The University of Arizona

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

Graduate Degrees

Graduate Degree Options in Natural Resources 

The School of Natural Resources and the Environment offers several avenues in which to earn an MS or PhD, or a graduate certificate.  You can earn an MS with a Major in Natural Resources or Water Society, and Policyor a PhD in Natural Resources or Arid Lands Resource Sciences.

MS students can pursue either a thesis or non-thesis course of study at the discretion of faculty in each option, and the course requirements for all graduate students are individually tailored for each student, with guidance from a faculty advisory committee. On the fence about a degree in natural resources? Learn more about employment projections for 2020-2025.

Ecology, Management, and Restoration of Rangelands

The study of the Ecology, Management, and Restoration of Rangelands includes all the biological and physical processes of ecosystems - knowledge needed for sustainable use of rangelands as well as management of the diverse and complex systems that they support. Range managers develop a scientific foundation and a broad base of skills so that they can manage rangelands to meet conservation goals, maximize long-term productivity, and enhance the interaction between people and the land. Our work includes: soil, plant and animal inventories and monitoring, development of resource management plans, educating the public, and restoration of degraded rangeland.

Entrance and Degree Requirements
Faculty in this Program

Careers in Cooperative Extension article by Elise Gornish link to article


Watershed Management and Ecohydrology

Water is the critical limiting factor for resource management in dry land environments. The Watershed Management & Ecohydrology Program within the School of Natural Resources and the Environment at The University of Arizona brings a quantitative, multi-disciplinary approach to study and research on the role of water in management of natural resources. We study the interactions between hydrologic processes, management activities, and land surface conditions. Our program emphasizes hydrologic characteristics of watersheds and ecosystems in the arid and semiarid Southern region.

Entrance and Degree Requirements
Faculty in this Program

Graduate study in Wildlife Conservation and Management provides opportunities to explore ecological principles, field research techniques, tools for data analysis, and applications of research findings to management and conservation of all types of wildlife resources.  Scholars interested in wildlife ecology have long had a hand in how to manage wildlife resources for conservation, recreation, or yield. This coupling of academic research with real world application is the hallmark of the faculty, students, and collaborators associated with the Wildlife and Fisheries Resources Program in the School of Natural Resources at the University of Arizona.

Graduate study in Fisheries Conservation and Management is conducted in collaboration with the Arizona Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, which is supported by The University of Arizona, the Arizona Game and Fish Department, and the USGS.  Research programs are diverse, ranging from field studies in lowland impoundments, large rivers, and high mountain lakes and streams, to many types of laboratory experiments.  Students focus on basic aquatic ecology and applications of research to conservation and management.  The research conducted ultimately benefits the public through the cooperative efforts of the University, Arizona Game and Fish Department, USGS, and other resource management entities.

Graduate degrees qualify students for professional careers with state game and fish agencies, federal agencies (such as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs), non-government agencies, and private consulting firms.  Ph.D. graduates frequently seek research or academic positions.

Entrance and Degree Requirements 
Faculty in this Program

Natural Resources Studies

The Natural Resources Studies degree program provides an interdisciplinary graduate education for individuals wishing to contribute to natural resource policy and management decisions made in an environment increasingly influenced not only by technical elements, but by economic, legal, political and social factors as well. This major is appropriate for students continuing on from undergraduate work in natural resource management and for mid-career professionals interested in broadening their expertise in natural resource policy, administration, planning, management and ecology.

Entrance and Degree Requirements
Faculty in this Program

Natural Resource Studies MS dual degree program with Eller MBA. Contact Katie Hughes for more information

Water sustainability has emerged as perhaps the most critical natural resource issue in the western United States as well as in other semi-arid regions around the world.  More recently, even wet regions have come to face similar problems of water scarcity and conflict, due to growing demands and competition for water. 

To meet the demands imposed by water scarcity, the University of Arizona now offers a Master of Science in Water, Society and Policy (WSP).  The purpose of this degree is to provide opportunities for students to pursue professionally oriented study in a multi-disciplinary degree program that focuses on water science, society, and policy. The WSP degree combines graduate coursework in social science, policy and hydrology with professional skill-development activities.  Students are exposed to human and environmental processes as they affect water and watersheds. They gain familiarity with quantitative and qualitative techniques for observation, monitoring, and modeling of processes relevant to the management of water from regional to global scales. They develop skills to communicate with decision makers; conduct and understand scientific research; write cogent research reports, proposals, and policy evaluations; and make effective public presentations.

