Students in range management programs learn to maintain grasslands, prairies, forests and wetland areas by utilizing various land management techniques. Coursework is a combination of classroom and laboratory work. Graduate programs contain advance coursework that focuses on the economic aspect of raising healthy livestock and plants while preserving the surrounding areas.
Range management degree programs are available at the bachelor's, master's and doctoral levels. Applicants to the bachelor's degree programs may be required to complete prerequisite coursework in biology, chemistry, English and algebra. Master's degree and doctorate level programs require prospective students to hold a bachelor's degree in range management or a related field, such as forestry, agriculture or ecology. In addition to coursework, students may be required complete laboratory experiences, as well as a thesis or dissertation.
Bachelor's Degree in Range Management
Bachelor's degree programs in range management train students in utilizing various land management techniques. Some of these techniques include controlled burning, rangeland planning and soil monitoring, which are taught through classroom lecture and laboratory work. Laboratory work allows students to apply their new skills in a variety of settings, including campus greenhouses, pastures, ranges, animal facilities and private ranches.
Program coursework usually includes core courses with heavy concentration in the natural sciences along with liberal arts classes. These core courses include the following:
- Zoology and Animal science
- Botany and Soil science
- Range planning
- Livestock management
Master's Degree in Range Management
Master's degree programs in range management contain advance coursework that focuses on the economic aspect of raising healthy livestock and plants while preserving the surrounding areas. Students also learn rehabilitation and reclamation techniques for rangelands that are damaged by wildfires, floods, droughts, and oil and gas drilling. Prior to graduation, students are typically required to write a thesis, which commonly consists of original research and writing on a range management topic, or an oral examination.
Students usually take a set number of liberal arts electives along with core graduate courses. Core graduate coursework includes the following:
- Range ecology
- Animal nutrition
- Range business management
- Ecosystem preservation techniques
- Range vegetation management
- Environmental data statistics
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Doctoral Degree in Range Management
Doctoral degree programs in this field are primarily designed to prepare students for teaching or research careers in academia or private industry. Students can specialize in such areas as plant ecology, range economics, rangeland restoration, range nutrition, watershed management, wetland ecology and wildlife habitat management. In addition to completing the required coursework, students are required to complete a dissertation project under the supervision of a research advisor, with some programs also requiring a supervised teaching practicum. Admission requirements may include a bachelor's degree in range management or a related field and prior research experience.
Doctoral degree programs include advanced core coursework combined with college teaching classes. Some students may choose to specialize in such areas as botany, range crops and fisheries, which require additional coursework. Core coursework includes the following:
- Watershed planning and development
- Aquaculture techniques
- Advanced ecology conservation
- Advanced range management
- Range research methods
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment opportunities for conservation scientists and foresters are expected to increase by seven percent in the period from 2014-2024 (www.bls.gov). A large percentage of job opportunities can be found through federal government agencies, such as the National Park Service, the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The BLS reported that in May 2015, conservation scientists, including range managers, earned an average yearly salary of $63,800, with federal employees making an average of $76,130.
Range management degree programs are available at the bachelor's, master's and doctoral levels, and train students through a combination of classroom and lab coursework. Undergraduate study is often heavily focused on the natural sciences, while postgraduate study is devoted to more advanced and specialized topics.