North Dakota State University

North Dakota State University

Environmental and Conservation Science


1340 Administration Ave

Fargo, ND 58102

United States



Program Information

Degrees Offered:

Ph.D., M.S.

Format: Campus

Program Description:

The graduate program leading to an M.S. or a Ph.D. in Environmental and Conservation Sciences (ECS) rests on an integrative curriculum and a multidisciplinary team approach. The program emphasizes the common ground shared by all sciences, and seeks to bridge methodological and philosophical boundaries that might hinder interdisciplinary communication and cooperation. The program offers three tracks: Environmental Science, Conservation Biology and Environmental Social Sciences. The Environmental Science track focuses on abiotic environmental issues, such as water, air, and land pollution. The Conservation Biology track focuses on biotic issues, such as the preservation of biodiversity and ecosystem function. The Environmental Social Sciences track emphasizes relationships between humans and the natural environment, such as cultural and behavioral issues, policy, business and economics, and sustainable development. The interdisciplinary nature of this program is reflected by the participation of faculty from across the campus, including the Colleges of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Natural Resources; Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences; Engineering; and Science and Mathematics. Environmental Science: Areas of Environmental Science, such as climate change, groundwater, hazardous waste, and water chemistry require broad training across discipline lines for successful application. To better predict anthropogenic environmental impacts, the engineering, earth material, chemical, and biological data must be considered in an integrated manner. Conservation Biology: Conservation Biology offers a new philosophy of looking at complex problems. This discipline focuses on the loss of regional and global biodiversity, but also considers the human element in its approach to resource issues. As an example, landscape ecology, sustainable development, and conflict resolution are themes promoted by the field of Conservation Biology. Environmental Social Sciences: Environmental Social Sciences discipline looks at interactions between humans and the environment which tend to be complex and often require interdisciplinary efforts to understand and manage. Environmental policy, environmental economics, environmental history, environmental communication, environmental sociology, and human ecology are examples of the fields of study. To be admitted to the Environmental and Conservation Sciences program, the applicant must meet the Graduate School requirements. The applicant should contact a prospective mentor to identify sources of financial aid. Teaching and research assistantships may be available through funded research or participating departments. Applicants are considered on the basis of scholarship and potential to undertake advanced study and research. Contact Student Financial Services for information and applications regarding scholarships. The graduate program is administered by the ECS Steering Committee. The committee is composed of four ECS graduate faculty members representing four different colleges: Agriculture, Food Systems, and Natural Resources; Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences; Engineering; and Science and Mathematics. Four alternate members are also selected to substitute on the committee when necessary. Steering Committee members, who serve overlapping three-year terms, are elected at a yearly meeting of the ECS faculty. The committee also includes a student member, nominated annually by the ECS Graduate Student Council. The ECS Program Director presides over ECS Steering Committee meetings. The duties of the ECS Steering Committee include 1) review of requests to join the ECS faculty and 2) program review and administration. For the M.S., the total credits will be no less than 30 graduate credits, with at least 16 credits of graduate courses numbered 601-689, 691; 700-789, 791 or 800-889, 891 plus the ECS graduate seminar for one (1) credit, and research credits (798) no fewer than six (6) nor more than 10 thesis credits. The didactic credits must include at least one (1) ECS core course; one (1) ECS track course and UNIV 720 Scientific Integrity. All M.S. students must complete a thesis and pass a final examination as described in the Graduate School Policies section of the Graduate Bulletin. An overall GPA of 3.0 or better must be maintained. For the Ph.D., each Ph.D. student will complete at least 27 credits of didactic courses plus the ECS graduate seminar for one (1) credit. The didactic courses will include: three (3) core courses (9 credits), UNIV 720 Scientific Integrity, a minimum of 14-15 credits from a chosen track, and 2-3 credits of electives from another track or other courses numbered 601-689, 691; 700-789, 791 or 800-889, 891. The 15 track credits must be from at least two (2) course categories. Two of the three courses must come from outside of the student's chosen track. Of the 27 didactic course credits, a total of 15 must be at the 700-800 level. A total of 90 credits are required.


Contact the school for information

International Student Requirements:

TOEFL ibT 79 or IELTS 6.5; International application materials must be received before May 1 for the fall semester and before August 1 for spring semester.

Facts & Figures

Financial Aid: Yes

International Financial Aid: Yes

Average Cost per Credit (Graduate): $352.87 USD

Classification: Doctoral/Research University—Intensive

Locale: Small City

Size & Settings: 10,000-19,999

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