How to Enroll or Apply

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There are two approaches to beginning the online M.S. program in Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences. You can apply for admission or you can enroll in a few courses as a non-degree seeking student, which allows you to try out the program to see if it is a good fit for you.

To Enroll in a Few Courses

You can find the NRES courses being offered online at the Online Illinois course finder (be sure to click on the down arrow on the right side to pull down the full list). For course information, contact us at

Please note that only 400- and 500-level courses can count toward a graduate degree.

As a non-degree seeking student, you will also register through the Online Illinois website.

To Apply for Admission

  1. Students must apply online through the Graduate College. The application will not be processed until the fee ($70 for domestic and $90 for international applicants) is paid by credit card (Visa or MasterCard). You are applying to Natural Res & Env Sciences MSU. Our Program Code is 10KS0190.
  2. Upload the following documents into the application system:
    •  Statement of purpose, sometimes also called a "personal statement," should be a very well written essay of no more than two pages, that addresses the following questions:
      • What is your motivation for seeking a Master of Science degree in Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign? Why are you interested in this particular program?
      • How do you envision this graduate degree moving you closer to your professional or personal goals?
      • What experiences have you had, or skills do you possess, that will help you succeed in this rigorous program? What are the areas in which you expect to have to work the hardest? Be sure to mention if you've taken any courses in non-degree seeking status.
    • Your curriculum vitae or resume.
  3. Request letters of reference from three people who are familiar with your academic abilities, research skills, and/or potential as a professional in the field of environmental science and natural resource management. These letters should be from current or former instructors or supervisors of your NRES-related experience. If you do not have three people who meet that description, you should consider taking courses as a non-degree student before applying in order to enhance your chances of admission. If one of your references is unable to upload the recommendation into the application system, he or she should mail it as directed below.
  4. If your native language is not English, you must request the submission of your TOEFL, IELTS, or TSE scores to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (institution number 1836, program code 00). The scores must be less than two years old on the first day of the proposed semester of entry.
    View minimum scores.

Application Deadlines

  • Fall semester - June 15
  • Spring semester - November 15
  • Summer term - March 15

Where to Send Information

Transcripts and other materials that cannot be uploaded into the application system must be sent to:

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


Contact NRES Student Services at (217) 333-5824 or

Please note: 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 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.