Natural Resources and Environmental Management

  • Daniel Richardson presenting his thesis work at the Soil Science Society of America Annual Conference in Minneapolis, MN.

    Crow Grad
  • Oleson lab working with USGS, West Maui watershed coordinator, and other natural resource management professionals to calibrate rain gauges.

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  • NREM graduate students staff an informational table during Earth Day celebrations.

    Earth Day
  • Assessing vegetation photosynthesis using satellite imagery.

    Miura grads
  • Oleson Lab post-doctoral fellow Megan Barnes working with a USGS colleague, West Maui Ridge to Reef Initiative watershed coordinator, and community member to set up rain gauges.

    GradSlideSho 01
  • Cory Yap and Yu-Fen Huang from Tsang Lab install the stream gauge and water quality probes at Aihualama stream.

    GRADslidesho 03

Graduate Studies at NREM

Aloha! E Komo Mai!

NREM offers the following graduate degrees, specializations, and certificates:

  • Master of Science (MS Plans A & C)
  • Master of Environmental Management (MEM)
  • PhD in Natural Resources and Environmental Management
  • a University-wide graduate degree specialization in Ecology, Evolution and Conservation Biology (
  • a University-wide Graduate Resource Management Certificate

The NREM graduate program brings together natural and social scientists to offer an integrative and inter-disciplinary program to understand and manage tropical and sub-tropical terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. Emphasis is placed on island settings and their relevance to managing land- and seascapes. The NREM curriculum emphasizes the application of physical, biological, and social sciences to the conservation and sustainable management of natural, environmental, and economic resources. The program also provides a science-based foundation to assess the processes that control the structure and function of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, and the human behaviors and policies that impact those processes. Studies in NREM incorporate the various components and scales (spatial and temporal) that determine ecosystem structure and function, and that bear upon the social and economic welfare of residents in diverse communities and environmental settings.

Students are expected to acquire quantitative reasoning, critical thinking, and advanced skills that enable them to solve contemporary resource use and environmental problems and to assist in sound policy development and implementation. NREM graduates should be skilled in addressing natural resources and environmental policy and management issues of the competing needs of diverse clientele and communities. NREM graduates are expected to serve as professional leaders in natural resources and environmental management and policy, academic teaching and research, and applied research and extension in educational and governmental institutions, international, national and state technical assistance and policy agencies, agricultural and forestry industries, consulting firms, and private nonprofit and non-governmental organizations.

NREM issues are attracting considerable national and global attention, as well as growing donor interest, especially in the Asia/Pacific and tropical and subtropical regions. Graduate training, therefore, features collaboration with national and international institutions to foster programs that provide students with opportunities to learn about the ways in which people from other countries and cultures manage their natural resources and interact with their environments. As such, NREM has a diverse mix of domestic and international graduate students.

To underscore its integrative and global nature, the NREM Graduate Program features strong collaboration with other academic departments within and outside of the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (CTAHR), as well as collaborating institutions in and outside of Hawai‘i such as transitional economies in Asia, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East. In addition, Cooperating and Affiliate Graduate Faculty complement and supplement NREM’s expertise.

Grad students from Crow Soils Lab.

Specialization Areas

NREM is an interdisciplinary department that offers an integrative graduate curriculum necessary for quality decision-making and solution-oriented natural resource and environmental management. As a foundation for graduate training, all NREM students are expected to acquire a common base of knowledge embodied in a set of core courses. Beyond that, students are expected to develop knowledge and skills within a chosen specialization area. This helps to ensure that students have the real-world skills needed to perform specific tasks, analyze resource management and policy issues, carry out original research, and effectively perform outreach and educational activities.

Examples of specialization areas in NREM include, but are not limited to:

  • Aquaculture economics and management
  • Coastal watershed management
  • Contaminant hydrology
  • Contaminant sources and transport in watersheds
  • Ecological and environmental economics
  • Economics of sustainable resource utilization
  • Fishery economics and management
  • Forest economics
  • Forest ecosystem management
  • Integrated resource management
  • Irrigation and water management
  • Land and water use policy assessment
  • Land degradation processes and models
  • Land resource inventory and interpretation
  • Land, soil and water conservation reclamation and remediation
  • Landscape ecology
  • Natural resource and environmental non-market valuation
  • Restoration ecology
  • Remote sensing and geospatial analysis
  • Sustainable community economic development
  • Sustainable land and resource management
  • Tropical forestry and agroforestry
  • Water quality
  • Watershed hydrology

A student’s advisor and thesis/dissertation committee will assist in choosing appropriate coursework, research, and other activities to fully develop a specialization area within their first year in the department.

