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The Department offers the MS and PhD degrees in Natural Resource Ecology and Management with specializations in Fisheries and Aquatic Ecology, Forest Resources, Rangeland Ecology and Management, and Wildlife Ecology and Management. Graduate instruction is a critical component of the research, instruction and extension missions of the Department. Students work directly with a member of the faculty to design a program of study to serve individual career goals. The prerequisite for graduate study in the department is a bachelor's degree in an area aligned with the student's research interests with a minimum overall GPA of 3.00. A student must be accepted by a member of the department's faculty prior to official admission to the program.

 

A major role of the Department of Natural Resource Ecology & Management is providing graduate instruction. It is a critical component of the department's research, instruction and extension missions.

The overall goals of the department are to provide high quality, advanced training and instruction in the application of the scientific method to problems in natural resource ecology and management. This includes problem analysis and identification, research methods, synthesis of results, and communication of findings. The department strives to develop the capability for original and creative work under the guidance of established professionals and scientists.

 

NREM Faculty Research Topics

  • Fisheries & Aquatic Ecology

    Listed below are research topics and faculty members to contact.

     

    Topics

    • Ecology of streams and rivers
    • Fisheries science
    • Population and community ecology of riverine fishes
    • Movement patterns and habitat relationships of riverine fishes
    • Management of recreational fisheries
    • Geographic Information System (GIS) and remote sensing applications in fisheries
    • Role of predation risk, competition, and abiotic factors in structuring food webs in aquatic systems
    • How fish optimize their habitat selection and diet in the face of competitive and predatory pressures
    • How changes in habitat selection or diet by a species affects (directly or indirectly)other species in the system

     

    Faculty

  • Forest Resources

    Listed below are research topics and faculty to contact.

     

    • Ecohydrology
      • Plant, soil, and water interactions
      • Soil moisture dynamics and redistribution
      • Woody plant expansion and eco-hydrological impact
      • Coupling of carbon and water cycles
      • Ecosystem fluxes of CO2 and H20
      • Eddy covariance technique


    Contact

     

    • Forest and other Natural Resource Management
      Stated and revealed preference methods in natural resource valuation
      • Timber price and market forecasting
      • Timber growth projections and economic valuation
      • Economics of wood-based bioenergy
      • Input-output modeling of forest and related industries
      • Family forest landownership's in United States
      • Community and social forestry issues

    Contact

     

    • Forest Biometrics
      • Modeling growth and development of naturally-occurring shortleaf pine forests
      • Sampling and monitoring trees and shrubs in great plains riparian ecosystems
      • Evaluation of restoration of shortleaf pine - bluestem forest type (pre-settlement forest type)
      • Polyareal plot sampling and growth estimation from permanently established sample points
      • Distance sampling for forest inventory
      • Estimation of volume, product yield, weight, center of gravity and moment of inertia for individual tree-length stems and logs
      • Growth and development of intensively managed loblolly pine plantations

    Contact

     

    • Forest Ecophysiology & Silviculture
      • Water relations, carbon and nitrogen metabolism of forest plants
      • Factors controlling vegetation dynamics
      • Water uptake and transfer in trees
      • Relations between root morphology and anatomical structures
      • Hydraulic properties of pine and oak
      • Effects of environmental stress on tree and forest stand
      • Effects of silvicultural treatments on growth, productivity, and physiology of forest stands
      • Environmental effects on the photosynthesis and respiration of trees
      • Canopy dynamics of forest stands
      • Effects of global climate change on trees and forests

     

    Contact

     

    • Wood Products
      • Wood composites, wood-moisture relation, mechanical processes of wood products
      • Value-added composite panels from under-utilized species of Oklahoma
      • Evaluation of surface characteristics of wood composites

    Contact

  • Rangeland Ecology & Management

    The Grassland Management Graduate Certificate is a  12-credit graduate certificate offered completely online. Students are required to enroll in three core courses (7 credits) and two elective courses (at least 5 credits) to earn the certificate. 

     

    Listed below are research topics and faculty to contact.

