Natural Resource Sciences
The Natural Resource Major is the most flexible of the majors offered under the B.S. in Natural Resource Sciences. It is designed to meet two broad objectives:
- Provide maximum opportunities for students to develop and pursue individualized curricula that include subject matter focus and/or breadth tailored to individual student interests and needs
- Provide opportunities for students to focus on new, different, and/or emerging fields of natural resource sciences that transcend the traditional disciplinary lines represented by our other three majors.
The first objective is realized through flexibility in selecting approved electives in all options available during this major, plus the maximum flexibility available under the Direct Studies Option which, if selected by students, may be designed either to focus upon a specific subject area relevant to natural resource sciences that is not represented by other, subject matter-defined options, or to impart desired breadth across a range of subjects relevant to natural resource sciences.
The second objective is realized through a remarkably diverse array of other options that allow students to specialize in a variety of sociologic, ecological, and/or managerial aspects of natural resource sciences.
Students pursuing this major will still obtain broad, foundational knowledge related to natural resource sciences via completing the general university/department and natural resource common core requirements for the degree. Beyond those requirements, the core requirements for this major are purposely more limited in credits and more flexible in course specificity than those for the other majors.
In addition to the general university/departmental, natural resource common core and major core requirements, each student will develop an individualized curriculum of at least 15 to 23 credit hours of approved elective courses within one of the options. Students may select courses for each option of approved electives or may identify additional, potentially suitable courses subject to approval by their advisors.
Natural Resource Science Options
At the end of your sophomore year or beginning of your junior year, you select an option that lets you specialize your degree. Each option consists of approximately five to seven core courses and two to five electives. Together with your faculty advisor, you select an option and tailor the courses to fit your interests and career goals.
- Wetland/Aquatic Resources
Emphasizes understanding, managing and/or restoring riparian, wetland, stream and lake ecosystems and their component resources and resource values.
- Natural Resource Policy
Focuses on the social, economic, and politcal factors that influence how natural resources are viewed, valued, utilized and managed. By choosing certain courses, you can get a minor in sociology or political science.
- Directed Studies
Work with your faculty advisor to build a customized program of courses that fit your academic interests and professional goals.
Natural Resource Science Major Courses
Generally, you begin taking these courses in your sophomore or junior year:
|SoilS 201||Soil: A living system||
|NATRS 450||Conservation Biology||
|NATRS 488||Senior Thesis in Natural Resources||
|Approved Social Science Elective||
|Approved Ecology Elective||
|Subtotal: NRS Core||
Careers in Natural Resource Sciences
Highly trained and motivated natural resource science professionals are in demand. WSU graduates are valued by employers, who know that our natural resources majors are prepared to evaluate, study, and manage the complex demands society places on our forests, wildlife habitat, rangeland, and related natural resources.
You can find rewarding employment in a variety of areas:
- Private consulting firms
- County and state government and various non-governmental organizations
- Federal land management agencies, such as the BLM, U.S. Forest Service, and Army Corps of Engineers
- Natural resource law, law enforcement, or the political arena
A major in natural resources also can be ideal preparation for graduate programs in environmental science, natural resource sciences, or veterinary medicine.
Career options are diverse. Examples include foresters, range conservationists, wildlife biologists, wildlife ecologists, park managers, information specialists, environmental educators, Peace Corps workers, policy advisors, land restoration specialists, environmental consultants, and environmental lawyers.
To learn more about the following options available from the Natural Resource Science major, select from the following below:
Strengths of the Program
- Close proximity to the University of Idaho creates exceptional opportunities for cooperation in teaching between WSU’s Department of Natural Resources and UI’s College of Natural Resources.
- The Wildlife Habitat Nutrition Laboratory determines the food habits of both domestic livestock and wildlife and performs chemical analyses on plants eaten by those animals.
- The E.H. Steffen Center provides numerous specialized plantings, a critical source for teaching plant identification, and is used extensively for elementary forest and range measurement exercises.
- WSU’s Bear Program provides information and the understanding necessary to conserve bears around the world. It is the only university facility in the world to house adult grizzlies for research.
- Student chapters of the Society of American Foresters, Society for Range Management, and Wildlife Society provide opportunities for students to interact with faculty and other professionals.
- Join other science, math, and engineering students in the Gannon-Goldsworthy residence hall—share courses with your neighbors, study together, get free tutoring, and use the hall’s own computer lab.