Graduate Studies in LRES Department
Program Information and How to Apply
Information for Prospective Students
|How to Apply
The LRES department offers advanced study leading to:
- Thesis M.S. in Land Resources and Environmental Sciences
- Professional M.S. in Land Resources and Environmental Sciences (fully online)
- Thesis M.S. in Land Rehabilitation (cross-departmental)
- Thesis M.S. in Entomology (cross-departmental)
- Ph.D. in Ecology and Environmental Sciences (cross-college)
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.
GRE scores are NOT required for applicants to any LRES graduate program. However, if applicants have already taken this test and would like to share their scores, they are free to upload a copy as part of their application.
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.
Professional M.S. in Land Resources and Environmental Sciences (online)
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. Programs are specifically adapted to each graduate student and often address processes at multiple scales through well-integrated, multi-disciplinary efforts. Student projects are directed toward improving understanding of principles and processes important to land resources and environmental sciences, with opportunities for direct ties to management.
Understanding is developed through targeted advanced coursework tailored to the student. Professional papers may involve, but are not limited to, topics such as watershed hydrology, integrated management of invasive plant species, soil nutrient management, 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 and GIS applications, and climate variability.
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.
For applicants who aren't Montana residents: this program is a Western Regional Graduate Program (WRGP) through the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE). This program allows students from 16 select western states/territories to pay resident tuition instead of full out-of-state tuition (students on Graduate Research/Teaching Assistantships also qualify for in-state tuition levels).
To find out more about the program and to see if your state qualifies, please visit the WICHE website for more information.
Thesis M.S. in Entomology (cross-departmental)
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)
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.
- 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 your application's "Statement of Purpose".
- If no advisor is secured, you may still submit your application but you must continue to reach out to faculty to secure an advisor. Applicants will NOT be admitted into LRES graduate programs without an advisor.
- 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
- 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.
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. It's important to mention this faculty member's name in your "Statement of Purpose".
You may apply even if you haven't secured a faculty advisor, but it's important to continue to reach out to faculty to secure an advisor during this time. All applicants must have an advisor secured before they can be admitted into an LRES graduate program.
The LRES department also offers an online master's degree which is course-based, and does not require applicants to secure an advisor. This professional degree requires the completion of 27 credits of coursework and a 3-credit professional paper at the end of the program. There are no assistantships available with this program, since there are no advisor-funded research or teaching opportunities for students.
|Application and payment of a non-refundable application fee of $70.00
|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.
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. Students on GRAs and GTAs get in-state tuition rates, and GTAs also receive tuition waivers.
Most students are supported on GRAs provided by their major advisor from grant funds. We have several GTA positions available for incoming and returning students; these are great opportunities to grow and share your expertise at communicating sciences, and fulfill the teaching requirement. To be considered for a GTA, all applications materials must be received 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.
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. Please note: these deadlines are slightly different for applicants to the online Professional MS in LRES program.
The final deadlines are:
(U.S. and Canada)