Graduates of the program are able to understand the basic principles of hydrology, social science, management, law, and policy and are able to contribute to making informed decisions regarding water resources.

Click here to Learn More

Graduate Certificate in Geographic Information Science

SNRE currently offers a Graduate Certificate in Geographic Information Science.


For information about other certificate programs on campus, The Graduate College has a complete listing.  


Admissions Information and the Online Application



You must submit an online application with the Graduate College. All application materials can be uploaded into the online application system, including unofficial documents, English Proficiency, and optional GRE score reports.  The online application will ask you for the program and option to which you are applying and you will need to list all faculty with whom you have been in correspondence. 


Please read our SNRE Admissions Survival Guide prior to beginning your application


Required documents that you will asked for in the online application include:


•   A letter of intent
•   A summary of coursework form (Students coming from institutions outside of the US are also required to list courses and grades.  The U.S is on a 4.0 scale, but other countries are on a scale of 10 or 100. Just make a note on the scale on which you received your grades).
•   A minimum of 3 letters of recommendation.
The application will generate an email request for the letters after you enter your recommenders’ contact information.  This is the only part of the application that you can edit once you submit the application.  You will be able to see who has sent their letter and who has not.  You will be able to add recommenders throughout the process in case one of your recommenders does not respond.  Please see the application tips link for tips on selecting recommenders.  Your recommenders can choose to use regular mail, or send an email with the letter attached to the graduate coordinator.  You can let them know this, but these instructions are also in the email that is sent via the online mechanism.
•  Official transcripts from all Colleges and Universities attended will only be required if you are admitted to the program.  Please only upload unofficial transcripts into the online process.
•  GRE scores.  The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) IS NO LONGER REQUIRED FOR ADMISSION. If you have already taken the GRE, your official scores will be automatically submitted electronically from the testing service if you have listed the University of Arizona as a recipient of your scores.  You may upload scanned copies of your results here for the purpose of evaluation but only as an added component of your application.  The GRE is now OPTIONAL.


International students must also provide proof of English profiency.  See International Students section for more information on international student requirements.


The University Code is 4832 for all test scores.  You do not need a more specific code as the scores are entered into a central system.


Optional documents that you can upload into the application include scanned copies of your GRE (optional) and TOEFL score reports, and your resume.



Official transcripts can be sent to the graduate coordinator and the UA Graduate College only if you are recommended for admission:

Graduate Coordinator

School of Natural Resources and the Environment

1064 E Lowell

The University of Arizona

Tucson, AZ 85719


Summary of coursework forms:

Save as a PDF and attach to online application.

Ecology, Management, and Restoration of Rangelands

Fisheries Conservation and Management

Natural Resource Studies

Watershed Management and Ecohydrology

Wildlife Conservation and Management



Entrance Requirements For Natural Resources students

You must have earned a Master's degree to be admitted to our PhD program.

Individual programs and faculty look for different qualifications in their students. Our most competitive applicants have biology/natural resources degrees and some research or applied experience, but we do admit students who have taken a less traditional path. The degree requirements for each option listed below can be considered strong recommendations, as some of the coursework can be taken as part of a degree program.  Contact the graduate coordinator if you have questions.

Natural Resource Studies option

Ecology, Management, and Restoration of Rangelands option

Watershed Management and Ecohydrology

Wildlife or Fisheries Conservation and Management 


Entrance Requirements for Water, Society and Policy Students

Currently there are no prerequisite coursework requirements for WSP students.  Some individual courses in the core have prerequisites such as economics, physics, or calculus, but there is sufficient breadth in the core curriculum that if you haven’t already taken these prerequisites, other courses are available to fulfill the program requirements.

Program requirements for the MS WSP



Application deadlines vary among the different options. Please see the area-specific deadlines for domestic students below.


MS in Water, Society, and Policy
We accept applications at any time for Fall and Spring admission.  Applicants are encouraged to apply at least 2 months prior to the semester in which they would like to enroll.  International Students should apply at least 5 months in advance of the semester in which they wish to enroll.
MS or PhD in Natural Resources, emphasis in Natural Resources Studies
January 1 for Fall admission, and August 1 for Spring admission
MS or PhD in Natural Resources, emphasis in Ecology, Management, and Restoration of Rangelands
We accept applications at any time for Fall and Spring admission.  Applicants are encouraged to apply at least 2 months prior to the semester in which they would like to enroll.  International Students should apply at least 5 months in advance of the semester in which they wish to enroll.
MS or PhD in Natural Resources, emphasis in Watershed Management and Ecohydrology
January 15 for Fall Admission and August 1 for spring admission
MS or PhD in Natural Resources, emphasis in Wildlife or Fisheries Conservation and Management
We accept applications at any time for Fall and Spring admission.  Applicants are encouraged to apply at least 2 months prior to the semester in which they would like to enroll.  International Students should apply at least 5 months in advance of the semester in which they wish to enroll.


