Natural Resource Sciences

Graduate Degree Program Summary

Graduate programs offered

Earn a Graduate Degree

  • MS in Natural Resource Sciences (30-36 cr, Option I or II) with optional specialization:
    • Adaptive Management
    • Applied Ecology
    • Bio-Atmospheric Interactions
    • Climate Assessment and Impacts
    • Environmental Studies
    • Geographic Information Systems
    • Great Plains Studies
    • Human Dimensions
    • Hydrologic Sciences
    • Remote Sensing
    • Soil Science
    • Water Resources Planning and Management
  • PhD in Natural Resource Sciences (90 cr) with optional specialization:
    • Adaptive Management
    • Applied Ecology
    • Bio-Atmospheric Interactions
    • Climate Assessment and Impacts
    • Geographic Information Systems
    • Great Plains Studies
    • Human Dimensions
    • Hydrologic Sciences
    • Remote Sensing
    • Soil Science
  • Minor in College STEM Education with any graduate degree program, subject to approval (apply to degree program, add minor after enrolling)

Online and Distance Opportunities

Some online coursework may be available for your program; contact dept. for details.

Contacts for Natural Resource Sciences

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On the Web
Natural Resource Sciences

Graduate Chair
Dr. Elizabeth Walter-Shea

Graduate Admissions Coordinator
Ms. Patty Swanson

Campus Address
102 Hardin Hall
3310 Holdrege Street
Lincoln NE 68583-0921

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Application checklist and deadlines

1. Required by Graduate Studies

Submit these items as part of the standard steps to admission.

2. Required by Natural Resource Sciences

After you apply, allow one business day for us to set up your access so you can complete these requirements via MyRED.

  • Entrance exam(s): GRE. See also: department score requirements.
  • Minimum English proficiency: Paper TOEFL 600, Internet TOEFL 79, IELTS 6.5
  • Three recommendation letters
  • Statement of purpose
  • CV or Resume
  • Letter of Support from your potential advisor

When sending GRE or TOEFL scores, our institution code is 6877 and a department code is not needed.

Application Deadlines for Natural Resource Sciences
  • Rolling admissions; Applications are reviewed the first Friday in January.

Application/admission is for entry in a specific term and year. Our academic year is divided into 3 terms: Fall (August-December), Spring (January-May), and Summer (multiple sessions May-August). Some programs accept new students only in certain terms and/or years.


The School of Natural Resources offers graduate programs leading to a Master of Science or Doctor of Philosophy in natural resource sciences. The broad diversity of climate, habitat, hydrology, soils, and near-surface and subsurface geology across Nebraska provides a multitude of opportunities for field studies in each of these areas. Faculty also conduct research in other states and countries.

Excellent laboratory, computer, and field facilities are available for performing up-to-date analyses in all resource areas, as well as water chemistry, GIS, geophysics, computer modeling, remote sensing, and geospatial image analysis. State, federal, and private natural resource organizations provide unique opportunities for cooperative research and degree-related work.

Additional areas of study include: agroecosystems; carbon sequestration; conservation biology; cycling of natural and human-made chemicals; drought mitigation; environmental biophysics; environmental microbiology; environmental soil microbiology, chemistry and physics; fisheries management and ecology; geology; geomorphology and soils; geospatial analysis; global climatic change; global positioning systems; grassland ecology and management; ground water; high plains climate; human-wildlife conflicts; hydrologic modeling; isotope hydrology; lake ecology; landscape ecology; micrometeorology; natural resources economics; natural resource planning and management; natural resources law; riparian systems; rural sustainability; severe weather; simulation modeling; soil moisture; soil restoration; stewardship; surface water systems; urban habitats; water quality and chemistry; wetlands; and woodland habitats.

Courses and More

Faculty and research

Where available, names link to bios or homepages and contact card icons () link to directory listings with address, phone, and email.

