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Doctoral Program

Program Description

The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) program in Natural Resources Management at North Dakota State University was initiated in 2002. Through the program students gain breadth in relevant planning, analysis, and management areas while developing an original research project in one of several area specialties. 

The NRM PhD interdisciplinary program prepares students to work on problems that require assimilation of data, methods, and strategies from many supporting disciplines. Problem recognition, definition, analysis, and resolution are the ultimate objectives. 

Students will be prepared to compete for and be productive in jobs where problems and issues reach beyond a single discipline or subject area.

Students attracted to this program generally, although not necessarily, have an undergraduate (BS) and graduate (MS) background in a natural resources related area and/or other related disciplines. Students admitted to the
program have an interest in enhancing their expertise in natural resources by broadening their understanding of the complexity of interacting systems from an interdisciplinary approach and elect to pursue this degree to enhance and broaden their area of interest and expertise.

This offers a unique quality to the NRM graduate degree program, because while most PhD Degrees are derived from a narrow focus, the NRM program takes a holistic approach that covers the complexity of interacting systems involved in the management of natural resources, thereby taking a broad focus.

Program Objectives

Students of this degree program will develop a strong background in one or more available areas of expertise in the affiliated disciplines comprising the NRM PhD Degree program. Students will garner an extensive portfolio of course work and experience relating to areas that are highly relevant to understanding the complexity of ecosystem processes, ecosystem management, applied natural resources economics, environmental communications, and future research on natural resources management. This program produces natural resources professionals who are willing and able to engage in compromise solutions to multi-disciplinary environmental problems; professionals who can conduct engaging conversations with and be respected by decision-makers at all levels of industry and government. Additionally, the students will have experience in classroom instruction and laboratory assistance in preparation for academic and research careers.

Educational Objectives

To provide formal training in a chosen area of emphasis as well as in appropriate course work in analytical methods and an introduction to other subject matter areas. 

To provide course work, research, and writing experience in the general areas of environmental problem solving.

Educational Excellence

Students graduating with an NRM PhD Degree will have exemplary research skills with the ability to address fundamental problems covering natural resources management issues. Students will understand the sciences underlying the complexity of natural resources management issues, be 
able to engage in finding solutions for the resolution of pressing natural resources management problems and become integrated into the decision processes affecting all citizens.

The program of study for the NRM PhD Degree is interdisciplinary to encourage the garnering of a systems-based perspective for conducting original research on natural resources. The traditional structuring of PhD Degree curricula  is highly specialized and focuses on disciplinary compartmentalization; this approach is inappropriate for addressing and solving the current and impending natural resources management problems of this new century. The interdisciplinary approach offered by the NRM PhD Degree program at North Dakota State University provides students with the skills for examining problems from a holistic environmental perspective and a global social perspective.

The NRM PhD Degree program provides students with a broad based and well rounded education that will enhance their employment opportunities in a market place where the need for the ecologically feasible, economically sound, and ethical resolution of natural resources management problems is steadily increasing.


Doctor of Philosophy Fact Sheet
Doctor of Philosophy Brochure


Student Focused. Land Grant. Research University.

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For more information on Natural Resources Management
at North Dakota State University, contact:
Shawn DeKeyser, Ph.D.
Program Leader - Natural Resources Management Interdiscliplinary Program
307A Morrill Hall
701.231.8180
Shawn DeKeyser

Last Updated: Wednesday, March 12, 2014 1:50:42 PM