Sherman Lab 101
1910 East West Road
Honolulu HI 96822
Tel: (808) 956-7530
Fax: (808) 956-6539


*Graduate Faculty

*T. Miura, PhD (Chair)—geospatial analysis, remote sensing
*C. Chan, PhD—agricultural and international development and environmental economics, and management
*S. E. Crow, PhD—soil ecology and biogeochemistry
*J. B. Friday, PhD—tropical forestry/agroforestry extension
*T. W. Idol, PhD—tropical forestry/agroforestry
*M. Y. Kaneshiro, PhD—coastal resources management and marine invertebrate zoology
*P. Keral, PhD—political economy and diplomacy of natural resources
*C. M. Litton, PhD—forest ecology and management, biogeochemistry
*K. L. L. Oleson, PhD—ecological economics, ecosystem services
*M. Price, PhD— behavioral ecology, conservation genetics
*P. C. Trauernicht, PhD—wildfire management extension
*Y. Tsang, PhD—ecohydrology
*M. D. B. Vaughan, PhD—collaborative resource management and environmental education

Cooperating Graduate Faculty

L. Bremer, PhD—sustainability and ecotourism (WRRC)
K. M. Burnett, PhD—economics, invasive species assessment and management (UHERO)
J. Deenik, PhD—soil quality and fertility (TPSS)
J. DeFrank, PhD—herbicide management (TPSS)
A. El-Kadi, PhD—groundwater hydrology (ERTH)
T. Giambelluca, PhD—climatology, hydrology (GEO)
S. Honarvar, PhD—wildlife management (PCSU)
N. V. Hue, PhD—organic cycling (TPSS)
Q. Li, PhD—environmental chemistry (MBBE)
Y. Li, PhD—tropical forest ecology and management (UH Hilo)
N. Lincoln, PhD—Indigenous crops and cropping systems (TPSS)
A. Mawyer, PhD—anthropology (CPIS)
T. McClellan Maaz, PhD—soil fertility; land management
A. Miles, PhD—sustainable community food systems (UH West)
C. Nelson, PhD—ecology, evolution and marine biology (OCEAN/SG)
T. Radovich, PhD—sustainable farming (TPSS)
A. Sherwood, PhD—phycology, marine and freshwater algal flora and diversity (School of Life Science)
H. Valenzuela, PhD—vegetation physiology and management (PEPS)
K. Winter, PhD—ethnobotany (He‘eia NERR)

Affiliate Graduate Faculty

G. Bruland, PhD—soil and water conservation (Principia College)
K. Carlson, PhD—land systems science (New York University)
L. Crampton, PhD—wildlife management (DOFAW, DLNR)
J. Fox, PhD—social forestry (East-West Center)
A. Friedlander, PhD—biogeography, fisheries (National Geographic)
C. Giardina, PhD—forest ecology (USDA Forest Service)
S. Gon, PhD—native ecosystem management, history of landscape change, biocultural approaches (The Nature Conservancy)
T. Grabowski, PhD—fisheries ecology (UH Hilo, USGS)
S. Gray, PhD— human ecology (Michigan State U)
S. Hess, PhD—wildlife management (USGS)
D. Jacobs, PhD—tree physiology (Purdue)
P. James, PhD—small-scale fisheries, survey design and implementation, marine protected areas (Dept. of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
D. Kleiber, PhD—equity approaches to fisheries and marine conservation (NOAA)
J. Leary, PhD—invasive weeds (U of Florida)
K. Leong, PhD—human dimensions of natural resource management (NOAA)
J. Lynch, PhD—marine environmental science (NIST)
R. Mackenzie—aquatic ecology (USDA Forest Service)
H. McMillen, PhD—community-based natural resource management (USDA Forest Service)
L. Nietmann, PhD—wildbird recovery conservation community engagement (Hawai‘i Division of Forestry and Wildlife)
M. Pan—fishery economics (NOAA Fisheries)
S. Pooley, PhD—fisheries (NOAA)
C. Ray, PhD—ground water hydrology and chemistry (U of NebraskaLincoln)
R. Ryals, PhD—soil health (UC Merced)
M. Satdichanh, PhD—tropical biodiversity, plant ecology, ethnobotany, land use change (Center for Mountain Futures and Kunming Institute of Botany)
D. Spatz, PhD— wildlife ecology (Pacific Rim Conservation)
A. Strauch, PhD—hydrology (CWRM)
A. Vorsino, PhD— climate change and species distribution (US Fish and Wildlife Service)
M. Weijerman, PhD—tropical marine ecology and coastal management (NOAA)
S. Wongbusarakum, PhD—conservation planning, sustainability (FAME)
L. Young, PhD—seabird conservation (Pacific Rim Conservation)

