Online MNR

Online_MNR_ImageDesigned for maximum flexibility to accommodate busy schedules, the Online Master of Natural Resources (MNR) is a 30-credit hour, virtual degree program that prepares students for careers in environmental sustainability. The hybrid program combines online coursework and participation in an International Field Experience in a rapidly developing region around of world. This interdisciplinary program instills the conceptual and critical thinking skills necessary for lifelong learning and career development. MNR graduates are prepared to succeed on a truly global stage as natural resource, environmental, and sustainability professionals.

Applying for the Online MNR Program, either as a degree-seeking student or not, is done through the Virginia Tech Graduate School website. Qualified students seeking to pursue simultaneous degrees should contact the MNR Program office for assistance.

The application package, which is preferably completed online through the Graduate School website, includes:

  • Completed undergraduate degree (minimum GPA of 3.0)
  • Completed VT Application for Admission, including:
    • $75 non-refundable application fee
    • Current resume/CV
    • Letters of Recommendation
    • Copies of relevant academic transcripts
  • No GRE required; TOEFL may be required for international students per Graduate School requirements

The MNR Program accepts Online MNR applications for Fall, Spring and both Summer terms; deadlines are as follows, but we encourage students to apply as early as possible once they have made their decision:

Term Deadline
Fall August 10
Spring January 10
Summer I May 10

It is the student’s responsibility to satisfy all university requirements described in the Graduate School Policies and Procedures section of the Graduate Catalog, as well as any additional requirements of the Online MNR.

Students will receive an orientation package shortly after receiving official notice of acceptance from the Graduate School. At this time, the student will also be contacted to schedule an advising appointment with the Online MNR Program Lead, to be held via phone.

Plan of Study (POS)

The Online MNR is a non-thesis degree consisting of four required core courses (12 credits) and six electives (18 credits). Each student builds a customized Plan of Study (POS) to support individual interests and career goals. Some graduate course requirements may be met through transfer credits from another accredited academic institution in accordance with policies and procedures of the Virginia Tech Graduate School.

A POS must be submitted for to the Graduate School for approval following completion of 21 credit hours. The Online MNR Program Lead assists students with development of a POS and any necessary revisions. The POS details all of the courses a student will take to complete his/her degree program, and must meet the minimum requirements for the degree. All courses on the POS, including supporting courses, are taken for a letter grade (A-F), with the exception of any courses approved for pass-fail or equivalent credit (e.g., NR 5974 Independent Study). All courses listed on the POS count toward the minimum required GPA of 3.0, and must be completed with a grade of C- or better.

Changes to Plan of Study

Once the Graduate School has approved the Plan of Study revisions must be submitted using a Change of Plan of Study (CoPOS) form.

NR 5114 Global Issues in Natural Resources (required, IFE)
NR 5724 Conservation Ecology (required)
NR 5884 International Environmental Law & Policy (required)
NR 5884 Landscape Systems & Strategies (required)
Total Graduate Hours Required
Required Coursework

The MNR Program has four required courses (12 credits), intended to provide students with a broad foundation that will support their subsequent elective coursework (see Course Catalog for details). Additionally, students are required to participate in a 10-day International Field Experience (IFE) as part of one of the required courses.

  • NR 5114 Global Issues in Natural Resources (includes IFE)
  • NR 5724 Conservation Ecology
  • NR 5884 International Environmental Law and Policy
  • NR 5884 Landscape Systems and Strategies
International Courses

The International Field Experience (IFE) requirement, a defining feature of the degree, is an interdisciplinary team project focused on strategies to advance sustainable development in rapidly urbanizing regions around the world. The IFE is the only non-virtual component of the Online MNR. These team-based, applied, interdisciplinary experiential-learning opportunities allow students to explore and advance innovative sustainable development strategies being developed in rapidly developing regions of the world. With travel scheduled during academic breaks, the IFE projects include 10-days of fieldwork in one of six global locations –  China, CroatiaIndia, Indonesia, Morocco, and South Africa. Costs include tuition, an IFE fee, and airfare.

Elective Coursework

In addition to the required courses, MNR students take six additional elective courses (18 credits) chosen with the help of an advisor to meet their personal academic and professional goals (see Course Catalog for details). Students may also take relevant courses offered by other departments to meet the MNR degree requirements.

Supporting Courses

Courses numbered lower than 4000, or 4000-level courses not approved for graduate credit, should be listed on the Plan of Study as supporting courses. Prerequisites should be taken as supporting courses.

Transfer Credits

Students in the Online MNR may be able to transfer up to 50 percent of the required graded credit hours (15 credits) from previously taken relevant graduate coursework completed at an accredited institution. To be accepted, transfer credits must meet the following criteria: 1) grade of B or better; 2) earned while the graduate student was in good standing; and 3) be acceptable for graduate degree credit at the “home” institution. Grades of S or P are not acceptable unless the course is only offered on a pass/fail basis.

All transfer courses must be acceptable to the student’s advisory committee and must have been completed within the time limits prescribed for satisfying degree requirements. Credits are transferred when they are entered on the Plan of Study and approved by the Graduate School. Transferred courses count only as credit hours and are not included in calculation of the GPA.

The Graduate School must receive official transcripts for transfer coursework, and transfer credit may not exceed the established minimum.

Substituting Courses

In some instances, a course substitution may be necessary or warranted. This option should be discussed with your graduate advisory committee.

Tuition and fee rates for all Virginia Tech programs administered by VT’s Office of the Bursar [see current tuition and fee schedule]. The College of Natural Resources & Environment (CNRE) has a special rate for graduate students in the Online MNR.



Financial aid is available to students in the form of loans. Most students opt for the Federal Stafford Loans to cover the cost of attending the program. For more information on financial aid options, please schedule an advising meeting with one of our Program Directors by contacting our office: 571-858-3338.