University of Vermont

RSENR undergraduate core curriculum

Undergraduate Core Curriculum

The Core Curriculum of the Rubenstein School is carefully designed to cultivate the skills and knowledge that our faculty believe are central to the study of natural resources and the environment. The Core Curriculum's eight required courses (23 total credits) are taken sequentially and cut across all academic programs within the School, integrating the natural and social sciences in an effort to foster a deeper understanding of complex environmental issues.

Goal Statement

By offering a scaffolded set of required core courses grounded in environmental and natural resource content, we prepare our students to successfully integrate and apply knowledge across disciplinary boundaries in their personal and professional lives.

Specifically, the Core Curriculum will:

  • Embody values central to the mission of the Rubenstein School
  • Emphasize the development of key competencies necessary for effective leadership and problem solving
  • Expose students to foundational knowledge that will support more effective learning within their programs of study
  • Engage students in an array of innovative experiential learning opportunities
  • Be informed by an ongoing assessment strategy to ensure continuous improvement and relevance

- Adopted by the Rubenstein School Faculty, December 2015

Core Competencies and Knowledge Areas

[+] View Core Competencies and Knowledge Areas


CLO1 Communication: Students will be able to employ effective speaking, writing, listening, and digital communication techniques.

CLO2 Teamwork: Students will be able to contribute to collaborative efforts, facilitate contributions of others, and address conflict directly and constructively.

CLO3 Working across Difference: Students will be able to critically examine dimensions of difference and apply a nuanced understanding of power and privilege through effective communication.

CLO4 Problem Solving: Students will be able to design, evaluate, and employ appropriate frameworks in order to effect change and generate collaborative solutions to complex problems.

CLO5 Inquiry & Analysis: Students will be able to apply critical thinking skills and employ qualitative and quantitative methodologies in order to formulate questions and evaluate core knowledge areas.

CLO6 Integrative Learning: Students will be able to synthesize and transfer learning to complex situations across disciplinary boundaries through the application of critical reflection skills.

Knowledge Areas

CLO7 Ecological Processes & Systems: Students will be able to identify and describe basic ecological processes and systems.

CLO8 Social Processes & Systems: Students will be able to identify, interpret, and analyze cultural, economic, historical, and political dynamics of environmental issues,

CLO9 Planning & Management: Students will be able to describe effective strategies in ecological planning, management, stewardship, and conservation of natural resources.

CLO10 Sustainability: Students will be able to discuss social, economic, and ecological principles of sustainability.

Download diagram of Core Competencies (pdf)

Download diagram of Knowledge Areas (pdf)

Core Course Descriptions

  • Students on the Melosira research vessel

    NR 1 Natural History and Field Ecology
    Introduction to the dynamics of the natural world. Basic concepts of biological, chemical, physical, and ecological sciences and the application and interpretation of quantitative measurements are presented within a natural history context. (4 credits)

  • Class at Shelburne Farms

    NR 2 Nature and Culture
    Introduction to natural resources and the environment from a social/cultural perspective. Emphasis on environmental history, values, and ethics with application to natural resource and environmental policy. (3 credits)

  • Majora Carter presentation

    NR 6 Race and Culture in Natural Resources
    Introduces the first-year student to issues of race and culture and their relevance to society, natural resources, and the environment. (2 credits)

  • Ecology class at Jericho Research Forest

    NR 103 Ecology, Ecosystems and Environment
    Major ecological concepts and their application. Analysis of form, structure and function of organisms, populations, communities, ecosystems and landscapes. (3 credits)

  • UVM class

    NR 104 Social Processes and the Environment
    Social science theories and their application to environmental issues. Analysis of issues using theories of government, economics, and social movements. Emphasis on integrating frameworks to analyze environmental issues. (3 credits)

  • Ecosystem class

    NR 205 Ecosystem Management: Integrating science, society and policy
    Integration of natural and social science into ecosystem management and policy. Consideration of ecosystem integrity, ecosystem degradation, human needs and values and the application of management principles within a holistic context. (3 credits)

  • NR 206 class

    NR 206 Environmental Problem Solving and Impact Assessment
    Group dynamics, impact assessment, risk assessment and decision making. Emphasis on the process of solving complex environmental problems, interdisciplinary team work, and the National Environmental Policy Act. (4 credits)

  • Students in the field

    NR 207 Power, Privilege and Environment
    This course provides seniors with the opportunity to understand aspects of power, privilege, and injustice and its implications for the natural resource and environmental fields. (1 credit)

Last modified August 17 2016 09:34 AM