Field Naturalist (Plant Biology) M.S.

All students must meet the Requirements for the Master's Degree


The Field Naturalist Program is a unique field-based experience that develops the potential of future conservation leaders by emphasizing scientific integration, oral and written communication, and environmental problem solving. Students receive a solid grounding in field-related sciences and are trained to integrate scientific disciplines into a coherent whole at the landscape level. Students also develop competence in evaluating field sites from a number of perspectives and/or criteria, translating scientific insights into ecologically sound decisions, and communicating effectively to a wide range of audiences.

Specific Requirements

Requirements for Admission to Graduate Studies for the Degree of Master of Science, Field Naturalist Option

  • Sustained interest and engagement in the environment
  • A track record of academic and professional achievement in science or environment
  • At least some coursework in the natural sciences
  • At least 3 years of job, professional, or life experience after college

Minimum Degree Requirements

All students must successfully complete a total of 30 credit hours including a set of core courses in the field sciences and professional writing as well as elective courses in the life sciences, earth sciences, and ecology, to be chosen in consultation with the program director and studies committee. At least 6 credits must be at the 6000-level or above. Satisfactory completion of an oral comprehensive examination is required. A Field Naturalist student’s degree culminates in satisfactory completion of a field project for a sponsoring organization that includes a professional report, a literature review, two oral presentations, and a journal publication or a popular article for a general audience.

Comprehensive Examination

An oral examination takes place in the student's second year. During this examination the student identifies, inventories and assesses the pieces, patterns, and processes of a previously unvisited field site, then presents findings in a manner that would be meaningful to staff, officers, and scientists of a professional conservation organization.

Requirements for Advancement to Candidacy for the Degree of Master of Science

Satisfactory completion of an oral comprehensive examination.