Natural Resources & Environmental Sciences, BS

for the degree of Bachelor of Science Major in Natural Resources & Environmental Sciences


department website: https://nres.illinois.edu/

department faculty: https://nres.illinois.edu/directory/faculty


overview of college admissions & requirements: Agricultural, Consumer & Environmental Sciences

college website: https://aces.illinois.edu/


Students pursuing this major select one of four concentrations:

Ecosystem Stewardship & Restoration Ecology
Environmental Science & Management
Fish, Wildlife & Conservation Biology
Human Dimensions of the Environment


Designed for students interested in careers leading the conservation, protection, and management of natural and environmental resources or in pursuing advanced education in one of its many disciplinary areas, the NRES baccalaureate provides a science-based, application-oriented education. The NRES major is unique in its integration of a comprehensive physical, life, and social sciences background with coursework providing the management, decision-making, and analytical knowledge and skills required to solve the world’s most pressing problems.

Students in the NRES major begin their studies by taking a set of core courses that provides the background for more focused substantive study at the upper level. The NRES core introduces students to the range of physical, life, and social science content most relevant to their future professions and equips them with tools essential for the discovery, analysis, and application of knowledge important for successful environmental management. NRES students then build upon the core by completing one of four upper-level concentrations. Courses in the concentrations involve focused attention to the theories, data, and analytical tools of a particular set of natural resource and environmental science areas, helping students develop the necessary understanding of the complexities underlying resources management. All students in the major are required to complete a combination of field courses and at least one project-oriented capstone course.

All the concentrations prepare students for graduate study as well as for multiple career paths throughout the public and private sectors. Because of its unique orientation toward integrative application of disciplinary knowledge, the NRES major prepares students for a wide range of careers involving the conservation, protection, and management of natural resources. Many occur within business or government agencies that provide services related to environmental and natural resource management. Other careers are found within social, professional, and advocacy institutions that focus on human impacts and environmental sustainability. The major also prepares students for teaching, research, or other professional activities.

Graduates from the NRES major go on to pursue careers in the direction of environmental education centers; ecological management and restoration; enforcement of laws and regulations; environmental advocacy; environmental consulting; forest and environmental economics; land use analysis and management; law; local, state, and federal government; management of parks, forests and rangelands; plant physiology; policy development and implementation; resource planning and policy analysis; social and environmental impact analysis; soil conservation, science, and testing; technical sales; watershed management; and wildlife conservation and management.