Every semester
Credit: 3 graduate 
Instructor(s): Staff 

Course Description

Your instructor will be your assigned advisor.

The professional paper requirement is intended to give students an in-depth experience in the design, implementation, and completion of a rigorous project. Like a thesis, the outcome of a professional paper is expected to be at least one manuscript of publishable quality in a peer-reviewed journal. As such, approximate guidelines for the length of the paper are between 30-50 double spaced pages. 

The professional paper requirement is designed to be flexible to the particular needs of each student and tailored to his/her topic of study and/or research. Professional papers may involve, but are not limited to, 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 and GIS applications, and climate variability.

The student will work closely with his/her appointed advisor and committee to develop a professional paper during the time he/she is registered for the 3 credits. The student is encouraged to draw upon ongoing work-place relationships, collaborations, and research interests in designing and implementing his/her professional paper. The student is required to orally present the final professional paper to his/her committee via webinar, teleconference, or other appropriate technology. The committee must approve the professional paper for completion of the degree. 

The format for the written professional paper will follow closely the thesis preparation guidelines established by The Graduate School. Make certain that all names and titles in the acknowledgments and on the signature page are accurate and spelled correctly. The Title Pages requiring original signatures should be sent to the LRES Program Manager. At that time, the Signature Approval Form will be added and all forms will be routed to the Department Head for inspection and signature. The Certificate of Approval Form for the Professional Paper must be completed by the graduate student and signed by the student and major advisor and submitted to The Graduate School with an electronic copy of the professional paper.

Meeting Place and Times

Online with either a face-to-face or webinar presentation.



Tuition and Fees

See the Online Tuition, Fees and Financial Aid page.

If you are also taking a face-to-face course, please refer to the MSU Fee Schedules.

Computer Requirements:

  • Internet access
  • A device and browser that pass the system check for Brightspace LE, MSU's learning management system.

 This course uses a learning management system. You will learn more closer to the course start date.

How to Register

You must be accepted as a student to Montana State University to take this course.

Learn how to apply.

After your application has been accepted, you will register via MSU's online registration system, MyInfo.

Registration requires a PIN number. Learn how to find your PIN.

Once you have your PIN, learn how to register through MyInfo.