is centered on NC State’s strengths in management of technology, computer engineering, and statistical analytics and builds on our successful Graduate Certificate in GIS and our Master’s of Natural Resources/Spatial Information Systems Option degree. The program focuses on advanced skill development in computational modeling and management decision support, as opposed to geography, and will address the growing need for GIS developers, managers, and analysts.

Learn more about this program, including how to apply, by visiting the Center for Geospatial Analytics Education Programs and Highlights webpage..