College of Natural Resources

Kurt Pregitzer, Dean; Thomas Gorman, Associate Dean; (202 College of Natural Resources Bldg.; 208/885-6442).

Professional education leading to a degree in forestry began at the University of Idaho in 1909. To the initial curriculum in forest resources have been added those in renewable materials (formerly forest products) (1914), rangeland ecology and management (formerly range resources) (1917), wildlife resources (1942), fishery resources (1951), natural resource conservation (formerly resource recreation and tourism (1974), ecology and conservation biology (formerly natural resource ecology and conservation biology) (1999), and fire ecology and management (2007).

The academic objective of the college is to provide its students with opportunities to become better prepared for lives of responsibility and fulfillment and to acquire competence for entry into professional careers in natural resource science and management. Each of the curricula offered by the college acquaints the student with the physical, biological, and social sciences and with the humanities, thus establishing a basis of general education and preparing the student for the scientific-professional courses addressing the use of forest and range lands and related resources. In addition to the most modern technical and academic classroom instruction, the college prides itself in "hands-on" training, taking advantage of its outstanding field facilities and its emphasis on communications and student activities to enhance leadership potential.

Advantages of Location

The university is ideally located for preparing students for the renewable natural resources professions. Forest and range lands comprise 90 percent of the state's area. Forested areas include many types from the ponderosa pine in southern Idaho to the mixed coniferous and famous white pine of northern Idaho. Range lands vary from spring-fall and winter ranges in the sagebrush-grass and bunchgrass zones to summer ranges in several of the forested zones. Within the forest and range lands are hundreds of lakes and streams and extensive wilderness areas that provide habitat for fish and wildlife and opportunities for wildland recreation.

The values derived from these resources include wood products of all types; cattle and sheep in great numbers; abundant wildlife of many species; world renowned game fish; water for domestic use, power, and irrigation; and recreational activities. These natural study areas and resources enhance students’ professional preparation.


A modern three-story, 90,000-square-foot building, the Natural Resources Building incorporates classrooms, laboratories, scientific equipment, plant and animal collections, computer access, and other support functions into an ideal environment for natural resources education and research.

A university experimental forest includes over 8,000 acres of forest land located about 25 miles from the campus and is managed by the college as a working forest for demonstration, research, and education. The forest properties include a 200-acre recreation area, two smaller tracts closer to Moscow that serve as outdoor classrooms, and approximately 1,650 acres of forest land near McCall. The Frank Pitkin Forest Nursery site includes 40 acres and three greenhouses that produce 700,000 seedlings annually for student training and research purposes. On the university campus, the Shattuck Arboretum, with over 60 species of trees, provides an outdoor classroom for studies in dendrology. Other field facilities include the McCall Field Campus located on Payette Lake in the mountains of west-central Idaho, the Taylor Wilderness Research Station in the heart of the Frank Church River-of-No-Return Wilderness, and the Lee A. Sharp Range Experimental Area in southern Idaho. In addition, Idaho's 37 million acres of public forest and range lands constitute a vast natural laboratory for students in all of the college's curricula.

To take advantage of these facilities and implement "hands-on" training, the college employs student logging, surveying, planting, and controlled burning crews.

Standing of the College

To assure high professional standards, several curricula in the college are periodically evaluated and rated as accredited or not accredited. Forest resources curricula at UI have been accredited since the Society of American Foresters first began accreditation in 1935. Similarly, in 1985 the rangeland ecology and management curriculum became one of the first in the nation to be accredited by the Society for Range Management. The curriculum in renewable materials is accredited by the Society of Wood Science and Technology.


The college has four departments/programs: Environmental Science; Fish and Wildlife Sciences; Forest, Rangeland and Fire Sciences; and Natural Resources and Society. Although these departments are separate administrative entities, they share a common philosophy, integrated resource management. Many college faculty hold joint appointments in more than one department; degree programs include courses from multiple departments; and the teaching, research, and service missions of all the departments are integrated and coordinated at the college level. This integration is enhanced by the Forest, Wildlife and Range Experiment Station, described below.


Curricula leading to the following degrees are offered by the college: Bachelor of Science in Ecology and Conservation Biology (B.S.Ecol.Cons.Biol.) with options in natural resources ecology and conservation biology; Bachelor of Science in Fire Ecology and Management (B.S.Fire.Ecol.Mgmt.); Bachelor of Science in Fishery Resources (B.S.Fish.Res.); Bachelor of Science in Forest Resources (B.S.For.Res.); Bachelor of Science in Natural Resource Conservation (B.S.Nat.Resc.Consv.); Bachelor of Science in Rangeland Ecology and Management (B.S.Rangeland Ecol.-Mgt.); Bachelor of Science in Renewable Materials (B.S.Renew.Mat.); and Bachelor of Science in Wildlife Resources (B.S.Wildl.Res.); Master of Science (thesis and non-thesis options); Master of Natural Resources; Professional Science Master in Natural Resources and Environmental Science; and Doctor of Philosophy in Natural Resources, with dissertation topics in any of the college programs. Academic minors offered include conservation social sciences, forest operations, forest resources; fire ecology and management; fishery resources, wildlife resources, natural resource communication; natural resources; outdoor recreation leadership; parks, protected areas, and wilderness conservation; rangeland ecology and management; renewable materials, and sustainable tourism and leisure enterprises.

