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Natural Resources Management Major and Minors

Bachelor’s of Science Degree

Natural Resources Management is the management of both people and the environment to achieve society’s goals and sustain natural systems. The Natural Resources Management  major prepares the next generation of leaders with the knowledge, ability, and excellence to conserve and manage our natural systems for a sustainable future. The degree is an innovative interdisciplinary combination of social and ecosystem sciences, structured to generate critical thinking and problem solving skills necessary to address the many challenges of complex natural resources issues. The degree is flexible and requires a minor, which provides students the opportunity to tailor their academic experience so that they may discover and pursue their own interests and passions. Small class size and close contact with world-class faculty provide for a challenging and high quality academic experience. Natural resources management is a growing field with a wide variety of career options and solid earning potential in both public and private sectors.

The curriculum is designed to meet the needs of students and employers who are interested in the extensive variety of positions within the natural resources community outside of traditional careers within forestry and wildlife sciences. Employers and positions include, but are not restricted to, Park Service Manager, Ecotourism Entrepreneur, Reclamation and Development Manager, Wetlands Manager, or Sustainability Officer. The degree may also be followed by pursuit of additional degrees such as obtaining a law degree to practice law for non-governmental organizations or advanced degrees for teaching and/or research. Students in Natural Resources Management must select a faculty advisor to help with the many choices within the major, including selection of the embedded minor. Any minor may be considered, but the student will need to be able to explain how the minor supports a particular field within natural resources management. Students must also demonstrate the existence of sufficient employment options with the chosen electives by identifying and contacting future employers. It is strongly recommended that any student who enrolls in Natural Resources Management be proactive in promoting themselves and the degree, as there is no single certifying body for the broad range of careers.

Read more about this degree.

Associated Faculty

Natural Resources Management Minors


Coastal Management

Coastal lands and resources are under increasing pressure due to a variety of environmental and societal issues. Sea level rise, urbanization, energy production, tropical storms, and habitat loss are just some of the pressing issues facing coastal areas. There is an increasing need for professionals trained to manage natural resources in these areas. Through coursework in the Coastal Zone Management minor, students will gain a comprehensive understanding of the coastal environment and how management and policy are applied to natural resources. To complete this minor, students will be required to attend Dauphin Island Sea Laboratory (DISL) for one summer.

See courses in this minor.

Some professional positions that graduates may pursue during their careers include:

  • Regulatory specialist
  • Environmental protection specialist
  • Coastal management project manager
  • Educational program manager
  • Risk assessor
  • Coastal zone manager
  • Coastal planning project manager

Environmental Law

This minor will prepare students about issues related to the current laws governing environmental protection, natural resource management, sustainable development, land-use planning supporting the pursuit of law degree. 15 hours are required to complete the minor.

See courses in this minor.

Some professional positions that graduates may pursue during their careers include:

  • Regulatory specialist
  • Environmental protection specialist
  • Coastal management project manager
  • Community planner
  • Environmental lawyer (with a law degree)

Forest Health

Healthy forests are a critical part of our nation’s landscape. Our forests provide humans with several benefits including shelter, water, and food as well as wood for construction, furnishings, and basic necessities. Through coursework in the Forest Health minor, students will gain a comprehensive understanding of insect and disease management to maintain a sustainable forest.

See courses in this minor.

Some professional positions that graduates may pursue include:

  • Forest health specialist
  • Forest manager
  • Land manager

Natural Resources Ecology

Natural resources ecology is a broad and rapidly evolving field that includes landscape, plant, animal and abiotic systems.   A minor in Natural Resources Ecology provides students with the opportunity to gain knowledge about a wide-range of ecological concepts by taking core courses in landscape, wetland and forest ecology.  Students then select additional courses that focus on the system that interests them most.  This minor is designed for students who would like to pursue careers in areas such as plant or restoration ecology, conservation biology, natural resource education, or fish or wildlife law enforcement.

See courses in this minor.

Some professional positions that students with this minor may fill include:

  • Natural resource technician
  • Conservation biologist
  • Extension professional
  • Natural resource educator

Nature-based Recreation

Tourism is one of the world’s largest industries and has witnessed significant growth over the last half century. One of the fastest growing segments of the industry, Ecotourism, is anchored in nature-based experiences. Nature-based recreation activities such as hiking, camping, fishing, mountain biking, bird watching, sight-seeing, and hunting benefit society in a variety of ways. Benefits include much needed escape from everyday life, healthy exercise, excitement and adventure and even economic benefits to local towns and companies.  Students in this minor will learn the theory, principles and values, business and management, communication skills, and conservation foci of nature-based recreation and ecotourism. The minor is designed for students who are interested in careers in government, in private business, and non-profit companies who offer outdoor recreation opportunities.

See courses in this minor.

Some professional positions that students may fill include:

  • Natural Resource Manager
  • Park Ranger
  • Environmental Planner
  • Community-Based Conservation Consultant
  • Tourism Consultant
  • Interpretive Ranger
  • Community Recreation Director
  • Tour Coordinator/Ecotourism Operator
  • Forest Protection Officer
  • Education and Operations Director

Urban Forestry

Urban forests create a more pleasant and livable environment within our cities. They beautify our landscapes, reduce energy consumption within our buildings, filter air and water, provide shade and wildlife habitat, and help to control storm water.  This minor will prepare students to help cities meet the special challenges of managing trees and forests within urban environments.  Urban forestry specialists will be involved in storm flow analysis, tree planting and care, grant proposals, and supervision of municipal employees.

Some professional positions that students may pursue include:

  • Urban forester
  • City arborist
  • Tree planting coordinator
  • Urban natural resource or land use planner
  • Urban forestry and beautification manager or supervisor
  • Urban and community forestry program manager
  • Forestry technician
  • Forest protection officer

Watershed Sciences

Freshwater is an essential resource but becoming increasingly scarce in many parts of the world. Watershed science and management is an expanding field that involves managing the availability, quantity, and quality of water. Professionals in this field must have a firm understanding of the various natural processes and human activities that affect water.  The Watershed Sciences minor is intended to provide background courses in natural and physical sciences along with upper-level courses on watershed management, wetland ecology, soil conservation, and electives that match student interests. This minor is well suited for students looking for a career in watershed science, soil conservation, water management, or wetland ecology.

See courses in this minor.

Some professional positions that students with this minor may fill include:

  • Watershed scientist
  • Environmental consultant
  • Water quality regulator
  • Municipal water planner
  • Wetland ecologist
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