2023-2024 Catalog

Master of Science in Natural Resources Management

60 Quarter Credits

Program Description

The Master of Science in Natural Resource Management (MS NRM) Degree Program is designed to provide access to culturally-sustaining, quality graduate education that prepares students to provide research-based management of natural resources in a variety of fields. The degree aims to synthesize components of indigenous research methodologies with western science, preparing researchers to master the competencies required to conduct studies in tribal communities using both western science and indigenous methodologies.

The Program is designed to be conducted primarily at-distance, with courses delivered both synchronously (requiring online class attendance at particular times) as well as asynchronously (courses completed with weekly work done according to the student’s schedule). Students will be required to come to the SKC campus for a short late-summer orientation period and for one to two thesis/project meetings with their advisor and/or committee.  Additional on-campus meetings or course attendance may vary as dictated by the individual student course-of-study. 

Coursework includes 16 credits in the core curriculum that provide graduate-level competencies in research methodologies, communication, and tribal natural resource management topics. Students take 35 elective credits, working with their faculty advisor to select courses pertinent to their area of interest and thesis/project topic. Students also complete a minimum of 9 credits of thesis or project credits.  Each student will work collaboratively with their faculty advisor and graduate committee to develop and implement a either a formal thesis or a non-research practical project as a program capstone.

The goals of the SKC MS NRM are as follows:

●   Provide paths to graduate education by addressing barriers to advanced education for Native American students and provide pathways to positions that require graduate education in tribal, state, or federal resource management agencies.

●   Prepare students to pursue careers in research or postsecondary education, and in particular increase the diversity of the STEM workforce in these areas.

●   Increase the number of Native Americans who have qualifications appropriate for careers in federal or state agencies managing natural resources.

●     Increase the number of Native Americans with advanced degrees who are prepared to conduct research that combines western science and indigenous perspectives to provide studies and solutions related to tribal issues and concerns.

The small number of students in the Program allows for close mentoring relationships between students and faculty members as well as collaborative research projects to support students in graduate work. 

Admission to the Program 

Specific graduate study admissions requirements are listed below and must be received by the deadline of each year. The M.S. NRM admissions application includes completion of Part 1 and Part 2, both of which are required. 

Part 1

  1. SKC Graduate Admissions Application; and
  2. Official transcript (s) from all accredited colleges and universities attended indicating completion of an bachelor degree in a related field; including:
    1. Completion of an undergraduate major in natural resources related associated fields (e.g., geology, hydrology, forestry, botany, zoology, etc. with at least 30 quarter units of upper-division natural resources course work course work);
    2. Upper division courses in Natural resources management (e.g. Forestry, hydrology. Wildlife biology or related fields). Students lacking one of these courses may be admitted provisionally to the program, but must make up the deficiency in their first year, or 30 credits, of course completion in the program. Students will not be permitted to enroll in graduate level courses without the appropriate prerequisite course. Graduate-level courses may have individual additional prerequisites.
    3. A cumulative undergraduate grade point average of at least 3.0 ("B") in all courses used for credit in the major.
  3.  Official High School Transcript or Official GED Scores or Official HiSET with completion date (required if applying for Financial Aid);
  4. Proof of Immunization. Students born before January 1, 1957 must have a T.B. skin test within the last five years. Students born after December 31, 1956 must provide documentation for T.B. Skin test taken within the last five years and two doses of measles vaccine.  A health care provider signature is required to verify immunizations; and
  5. Verification of Residency, if a Montana Resident; and
  6. Completed Tribal Certification Release form. This is required for Tribal Members of a federally recognized tribe, and first or second-generation descendant of a federally recognize tribe.     

     Part 2

  1. Submission to the Department of Masters of Science Natural Resources Graduate Committee a one-page, typewritten statement of the student's preparation for graduate study, goals in the graduate training program, potential area of research or project and possible advisor (for thesis option) and professional goals following completion of the degree, and
  2. Submission of three letters of recommendation from people who are in a position to make relevant comments on the student's intent and potential for success in the M.S. program. At least two of the letters should be from current or former college or university faculty familiar with the student's scholarship and related activities, and
  3. Submission of a complete resume or curricula vitae.  This should include any and all past work and academic experience, and
  4. Pre-Interview to be completed with the Program Director, and
  5. Final interview, in-person or remotely, with the Department of Masters of Science Natural Resources Graduate Committee.