You are considered an International Student if you:

• Are not a citizen of the United States of America; and
• Are not a permanent resident of the United States of America at the time you apply for admission. (This includes those who have submitted residency application documents to the USCIS but have not received formal approval verifying that you have become a permanent resident of the United States of America.)


International students will need to submit proof of English proficiency scores to the University of Arizona. More information can be found here:


Transcripts From International Institutions

Official documents must be an original or a certified copy that is issued by the university or college.  Each page must contain the original stamp or seal of the institution, the original signature of the appropriate school authority, and the date of issuance.


Transcript must be a comprehensive record of all study completed, detailing courses studied and the grades (marks) received.


Degree or Diploma certificates are required if the degree is not officially posted on the transcript.  Degree or Diploma certificates must indicate the type of degree awarded and the date of award.


Transcripts and Degree Certificates/Diplomas must be submitted in the original native language and must be accompanied by an officially verified English translation issued by the university or college.


E-Transcripts are considered official if sent directly from the institution or transcript service to either University of Arizona department personnel or the Graduate College transcripts inbox at PDF is the required delivery format.  Electronic transcripts that require the use of an .exe file to open will not be accepted and an alternate delivery method must be chosen.


For those individuals whose university issues only one set of official documents, please be prepared to present those documents to the Graduate Admissions office for viewing after arrival and enrollment.


The Graduate Admissions office performs all international credentials evaluations in-house and does not accept evaluations from private credentials evaluation services in lieu of the original official transcripts and/or diploma from the issuing institution.

Degree Requirements

Recognized Domestic Degrees - A four year undergraduate bachelor degree issued from a regionally accredited institution.  

Comparable International Degrees - Check the link for country specific degree requirements.


International applicants must apply at least 5 months prior to the beginning of the semester in which they wish to begin for those programs that accept applications on a rolling basis.  This is to ensure enough time for evaluating the application and processing visa paperwork.  Therefore, recommended deadlines for options with rolling admissoins are Aug 15 for the spring semester and Feb 15 for the fall semester.


Additional information for international students can be found here.



Questions?  Contact the Graduate Coordinator for the program to which you are applying.

Katie Hughes, Graduate Coordinator










Unlike programs in other fields of study (e.g., Chemistry, Molecular and Cellular Biology), SNRE does not have departmental funding for students. Because students are rarely accepted without funding, funding is something you will need to think about and discuss with potential faculty advisors very early in your conversations with them.


We are excited to share that the WSP program is a part of the WICHE Western Regional Graduate Program (WRGP), a program that allows out-of-state students from participating states to pay in-state tution. This program can substantially offset the cost of attending graduate school if you are unable to find adequate funding to cover your tution expenses. The WSP program is the only SNRE program eligible for the WRGP, and unfortunately, Natural Resources students are not eligible.  The application can be found here.



Here are the primary ways students are funded:

• Some students come in with funding (e.g. NSF pre-doctoral, Fulbright, host country sponsorship, CALS Fellowship awards, other fellowships).
• Many faculty fund an incoming student within an existing grant. This means the faculty provides a job for a new student or the new student agrees to perform the research as their own graduate project.  This is the most common situation in SNRE as we don’t have departmental funds to support students.
• Some students supplement the funding they receive from faculty or TAships with grants and fellowships during grad school. You'll find out more about how to apply for them, who is eligible, application deadlines, etc., once you are here.
• Some students in SNRE teach as a teaching assistant (TA). Unlike other schools, TA jobs aren't guaranteed because of the lack of funding for TAs.  Most faculty in the department will give a TA position they have to their own students, but not always—you may get lucky.  Many students seek TAships in other departments.  The General Biology courses usually hire about 30 TAs each semester and our students often get at least a few of those positions.
• Federal student aid (FAFSA)  is also an option if you need to supplement other funding you may have received.



Here is a list of resources to help you locate funding to support your tuition and fees or your research.


