Conservation and Environmental Planning Major New Format (1)

Majors & Minors

Conservation and Environmental Planning Degree

Program Overview

The Conservation and Environmental Planning major focuses on the scientific, field-based management of our natural resources, including wildlife, water, soil, air, human developments and the interaction of these systems. The integrity and performance of these systems are critical for maintaining a healthy environment, a high standard of living, and sustainable development. Graduates of this program will provide the expertise to establish, maintain, restore and rehabilitate natural systems in order to promote sustainability, economic stability, and quality of life.

Students will take a set of core courses and must select one of the two following options:

  • Conservation option: This option provides a field-based approach to managing our natural resources. It prepares graduates for careers with public and private organizations and agencies in areas such as wildlife management, habitat restoration and interpretive services.

  • Environmental planning option: This option prepares graduates to pursue careers in planning, development, and public policy, with an emphasis on minimizing or mitigating the environmental impacts of the built environment.

Highlights of the Conservation and Environmental Planning Major

  • Our two laboratory farms and the nearby Kinnickinnic River, as well as other off-campus locations, offer unique outdoor teaching and learning experiences for students interested in conservation and environmental planning.
  • Students can choose a restoration management emphasis which covers the full scope of natural ecosystem restoration, including forest, prairie, stream, lake, and wetland restoration, along with a course focused on civil engineering techniques.
  • The recently-founded Institute in the Plant and Earth Science department is a new way for current students in the program to gain real-world experiences through certifications and restoration projects on and around campus. Learn more.

Skills and Learning Outcomes

As a student in this program, you will learn to:

  • Demonstrate knowledge of regional and global ecosystems and gain expertise in conservation management techniques.
  • Safely and effectively utilize field equipment used in the natural resource management field.
  • Understand the technical and regulatory dimensions for developing the human-built environment in ways that avoid, minimize or mitigate the impacts on natural systems.
  • Become proficient at the skills involved in restoring and rehabilitating degraded ecosystems.

Career Opportunities

As a graduate of this program, you will be prepared for a career in the conservation and environmental planning field. Below is a list of potential job titles and employers that graduates have found employment or internship opportunities with. 

Potential Job Titles

  • Natural Resource Manager
  • Conservation/Game Warden
  • Park Ranger
  • Ecological Restoration Specialist
  • Environmental Planner
  • Community Planner
  • Developer


  • Government Agency
  • Private Consulting Firm
  • Nonprofit Organization

Related Programs

Not what you were looking for?
Here are some related programs you may also want to consider:

Environmental Science

Crop and Soil Science



Conservation and environmental planning careers have a current annual salary of over


(Bureau of Labor Statistics)