Four-Year Degree Programs (leading to a Bachelor of Science)

The programs are explained briefly below with links given to pages that describe the details of the course requirements and career opportunities for each major. Each program also offers a minor. Many students who are interested in conservation and natural resources are at first confused about the variety of majors and concentrations that are available at UMass Amherst. There are three undergraduate majors within the department: Building and Construction Technology, Environmental Science, and Natural Resources Conservation.  Both the Environmental Science and Natural Resources Conservation programs offer students specialized concentrations within the major.

Building and Construction Technology

The Building and Construction Technology major provides students with a technical and scientific understanding that promotes the development of sustainable human habitats. Students explore the mechanical, physical, and ecological properties of building materials and wood products used in building construction as these materials are processed, distributed, and put into service. Students also develop critical management and marketing skills preparing them for leadership roles in the building materials industry. The major provides thoughtful preparation for careers in the Building Materials, Construction, and Wood-Products Industry. Upper-level students develop a professional focus with electives in areas like engineering, economics, project management, and business administration.

Natural Resources Conservation

The Natural Resources Conservation major provides students rigorous academic training in the natural, conservation, and social sciences with hands-on field skills and field experiences from summer jobs, internships, and cooperative education positions with conservation organizations and the green industry. Students learn about the ecology of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems and how these systems can be managed to conserve biodiversity and protect ecosystem functions while providing sustainable benefits to society.

Students in the Natural Resources Conservation major focus in one of the following six concentrations:

  • Environmental Conservation
  • Fisheries Ecology & Conservation
  • Forest Ecology & Conservation
  • Urban Forestry & Arboriculture
  • Water Resources
  • Wildlife Ecology & Conservation

Environmental Science

The environmental science major provides an understanding of the biological and physical sciences and their application to environmental problems. Our majors follow a rigorous interdisciplinary approach that prepares them to respond to urgent environmental challenges. Students learn the basic theories and techniques needed to monitor environmental quality, interpret the impact of human actions on terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, and develop strategies for ecosystem restoration. Our majors also learn how to apply scientific data to develop policies and regulations for protecting the environment.

Two-year Degree Program (leading to an AS degree)

This program is offered through the Stockbridge School of Agriculture.

Arboriculture and Community Forest Management

This is one of the six majors in the Stockbridge School. The specialized courses and faculty advisors for this major are part of NRC. Students learn the principles and practices of tree planting, tree removal, control of insects and diseases, and other aspects of the arborist’s profession–and they get first-hand experience with all of these practices. Arborists are employed by cities and towns, commercial tree care services, utility companies, public parks, and golf courses. This program has been approved by arborist associations at the state and national levels.


We also offer Minors in these programs:

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