College of Agriculture, Food & Environment

Natural Resources & Environmental Science

2

speciality areas

8wk

travel

1on1

faculty support

Restart your search

The Natural Resources and Environmental Science (NRES) major is an interdisciplinary program that provides the knowledge, skills, and field experiences necessary for a career in environmental science, natural resource management, environmental consulting and other environmental work.

Nature Lovers Needed

With coursework across the natural and social sciences, you can tailor this program to your interests by selecting both a skill and an environmental emphasis area as key elements of their degree program. The NRES program emphasizes experiential learning through summer camps, internships, research projects and more.

 

Customize Your Degree

You can pursue many career paths with an NRES degree. To fit your studies with your interests and career goals, you'll choose a concentration area in both analytics and environmental studies:

Analytic Area Topics:

  • Economics & Policy 
  • Field & Laboratory Analysis 
  • Environmental Education & Communication 
  • GIS & Computer Mapping 
  • Individualized 

Environmental Area Topics:

  • Wildlife
  • Forestry 
  • Conservation Biology 
  • Geology 
  • Sustainable Agriculture
  • Soils 
  • Water 
  • Environmental Planning 
  • Individualized

 

 

Potential Careers

The NRES program has a strong foundation in the natural sciences which prepares you for a variety of technical professions such as:

  • Conservation Scientist
  • Environmental Law & Policy
  • Environmental Quality Manager
  • Environmental Scientist
  • Land Planning Consultant
  • Natural Resource Manager
  • Environmental Educator
  • Sustainability Coordintor
  • Wildlife Technician
  • Urban Planner

 

 

Come See for Yourself 

To learn more about this program, campus life, and chat with an advisor, schedule a campus visit. Virtual visits may be necessary in some cases. 

In-State Tuition

Thanks to special agreements through the Academic Common Market, residents from the following states may enroll in the University of Kentucky Animal Sciences program at in-state tution rates: ​

  • West Virginia

For more information on the Academic Common Market, click here

 

The faculty were thought-provoking. I would not be in my current position without the effort and preparation that the faculty put into every class.

Tris West

NRES Alum and former Deputy Associate Director of the White House Council on Environmental Quality

Courses You Will Take

Access Major Map

source: myUK: GPS

Natural Resources & Environment Sci (BS) 120 - 127 hours
Freshman Year
Sophomore Year
Junior Year
Senior Year
«
»

Total Freshman Year Credit Hours : 30

Fall Semester
14 Credit Hours
GEN 100
3
GEN 100 - ISSUES IN AGRICULTURE, FOOD AND ENVIRONMENT

GEN 100

**UK Core - Community, Culture and Citizen**

3 credit hours

How do farmers in Kentucky impact families in California? How can the fashion industry curb the amount of plastic in our oceans? How does fast food affect sea life in the Gulf of Mexico? Whether we realize it or not, each of us has a relationship with agriculture, food and the environment. From race and gender, diet and lifestyles, tourism and evolving technologies, this course encourages you to recognize and think critically about the interconnected systems that affect all human life. By addressing these challenges, you will develop a greater appreciation for how you can positively impact our planet.

Prereq: This course is open to students enrolled in the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment or those in the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment Residential College's Belle C. Gunn Living Learning Program. Freshman only in Fall semesters and transfer students only in Spring semesters.

UK Core - Comp. & Comm. I
3
CHE 105
4
CHE 105 - GENERAL COLLEGE CHEMISTRY I

CHE 105

**UK Core - Natural, Physical and Math** Must be taken with CHE 111 to satisfy UK Core.

4 credit hours

A study of chemical principles and their application to pure and mixed substances. Not open to students who have already completed both CHE 109 and CHE 110.

Prereq: Math ACT of 23 or above (or Math placement test), or MA 109, or MA 110.

