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NREM PhD Degree Program

NREM Graduate student in Forestry

The PhD degree in NREM is awarded only to students with outstanding scholarly achievement. Applicants for the PhD program with academic records that do not match NREM MS core requirements will be expected to incorporate these into their PhD program. To meet the integrative, multi-disciplinary intent of this program, a set of graduate level courses (Primary PhD Core) will be required of every student regardless of his/her selected specialization area. In addition, a set of electives will also be required. These electives are meant to provide background in research methods and depth in the student’s specialization area. The remaining degree requirements will be met by dissertation credits (NREM 800). All PhD students must pass a written and oral Comprehensive Examination (described below) before being advanced to candidacy. The student’s dissertation committee is responsible for designing and administering the Comprehensive Examination.

Requirements of PhD Degree

Primary PhD Core (7 Cr)

  • NREM 611 Resource and Environmental Policy (3)
  • NREM 612 Predicting and Controlling Degradation in Human-Dominated Terrestrial Ecosystems (3)
  • NREM 701 Research Seminar in NREM (1)

Electives (24 Cr)

  • Graduate research methods (6); 500-level or above
  • NREM graduate courses (9); 500-level or above
  • Other graduate courses for specialization from within or outside of NREM (9); a maximum of 9 credits of upper-division undergraduate course credits (400-level) allowed

Dissertation (1 Cr)

  • NREM 800 Dissertation (1)

PhD Comprehensive Examination Policy

The final outcome of the comprehensive examination is the acceptance of the student to the PhD candidacy in NREMBased on this examination, the student’s committee will determine if the student: (i) is ready, (ii) needs to take more courses to remediate deficiencies in her/his training, or (iii) that the student is not fit for the NREM PhD program.  In the process of administering the examination, the committee will test the rigor of the student’s training as: (i) a scientist in general (that the student can follow the scientific method and procedure to address a research problem and also has the analytical skills to conduct research), (ii) a scientist in NREM (has in-depth knowledge of what makes her/him unique compared to other graduates of UH that might have similar interests; in other words, a NREM student focusing on hydrology should not only be trained to deal with a hydrology problem but also should be able to address the natural resources and environmental management implications of that problem as compared to a hydrology graduate from Civil and Environmental Engineering, Geology and Geophysics, or Geography), and (iii) a scientist in her/his specialty area (for example, a NREM PhD student with a specialty in hydrology should have more in-depth expertise in hydrology than other NREM PhD students working in other specialty areas).

Based on this understanding, the comprehensive examination questions can cover: (i) her/his specialty (i.e., hydrology, forest ecology and management), (ii) general topics related to NREM (i.e., core courses, background knowledge), (iii) knowledge of general research methods (i.e., statistics, analysis methods, etc.), and (iv) the proposed dissertation research.

Requirements

  1. Take Written and then Oral Comprehensive Examinations on proposed dissertation research, courses, and specialty area when most coursework (~80%) and the research proposal have been completed.

  2. Required public Seminar on Research Proposal (publically advertised at least two weeks in advance).

  3. Required public Seminar on Dissertation Defense (publically advertised at least two weeks in advance).

Students Applying to PhD Program

Admission to Ph.D. after finishing NREM M.S.

An NREM Ph.D. student who also completed his or her M.S. in NREM and has subsequently been accepted into the NREM Ph.D. program has the option to take directed reading (NREM 699) for half of the required elective credits (12 of the 24) if NREM courses that are applicable to the student’s degree have already been taken as part of the M.S. degree plan. At least 6 of the non-NREM 699 credits must be for graduate research methods courses. Also, the student is still required to take all 7 credits of NREM Ph.D. core classes. In the case where a student took some/all of these core credits as electives during their M.S. degree program, an equivalent number of 600-level credits (but not NREM 699) must be taken.

Admission to Ph.D. without finishing NREM M.S.

A currently enrolled NREM M.S. student can be admitted into NREM’s Ph.D. program prior to completing their M.S. degree if ALL of the following criteria are met:

    1. Unanimous approval by the student’s M.S. committee
    2. Record of excellent academic achievement including, at a minimum:
      • Maintaining a GPA >3.5 in the M.S. NREM program
    3. The student has the proven ability to undertake independent research, which can be demonstrated by ALL of the following:
      • Authored/co-authored (student as 1st author) a minimum of 1 presentation at a national or international professional conference
      • Authored/co-authored (student as 1st author) a minimum of 1 peer reviewed journal article
      • Accrued at least 2 years of meaningful research experience at school, jobs etc.

Admission to Ph.D. from B.S.

A student with only a B.S. degree can be admitted directly into NREM’s Ph.D. program if ALL of the following criteria are met:

    1. A faculty member agrees to advise the student and commits to at least 3 years of funding
    2. Record of excellent academic achievement including, at a minimum:
      • Undergraduate GPA >3.5
      • Average verbal, quantitative and written GRE scores >75th percentile
    3. The student has the proven ability to undertake independent research, which can bedemonstrated by ALL of the following:
      • Authored/co-authored (student as 1st author) a minimum of 1 presentation at a national or international professional conference
      • Authored/co-authored (student as 1st author) a minimum of 1 peer reviewed journal article
      • Accrued at least 2 years of meaningful research experience at school, jobs, or internships

For additional information, refer to the Graduate Student Guide.