Degrees and Certificates Offered: BS, MS, MEM, and PhD in natural resources and environmental management, Graduate Resource Management Certificate (see the “Interdisciplinary Programs” section)

The Academic Program

The Natural Resources and Environmental Management (NREM) program emphasizes the science and management of natural resources as the foundation of sustainable socialecological systems. It provides students with scientific knowledge of the physical, chemical, biological, economic, social, and policy elements of natural resources management and allows them to understand the principles that underpin productive, sustainable natural resource use, and enhanced environmental quality. Graduating students will be able to grapple with contemporary resource use problems and assist in sound decision making for optimizing land use and managing agricultural and forestry systems, watersheds, coastal ecosystems, and landscapes in an ecologically sound manner. Graduates will also be skilled in addressing resource and environmental policy issues and the needs of diverse stakeholders and communities including policy makers, planners, and communities. Indigenous knowledge and practices will be integrated with Western science, where possible, to address local management issues. Students will be trained in the use of quantitative and qualitative methods and modeling and other decision tools for managing natural resources and stewarding the environment.

Undergraduate Study

BS in Natural Resources and Environmental Management

The bachelor of science degree in natural resources and environmental management is a science-based interdisciplinary degree emphasizing natural resource management and decision-making to support conservation and sustainable development. The focus is on tropical island ecology and terrestrial and coastal ecosystems, with special consideration given to Hawai‘i’s unique physical and diverse social environment. The program gives students the ability to conceptualize and critically analyze environmental problems, identify management options, implement suitable interventions, and evaluate their effectiveness. Students receive comprehensive training in basic and applied natural and social sciences, management skills and techniques, and real-life problem-solving including working with resource managers and communities. Students also develop an individual specialization in an upper division study area of their choice. Graduates have challenging and rewarding career opportunities with government agencies, non-profit organizations, and private businesses in resource-based industries and environmental protection. The BS degree also provides solid academic preparation for post-baccalaureate professional training and graduate study in natural resources and related environmental fields.


Undergraduate majors are required to report for advising prior to registration each semester. An entering student must meet with the NREM undergraduate program advisor and a CTAHR academic advisor to determine the student’s interest and preparation for the NREM major. After choosing a pathway and specialization, the student is assigned to a permanent faculty advisor, with whom they meet every semester to plan courses and chart progress toward graduation. The faculty advisor assists the student in arranging an internship (NREM 492), selection of elective courses, career advising, and professional development. Students must also meet with a CTAHR academic advisor each semester to discuss academic progress, course scheduling, and other general issues.

Entrance Requirements

First-year students may be admitted directly into the program when they apply to UH Mānoa. Students transferring from another program in the UH System or other universities must have a minimum 2.5 GPA for transferable credits.

Degree Requirements

The BS degree requires a total of 120 credit hours, with at least 45 credits in upper division (300+ level). Regardless of selected pathway and specialization, all students must complete a set of basic core courses. Many of these courses also satisfy General Education requirements. Required basic courses include:

  • CHEM 161/161L
  • BIOL 171/171L and 172/172L
  • One course from NREM 203 or MATH 203, 215, 241

All students must also complete an applied science program core, which requires the following courses:

  • NREM 192
  • NREM 220 or ECON 130
  • NREM 251
  • NREM 301/301L
  • NREM 302
  • NREM 310
  • NREM 477
  • NREM 492
  • NREM 494

Specializations and Their Requirements

Students have a choice between two pathways within which to develop an upper-division specialization. Both pathways require a set of specific courses and selected electives totaling 30 credits. Some electives, however, may require additional prerequisite courses and credits.

