Above photo courtesy of current CONS student Annette Spivy. 

The CONS Program is not accepting new students for the 2015-2016 academic year.


Admission to the CONS Program is competitive, and applicants tend to be a self-selecting group of high achievers. Applicants must have an undergraduate degree and comply with all Graduate School guidelines to be considered for admission, with the most competitive applicants demonstrating preparedness for graduate coursework in ecology, resource economics, and public policy.  

There is not, however, a specific undergraduate major or set of courses required for admission. Applications are reviewed holistically, based on evidence of leadership potential, maturity, motivation, intellectual curiosity, and the ability to work successfully across multiple disciplines. 

CONS is interdisciplinary, and students do not have individual advisors. Applicants do NOT identify a particular professor with whom they want to work as part of the application process.   


While many successful applicants come from undergraduate backgrounds in biology and ecology, CONS has no formal curricular prerequisites for admission, accepting students from a variety of academic, professional, and personal backgrounds whose prior achievements exhibit a range of experiences and preparedness.

The most competitive applicants will present an established record of excellence in their academic and professional careers, including some form of "real-world" employment experience. Successful applicants have pursued work in various NGOs, government agencies, research labs, or other experiential learning opportunities in the environmental sciences (e.g., Peace Corps, internship opportunities).  

That said, incoming students are encouraged to have taken courses in statistics and introductory biology, have demonstrated quantitative ability (e.g., modeling, introductory calculus, GIS analysis, or economics), and have familiarity with at least one foreign language. Applicants who wish to may take part-time, continuing education, and post-graduate courses to enhance their admissions file or, after notification of admission, prepare for graduate-level courses in the core areas of ecology, resource economics, and public policy with supplemental coursework or self-study.  

Prerequisites for current CONS students include those prerequisite courses mentioned in the University of Maryland Graduate Catalog, many of which are 400-level (the equivalent of the final year of undergraduate instruction) and hence accessible to individuals with strong undergraduate backgrounds.