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Natural Resources and Environmental Education (NREE): ICP

Natural Resources and Environmental Education (NREE)

USU offers an interdisciplinary Natural Resources and Environmental Education (NREE) certificate program to provide graduate students with an educational foundation for understanding and communicating natural resources and environmental information. The purpose of the certificate is to meet the needs of graduate students who wish to work in natural resources and environmental education and interpretation. Essentially, the goal of environmental educators and interpreters is to take scientific environmental information and present it in relatable formats and in language that the general public can understand. Students in the NREE program gain the analytical skills needed to effectively implement environmental education and communication techniques for a variety of audiences.

To earn the certificate, students must be enrolled as graduate students at USU. Currently we are not able to offer one of the two NREE core foundation courses, ENVS 5110 (Environmental Education). Therefore this program is only available for students who participate in the Utah Conservation Corps’ one-year Individual Placement Program in environmental education, take the course at another college or university, or have gained a background in environmental education through another means.

These options fulfill the requirement on a case-by-case basis. The NREE program coordinator will determine if a student’s experience in environmental education qualifies.

  • ICP - 

Graduates with the NREE certificate are qualified to work as environmental educators and interpreters in the following areas:

  • Formal (K-12 school-based) educational programs
  • Nonformal (youth, community, and outdoor) education programs
  • Nonprofit organizations
  • For-profit commercial sector
  • Federal, state, and local agencies
  • Nature centers and conservation groups

Admission Requirements

To apply for admittance into the NREE interdisciplinary graduate certificate program, a student must:

  • Be accepted to the School of Graduate Studies at Utah State University for study in a master's or doctoral program. Students in any graduate program at USU can participate in the certificate program. The credits for the courses can go toward a master's degree with the College of Natural Resources, but may not be approved for progress toward degrees in other colleges. However, students from other colleges are still welcome to complete the program.
  • Complete an NREE interdisciplinary graduate certificate program application.
  • Submit a resume with references, along with a narrative describing personal interest in completing the NREE certificate program with respect to your professional goals. 

Admission Deadlines

Because all students in the certificate program must also be enrolled in a graduate degree program, students should refer to the deadlines for the graduate degree they are interested in pursuing. After acceptance into that program, students can apply to the NREE certificate program.

Program Requirements

The interdisciplinary graduate certificate program consists of three curriculum components totaling 15-17 credits:  

  • The NREE core, with two foundation courses, a NREE graduate seminar, and an integrating capstone experience
  • One human dimensions of natural resources/environment course
  • One natural resources/environmental management course
  • There is also an option to focus additional coursework in the area of personal/professional inquiry

Financial Assistance

Students participating in the certificate program are also enrolled in a graduate program; therefore, their financial assistance is awarded as part of their respective master's or doctoral programs.

A variety of funding opportunities are available on the graduate school website.

Professional Organizations, Honor Societies, and Clubs

North American Association for Environmental Education: NAAEE is the professional association for environmental education. Its members promote professional excellence in K-12 classrooms, universities (both instructors and students), government agencies, and corporate settings throughout North America and in more than 55 other countries. Since 1971, NAAEE has created opportunities for its members to improve their skills in creating and delivering programs and services that teach people how to think, not what to think.

Utah Society of Environmental Education: USEE has been a statewide leader in promoting high-quality environmental education in Utah since 1981. USEE aims to encourage environmental literacy by teaching Utahans how to think about the environment. To achieve this goal, USEE serves as an umbrella organization and information resource for environmental educators, K-12 teachers, higher education, and the Utah community at large. These efforts will help ensure economic, social, and environmental sustainability for Utah.



Academic Advising

Mark Brunson
Professor, director of the NREE program
Office: NR 216
Phone: (435) 797-2458

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