     

    Topics

    • Grazing behavior and animal performance
    • Targeted grazing
    • Plant animal interactions
    • Integrated plant management
    • Ecological restoration
    • Conservation of native plant communities
    • Sustainable use for products and services
    • Landscape ecology
    • Plant-animal interactions
    • Wildlife habitat ecology
    • Community ecology
    • Rangeland monitoring
    • Landscape management
    • Ecological succession
    • Diversity of rangeland
    • Grazing ecology
    • Conservation grazing
    • Rangeland management
    • Invasive plant species (Old World Bluestems, tall fescue, Serica lespedeza)
    • Fire Ecology
    • Grassland ecology
    • Social-ecological resilience
    • Eastern redcedar ecology and management
    • Large-scale conservation
    • Sociology of conservation management

     

    Contact

  • Wildlife Ecology and Management

    Listed below are research topics and faculty to contact.

     

    Topics

    • Upland Bird Ecology & Management
    • Large-scale conservation partnerships
    • Wildlife damage management
    • Ecology and management of avian species, with an emphasis on wetland and grassland species
    • Ecology and management of terrestrial invertebrates
    • Grassland bird responses to different grazing practices
    • Ecology and recovery of endangered Ozark big eared bats, interior least terns, and red-cockaded woodpeckers
    • Assessment of the status of lesser prairie-chickens
    • Resource conservation and management in Romania and Poland
    • Effects of habitat alterations on wildlife populations
    • Field studies of breeding songbirds
    • Habitat loss and degradation
    • Landscape ecology
    • Ecology and management of upland game birds
    • Bobwhite thermal ecology, nesting success and behavior, nocturnal ecology
    • Modeling of operative temperatures on landscapes, and response of populations to forest management practices
    • Human-caused accidental mortality of birds (e.g. collisions with man-made structures, predation by pets, poisoning
    • Effects of invasive species on bird habitats
    • Urban ecology of bird populations and communities
    • Ecology of arthropod borne diseases for which birds are reservoir hosts

     

    Contact

     

    Topics

    • Behavior, Ecology, & Conservation of Large Mammals
      • Red wolves in Texas, giant anteaters in Brazil and American bison
      • Captive mammals, mainly primates, at the Tulsa and Oklahoma City Zoos
      • Analysis of media coverage of environmental issues
      • Habitat selection and behavior of ungulates and black bear
      • Population ecology of ungulates and black bear
      • Seed dispersal by bison in tall grass prairie

     

     Contact

 

 

Admission Process

The steps for admission to a graduate program in Natural Resource Ecology & Management are listed below.

  • 1. Make contact with Natural Resource Ecology and Management faculty.

    Persons interested in graduate studies in the Department of Natural Resource Ecology & Management should direct initial inquiries to graduate faculty working in their area of interest (listed above per research topics). Admission to a graduate program is contingent on having a faculty sponsor in the department. This is necessary to ensure that there will be space in the department for you and that there will be at least one faculty member who will take responsibility for your graduate training.

  • 2. Admission requirements

    To be admitted to a graduate program in the department the applicant must meet the admission requirement of the Graduate College as described in the Oklahoma State University Catalog.

     

    Additionally, the department recognizes the following admission requirements: a BA or BS degree in a field consistent with the graduate program of study, a minimum GPA score of 3.00 (applicants with a lower GPA will be considered under special circumstances), GRE scores that are sufficiently high to demonstrate the applicant is prepared for graduate studies.

  • 3. Application materials
    • Letter of Intent: Submit a letter indicating your desire for admission into the Graduate Program in the Department of Natural Resource Ecology & Management, specifying the area of specialization in which you are interested, your qualifications and experience in this area, any additional plans for your graduate program, career goals, and whether you wish to be considered for a teaching or research assistantship.
    • Curriculum Vitae
    • Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores: GRE scores are highly recommended and are required for full consideration for teaching and research assistantships. OSU institution ID = 6546, NREM ID = 0115.
    • Letters of Recommendation: At least three letters of recommendation from individuals familiar with your academic or professional performance.
    • Official transcripts of all college studies.
  • 4. Application Process

    The application to the Graduate College is entirely on-line on the graduate college website.