Craig Allen

Fish and Wildlife; Biological Invasions; Spatial Ecology

Douglas Amedeo

Spatial Theory; Quantitative Analysis; Environment and Behavior

J. Clark Archer

Political; Settlement; Computer Cartography; Geographic Information Systems (GIS)

Tala Awada

Plant Physiology; Leaf Gas Exchange; Plant Ecology

Guillermo Baigorria

Increase Efficiency of Using Climate Information through the Development and/or Improvement of User-Friendly, Scientifically Robust Decision Support Tools

Ann Bleed

Environmental Law; Water Resource Management

Mary Bomberger Brown

Biodiversity in Wildlife; Human Behavior toward Conservation; Wildlife Community Ecology; Natural Ecosystems; Humans and the Environment Conservation, Wildlife Conservation

Barbara Boustead

Graduate Faculty Associate

James Brandle

Agroforestry; Shelterbelts; Ecology; Crop Response to Shelter; Sustainable Agriculture and Societies

Mark Burbach

Groundwater-Level Monitoring; Natural Resources Policy

Amy Burgin

Aquatic Ecology; Limnology; Water QualityGraduate Faculty Associate

Marvin Carlson

Stratigraphy (Layers of Rock or Sediment), Tectonics (the Structure of the Earth's Crust), Mineral Resources, the Developmental Stresses on Resources and Geologic HistoryEmeritus

Steven Comfort

Soil and Water Chemistry; Environmental Soil Analysis; Organic Chemicals

Jenny Dauer

Science Literacy; Systems Thinking, Student Learning about Matter and Energy; Learning Progression Research; Climate Change Education, Teaching and Curriculum Development; Biogeochemistry; Ecosystem Ecology; Nutrient Cycling

Joseph Dauer

Science Literacy; Undergraduate Learning in Biology; Visualizations; Cognition; Pedagogy; Plant Ecology; Population Dynamics

Kenneth Dewey

Climate Variations; Severe Weather Safety; Climate Assessment and Impacts

Bob Diffendal

Geology of Western and North-Central Nebraska; Upper Paleozoic, Mesozoic and Cenozoic geology, Mostly in Nebraska, and Invertebrate FossilsEmeritus

Lesley-Ann Dupigny-Giroux

Climate Variability and Change; Historical Climatology; Climate Literacy; Severe Weather Hazards; Drought; Remote Sensing; Geographic Information ScienceGraduate Faculty Associate

Joseph Fontaine

Adaptive Management; Avian Migration; Avian Nesting Biology; Human Impact Biology; K-12 Natural Resource Education

Cory Forbes

Science Literacy

Patricia Freeman

Mammalian Biology; Morphology; Zoology

Brian Fuchs

Drought Early Warning; Drought Assessment; Applied Climatology; Agricultural Drought

John Gamon

Disturbance effects on ecosystem function; Climate change impacts in northern latitude ecosystems; Remote sensing for sampling terrestrial ecosystem composition and function; Detecting plant biochemical responses with non-contact optical methods

Ahjond Garmestani

Graduate Faculty Associate

Anatoly Gitelson

Remote Sensing of Aquatic and Terrestrial Ecosystems

David Gosselin

Groundwater Chemistry; Environmental Isotopes; Water Relationships; Hydrology

Martin Hamel

Large River Ecology Specialist

Paul Hanson

Geomorphology and Landforms; Climate Change; Physical Geography of Nebraska and Great Plains

Mark Harrell


Michael Hayes

Precipitation Indexes; Drought Mitigation; Risk Analyses

Leon Higley

Physiological Responses of Plants to Insect Injury; Tiger Beetles; Pest Management; Forensic Entomology

Kyle Hoagland

Aquatic Ecology; Water Quality; Pesticides; Limnology

Q. Steve Hu

Precipitation Variations; Climatology

Kenneth Hubbard

Weather Monitoring; Climate Modeling; Evapotranspiration

Scott Hygnstrom

Technology Transfer; Wildlife Control and Damage; Wildlife Ecology

R. Matt Joeckel

Sedimentology and StratigraphyEmeritus

Scott Josiah


Mark Kaemingk

Graduate Faculty Associate

Baburao Kamble

Graduate Faculty Associate

Ayse Kilic

Crop Modeling; GIS; Precision Agriculture

Johannes Knops

Plant and Ecosystem Ecology

Cody Knutson

Physical and Human Aspects of Water Management; Drought Risk Management; Environmental Perceptions and Justice

