How to Apply

Before you can enroll in the FES graduate program, your application must be reviewed and accepted by our program and the Graduate School. Make sure you review the Graduate School’s application procedures before you apply.

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The FES Graduate Program deadlines are different from Graduate School deadlines. Please review both and adhere to whichever deadlines are earliest. If extenuating circumstances will prevent you from meeting the deadlines below, please contact the Grad Coordinator to see if your situation might merit an exception.

Fall Term
For the best chance of being accepted and receiving any type of funding from OSU, plan on submitting your application in the November or December prior to the fall term for which you are applying. It can be helpful for you to make your references aware of the deadline so that their letters of reference for you reach OSU on time.

Applications with materials (including letters of reference) submitted by the dates below will:

January 1st

  • Receive full consideration by the program's Admissions Committee
  • Meet the deadlines for most OSU scholarship and fellowship competitions

January 15th

  • Receive full consideration by the program's Admissions Committee
  • Meet the deadlines for some OSU scholarship and fellowship competitions

March 1st

  • Receive consideration by the program's Admissions Committee as time and space allow
  • Meet the deadlines for a few OSU scholarship and fellowship competitions

April 15th

  • Receive consideration by the program's Admissions Committee as time and space allow
  • May not meet deadlines for any OSU scholarship and fellowship competitions

Other Terms
Applicants seeking to matriculate in winter, spring, or summer will likely have limited access to scholarship and fellowship competitions. For the terms below, all application materials (including letters of reference) should be submitted by:

Winter: September 15th

Spring: December 15th

Summer: March 15th

Application Materials

GRE scores are not required, should not be submitted, and will not be considered in all FES MF, MS, and PhD student admissions decisions. In addition to the materials required by the Graduate School, our program requires applicants to submit the following:

Statement of Objectives
Your statement should be a well-written essay/letter of interest that addresses your goals and motivations to be a student of the Forest Ecosystems and Society program, the role that graduate education will play in your long-term goals, and the experiences and education that have prepared you for graduate school. It is helpful to review the considerations for admissions described earlier and address the criteria in your statement. The Statement of Objectives is vital to your application’s success – please take the time to craft it carefully!

Other Application Questions
These online application questions serve to gauge your research experience, background in quantitative methods, writing skills, and other characteristics that would prepare you for graduate school. Prepare to provide writing samples for some, and write short answers for others.

Letters of Recommendation (3)
The three required letters of recommendation should address your critical thinking skills, work ethic and the considerations for admission described above. They should be written by sources who have first-hand experience with your performance in pertinent settings and who understand the demands of graduate school. Letter writers should not pose an actual or potential conflict of interest. For example, letters should not be supplied by your potential major professor or by someone supervised by your potential major professor. Letters must be submitted through the Online Letter of Recommendation System. Hard copy letters sent to the department will not be accepted.

Curriculum Vitae (CV) or Resume
This should include experience pertinent to your academic and professional goals. This may include work experience, volunteer experience, publications, presentations, and/or awards.

To evaluate your application, Oregon State University may use official or unofficial transcripts from each institution you have attended. Official transcripts should be sent from your institution directly to the Graduate School, either physically or via electronic transcript providers Parchment, E-Scrip Safe, or National Clearinghouse. Unofficial transcripts are copies of official transcripts, and include a transcript key. Web-generated transcripts are not accepted. If you are accepted to the program and admitted to Oregon State University using an unofficial transcript, you must supply an official transcript before you can enroll.

Application Procedures

Before you submit your application, you must:

When those tasks are completed, you can:

  • Prepare the application materials required by the program and the Graduate School
  • Submit your application online
  • Submit any additional materials not part of the fundamental application
  • Ensure that your three references have all submitted their letters via the Online Letter of Reference system

The wait time to receive a decision depends on the volume of applications we are receiving (heaviest in December, January, and February). Applicants who complete their applications without a commitment from a major professor can expect to wait longer than those who apply with a major professor in place.