CHE 111
1
CHE 111 - GENERAL CHEMISTRY I LABORATORY

CHE 111

**UK Core - Natural, Physical and Math** Must be taken with CHE 105 to satisfy UK Core.

1 credit hours

A laboratory course, to accompany CHE 105 or CHE 110, dealing with the properties of chemical substances and providing an introduction to quantitative chemical analysis.

Prereq or coreq: CHE 105 or CHE 110.

UK Core - Arts and Creativity
3
Spring Semester
16 Credit Hours
MA 123
4
MA 123 - ELEMENTARY CALCULUS AND ITS APPLICATIONS

MA 123

**UK Core - Quantitative Foundations**

4 credit hours

An introduction to differential and integral calculus, with applications to business and the biological and physical sciences. Not open to students who have credit in MA 113 or MA 137. Note: Math placement test recommended. Prereq: Math ACT score of 26 or above, or Math SAT of 600 or above, or MA 109, or appropriate math placement score, or consent of department.

Prereq: Math ACT score of 26 or above, or Math SAT of 600 or above, or Math SAT2016 of 620 or above, or a grade of C or better in MA 109, or appropriate math placement score, or consent of department. Note: Math placement test recommended.

UK Core - Comp. & Comm. II
3
UK Core - Global Dynamics
3
UK Core - Humanities
3
UK Core - Social Sciences
3

Total Sophomore Year Credit Hours : 32

Fall Semester
15 Credit Hours
ECO 201
3
ECO 201 - PRINCIPLES OF ECONOMICS I

ECO 201

3 credit hours

The study of the allocation of scarce resources from the viewpoint of individual economic units. Topics include household and firm behavior, competitive pricing of goods and resources, and monopoly power.

STA 296
3
STA 296 - STATISTICAL METHODS AND MOTIVATIONS

STA 296

**UK Core - Statistical Inferential Reason**

3 credit hours

Introduction to principles of statistics with emphasis on conceptual understanding. Students will articulate results of statistical description of sample data (including bivariate), application of probability distributions, confidence interval estimation and hypothesis testing to demonstrate properly contextualized analysis of real-world data.

Prereq: MA 113, MA 123, MA 137, or equivalent.

NRE 201
3
NRE 201 - NATURAL RESOURCE CONSERVATION AND MANAGEMENT

NRE 201

3 credit hours

An introductory course in conservation and management of natural resources as supported by environment sciences at an ecosystem level. Students will write a range of papers about natural resource issues. An overnight field trip is required.

Prereq: CIS/WRD 111 or equivalent (ENG 101, ENG 102, and COM class) and sophomore standing.

BIO 148
3
BIO 148 - INTRODUCTORY BIOLOGY I

BIO 148

3 credit hours

BIO 148 introduces the student to the biological mechanisms operating at the molecular, cellular, and population level that contribute to the origin, maintenance, and evolution of biodiversity including the origins and history of the evolutionary process. Course material is presented within a phylogenetic context, emphasizing the shared history of all living organisms on earth through common ancestry. The first semester of an integrated one-year sequence (BIO 148 and BIO 152).

Prereq: Math ACT of 24 or above, or MA 109, and past or concurrent enrollment in CHE 105.

PHI 336
3
PHI 336 - ENVIRONMENTAL ETHICS

PHI 336

3 credit hours

An introduction to moral problems that arise in human interaction with the natural environment. Topics to be addressed include questions such as: what is man’s place in nature? Do nonhuman animals or ecosystems have intrinsic moral worth, and if so, how can it be respected? What problems and ambiguities arise in attempting to live in an environmentally responsible fashion? How can we adjudicate conflicts between social and environmental values?

Spring Semester
14 Credit Hours
EES 220
4
EES 220 - PRINCIPLES OF PHYSICAL GEOLOGY

EES 220

4 credit hours

How the Earth Works: an integrated course in physical geology, covering the physical, chemical and biological processes that combine to produce geological processes. Attention is focused on plate tectonics, earth surface processes, and properties and formation of earth materials. Lab exercises emphasize identification and interpretation of geologic materials and maps. Lecture/Discussion, three hours per week; laboratory, three hours per week.

