Natural Resources and Earth Systems Science (NRES)

Degree Offered: Ph.D.

This program is offered in Durham.

The graduate program in Natural Resources and Earth Systems Science (NRESS) is an interdepartmental program offering the Ph.D. degree for interdisciplinary work in areas related to the understanding and management of the environment in the broadest context. Areas of study include, but are not limited to, ecosystem science, biogeochemical cycling, geochemical systems, atmospheric science, environmental philosophy, forestry, geologic science, hydrology, marine science, oceanography, social science, environmental policy and ethics, environmental education, and multidisciplinary natural resources management.

The NRESS Ph.D. program offers two degrees:

Ph.D. in Natural Resources and Environmental Studies (NRES)

Students in NRES focus on problems dealing with the allocation and distribution of natural resources, policies at the local to global scale, and ethical and societal factors that affect resource management.  Students receiving the Ph.D. degree in NRES will typically have a bachelor's and/or master’s degree in economics, environmental conservation, philosophy, political science, or sociology.

Ph.D. in Earth and Environmental Sciences (EES)

Students in EES focus on problems dealing with the physical, chemical, and/or biological processes that affect earth and environmental systems. Students receiving the Ph.D. degree in EES will typically have a bachelor's and/or master’s degree in biology, ecology, environmental science, geology, hydrology, or microbiology.

Admission Requirements

Applicants to the NRESS Program come from a wide range of undergraduate majors and master's degree concentrations. Individuals are admitted based on the quality of their previous work and its relevance to the particular area of study they propose to pursue.

Students are expected to have completed a master's degree before entering the program, although this is not a requirement.

All applicants must identify an advisor before being admitted, and this faculty member must agree to serve as the applicant's advisor. Certain applicants may be admitted with deficiencies identified by their adviser and/or by the executive committee. These deficiencies normally must be corrected in the first year of the program. Applicants are not required to submit GRE test scores (this requirement is optional). Please see the program website for details on applying to the program.


The NRESS Ph.D. Program has over 75 UNH faculty members who serve as advisers, mentors and guidance and doctoral committee members for the current 56-60 NRESS students. NRESS faculty request appointment from across the University, representing all UNH colleges, multiple research groups, departments, schools, and the UNH Cooperative Extension.

Prospective students are strongly encouraged to contact NRESS faculty members directly when seeking a potential adviser for mentoring and possible funding of their doctoral studies. Applicants are required to secure a UNH NRESS adviser to be considered for admission. 

Natural Resources & Earth Systems Science (NRES)

NRES #995 - Independent Study

Credits: 1-4

Independent Study.

Grade Mode: Letter Grading

NRES 997 - Interdisciplinary Research in Natural Resources and Earth and Environmental Sciences

Credits: 1

This course provides NRESS students opportunities to build a peer network, discuss the nature of interdisciplinary/transdisciplinary research, and read papers from Natural Resources and Earth Systems primary literature. Weekly discussion of topics relevant to interdisciplinary research and careers, along with several guest speakers, are included. The course is facilitated by the NRESS faculty chair, and is required for incoming NRESS students.

Repeat Rule: May be repeated for a maximum of 2 credits.

Grade Mode: Graduate Credit/Fail grading

NRES 999 - Doctoral Research

Credits: 0

Doctoral Research.

Grade Mode: Graduate Credit/Fail grading

Special Fee: Yes