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The Interdisciplinary Graduate Certificate Program in Natural Resources and Environmental Education (NREE) at Utah State University focuses professional interests in natural resources communication, environmental education (EE), and interpretation. Through classes, projects, and fieldwork, students will develop:

•  critical and creative thinking skills to understand and interpret human-environment interactions;

•  interdisciplinary approaches to communicate about the natural environment;

•  appropriate presentation skills for non-formal and formal educational groups;

•  analytical skills necessary to evaluate effectiveness of programs, messages, and presentations; and

•  a foundation to connect theoretical and experiential content knowledge in an area of their choice (such as natural resources, history, education, sociology, literature) and interpret this knowledge for varied audiences.  


The Interdisciplinary Graduate Certificate Program in Natural Resources and Environmental Education is offered through the Natural Resources and Environmental Education Program in the Department of Environment and Society, College of Natural Resources, at Utah State University.


Completion of the certificate program will :

•  provide graduate students with a working knowledge of the depth and breadth of the professional field of environmental education and interpretation;

•  prepare graduate students for a job market demanding innovative and creative approaches for incorporating environmental education and interpretation in:

        formal (K-12 school-based) educational programs
        non-formal (youth, community, and outdoor) education programs
        non-profit organizations
        for-profit commercial sector
        federal, state, and local agencies

Although professionals working in natural resources and environmental education may work in a wide range of settings, they share one objective; to help people appreciate and understand the relationship between humans and the natural world.



Students who complete the program receive a certificate in Natural Resources and Environmental Education (NREE).   Certificate notification appears in the student's transcript.


Admission Requirements

To apply for admittance into the NREE Interdisciplinary Graduate Certificate Program, a graduate student must 1) be accepted by the School of Graduate Studies at Utah State University for graduate study (current or provisional), 2) complete a NREE Interdisciplinary Graduate Certificate Program Application, and 3) submit a resume with references, along with a narrative describing personal interest in completing the NREE Certificate Program with respect to his/her professional goals.   The NREE Program Director reviews the application and makes a recommendation for admittance into the certificate program, if appropriate, to the NREE Certificate Advisory Committee.


Student Advisement

A NREE Certificate Advisory Committee comprised of the NREE Program Director, NREE Program Associate, and two NREE-affiliated faculty from participating departments and colleges will assist in reviewing graduate student applications for admission into the certificate program, identifying major advisors, identifying funding opportunities, recommending courses to meet the NREE Certificate requirements, identifying project partnerships and sites, and advising graduate students.   Graduate students accepted into the NREE Certificate Program will work with their major faculty advisor as well as the NREE Certificate Advisory Committee to support them in understanding and meeting the requirements of the NREE Graduate Certificate Program.



Interdisciplinary Graduate Certificate Program in Natural Resources and Environmental Education
Curriculum Requirements

The Interdisciplinary Graduate Certificate Program consists of three curriculum components totaling 15-17 credits:   1) the NREE Core with two foundation courses, a NREE graduate seminar, and an integrating capstone experience; 2) one Human Dimensions of Natural Resources/Environment course; and 3) one Natural Resources/Environmental Management course.   There is also an option to focus additional course work in the area of Personal/Professional Inquiry.  

I.   Core Courses (10 credits)

Students take the two following foundation courses, the NREE seminar, and an integrating capstone experience course.


Foundation Courses

ENVS 5110 - Environmental Education (3 credits)
This spring semester class includes foundations, evaluation, pedagogy, and current trends and issues; emphasizes using the environment as an integrating context to teach other subjects in formal and non-formal settings; and, offers a dynamic two-week field experience in local EE programs.

ENVS 6600 - Advanced Natural Resource Interpretation (3 credits)                    
This fall semester course provides students with both a theoretical and experiential approach to natural resources interpretation.   Students will gain an understanding of the principles, philosophies, and practices of interpretation, as well as active approaches to relating, displaying, and revealing resources to a variety of audiences.   Evaluating effectiveness of interpretation and current trends and issues impacting the field are also addressed.


