Before You Apply


You must be seeking an MS, MA, or PhD degree and should have identified potential NRT faculty advisors prior to submitting an application.

Admission into the NRT program is very competitive, and applicants will be evaluated based on a range of factors, including previous coursework, experience, and test scores. Applicants’ research interests, personal statement, resume, and letters of recommendation are also important in admission and funding decisions, particularly for students not meeting the recommended GPA and GRE benchmarks.

In general, successful applicants will have:

  • Undergraduate or masters-level training in natural resources, environmental sciences, or human dimensions of natural resources
  • Lower- and upper-division coursework in biophysical sciences, social sciences, math, and statistics (see Prerequisite Coursework)
  • An undergraduate GPA greater than 3.5 (recommended)
  • Scores above the 50th percentile in two of the three GRE test areas (verbal, quantitative, and analytical writing) (recommended)
  • Public service experience (e.g., Peace Corps or Americorps volunteer)
  • Experience in local or regional organizations 
  • A passion or desire to work in conservation, public land management, or related profession, or past/current experience in this profession

Contacting faculty advisors:

Prior to submitting a formal application, please contact potential NRT faculty advisors to inquire if they are accepting new students and/or have funding opportunities. You should try to match your own areas of interest with those of your potential faculty advisor. A list of NRT faculty may be found here. You may also contact the Program Coordinator ( for help identifying a faculty advisor.

If you wish to work with a faculty advisor outside of our program, please contact the Program Coordinator for additional information on how to apply.


All applicants should discuss funding possibilities with their faculty advisor(s) before applying to the program. 

NRT fellowships: A limited number of NRT fellowships are available each year to applicants who are US citizens or permanent residents. Fellowships are awarded on a competitive basis, and applications must be received by January 15 to be considered for the fellowship. Please consult with your NRT faculty advisor regarding whether to apply for the fellowship. Fellowships vary in duration but are generally awarded for a one year term, which can be renewed annually based on performance. NRT funding is limited to up to two years for MS/MA and up to three years for PhD students. Fellowships include a tuition waiver, health insurance, and stipend.

Other financial support: Other funding (e.g., external grant funding, department-level assistantships such as research or teaching assistantships) may be available for individuals not eligible for an NRT fellowship or those who are not selected for one. Please discuss funding options with your NRT faculty advisor.

Self-support: Applicants for whom other funding is unavailable may choose to use their personal finances to cover the costs of participation in the program.

Prerequisite coursework

We recognize that students come from varied backgrounds and have differing aims in their graduate training. Any prerequisite coursework will be specified by your NRT faculty advisor. Incoming students who lack coursework in an area deemed important by their NRT faculty advisor (e.g., chemistry, economics, psychology, biology) may be asked to make up the deficiency in addition to the courses required for the MS, MA, or PhD degree.




Once you have found a faculty advisor, you will need to complete the following steps:

Step 1. Submit a formal application to the Graduate School

If you are encouraged to apply by a potential NRT faculty advisor, please follow the application instructions provided by The University of Maine Graduate School. Be sure to indicate NRT-Conservation Science in your personal statement as part of your UMaine graduate application. 

If you are a current UMaine graduate student, you can skip this step and apply directly to the NRT program.

Step 2. Apply to the NRT program

After submitting your application to the UMaine Graduate School, please complete the NRT application form. For full consideration for admission during the fall semester and to apply for the NRT fellowship (see the Funding section above for details), the application must be received by January 15. While we may accept applications at any time, priority is given to those who apply by this deadline. However, NRT faculty advisors may have funding to start during other semesters.



After you apply

NRT faculty advisor selections and review

Once your application is complete, it will be reviewed by the NRT program selection committee. We will verify that an NRT faculty member has agreed to be your advisor. Then we will evaluate your undergraduate (and graduate, if applicable) GPAs, letters of recommendation, relevant training and experience in conservation or environmental sciences, GRE scores, and individual potential for achievement.

Admission and funding decisions

We attempt to make admission decisions within 6 to 8 weeks of the application deadline. Our admission decision is forwarded to the Graduate School, which will send you an official letter of admission. Funding, including fellowships, is arranged through your NRT faculty advisor and any offers of funding will come from them.

Conservation Science logo with title at bottom

Campus Tours

If you wish to visit the campus, please contact your prospective NRT faculty advisor for assistance in arranging times to meet with them, see research facilities, meet current graduate students, and/or sit in on graduate seminars.