Colorado State University offers two types of MS programs: Plan A and Plan B.
Plan A programs emphasize research. In partial fulfillment of degree requirements, the student is required to conduct research approved by their graduate committee and to present the results in a thesis.
Plan B programs emphasize course work and professional preparation. The student must submit a professional paper based on literature reviews, surveys, and other sources of information to the graduate committee as partial fulfillment of degree requirements.
Completion of the Plan A and Plan B M.S. degree generally requires at least two years of full-time work beyond the bachelor's degree. All master’s students must take at least 30 credits of formal coursework at the 300 level or higher. Graduate work may require undergraduate courses as prerequisites.
Colorado State University and Peace Corps partner in a master’s degree program that integrates on-campus coursework with 27 months of Peace Corps training and service. Students apply to both the Graduate College and their program of choice at the same time. Students in the PCMI program generally complete two semesters of coursework at the Colorado State University campus in Fort Collins, followed by a two year assignment overseas with the Peace Corps. Peace Corps places PCMI students in work assignments that are related to their area of study in the master's program. In addition to their Peace Corps assignment, the PCMI student completes a project for their master's degree program while overseas. Upon completion of their Peace Corps assignment, the student returns to Colorado State University to complete and defend their research project as either a professional paper or thesis.
The Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree is the highest graduate degree offered at Colorado State University. A student working toward a Ph.D. degree is expected to produce independent research that contributes significantly to science and to present the results of such research in a written dissertation. This program leads to a high degree of specialization. A Ph.D. program often requires five years of full-time work beyond the bachelor's degree, or three years beyond the master's degree to complete. It requires a minimum of 72 semester credits beyond the bachelor's degree at the 300-level or higher. The student’s graduate committee may accept as many as 30 semester credits earned in an M.S. program at an accredited institution towards meeting the Ph.D. credit requirements.
Ecosystem Science and Sustainability (ESS)
The Department of Ecosystem Science and Sustainability offers two graduate degrees programs: a M.S. degree in Watershed Science (both Plan A and Plan B) and a Master of Greenhouse Gas Management and Accounting (Plan C).
The Department of Fish, Wildlife and Conservation Biology offers MS degrees (both Plan A and Plan B) in Fish, Wildlife and Conservation Biology. FWCB also offers a Ph.D degree in Fish, Wildlife and Conservation Biology.
A Plan C option is also available in Fishery and Wildlife Biology.
The Department of Forest and Rangeland Stewardship has graduate degree programs in Forest Sciences, Rangeland Ecosystem Science, and Natural Resources Stewardship. The FRS department offers MS degrees (both Plan A and Plan B) and PhD degrees in two disciplines: Forest Sciences and Rangeland Ecosystem Science. The department also offers a Plan C degree, the Master's of Natural Resources Stewardship (MNRS). The MNRS is designed for mid-career professionals who want to increase their competitive standing in the work force or retool their skills.