Human Dimensions of Natural Resources PhD Program

Doctoral Graduation Requirements

The PhD degree in Human Dimensions of Natural Resources is designed to prepare students for careers in academic research and teaching, or advanced scientific professions. The PhD degree is conferred upon students who have demonstrated a high level of achievement in their particular specialization and have completed independent research contributing to knowledge in their respective field.

Admission Requirement

  • Master’s degree or equivalent in a relevant discipline from an accredited institution
  • GPA: 3.2 on a scale of 4.0
  • Graduate Record Exam score (GRE)*: verbal plus quantitative total of at least 1100 (300 on the new GRE)
  • Minimum TOEFL scores: 550 (paper-based test), 79 (Internet-based test)
  • 50th percentile or higher preferred in each category
  • Experience in research or management of natural resources. Practical skills are strongly considered.

Students whose GPAs and GRE scores do not meet the requirements will be evaluated individually. The GRE requirement may be waived under exceptional circumstances. Applicants will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

Degree Requirements

  • A minimum of 72 hrs beyond the Baccalaureate degree for the PhD.
  • A maximum of 30 hours of post baccalaureate graduate credit from an accredited university can be transferred toward the PhD degree program, subject to committee approval..
  • The program must include a minimum of 15 hours of 8000 level course work, exclusive of problems, readings and research.
  • D. students are required to present their research at two or more professional conferences during matriculation.
  • D. students are required publish their research results in peer-reviewed scientific journals
  • The PhD degree is conferred only upon those students who, after extensive study, have demonstrated a high level of achievement in their particular specialization in forestry and have completed significant independent research in their field.

Coursework Requirements

All students in the Human Dimensions of Natural Resources Emphasis Area will be required to take at least one course from each of three categories:

  1. Social science research methods
  2. Quantitative and/or qualitative data analysis
  3. Social science theory

Each student’s coursework requirements, including the selection of specific courses in the above categories, will be listed in the student’s plan of study and approved by their graduate committee.

  1. Within one year of initial enrollment in the emphasis area, doctoral students must pass a qualifying examination. The qualifying exam will include a presentation by the student of his/her course of study. The course of study shall be approved by the student’s graduate committee. The graduate committee may also request a demonstration of the student’s research aptitude, competencies in subject matter, and communication skills.
  2. Within three years of initial enrollment in the emphasis area, doctoral students must present a written proposal of their research and an oral defense of that proposal to be reviewed and approved by members of the students’ doctoral committee.
  3. Within three years of initial enrollment in the emphasis area, doctoral students must pass a comprehensive examination. The PhD comprehensive exam will be a written examination with questions from each of the graduate committee members followed by an oral examination. The format of each set of questions will be determined by the graduate committee membersThe oral portion of the comprehensive examination may be combined with the research proposal oral defense.
  4. Doctoral students will submit a written dissertation following the guidelines specified by the Graduate School. All doctoral students must present a public oral defense of their dissertation announced at least two weeks prior to the defense date.

Doctoral Committee

The student pursuing the doctoral program is expected to pass qualifying, comprehensive and final examinations administered by the student’s doctoral committee. This committee is structured as defined by the MU Graduate School and must have a minimum of 4 members, at least 3 members must be from the student’s doctoral degree program and 1 outside member from a program outside the School of Natural Resources.

Qualifying Examination

The qualifying examination determines whether the student’s background is adequate to enter the Ph.D. program. It also is intended to ascertain if there are areas of weakness in which a candidate will be required to gain background through appropriate course work or areas that prohibit entry into the program.

D-1 Qualifying Examination Results and Doctoral Committee Approval Form

Submission of the D-1 form follows a meeting of the student’s graduate committee and approval by the committee, of the student’s proposal and plan of research and coursework. This form is to be submitted to the MU Graduate School within one month of exam completion. Submit D1 to the MU Graduate School no later than the end of the student’s second semester of enrollment.

D-2 Plan of Study

The D-2 form accompanies the D-1, and is also to be submitted to the MU Graduate School within one month of exam completion. Submit D2 to the MU Graduate School no later than the end of the student’s third semester of study.

Comprehensive Examination

Comprehensive exam must be take a minimum 6 months before dissertation defense. The objectives of the comprehensive examination are twofold:
1. to determine if a student has acquired sufficient depth and breadth of knowledge in selected areas of concentration
2. to evaluate the candidate’s capacity to apply that knowledge in solving applied or theoretical problems.

D-3 Doctoral Comprehensive Exam Result Form

The D-3 forms should be completed and filed with the MU Graduate School within one month of exam completion.

Final Examination (Dissertation Defense)

The final examination is directed primarily toward exploration of the dissertation research project. The final examination is directed primarily toward exploration of the dissertation research project. An independent scholarly dissertation approved by the student’s advisor and doctoral committee must be completed. The announcement of public seminar for the dissertation defense must be made at least two weeks in advance of the seminar. It must be well advertised and open to the public. Every candidate should review the Dissertation & Thesis Guidelines from the Graduate School and should consult the Director of Graduate Studies for academic program style requirements.

D-4 Report of the Dissertation Defense Form

The D-4 form should be completed and filed with the MU Graduate School as soon as possible after the defense.

Particular attention is given to the record of the last 2 years of undergraduate study, and/or the type and quality of professional experience since completion of the undergraduate degree. Doctoral candidates must demonstrate a higher level of achievement in each of these criteria.