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University of Rhode Island — Environmental & Natural Resource Economics
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Knowledge and Skills
What will I know and be able to do when I graduate?

The Environmental and Natural Resource Economics major is designed to give students an in-depth understanding of the linkages between the economy and the natural environment. This major teaches students to weigh options and make important decisions concerning the protection, restoration, development, and use of our natural resources. Students in this major develop a foundation in both the natural sciences and economics so as to understand the interactions between human society and our natural environment. The major is made up of two options: Green Markets and Sustainability (GMS) and Environmental Economics and Management (EEM). The GMS option has a stronger focus on environmental economics, but has considerable flexibility for students to sample broadly from courses across the University or to develop a related focus area (e.g., green business). The Environmental Economics and Management has a balanced focus on environmental economics and environmental sciences.

The program is comprised of two options, described below. Both options require a minimum of 120 credit hours, including 24 credit hours in concentration credits. Students need 12 credits in introductory professional courses, including natural resource conservation, introductory resource economics, introductory geology, and resource management. At least ten credits in basic sciences are required, including four in general chemistry and six in general biology. The major also requires a minimum of three credits in communication skills beyond the general education requirements.

ENRE’s professors have established the following list of expectations for your learning here at URI. You will be amazed at your educational progress each semester and with your level of achievement at the conclusion of your undergraduate studies.


DEPTH AND APPLICATION OF KNOWLEDGE - You will acquire knowledge and the skills necessary to obtain or pursue a professional position or graduate training in your discipline. By the time you complete your education you will have the knowledge of:

  1. Microeconomics
  2. Resource Economics/ Bioeconomics
  3. Trade in environmental and natural resource products
  4. International trade issues
  5. Management and Policy Issues
  6. Environmental Economics

And ability to:

  1. Evaluate policy decisions
  2. Create basic models
  3. Analyze data
  4. Identify major contemporary policy and management strategies employed
  5. Bring relevant environmental issues into an economic context
  6. Distinguish between the challenges of working with renewable vs. non-renewable resources

QUANTITATIVE COMPETENCE - You will identify and use appropriate quantitative methods to analyze economic, social, and environmental phenomena. By the time you complete your education you will have the knowledge of:

  1. Mathematical and statistical concepts
  2. Graphical analysis
  3. Econometrics
  4. Benefit-Cost analysis
  5. Economic modeling and Simulation
  6. Experimental Economics

And ability to:

  1. Use computational and analytical tools to evaluate data
  2. Use analysis to draw conclusions and make judgments concerning effectiveness and policy implications
  3. Use benefit-cost analysis to value policy and management options
  4. Determine economic efficiency

METHODS OF INQUIRY - You will understand and use methods of inquiry appropriate to your discipline. By the time you complete your education you will have the knowledge of:

  1. The scientific method
  2. Experimental economics and its uses
  3. Various survey techniques

And ability to:

  1. Formulate and test hypotheses
  2. Recognize the shortcomings of different approaches
  3. Determine the best quantitative method for individual problems
  4. Incorporate biological data into economic analysis

PROBLEM-SOLVING - You will use acquired knowledge, skills, and ingenuity to solve complex problems. By the time you complete your education you will have the knowledge of:

  1. A range of problem solving strategies

And ability to:

  1. Distinguish among different problem solving strategies
  2. Use observation, experimentation, simulation, and models to gain knowledge
  3. Formulate and test hypotheses using environmental and economic data
  4. Recognize methodological limitations
  5. Build on present knowledge to develop appropriate problem-solving strategies
  6. Evaluate results and refine strategies accordingly

INFORMATION MAMAGEMENT - You will be able to gather and interpret information from diverse sources. By the time you complete your education you will be able to:

  1. Locate, compile, and organize information using a variety of techniques and current technologies
  2. Evaluate various sources of information
  3. Use appropriate software such as Excel

COMMUNICATION - You will communicate clearly and effectively using a variety of methods. By the time you complete your education you will be able to:

  1. Speak in an articulate manner and present your ideas and knowledge clearly
  2. Write logically and effectively for diverse audiences
  3. Use appropriate software, such as PowerPoint, for graphic communication
  4. Be able to listen successfully and respond appropriately
  5. Be able to convey complex ideas in resource economics to laypersons

MULTIDISCIPLINARY PERSPECTIVE - You will recognize the value of, and participate in, multidisciplinary teams. By the time you complete your education you will be able to:

  1. Understand the perspectives and scope of related disciplines
  2. Interact effectively with peers and professionals in related fields

ETHICAL PRINCIPLES - You will understand and apply ethical principles to issues, problems, and professional practices. By the time you complete your education you will be able to:

  1. Be conversant in the ethical standards in the field

GLOBAL AWARENESS - Develop an awareness of global community and ecology in physical, biological, and social dimensions. By the time you complete your education you will:

  1. Become familiar with economic and ecological systems and how and why they change
  2. Recognize the diversity of human cultures and how their relationships to local and global ecosystems effects practices, policies, and outcomes

PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT - develop a sense of responsibility to self, community, and society. By the time you complete your education you will be able to:

  1. Recognize the value of being a contributing member of your community and society
  2. Use reflection and self-evaluation to set goals for personal improvement
  3. Gain an understanding of differences among diverse populations