Martin-Gatton College of Agriculture, Food & Environment

Forest & Natural Resource Sciences - Graduate


credit hours

thesis option masters


credit hours

non-thesis masters


full-time faculty

Restart your search

The M.S. and Ph.D. in Forest and Natural Resource Sciences programs encompass a wide variety of social and natural science disciplines while addressing issues that range from molecular to landscape and societal levels. This broad scope creates a stimulating atmosphere for graduate education and research, leading to innovative approaches in the sustainable management of forest and other natural resources.

Graduate study can be conducted in a variety of disciplines and interdisciplinary topic areas including plant physiology, genetics, forest management, forest soils, economics, invasive species, , wood utilization, wildlife biology and management, conservation biology, forest ecology, silviculture, hydrology, natural resource policy, landscape and spatial ecology, restoration ecology (including mine reclamation), and watershed management.

Student doing on-site research
Working as a forester on the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre, and Gunnison National Forests has been an amazing experience. I have been actively mitigating spruce beetle damage in subalpine stands for sustainable timber products, fuel reduction, and regenerating a healthy new age class. The skills and education that I received in the undergraduate and graduate forestry programs at the University of Kentucky have granted me the opportunity to refine and expand my love for our nation’s forests.

Rachel L.

Master's (MS) Degree - Application Requirements

  • CV
  • Personal Statement
    • This should describe one’s academic and professional goals and interests. Applicant must indicate in personal statement: (a) which faculty member s/he wishes to have as the major professor, and (b) whether or not s/he is applying for an assistantship.
  • The GRE is not required for admission to this program.
  • Three letters of recommendation.

Applicants must meet the Graduate School admission requirements.

Application Deadlines

​Spring: December 9, unless applying for an assistantship; if applying for assistantship, contact DGS

Summer: April 15, unless applying for an assistantship; if applying for assistantship, contact DGS

Fall: July 22, unless applying for an assistantship; if applying for assistantship, contact DGS

Doctoral (PhD) Degree - Application Requirements

  • CV
    •  In addition to standard information found on a CV, the applicant should place emphasis on research interests, publications, presentations and funding obtained.
  • Personal Statement
  • Writing Sample (optional)
  • The GRE is not required for admission to this program
  • Three letters of recommendation

Applicants must meet the Graduate School admission requirements.

Application Deadlines

​Spring: December 9 (domestic), August 15 (international)

Fall: July 22 (domestic), March 15 (international)

Clubs and Organizations

The University of Kentucky Forestry and Natural Resources Graduate Student Association: (FNR GSA) is comprised of Forest and Natural Resource Sciences graduate students with the goal of enhancing graduate student professional, social, and personal development within the forestry and natural resources department. The FNR GSA meets regularly to facilitate social, philanthropic, and networking events to engage with other students, faculty, and the Lexington community. Learn more

Our Students' Work

To better understand the interests and areas of study available within Forest and Natural Resource Sciences graduate program, browse these recent theses and dissertations from our graduates.

Assistantships and Funding

  • Most Master of Science in Forest and Natural Resource Sciences students are supported by Research and Teaching Assistantships, which include a stipend, a health insurance policy, and scholarship funds that cover in-state and out-of-state tuition for graduate courses.
  • Additional assistantships are sometimes available from Department of Forestry and Natural Resources funds. These assistantships are ordinarily awarded in March to students admitted for the subsequent fall semester; thus, the admissions application deadline for Departmentally funded assistantships is usually February 1

Our Research Areas

Choosing from the many specializations of our professors, students will find a variety of hands-on experiences to suit their interests. Faculty and researchers in the Forestry and Natural Resources Department manage laboratories focused on:

  • Silviculture and Forest Operations with John Lhotka, Jacob Muller, Jeffery Stringer.
  • Wildlife Ecology and Conservation Biology with John Cox, Steven Price, Matthew Springer, D.J. McNeil.
  • Forest Health and Ecological Restoration with Christopher Barton, Ellen Crocker, John Lhotka, Jeffery Stringer, Jian Yang.
  • Landscape and Spatial Ecology with Christopher Barton, John Cox, Jian Yang.
  • Natural Resource Policy and Economics with Thomas Ochuodho.
  • Urban Ecology with Steven Price, Sybil Gotsch.
  • Forest Hydrology and Watershed Management with Christopher Barton, Steven Price, Jeffery Stringer.
  • Forest Ecophysiology with Sybil Gotsch

Students interested in learning more about these research operations are encouraged to email the associated contact listed above.

Highlighted Courses

  • FOR 601 Research Methods in Forestry: A study of research methods, procedures, and techniques used in forestry. Major emphasis will be placed on problem analysis and methods of conducting organized research.
  • FOR 602 Renewable Natural Resources in a Global Perspective: An advanced course that examines world and transboundary issues related to renewable natural resources. Students will attend a series of lectures, discuss assigned readings, and identify issues for further study. Student research papers related to those issues will be presented and discussed in a seminar format.
  • FOR 603 Foundations in Forestry, Wildlife and Natural Resource Sciences: seminar-style course focused on evaluating, discussing, and tracking the progression of the science and philosophy behind select topics in forestry, wildlife and other natural resource sciences, as well as environmental management and policy