Academic Degree Programs

Natural Resources Degree


Natural resources encompass our soil, water, air, minerals, flora, fauna and people. Wise use or improvement of natural resources for the benefit of society is the goal of resource management. This important challenge recognizes the interdependence of man with his environment and requires an integrated, multi-disciplinary approach to solve society's resource problems. Population growth, rising incomes, life style changes and urbanization lead to more intensive use of all natural resources. These trends present challenges to resource managers who must be trained in the basic principles of several disciplines in order to apply sound management strategies to our resource problems.

Managing our natural resources for the sustained benefit of society will require knowledge of soils, hydrology, geology, and plant and animal life, along with resource policy, economics, and environmental law. Bringing together these specific disciplines to formulate effective resource management that will satisfy society's diverse needs is a challenge that will require people trained to make sound judgments with far-reaching impact.

To use and protect our natural resources wisely we need professionals who understand those resources and the social systems that govern their uses. Since land, air, and water systems are interconnected, and what we do to one part affects other parts, these professionals must combine the knowledge of specialists. They must be able to work in teams to analyze potential impacts of natural resource use and to design ways to make efficient use of natural and environmental resources for current and future generations.

Courses/Curricula Concentrations

The breadth and complexity of natural resource management requires the input of many disciplines. To accommodate this diversity this campus-wide program involves three colleges and four departments to administer the seven concentration choices. A common core of 84 hours of course work provides a balanced foundation in communications, humanities, social sciences, mathematics and the natural sciences. The core also has a freshman orientation course and a senior level applications course that natural resource mayors in all concentrations will take.

Within the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, three concentrations are available:

Economics and Management

This concentration offered by the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics is designed to equip students with the skills to apply economics and business principles to natural resource use, preservation, and enhancement. In addition to economics courses, students will take public finance, accounting, law, financial management, and other business courses. Additional courses from a list of applied natural sciences will also be selected.

Soil Resources

The Department of Soil Science will administer this concentration that prepares students to understand the physical,chemical, and biological properties of soils and to evaluate capabilities and limitations for a broad spectrum of land uses. Courses will address the soil resource from the traditional plant growth aspects to waste management and water management. The role of soil as a basis for all ecosystem understanding will be emphasized.

Soil and Water Systems

This concentration offered by the Department of Soil Science provides students with a framework for understanding those land management factors that will influence the quantity and quality of water that runs off the land and reaches surface waters or filtrates and becomes groundwater. In addition to the basic soil science courses, other selections will include surface hydrology and hydrogeology, oceanography, and limnology. These water management science courses provide the framework for understanding the soil and water system.

Career Opportunities

The breadth and complexity of resource management, along with the need to formulate public policy and to communicate resource information, affords a variety of career opportunities. Some work may be narrowly focused on a specific resource such as soil, forests, wildlife or water, while other opportunities require a more general management or business perspective. Some graduates will work in remote areas in forest production, water quality monitoring, or wildlife management. Others may be employed in public or business planning offices working with engineers and planners in the development of residential, commercial, and industrial complexes. Many students electing the natural resource curriculum will combine this broad training with specialized or professional field in a dual degree program to enhance their career opportunities. Some specific careers for natural resources graduates include;

Natural resource consultant: analyze government policy, assist industry with resource environmental management, and conduct resource-environmental studies for a consulting firm.

Industry resource manager: serve as analyst and manager for a corporation's natural resource-environmental planning and compliance unit.

Natural resource policy analyst: serve as analyst with public agencies charged with developing and implementing resource-environmental policies and regulations.

Natural resource educator: serve as analyst-educator for nonprofit agencies sponsoring natural resource-environmental educational programs.

Soil conservationist: work in soil mapping, conservation planning or watershed management.

Erosion control or land reclamation specialist: deal with land stabilization from either a private or public agency position.

Soil and land use consultant: provide soil and land evaluations for individual land owners.

Water quality specialist: work with federal, state, or local agencies or private industry in addressing land use related water quality problems.

Soil scientist: integrate basic physical, chemical, and biological properties of soil with special land use needs such as waste disposal.

Co-Curricular Activities

Participation in activities outside the formal classroom setting is essential to a well-rounded education. Opportunities to develop social and leadership skills are available, and students should take full advantage of these growth experiences. A variety of campus clubs and organizations can provide these opportunities. The Agribusiness Club. Agronomy Club. Wildlife Club, Forestry Club, National Agricultural Marketing Association Club, and other student groups provide access to students of similar interest where life-long personal and professional friendships can be cultivated. Activities of these groups also extend to experience at regional and national levels.

Part-time employment or an internship within the specific area of interest is encouraged and will provide valuable work experience. Such activities not only provide financial assistance but also make important contributions to the professional and social development of the student.

Graduate Study

Students completing the natural resources curriculum with a strong academic record would be very qualified to pursue a graduate study program in a variety of specific areas. Both master of science and doctoral programs are available for those students seeking careers in research or teaching or in preparing themselves with a stronger academic training before taking careers in the private business sector or with federal, state, or local government agencies.

Career Development and Placement Services

In addition to faculty advisers who are available to provide information about career and employment opportunities, graduates and alumni receive assistance from the Agriculture and Life Sciences Career Development and Placement Office. Undergraduates are informed about summer internships and co-op opportunities in their career fields and are assisted with applying for such positions. Services are also provided to help students with resume writing and interviewing skills. On-campus interviews are arranged for prospective graduates. and employment opportunities are widely publicized to students. Alumni are also able to take advantage of these services and are informed about employment prospects through a monthly placement bulletin.

For more information concerning the specific concentrations
within the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences:

Economics and Management
Dr. Arnie W. Oltmans
Department of Agricultural and
Resource Economics
Nelson Hall 3304A, Box 8109
NCSU Campus
Raleigh, NC 27695

Soil Resources or Soil and Water Systems
Dr. Stephen Broome
Department of Soil Science
2321 Williams Hall
Box 7619
Raleigh, NC 27695-7619

Additional concentrations available in other departments:

Ecosystem Assessment or Policy and Administration
Department of Forestry

Geological Resources
Marine, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences

Marine and Coastal Resources
Marine, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences