Prospective Students

Two Research Assistantships Available

Application reviews will begin Dec. 15, 2017 and continue until a successful candidate is identified.


We welcome inquiries from potential graduate students interested in social-ecological systems, collaborative management, private lands management and stewardship, recreation behavior, ecological restoration, wildlife conflict, risk perceptions of wildfire, community dynamics, and hunting/fishing issues and management. Our projects page will give you a good sense of the types of research we engage in with graduate students. Students may pursue an M.S. degree in Recreation Management Resource Conservation, Systems Ecology, or Wildlife Biology; or a PhD in Forest and Conservation SciencesSystems Ecology or Wildlife Biology.

Funding is sometimes available for graduate students interested in serving as teaching assistants and/or research assistants on current projects. Teaching assistantships are sometimes offered by the College of Forestry and Conservation, which means you may assist another CFC professor outside of the Human Dimensions Lab. Research assistantships, when available, are focused on current human dimensions research projects under the direction of your major professor, a post-doc, or senior graduate student within our Lab. These opportunities allow students to understand the basic requirements of human dimensions research while developing their own thesis or dissertation topic. Existing projects may provide possible thesis/dissertation topics; however, we believe graduate students should have the freedom to develop their own questions within the context of existing projects or to explore their own theories in an entirely new context. We work with graduate students to seek fellowships, scholarships, and grant funding to support their research endeavors.

Graduate students are expected to gain proficiency with both qualitative and quantitative methods of research. Mixed methodologies allow researchers to capture diverse perspectives regarding complex issues, infer to populations of interest, and provide a more nuanced and complete understanding than studies relying on a single method. Students studying in the Human Dimensions Lab are required to take a mix of statistical and qualitative methods courses that complement their research interests. Additional coursework will be determined by students’ individual research trajectories/needs in consultation with your primary faculty advisor from the Lab and your graduate committee.

Minimum requirements vary by degree and program area. Full requirements for each graduate degree can be found on the College of Forestry and Conservation Graduate Studies web site or in the Graduate Student Handbook.


projects of the Human Dimensions Lab 
College of Forestry and Conservation grad programs  Human Dimensions Lab at the University of Montana

To begin the application process, please send a single PDF with the following to Libby Metcalf or Alex Metcalf:

  • A cover letter which includes a well-articulated statement of research interests and goals, previous research, and/or relevant experiences
  • Resume
  • Transcripts for all previous coursework and final GPA for any earned degrees (unofficial are ok initially)
  • GRE Scores with Percentiles (unofficial are ok initially)
  • Identify the degree you are seeking (MS or PhD)
  • Identify the area of focus for your degree (PTRM, RSCN, WBIO, FCS, or SYSECO)
  • A sample of your own, independent writing (e.g., article, term paper, etc.)

Applications are welcomed anytime, but most acceptance decisions are made in January/February (for admission during the fall semester) or in August/September (for admission during the Spring Semester). Fall applicants are preferred.