Preparing Application

Personal statements

Your statement of purpose is very important part of your Graduate School application. View it as an opportunity to introduce yourself to us. It is read carefully by the Conservation Sciences Admissions Committee. It helps us to understand your interests and educational objectives, and is an important component in our admissions decision. In your statement of purpose (statement #1), explain your research interest and let us know about any research questions that especially interest you. State which degree you seek, where you expect this to lead you, and any other long term goals related to this degree. Mention faculty with whom you would like to study and tell us how your interests fit within our program. State educational or research accomplishments that are related to your goals. Take time to craft a statement that represents your ability and intentions. There is no page limit, but most statements are about 2-3 pages. In your diversity statement (statement #2), explain how you will contribute to the diversity of experience and views to your peers and campus community.

Letter of recommendations 

Select letter writers who know you well, and give them plenty of time to write their letters. Also remind them that they will receive an email with instructions on how to submit their recommendation letters online as soon as you complete your application. Check with them to see they have completed your letters. You may contact our Graduate Program office at [email protected]¬†or 612-624-7751 to ascertain whether your application file is complete.

Communication with potential advisors

We strongly encourage you to contact Conservation Sciences graduate faculty members whose interests overlap with yours by checking research interests of our faculty. We do not admit an applicant, no matter how well qualified, unless CS Graduate Faculty members has agreed to advise that student because it will be a disservice to the student if the program can't provide adequate advising. Consequently, you should contact faculty members who you are interested in working with, early in your search for graduate school. Ask those faculty members if they will have room in their labs for the year you want to enroll in school, whether they will have funding to support a student, and if you should apply to work with them. Typically, they will let you know whether there is a possibility of admission and potentially encourage you to apply. This response does not guarantee admission but is an indication that you are competitive. You are not obligated to work with a faculty member you have written to, but it is often the first step in establishing a relationship with a potential advisor and it helps us to gauge whether we can meet your needs.