Graduate Seminar

ENVS 6800 - Natural Resources & Environmental Education Seminar (1 credit)

The Graduate Seminar encourages attendance at various campus and community seminars occurring fall or spring semesters.   The student's course of study and their interests in EE determine appropriate seminars.   Student led meetings with NREE affiliated faculty to discuss connections and relevance of the seminars to their EE work occur several times each semester.


Capstone Experience (3 credits)   

ENVS 6240* – Graduate Internship/Co-op
ENVS 7900* – Graduate Special Topics
ENVS 7910* – Graduate Directed Study
ENVS 6970* – Thesis Research
ENVS 7970* – Dissertation Research  

An approved capstone experience, developed by the graduate student and faculty advisor, will demonstrate understanding of natural resources and environmental education.   The Capstone Experience is fulfilled in a number of ways based on each student's interest, i.e. through an internship/co-op/special field experience, an investigation of a special topic and/or development of a project, directed readings/study, or research project.   A final paper or thesis/dissertation will be the product for the capstone experience, emphasizing scholarship and discovery, and application of findings in applied settings in natural resources and environmental education.   (* Or similar course credit in anther department .)


II.   Human Dimensions of Natural Resources/Environment course (2-3 credits)

Students are required to take one approved course in this area to gain a human dimension orientation toward natural resources and the environment.

ECON 5560 – Natural Resources and Environmental Economics
(3 credits)
Economics of developing, managing, and conserving natural resources and the environment. Topics include resource use and conservation, environmental quality, public and private resource management, and valuation of nonmarket goods. 

ENVS 5300 – Natural Resources Policy and Law (2 credits)
Legal and administrative regulation of forests and associated resources (water, air, fish, wildlife, and scenery).   Emphasis on agency organizational culture, federal legislation, court cases, administrative procedures, and federal natural resources agencies' interactions with tribal, state, and local governments.

ENVS 5320 – Water Law and Policy in the United States (3 credits)

Introduction to policies, laws, institutions, and practices guiding western water allocation, emphasizing how to efficiently and equitably allocate increasingly scarce supplies. Explores reserved water rights, water markets, stream adjudication, public trust doctrine, basinwide management, and riparian management. 

ENVS 6000 - Theoretical Foundations in the Human Dimensions of Ecosystem Science & Management    (3 credits)
Gain an overview of interdisciplinary theories and frameworks concerning how human societies affect, and are affected by, ecosystem processes at local, regional, and global scales. Focus on systems theory, social and environmental sustainability, and scientific integration for ecosystem planning, policy and management. 

ENVS 6110 – Fisheries and Wildlife Policy and Administration (3 credits)
Examination of policy issues and administrative approaches in fish and wildlife management, with particular emphasis on nonbiological issues facing wildlife managers and administrators. 

PHIL 5510 – Ethics and the Environment (3 credits)
Study and analysis of both individualistic and holistic approaches to environmental ethics, with emphasis on contemporary debates within the field and their implications for the formation of public policies.   

POLS 5180 – Natural Resource Policy (3 credits)
Political and economic theory applied to the analysis of natural resource allocation conflicts and U.S. policies enacted to resolve such conflicts. 

POLS 5200 – Global Environment (3 credits)
Examines different strategies for resolving global resource and environmental problems.

SOC 6620 – Environment, Technology, and Social Change (3 credits)
Focuses on human interactions with the physical environment and changes brought about by this interaction.   Topics of major emphasis include: approaches to environmental sociology; environmental values and attitudes; social movements pertaining to environmental concern; and social change responses to technology and resource scarcity.

SOC 6630 – Natural Resources and Social Development (3 credits)
Focuses on social dimensions of natural resources use, development, scarcity, and allocations. Examines ways in which changing resource conditions impact human social organization. Emphasis on topics including: social characteristics of resource-dependent communities and areas; social organizational responses to changes in availability of, or access to, natural resources; and social impacts of natural resource development activities.

There may be other courses that can satisfy this requirement, but the courses will need to be approved by the student's graduate advisor and NREE Advisory Committee.  


