NIFA Higher Education National Needs PhD Fellowships in Forest Resources

Note: Initial deadline for this fellowship was April 30, 2020. We have received many qualified candidates and we will continue to review applications on a rolling basis.

For more information, contact the project director:

Charles Nilon, PhD

The University of Missouri’s School of Natural Resources is pleased to offer a fellowship for up to three students to complete their PhD in forest resources starting in the fall of 2020. The fellowship is to support three students who are members of racial or ethnic groups that are underrepresented in forest resources. The fellowship is supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) Food and Agricultural Sciences National Needs Graduate Fellowships (NNF) Grants Program and the MU School of Natural Resources.

The fellowship includes:

  • Stipend. Fellows earn a monthly research or teaching assistant stipend of approximately $2,000/month:
    • Research Experience – Years 1-3: Fellows participate in a research project with their mentor/advisor that can be the basis of their dissertation.
    • Professional Internship: Fellows are matched with a professional in the forest research field to provide an internship opportunity during one summer and career mentorship throughout their program.
    • Teaching Experience – Year 4: After completion of the NNF program, the fellows are guaranteed a paid Teaching Assistantship, or may be able to identify funds for continuing their research work.
  • Fellows’ tuition will be waived for four years of their doctoral program.
  • Health Insurance. Fellows’ health insurance will be paid by SNR for the four years of their doctoral program.

Eligibility Criteria: To be eligible, an applicant must be a U.S. citizen or national, and be a member of racial or ethnic group(s) that are under-represented in forest resources: Black or African American, Native American or Alaska Native, Hispanic or Latino/a/x. Up to three PhD students will be funded.

Fellowship Qualifications: Bachelor’s degree in a related field; master’s degree preferred. Competitive academic record, particularly in last 60 credit hours. Excellent references. Selected fellows will need to apply to and be admitted to the doctoral program.

Fellowship Application Materials: Please provide CV, transcript (unofficial okay) and a short letter describing research interests, career goals and relevant experience. Application materials should be sent to Charlie Nilon, PhD. Those applicants selected to be fellows would then need to be successfully admitted to the MU School of Natural Resources PhD program.

The MU School of Natural Resources offers a premier PhD program in Forest Resources.  In our interdisciplinary program, students may specialize in agroforestry, forest management, silviculture, landscape ecology, fire science, urban ecology, water resources, or natural resources law and policy.  Using coursework, research, internships, and personalized mentorship, our program prepares students for careers with academic institutions, consulting firms, industry, and state and federal agencies.

The School of Natural Resources (SNR) graduate program is recognized for both its disciplinary and interdisciplinary strengths, offering degrees in Natural Resources with emphasis area options that include Agroforestry; Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences; Forestry; Human Dimensions of Natural Resources; Parks, Recreation, and Tourism; Soil, Environmental and Atmospheric Sciences; and Water Resources.

The graduate program at SNR includes a combination of classroom learning and experiential learning through research training and teaching opportunities. Doctoral students independently develop a research proposal and complete a dissertation based upon that proposal. The doctoral program can be completed in four years. Learn more about SNR graduate studies.

Fellows will have on-the-job training through a summer internship and career mentorship. Some of our partners that will host fellows include: Missouri Department of Conservation, USDA Forest Service, USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service, Missouri Department of Natural Resources, LAD Foundation and others.

About Columbia, Missouri: Anyone who has spent time in Columbia — or CoMo as we sometimes call it — will tell you how much fun it is. Whether you’re here on a football Saturday grilling and high-fiving before you cheer on the Tigers, or a July night dancing in the streets during a Summerfest outdoor concert, this lively college town is the place to be. Mizzou’s campus is right next to downtown Columbia, within walking distance of student-friendly restaurants, clothing stores, ice cream shops and music venues. It’s also right in the middle of the state, and only a two-hour drive to Kansas City or St. Louis. Learn more about CoMo.

Why Forest Resources? The scope of the forestry profession has broadened from a traditional focus on timber management to include aspects of conservation science, landscape ecology, ecosystem services, urban ecology, and human dimensions, while retaining the critical foundation in applied forest science. There is a growing need to address the factors that have left some populations underrepresented in the field and remove barriers to individuals studying at the graduate level, which is a priority for the MU School of Natural Resources.

Contact the Project Director:

Charles Nilon, PhD

Potential Mentors

Your mentor/advisor will help guide your research, and so it is important to have a strong match in research interest areas. Contact Charlie Nilon about your research interests to help identify a good fit. Learn more about our potential mentors on their websites.

This work is supported by NIFA Food and Agricultural Sciences National Needs Graduate Fellowships Grants Program [grant no. 2018-09328, accession number 1020741] from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture. USDA Non-Discrimination Statement: