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Rangeland Ecology and Management: BS

Rangeland Ecology and Management

The rangeland ecology and management major at USU is the only degree in Utah nationally accredited with the Society for Range Management. Range scientists and managers deal with natural resources on rangelands, which are the grasslands, deserts, woodlands, wetlands, and tundras that occupy a significant land area in the United States and around the world. Students learn to manage and conserve rangeland resources to ensure the sustained output of products and values, such as habitat for a wide variety of plant and animal life, forage for livestock and wildlife, water for agricultural and municipal use, and scenic beauty for recreational activities. This degree program also teaches students how to restore lands damaged by past misuse.

Students pursuing a degree in rangeland ecology and management study biology, ecology, chemistry, math, ecosystems, soils, watershed science, vegetation measurement and management, livestock production, wildlife management, and natural resource economics and policy. These areas give them a broad, multidisciplinary education in all of the areas related to range science and management.

Rangeland ecology and management gradutes are prepared to work as range managers for federal and state land management agencies, in ranch and livestock management, or in environmental consulting. 

  • Range managers in the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service work with wildlife biologists, fire management specialists and ecologists to improve wildlife habitat, repair areas damaged by wildfires, and manage invasive weeds.
  • In other agencies, such as the Natural Resources Conservation Service, range managers work directly with ranchers to improve forage resources for livestock.
  • Nongovernment organizations, such as the Nature Conservancy, hire range managers and scientists to conserve critical habitat for plants and animals on preserves throughout in the U.S. and abroad.

Career Services provides counseling and information on hundreds of job and internship opportunities and even helps students apply and interview.

Admission Requirements

In addition to Utah State University’s admissions requirements, the rangeland ecology and management program has special requirements:

  • Freshmen: New freshmen admitted to USU in good standing qualify for admission to this major.
  • Transfer Students: Transfer students from other institutions or from other USU majors need a 2.5 total GPA for admission.

International students have additional admissions requirements.

Professional Organizations, Honor Societies, and Clubs

Society for Range Management/Range Club: The USU Range Club, or the USU student chapter of the Society for Range Management, is a group of students interested in range science and related fields. The chapter works to promote the development of future range science professionals, continuing education of members and the public, and sustainable rangeland ecosystems.

Wildlife Society: The student chapter of the Wildlife Society is an organization for students who have an interest in wildlife. It prepares students for careers dealing with wildlife by providing hands-on experiences. The chapter's activities include things such as surveys, habitat work, professional meetings, tours, and specialty fieldtrips. It works with the Utah Department of Wildlife Resources on such projects as helping with deer check stations, checking for chronic waste disease, and helping with the annual youth pheasant hunt. It also takes annual trips to places like Yellowstone National Park.

Xi Sigma Pi National Forest Management Honors Society: Although Xi Sigma Pi is a forest management national honors society, it has expanded its view of forest management to recognize fields such as fisheries, wildlife management, and outdoor recreation. In keeping with the stated national goals of the society, the USU chapter seeks to recognize and encourage academic excellence among students.

Aggie Recyclers: Aggie Recyclers is a club designed to serve the community and the environment, accomplished through educating people how to live in a sustainable way. The club is very involved with recycling on campus as well as promoting other sustainable practices. In addition to raising awareness, members also participate in a variety of service activities.

Student Organization for Society and Natural Resources: SOSNR was established in 2003 to promote opportunities for service in the community, provide forums for individuals to present research, and give students opportunities to participate in conferences to help further their academic careers.

Student Sustainability Council: The Student Sustainability Council is a student organization devoted to promoting sustainability on campus, educating the student body and the local community, and giving students the opportunity to serve in areas related to sustainability.

Labs, Centers, Research

With the second oldest undergraduate research program in the nation, USU offers students a wide range of opportunities to gain hands-on research experience. USU’s Honors Program prepares students for excellent graduate programs by helping them build relationships with professors, participate in research projects, take smaller, more intensive classes, and develop leadership skills.

Berryman Institute: Housed at USU, the Berryman Institute is a national organization dedicated to improving human-wildlife relationships and managing human-wildlife conflicts through teaching, research, and extension. The Berryman Institute gives students hands-on field experience with human-wildlife conflict management professionals, offers field trips to human-wildlife conflict project areas, and allows students to gain experience in wildlife conflict management techniques, such as trapping and aerial gunning. The Berryman Institute is open to all students, regardless of major.

Ecology Center: The Ecology Center is an administrative structure in the university that supports and coordinates ecological research and graduate education in the science of ecology and provides professional information and advice for decision makers considering actions that affect the environment. The Ecology Center at USU has had a string of directors known nationally and worldwide as premier scientists in the field of ecology, and students graduating with a degree in ecology are able to make important contacts with influential faculty that can help them go on to prestigious post-doctoral programs and faculty positions at universities around the world.

S.J. and Jessie E. Quinney Natural Resources Research Library: The Quinney Library maintains collections of materials pertaining to natural resources and the environment in a number of formats that support the programs of study and research in the College of Natural Resources and several partnering centers. The library has more than 60,000 items, both print and electronic, as well as videos, images, and more.

T.W. Daniel Experimental Forest: The T.W. Daniel Experimental Forest is located in the Cache Valley National Forest and is dedicated for the use of USU College of Natural Resources students. This property houses a cabin that serves as a base of operations for research, teaching, and road-building in the student forest. Since the 1950s, the 18x18-square-foot cabin has been restored by USU’s forestry club for the use of student outings.

Utah Climate Center: The UCC facilitates access to climate data and information and uses expertise in atmospheric science to interpret climate information in an accurate and innovative fashion for the public. The mission includes the design of new products to meet present and future needs of agriculture, natural resources, government, industry, tourism, and educational organizations in Utah and the Intermountain region.

Utah Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit: In 1935, the U.S. Department of Interior and Utah State University established this research unit. Expertise includes landscape and spatial ecology, population and system analysis for both aquatic and terrestrial systems, aquatic food webs of large water systems, and wildlife-habitat and vegetation modeling. Technical expertise in the fields of statistics, GIS, and spatial analysis is strong.