     

    After the application has been completed (including the application fee), your application will automatically be forwarded to the Department of Natural Resource Ecology & Management, and to the individual faculty members you have identified.

 

Graduate Degree Requirements

 

MS Option

The original Plan of Study for the Master degree must be submitted to the Graduate College prior to the end of your second semester (not including summer semester). You should develop the plan of study with your advisor using the online plan of study application (planofstudy.okstate.edu). The online submission requires approval by the advisory committee, NREM department, and then the Graduate College for final approval.

 

For Natural Resource Ecology & Management Departmental approval, our departmental requirements state that you must also submit a research proposal approved by your committee (Submit form to Liz Condit), submit your Responsible Conduct of Research module from Institutional Review Board (IRB), and include 1 hour of NREM 5020 (Departmental Seminar: Research and Presentation) on your Plan of Study. Failure to file the Plan of Study results in being locked out of enrolling in classes. Credit for all courses on a graduate Plan of Study must have been awarded within 7 years of completion of all degree requirements. The MS degree may be earned by one of two plans. Plan I requires a thesis and Plan II requires a report.

 

  • Plan I | Thesis

    Must include a minimum of 30 credit hours but no more than 36 consisting of:

    • 23 hours of approved graduate coursework for graduate credit and
    • 1 hour of seminar (NREM 5020 Seminar Research & Presentation) and
    • 6 hours of thesis or report credit hours (NREM 5000)
    • Thesis requirement: Students must write a thesis based on original research.
  • Plan II | Report

    Must include a minimum of 32 hours consisting of:

    • 23 hours of approved graduate coursework for graduate credit and
    • 1 hour of seminar (NREM 5020 Seminar Research & Presentation) and
    • 6 hours of thesis or report credit hours (NREM 5000)
    • Report requirement: A formal proposal is not required for the report, but the advisory committee must approve an outline of the report prior to the completion of 17 credit hours.

     

    For MS students, EXACTLY 6 credits of NREM 5000 are to be included on your Plan of Study.

  • Advisory Committee

    Students must select an advisory committee with the help of the major advisor during the first semester of study. The purpose of the advisory committee is to support your research endeavors, help you select appropriate course work; act as mentors during your graduate program, and to ensure high quality research and Extension programs. You should plan on meeting with your committee in a formal setting at least once a year but should communicate with them on a one-to-one level throughout your program.

     

    For MS Students: Your advisory committee must be comprised of at least 3 members; all may be within the NREM department. While your advisor is from NREM, your other committee members may either be from within or from outside the NREM department.

  • Public Seminar and Thesis or Report Defense

    Students are expected to make a public presentation of findings from the thesis research or report project.This exam is conducted at the conclusion of your program and is conducted by the advisory committee. The defense is required to be preceded by a public seminar during either the NREM Graduate Seminar course or immediately preceding the defense.

  • Responsibilities

    It is the student's responsibility to meet deadlines of both the Department and Graduate College. Students are advised to check with the Graduate College for additional requirements (e.g., changes to the Plan of Study, thesis and report format, scheduling of the final examinations) and the NREM Graduate Student Handbook. Students are expected to participate in departmental activities (e.g., weekly, lunchtime, and NREM Graduate Student Seminar).

 

PhD Option

The original Plan of Study for the Doctoral degree must be submitted to the Graduate College prior to the end of your third semester (not including summer semester) of enrollment in the doctoral program. You should develop the plan of study with your advisor using the online plan of study application (planofstudy.okstate.edu). The online submission requires approval by the advisory committee, Natural Resource Ecology & Management department, and then the Graduate College for final approval.

 

For the departmental approval, our departmental requirements state that you must also submit a research proposal approved by your committee (Submit form to Liz Condit), submit your Responsible Conduct of Research module from Institutional Review Board (IRB), and include 1 hour of NREM 5020 (Departmental Seminar: Research and Presentation) on your Plan of Study. Failure to file the Plan of Study results in being locked out of enrolling in classes. Credit for all courses on a graduate Plan of Study must have been awarded within 10 years of completion of all degree requirements.

