Skip to main content Skip to navigation
Washington State University

Ph.D. Environmental & Natural Resource Sciences

Program Description

Ph.D. research in Environmental and Natural Resource Sciences spans a range of the biological, physical, and social sciences that focus on understanding and managing the environment, including diverse aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems and natural resources such as plants and animal. The Ph.D. dissertation should be a significant contribution worthy of publication in refereed international journals. Specializations are offered in the areas such as:

  • Environmental policy and management
  • Aquatic ecology, forest ecology
  • Wildlife ecology, conservation, and biodiversity
  • Quantitative and spatial aspects of natural resources

Program Core Competencies and Student Outcomes for Ph.D. in ENRS

The Ph.D. program in ENRS is designed to educate, train and mentor students in six “core competency” areas within the Environmental and Natural Resource sciences.

  1. Advanced knowledge of ecosystems, including biotic and abiotic structure and function, the roles of humans and societies, and applications to management.
  2. Advanced knowledge in research methods and data analysis, including aptitude for assessing a wide range of environmental and/or social science data.
  3. Ability to critically examine and creatively address interdisciplinary problems.
  4. Advanced knowledge in the ethics of managing and conducting research in the environmental and natural resource sciences, actively incorporating issues of environmental and social justice, equity and inclusion.
  5. Ability to effectively communicate knowledge of environmental and natural resource sciences to a wide range of audiences, through multiple modes of delivery, including written and oral formats.
  6. A specialized subject area to be defined by the student and the student’s Supervisory Committee.

Through the pursuit of attaining competence in these areas, students who successfully complete the Ph.D. in ENRS will be able to:

  • Attain knowledge and expertise in core disciplinary areas, as well as appreciation and application of interdisciplinary approaches.
  • Recognize, think critically about, and develop creative solutions to scientific problems.
  • Master the field, laboratory, data analysis and theoretical skills necessary to perform the research.
  • Write successful research grant proposals or otherwise obtain research funding.
  • Effectively communicate the results of their research.
  • Become effective teachers in field, laboratory and lecture-room settings.
  • Prepare future students to successfully compete for jobs in industry, academia, and government.
  • Contribute scientific leadership and expertise at the local, state and national levels.
  • Become visible members of the scientific community by taking organizational and service roles.

Program Requirements:

72 hours minimum of total credits, consisting of:

  • 15 hours minimum of graded coursework at 500- level if student has an M.S. Or 17 hours minimum of graded 500-level coursework if student has only a B.S.
  • 9 hours maximum non-graduate 300/400 level graded coursework
  • 20 hours minimum of SOE 800 – 1 credit during each semester enrolled except summer.

Courses taken for audit or courses graded Pass/Fail may not be used on the program of study.

Also required:

  • Preliminary exam
  • Dissertation
  • Final Oral Exam -Dissertation Defense

 

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 SOE 594.
  • Advanced interdisciplinary cognizance/appreciation.
  • A specialized subject area to be defined by the student and the student’s Supervisory Committee.

 

Developing a Program of Study

Each student will develop a program of study in cooperation with a Supervisory Committee that includes his/her Faculty Advisor as Chair. The program of study is a plan for your classwork and research credits throughout the rest of your program.

Pullman, Puyallup, and Tri Cities Students: Programs of study are due by a specific date in your third semester of study. These dates are October 1st if your third semester is during the fall, and March 1st if your third semester is during the spring. These are firm deadlines, set in place by the Graduate School. 

Vancouver Students: Your program of study is due at the end of your 2nd semester.

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 student’s Supervisory Committee
  • 72 hours minimum of total credits consisting of 15 minimum credits hours of 500 level if a student has an M.S. or 17 hours minimum of graded 500 level coursework if a student has only a B.S.  9 hours maximum of 300-400 level graded course work, 20 hours minimum SOE 800 and 1 credit during each semester enrolled except summer.

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.


 

Ph.D. Student Edwin Jacobo & Summer Tanager

Find Faculty

Labs and Facilities

Multi-campus Program