This degree program admits successful admissions candidates quarterly. See the website for the most up-to-date deadlines for application. 


The Master of Science in Natural Resources Management Program consists of a minimum of 60 credits as follows:

Core Curriculum:  16 credits

Elective Credits:     35 credits

Seminar, Advanced Topic, and Research or Project Credits:  9 credits

Core Curriculum

The core curriculum consists of six courses deemed as essential in pursuing a Master’s Degree in Natural Resources Management.  These courses provide a foundation for graduate study and attainment of the program’s learning outcomes.

Electives for the Master of Science in Natural Resources

35 credits of electives are required.  Electives will be selected in consultation with the student’s advisor from the available Natural Resources courses (number from NATR520 through NATR579).  Some SKC 400 level course will qualify as elective; consult with the Department Chair for which may qualify.  Students may also transfer to SKC up to 15 quarter-credits of selected online courses upon consultation with the student’s advisor and the Department Chair.  Use of the courses from the University of Idaho must be approved the quarter before use; some time restrictions apply.

Seminar and Advanced Topics

Seminar and Advanced Topics courses provide students with the opportunity to gain advanced knowledge of current topics, ideas, and views in a variety of topics related to natural resource management. These courses are interactive, include student discussion and presentations, and may include guest speakers.  Seminar and Advanced Topics will apply toward the required elective credits. 

Practicum Credits

Students may receive credit for practica upon approval of their advisor. Approved practicum credits will apply toward the required elective credits.

Thesis and Project Credits

Students enroll in thesis credits while developing, conducting, and reporting the research. A master’s thesis is a substantial document presenting independent research that makes an original contribution to the current body of knowledge in the student’s respective scholarly field. The student may conduct an original investigation or develop an original interpretation of existing research and/or literature. A total of 9 credits of thesis research is required, in 3, 3- credit segments.

A professional project demonstrates a student's mastery of theoretical and practical concepts of natural resources management as applied to a specific professional problem or situation of interest, conducted under the auspices of their advisor, an outside project director, and a member of the natural resources faculty. A total of 9 credits of project work is required, in 3, 3-credit segments.


Student Learning Outcomes:

The following are the four learning outcomes for the Master of Science in Natural Resources Management.  The learning outcomes are designed to provide graduates with the scientific knowledge, research skills, professional competencies, and cultural and indigenous background necessary to pursue a career in natural resources management or research or progress to a doctoral program in a related field.

1.  Exhibit mastery of the body of knowledge and research methodologies in natural resource management including scientific methodology and literature, indigenous science, research tools, data analysis, and information management.

2.  Demonstrate effective written, verbal, and visual communication of scientific and technical knowledge to professionals and community members.

3.  Integrate cultural worldview and community preferences with western scientific perspectives to provide place-based and culturally respectful natural resources management.

4.  Analyze professional, ethical, and socioeconomic issues of natural resources management.   

Core Curriculum

NRMG501Gateway to Successful Graduate Studies


NRMG508Technical, Research, and Professional Writing


NRMG 512Indigenous Research Methodologies


NRMG514Graduate Research Methodologies


NRMG520Issues in Tribal Natural Resource Management


NRMG524Tribal Sovereignty, Trust, and Policy


Total Credit Hours:16


NRMG522Statistics and Analysis for Natural Resources Management


NRMG525Advanced Forest Ecology and Silviculture


NRMG528Ecological Restoration


NRMG530Advanced Fire Ecology


NRMG540Fluvial Geomorphology


NRMG542Climate Change and Conservation Management


NRMG570Population Ecology in Resource Management


Applied Practicum

NRMG518Applied Practicum in Natural Resources Management


Seminar and Advanced Topics

NRMG525Advanced Forest Ecology and Silviculture


NRMG535Advanced Topics in Forest Management


NRMG555Advanced Topics in Hydrology


NRMG565Advanced Topics in Wildlife and Fisheries


NRMG582Seminar in Natural Resources Management


Thesis and Project Courses

NRMG595Project Research and Report


NRMG599Thesis Research and Thesis