Proceeding from a FES MS to a FES PhD

While it is not typical to get a Ph.D and MS degree from the same institution, it is permitted. If a FES MS student wishes to enroll in the FES Ph.D degree after completing their MS degree, they must apply to the FES Ph.D degree via the process detailed below.

Before applying, it is recommended that students consult with their current MS major professor, their proposed Ph.D major professor (see below), and/or the Graduate Program Director to determine whether they are prepared for a Ph.D program. Students should be aware that the Ph.D program is not an extension of their MS program; it is a far lengthier, more rigorous program with different expectations and standards that prepares students for a different career trajectory.

As with standard applications, current MS students can only be accepted into the FES Ph.D program after a qualified graduate faculty member has agreed to serve as their Ph.D major professor. Students who intend for their MS major professor to continue on as their Ph.D major professor should ensure that professor is willing and approved to advise at the Ph.D level – not all MS major professors are.

Application Procedures
Students intending to proceed from a FES MS to a FES Ph.D are not required to submit an online application through OSU’s Graduate School. Instead, they will ensure the materials below are delivered directly to the FES Grad Coordinator.

Although there are no specific deadlines for current FES MS students to apply to the FES Ph.D program, students are strongly encouraged to submit application materials approximately one month before their final exam. This timing will help ensure the student can complete degree change procedures (see ‘If Accepted’ below) prior to their final exam. If students intend to apply for ‘New Student’ funding, they must apply and be accepted in accordance with those funding deadlines.

Application Materials
Although applications to the FES Ph.D program include the same components as applications to the FES MS program, they are evaluated using different standards. Current FES MS students should produce new application materials that specifically reflect their qualifications and goals for the FES Ph.D program instead of reusing materials from their original FES MS application.

After the Grad Coordinator receives the materials below, they will pull the student’s current OSU transcripts and transcripts from the student’s original application to the FES MS program. This will complete the application.

Statement of Objectives: Complete in accordance with instructions above. Please ensure that the statement adequately addresses the objectives of a Ph.D program and not the MS program.

CV: Complete in accordance with instructions above.

Letters of recommendation (3): Letters should specifically address the applicant’s qualifications for a Ph.D program. Letter writers should not be solicited from someone with a potential conflict of interest. For example, letters should not be supplied by your potential major professor or by someone supervised by your potential major professor. Letters may either be delivered to the Grad Coordinator in a sealed envelope or e-mailed directly to the Grad Coordinator. Beyond this, letters should be completed in accordance with instructions above.

If Accepted
If a current FES MS student is accepted to the FES Ph.D program, they may proceed to the Ph.D program in one of two ways.

If the student does not plan to complete their current MS degree, they will complete a ‘Change of Degree’ form to switch from an MS to a Ph.D effective immediately (or at a time designated by the student and their current/future major professor).

If the student plans to complete their current MS degree, they will complete a ‘Change of Degree’ form to add a concurrent Ph.D degree to their record in the months leading up to their MS final exam. During this period, the student will technically be an MS student and a Ph.D student at the same time. When the student successfully completes their MS program, they may continue as a Ph.D student uninterrupted.

Once enrolled in the FES Ph.D program, students will be expected to meet program and University Ph.D requirements, including completion and submission of a new Program of Study form, learning outcomes, and research proposal.

Funding for Students Continuing on to a PhD
Current FES MS students seeking to apply to ‘new student’ funding for their Ph.D program must carefully review eligibility requirements to determine if the funding is for ‘new students’ or for students ‘new to OSU’. Current FES MS students will not qualify for funding designed for students new to OSU. This includes the Provost’s Graduate Fellowship. However, FES MS students likely will qualify for funding designed for students new to their programs. This includes the CoF Graduate Fellowship Competition.

If current FES MS students wish to pursue this funding, they must apply to the FEs Ph.D program in accordance with funding deadlines. For details of funding deadlines for the current application season, please consult the Grad Coordinator.