III. Natural Resources/Environmental Management course (3-4 credits)

Students are required to take one approved course in this area to gain a management perspective toward natural resources and the environment

ADVS 5030 – Sustainable Agricultural Production Systems with Animals
(3 credits)
Study of various domestic animal production systems in relation to sustainable agriculture and integrated ranch and farm management strategies. Consideration of environmental factors and overall profitability. Prerequisite: ADVS 1110.

WATS 5150 – Fluvial Geomorphology (3 credits)
Focuses on physical processes in streams that control their shape, plan form, slope, bed material, and distribution of channel bars. Emphasizes field analysis of these topics, and application of geomorphology to aquatic ecology and environmental restoration. 

WATS 5330 – Large River Management (3 credits)
Focuses on constituencies participating in modern management of large river basins, including water developers, irrigators, municipalities, power consumers, recreationists , environmentalists, and scientists. Primary examples drawn from Colorado, Columbia, Rio Grande, and Missouri river basins.

WATS 5640 – Riparian Ecology and Management (3 credits)
Explores structure and function of riparian ecosystems and management options for maintaining sustainable ecological function. 

WATS 5660 – Watershed and Stream Restoration (2 credits)
Overview of the current theory and practice of watersheds and streams.   Emphasizes field visits with restoration projects and specialists.   Prerequisites: AWER/FRWS 5490/4490, AWER/Geol 5150, FRWS 5610 (or equivalent). 

WATS 6530 – Water Quality and Pollution (3 credits)
Reviews biological and social problems caused by point and nonpoint source water pollution; toxicology; abiotic and biotic water quality parameters; and use criteria of the Clean Water Act. Graduate-level class will require additional readings of the peer-reviewed literature and an additional class meeting to have in-depth discussions of those readings. Each graduate student will be responsible for making a presentation at the beginning of class, and leading the discussion.

WATS 6650 – Principles in Fisheries Management (3 credits)
Emphasizes management of fish populations within context of community and ecosystem dynamics.   Stresses use of simulation models to assess effects of growth, recruitment, and mortality on age-structured populations. 

ENVS 5000 – Collaborative Problem-Solving for Environment and Natural Resources (3 credits)
Project-based capstone course for EnvS majors.   Students work in teams to develop plans and alternative solutions relevant to actual issues or land areas, integrating knowledge from a range of environmental and natural resource disciplines.   

WILD 5000 – Predator Ecology and Management (3 credit)
Reviews biology, ecology, theory, management, and policy issues involving large vertebrate predators. Uses case histories to explore predation theory, population ecology, natural history, and management strategies.

WILD 5070 – Range Wildlife Relations (3 credits)
Explores interactions on rangelands between wild and domestic ungulates, as well as other wildlife forms around the world, but with emphasis on western North America.

WILD 5300 – Wildlife Damage Management Principles (3 credits)
Explains current legal, ethical, and biological principles for the control and/or management of problem vertebrate species. 

WILD 7000 – Theory and Application of Rangeland Ecosystem Management   (3 credits)
Application of range management principles, new theory, and public policy to on-the-ground decision-making in public and private lands. Field trips required. 

PLSC 5550 – Weed Biology and Control (4 credits)
Management strategies for undesirable plant species in native and agroecosystems . Interference and allelopathy , undesirable plant invasion and spread, noxious weed eradication principles and practices, integrated plant management strategies, herbicide interactions with weeds and crops, and economics of management emphases. 

SOIL 5350 Wildland Soils (3 credits)
Application of basic principles of soil science to wildland ecosystems.   Effects of disturbance and land use on wildland soil properties.   Role of soils in natural resource management.


There may be other courses that can satisfy this requirement, but the courses will need to be approved by the student's graduate advisor and NREE Advisory Committee.  


IV. Personal/Professional Inquiry

Although not formally required, a number of courses exist that can support students' interest in natural resources, environmental education, and interpretation, and support student efforts in completing individual degree requirements.


ASTE 6070 – Program and Curriculum Development in Applied Technology Education (3 credits)
Program planning for locally applied curriculum design to meet student interests and community needs for applied technology teachers.