1. Natural Science Pathway

This pathway focuses on the biophysical and natural science aspects of resource and environmental management. Course requirements include:

  • PHYS 151/151L
  • CHEM 162/162L
  • NREM/TPSS 304/304L
  • 18 upper division credits in a natural resource specialization area, with at least one course (3 credits) that emphasizes analytical lab, or field research methods (course selection requires advisor approval).

For information on a Bachelor Degree Program Sheet, go to programsheets/.

2. Social Science Pathway

This pathway emphasizes the social sciences and business/public management skills. Requirements include courses in:

  • Business/Decision-making (3 credits)
  • Community Resource Management (3 credits)
  • Quantitative Skills (3 credits)
  • Upper division electives (21 credits), including at least 9 credits in a natural resource area

The student’s advisor helps with the selection of and approves courses to meet these requirements. For information on a Bachelor Degree Program Sheet, go to programsheets/.

Options for Meeting UH Mānoa Hawaiian/Second Language Requirement

As part of the graduation requirements for all undergraduate students at UH Mānoa, NREM majors will select one of the following three options for Hawaiian/Second Language study, in consultation with the faculty advisor:

Option 1: Show proficiency in Hawaiian/Second Language at a 202 course level. Native and bilingual speakers of a second language may be granted a waiver for the foreign language requirement by the College of Languages, Linguistics, and Literature.

Option 2: Show proficiency in Hawaiian/Second Language at a 102 course level and take one additional course each in the Social Sciences (3 credits) and in the Natural Sciences (3-4 credits).

Option 3: Take two additional courses each in the Social Sciences (total 6 credits) and in the Natural Sciences, including at least one course with a laboratory (total 7-8 credits). The additional Social and Natural Science courses can be chosen from any 100-200 level UH Mānoa courses in the respective area but cannot be used to meet other UH Mānoa General Education requirements (except focus) or NREM major requirements.

Graduate Study

NREM offers the following graduate degrees: MS Master’s of Environmental Management (MEM), and PhD degrees in Natural Resources and Environmental Management; a university-wide Graduate Resource Management Certificate; and a university-wide graduate degree specialization in Ecology, Evolution, and Conservation Biology.

The NREM graduate program integrates natural and social science in order to understand and manage tropical and subtropical terrestrial and aquatic social-ecological systems, with a particular emphasis on islands. The interdisciplinary NREM curriculum stresses the application of science (biological, physical, and social) to the conservation and sustainable management of natural resources and the environment. The program provides the scientific foundations to assess ecosystem structure and function, human behavior, and the reciprocal relationships between humans and their environment. Students acquire quantitative reasoning, critical thinking, and advanced technical skills that enable them to solve contemporary resource use and environmental problems across contexts and scales. NREM graduates serve as skilled leaders in management and policy, teachers, and researchers within both the public and private sectors.

Specialization Areas

NREM is an interdisciplinary department that offers integrative graduate curricula necessary for quality decision-making and solution-oriented natural resource and environmental management. As a foundation for graduate training, all NREM students are expected to acquire a common base of knowledge embodied in a set of core courses. Beyond that, students are expected to develop knowledge and skills within a chosen specialization area. This helps to ensure that students have the real-world skills needed to perform specific tasks, analyze resource management and policy issues, carry out original research, and effectively perform outreach and educational activities.

Examples of specialization areas include but are not limited to: forestry, plant ecology & conservation, wildlife ecology & conservation, soil & water conservation, coastal ecology & management, GIS & remote sensing, watershed hydrology, natural resource planning, environmental policy, cultural resources management, community resource management, environmental organizing & advocacy, and green enterprises & sustainability.

