Natural Resources Ph.D. (Ithaca)

Field of Study

Natural Resources and the Environment

Program Description

Students develop transdisciplinary knowledge and research and practical skills necessary to manage natural resources and the environment. 

The M.S. and Ph.D. programs emphasize research and require a thesis or dissertation. Students often obtain the M.S. degree before entering the Ph.D. program. A Master of Professional Studies (MPS) degree focuses on course work and a professional project.

In collaboration with their faculty advisor and graduate committee members, students design a graduate program that addresses their individual interests. Students may conduct research in the US or internationally and have access to excellent laboratory and field facilities.

The M.S and Ph.D. programs in Natural Resources and the Environment are designed to enable students to meet their research and professional goals. Students work with faculty advisors to identify courses and to define a research or professional project. To be admitted to the M.S. or Ph.D. program, the student must identify a faculty member who expresses interest in supervising them prior to admission. Therefore, it is critical that prospective MS or PhD students correspond with potential faculty advisors during the application process.

MPS students meet weekly as a cohort and share experiences. Each student chooses courses to meet their needs and identifies a faculty advisor for their professional project after matriculating at Cornell.

Contact Information

Phone: 607 255-2809

111D Fernow Hall
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY  14853

Concentrations by Subject

  • applied ecology
  • community-based natural resources management
  • conservation biology
  • ecosystem biology and biogeochemistry
  • fishery and aquatic science
  • forest science
  • human dimensions of natural resources management
  • policy and institutional analysis
  • program development and evaluation
  • quantitative ecology
  • risk analysis and management
  • wildlife science


Visit the Graduate School's Tuition Rates page.

Application Requirements and Deadlines

Application Deadlines:

Fall, Feb. 28

The Natural Resources graduate field has a rolling admissions policy and will accept applications through February 28th.  

In order to be considered for Cornell Graduate Fellowships and other University-sponsored fellowships Ph.D. applicants should apply by December 1st.  Most decisions regarding admission and associated Cornell Fellowships are made in December and January.

(Natural Resources is not offering admission for Spring 2024)

Requirements Summary:

  • all Graduate School Requirements, including the English Language Proficiency Requirement for all applicants
  • three recommendations
  • curriculum vita (CV)
  • A faculty member must sponsor your application for review by the Admissions Committee. Therefore, it is important that you correspond with and obtain sponsorship from a faculty advisor during the application process

Learning Outcomes

Candidates for a Ph.D degree in Natural Resources and the Environment demonstrate a broad based knowledge in Natural Resources Management and a mastery of knowledge in one of the field’s sub-disciplines. Furthermore, Ph.D candidates demonstrate an ability to create new knowledge, and make an original and substantial contribution in a focal sub-discipline in an appropriate timeframe.
Ph.D Degree Proficiencies:  
  1. Demonstrate broad-based knowledge in the discipline of Natural Resources Management. 
  2. Make an original and substantive research contribution to one of the sub-disciplines represented by concentrations in the Field of Natural Resources. 
    • Think originally and independently to develop new knowledge, concepts and methods in this sub-discipline.
    • Identify new research questions in this sub-discipline.
  1. Demonstrate advanced research skills.
    • Be knowledgeable of historical developments in natural resource management and able to articulate, discuss, and synthesize concepts and evidence in a sub-discipline within this field.
    • Master observational, experimental and analytical methods required for executing research.
    • Interpret and evaluate research findings.
    • Demonstrate ability to communicate research findings, through oral presentation and written publications.
    • Demonstrate ability to write proposals for fellowships and research funding. 
  1. Develop teaching and professional skills.
    • Be effective in educating others about natural resources management and affiliated sub-disciplines.
    • Be able to evaluate contributions made by others to natural resource management and affiliated sub-disciplines.
    • Develop collaborative skills.
    • Show commitment to professional development.
    • Be involved in departmental and university organizations.
    • Be involved in outreach activities.