What Are the Best Schools for Natural Resource Management?

Read about three top-ranked schools with natural resource management programs, and explore the degree options they offer in this field. Get info on what to look for when choosing a school with a strong program in natural resource management. Schools offering Environmental & Social Sustainability degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Characteristics Does a Top Natural Resource Management School Have?

Top schools in this field typically difference specializations in the field, like wildlife management, and related centers and institutes for research opportunities. Top schools may also have Federal Morrill Act Land Grant or National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Sea Grant funding resources. The completion of undergraduate research opportunities may attract attention from prospective employers or graduate funding sources.

What Are Three Top Natural Resource Management Schools?

Cornell University in Ithaca, NY

An Ivy League school, Cornell tied for 16th on U.S. News & World Report's 2019 national universities list. Cornell is a federal land-grant and sea-grant institution. Research projects are plentiful and include the Hughes Undergraduate Research Opportunity for sophomores and juniors and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences' Research Honors Program, which allows students to collaborate with faculty members to conduct research.

Research projects can be completed on a volunteer, academic credit or pay basis. The U.S., China, the Caribbean, Tajikistan and Finland were representative research locations. All students have access to research facilities like the Cornell University Biological Field Station, the Laboratory of Ornithology (birds) and the Shoals Marine Laboratory. The Institute for Resource Information Sciences could train you in remote sensing and geographic information systems. The following degrees are available:

  • Master of Science in Natural Resources
  • Master of Professional Studies in Natural Resources
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Natural Resources

University of Arizona in Tucson, AZ

In U.S. News & World Report's 2019 top national universities list, UA tied for 106th. This school is a federal land-grant institution. UA's Honors College allows students to compete for undergraduate research grants or utilize the research database to find research assistant, intern or independent study openings. Natural resource centers include the Water Resources Research Center, the Institute of the Environment and the federal National Science Foundation-honored center for Sustainability of Semi-Arid Hydrology and Riparian Areas. Students can pursue:

  • B.S. in Natural Resources - Conservation Biology
  • B.S. in Natural Resources - Fisheries Conservation and Management
  • B.S. in Natural Resources - Watershed Management and Ecohydrology
  • B.S. in Natural Resources - Wildlife Conservation and Management
  • B.S. in Natural Resources - Ecology and Management of Rangelands
  • B.S. in Environmental Science
  • B.S. in Environmental and Water Resource Economics
  • Master of Science in Natural Resources
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Natural Resources
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Arid Lands Resource Sciences

University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, MN

In 2019, the University of Minnesota (UM) was tied for 76th among national universities, according to U.S. News & World Report. UM is a land-grant and sea-grant institution that has sponsored research and publications on Great Lakes ecosystems. You could receive financial backing from UM via the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program, where you'll collaborate with a faculty member on research studies and receive a stipend. The master's and doctoral degree programs have eight areas of concentration including economics, policy, management and society and wildlife ecology and management. UM's International Programs in Food, Agricultural and Natural Resources Sciences center is the umbrella for foreign land-grant outreach.

The school's interdisciplinary units related to environmental management include the Institute on the Environment, the Cloquet Forestry Center, the Center for Integrated Natural Resources and Agricultural Management and five experimental research and outreach centers in diverse areas of the state. Greenhouses and laboratories are available for forest, bioproduct, fisheries and wildlife research. Computer facilities include the Environmental Resources Spatial Analysis Center. These degrees are offered:

  • Bachelor of Arts in Biology, Society and Environment
  • B.S. in Biology
  • B.S. in Environmental Sciences, Policy and Management
  • B.S. in Fisheries, Wildlife and Conservation Biology
  • B.S. in Plant Biology
  • Master of Science in Natural Resources Science and Management
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Natural Resources Science and Management

Ten Additional Schools With A Natural Resource Management Program

College/University Institution Type LocationEstimated Undergrad In-State Tuition*
Angelo State University Public, 4-year San Angelo, TX$7,000
Oregon State University Public, 4-year Corvallis, OR$11,000
West Virginia University Public, 4-year Morgantown, WV$9,000
Montclair State University Public, 4-year Montclair, NJ$13,000
Ohio State University Public, 4-year Columbus, OH$11,000
South Dakota State University Public, 4-year Brookings, SD$9,000
Southern Illinois University-Carbondale Public, 4-year Carbondale, IL$15,000
University of Maine Public, 4-year Orono, ME$11,000
Utah State University Public, 4-year Logan, UT$8,000
University of Rhode Island Public, 4-year Kingston, RI$14,000

*Source: NCES, U.S. Department of Education

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:

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