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Assessment and Analysis

Administered by the Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources

This option allows you to develop a research project integrating field course components with decision-making tools, and the opportunity to develop depth in a specific subject area. Focused on the assessment and analysis required to carry out environmental planning and conservation, the option aims to hone the abilities of people who will function as part of National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) impact assessment teams; groups performing Phase I, protected species investigations, and related assessment processes; or organizations aiming to conserve land, ecosystems, and biodiversity. As a student, you will identify appropriate coursework beyond the required core curriculum in consultation with your advisory committee.

Job Opportunities

Students completing this option work in agencies, environmental organizations, and engineering firms focused primarily on conservation or impact assessment.

Faculty Contacts



No specific prerequisites, but see note on “Additional Courses” below.

Master of Natural Resources Core Curriculum (required)

CourseDescriptionCredit Hours
NR 500Natural Resource Management3
NR 571Current Issues in Natural Resource Policy3
ST 5**A graduate level statistics course3
FOR 801NR Graduate Seminar (or equivalent seminar course)1
FOR 803Seminar in Forest Research1
  Total Credit Hours11

Additional Courses/Requirements

If you do not have a background in natural resources or a related field, you may be required to take up to 12 credit hours of undergraduate course work that cannot be counted towards your graduate degree program.

Technical Option Electives

A major advantage of this technical option, because of the small number of required courses, is flexibility to design a program tailored to your interests, needs, and aspirations. You should choose the rest of your courses in consultation with your advisory committee to support completion of the research or project objectives that you and your committee have agreed upon.

Any graduate course offered by the three Triangle universities may be included if it furthers your interests and research or project objectives.

At NCSU, you may find courses of interest in these areas of study: Biological & Agricultural Engineering; Biomathematics; Entomology; Fisheries & Wildlife Science; Forestry; Geographic Information Systems; Marine, Earth, & Atmospheric Sciences; Natural Resources; Plant Biology; Statistics; Zoology. You can find course listings for NCSU by starting at the Graduate School course descriptions page NCSU graduate courses are numbered 500 and higher.

The two examples below are given only to suggest how one might construct a plan of work for a particular focus; they are not the only way to develop a conservation biology or assessment focus, nor are they the only focuses you might develop – we encourage you to use your imagination and creativity!

Example 1: A Conservation Biology Focus
NR 595 (3) Protected Species Conservation
ZO 660 (3) Population Ecology
FOR 565 (4) Plant Community Ecology
GIS 510 (3) Fundamentals of Geographic Information Science and Technology
FW 553 (3) Principles of Wildlife Science
FW 560 (2) International Wildlife Management and Conservation
NR 693 or 695 (3) Research Credits

Example 2: An Environmental Impact Assessment Focus
GIS 510 (3) Fundamentals of Geographic Information Science and Technology
NR 531 (3) Wetland Assessment, Delineation, and Regulation
FOR 784 (4) Environmental Impact Assessment
NR 693 or 695 (3) Research Credits

Total Credit Hours:

MS Natural Resources Assessment and Analysis (thesis): 30 credit hours, minimum; may include up to 6 hours of NR 695 Master’s Thesis Research

MNR Assessment and Analysis (non-thesis): 30 credit hours, minimum; may include up to 6 hours of or NR 693 Master’s Supervised Research

Your committee may require additional hours, depending on your background and research project.

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