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Natural Resources Management Bachelor of Science

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The Natural Resources Management (NRM) program is structured to introduce students to a wide range of renewable natural resources (soils, water, vegetation, wildlife, recreation), while maintaining substantial flexibility for student-centered learning in understanding and managing natural systems. It is based on a vision that combines professional competency in management skills with a strong foundation in the social and biophysical sciences.

The educational program in natural resources management, leading to the professional bachelor of science degree in forest management, is accredited by the Society of American Foresters (SAF). SAF is recognized by the Council on Higher Education as the specialized accrediting body for forestry in the United States.

Educational Objectives

Understand natural ecosystems

  • Identify the major species, both flora and fauna, in a given area.
  • Describe relationships among flora and fauna including the biological and physical requirements.

Describe and analyze natural ecosystems

  • Describe the similarities and differences among major categories natural resources – i.e., soil, water, plants, wildlife and recreation.
  • Plan, conduct, analyze forest inventories, including biological, physical, and social characteristics, using different statistical sampling methods, and communicate results in both written and oral form.

Analyze how natural resources are managed

  • Describe and explain to different audiences in both written and oral form alternative ways to change or maintain natural resources, ecosystem functions and biodiversity.
  • Evaluate tradeoffs among biological sustainability, economic feasibility, and social acceptability with respect to alternative management options.
  • Explain the conceptual framework and systematic process for problem solving and demonstrate effective teamwork skills and ethics.
  • Describe and apply appropriate decision-making tools and techniques to evaluate alternative natural resources management practices appropriate to ownership goals and objectives.

Describe influence of government policies

  • Describe how laws governing business and management influence both large and small natural resource organizations.
  • Explain how U.S. and state government policies influence the management of natural resources on public and private lands.

Students interested in NRM typically are drawn to natural settings and environments, enjoy nature, and want to develop the professional knowledge and skills needed to conserve, steward and manage natural resources and the environment. ESF provides a wide variety of opportunities to meet student needs utilizing 25,000 acres of forestlands as teaching laboratories and college faculty in many natural resource management disciplines. Internships with natural resource-based organizations in the business, public and nonprofit sectors provide additional hands-on experiences. Experiential-field learning is combined with learning concepts and skills in the classroom and laboratory on ESF's Syracuse campus.

The Natural Resources Management program develops professional skills that employers tell us are the most important traits they look for in new employees. These traits are developed through a broad base of classes in the natural sciences, social sciences and humanities, communication, and quantitative and qualitative problem-solving skills. The majority of work scheduled during the first two years (lower division) is in these areas. This major prepares students to be well-rounded natural resources managers and prepares them with a foundation for future graduate degree work.

Natural Resources Management offers a wide variety of employment opportunities. Our graduates are working throughout the United States in public agencies, private industry, and for nonprofit organizations. Their duties range from recreation planning for state park agencies to recreation management in federal wilderness areas, and from watershed hydrologists to land managers maintaining surface water quality.

Learn More


Students interested in more information are encouraged to review the SRM Undergraduate Student Handbook and the Handbook for Effective, Professional Communication (PDF).

Contact Us

John Wagner
Professor and Natural Resources Management Coordinator
304 Bray Hall
One Forestry Drive
Syracuse, NY 13210-2788
(315) 470-6971

Summer Program

The Summer Program is required for all NRM B.S. degree candidates. Students who completed an A.A.S. degree from the ESF Ranger School meet this requirement through transfer credits. The program is a four-week session that begins at the end of May and lasts through late June. It is taught at ESF's Wanakena Campus in the Adirondacks. The program consists of one course: FOR 304 Adirondack Field Studies. Students must complete the summer program before the junior year.