Unique Program Integration
Students in the MNR graduate program address the issues and problems of sustainable resource use and management of ecosystems. The study plan of courses is comprised of four areas of focus: Policy, Planning and Law, Human Dimensions, Ecology and Management of Natural Resources, Tools and Technology, and a Non-Thesis Research course in which you prepare a case study focused on natural resource issues. The courses for this interdisciplinary degree program integrate theory, field experience, and tools for quantitative and critical analysis of current issues in natural resources. The major topics are examined from local to landscape and regional scales, and integrate the social and biophysical worlds. The MNR program offers breadth as well as focus on applying ecological, social and political understanding to solve problems related to long- term conservation of biological diversity, natural resource administration, and sustainable management of wildland ecosystems. To address global environmental concerns, professionals who understand ecological principles, can analyze and interpret ecological conditions, predict the consequences of alternative natural resource management decisions, and who understand the people and organizations influential in issues and management are required.
The MNR degree program differs from the traditional M.S. and Ph.D. degree programs in CNR in several key aspects. The traditional graduate programs emphasize research and developing depth of knowledge in a focused subject area. In contrast, the MNR graduate program provides breadth across the major disciplines within the area of natural resources. This graduate program is not a research-oriented degree that requires the completion of a thesis (as is the case for the M.S. graduate program). Rather, the MNR graduate program is a terminal professional degree that requires diverse coursework designed for students to acquire advanced knowledge and understanding about natural resource management and administration, similar in concept to an M.B.A. All students in the MNR program take a final oral comprehensive exam focused on a case study in natural resources management; see MyMNR.net for examples of case studies presented by graduates of the MNR program.
In contrast, the M.S. and Ph.D. programs require a thesis, dissertation or professional thesis. The Master of Science (M.S.) programs in the CNR departments include both thesis and non-thesis options. The thesis option requires completion of a thesis (up to 10 of the 30 required credits) that is original research carried out by the student under the supervision of a major professor and graduate advisory committee. The non-thesis option does not require completion of a thesis; however, the completion of an agreed upon project and/or professional paper (normally 3 to 5 credits) is required.
Of particular note, graduate students in the MNR program have the option to design their study plan of course to include emphasis areas on which students can focus while they pursue the broad-based MNR degree program. These course tracks include: Resource Management Communication and Education; Restoration Ecology; and Fire Ecology, Management and Technology Certificate. By taking courses in one of these areas as part of the MNR program’s six free electives, as well as other approved courses, students can achieve the MNR program’s goal of a broadening graduate experience while also pursuing depth in one of the above areas of emphasis.
Other options for the MNR program include the certificate programs currently available from CNR. The Restoration Ecology Certificate is integrated into the MNR program, and a portion of the courses for the certificates in Fire Ecology, Management and Technology Certificate can be taken to satisfy the requirements for the MNR program (six credits can be used as electives).
Detailed information on the requirements of the graduate program at the UI is available in the University of Idaho Catalog and on-line at the College of Graduate Studies.