The student’s advisor and thesis/dissertation committee will assist in choosing appropriate course work and research, or other activities, to fully develop a specialization area. Students are expected to declare a specialization area by the completion of their first year in the department. It is, however, the responsibility of students to know and observe all regulations and procedures relating to the program as well as those of UH Mānoa and Graduate Division.

Admission and Deficiencies

Regular, probationary, and conditional status is determined based on the student’s academic performance at the time of application. If admitted as regular status, the student may start their formal graduate program immediately. If admitted as probationary or conditional status, the student will have specific criteria that must be fulfilled such as a BS or MS degree, course deficiencies, expected minimum GRE score of 302- 308 combined Verbal and Quantitative Reasoning (equivalent to 1,100-1,200 on the prior scale), or other documents. These criteria are specified in the letter of acceptance, and should be discussed immediately with their advisor upon matriculation. It is expected that students will move from probationary and/ or conditional status to regular status by the end of their first year by completing Form I. Applicants for the MS degree are required to have a BS or equivalent degree and applicants for the PhD degree are required to have an MS or equivalent degree (but see below for admission to the PhD degree without a BS degree).

NREM requires prior completed course work (with a grade of C or higher) that is equivalent to or higher than NREM 203, 220 (or ECON 130), 310, CHEM 151, and BIOL 171. Students who do not have course work in one or more of these areas may be accepted into the program, but will be expected to make up course deficiencies within their first 1-2 semesters on campus and complete Form 1.

The minimum required TOEFL score (for foreign applicants only) is: (a) MS student: 550, 213, or 80 for paper-based, computer-based, or internet-based examinations, respectively; and (b) PhD student: 600, 250, or 100 for paper-based, computer-based, or internet-based examinations, respectively. The minimum required IELTS score is: (a) MS student: 6.0 and (b) PhD student: 7.0. The TOEFL/IELTS requirement applies to all foreign students, except those who are native speakers of English or have received a bachelor’s degree or an advanced degree from an accredited/recognized college within the last five years in the U.S., U.K., Ireland, Canada, New Zealand, Singapore, or Australia. Students with low TOEFL/IELTS scores are required to enroll in remedial ELI (English Language Institute, courses.

Students Applying to PhD Program

(1) Admission to PhD After Finishing NREM MS

An NREM PhD student who also completed their MS in NREM and has subsequently been accepted into the NREM PhD program has the option to take directed reading (NREM 699) for half of the required elective credits (12 of the 24) if NREM courses that are applicable to the student’s degree have already been taken as part of the MS degree plan. At least 6 of the non-NREM 699 credits must be for graduate research methods courses. Also, the student is still required to take all 7 credits of NREM PhD core classes. In the case where a student took some/all of these core credits as electives during their MS degree program, an equivalent number of 600-level credits (but not NREM 699) must be taken.

(2) Admission to PhD Without Finishing NREM MS

A currently enrolled NREM MS student can be admitted into NREM’s PhD program prior to completing their MS degree if ALL of the following criteria are met:

  • Unanimous approval by the student’s MS committee
  • Record of excellent academic achievement including, at a minimum:
    • Maintaining a GPA >3.5 in the MS NREM program
  • The student has the proven ability to undertake independent research, which can be demonstrated by ALL of the following:
    • Authored/co-authored (student as 1st author) > 1 presentation at a national or international professional conference
    • Authored/co-authored (student as 1st author) > 1 peer reviewed journal article
    • Accrued > 2 years of meaningful research experience at school, jobs etc.