It is, however, the responsibility of students to know and observe all regulations and procedures relating to the program as well as those of UH Mānoa and the Office of Graduate Education.

O'opu Nakea found at the swimming hole of Waihee stream. O'opu Nakea is indigenous species for Hawaii.

Admission Requirements

Applicants for graduate standing in NREM come from a diversity of academic, cultural, and professional backgrounds. However, minimum qualifications include a B.A./B.S. (or M.S. degree for Ph.D. applicants) with the qualifications necessary to gain admission to the UH Manoa Graduate Division. Those cleared through the Office of Graduate Education will be evaluated by the department based on their previous academic record and specific departmental criteria that include (see below for more detail on each section):

(i) general graduation requirements for a B.S. degree in NREM and/or undergraduate coursework documenting adequate preparation in the natural, social, and quantitative sciences (students will be required to make up any recognized deficiencies through appropriate coursework);
(ii) expected minimum GRE score of 302-308 combined Verbal and Quantitative Reasoning (equivalent to 1,100-1,200 on the prior scale);
(iii) a well-written objective statement for pursuing a degree in NREM;
(iv) recommendation letters; and
(v) expected minimum TOEFL or IELTS score (for international applicants only).

In addition to University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa Graduate Division documentation requirements, NREM requires applicants submit all of the following materials in order for their application to be reviewed. Applications that are incomplete at the application deadline will not be considered.

  1. Objective Statement – Describe in ~1,000-1,500 typed words what your objectives are for pursuing a graduate degree in NREM.  You should include information on: (i) the degree you are applying for (Ph.D., M.S. Plan A, MEM, or M.S. Plan C); if you are applying for a Ph.D. or M.S. Plan A, indicate who your advisor will be (this must be based on correspondence with that person); and if applying for a M.S. Plan A degree, indicate if you would be interested in the MEM program if not accepted into the M.S. Plan A program; (ii) your long-term career goals; (iii) how a degree in NREM will help you attain those goals; (iv) a description of research, educational, and/or professional experiences that make you a strong candidate for the NREM Graduate Program; and (v) any other information that you feel is pertinent and will aid the selection committee when reviewing your application.  Note that you do not have to use the objective statement form available through the Graduate Admissions Office. Submit directly to NREM.
  2. Recommendation Letters – Have 3 references submit recommendation letters directly to NREM.
  3. Documentation of Prior Coursework – In addition to submitting official transcripts to the Graduate Admissions Office, NREM requires documentation of coursework in the following five areas:  Statistics, Economics, Calculus, Chemistry, and Biology.  Please list completed coursework (name, number, and institution) that is equivalent to or higher than NREM 310, NREM 220 (or ECON 130), NREM 203, CHEM 161, and BIOL 171 (See UHM Course Descriptions at  Students who do not have coursework in one or more of these areas may be accepted into the program, but will be required to make up course deficiencies within their first 1-2 semesters on campus. Submit directly to NREM.
  4. TOEFL/IELTS English Proficiency Scores (international students only) – Submit directly to the Graduate Admissions Office.
  5. GRE Scores (no subject test required) – Submit directly to the Graduate Admissions Office.

Happy Faced spider. Photo: C. Litton


Addresses for Submission of Application Materials:

NREM Graduate Program
Sherman 101
1910 East-West Rd.
Honolulu, HI 96822
Tel: (808) 956-7530

Graduate Admissions Office
Spalding 354
2540 Maile Way
Honolulu, HI 96822
Tel: (808) 956-8544

Apply on-line

Application Deadlines

  • FALL: February 1
  • SPRING: September 1

Feral pigs are managed both as game resources and as an invasive species that heavily impacts native plants and animals.


Admitted students will check in with her/his Advisor as soon as possible upon arriving on campus. An advisor has been identified by the NREM Graduate Committee for every incoming student based on the student’s stated interests and consent of the advisor. If you do not know who your advisor is, check with the NREM office staff or the Graduate Chair immediately. The primary responsibilities of the advisor during your first semester on campus are to verify entrance and background deficiencies, prescribe remedial courses as early as possible in the student’s program, and provide guidance in course selection. All of these items should be completed by the end of the student’s first year. Submit Form I to Graduate Chair upon fulfilling all deficiencies.  If you have no deficiencies, Form I should be submitted at the beginning of your first semester on campus.

For additional information, refer to the Graduate Student Guide.

Degree Offerings and Requirements