ASTE 6110 – Applied Technology Education Program Planning and Evaluation   (3 credits)
Program planning and evaluation.   Study of strategies used in applied technology.   Demonstration of manpower surveys and job analysis for curriculum development. 

ASTE 6170 – Supervision and Administration of International Extension Programs (3 credits)
Investigation and analysis of theories and practices of supervision and administration as applied to international extension-education programs and rural development/agricultural extension operations. 

ASTE 6240 – Strategies for Teaching Adults (3 credits)
Features contemporary strategies and guided practice for teaching adults in group and individualized learning settings.

ASTE 6260 – Environmental Impacts of Agricultural Systems (3 credits)
Investigation of relationship between agricultural practices and environmental quality, including control of agricultural nonpoint -source pollution.

BIOL 5550 – Freshwater Invertebrates (3 credits)
Ecology, collection, and systematics of freshwater aquatic invertebrates.   Focuses on insects, but also covers crustaceans, molluscs , and annelids.   Several weekend field trips and a collection are required.   

BIOL 5560 – Ornithology (3 credits)
Surveys evolution, systematics , physiology, anatomy, ecology, behavior, and identification of birds. Includes lectures, laboratory and field exercises, field trips, and an independent project. Attendance required at one Saturday and one Friday-Sunday field trip. 

BIOL 5570 – Herpetology (3 credits)
Evolution, adaptations, distribution, natural history, behavior, and identification of amphibians and reptiles of the world, with special emphasis on North American species.   Two lectures and one lab.   

BIOL 5580 – Mammalogy (3 credits)
Evolution, adaptations, distribution, natural history, behavior, and identification of mammals of the world, with special emphasis on North American species.   Two lectures and one lab. 

BIOL 6510 – Insect-Plant Interactions (2 credits)
Ecology, evolution, and physiology of the interactions between insects and plants, including herbivory , defenses/compensations of plants to insect attack, pollination, and other mutualisms. 

ELED 6400 – Multiple Talents Approach to Teaching (2 credits)|
Explores one model for embedding the teaching of creative and critical thinking in regular curricula. Includes practical application requirements. 

ELED 6700 – Improvement of Science Instruction
For practicing elementary and middle-school teachers or those seeking alternative licensure in science education.   Survey of current research in science education and strategies for implementing best practice in classroom settings.   Considers a Science/Technology/Society approach to teaching science, as well as the use of action research to improve practice. 

ENGL/HIST 6610 – Seminar on the American West (3-4 credits)
Readings and research on topics in the American West.   Interdisciplinary focus suitable for graduate students in History and American Studies.

ENGL/HIST 6620 – Seminar in Native American Studies (3-4 credits)
Readings and research on topics in Native American history and culture.   Interdisciplinary focus suitable for graduate students in History and American Studies.

ENGL/HIST 6700 – Folklore Theory and Method (3 credits)
Serves as orientation for new graduate students in folklore. Introduces students to comparative annotation, folklore indices, oral-formulaic theory, performance theory, contextual analysis, and other approaches.

ENGL/HIST 6720 – Folklore Fieldwork (3 credits)
Basic methodology class for folklorists and oral historians.   Students learn interviewing techniques and other methods for observing and recording the performance of tradition and traditional history. 

ENGL/HIST 6730 – Public Folklore (3 credits)
Provides history and analysis of governmental involvement in protecting, promoting, and otherwise manipulating and utilizing cultural heritage.

ENGL/HIST 6740 – Folk Narrative (3 credits)
Covers principal narrative genres in folk tradition (myth, tale, legend, ballad) and the basic theories for their analysis and discussion. 

ENGL/HIST 6760 – Cultural and Historical Museums (3 credits)
Examines outdoor cultural and historical museums, examining their function in modern multi-cultural societies. 

GEOG 5810 – Geography Education In-Service Workshop (3 credits)
Assists classroom teachers in broadening their perspective of Geography Education through increased knowledge, improving their geographic techniques, methods, and teaching resources for their classrooms.