Admission Requirements

General. For a statement of undergraduate and graduate admission requirements, see the admissions portion of the catalog.

Transfer Students. Students who propose to complete a portion of their undergraduate studies at a junior college or elsewhere, before entering UI, should follow as closely as possible one of the curricula for the first two years set forth in the individual department section. A student whose program does not closely approximate one of these will not be able to graduate in four years. Transfer to UI before the end of the sophomore year is usually to the student's advantage. Correspondence with the dean of the college should be initiated at least three months before the date on which the student plans to enroll.

Undergraduate Program

The undergraduate curricula are designed to provide both a general and a professional education. The objective in the first two years is to provide students with a good foundation in the biological, physical, and social sciences and in writing and speaking skills. The basic philosophy of the college is to educate according to the principles of integrated natural resource management while providing specialization in the student's major area of interest. Because of the emphasis placed on the integrated approach, all curricula in the college, except one option in forest products, have incorporated a common 13-credit set of core courses as follows: Exploring Natural Resources, Ecology, Society and Natural Resources, Introduction to Spatial Analysis for Natural Resource Management, and Natural Resource and Ecosystem Service Economics.

The curricula and options in each program offer as many courses in common with those in other programs as possible, while ensuring that specific professional education requirements are met. Flexibility and individuality in each student's program are provided by curriculum choice, by options within curricula, and by elective credits. Provision is also made for advanced training leading to a military commission.

A variety of scholarships are available to undergraduate students based on need and merit.

Graduate Program

Programs leading to advanced degrees are offered in each of the fields represented by the undergraduate curricula of the college and in natural resources. Both the master's and the doctor's degree, with emphasis on conducting a research project and preparing a thesis or dissertation, are available. A non-thesis master's degree may be obtained in each department. The UI offers a Professional Science Master's degree in Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences. It is an innovative, interdisciplinary degree preparing graduates for science careers in business, government, or nonprofit sectors, focusing on sustainability science as it applies to natural resources and the environment. An interdisciplinary Master of Natural Resources degree focused on management and administration is also available.

Excellent facilities and opportunities are available for graduate study and research in the subject-matter areas. Research in the college is organized through the Idaho Forest, Wildlife and Range Experiment Station. Research is also supported by the Idaho Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, the Cooperative Park Studies Unit, and by various state, federal, and private organizations.

Assistantships and fellowships are available to assist highly qualified students in their graduate programs. More information on graduate studies may be obtained by writing the dean of the College of Graduate Studies. Information on available specializations and current projects may be obtained by writing the College of Natural Resources.

Idaho Forest, Wildlife and Range Experiment Station

All members of the college faculty are on the staff of the experiment station. Other members of the station staff include full-time research associates and technicians, as well as graduate student appointees.

The program of the experiment station is closely connected with the graduate training program of the college. Many of the graduate students enrolled in the college are on assistantships associated with station projects.

The station staff conducts research on a wide variety of renewable natural resource management problems in the areas of forestry, forest products, range, resource-based recreation, resource-based tourism, wildlife, and fisheries. Several projects are interdisciplinary. Funds for the station are provided by the university, by some departments of the State of Idaho, and by grants from federal, other state, and private sources. Currently a majority of these funds comes from non-university sources. More information on station activities may be obtained by writing to the associate director, Idaho Forest, Wildlife and Range Experiment Station, College of Natural Resources.

Requirements College for Graduation

University Requirements. See regulation J for general university requirements for degrees.

College Requirements. The minimum credit requirement for a university baccalaureate degree is 120 credits. A minimum cumulative grade-point average of 2.00 in all courses taken in this college is required for graduation. Courses in the college numbered above 299 are not open to any undergraduate student who is on academic probation.

The college may permit substitutions or grant waivers of specified requirements. Thus, for a student with special aptitudes or interests, a program can be devised that will provide a foundation for advanced study or research or meet other acceptable and well-defined career objectives.

Internship, and Employment Requirements. Students in Fishery Resources, Ecology and Conservation Biology, and Wildlife Resources complete a senior thesis, senior project, or relevant summer employment as part of their degree requirements. Specific information is contained in the respective departmental sections.