Natural Resources: Environmental Conservation and Sustainability (M.S.)


Students in the Environmental Conservation and Sustainability option typically have a BS/BA degree or strong background in environmental and natural resource sciences with a keen interest in combining the natural sciences with the social sciences. Those without this background may be accepted upon completion of some additional fundamental courses. Areas of interest include natural resource policy, conservation biology, sustainability, ecological ethics and values, international environmental affairs, and spatial data analysis (remote sensing and GIS).

Degree Requirements

An M.S. degree is conferred upon successful completion of a program of not less than 30 credits for natural resources and the environment options: forestry, environmental conservation and sustainability, environmental economics, ecosystem science, and wildlife and conservation biology.

Course Requirements or Equivalents

Select one of the following: 1
NR 903
NR 905
Approach to Research
and Grant Writing
or NR 903
BIOL 902
Approach to Research
and Writing and Publishing Science
or NR 903
BIOL 950
Approach to Research
and Scientific Communication
NR 993Natural and Environmental Resources Seminar2
NR 996Natural Resource Education2
or LSA 900 College Teaching
Select one of the following Data Analysis courses: 13-4
Design, Analysis, and Interpretation of Experiments
Experimental Design & Analysis
Introduction to Applied Analytic Statistics
Econometrics I
Qualitative Inquiry in Research
Quantitative Methods in Earth Sciences
Statistical Methods for Research
Design of Experiments I
Topics in Probability and Statistics I
Analysis of Ecological Communities and Complex Data
Introduction to Statistical Analysis
Research Methodology and Statistics I
Research Methods and Statistics III
Sociological Methods I: Intermediate Social Statistics
Sociological Methods III: Advanced Social Statistics
Sociological Methods IV: Qualitative and Historical Research Methods
Select one of the following:
NR 899Master's Thesis (and a formal presentation of the thesis) 26
NR 998Directed Research (and directed research results) 34

An approved program of study plan is required during the first semester.

Environmental Conservation Option Requirements

Select one of the following Ecology courses:4
Soil Ecology
Terrestrial Ecosystems
Tropical Ecology
Aquatic Ecosystems
Remote Sensing of the Environment
Ecosystem Science: Theory, Practice, and Management Applications for Sustainability
Community Ecology
Marine Ecology

Key Learning Objectives:

  • Knowledge and skills outcomes to ensure graduates of the MS program have mastered their discipline: demonstrate knowledge of theory and practice, as well as critical thinking skills and creativity, in conducting ecological, economic, and policy assessment of natural resource and environmental issues and developing solutions to environmental problems;
  • successfully employ the field, laboratory, data analysis, and social science skills necessary to perform research concerning natural resources and their management;
  • design, propose, and execute research addressing fundamental or critical issues in natural resources;
  • contribute to scholarship through publication and presentation of research findings using diverse media.

Professional outcomes to ensure graduates of the MS program successfully compete for jobs in the public and private sectors:

  • demonstrate mastery of theory and empirical knowledge in their research concentration and, more generally, in the relevant natural and/or social;
  • use written and oral skills to communicate effectively with colleagues, stakeholders, and the public;
  • integrate theory and practice to analyze, assess, and solve environmental and social problems and answer questions across diverse scales from local to global;
  • develop and employ interdisciplinary relationships and approaches to addressing environmental issues;
  • interact with professional peers honestly and ethically, and in ways that show cultural sensitivity, inquisitiveness, and propensity for teamwork.