GEOG 5970 – Classroom Technology in Geography Education (3 credits)
Design, development, and application of contemporary technologies and multimedia classroom teaching resources for preservice and inservice geography education teachers. 

GEOG 6650 – Developing Societies (3 credits)
Reviews how sociology, cultural geography, and economic anthropology analyze processes of globalization in postcolonial societies.   Examines changing livelihoods, patterns of spatial incorporation and societal evolution, and emergent policy problems associated with rapid socioeconomic change. 

GEOG 6800 – Teaching Geography (3 credits)
Designed specifically for geography education/social studies education students preparing to teach grades K-12.   Exploration of national and state standards and core curriculum, as well as state-of-the-art geography education technology and teaching resources.   Students develop teaching lessons, and gain classroom teaching experience with local geography teachers. 

HIST 6460 – Seminar in Environmental History (3 credits)
Focuses on historical writings seeking to explain relationship between human society and nature.   Many of assigned readings are set in the non-Western world. 

LAEP 6110 – Landscape Planning for Wildlife (3 credits)
Application of principles of landscape ecology to planning for wildlife in urban, suburban, and exurban landscapes.   Discussion of restoration of disturbed habitats in these environments.   Includes real-world projects and field trips.   Addresses issues of landscape restoration and bioengineering. 

LAEP 6400 – Low Water Landscaping (3 credits)
Examines arid ecosystems, emphasizing the Intermountain West, and recreating such ecosystems in a range of amenity landscapes.   Also covers procurement, propagation, establishment, and maintenance of plants appropriate for low water landscapes. 

MHR 6620 – Training and Organizational Development (3 credits)
Provides advanced treatment of employee, management, and organizational development.   Specific topics include: historical background, needs assessment, program design and implementation, outcomes evaluation, and how individuals and organizations change. 

MHR 6650 – Team and Interpersonal Effectiveness (3 credits)
Experiential course designed to develop team effectiveness, and specific managerial and leadership skills contributing to interpersonal competence and effectiveness in work groups and organizations. 

PLSC 6100 – Landscape Irrigation Management (3 credits)
Explores how principles of evapotranspiration , soil and plant properties, and urban landscape sprinkler irrigation systems can be combined for proper irrigation scheduling.   Evaluating and analyzing landscape water demand. 

POLS 5180 – Natural Resource Policy (3 credits)
Political and economic theory applied to the analysis of natural resource allocation conflicts and U.S. policies enacted to resolve such conflicts.

POLS 5200 – Global Environment (3 credits)
Examines different strategies for resolving global resource and environmental problems. 

PSY 6660 – Cognition and Instruction (3 credits)
Survey of theory and principles in cognitive psychology, with special emphasis on applying these principles in instructional settings. 

PSY 7670 – Proposal Development (1 credit)
Advanced concepts in designing, writing, and critiquing literature reviews including meta-analysis.   Students work with instructor and their advisor to develop a dissertation proposal.   Prerequisites: Psy/Educ 6610; and Educ 7780/6780 or consent of instructor. 

PSY 7700 – Grant Writing (3 credits)
Students learn to identify funding sources, select strategies for seeking resources, and write proposals for research, development, training, and service activities in education, psychology, and related fields.   Prerequisite: Psy/Educ 6570. 

SCED 6150 – Foundations of Curriculum (3 credits)
Examination of theories, principles, and foundations of curriculum, emphasizing program planning and current curriculum trends.

SCED 6310 – Content Area Reading and Writing (3 credits)
Practical approaches for teaching reading/writing and learning skills to elementary, middle, and high school students, in all content areas.

SPCH 5250 – Environmental Rhetoric (3 credits)
Study of persuasive tactics and strategies as used by social advocates.   Focuses on environmental issues and organizations.   Analysis of environmental messages with an emphasis on the development of writing and critical thinking skills.

THEA 6030 – Storytelling (3 credits)
Reviews background and techniques of traditional telling. Explores psychological, educational, therapeutic, historical, and folkloric aspects of storytelling.   For 6030 credit, graduate students must participate in microteaching sessions in areas of expertise, with additional storytelling research or service.