Natural Resource Conservation Degree Programs

Learn about undergraduate and graduate degree programs in natural resource conservation, which can prepare you for a career conserving wildlife and the environment through activities like education and policy development. Keep reading to find out more about degree programs, common areas of study, and online options. Schools offering Natural Resources & Conservation degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Degree Programs Are Available in Natural Resource Conservation?

Natural resource conservation involves management of the earth's natural resources, such as timber and pastureland, along with protecting wilderness, habitats, and wildlife. Degree programs in natural resource conservation are available at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

Associate's and bachelor's degree programs in natural resource conservation typically require a high school diploma or the equivalent for admission, while master's and doctoral programs require at least a bachelor's degree, though not necessarily in a science-related field, from an accredited school. For graduate program consideration, you also might need to submit Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores from within the last five years.

Degree LevelsAssociate's, bachelor's, master's, and doctoral programs
Undergraduate Common CoursesBiology, wildlife techniques, forest ecology, resource economics
Graduate Common CoursesStatistics, natural resource issues, renewable resource economics, natural resource advocacy
Online OptionsBachelor's and master's degrees, graduate certificates
Median Salary (2016-2026)$61,340 (Conservation Scientists and Foresters)
Job Outlook (2016-2026)6% growth (Conservation Scientists and Foresters)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

What Can I Expect From an Undergraduate Program?

An associate's or bachelor's degree program in natural resource conservation could prepare you to work in a variety of jobs, such as nature center educator, land manager or field or lab technician, in areas including recreation, wildlife management and forestry. Programs typically cover topics ranging from ecology and water resources to sociopolitical factors affecting natural resource use. In addition to coursework, some programs require field experience to fill degree requirements. Some of the courses you can expect to take include:

  • Biology
  • Forest ecology
  • Wildlife techniques
  • Resource economics

What Could I Learn in a Graduate Program?

Master's degree programs in environmental conservation often include the option to specialize in an area such as international resources, environmental policy, ecological restoration or sustainability. Most master's programs also offer the option of completing a thesis or non-thesis track. The thesis option could be a good choice for you if you plan to pursue a doctoral degree. Some of the courses you can expect to take include:

  • Natural resource issues
  • Statistics
  • Natural resource advocacy
  • Renewable resource economics

Doctoral programs in natural resource conservation also commonly include concentrations in specific areas, such as wildlife or conservation biology. In addition to your coursework, you might be required to write and defend a dissertation and pass a comprehensive exam.

Are Programs Offered Online?

While online programs in environmental conservation are uncommon, you can find them at the bachelor's and master's levels through a few schools. Hybrid programs that offer some components online and some on-campus also are offered. Additionally, you might find online graduate certificate programs that address environmental issues and natural resource use, along with environmental laws and policies.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

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