(3) Admission to PhD From BS

A student with a BS degree can be admitted directly into NREM’s PhD program if ALL of the following criteria are met:

  • A faculty member agrees to advise the student and commits to at least 3 years of funding
  • The student has a record of excellent academic achievement including, at a minimum:
    • Undergraduate GPA >3.5
    • Average verbal, quantitative and written GRE scores >75th percentile
  • The student has the proven ability to undertake independent research, which can be demonstrated by ALL of the following:
    • Authored/co-authored (student as 1st author) a minimum of 1 presentation at a national or international professional conference
    • Authored/co-authored (student as 1st author) a minimum of 1 peer reviewed journal article
    • Accrued at least 2 years of meaningful research experience at school, jobs, or internships


Admitted students will check in with their advisor upon arriving on campus. An advisor has been identified for every student based on the student’s stated interest and consent of the advisor. If you do not know who your advisor is, check with the NREM office staff or the graduate chair immediately. The primary responsibilities of the advisor during your first semester are to verify entrance and background deficiencies, prescribe remedial courses as early as possible in the student’s program, and provide guidance in course selection. All of these items should be completed by the end of the student’s first year. Submit Form I to the graduate chair upon fulfilling all deficiencies. If there are no deficiencies, Form I should be submitted at the beginning of the first semester. The student should meet with their faculty advisor regularly to track their progress.

Degree Requirements

Master of Science (MS) in Natural Resource and Environmental Management

NREM offers one option for the MS degrees: Plan A is a thesis-driven research degree, and a student will be accepted into this plan if a faculty sponsor has agreed to advise the student.

Once admitted, MS students must select a specialization area with the approval of their advisor. To meet the integrative, interdisciplinary intent of the NREM program, a set of graduate level courses (the Primary MS Core) will be required of every student, regardless of their specialization/concentration area.

In addition to the Primary (9 credits) MS Core, a set of electives (15 credits) and thesis credits (6 credits) are required for a total of 30 credits. Electives provide background in research methods and depth in the student’s area of specialization. The remaining credit requirements will be met with thesis credits (NREM 700) during the semester the student plans to graduate. Once the thesis topic is finalized, a research proposal must be approved by the committee. An oral defense of the proposal in front of the thesis committee is also required for final approval of the thesis topic. A public defense of the final thesis is also required, and an announcement with thesis abstract, defense date, and location must be sent to the graduate program chair, departmental secretary, and Graduate Division at least 2 weeks in advance.

Primary MS Core (9 credits):

NREM 600 (4), 601 (4), 701 (1)

Electives (15 credits):

Course in graduate research methods (400-level or above, 3); NREM graduate courses (600-level and above, 6); Other graduate courses for specialization from within or outside of NREM (6); where all 6 credits can be satisfied by 400-level course credits, however, this reduces to 3 credits if a 400-level course(s) is taken to fulfill the research methods requirement. Students are limited to 9 credits of NREM 699.

Thesis (6 credits):

NREM 700 Thesis (6)

Master’s of Environmental Management (MEM) in Natural Resources and Environmental Management

MEM is a course-driven professional degree that requires a total of 36 credits. Students are required to declare a concentration from one of four possible concentration areas (see below). Courses include the Primary MS Core (9 credits), research methods (3 credits), a minimum of 9 elective credits from the chosen concentration area, a minimum of 3 elective credits from each of the other three concentration areas, and a 6 credit capstone experience.

Primary MEM Core (9 credits):

Same as MS primary core.

Research Methods (3 credits):

Course in graduate research methods (400-level or above, 3).

Concentration Areas (total 18 credits):

MEM students must select a concentration area from the following: Geospatial Analysis and Modeling, Environmental Policy and Economics, Land and Water Resource Management, and Applied Terrestrial Ecology. Students are required to take a minimum of 9 credits from their concentration area and 3 credits from each of the other areas. Of the 18 elective credits required: (1) at least 9 credits must be NREM courses; and (2) a maximum of 12 credits of upper-division undergraduate course credits (400-level) are allowed, however, this reduces to 9 credits if 400-level course(s) are taken to fulfill the research methods requirement. Example courses for each area are listed below, however, the list is not comprehensive. The current list is published on the NREM website, and substitutions will be considered.

