Doctoral Degree Program

The School of Natural Resources and Environment offers a Ph.D. degree in Natural Resources and Environment (NRE) and a Ph.D. in Landscape Architecture. Both are research-based and support the pursuit of either a highly focused course of study or one that broadly addresses complex, interdisciplinary issues.

Ph.D. in Natural Resources and Environment

The SNRE doctoral program has two primary tracks: Resource Ecology Management, with an ecology and science focus; and Resource Policy and Behavior, with a social science focus. Areas of specialization within the Ph.D. in SNRE are reflective of faculty research interests and parallel the eight fields of study identified in the M.S. program. (For additional resources, visit the doctoral program guidance site)

Each student's doctoral studies are guided by the dissertation adviser and committee, and tailored to the scholarly interests of each student. The goal of the doctoral programs is to develop the creative abilities of exceptional students, training them for independent work that contributes to original research and scholarship at the forefront of their chosen fields.

A Ph.D. candidate will be deeply involved in research efforts, defining and understanding critical natural and environmental resource problems, and developing new knowledge and management strategies to address these problems. These students are expected to become leaders in research, in training other professionals, and in developing the scientific knowledge base for formulating policies and management practices that contribute to the sustainable use of natural resources.

Admission to the doctoral program includes the assignment of an adviser and one or more faculty members who agree to serve on the student's Interim Guidance Committee.  During the first year of study and working in cooperation with the faculty, the student will prepare a detailed Course of Study to guide the student's coursework and scholarly development. By the end of the second academic year the student is expected to advance to candidacy by successfully complete a qualifying examination. A full dissertation proposal is expected by the end of the fifth academic semester, and students are expected to defend their dissertation by the end of the fifth academic year.

The Ph.D. is granted by the Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies (generally referred to as Rackham). Degree requirements for all doctoral programs can be found in the Rackham Graduate School Academic Policies.  The SNRE Doctoral handbook provides a timeline and additional details of our expectations and requirements.

The SNRE provides a four-year funding package to accepted students.  The securing of funding is a shared responsibility by the School and the faculty advisor, and normally requires two years of teaching by the student as a Graduate Student Instructor.

For more information on the doctoral programs, contact snre.admissions@umich.edu.

Ph.D. in Landscape Architecture

The Ph.D. in Landscape Architecture is a unique degree and attests to the value placed on research in advancing the profession of landscape architecture at the University of Michigan. Michigan is one of the few American universities that offers such a degree; with other universities offering similar doctorates in Environmental Design and Planning. The UM program, which is the largest and oldest in the country, supports students who wish to advance scholarship in landscape architecture and who typically pursue academic careers upon graduation. Landscape architecture graduates of the University of Michigan serve on faculties worldwide including the Cal Poly Pomona, Guelph University, the University of Massachusetts, Kansas State University, Louisana State University, Michigan State University, Pennsylvania State University, Texas A&M University, the University of British Columbia, Texas Tech University, and Virginia Tech University.  Detailed information on Ph.D. career placement is available at the SNRE Career Services website.

The Ph.D. cohort is an integral component of the School's community of scholars and a vital resource for carrying out the Program's educational and research objectives. Ph.D. students are important resources for students in the MLA curriculum, and the MLA program is also a resource for teaching the next generation of landscape architecture faculty in the nation. Many PhD students have held multiple Graduate Student Instructor appointments over the course of their student careers.

Course of study

The doctoral programs are tailored to the goals of each student; no two students in the program are likely to take an identical set of courses. At the same time, however, the programs are guided by a framework to assure that each student's academic efforts will lead to demonstrated research creativity and competence.

Since students in the programs come from diverse academic and professional backgrounds, it is important that this framework be interpreted to take advantage both of the individual's past accomplishments and the resources available at the University.

Admission to the doctoral program includes the assignment of an advisor and one or more faculty
members who agree to serve on the student's Interim Guidance Committee (IGC). During the first year of study, the student will prepare a detailed Course of Study, working in cooperation with the faculty advisor, IGC members, and other relevant faculty. The Course of Study is the plan that focuses a student's academic program, and is used to guide the student's efforts. The Course of Study is not intended to be an unalterable contract, and it is understood that it may be modified.

The Ph.D. is granted by the Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies (generally referred to as
Rackham). Degree requirements for all doctoral programs can be found in the Rackham Graduate
School Academic Policies. Rackham stipulates that from the time of initial enrollment, Candidacy should be
achieved within 3 years, and the Ph.D. should be completed within seven years. Our Doctoral handbook provides a timeline and additional details of our expectations and requirements.

For more information on the doctoral programs, contact snre.admissions@umich.edu.