University of Vermont



The Field Naturalist and Ecological Planning curriculum emphasizes applied learning in the field. This "service-learning" pedagogy meets actual needs of communities, organizations and natural places.

Coursework the first year features science and field assessment: geology, soils, vegetation, communities, ecosystems and landscapes. We also emphasize intellectual process: the synthesis of too much data, the intersection of ecology and community, and communications with the general public.

During the second year, students add more electives and complete a Masters project. Embodied in these projects is the aspiration of the Field Naturalist and Ecological Planning programs to meet and solve real-world objectives and problems. Remaining credits are arranged in consultation with the student's advisor.

Other program requirements include: a rapid field site assessment with a comprehensive exam (the "Field Final"), the delivery of a public seminar at the annual graduate student symposium and a project defense, which includes a public seminar.

Our general FNEP curriculum goes something like this:

Year One

  - Fundamentals of Field Science
  - Field Naturalist Practicum
  - Field Botany for Natural Resource Professionals
  - Envisioning a Sustainable Future (EP requirement)
  - Professional Writing

Winter Break
  - Elective (e.g. Winter Ecology or Tropical Botany in Costa Rica)

  - Place-based Landscape Analysis
  - Friday Field Walks
  - Professional Writing
  - Elective (e.g. Applied Wildlife Management and Field Ecology)

  - Master's Project Field Research

Year Two

  - Comprehensive Examination - FNEP Field Final
  - Professional Writing
  - Applied Ecology, Environment & Society (EP requirement)
  - Elective (e.g. Land Conservation: Science and Practice)
  - Elective (quantitative course for FN)
  - Master's Project Research

  - Conservation, Systems, and Sustainability (alternating years)
  - Professional Writing
  - Elective
  - Master's Project Research

Example Elective Courses

  • Field Geology and Soil Science for Natural Resource Professionals
  • Environmental Conflict Resolution
  • Silviculture
  • Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
  • Watershed Hydrology
  • Statistical Methods

Last modified October 13 2015 04:08 PM