Considerations for Admission

When reviewing your application, we will be looking for evidence of your potential to succeed as a student in your selected degree program (MS, MF, or PhD) and as a researcher, practitioner, or contributor in your selected area(s) of focus. This evidence can be presented in many ways in different parts of your application; reviewers will make decisions based on the big picture your application presents, not on any single component. For this reason, we require a bachelor’s degree, but not in a specific field.

In addition to meeting Graduate School’s admission requirements, successful applications to will show evidence of:

  • General knowledge sufficient for the specified area of focus
  • Oral and written communication skills
  • Motivation to succeed
  • A maturity that will allow the independent work required of a graduate student

Additionally, successful applications to the following degrees will show evidence of:

Master of Science (MS):

  • Advanced academic ability
  • Intellectual curiosity and initiative
  • Ability to think critically and solve unusual or complex problems
  • Potential to master pertinent scientific concepts and methods

Master of Forestry (MF):

  • Academic competency
  • Intellectual curiosity and drive

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD):

  • Academic excellence
  • Intellectual curiosity and initiative
  • Ability to think critically and solve unusual or complex problems
  • Advanced knowledge of pertinent scientific and other concepts and methods
  • Experience in research, including planning, execution, analysis, interpretation, and writing
  • Depth and breadth, both in research experience and course work
  • Intellectual and emotional maturity

Evidence for these characteristics can be demonstrated in your student transcripts, CV or resume, statement of objectives, letters of reference, or other materials. We encourage you to share our considerations for admission with your references when requesting letters of support.

Applying for a FES PhD Without a Masters Degree
It is possible for an applicant to be admitted to the FES PhD program without a Masters degree. However, applicants without a Masters degree will still be expected to provide evidence of their qualifications consistent with the Considerations for Admission specified for the FES PhD above. Without the framework of a successfully completed Masters program, this evidence may be difficult (though not impossible) to provide.

Before pursuing a PhD application, applicants without a Masters degree should have a serious discussion with their potential major professor regarding the benefits and drawbacks of directly pursuing a FES PhD instead of first pursuing a FES MS. Applicants should never advance their MS application to a PhD application simply to meet eligibility requirements for funding competitions.

For more on the expectations associated with each degree program, please see the Degree Offerings page.