 

  • PhD following a MS degree

    Requires a minimum of 60 credit hours and a maximum of 66 consisting of:

    • All graduate credit hours must be at the 5000 or 6000 level or approved for graduate credit and
    • 1 hour of seminar (NREM 5020 Seminar Research & Presentation) and
    • At least 15 and no more than 45 credit hours of dissertation (NREM 6000)
  • PhD following a bachelor’s degree

    Requires a minimum of 90 credit hours consisting of:

    • All graduate credit hours must be at the 5000 or 6000 level or approved for graduate credit and
    • 1 hour of seminar (NREM 5020 Seminar Research & Presentation) and
    • A minimum of 24 credit hours and a maximum of 48 credit hours of dissertation (NREM 6000)
  • Advisory Committee

    Students must select an advisory committee with the help of the major advisor during the first semester of study. The purpose of the advisory committee is to support your research endeavors, help you select appropriate course work; act as mentors during your graduate program, and to ensure high quality research and Extension programs. You should plan on meeting with your committee in a formal setting at least once a year but should communicate with them on a one-to-one level throughout your program.

     

    PhD students: Your advisory committee must be comprised of at least 4 members, one of whom must be from outside the department. The Graduate College does not count Adjunct faculty as outside committee members.

  • Dissertation Requirement

    A research proposal must be accepted by the Advisory Committee and approval forms must be submitted prior to the completion of the third semester (excluding summer semesters). Final dissertation requires the completion of an original research project that is worthy of publication in a refereed journal.

  • Qualifying Examination

    Doctoral students must also complete comprehensive, or qualifying, exams consisting of both written and oral exams conducted by the advisory committee. The comprehensive exams are necessary to enter candidacy in the PhD program and must be completed at least 6 months prior to the final dissertation defense.

     

    Since admission to candidacy may occur at various times related to the academic calendar, the student will need to be admitted to candidacy prior to the first day of Fall semester to be eligible to schedule their final defense and graduate in the Spring; prior to the first day of Spring for Summer; and, prior to the first day of Summer for Fall graduation.

     

    Doctoral students who have completed the requirements for admission to doctoral candidacy and had their “Admission to Doctoral Candidacy” form accepted by the Graduate College may enroll for a minimum of two credit hours and be considered full-time. Continuous enrollment post-candidacy is required of all students. See NREM Graduate Handbook for additional information.

  • Public Seminar and Final Defense

    Students must present results of their dissertation research and responds to questions at a public presentation. Students must pass a final examination that is mainly a defense of the dissertation administered by the Advisory Committee.

  • Responsibilities

    It is the student's responsibility to meet deadlines of both the Department and Graduate College. Students are advised to check with the Graduate College for additional requirements (e.g., changes to the Plan of Study, thesis and report format, scheduling of the final examinations) and the NREM Graduate Student Handbook. Students are expected to participate in departmental activities (e.g., weekly, lunchtime, and NREM Graduate Student Seminar).

 

Master of Agriculture

Prior to admission to a graduate program, each student must be accepted by a major advisor based on the intended area of study. An advisory committee should be established the first semester. The committee shall consist of a minimum of three members of the Graduate Faculty selected by the student in consultation with the major advisor. The responsibility of the advisory committee is to guide in development of a plan of study and a report, creative component or professional internship, to administer the final examination and to approve the report, creative component or professional internship. To ensure that the committee meets its charge, the student is responsible for keeping the committee members up-to-date on progress in course work and research during the entire study program.

 

  • Basic Requirements

    Students enrolled in the Master of Agriculture have two options:

    • 32 hours including 2 hours for a report,
    • 36 hours including 6 hours for a professional internship and report. The student shall complete all the requirements for the Master's degree as set forth by the Graduate College and described in the OSU Catalog.
    • In addition, the plan of study must be approved by the Dean of Academic Programs, College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources.
  • Course Requirements
    • Minimum of 32 credit hours at the 5000 or 6000 level or approved graduate credit.
    • Majority of course work in NREM classes.
    • 2 credit hours for the report or 6 credit hours for internship and report.
  • Report, Internship, Creative Component

    The student shall prepare a proposal for the report or internship for approval of the advisory committee before the end of the second semester.

  • Comprehensive Examination

    Successful completion of a comprehensive final examination is required.

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