Natural Resources and the Environment (M.S.)

The Department of Natural Resources and the Environment offers a Master of Science program that provides advanced, research-based study in the ecology, biogeochemistry, economics, policy, and management of vital natural resources, including water, soil, forests, wildlife, and agricultural crops. Students take an interdisciplinary approach to their research and use the tools of the natural and social sciences, including geospatial methods, to make fundamental and significant contributions toward local, regional, and global sustainability.

Students are supported by a highly productive and internationally recognized faculty, outstanding laboratory facilities, and a diversity of accessible terrestrial, marine, and freshwater field sites. Research conducted by faculty and graduate students has resulted in UNH being ranked second of 316 North American institutions in scholarly contributions to the field of ecology.

Possible career trajectories are diverse. Some graduates pursue private sector environmental and social science consulting. Others seek positions in planning, environmental protection, research, or resource management with federal or state agencies (e.g., NOAA, USDA, EPA, NRCS), private industry, or with non-governmental organizations. Graduates from the environmental economics option may also find careers in agribusiness or banking. Graduates may choose to pursue advanced study at the doctoral level.

Students may choose to specify one of five options:

  • Ecosystem Science 
  • Environmental Conservation and Sustainability 
  • Environmental Economics
  • Forestry
  • Wildlife and Conservation Biology

Degree Requirements

An M.S. degree is conferred upon successful completion of a program of not less than 30 credits for natural resources and the environment options: forestry, environmental conservation and sustainability, environmental economics, ecosystem science, and wildlife and conservation biology.

Course Requirements or Equivalents

NR 903Approach to Research2
Choose one of the following additional research methods classes:2
Grant Writing
Writing and Publishing Science
Scientific Communication
Or an alternative with approval from the Graduate Coordinator
NR 993Natural and Environmental Resources Seminar2
NR 996Natural Resource Education (or Teaching Assistantship) 12
Select one of the following Data Analysis courses: 23-4
Design, Analysis, and Interpretation of Experiments
Experimental Design & Analysis
Introduction to Applied Analytic Statistics
Econometrics I
Qualitative Inquiry in Research
Quantitative Methods in Earth Sciences
Statistical Methods for Research
Applied Regression Analysis
Design of Experiments I
Analysis of Ecological Communities and Complex Data
Hierarchical Modeling in Ecology
Introduction to Statistical Analysis
Quantitative Methods for Policy Research
Research Methodology and Statistics I
Research Methods and Statistics III
Sociological Methods I: Intermediate Social Statistics
Sociological Methods III: Advanced Social Statistics
Sociological Methods IV: Qualitative and Historical Research Methods
Select one of the following:
NR 899Master's Thesis 36
NR 998Directed Research 44

If you are on a Teaching Assistantship, you are not required to take NR 996,  Natural Resource Education.


Or other alternative with approval from the Graduate Coordinator.


The thesis option will provide a research-based thesis that is the foundation for a peer-reviewed publication.


The directed research option shall consist of a project, designed and conducted by the student, culminating in a scholarly paper or report that is suitable for publication in the respective field of scholarship.

An approved program of study plan is required during the first semester.

Key Learning Objectives:

  • Knowledge and skills outcomes to ensure graduates of the MS program have mastered their discipline: demonstrate knowledge of theory and practice, as well as critical thinking skills and creativity, in conducting ecological, economic, and policy assessment of natural resource and environmental issues and developing solutions to environmental problems;
  • successfully employ the field, laboratory, data analysis, and social science skills necessary to perform research concerning natural resources and their management;
  • design, propose, and execute research addressing fundamental or critical issues in natural resources;
  • contribute to scholarship through publication and presentation of research findings using diverse media.

Professional outcomes to ensure graduates of the MS program successfully compete for jobs in the public and private sectors:

  • demonstrate mastery of theory and empirical knowledge in their research concentration and, more generally, in the relevant natural and/or social;
  • use written and oral skills to communicate effectively with colleagues, stakeholders, and the public;
  • integrate theory and practice to analyze, assess, and solve environmental and social problems and answer questions across diverse scales from local to global;
  • develop and employ interdisciplinary relationships and approaches to addressing environmental issues;
  • interact with professional peers honestly and ethically, and in ways that show cultural sensitivity, inquisitiveness, and propensity for teamwork.