New Frontiers: Antarctica

"I have always loved winter and ice and cold and ice fishing, but I never would have guessed that I would have been preparing myself for Antarctica," said Michaud, an LRES doctoral student from Eagan, Minn.

Information for Prospective Students

M.S. Online in Land Resources and Environmental Sciences

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Program Information Degrees Application Requirements
How to Apply Graduate Assistantships Application Deadlines

Program Information

The LRES department offers advanced study leading to:

Graduate student research projects are related to the diverse interests of LRES faculty members.  The department conducts research projects in land rehabilitation, restoration ecology for land and streams, watershed science, hydrology, biogeochemistry, land-atmosphere exchange, plant and soil ecology, environmental microbiology, cropping systems and sustainability, environmental risk assessment, integrated pest and weed management, and insect behavior and ecology.


M.S. in Land Resources and Environmental Sciences

The M.S. program in Land Resources and Environmental Sciences is designed to provide outstanding graduate training opportunities across a substantial breadth of disciplinary interests. Research and coursework programs are specifically adapted to each graduate student. Research projects are directed toward improving our understanding of principles and processes important to land resources and environmental sciences, with opportunities for direct ties to management in many cases. Many projects address processes at multiple scales through well-integrated, multi-disciplinary efforts. Understanding is developed through targeted advanced coursework tailored to the student and to the research project. Research projects involve topics such as hydrology, watershed analysis, integrated management of invasive plant species, soil nutrient management, bioremediation, land reclamation, restoration ecology, fluvial systems ecology and restoration, riparian ecology, microbial ecology of natural systems, chemical fate and transport, water quality, crop diversification, precision agriculture, environmental risk assessment, remote sensing applications, and climate variability.

M.S. in Land Rehabilitation (cross-departmental)

Course work in land rehabilitation is designed to serve students new to the rehabilitation field, as well as to experienced individuals or those already working in land rehabilitation or restoration ecology and who desire further education and training. Montana State University offers core courses in land rehabilitation and restoration ecology, and a very strong array of supporting courses in relevant disciplines. These courses are integrated with the core curriculum to add breadth and depth to the program and to make specialization possible in a given aspect of land rehabilitation. Site revegetation, soil remediation, restoration of riparian zones and stream channels, remediation of contaminated sites, and management of invasive plants are among the many potential areas of study. Emphasis is placed on developing a broad understanding of soil, plant and hydrological processes as foundation to effective applications. With the exception of required core courses, course sequences will be designed to correspond with the specific needs, interests and educational goals of the individual student. This program emphasizes soil, vegetation and water sciences, and graduates are expected to be well versed in these areas in addition to the student's particular area of interest.

M.S. in Entomology (cross-departmental)
Program Homepage

The graduate program in Entomology at Montana State University leads to a Master of Science degree. Students in the program are required to take formal course work and conduct independent research guided by the student's advisory committee.  Each student, during the course of her/his graduate program, will also have the opportunity to participate in activities outside their degree program that will benefit them academically and professionally.  Such activities include participating in teaching and outreach programs, taking part in the entomology seminar series, and attending and presenting research results at professional meetings.  Each student is strongly encouraged to take advantage of these opportunities. A student's individual program can be designed, with approval of the graduate advisor and graduate committee, to suit the student's individual interests and career goals.

The entomology faculty at MSU conduct research in a variety of disciplines, including behavioral ecology, biodiversity studies, biological control of insects and weeds, biosystematics, chemical ecology, ecology, integrated pest management, pollination ecology, risk assessment, stored-product entomology, thermal biology, and veterinary entomology.  Entomological research at MSU includes some of the most important pests in the western U.S., including alfalfa weevil, aphids, cutworms, grasshoppers, Hessian fly, lygus bugs, mosquito vectors of West Nile Virus, wheat-stem sawfly, wireworms, and others.  Beneficial insects under study include various biological control agents and pollinators. Most faculty conduct both applied and basic research.

Ph.D. in Ecology and Environmental Sciences (cross-departmental)
Program Homepage

This cross-college doctoral degree represents a broad collaboration among departments and faculty from across MSU. It provides the opportunity for motivated students to integrate our world-class faculty research programs in diverse aspects of ecology and environmental sciences, within the unparalleled natural laboratory that is the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Particular program strengths include terrestrial and aquatic ecology, environmental biogeochemistry, evolutionary biology, hydrology and watershed analysis, quantitative ecology, invasive plant ecology and management, conservation biology, land rehabilitation/restoration ecology, environmental microbiology, remote sensing and spatial sciences.

