Students conducting field work and making notes on a clipboard

The Sustainability, Ecology, and Policy program, formerly the Natural Resources program, offers students multiple options for examining human-environment relationships.

Are you curious about ecological principles and environmental policy? Are you seeking a customizable pathway to a degree in sustainability? If so, Sustainability, Ecology, and Policy may be right for you.


What is Sustainability, Ecology and Policy?

The Sustainability, Ecology and Policy program offers a structured approach to the study of environmental sustainability, while allowing students to explore a broad range of topics across natural and social sciences. With multiple concentration options and a customizable pathway, students have flexibility in mapping out their four year path to graduation. Expert faculty and engaging courses provide students the knowledge and skills they need to pursue a successful career post-graduation.

What will I learn?

Sustainability, Ecology and Policy students will learn foundational information about ecological principals, societal dynamics, and environmental law and policy. They will build upon this knowledge, putting their learning into practice to develop skills that will serve them in their post-college career and any advanced areas of study.

Students will gain:

  • Scientific knowledge, including applications, to describe and explain biophysical and social dimensions of environment and natural resources
  • Systems and process thinking skills to analyze and evaluate biophysical and social dimensions of environment and natural resources
  • Methods and tools to apply in their chosen concentration
  • Practice in assessing environment and natural resources in the context of sustainability

Learning Outcomes by Concentration

Resource Ecology:

  • Describe components, structures, processes, and functions of ecological systems, including relationships between abiotic and biotic dimensions, at multiple scales (e.g. community, landscape, global) (scientific knowledge)
  • Analyze and synthesize scientific data to characterize and evaluate the status of at least one type of ecological system (systems/process thinking)
  • Apply skills of measurement, spatial orientation, sampling, and data analysis to characterize natural resource phenomena (methods/tools)
  • Evaluate sustainability initiatives through an interdisciplinary framework (sustainability assessment)

Resource Planning:

  • Describe key social components, structures, processes, & functions occurring in a given social-environmental context at multiple scales (e.g. individual, community, institutional, global) (scientific knowledge)
  • Analyze and synthesize knowledge/data about human processes related to environment/natural resources to interpret and assess a social-environmental context using conceptual frameworks from at least one area of the social sciences (systems/process thinking)
  • Demonstrate skills to use evidence appropriate to chosen area of study, e.g., integrating evidence into persuasive policy arguments, gathering and analyzing data to characterize human interactions with the environment, mapping data for land use design, incorporating natural resources information into educational and interpretative tools (methods/tools)
  • Evaluate sustainability initiatives through an interdisciplinary framework (sustainability assessment)

Integrated Natural Resources:

  • Create and complete a program of study that includes clear learning objectives and learning outcomes for conceptual foundations and applications pertinent to natural resources and environment that (1) are distinct from other majors in the Rubenstein School, (2) locate the program of study in the context of systems or processes that encompass the intersection of social and ecological dimensions of natural resources and environment, and (3) contain an integrative component that addresses the intersection of ecological and social dimensions of natural resources and environment.
  • Demonstrate proposal writing skills through a proposal that explains clearly a program of study for review, input, and approval by a committee of three faculty members.
  • Complete an in-depth program of study that includes learning outcomes appropriate to the defined learning objectives and courses that support the achievement of learning objectives and outcomes.

Learn more about the B.S. in Sustainability, Ecology and Policy >>