Frequently Asked Questions

Q:
What graduate degrees can I earn at the VT College of Natural Resources and Environment?

A:
The College of Natural Resources and Environment offers programs leading to the Master for Science (MS), Master of Forestry (MF), Master of Natural Resources (MNR), and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD). The following table shows the degrees available in the six broad areas of study within the College.
 
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Master of Science (MS)
Master of Forestry (MF)
Master of Natural Resources (MNR)
Fisheries Science (including aquaculture)
X
X
   
Wildlife Science
X
X
   
Forestry
X
X
X
 
Geospatial and Environmental Analysis
X
     
Geography
X
X
   
Wood Science and Forest Products
X
X
X
 
Natural Resources      
X
Q:
Where are VT College of Natural Resources and Environment graduate programs offered?

A:
The MS, MF and PhD programs are offered at the Virginia Tech campus in Blacksburg, Virginia. Students at the Alexandria, Virginia campus study toward the MNR or PhD degree program.
Q:
Does the VT College of Natural Resources and Environment offer courses via the internet (i.e., on-line)?

A:
The College offers graduate-level on-line courses and on-line certificate programs. However, we do not offer a complete on-line degree program at this time. A list of some of the online courses currently offered through our distance learning consortium is located here.
Q:
How long does it take to complete a VT College of Natural Resources and Environment graduate program?

A:
Over the last five years, the median time to complete a PhD program in the College has been 4.8 years. The median time to complete a MS program was 2.3 years. Master of Forestry (MF) and MNR programs were completed in 2.8 and 2.9 years, respectively. Of course, your time to completion will vary depending on your background, interest, and personal situation. Students entering a PhD program after completing a MS finish more quickly that do students entering without a masters degree. Also, many students in the MNR program study part-time while holding a full-time job. As a result, these students take a little longer to complete their programs than does the typical full-time student.
Q:
How do degree programs differ?

A:
Degree programs differ in length, requirements, and goals.

The MS requires post-baccalaureate course work and a thesis based on original research. The MF and MNR require coursework and a paper (papers are not always based on original research and are slightly less rigorous than a thesis). The MNR is an interdisciplinary degree involving knowledge from several broad areas (e.g., forestry, wildlife science). MNR papers focus on policy and management issues and often involve urban or urban/rural interface issues. Study towards the MF stays more closely aligned to the disciplines of Foresty and Wood Science / Forest Products.

The PhD is a research degree as it requires a dissertation based on original research. PhD recipients typically enter careers in research or research administration. Many Ph.D. recipients become members of university faculties (i.e., professors). Others work for government agencies and a smaller number work for private companies and not-for-profit organizations. The MS also is considered a research degree because of its research requirement and because recipients may work in research positions or undertake additional study toward the PhD.

The MF and MNR are considered professional degrees - meaning that most people enter the private work force in non-research positions after completing one of these programs.

Typically, graduates of the MF program are employed with private land management companies or self employed as consultants. The MNR is a relatively new program but we anticipate that recipients will work with consulting firms, government agencies, and not-for-profit organizations.
Q:
What can I study at the Virginia Tech College of Natural Resources and Environment?

A:
Graduate programs are offered in the areas of:
  • Forestry
  • Fisheries
  • Wildlife Science
  • Wood Science and Forest Products
  • Geography
  • Natural Resources
Of course, these are very broad areas and students usually specialize in a specific topic within the broad field.

Here is a list of projects completed by graduate students in these broad areas.

Please keep in mind that these are examples of the topics our students are addressing. The link does not contain a complete list of the topics you might study as a student in the Virginia Tech College of Natural Resources and Environment.

The best way to determine what specific areas of study are available is to look at the list of faculty members from each department. Each member of the faculty has a specific expertise or area of research. If you find one that matches your interest, chances are that you can earn a graduate degree while working on this topic. Don’t worry if you are not certain of what you want to study. Many students enter into broad topic area (e.g., forestry, fisheries, geography) and specialize later.
Q:
Why get your graduate degree at the Virginia Tech College of Natural Resources and Environment?

A:
The Virginia Tech College of Natural Resources and Environment may be the ideal place to earn your degree because we offer:
  • Programs that are among the very best in the country,
  • The opportunity to study in a wide range of natural resource areas,
  • Funding for graduate students, and
  • The opportunity to work with outstanding faculty members and fellow students.
Q:
What is the deadline for application to VT College of Natural Resources and Environment?

A:
Applications should be received by May 15 for Fall semester priority enrollment and by October 15 for Spring semester priority enrollment. Applications received after these dates will be considered on a space available basis. Also, applications received by these dates receive priority consideration for financial aid.
Q:
Is financial support available?

A:
Financial support is available. In fact, over 95% of our graduate students receive support in the form of a fellowship, assistantship, or scholarship. Students receiving a research or teaching assistantship pay fees but not tuition. A partial list of additional funding opportunities for graduate students is available here: http://www.grads.vt.edu/financial/funding_opp/index.html
Q:
How do I apply?

A:
The best way to apply to one of our programs is on-line. This can be done through the Virginia Tech Graduate School.