University of Vermont


The Application Process

"Might this applicant become a future John Muir or Rachel Carson? How about an Aldo Leopold, Erin Brockovich, Terry Tempest Williams, E. O. Wilson, or Jane Goodall?" Those are the questions we ask when reviewing candidates for the Field Naturalist Program.

Our goals are unrealistically ambitious yet routinely exceeded. Our students are the reason: Field Naturalists are mature, spirited do-ers who have a focused, unwavering sense of purpose.

In selecting applicants, we look for individuals who know what they want and who hunger for a full immersion experience. Returned Peace Corps Volunteers, of which we have had many, understand what that means.

In reviewing applications, we look for the following:

• moxie
• sustained interest and engagement in the environment
• compelling recommendations
• knowledge of this and other programs
• a track record of academic and professional achievement in science or environment
• strong Graduate Record Examination scores
• at least two years of life, job, or professional experience after college

Applicants need not major in science to be considered.

Important Application Dates
We begin reviewing applications on February 15 but will consider applications submitted after that date until admission decisions are finalized.Offers of admission are typically extended by the first week of April, except in the case of “alternates.” On rare occasions (it has happened only four times in the last 25 years), an applicant offered admission chooses to go elsewhere. To address that possibility, we may sometimes select promising alternates for an entering class.

Application Materials
Application materials and information can be found on the Graduate Admissions website or by calling the Graduate Admissions office (802) 656-3160.

We strongly encourage prospective students to meet with our students and faculty; there is no better way to learn about the Field Naturalist Program and whether it is a good fit for you. You also should do likewise with other programs you may be considering. So talk with our students and ask hard questions about what it's really like here. Gauge whether the graduate student body would provide a stimulating environment for you. Would you fit in? Would you learn at least as much from them as you would from the program's professors? The answers to those questions should be a resounding yes!

Prospective Students Day
Each winter we sponsor an all-day informational session for prospective students. This year's event will be on January 25, 2019. To register for the Prospective Students Day or for more information about scheduling any type of visit, please contact our program secretary, Lillian Reade at or (802) 656-2930.

Last modified December 28 2018 11:01 AM