BIO 152
3
BIO 152 - PRINCIPLES OF BIOLOGY II

BIO 152

3 credit hours

The second semester of an integrated one-year sequence (BIO 148 and 152) that is designed to develop understanding and appreciation for the biocomplexity of multicellular eukaryotes, with emphasis on animals and terrestrial plants. Structure and function relationships will be explored at many levels of organization.

Prereq: C or better in BIO 148 or permission of Department.

NRE 381
3
NRE 381 - NATURAL RESOURCE AND ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY ANALYSIS

NRE 381

3 credit hours

This course examines the historical development of natural resource and environmental policies, provides an overview of the policy process and key federal agencies which manage natural resources or implement environmental regulations, and introduces basic policy analysis techniques so students can prepare and present a case-specific analysis of existing resource or environmental policy.

PLS 366
4
PLS 366 - FUNDAMENTALS OF SOIL SCIENCE

PLS 366

4 credit hours

Study of the physical, chemical and biological properties of soils and how these properties relate to plant nutrient availability and plant growth, land- use planning and management issues, and soil and water quality issues. Lecture, three hours; laboratory, three hours.

Prereq: CHE 105.

Summer Semester
3 Credit Hours
NRE 320
3
NRE 320 - DATA COLLECTION TECHNIQUES

NRE 320

3 credit hours

A field-oriented course taught off campus as a three-week summer camp. Emphasis is placed on methodologies for field data collection necessary to evaluate a variety of natural resources in multiple ecosystem contexts (for example--forested and agricultural). Students will become familiar with sampling instrumentation, collection, preservation, analysis, and data interpretation. Lecture, 10 hours, laboratory, 30 hours per week (Monday-Friday) for three weeks.

Prereq: BIO 148/152 and CHE 105.

Total Junior Year Credit Hours : 30 - 35

Fall Semester
16 Credit Hours
FOR 325
3
FOR 325 - ECONOMIC BOTANY: PLANTS AND HUMAN AFFAIRS

FOR 325

3 credit hours

Plants have played a major role in human affairs. Course will relate plant life processes and chemistry to human uses: food crops, spices, medicinals, and materials. Major units are the origins agriculture and early domesticates, ethnobotany, and a selection of plants and plant products with major historical impacts - potato, nutmeg, pepper, chocolate, sugar cane, cotton, quinine, rubber, tobacco. Contemporary themes include herbal medicine and plant-based pharmaceuticals.

Prereq: PLS 104, PLS 210, one year of introductory biology, or permission of the instructor.

FOR 340
4
FOR 340 - FOREST ECOLOGY

FOR 340

4 credit hours

The study of the forest as a biological community, covering ecosystem concepts such as energy flow, forest nutrition, nutrient cycling, and decomposition. Interrelationships between trees and other organisms comprising the community is also examined through concepts of disturbance, succession, population dynamics, biological and ecosystem diversity, ecosystem management, and ecosystem services.

Prereq: BIO 103 or BIO 150

AEC 326
3
AEC 326 - PRINCIPLES OF ENVIRONMENTAL LAW

AEC 326

3 credit hours

Provides a basic knowledge of the principles of United States environmental law. Addresses the framework of the American Legal system as it applies to environmental regulation. Covers the sources of environmental law and reviews major federal environmental statutes and judicial decisions addressing specific issues.

Prereq: C or higher in ECO 201. AEC majors who have completed AEC 324 or AEC 325 are not eligible to take AEC 326 without consent of the Director of Undergraduate Studies.

ASD or ESEA course
3
ASD or ESEA course
3
Spring Semester
13 - 16 Credit Hours
AEC 445G
3
AEC 445G - INTRODUCTION TO RESOURCE AND ENVIRONMENTAL ECONOMICS

AEC 445G

3 credit hours

Economic analysis of the problems of assuring resource availability and environmental quality. Theoretical concepts and empirical tools for evaluating resource and environmental policy.

