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Graduate School


Environmental and Conservation Sciences

Program Director

Dr. Eakalak Khan

Program Location

Department of Civil Engineering, CIE 201

Telephone Number

(701) 231-7717

Degrees Offered

Ph.D., M.S.

Application Deadline

International applications are due May 1 for fall semester and August 1 for spring semester. Domestic applicants should apply at least one month prior to the start of classes.

English Proficiency Requirements

TOEFL ibT 79

Program Description 

The graduate program leading to an M.S. or a Ph.D. in Environmental and Conservation Sciences rests on an integrative curriculum and a multidisciplinary team approach. The program emphasizes the common ground shared by all sciences, and seeks to bridge methodological and philosophical boundaries that might hinder interdisciplinary communication and cooperation. The program offers two tracks: Environmental Science and Conservation Biology. The Environmental Science track focuses on abiotic environmental issues, such as water, air, and land pollution, while the Conservation Biology track focuses on biotic issues, such as the preservation of biodiversity and ecosystem function. The interdisciplinary nature of this program is reflected by the participation of faculty from across the campus, including the Colleges of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Natural Resources; Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences; Engineering and Architecture; and Science and Mathematics. 

Environmental Science
Areas of environmental studies, such as climate change, groundwater, hazardous waste, and water chemistry, require broad training across discipline lines for successful application. To better predict anthropogenic environmental impacts, the engineering, earth material, chemical, and biological data must be considered in an integrated manner. 

Conservation Biology
Conservation Biology offers a new philosophy of looking at complex problems. This discipline focuses on the loss of regional and global biodiversity, but considers the human element as well in its approach to resource issues. As an example, landscape ecology, sustainable development, and conflict resolution are themes promoted by the field of Conservation Biology. 

Admission Requirements 

To be admitted to the Environmental and Conservation Sciences program, the applicant must meet the Graduate School requirements. 

Financial Assistance 

The applicant should contact a prospective mentor to identify sources of financial aid. Teaching and research assistantships may be available through funded research or participating departments. Applicants are considered on the basis of scholarship and potential to undertake advanced study and research. Contact the Student Financial Services  for information and applications regarding scholarships.

Degree Requirements

By the end of the first academic year, the student will select an academic adviser from among the ECSP graduate faculty and arrange for the appointment of a Graduate Advisory Committee. A Graduate Advisory Committee will consist of at least four members of the NDSU graduate faculty. The committee must include the student's adviser, two additional ECSP faculty members, and an appointee of The Graduate School. One committee member must be from outside the student's academic college. The plan of study will be prepared by the student, in consultation with the major adviser, by the end of the first year in residence. The plan shall be approved by the student's Graduate Advisory Committee, the Environmental Science Steering Committee, the department chair, the academic dean, and The Graduate School dean according to the regulations outlined in the NDSU Graduate Bulletin. 

Master of Science in Environmental and Conservation Sciences 

The total credits will be not less than 30 graduate credits, with at least 16 credits of didactic courses numbered from 601-689 or 700-789, plus the ECS graduate seminar for 1 credit, and research credits (798) not fewer than 6 nor more than 10 thesis credits. The didactic credits must include at least 1 ECS core course. All M.S. students must complete a thesis and pass a final examination as described in The Graduate School Policies section of the Graduate Bulletin. An overall GPA of 3.0 or better must be maintained. 

Doctor of Philosophy in Environmental and Conservation Sciences

Each Ph.D. student will complete at least 27 credits of didactic courses plus the ECS graduate seminar for 1 credit. The didactic courses will include: 3 core courses (9 credits), a minimum of 15 credits from a chosen track, and 3 credits of electives from the other track or other NDSU courses numbered 601-689 or 700-789. The 15 track credits must be from at least 2 course categories. A total of 90 credits are required. An overall GPA of 3.0 or better must be maintained. The plan of study must be filed in the Graduate School prior to scheduling the comprehensive/preliminary oral examination.