Application Requirements

  • Review LRES Faculty's Areas of Research
  • Contact faculty member whose research interest aligns with your own
    • If a faculty member agrees to serve as your major advisor, mention their name in the "Program Information" and "Statement of Purpose" sections of your application
    • If no advisor is securied, state "No advisor" in the "Program Information" section of your application
  • Hold a B.S. degree and, for the Ph.D. program, an M.S. degree
    • Exceptional students may apply to the Ph.D. program directly following completion of a suitable B.S. degree
  • Have a record of appropriate scholarship in areas closely related to Land Resources and Environmental Sciences
  • Present evidence of college-level training and mastery in biology, chemistry, and mathematics sufficient to provide a good background for further study at the advanced level
    • Applicants with deficiencies may be required to take background courses to make up for these deficiencies before or after being approved for acceptance

NOTE: Incomplete applications will not be considered.

How to Apply

To apply to one of the LRES graduate programs, your application and all required materials must be submitted online through the MSU Graduate School. Before submitting your application, it is strongly recommended that your review a list of LRES faculty and their area of research, and contact a faculty member whose research interests align with your own. You may e-mail faculty directly with questions about research opportunities, and whether they would consider being your major advisor. Contacting individual faculty to seek an advisor is a critical strategy to match your research questions to the research interests of faculty. If a faculty member expresses interest, they may explicitly invite you to submit an application. If that faculty has funding to support you, it's important to mention this faculty member's name in the "Program Information section of your application, as well as in your "Statement of Purpose". 

If you apply without securing funding from a faculty member, you must type "No advisor" in the "Program Information" section of your application. Your application will be placed on the LRES faculty website for their perusal for six months, allowing a larger pool of faculty to see your qualifications, which may potentially lead to a Graduate Assistantship (GA), scholarship, or fellowship. 

The LRES department also offers an online master's degree which is not thesis-based, and does not require a major advisor. This is a coursework degree as compared to a thesis-based, on-campus degree, and requires the completion of 27 credits of coursework and a 3-credit professional paper at the end of the program. There are no assistantships availalbe with this program, since there are no advisor-funded research or teaching opportunities for students. 

Submit Online

The following materials must be submitted through The Graduate School via their online application process:

Document  Details
Application and payment of a non-refundable application fee of $60.00 The fee must be paid before the application will be processed.
Statement of Purpose This statement consists of a one-page narrative outlining your goals and interests in obtaining a graduate degree in the LRES department and identifies your faculty advisor.
Three (3) letters of recommendation During this online process, applicants will be asked to provide information about their references.  The electronic process will prompt each reference to submit a signed reference letter.  Letters should be written by people who are able to judge your ability to succeed in graduate school, e.g., your undergraduate professors, an advisor or supervisor during an internship, other faculty.
Official transcripts from all universities attended Unofficial transcripts can be uploaded by the student during the online process; however, MSU must receive official transcripts directly from university (s) attended. Previous graduates of MSU-Bozeman do not need to submit transcripts. 
Official Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores

This exam must be taken BEFORE applying for admission, and the scores cannot be more than five years old at the time of application.

Minimum Score Recommended: 150 verbal, 146 quantitative, and 4.0 analytical
Minimum Score Recommended (Old System): 450 verbal, 550 quantitative, and 4.0 analytical

Additional International Student Requirements

In addition to the above mailed materials, international applicants will be required to submit the following by mail:

Document  Details
English proficiency scores

This test is required of applicants who are not U.S. citizens and are not from countries where English is the official language.  This requirement is waived if the applicant has earned an undergraduate or graduate degree from an institution in the U.S.


  • internet-based: 80,
  • computer-based: 213, or
  • paper-based: 550

IELTS: 7.0

Financial Certificate and Proof of Funds

Copy of applicant's passport

Degree certificates

Include a certified English translation for all non-English academic transcripts and credentials.  Photocopies can be used to initiate the application process; however, official transcripts/credentials are still required upon admission.


International students should also review the International Application Process information provided by The Graduate School.

Graduate Assistantships

Assistantship awards are dependent on availability of funding.  THe LRES department tries very hard to make sure all graduate students have financial support in the form of Graduate Assistantships, which may be a combination of scholarship, Graduate Research Assistantship (GRA), and Graduate Teaching Assistantship (GTA) funds. Most students are supported on GRAs provided by their major advisor from grant funds. There are a limited number of GTAs availalbe, and they are awarded based on prior academic performance and financial assistance needs. To be considereed for a GTA for the academic year, all application materials must be recieved by March 1st for a fall start. Applicants applying to the Ph.D. program are required to have a completed application submitted by November 30th if they want to be considered for a competitive fellowship that begins the following fall. 

Application Deadlines

Complete applications are reviewed by the department as they are received and must be submitted to the LRES Department to allow proper time for review.  The final deadlines are:

Entry Semester  Domestic Applications 
(U.S. and Canada)
International Applications 
Fall July 1 May 1
Spring December 1 October 1
Summer April 1 February 1