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NRES Online M.S. Blog

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  • 2015 Annual Review due February 23rd!

    All students in the NRES online Master of Science degree program are required to complete the annual review process. Please complete the 2015 Annual Review Form and submit it, along with your resume and a copy of your capstone proposal, to Renee Gracon ( no later than February 23rd. If you have not received the Annual Review Form, or need assistance completing the Form, please contact Renee.  

  • Reminder - NRES Annual Review due February 23rd!

    All NRES online students are required to submit their 2015 Annual Review, a current resume, and a copy of the capstone proposal (or a short description of the intended project) no later than Monday, February 23rd. This is compulsory for all students whether you are currently enrolled in coursework or not. Please contact Renee Gracon at if you need assistance.


  • Planning to Graduate This May?

    Congratulations to those students planning to graduate in May!

    Here are some important things to remember:

    Pending Degree List: It is your responsibility to add your name to the pending degree list. You may do this by going to: UI Integrate (

    Degree Audit: Please request your degree audit early in the semester by contacting the NRES office ( This is required for all students prior to graduation.

    Oral Presentations: Prior to scheduling your oral presentation, your final written paper must be approved by your Research Advisor or Piper Hodson (for those doing an internship). Keep in mind that most capstone papers take several rounds of revisions before they are approved.

    In addition, you should select your oral presentation date at least 3 weeks in advance of your presentation. The deadline for the oral presentation of your capstone project/oral exam for May graduation is on or before April 10, 2015. Therefore, if you are planning to graduate in May, you must select your oral presentation date no later than March 20 (and only after your Research Advisor or Piper Hodson has fully approved it). 

    Depositing your Capstone Paper: After your oral presentation, you must address all committee comments and make all requested revisions. Then re-submit your paper to your committee for final approval. Following this committee approval of your final paper, you must submit it to the NRES office. You should plan to submit the final (approved) paper before April 24th so there is adequate time for the departmental format check in order to meet the Graduate College deposit date of May 1st. 

    Graduate Exit Survey: All NRES graduates should complete the NRES Exit Survey before graduation. You can find the survey at:

    Graduation: The campus-wide Commencement is May 16th. The separate Tassel Turn and College of ACES reception is on May 17th. You should register for the Tassel Turn before May 11 by going to:

    For further information about graduation requirements, see the completion document, Final Steps for Graduation (aka “15 things”) available at

    For other deadlines and information, contact Renée Gracon at

  • Annual Review - Webinar

    The 2015 Annual Review materials were sent to all NRES online students this week. If you did not receive the information and Annual Review Form, please contact me at

    I will provide a brief overview of the Annual Review process and an opportunity for you to ask questions about the process on Sunday, February 8, at 6:00 pm CST. You can join the meeting by going to

    The deadline for submitting your 2015 Annual Review and auxiliary materials is February 23rd


  • Video on Obtaining, Evaluating and Communicating information

    We all know that designing and conducting good research is only part of the job. In order for that new information to be useful, it must be communicated to others. Here is a quick video from Bozeman Science that emphasizes the importance of three steps: Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information. http://bit/ly/1AL6tiJ Whether you are a classroom teacher (intended audience for this video) or are preparing to write your capstone paper, the message is an important reminder that communicating scientific information is a skill that requires concerted effort and practice. If you view the video, I would like to hear your thoughts/comments.


  • Important Reminders: Class registration, Annual Review, Pending Degree list

    Happy Ground Hog’s Day! Let’s hope he doesn’t see his shadow. None of us would want 6 more weeks of this winter weather.

    Spring 2015 Semester:

    Today (February 2) is the 10th day of classes. Therefore, you should check to be sure your class registration is correct. Today  is the last day to do the following:

    Drop courses to reduce your number of credit hours you are registered for to a lower tuition range and receive a refund between the two ranges Add a semester course without permission Submit forms to Audit a semester course Add a first half-session course

    Annual Review:

    The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences is conducting the 2015 Annual Review. As an online Master of Science candidate, it is our pleasure to help support your education plans and therefore, very important that your most current information is on file. Regardless of whether you are currently enrolled in classes or not, it is important that you submit the Annual Review.  Today you should have received an email with the Annual Review Form attached. Please take the time to complete the assessment and provide us with the requested supporting materials by February 23, 2015.

    If you did not receive an email with the Annual Review information please contact Renée . An online Advising Session will be held on February 8, 2015, at 6:00 pm for further online assistance. To join the session, please go to:

    If you prefer, you may send your questions directly to Renée at

    May 2015 Degree Conferral:

    Students who anticipate having all degree requirements completed for graduation in May 2015 should add their names to the degree conferral list via

    If you were on the degree conferral list for December 2014 and you did not graduate, you must add yourself to the May 2015 degree list via the link above.

    Warm wishes,

    Renée Gracon

  • Week 2 Announcements for NRES online students

    Welcome to the second week of classes! We have two important announcements. 

    1) NRES will be conducting the 2015 Annual Review during the month of February. You will be sent information on January 30th. Completing the designated Annual Review form and including the required attachments is a compulsory exercise for all online graduate students. For guidance on how to complete the form we will host an online advising session on Sunday evening, February 8, at 6:00 pm CST. You can join the session by going to: There will be ample time for questions at the end of the brief session.  The deadline for submitting the completed form is February 23rd. 

