UW-Madison earns top-five ranking in conservation and natural resources education

August 10, 2015

The University of Wisconsin-Madison garnered a fifth-place ranking among higher education bachelor’s degree programs in conservation and natural resources, according to College Factual, an organization that uses outcomes-based data to help students with college selection.

“Some of the best natural resources and conservation programs can be found (at UW-Madison),” according to the College Factual ranking. “The Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies houses four research centers that help students explore the various human and natural challenges the environment faces. Students gain interdisciplinary skills that shape them into future leaders.”

The Nelson Institute administers UW-Madison’s environmental studies major, launched in 2011, in tandem with the College of Letters and Science. Because the environmental studies major is pursued simultaneously with another undergraduate major at UW-Madison, students learn about current environmental issues and how to link environmental science, policy, literature, history, art and philosophy to another chosen field.

The institute has also offered an undergraduate environmental studies certificate since 1979 – among the most popular of roughly three dozen undergraduate certificates on campus.

Other programs at UW-Madison also led to its top-five ranking, according to the organization, including forest and wildlife ecology, plant pathology and other departments in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences.

UW-Madison has a long history of research and education in conservation and natural resources, with leaders such as John Muir, Aldo Leopold and Gaylord Nelson included in its legacy. Wildlife ecology, limnology and restoration ecology were founded at the university, which has also become an international leader in climate research, environmental health, the environmental humanities and other fields.

“A top-five ranking for UW-Madison really validates everything we’re doing here. We’re working to educate students to find exciting and emerging jobs in environmental fields and training them to solve some of the world’s most pressing problems,” says Nelson Institute Director Paul Robbins. “Across campus, students are being equipped with the knowledge and leadership skills they’ll need to succeed in business, conservation agencies and nonprofit organizations.”