Core Courses
History of Environmental Science HIST634 or HIST 710 3 cr
Rhetoric of Environmental Science COMM 755 3 cr
Environmental Law and Policy ECS 770 3 cr
Natural Resources Economics ECON 681 3 cr
Environmental Sociology SOC 631 3 cr
Environmental Management ECS 740 3 cr

Conservation Biology Track- Total 18 credits
Biodiversity 3-9 cr: ARSC 716; BOT 671, 672, 714, 717; ENT 750; ZOO 650, 652, 654, 658, 665
Ecology and Evolution 3-9 cr: ARSC765; BIOL 631, 640, 659 750; BOT 660, 762, 764; ENT 765, 770; GEOL 640; PLSC 631, 737, 781; SOIL 610, 640, 647; ZOO 662, 670, 750, 760, 770, 776, 784
Human Dimensions and Management 3-9 cr: ANTH 650, 662; ARSC 656; CE 678; AGEC 680; COMM 755, 783; CS 750, 760; POLS 642, 650; ZOO 672, 674, 675, 676, 677, 750
Research Tools 3-9 cr: ARSC650, 740; CE 677; GEOL 655, 656, 660, 760; PLSC 724; PSYC640; SOC 701; SOIL 784; STAT661, 662, 663, 665, 670, 730, 761, 770

Environmental Sciences Track-Total 18 credits
Water Sciences 3-9 cr: ABEN 664, 765; CE 610, 677, 678, 697, 776, 796; GEOL 640; ZOO 670
Soil and Solid Waste 3-9 cr: ABEN 696; CE 672, 770; SOIL 610, 633, 733, 783
Environmental Management 3-9 cr: ARSC 656; CE 672, 678; COMM 783; ECS 750, 760; ZOO 674, 675, 676, 677
Research Tools 3-9 cr: ABEN 682, 696; ARSC 650, 740; CE 677; GEOL 655, 656, 660, 760; IME 660; STAT 662, 725,761

Preliminary Examinations for Doctoral Students

The written Preliminary Examination will cover the core areas for ECSP and each of the core topic areas for the appropriate track. The preliminary examination will typically be taken in the middle of the third year. The written exam must be passed before the comprehensive oral examination can be scheduled. 

The comprehensive oral examination will be taken no later than the end of the third year in residence. The examination will cover the topic areas for the appropriate track. 

Dissertation Research

A proposal describing research suitable for preparation of a dissertation in Environmental and Conservation Sciences will be prepared in the format of a NSF Dissertation Improvement Grant. Alternative formats must be agreed to by the Graduate Advisory Committee. The proposal will be submitted to the student's Graduate Advisory Committee for review and approval. The dissertation must show originality and demonstrate the student's capacity for independent research.

Program Administration 

The graduate program will be administered by the ECSP Steering Committee. The committee will be composed of four ECSP graduate faculty members representing four different colleges: Agriculture, Food Systems, and Natural Resources; Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences; Engineering and Architecture; and Science and Mathematics. Four alternate members will also be selected to substitute on the committee when necessary. Steering Committee members, who serve overlapping three-year terms, will be elected at a yearly meeting of the ECS faculty. The ECS Program Director will preside over ECS Steering Committee meetings. The duties of the ECS Steering Committee will include 1) review of requests to join the ECS faculty and 2) program review and administration.

Click here for course descriptions.


F. Adnan Akyuz, Ph.D.
University of Missouri-Columbia, 1994
Research Interests: Applied Climatology and Microclimatology/Climate Based Agriculture

Allan C. Ashworth, Ph.D.
University of Birmingham, 1969
Research Interests: Quaternary Paleoecology, Paleoclimatology

Achintya Bezbaruah, Ph.D.
University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 2002
Research Interests: Nanomaterials for Pollution Control, Recalcitrant and micro pollutants, Contaminant fate and transport, Small community water and wastewater treatment, Environmental sensors, Environmental management

William J. Bleier, Ph.D.
Texas Tech University, 1975
Research Interests: Vertebrate Management, Habitat Management, Geographic Information Systems 

Malcolm G. Butler, Ph.D.
University of Michigan, 1980
Research Interests: Aquatic Invertebrate Biology, Limnology, Wetland Ecology 

Patrick M. Carr, Ph.D.
Montana State University, 1989
Research Interests: Sustainable Agriculture, Cropping Systems 