Prereq: "C" or better in ECO 201 or consent of the instructor.

NRE 355
3
NRE 355 - INTRODUCTORY GEOSPATIAL APPLICATIONS FOR LAND ANALYSIS

NRE 355

__**OR****** LA 355**

3 credit hours

An introduction to the concepts and methods of compilation, management, analysis, and display of spatially-referenced and tabular data utilizing vector and raster data models. Lecture will be complemented with computer based laboratory exercises. Lecture, two hours; laboratory, four hours per week.

Prereq: LA 222 or junior/senior NRES major, or permission of instructor.

ASD or ESEA course
3
ASD or ESEA course
3
Elective
1 - 4
Summer Semester
1 - 3 Credit Hours
NRE 395 or NRE 399
1 - 3

Total Senior Year Credit Hours : 21 - 30

Fall Semester
12 - 15 Credit Hours
FOR 460G or EES 385
3
ASD or ESEA course
3
ASD or ESEA course
3
NRE 400
2
NRE 400 - PROFESSIONAL NRES COMPOSITION AND COMMUNICATION

NRE 400

**Graduation Comp & Comm Requirement(GCCR)**

2 credit hours

This course utilizes the experience from NRE 395 or NRE 399 to expand the composition and communication knowledge, skills, and abilities developed in CIS/WRD 110/111/112 or equivalent while integrating discipline specific sources in a process that requires a draft, feedback, and revision on composition and communication products. This course is a Graduation Composition and Communication Requirement (GCCR) course for NRES; thus it is unlikely that requests to replace this course with a course transferred from another institution will be approved.

Prereq: Composition and Communication I & II, 30 credit hours or more completed, AND NRE 395 or 399.

Elective
1 - 4
Spring Semester
9 - 15 Credit Hours
NRE 471
4
NRE 471 - SENIOR PROBLEM IN NATURAL RESOURCES AND ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE

NRE 471

4 credit hours

This course is designed to provide students with the opportunity to apply the skills and information acquired in previous courses to a real world problem in natural resources and environmental science. The class will focus on a single current issue in Kentucky and will research that issue in depth, using a variety of techniques, including library research, interview, and data collection and analysis. In addition to research and problem-solving skills, written and oral skills will be emphasized. Lecture, three hours; laboratory, two hours per week.

Prereq: NRE 201, NRE 320, FOR 340, PLS 366, NRE 381, FOR 460/EES 385 (or concurrent enrollment), NRE 355 (or concurrent enrollment), and senior standing.

FOR 435
3
FOR 435 - CONSERVATION BIOLOGY

FOR 435

3 credit hours

Review the ethical foundations of conservation biology, discuss the scientific evidence that illustrates recent rapid loss of biological diversity at multiple spatial and temporal scales, identify and elaborate on the causative factors of biodiversity loss, discuss various strategies for conserving biodiversity, and discuss ways that various human cultures and associated resource use influence non-human life and the human societies that depend on them. Conservation biology is multidisciplinary in scope and discussion topics include wildlife management, restoration ecology, economics, ethics, geology, evolution, philosophy, phylogeny, taxonomy, genetics, behavioral ecology, population ecology, disease, sociology, sustainable living, and human dimensions. Conservation topics will be global in scope, with well- studied case examples used to support class activities.

Prereq: Introductory biology course, or consent of instructor.

Elective
1 - 4
Elective
1 - 4

Please login to http://myUK.uky.edu to access your major map and personalized degree audit via the myUK Graduation Planning System (myUK GPS).

All NRES students participate in a three-week summer field course in the Appalachian Foothills of Eastern Kentucky or in Costa Rica. 

 


Apply for Our Scholarships

In addition to automatic and competitive scholarships from the University of Kentucky, NRES students are also eligible for a variety of awards from the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment. With one of the largest college-based scholarship programs, we have awarded more than $3 million over the past four years. These awards are based on a variety of criteria such as hometown, major, career goals, high school extracurriculars, and more. 

