Prepare yourself for leadership roles in environmental-related careers with Ball State’s master’s program in natural resources and environmental management.

Our program’s course-of-study includes a strong balance between theoretical understanding and practical application in the real world.

Given the increasing demand for professionals who know how to balance the demands of humans with the need to protect the environment, our program is an excellent prerequisite for advanced careers in corporate, government, and nonprofit settings.

What You Will Learn

The flexible nature of the program allows you to create a course of study that suits your specific interests. Potential areas of study include:

  • environmental management
  • land management
  • urban and rural community development
  • water quality
  • wastewater management
  • brownfields assessment and remediation
  • hazardous materials/environmental site assessment
  • homeland security/awareness and response to terrorism
  • air quality
  • pollution control
  • parks and recreation

What It’s Like to Pursue a Master’s Degree in Natural Resources and Environmental Management


Looking for a career in conservation? Interested in the interplay between humans and the health of the environment, and vice versa? Want to influence environmental policy? Whatever your interest, you can pursue it here.

This multidisciplinary program integrates physical and social sciences, providing you with extensive real-world learning opportunities. You’ll get hands-on experience through field research, laboratory work, research projects, conferences, and more.

You will also have many opportunities for hands-on experience outside the classroom. From field studies to lab work and even field trips, you’ll be involved in projects that give you the skills you need to land a job in the environmental or natural resources field of your choice. Recent field study experiences include the Boundary Waters, American Southwest, and Alaska.

Our intimate class sizes mean you’ll get plenty of one-on-one attention and mentoring from our distinguished faculty, who are engaged in various types of research, including the following:

  • Land Stewardship – Research projects address landowner decision making, forest lands stewardship, and private sector management of natural resources.
  • Hazardous Waste Management – Research projects address the management of hazardous wastes and remediation of sites contaminated with explosives, heavy metals, and hydrocarbons.
  • Water and Soil Conservation – In addition to local watershed studies, research also examines the effects of pharmaceuticals on water quality; soil conservation; water quality and treatment in developing countries; and historical aspects of water and wastewater treatment systems.
  • Sustainability – Research stresses the interface between environment and society, with an underlying theme of sustainability; examples are materials flow analysis, renewable energy systems, and local food movements.
  • Park and Recreation Management – Research projects include local and statewide park planning and human dimensions of resource management. Students' environmental interpretation projects are used as outreach materials to engage the Ball State and Muncie communities

Facilities consist of teaching and research laboratories, lecture and discussion classrooms, a computer lab, a darkroom, a student reading room, and a seminar-conference room. All classrooms and laboratories are accessible to students with disabilities.

Program Requirements

We offer two degree options in our natural resources and environmental management (NREM) master's program: a master of science (MS) and a master of arts (MA). Both are offered on our main campus and require 30 credits.

The MS also requires a thesis, and the MA requires a research paper or creative project.

Electives include other NREM courses and relevant courses from other departments to be approved by the graduate advisor.

Credits

Total required: 30

Courses

There is only one required course for both MA and MS students:

  • NREM 608 Research Methods

MA students must take one of the following:

  • CRPR 698 Creative Project
  • RES 697 Research Paper

MS students must take:

  • THES 698 Thesis

For the rest of the coursework, students in both tracks choose electives, for example:

  • NREM 501 Forest Stewardship and Planning
  • NREM 502 Field Study
  • NREM 504 Sustainable Agriculture
  • NREM 505 Integrated Resource Management
  • NREM 509 Human Dimensions of Global Change
  • NREM 515 Water Quality Management
  • NREM 520 Wetland Characterization
  • NREM 522 Soil Quality
  • NREM 524 Soil Classification
  • NREM 527 Soil Conservation and Management
  • NREM 531 Energy and Mineral Resources: Issues and Choices
  • NREM 535 Renewable Energy and Sustainable Technology
  • NREM 546 Indoor Environmental Quality
  • NREM 571 Outdoor Recreation and Society
  • NREM 572 Applied Research Methods in Resource Management
  • NREM 573 Outdoor Recreation Planning and Administration
  • NREM 585 Wastewater Management
  • NREM 587 Solid and Hazardous Waste Management
  • NREM 588 Site Assessment and Remediation
  • NREM 592 Environmental Interpretation
  • NREM 595 Teaching Environmental Education
  • NREM 597 Special Studies
  • NREM 608 Research Methods
  • NREM 669 Advanced Professional Practice
  • NREM 697 Advanced Topics
  • EMHS 550 Hazardous Materials Health and Safety
  • EMHS 551 Introduction to Emergency Management and Homeland Security
  • EMHS 552 Science of WMDs and Technological Hazards
  • EMHS 555 International Domestic Terrorism
  • EMHS 589 WMD Awareness and Response
  • EMHS 593 Special Topics
  • EMHS 669 Professional Practice

For a complete list of all the courses you will take and their descriptions, please see our Graduate Catalog.

View Catalog

What Can You Do with a Master’s Degree in Natural Resources and Environmental Management?

As a graduate of our program, you will be prepared for leadership roles in careers where human involvement is essential to environmental protection and management, including private sector organizations, governmental agencies, and academic institutions. Specific careers include:

  • air pollution control
  • air quality specialist
  • conservation scientist
  • emergency responder
  • environmental chemist
  • hazardous waste management
  • hydrologist
  • interpretive naturalist
  • occupational and industrial hygienist
  • park and recreation management
  • resource specialist
  • soil conservationist
  • watershed manager

Paying for Your Education

Department Graduate Assistantships

A graduate assistantship is an excellent opportunity to gain meaningful professional experience while helping cover the costs of your degree. Learn more.

Ready to Apply?

Are you interested in pursuing this degree? Then you will need to meet our admissions criteria and apply through the Ball State University Graduate School.

More Information

If you would like to learn more about this program or about Ball State Graduate School in general, please complete our online form to request more information. Or, if you’d like to speak with someone in our department directly by phone or email, please contact us.