Frank X.M. Casey, Ph.D.
Iowa State University, 2000
Research Interests: Field and Laboratory Studies of Water Flow and Chemical Transport Processes 

Larry Cihacek, Ph.D.
Iowa State University, 1979
Research Interests: Carbon Sequestration in Soils, Soil Physical Properties, Soil Management for Waste Disposal 

Gary K. Clambey, Ph.D.
Iowa State University, 1975
Research Interests: Ecology and Biogeography, Environmental Analysis and Planning, Structure Function Relations in the Midwestern Ecosystems 

Mark E. Clark, Ph.D. 
University of Tennessee, 1996
Research Interests: Population Ecology, Landscape Ecology, Fish and Wildlife Ecology, Ecological Modeling, Spatial Modeling, Species Interactions 

Davis Cope, Ph.D.
Vanderbilt University, 1980
Research Interests: Partial Differential Equations, Numerical Methods, Applied Mathematics

Dennis Cooley, Ph.D.
University of Rochester, 1995
Research Interests: Ethics of Science

David B. Danbom, Ph.D.
Stanford University, 1974
Research Interests: Agriculture and Rural Life, Recent U.S., Progressive Period

Thomas M. DeSutter, Ph.D. 
Kansas State University, 2004
Research Interest: Trace Gas Fluxes, Inorganic Soil Chemistry, Soil Environmental Conditions

Theodore L. Esslinger, Ph.D.
Duke University, 1974
Research Interests: Lichenology, Taxonomy, Chemosystematics, Floristics of Lichens, Emphasis on the Alectoriacea, Parmeliaceae and Physciacae

Erin Gillam, Ph.D.
University of Tennessee, 2007
Research Interests: Behavioral ecology of bats, ecological and evolutionary basis of behavior in all animal groups, behavioral, ecological, and evolutionary factors influence the structure of animal communication signals and wildlife ecology and conservation.

Gary A. Goreham, Ph.D.
South Dakota State University, 1985
Research Interests: Rural Sociology, Community, Family Research Methods, Sociology of Religion, Sociology of Agriculture

Kendra Greenlee, Ph.D.
Arizona State University-Tempe, 2004
Research interests: Environmental and respiratory physiology of insects; insect immunology.

James W. Grier, Ph.D.
Cornell University, 1975
Research Interests: Animal Behavior and Ecology, Animal Population Dynamics, Applied Biostatistics, Philosophy of Research

Jason Harmon, Ph.D. 
University of Minnesota, 2003
Research Interests: Environmental change; ecosystem services; population and community ecology 

Marion O. Harris, Ph.D.
Michigan State University, 1986
Research Interests: Insect-Pest Management, Host-Plant Relationships 

Mark Harvey, Ph.D.
University of Wyoming, 1986
Research Interests: American West, Environmental History, Public History 

Harlene Hatterman-Valenti, Ph.D.
Iowa state University , 1993
Research Interests: High-Value Crop Production 

Robert R. Hearne, Ph.D.
University of Minnesota , 1995
Research Interests: Economic Analysis of Emerging Environmental and Resource Issues in the Northern Great Plains 

David Hopkins, Ph.D.
North Dakota State University, 1997
Research Interests: Soil Formation and Chemistry 

Tom Isern, Ph.D.
Oklahoma State University, 1977
Research Interests: History of Agriculture, History of Great Plains 

Donna Jacob, Ph.D.
University College, 2004
Research Interests: Wetland ecology, biogeochemistry, ecophysiology and ecotoxicology 

Xinhua Jia, Ph.D.
University of Arizona, 2004
Research Interests: Evapotranspiration, Subsurface drainage and Water quality 

Dinesh Katti, Ph.D.
University of Arizona, 1991
Research Interests: Geotechnical Engineering, Constitutive Modeling of Geologic Materials, Expansive Soils, Multiscale Modeling, Steered Molecular Dynamics, Computational Mechanics, Nanocomposite, and Bio-nanocomposites. Computational Biophysics

Eakalak Khan, Ph.D.
UCLA, 1997
Research Interests: Water Quality, Biological Process Development for Water and Wastewater Treatment, Storm water and Non-Point Source Pollution Control 

