When to Apply

Prospective graduate students are urged to apply for admission to the degree program as early as possible, preferably six to ten months before the beginning of the semester in which they expect to enroll. For fall admission, the deadline for full consideration for financial awards is December 15th. Although applications can be submitted later (see deadlines below), the chance for financial support may be decreased. Strong letters of reference, evident motivation to undertake graduate study, and good preparation in basic science courses enhance an applicant's credentials.

Application Deadlines

  • Fall Semester: May 15 (December 15 for full consideration for financial awards)
  • Spring Semester: October 15
  • Summer Semester: March 15

Application Process

Applications must be submitted online via the Graduate College's Admissions site.

In your graduate application select the degree for which you want to apply:

  • Natural Res & Env Sciences PhD
  • Natural Res & Env Sciences MS
  • Natural Res & Env Sciences MSU, for the online MS program (Please follow the online program's application instructions, instead.)
  • Natural Res & Env Sciences MSNDEG, for the non-degree program

Our Program Code is 10KS0190.

In writing your personal statement, please limit yourself to two pages. In this statement, we hope to find one or two specific areas of interest for your future graduate study. Statements that are too broad or narrate your past can be detrimental to your application. In this document, indicate your chosen Area of Expertise. And, from that list, please indicate the names of up to five faculty members with whom you would like to work.

Your curriculum vitae or resume should be uploaded in the application system.

Find an Advisor

Prospective graduate students are strongly encouraged to contact potential advisors in advance of applying to determine if the faculty are willing to serve as their adviser and have resources available for more graduate students in their programs. An applicant will only be admitted if a faculty member has agreed to advise him/her. Explore our research areas to view a list of faculty in your area of interest. The best way to contact them is by email. Please keep in mind that only people with "Professor" in their title can advise graduate students.

Background Education

Applicants should have adequate preparation in the fundamental sciences and courses appropriate to their proposed field of study in natural resources and environmental sciences. Applicants without the necessary prerequisites may be accepted conditionally and the undergraduate courses must be completed before the degree will be awarded.

Graduate Record Exam

The Graduate Record Exam (GRE) is NOT required of M.S. and Ph.D. applicants. However, consideration for some fellowships does require GRE scores. If you decide to submit scores, they must be less than five years old (institution code: 1836, leave the department code blank). No subject tests are required. Any submitted GRE results will be examined along with GPA, letters of recommendation, statement of purpose, and other information in the application package. Visit GRE.org to get more information about taking the GRE.

English Proficiency

Students whose native language is not English are required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System. TOEFL test scores must be less than two (2) years old from date of enrollment. Minimum score requirements are available at the Graduate College. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign's institution code is 1836 (enter 00 for the program code). Visit the Graduate College for more specific information.


Departmental requirements for admission to our M.S. and Ph.D. graduate programs include:

M.S. applicants - Cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better on a 4.0 scale for the last two years (60 hours) of coursework leading to bachelors degree.

Ph.D. applicants - Undergraduate grades as described above, and a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or better on a 4.0 scale on all coursework leading to masters degree.

Additional information

Applicants who are not U.S. citizens must also submit evidence that they have sufficient financial support for their entire program of study.

Three letters of reference may be sent via email. Instructions can be found within the application or by hard copy to the address below.

Transcripts must also be sent to this address:

Graduate Coordinator
N-509 Turner Hall
1102 S. Goodwin Ave.
Urbana, IL 61801

If an applicant wishes to appeal the denial of his/her application, the applicant must send a written letter detailing the reasons for reconsideration. This must be submitted by e-mail to nres-ssc@illinois.edu within 30 days of notification of denial. The NRES Departmental Grievance Committee will consider the original application for admission and the letter of appeal only.