School of Natural Resource Sciences
Natural resources form the foundation of agronomic productivity and ecological health. Increasing global demands for fresh water, sustainable food supplies, energy, and a healthy environment requires preparation of graduates to study and manage these complex issues. The School of Natural Resource Sciences offers degrees in Natural Resource Management, Range Science, Soil Science, and Entomology. Faculty in the School are nationally recognized and careers range from local agronomists to global resource policy makers.
Entomology, or the study of insects, provides a wide array of topics to study. The number of insect species outnumbers all other animal groups combined and affects humans, plants, animals, and the environment in a multitude of ways, some good, some bad. Many insect species attack our crops and our domestic animals, often vectoring diseases along with the physical damage they cause. Many species are beneficial in providing food (e.g. honey), pollination services, and many are biological control agents for noxious weeds and other insect pests. Areas of study within entomology range from the very basic (systematics and conservation ecology) to the very applied (insect pest management of regional crops). Professional career opportunities include positions within academia, private research companies, the government, and conservation organizations. The Entomology Department at NDSU does not offer a formal undergraduate degree, but several courses (General Entomology, Humans, Insects and the Environment, Plant Resistance, and Insect Ecology) are available to interested students. Graduate programs in Entomology at NDSU emphasize a core curriculum (Ecology, Morphology, Physiology, and Systematics) as well as specialized training in research, extension and teaching.
Natural Resources Management
With increasing human pressure and a growing need to balance competing demands, our world needs new and better ways to manage society's impacts on the environment. Natural Resources Management (NRM) is dedicated to preparing students for challenging careers requiring the sustainability perspective and global sociological perspective necessary for examining and solving complex natural resource management problems. A major in Natural Resources Management is offered in collaboration with a number of academic departments and colleges on campus. For further information, refer to the Interdisciplinary Programs section.
Range Science is a unique program that blends science and management for the purpose of sustaining rangelands. Rangelands are important for the diverse array of products and services they provide. Rangelands are important for ranching, wildlife, water, and recreation to name a few. Rangelands comprise over 40% of the earth’s land and include grasslands, prairies, savannahs, shrublands, deserts, meadows, marshes, wetlands, alpine, arctic, and some types of forests. Rangelands are comprised mainly of native grasses, forbs, and shrubs which are extremely productive and rich in biodiversity.
Just as rangelands are diverse, so, too, are the careers available in rangeland management. Professional career options for rangeland managers are in private and public land management, educators, ranching, wildlife and fisheries, hydrology and economics, scientists, and consultants. The majority of graduates in Range Science find employment with consulting firms, private industry, and state and federal agencies. Many of the state and federal agency jobs are as range conservationists with the USDA Forest Service and Natural Resource Conservation Service; USDI Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Park Service; Bureau of Indian Affairs; and state agencies that include State Land Departments, State Health Departments and universities. Career tracks in agribusiness and non-profit organizations are also possible. Students in the Range Science program will take courses in animal sciences, biology, botany, chemistry, economics, natural resources management, plant sciences, statistics, wildlife management, zoology, as well as the requirements of general education.
Soil Science is a field-oriented discipline that defines, investigates, and utilizes one of the most important of our natural resources. All terrestrial life depends upon the soil for food and clean water. Knowledge of soil science is critical to address environmental problems, such as wetland protection, habitat restoration, and waste disposal, and it is vital to ensure sustainability of agricultural and forest products. Soil expertise is also essential in the emerging fields of urban and sustainable agriculture. Soils are complex and constantly evolving natural systems, hence the curriculum accentuates physical, biological, and earth sciences. A soil science degree prepares a student with the training to enter careers in both traditional agriculture and the environmental sectors, including: environmental consulting, soil conservation and resource management, production agriculture, and state and federal research and regulatory agencies.