    2) We wish to share the following information from the Registrar's office with all online students.

    "By the 10th Day of Classes, February 2, Graduate Students should be correctly registered for spring term 2015. It is important to check your registration before February 2 on Student Web Self Service to make sure that you are registered for the courses that you are attending and attending the courses for which you are registered. If necessary, make corrections by adding and dropping courses to your schedule before the 10th day of classes, February 2.  

    In addition, the 10th day of classes, February 2, is the last day to do the following:

    • Drop courses to reduce your number of credit hours you are registered for to a lower tuition range and receive a refund between the two ranges
    • Add a semester course without permission
    • Submit forms to Audit a semester course
    • Add a first half-session course

    Students should be registered appropriately no later than February 2 in order to avoid possible issues with: 

    • Tuition/Fee Assessment          
    • Financial aid
    • Loan deferment
    • Health Insurance
    • Academic Record/Graduation issues"

    For those of you in the northeast, please stay warm and safe as you prepare for the "blizzard-like" conditions that are anticipated.

    Best wishes,


  • Recorded Webinars with tips for Online M.S. Students

    Below is a list of the archived webinars that will help you save time and make your effort more productive as you meet the degree requirements. Please contact Renee Gracon at if you are interested in viewing any of the presentations. All presentations are approximately 1 hour in length and PowerPoint files are available to accompany the recordings.

    Annual Review Process – information about what is required and why.

    Capstone Options – Descriptions of the three options (NRES 503, 505 and 507) and expectations.

    Capstone Tips – What to do after you have an approved research proposal or GIAF.

    Capstone Tips – What to do as you are approaching the completion of the draft of your project.

    Careers – thinking outside the box for potential employers and how to market yourself.

    Collaborate Orientation – steps for getting ready for synchronous sessions.

    Internships – where to look, how to approach a company, and how to create a GIAF.

    Independent Research Project – Part 1: Selecting a project and writing the proposal.

    Independent Research Project – Part 2: Writing the Final Paper.

    Making use of Library Resources – making the most of all the library has to offer.

    Making an Effective Oral Presentation for the M.S. Degree – tips on how to squeeze all of your work into a short, effective, and interesting presentation that will meet the Evaluation Committee’s expectations.

    Mastering PowerPoint for the Oral Presentation – tips on how to create  the PowerPoint to emphasize the science and meet the Evaluation Committee’s approval. Uses examples from many student presentations.

    Reading Scientific Publications – Learn the art of reading scientific papers. Develop strategies to make the most of your literature search.

    Reflective/Analytical Writing for the Capstone Project – especially useful for those working on internships. Tips on how to analyze the work you did and reflect on the implications to yourself and the greater scientific community.

    Winning the Second Half: What to do After completing 16 hours of graduate credit – how to maximize your success in the M.S. program and expedite graduation.

    Writing Goals and Objectives – a must for creating the Graduate Internship Approval Form. Learn how to make your objectives “SMARTer” .

  • Important information on Spring Course changes!

    We hope that everyone has had a great start to the New Year!

    There are two important items to bring to your attention regarding spring course enrollment.

    • NRES 474: Soil and Water Conservation will meet on Monday If you are already registered for this course and the meeting time does not suit your availability, please elect to take another course. You may view all spring course offerings at
    • ACES 409: Bioenergy Systems. This course will be offered this spring on Tuesday evenings. We apologize for not posting it sooner to the Course Offerings.

    If you have any questions about course enrollment, please contact Renée Gracon at

    We hope you enjoy the courses being offered this Spring!

  • Spring 2015 Registration Update

    Classes begin January 20, 2015. Have you registered, acquired your books and verified your technological capabilities? If not, now’s the time. To find information on course options, ordering textbooks, and who to contact with questions regarding Spring 2015 enrollment check out the following information.

    We are extremely pleased with the wide range of courses offered this semester. If you are in need of Core Area courses the following options are available: NRES 439: Environ & Sustainable Development; NRES 455: Adv. GIS for Nat. Res. Planning; NRES 502: Research Methods and Design; and NRES 511: Principles of Applied Ecology.

    Enroll in one of the many other exciting offerings such as: NRES 490: Surface Water Chemistry, ACES 409: Bioenergy Systems; CPSC 418: Crop Growth and Mgmt; or HORT 430: Child and Nature. Find complete course information and the full list of College of ACES online courses available to you at: 

    You can purchase your textbooks through the Illini Union Bookstore at:

    If you are ready for your Capstone experience (NRES 503 or NRES 505), you should already have added your name to the list of students seeking capstone enrollment approval. You can add your name by going to: Provided you have an approved capstone proposal (independent research or internship proposal) on file, you will receive confirmation of the approval and information on enrolling from the Registrar’s office soon.

    If you need help with course selection, general advising information, or questions about navigating the program, please contact Renée Gracon, Online Program Advising Specialist, at For other academic questions, contact NRES Students Services at

    For questions about how to enroll and other logistical issues, you can find help at

    We look forward to having you in classes this Spring!
    Renée Gracon