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FAQs for Prospective Students

For students interested in the Resource Conservation Major


  • Why should I consider a major in Resource Conservation?
    Because working towards the creation of more sustainable and resilient livelihoods, communities and environments is one of the most exciting and important challenges currently confronting humanity. Resource Conservation students are able to specialize in a specific area of interest while also gaining the knowledge necessary to integrate and communicate across disciplines. The degree is highly flexible; students work closely with their faculty advisors to design a course of study that meet specific academic and professional goals.
  • What kinds of topics/subjects can I emphasize in Resource Conservation?
    You can pursue a wide range of studies through Resource Conservation. Some students pursue structured programs to prepare for graduate work or professional employment in the natural sciences through advising tracks such as ecology, hydrology or soils, or emerging new fields such as fire ecology and management or environmental social science. Other students integrate across disciplines and focus on natural resource policy, wilderness studies, community forestry, or international conservation. Resource Conservation students discuss their interests with a faculty advisor and together they identify a set of courses to meet the student’s needs.
  • As a Resource Conservation major, can courses from outside the College of Forestry and Conservation fulfill degree requirements?
    Yes, nearly all Resource Conservation majors take courses outside of the College of Forestry and Conservation (for example, students emphasizing ecology take courses in Biology, students emphasizing communities might take courses in Sociology and Environmental Studies, students emphasizing natural resource economics might take courses in Economics).
  • If I am a Resource Conservation major what will show up on my transcript? Will my area or areas of emphasis be printed on my transcript?
    Your transcript will read Major: Resource Conservation, Option: Conservation. Your specific area or areas of emphasis will not be printed on your transcript. However, your faculty advisor can provide a letter outlining your areas of expertise and knowledge upon graduation. You can then provide copies of this letter to prospective employers who might be interested.
  • What are the required courses for all students majoring in Resource Conservation?
    All students majoring in Resource Conservation must fulfill the requirements of the College of Forestry and Conservation. These are the requirements:

    • COMM 111A Speech (3 cr.) OR Drama 111A Acting for Non-Majors (3 cr.)
    • BIO 108/109 Principles of Biology (5 cr.) OR BIO 120N Botany (3 cr.)
    • FOR 200 Forestry Resident Camp (2 cr.)
    • FOR 330 Forest Ecology (3 cr.)
    • RECM 370S Cons. of Wild OR FOR 422W Natural Resource Policy (3 cr.)
    • FOR 480 Project Design & Analysis
    Please note that CHEM 151N, General Chemistry (3 cr.), and FOR 210N, Soils (3 cr.) are prerequisites for FOR 330, Forest Ecology (3 cr.).

    The College requires a minimum of three quantitative courses. You can choose a minimum of three from the following list: CS 172, BADM 201, FOR 201, PSYC 220, SOC 202, WBIO 240, ANTH 381, Math 117, Math 121, Math 150 or a math course higher.

    Also, Resource Conservation majors need a total of 36 traditional letter-graded semester credits in the College of Forestry and Conservation (any course with a FOR, RECM, or WBIO prefix counts).

    And, Resource Conservation majors must meet all of the General Education requirements of the University of Montana.
  • What if I am a transfer student? Will Resource Conservation work for me?
    Yes, Resource Conservation often works well for transfer students because of the flexibility of the degree. Transfer students still need to meet the requirements of the College of Forestry and Conservation, the requirements identified with their faculty advisor, and the General Education requirements of the University of Montana.
  • How do I become a Resource Conservation major?
    Talk with Shonna Trowbridge, the Director of Student Services for the College of Forestry and Conservation. She will help you fill out the appropriate forms to declare Resource Conservation as your major. Shonna will also identify a faculty member who works on the topics you are interested in; that person will then serve as your advisor.
  • What kind or jobs or careers do Resource Conservation pursue?
    Graduates of Resource Conservation have secured jobs as ecologists, educators, hydrologists, public land managers, soils scientists, environmental consultants, community foresters, lawyers, reporters and naturalists. Resource Conservation majors have also pursued careers as teachers, environmental policy analysts, and outdoor writers. Some graduate work, with private conservation organizations, as well as with state and federal conservation agencies, including the Forest Service, National Park Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, and Montana State DNRC.
  • How do I prepare for a career or employment through studies in resource conservation?
    To prepare for careers, specific employment opportunities, or further studies at the graduate level, Resource Conservation students work with a faculty advisor to develop an appropriate course of study. For example, students interested in working with federal land management agencies are advised to complete the appropriate suite of courses to meet federal civil service requirements. On the other hand, students interested in pursuing a career in environmental writing would likely complete a broad array of biophysical and social science coursework while also completing studies in journalism.
  • Are there opportunities for field studies with a Resource Conservation major?
    Yes. In addition to completing camp (FOR 200) and 400 hours of advisor approved professionally related employment or service, Resource Conservation students are encouraged to get additional field experience through semester-long field courses, such as Wilderness and Civilization or Landscape and Livelihood offered by Northwest Connections. Many students also get field experience by working as a research assistant with a faculty member.
  • What if I have additional questions or want more information about the Resource Conservation major?
    Please review the webpage, meet with Shonna Trowbridge, or arrange an appointment with a core Resource Conservation faculty member whose interests seem most similar to yours.