NRES Plan of Study

The NRES Major Curriculum is divided into the following sections:

NRES Requirements

  1. The NRES Core
  2. Quantitative Electives
  3. Directed Electives
  4. Unrestricted Electives

College of Ag Requirements

  1. The Science Core
  2. The Humanities Core


Core Curriculum Classes

The curriculum of every program in the College of Agriculture includes a Core group of classes that are common to most majors in the college. These are broadly divided into Science Courses and Humanities and Social Science Courses. In addition, all majors then specify their own coursework, including electives. Every degree in the College of Agriculture at Purdue requires at least 130 credits.

The NRES Bachelor of Science degree requires 120 credits, an average of 15 credits for 8 semesters. All students must take at least 15 credits in the Humanities and Social Sciences and International Understanding; for this purpose, AGEC 20300/20400 counts as a Humanity even though it is taught in the College of Agriculture. Every student at Purdue is required to have at least 32 Purdue credits in junior-level (300+) or above coursework.

Science Courses

Alternative courses are listed in parentheses.

Agriculture 10100 and Agriculture 12200 (.5 for each to equal 1 credit) Introduction to the College of Agriculture and the Introduction to Natural Resources and Environmental Science program - Not required of students entering NRES after their first semester

Biology 11000 and 11100 or Botany 11000 (Biology 121/122 and 131/132)
Fundamentals of Biology I and II -Both of these sequences are only offered fall-spring. Four credits/class.

Chemistry 11100 and 11200 (Chemistry 11500 and 11600) General Chemistry - Although Chemistry 11100, 11500 and 11600 are all offered both semesters, Chemistry 11200 is only offered in the spring semester. Chemistry 11100 and 11200 are each 3 credits, Chemistry 11500 and 11600 are each 4 credits.

MATH 16010 and 16020 (MATH 16100 and 16200, both 5 credits MATH 16500 and 16600, both 4 credits) Applied Calculus I and II - Each class is 3 credits, credit for algebra and trigonometry courses is not used in any College of Ag curriculum.

Statistics 30100 (STAT 50100 or 50300) - Introduction to Statistics. 3 credits

Core Courses in the Humanities and Social Sciences and International Understanding

Written & Oral Communications (10 credits)

Communications 11400 Fundamentals of Speech Communication, 3 credits - This or an equivalent is required in almost every major at the University.
English 10600 and ASL or ENGL (20000+) or COM (20000+) - Freshman composition, again required in some form just about everywhere. The requirement to complete one of the other courses listed (ASL, ENGL 20000+, or COM 20000+) applies to students entering Purdue in the fall 2001 or later.
English 10800 and ASL or ENGL (20000+) or COM (20000+)

Social Science and Humanities (15 credits) - 9 credits must be completed outside of the College of Agriculture. 3 credits of social science or humanities must be at the 30000+ level

Economics (3 credits) - AGEC 20300/20400 or ECON 25100

Humanities (3 credits from University Core Curriculum) and Humanities/Social Sciences (9 credits) - A list of disciplines fulfilling this requirement are provided via the NRES Advising Corner webpage. Popular courses among NRES students include: Anthropology, History, Languages, and Psychology.

International Understanding (9 Credits) - May also be used to fulfill College Core or Departmental Electives. 

Multicultural Awareness Elective (3 credits) - May also be used to fulfill School Core or Departmental Electives

The NRES Classes

The second half of the curriculum is less structured and includes NRES Core Courses, 9 credits of Science (Quantitative) Electives, 19-22 credits of Directed Electives, and 12-17 Unrestricted Elective credits.

The NRES Core (28-29 credits)

NRES 20000, Environmental Science Seminar. (1 credit/spring only)
Ecology (5-6 credits from selective list)
NRES 29000, Introduction to Environmental Science (3 credits/fall only)
CHM 25700 Organic Chemistry (4 credits/lab not required)
NRES 23000 Meteorology (3 credits)
POL 22300, Environmental Policy (3 credits)
AGEC 40600 Natural Resources & Environmental Economics (3 credits)
FNR 21000
Natural Resources Information Management (3 credits)

NRES 25500  Introduction to Soil Science (3 credits)

Quantitative or Science Selectives (9 credits)

The science selectives may come from additional approved coursework in Biology, Chemistry, Math, Physics, Statistics, and Biochemistry. Many NRES students fulfill this requirement with biochemistry, microbiology, and physics. Others, especially students transferring from the College of Engineering, will have calculus credits they can use here. Additional organic and analytical chemistry courses are highly recommended. Genetics and soil organic chemistry from the Agronomy Department are sometimes used.

NRES Concentration (19-22 credits)

The concentrations are at the heart of the NRES curriculum, and account in part for the program's longevity. After choosing a
concentration area , students will take specific courses which allows them to specialize in a specific area.

Typical concentrations include:
Water Quality
Air Quality
Land Resources
Environmental Economic Analysis and Policy
Emerging Environmental Challenges

The course lists for each specialization is flexible as new courses are added and old ones deleted from the calendar. In general, these options are upper-level courses with considerable environmental science content.

The Unrestricted Electives (12-17 electives)

Twelve to seventeen credits in the program are allowed from any approved University discipline. Students use these credits in a variety of ways including:

Band, ROTC, or another interest
Double majors
Study Abroad
Additional NRES Specialization

Certification courses
Environmental science courses

The presence of these non-designated credits also allow students to transfer or "CODO" (a Purdue term for Change of Degree Objective) into the NRES Program after one, two, or sometimes three years in another major. Credits from the old major which do not fit specifically into the NRES Program may still count towards the degree as unrestricted electives. This often allows CODOs to graduate "on time".

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