Our Program

Graduate Program in Forest, Watershed and Wildland Science

The Master of Science Degree in Natural Resources is available for those wishing to pursue a graduate degree in forestry, watershed management, or rangeland resources and wildland soils. Prospective graduate students are strongly encouraged to contact and visit with faculty in the Department as to whether graduate study topics the student may be interested in pursuing are available at Humboldt State. To learn more about current and recent graduate research projects visit our graduate student page. For more information about the graduate program, including how to apply, requirements and funding visit the FAQ section.

Additional information for prospective students

A description of the Master of Science in Natural Resources program can be found in the HSU Catalog. Information on admission requirements, supporting materials, and program requirements are listed. A description of campus policies and procedures related to graduate studies, including application instructions and deadlines, is available from the Office of Research and Graduate Studies or the College of Natural Resources Graduate Program Office.

If you have specific questions about our programs, please contact:

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: How do I apply?

You will submit most forms electronically using CSU Mentor. You will need a statement of purpose, 3 letters of reference, GRE scores and transcripts. The deadline for Fall Semester Admission is February 1st. More information is available in the Natural Resources Graduate Program Brochure.

Q: There seems to be cross-over between programs in Biology; Forest, Watershed and Wildland Sciences; and Environmental and Natural Resource Sciences. How should I proceed if I have potential interest in working with professors in more than one of those programs?

While there is cross-over, the Masters in Natural Resources programs are distinctly divided by department. Students should contact each professor they are interested in working with and choose one that is accepting students and would best fit the student’s research and career interests. If you decide to work with a professor in our program, you need to clearly specify that you are applying to the Forest Watershed and Wildland Sciences program of the Masters of Science in Natural Resources degree, and then mention that professor by name in the application. It is possible to specify on your application a second department that you would like to have consider your application, in case you are not accepted by the first department.

Q: What courses are required for the degree?

You will take a combination of graduate and upper division undergraduate courses to get your degree, totaling 30 units. There may be additional courses you need to take that are prerequisites or deficits in your background. All students in the Forest, Watershed and Wildland Sciences graduate program take a research methods class. Additionally up to 8 units of directed study, research problems and thesis research units with your major professor will count towards the degree. Beyond these requirements coursework is selected in consultation with your major professor and your two thesis committee members. We recommend courses that help you fulfill your career goals, and provide background you need to conduct your thesis research.

Q: I would like to better understand how funding works at Humboldt; do faculty only accept students that they have funding for?

Working with funded or unfunded students varies by professor. Some only accept students when they have a funded project for the student. You would ask them directly if they had funding available, or they might accept you and then offer you the funding support, to entice you to accept. Dr. Stubblefield for example, tends to work with about half funded and half unfunded students. You get more freedom in selecting a topic if you do not have research funding tied to it. On the other hand you will accumulate greater student debt.

Q: How much research funding is typically awarded?

The faculty in our department receive many external research grants. If you are accepted to work on a funded project you will generally receive a monthly stipend. Depending on the research project and professor, it may vary from $1000 to $1500 per month. Awards are typically for one or two years duration. As of this writing HSU does not award grants for student tuition or fees. Fees can be substantial. However, Masters level employees generally receive higher salaries, so you may be able to pay off your loans quickly. After one year of living in California, you are eligible for in-state tuition rates. Out of state tuition waivers are awarded to top applicants, but typically only one per department. More financial information is available at http://www.humboldt.edu/studentfinancial/.

Q: Can I get a teaching assistantship?

Most of the teaching of lectures and laboratories in our department is conducted by professors and lecturers with advanced degrees. This is a strong point of our program. Occasionally there is an opportunity to teach a laboratory section for a large course, or fill in for a faculty-member who is on sabbatical or pursuing research full time. For most graduate students this opportunity would arise later in your time here when you had more experience and coursework.

Q: How long will it take me to finish?

It depends on how hard you work, the design of your thesis project, and the quality of the results you obtain. If you come home from a field season without usable data, it can add a year to your progress. If you have employment, in an area other than your thesis, it will add time to your completion period. Generally the range in our program is from 2-4 years. You are expected to maintain enrollment until you have completed the first draft of your thesis, at which time you can switch to Extended Education, a lower cost alternative, while you complete the final drafts. You have up until 7 years to finish before being dropped from the program.