Jesse Korus

Understanding the Influence of Subsurface Heterogeneity on Hydrologic System Function and Water Resource Sustainability

Mark Kuzila

Nebraska Soils and Clays; Environmental Soil Analysis; Paleosols; Waste Management

Terry Loecke

Soil Heterogeneity; Carbon and Nitrogen Biogeochemistry; Terrestrial and Isotope Biogeochemistry; Agroecology; Urban Ecology; Ecosystem Modeling, and Ecosystem Ecology

Russanne (Rusty) Low

Developing Online Earth Systems Sciences Courses

Pat Morgan

Graduate Faculty Associate

Sunil Narumalani

Remote Sensing; GIS; Environmental Studies

Robert Oglesby

Climate Modeling; Climate Change and Variability; Paleoclimatology; Land-Atmosphere Interactions; Climate Diagnostics

Mark Pegg

Fishery Ecology and Management; River Ecology; Aquatic Nuisance Species; River Restoration

Lisa Pennisi

Ecotourism; Human Dimensions in Natural Resources

Jamilynn Poletto

Fish Physiology and Conservation

Kevin Pope

Fishery Ecology and Management

Larkin Powell

Wildlife Population Ecology; Avian Ecology; Conservation Biology

Karl Reinhard

Pathoecology; Palynology; Archaeoparasitology; Human Dimensions

Donald Rundquist

Remote SensingEmeritus

Aaron Saathoff

Graduate Faculty Associate

Karina Schoengold

Environmental and Natural Resource Economics; Irrigation Technology Choice

Patrick Shea

Xenobiotics; Environmental Chemistry; Environmental Soil Analysis

Tanya Shenk

Graduate Faculty Associate

Martha Shulski

Climate Variability and Change; Redox Chemistry and Microbial Chemicals

Joseph Skopp

The Transport and Reaction of Solutes in Soils; Methods to Rapidly Measure Soil Hydraulic Properties; Analysis of Carbon Tetrachloride Hydraulic PropertiesEmeritus

Dan Snow

Environmental Analytical Chemistry; Redox Chemistry and Microbial Respiration

Mary Spalding

Water Quality; Non-Point Source Contamination; Volatile Organic Chemicals

Erica Stuber

Spatial Ecology

Andrew Suyker

Climate Change; Carbon Flux

Jim Swinehart

Sedimentology; Stratigraphy; PetrologyEmeritus

Jozsef Szilagyi

Watershed Hydrology; Watershed Modeling; Water Development

Tsegaye Tadesse

Drought Monitoring; Data Mining Techniques

Steven Thomas

Stream Ecology; Ecosystem Ecology; Biogeochemistry

Drew Tyre

Statistical Ecology; Simulation Modeling; Population Dynamics and Ecology

Natalie Umphlett

Applied Climatology

Shashi Verma

Atmospheric Trace Gas Dynamics, Carbon Sequestration (Storage in Plants, Soil or other Places) and MicrometeorologyEmeritus

Mark Vrtiska

Waterfowl Ecology and Management and Aspects of Human Dimensions and Waterfowl HuntingAssociate

Elizabeth Walter-Shea

Field-Based Remote Sensing; Bioatmospheric Interactions

Brian Wardlow

Land Use and Cover; Drought; Biogeography; Climate-Vegetation Interactions; Remote Sensing; GIS

David Watkins

Micropaleontology; Marine Geology; Stratigraphy; Paleoclimatology

David Wedin

Ecosystem Science; Forest and Grassland Ecology; Ecoydrology

Donald Wilhite

Drought; Climate Assessment and Impacts; Human Dimensions

David Wishart

Dispossession of Indigenous Peoples; Great Plains; Geographical and Historical Epistemology

Jinsheng You

Climatology; Hydrometeorology; GIS; Remote Sensing

Shuhai Zheng

Graduate Faculty Associate

Robert Zink

Conservation Genetics; Wildlife Species; Speciation

Arthur Zygielbaum

Remote Sensing; Geographic Information Science

This summary page is maintained by Graduate Studies.
For additional details check out the dept./program website: Natural Resource Sciences.

Departments: Have an update for this summary? Contact Kurt Mueller.