Schools with Natural Resource Management Programs: How to Choose

Dec 12, 2019

Natural resource management programs are available at community colleges, technical schools and universities. Students in these programs generally have a variety of academic options to choose from in their desired field of study, including forest and water ecology, conservation or wildlife protection.

Natural Resource Management Schools

The following 4-year universities offer natural resource management programs:

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered Undergraduate Tuition (2018-2019)*
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University Blacksburg, VA 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's $13,620 (In-state) $31,908 (Out-of-state)
Oregon State University Corvallis, OR 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's $11,166 (In-state) $30,141 (Out-of-state)
Michigan State University East Lansing, MI 4-year, Public Bachelor's $14,460 (In-state) $39,766 (Out-of-state)
University of Idaho Moscow, ID 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral $7,864 (In-state) $25,500 (Out-of-state)
University of California - Berkeley Berkeley,CA 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral $14,184 (In-state) $43,176 (Out-of-state)
Purdue University West Lafayette, IN 4-year, Public Bachelor's $9,992 (In-state) $28,794 (Out-of-state)
Pennsylvania State University University Park, PA 4-year, Public Bachelor's $18,454 (In-state) $34,858 (Out-of-state)
Rutgers University - New Brunswick New Brunswick, NJ 4-year, Public Bachelor's $14,974 (In-state) $31,282 (Out-of-state)

Source: *National Center for Education Statistics

School Selection Criteria

Further considerations when selecting a natural resource management school are:

  • Selecting an academic path should align with requirements for a desired career goal, such as agriculture sales or financial analysis.
  • Some programs may help prepare students for licensing exams, such as the Registered Professional Forester's exam.
  • Online programs are available, and they may be beneficial to students who are already working and would like to further their education in natural resource management on their own time.
  • Networking opportunities through conferences and seminars with industry professionals are a valuable asset to look for in a program.

Associate Degree in Natural Resource Management

Many 2-year associate degree programs offer education to natural resource management students in both indoor and outdoor facilities. Hands-on learning teaches students how to identify and manage plants, ecosystems and sustainable environments. Some programs offer field research courses and internships. Courses typically incorporate technology and specialized tools that allow students to examine natural resources and explore how various forces impact them.

Bachelor's Degree in Natural Resource Management

A bachelor's degree program provides specific, in-depth knowledge in a chosen area of emphasis, such as biological resources, ecosystems or conservation. Typically offered as an interdisciplinary program, a bachelor's curriculum offers a broad education in environmental science and natural resources as a whole. Students learn about earth, biotic and physical resources, as well as the social aspects and political factors involved.

Master's Degree in Natural Resource Management

Both research and professional master's degree programs exist in several environmental fields, providing progressive training to advance a career or continue studies toward a doctoral degree. Many master's programs offer practical application of studies through graduate research projects offered by the school or affiliated organizations. Students may be able to choose between thesis and non-thesis options. Master's studies may focus on forestry, wildlife, ecology or natural resource management.

Associate's, bachelor's and master's degree programs are available in natural resource management at 2-year and 4-year schools. Students can often choose from a variety of specializations, and may need to consider future careers goals, as well as factors such as tuition and program length, when selecting a school to attend.

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