College of Agriculture, Food & Environment

Natural Resources & Environmental Science

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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.

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
  • Watershed Manager
  • Wildlife Technician
  • Urban Planner

 

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 current Deputy Associate Director of the White House Council on Environmental Quality

Courses You Will Take

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source: myUK: GPS

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

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

Total Sophomore Year Credit Hours : 29

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.

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

Total Sophomore Year Credit Hours : 19

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

NRE 320

3 credit hours

A field-orientated course taught off campus as a three-week summer camp in August. Emphasis is placed on methodologies for field data collection necessary to evaluate a variety of natural resources on forest, agriculture, and surface mined lands. 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 150/152 and CHE 105.

Prereq: BIO 150/152 and CHE 105

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

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

Total Junior Year Credit Hours : 14 - 19

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

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

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 and is not likely to be eligible for automatic transfer credit to UK.

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 depth, using a variety of techniques, including library research, interview, and data collection and analysis. In addition to research and problem-sovling skills, written and oral skills will be emphasized. Lecture, three hours; laboratory, two hours per week. Prereq: NRE 201, NRE 320, and NRE 381 and senior standing.

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).

What You'll Study

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

 

 

 

 


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)

Work Environment

Conservation scientists and foresters work for governments (federal, state, and local), on privately owned lands, or in social advocacy organizations.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Read More

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


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)

Work Environment

Zoologists and wildlife biologists work in offices, laboratories, or outdoors. Depending on their job, they may spend considerable time in the field gathering data and studying animals in their natural habitats.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Read More

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)

Work Environment

Environmental scientists and specialists work in offices and laboratories. Some may spend time in the field gathering data and monitoring environmental conditions firsthand. Most environmental scientists and specialists work full time.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Read More

Similar Occupations

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

  • Biochemists and Biophysicists
  • Chemists and Materials Scientists
  • Conservation Scientists and Foresters
  • Environmental Engineers
  • Environmental Science and Protection Technicians
  • Geoscientists
  • Hydrologists
  • Microbiologists
  • Occupational Health and Safety Specialists and Technicians
  • Zoologists and Wildlife Biologists

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. 

The deadline to apply is December 1 for first-semester freshmen and March 2 for current students and transfer students. For more information, click here


Join Our 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 "Agriculture, Food and Environment" living learning program while completing the housing application. For more information, visit the University of Kentucky Housing 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. 


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