For first-semester freshmen, the application deadline was January 31, 2021. The deadline for current students and transfer students has been extended to Monday, March 15 2021. For more information, click here.  

Living Learning Program

Named after UK's first female graduate, Belle C. Gunn, this first-year program is open to all University of Kentucky freshmen.  We seek students who, like Gunn, have passion and determination.  Through field trips, professional development workshops, and service programs, we apply student passions to global issues at the intersection of food, economics, and environment.  All students in this program will also enroll in connected courses, share study groups, and have an assigned peer mentor - all to help with the transition to college life. 

While all students will enjoy the same benefits, some events and projects will be geared toward students' preferences and career goals. Depending on interests, each student will join one of the following tracks: 

  • Food & Health 
  • Family & Community 
  • Nature & Landscapes 
  • Livestock & Equine 

All students participating in our living learning program will live in Woodland Glen IV, one of UK's newest residence halls.  To apply, select the "Belle C. Gunn First Year Program" while completing the housing application. For more information, visit our college website.

 

 

International Opportunities

Should you choose, you can gain international experience while earning credit towards your NRES degree. We offer a variety of study, research, intern, and service abroad programs for all budgets and comfort levels. Some students have even earned grants and scholarships to fully fund their international experiences.

These programs are designed to broaden your mind and introduce you to unfamiliar ways of thinking and living. Ultimately, these experiences will make you a more competitive applicant in the global workforce. 

Pre-Med? Pre-Vet? Pre-Law?

Each year, many of our graduates attend professional schools in areas such as veterinary medicine, law, pharmacy, dentistry, and more. If you are interested in pursuing a similar path, we offer pre-professional advising services. 

Our pre-professional advisors will assist you with: 

  • Listing required courses for respective professional schools 
  • Scheduling pre-professional courses alongside your major requirements 
  • Suggesting supplemental coursework 
  • Connections to student organizations, volunteer work, shadowing experiences, etc.
  • Preparatory information for admission tests
  • Navigating the application process

Click here for more information.

Clubs & Organizations

Students can join organizations and clubs to learn outside the classroom, gain valuable work experience and develop their leadership skills. Many of our students are involved in:

Environmental Science Club 
join like-minded students who share a common interest in all things environmental

UK Forestry Club
promotes the practice of forestry through involvement in conclave events, fire cats, tree plantings, and service

UK Greenthumb
engage in environmental activism on campus and beyond

Student Sustainability Council
supervise the distribution of resources to responsibly advance the theory, practice and reality of sustainability

Learn more about Clubs & Organizations in our college.


Imagine Your Future

Conservation Scientists and Foresters

Conservation scientists and foresters manage the overall land quality of forests, parks, rangelands, and other natural resources.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics | Click the link for more info.

Median Salary

$61,340

per year in 2018

Number of Jobs

32,900

in 2018

10 Year Job Outlook

1,000

new jobs (average)


Imagine Your Future

Lawyers

Lawyers advise and represent individuals, businesses, and government agencies on legal issues and disputes.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics | Click the link for more info.

Median Salary

$120,910

per year in 2018

Number of Jobs

823,900

in 2018

10 Year Job Outlook

50,100

new jobs (average)


Imagine Your Future

Zoologists and Wildlife Biologists

Zoologists and wildlife biologists study animals and other wildlife and how they interact with their ecosystems.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics | Click the link for more info.

Median Salary

$63,420

per year in 2018

Number of Jobs

19,300

in 2018

10 Year Job Outlook

900

new jobs (average)


Imagine Your Future

Environmental Scientists and Specialists

Environmental scientists and specialists use their knowledge of the natural sciences to protect the environment and human health.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics | Click the link for more info.

Median Salary

$71,130

per year in 2018

Number of Jobs

85,000

in 2018

10 Year Job Outlook

7,000

new jobs (average)