Geospatial Analysis & Modeling

  • NREM 477, 664, GEO 470, 472, PLAN 473, 673,

Environmental Policy and Economics

  • NREM 420, 611, 658, 671, NREM/ECON 429, BOT/HWST 458, GEO 413, 621, 622, GEO/PLAN 637, PLAN/ SUST 620, 625, 628, PLAN 640, 671

Land & Water Resource Management

  • NREM 461, 467, 612, 660, 662, 665, LWEV 588, GEO 423, 618, HWST 650, HWST/BOT 457, 459, BOT/ZOOL 450, OCN 457

Applied Terrestrial Ecology

  • NREM 450, 480, 680, 682, NREM/BOT/ZOOL 690, TPSS 481, 604, BOT 444, 456, 651, 661

Capstone Experience (6 credits):

A capstone experience is required for all MEM students. The capstone experience consists of: (1) NREM 695 (2 cr), to be taken when the student is preparing their proposal; and (2) NREM 696 (2 cr) and NREM 699 (2 cr; register with faculty advisor), to be taken when the student has completed their capstone experience and is writing up their final document. All capstone experiences require approval from the MEM Capstone Panel, which consists of the faculty advisor, the NREM 695 course instructor, and an at-large Panel member.

The Capstone Experience requirement may be fulfilled in a number of ways, based on each individual student’s interests. In as much, it will vary from student to student, but typical capstone experiences will involve: (1) an internship/coop/special field experience; (2) an investigation of a special topic; and/or (3) development of a project, directed readings/ study, or a research project. Each student is expected to take the primary role in identifying and organizing their capstone experience. In meeting this requirement, it will be important for students to demonstrate that they are getting an “integrative” experience in natural resources and environmental management. Each student will be required to give a public proposal and defense presentation, and provide a written proposal and final document on their capstone experience, both of which will be evaluated by the MEM Capstone Panel.

PhD in Natural Resource and Environmental Management

The PhD degree in NREM is awarded only to students with outstanding scholarly achievement. Applicants for the PhD program with academic records that do not match NREM core requirements will be expected to incorporate these into their PhD program. To meet the integrative, multi-disciplinary intent of this program, a set of graduate level courses (Primary PhD Core) will be required of every student regardless of his or her selected specialization area. In addition, a set of electives will be required. These electives are meant to provide background in research methods and depth in the student’s specialization area. The remaining degree requirements will be met by dissertation credits (NREM 800). All PhD students must pass a written and oral comprehensive examination (described below) before being advanced to candidacy. The student’s dissertation committee is responsible for designing and administering the comprehensive examination.

Primary PhD Core (5 credits)

  • NREM 600 (4)
  • NREM 701 (1)

Electives (12 credits)

  • Two analytic courses that focuses on research design, research evaluation, data collection, and/or data analysis (600-level or above, 6)
  • Two graduate courses for specialization (600-level or above, 6)

Dissertation (1 credit)

  • NREM 800 (1)

Comprehensive Examination

The comprehensive exam consists of both a written and an oral part, followed by a defense of the dissertation proposal. The final outcome of the comprehensive examination is the acceptance of the student to the PhD candidacy in NREM. Based on this examination, the student’s committee will determine if the student: (1) is ready, (2) needs to take more courses to remediate deficiencies in their training, or (3) that the student is not fit for the NREM PhD program. In the process of administering the examination, the committee will test the rigor of the student’s training as: (1) a scientist in general (that the student can follow the scientific method and procedure to address a research problem and also has the analytical skills to conduct research), (2) a scientist in NREM (has in-depth knowledge of what makes their unique compared to other graduates of UH that might have similar interests; in other words, a NREM student focusing on hydrology should not only be trained to deal with a hydrology problem but also should be able to address the natural resources and environmental management implications of that problem as compared to a hydrology graduate from Civil and Environmental Engineering, Geology and Geophysics, or Geography and Environment), and (3) a scientist in their specialty area (for example, a NREM PhD student with a specialty in hydrology should have more indepth expertise in hydrology than other NREM PhD students working in other specialty areas).

Based on this understanding, the comprehensive examination questions can cover: (1) their specialty (i.e., hydrology, forest ecology and management), (2) general topics related to NREM (i.e., core courses, background knowledge), (3) knowledge of general research methods (i.e., statistics, analysis methods, etc.), and (4) the proposed dissertation research.