Natural Resources Ph.D. (Ithaca)

Field of Study

Natural Resources and the Environment

Program Description

Graduate training emphasizes developing broad-based knowledge necessary to manage natural resources. 

The M.S. and Ph.D. programs are research oriented, and each requires a thesis or dissertation. Students are normally expected to obtain the M.S. or equivalent degree before entering the Ph.D. program.

The Field of Natural Resources provides freedom to design a graduate program that addresses the individual interests of students. Excellent laboratory and field facilities are available. Many graduate students in the field also pursue international research topics.

The graduate program in natural resources is highly individualized and interdisciplinary. Students work with faculty advisors to identify course requirements and to define a research or professional project. In order to be admitted, a faculty member must express interest in supervising a prospective student, therefore it is important to correspond with potential faculty advisors during the application process.

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



Application Requirements and Deadlines

Application Deadlines:

Fall, Feb. 28; spring, Sept. 30

Fall semester

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.

Requirements Summary:

  • all Graduate School Requirements, including the TOEFL Exam or IELTS Academic Exam for non-native English 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 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.