Scholarships, Fellowships and Grants   

Peace Corps Coverdell Fellowship Program (for returned Peace Corps Volunteers)
Graduate College Fellowships (for incoming graduate students; SNRE applies annually for Fellowship support (~$5000), and faculty select one or two students to receive funds.
College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Scholarships (These are Tuition scholarships. SNRE's Academic Coordinator assists a faculty committee that sets distribution of funds among graduate students nominated by their faculty advisor for all admitted graduate and undergraduate students).
McGinnies Fellowship (for doctoral students)
Sloan Foundation Indigenous Grant Partnership (Full 2 year tuition scholarship for Native American Graduate students in the Water Society and Policy MS)
T and E, Inc., Small Grants
Travel Grants (Graduate and Professional Student Council) 


The following scholarships are earmarked for students in SNRE, but most are administered through the College of Agriculture & Life Sciences (CALS).  Applications become available in the spring of each year.  SNRE students should use the CALS on-line application to apply for these scholarships, and applicants will automatically be eligible for funds from certain CALS scholarships targeted for any student with a major within CALS.  Faculty in the School select scholarship recipients in their respective Programs, and determine how funds will be divided among selected students, but these selections are subject to review by CALS administrators.


Cowden, E. Ray Scholarship (annual funds available ≈$5,000) Available for freshman through graduate students in the Range Program, but most often awarded to advanced undergraduate students.  Range Program faculty select students and notify the Assistant Director who forwards names to the College.

Phil Ogden Endowment - primarily for travel grants for graduate students (and some undergraduates) in the Range Option and presenting at scientific conferences.  Awarded twice each year to cover winter and summer meetings. Nominations are made by major professors in the Range Resources Program.  Award - usually $500 each; 2 to 3 awards each year.

Harry Wayne Springfield Endowment -  Same criteria as for Ogden Awards; primarily for graduate students (some undergraduates) focusing on Range Science or plant ecology within SNRE.  Students nominated and selected by Rangeland and Forest Resources faculty.  Award - usually $500 each; 5 awards each year.

H. Lynn Anderson Fund  (annual funds available ≈$1,400)   For full-time students in Range program.  Graduate or undergraduate students are eligible.

Noon,  Horton E.  (annual funds available ≈$850)   Upper division undergraduate or graduate students with professional promise and good character; must be an Arizona resident;  Preference to students with financial need.  This award is available to students in Watershed.

Martha Grinder (about $800 /year) Award goes to graduate students in the Wildlife & Fisheries Program; highest priority to doctoral students in Wildlife with a demonstrated interest and contribution in teaching.  Award may not be made every year.  The Wildlife & Fisheries scholarship coordinator will call for nominations from WFSC faculty at the end of Spring Semester for the Fall award.

Seegmiller,  Rick (annual funds available ≈$650)  Award goes to graduate students in the Wildlife & Fisheries Program doing wildlife research and evidence of unusual contributions to undergraduate or graduate students or to faculty in the WFSC Program.  Award may not be made every year.   The Wildlife & Fisheries scholarship coordinator will call for nominations from WFSC faculty at the end of Spring Semester for the Fall award.

Arrington Scholarship   (annual funds available ≈ $5,000).  For graduate students in Wildlife with preference to students who:  (#1) were former employees of Arizona Game & Fish or (#2) worked on projects associated with Az G&F, or (#3) have extensive experience working in the field of Wildlife Management.

Erv Zube Scholarship  - (annual funds available ≈$1,000)  Full-time graduate students demonstrating outstanding potential in their field and majoring in SNRE or Landscape Architecture.  Funds come to SNRE in even-numbered years and to Landscape Architecture in odd-numbered years.

C.P. Patrick Reid Scholarship - Created at retirement of former SNRE director, Dr. C.P. Patrick Reid.

Colwell, Fran Scholarship - Open to graduate students with preference given to students studying Global Change Ecology and Management or closely related subjects.  Applicants must write a 250 word application statement describing their career goals and interest in human and social dimensions of natural resources management, have a minimum 3.0 GPA, and be enrolled full-time.


The graduate coordinator can help you with:


• Questions about the program and the application process
• Changing the term to which you are applying (if you have already submitted your application)
• Deferring your accepted application to another semester


Katie Hughes, Graduate Coordinator, Natural Resources






For problems with the online application, contact Graduate Admissions at 520-621-3471







Photo: Dave Quanrud