School of the Environment

Graduate Studies

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Environmental & Natural Resource Sciences

Ph.D. Program Description:

Environmental and natural resource sciences comprise an association of several areas of study at WSU.  These sciences focus on factors related to the understanding and management of the environment and therefore have a commonality of interest.  The Ph.D. program provides opportunities for doctoral study that involve integration and interaction among these various fields of science.  The cooperation of WSU's faculties in environmental and natural resource sciences in this program fosters important exchanges of knowledge that greatly enhance interdisciplinary education.

Application Requirements:

General WSU Graduate School requirements for admission must be met, including a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 for the most recent 60 semester hours of undergraduate academic coursework. Specific requirements for the Ph.D. in Environmental Science and Natural Resource Sciences include a TOEFL score of 600 (Paper-Based), 250 (Computer-Based), or 100 (Internet-Based) for students with English as a second language. Normally completion of a Masterâs degree (or equivalent) is expected for admission to the doctoral program. Admission to the program without subject matter deficiency requires at least 10 semester credits of completed coursework in basic biological and/or physical sciences (e.g., biology, chemistry, physics, geology, etc.). Students may be admitted with deficiency with the expectation that the deficiency will be met through completed coursework (for non-graduate program credit) within one year of admission. Each applicant must also be accepted by a faculty advisor before admission. Arrangements for a faculty advisor should be made through interaction between the student and the faculty member. The initial contact may be made either by the applicant or the faculty member.

Curriculum

Each student will develop a program of study in cooperation with a Supervisory Committee that includes his/her faculty advisor as chair. As preparation for a preliminary examination, a core curriculum must be completed through preceding and/or new course work that will yield competencies in five broad areas list below:

  • Advanced knowledge of ecosystems, including both biophysical structure and function, and roles of humans.
  • Advanced knowledge in research methods.
  • Advanced knowledge in environmental and natural resource issues and ethics. To be met by completion of NATRS/ESRP 595.
  • Advanced interdisciplinary cognizance/appreciation.
  • A specialized subject area to be defined by the student and the student's Supervisory Committee.

Ph.D. Program Requirements:

The Ph.D. dissertation should be a significant contribution to the Environmental & Natural Resource Sciences, worthy of publication in referred international journals.

The objectives of the Ph.D. program in Environmental and Natural Resource Sciences are:

  • To provide an atmosphere of scholarship coupled with research opportunities that will produce people capable of responding to the complicated issues of use, management and protection of the environment and its natural resources.
  • To foster the pursuit of interdisciplinary research in the environmental and natural resource sciences and to facilitate a better understanding of the ecological, social and economic relationships inherent in environmental and natural resource issues.
  • To produce scientists who will assume leadership roles in the research and management of natural resources and the environment.
  • To prepare students for working with, and within, public and private agencies responsible for the management or protection of natural resources and the environment.
Each student will develop a program of study in cooperation with a Supervisory Committee that includes his/her Faculty Advisor as Chair. As preparation for a Preliminary Examination, a core curriculum must be completed through preceding and/or new coursework that will yield competencies in five broad areas:

  • Advanced knowledge of ecosystems, including both biophysical structure and function, and roles of humans. This competency may be met by the equivalent of at least 6 semester hours of graded coursework.
  • Advanced knowledge in research methods; This competency may be met by the equivalent of 3 semester hours of graded coursework in each of the following two areas, Statistics and Modeling as applicable to dissertation research.
  • Advanced knowledge in environmental and natural resource issues and ethics
  • Advanced interdisciplinary cognizance/appreciation
  • A specialized subject area to be defined by the student and the studentâs Supervisory Committee
Both preliminary and final exams will be required to test the candidate's knowledge of Environmental & Natural Resource Sciences with emphasis on the work presented in the dissertation and general fields of knowledge pertinent to the degree.

Program Committee and Advisor

Each student will be assigned an advisor who will recommend a Dissertation Committee. The committee will consist of at least three members that must be Graduate Faculty. At the doctoral level, the committee also has the responsibility for the Ph.D. preliminary examination and the qualifying examination for the Doctor of Philosophy degree.

Preliminary Examination

Each student is required to pass a preliminary examination in order to become a candidate for the Ph.D. degree. This examination will be taken after most of the required course work has been completed, as determined by the thesis committee, and upon submission of a dissertation research proposal. It will consist of written and oral parts which will focus on the student's major area of competency, courses taken, and the subject matter of the proposed research.

Dissertation and Final Examination

The final examination will be mainly a defense of the dissertation. All students are required to present a seminar to the faculty and public on their dissertation research.

Students can choose whether the final copy of the thesis is provided to the Graduate School in paper format or digital format. The candidate for degree will continue to submit two paper copies of the title page, two paper copies of the abstract, and two original signature pages--one on 100% bond. Signatures should be in black ink.

If the candidate selects to utilize the paper format, two unbound copies of the final dissertation must be provided to the Graduate School within five working days of passing your scheduled final examination:

  • One copy on 100% cotton rag paper with original signature page
  • One copy with original signature page (it is not necessary to have this second copy on 100% cotton paper)
Because a student only has five working days after defending their thesis to turn in the final version to the Graduate School, substantially all changes must be addressed prior to defending their thesis in the final exam. Consequently, your committee members need to have read your thesis prior to scheduling a thesis defense date. This means committee members should receive copies of your thesis at least 14 days before scheduling the final exam. Depending on your advisor and your writing ability, you should generally allow for three to four weeks prior to this for addressing the rough draft comments. One copy should be available in the main office for others to review 10 days before your scheduled defense.

 

School of the Environment, PO Box 642812, Washington State University, Pullman WA 99164-2812, 509-335-3009, Contact Us