Kenneth E. Lepper, Ph.D. 
Oklahoma State University, 2001
Research Interests: Quaternary Geology and Age Dating 

Adam R. Lewis, Ph.D.
Boston University, 2005
Research Interests: Long-term Climate Evolution, Antarctic Climate Evolution, and Glacial Geology 

Wei Lin, Ph.D.
SUNY at Buffalo, 1992
Research Interests: Water and Wastewater Treatment, Hazardous Waste Management 

John McEvoy, Ph.D.
University of Ulster Northern Ireland, 2002
Research Interests: Cryptosporidium Virulence Factors and Mechanisms of Pathogenesis 

Mark Meister, Ph.D.
University of Nebraska, 1997
Research Interests: Rhetorical and Critical Theory, Environmental Communication 

Bakr Mourad Aly Ahmed, Ph.D.
Virginia Tech., 2001
Research Interests: Sustainability Indicators and Implementation, Carrying Capacity Measurements, Coastal Development, Built Environment and Natural Resources Conservation 

Peter Oduor, Ph.D.
University of Missouri - Rolla, 2004
Research Interests: Geographic Information Systems, Groundwater Flow Modeling, Groundwater Contamination 

Marinus Otte, Ph.D.
Vrije Universiteit, 1991
Research Interests: Wetland ecology, Biogeochemistry, Ecophysiology and Ecotoxicology 

Laura F. Overstreet, Ph.D.
North Carolina State University, 2005
Research Interests: Soil Conservation and Management, Soil Biology, Reduced Tillage Systems, Sugarbeet Production 

G. Padmanabhan, Ph.D. 
Purdue University, 1980
Research Interests: Hydrology, Water Resources, Hydraulic Engineering 

Birgit Pruess, Ph.D. 
Ruhr- Universitat Bochum, 1991
Research Interest: Microbial Physiology and Gene Regulation 

Wendy L. Reed, Ph.D.
Iowa State University, 2000
Research Interests: Physiological Ecology, Wetland and Bird Ecology, Environmental Endocrinology 

David A. Rider, Ph.D. 
Louisiana State University, 1988
Research Interests: Insect Systematics, Biodiversity 

David C. Roberts, Ph.D.
Oklahoma State University, 2009
Research Interests: Evaluation and design of economically efficient tools and policies for pollution control, economic valuation of environmental and ecological attributes through revealed and stated preference methods, valuation of environmental risk, and low-impact and precision agriculture 

Bernhardt Saini-Eidukat, Ph.D.
University of Minnesota, 1991
Research Interests: Environmental Geochemistry, Igneous Petrology, Economic Geology 

Donald P. Schwert, Ph.D.
University of Waterloo, 1978
Research Interests: Quaternary Paleoecology, Analysis of Fossil Insects 

Dean D. Steele, Ph.D.
University of Minnesota, 1991
Research Interests: Irrigation and Environmental Engineering 

Craig A. Stockwell, Ph.D.
University of Nevada, 1995
Research Interests: Conservation Biology, Evolutionary Ecology of Native Fishes, Human-Wildlife Interactions 

Steve E. Travers, Ph.D.
University of California, 1998
Research Interests: Plant Evolutionary Ecology 

George Youngs, Ph.D.
University of Iowa, 1981
Research Interests: Perceived Ethics of Genetically Modified Organisms, Sustainable Agriculture 


George M. Linz, Ph.D.
North Dakota State University, 1982
Research Interests: Avian Ecology 

Brian D. Wisenden, Ph.D.
University of Western Ontario, 1993
Research interests: Behavioral ecology of fishes, chemical ecology of predator-prey interactions, parental care and mating systems

Student Focused. Land Grant. Research University.

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NDSU Graduate School
Phone: +1 (701) 231-7033
Campus address:  106 Putnam Hall
Physical/delivery address:  NDSU Graduate School/106 Putnam Hall/1349 12th Avenue Northwest/Fargo, ND 58102
Mailing address:  NDSU Dept. 2820/PO Box 6050/Fargo, ND 58108
Page manager: NDSU Graduate School

Last Updated: Tuesday, January 28, 2014 8:14:48 PM