Admission Requirements

Thank you for your interest in the Natural Resources Science and Management (NRSM) graduate program. All materials are submitted electronically through the UMN Online Application System. Admission decisions are also communicated to applicants using this system. 

Acceptance to the program is based on a competitive weighing of credentials in conjunction with available space, advisors, and funding. Because individual faculty make the final selection of their graduate students, we strongly encourage that you communicate directly with those faculty members whose research interests match your own. We will only admit an applicant if an NRSM faculty member has agreed to advise them. This means that sometimes very strong applicants are denied admission simply because there isn't a match with a faculty advisor who has an opening for a new graduate student. That said, it is rare to have a faculty member commit to advise in advance of an application being submitted. Most faculty, if they are planning on taking on a new advisee, will not make decisions until they have an opportunity to review all of the applications in the pool.


Although applications are processed on a continuous basis, for the fall semester enrollment we recommend that all materials be submitted by December 15th. Applications received after this date will still be considered for admission but will not be eligible for full fellowship consideration. Only students with a completed application on file will be considered for admission.

Required Components

There are several required portions of the NRSM online application:

  • personal information
  • educational background
  • awards and activities
  • employment and residence information
  • applicant statements (i.e., statement of purpose or personal statement and diversity statement)
  • transcripts
  • a résumé or CV
  • letters of recommendation
  • a writing sample

See below for more detailed information about some of these required sections. If you have any questions, please contact: [email protected].

Applicant Statements

The statement of purpose is part of your online application. Focus on your long-range and short-term career objectives and any teaching or research experience you may have. Please be sure and use this opportunity to tell us which of our faculty members you are most interested in working with. This will help us make sure that your application is viewed by the individuals who most need to see it.

The diversity statement should highlight your contributions to our diverse student body. If you are interested in applying for the DOVE or Diversity Scholars awards (see our Financial page for more info), please be sure to submit a thoughtful and well-crafted diversity statement, as this will be utilized in any potential applications for those fellowships.

GRE Scores

We do NOT require a GRE score from prospective students.

TOEFL Scores

For non-native speakers of English, scores from an English proficiency exam are required. Applicants may submit either the TOEFL, MELAB, or IELTS. More information about the Graduate School's language requirement is available on their website.

Click here for more information about English language proficiency exams.


Unofficial transcripts or academic records should be uploaded directly to the online application. International students should also upload an English translation if the transcript is not in English. Please do not mail in paper copies of your transcripts; there is no need for official transcripts or academic records for initial review. Official transcripts will be requested if you are admitted.

If you are admitted, the University will then request official copies of this material.

Click here for more information about transcripts and credentials.

Letters of Recommendation

We require three letters of recommendation. You provide the names of your recommenders and their contact information, and the application system will send them an automated e-mail explaining the process. Please make sure recommenders know that we require a thoughtful and candid letter in addition to the quantitative summary they are asked to provide.

Acceptable recommendations will come from persons acquainted with your academic and professional experience and who can assess your potential to succeed in graduate study.

You may submit the application in advance of your recommenders completing their recommendation. In other words, there is no need to wait for them to submit their recommendation before you submit. 

Writing Sample

Applicants should upload a sample of their writing. Typically, this is a paper that was written for a class or as part of an academic assignment. If you wrote a special paper or 'senior thesis,' this might be a good option. Applicants possessing a Master's degree may choose to provide a copy of their thesis.