Natural Resources Degree (NRD)

Natural resources covers a range of environmental occupations in horticulture/floriculture, agriculture, forestry, and recycling fields. Because of a growing appreciation and heightened awareness of the nation’s natural resources, opportunities in these fields are growing. The Natural Resources degree program provides students with a background in practical plant and animal science, basic ecology, and other environmentally-oriented subjects. Along with courses that examine the structure and function of ecosystems, and the state laws and regulations designed to protect them, students will learn about the principles of soils as they relate to biological systems, environmental chemistry, and recycling. MWCC offers the perfect setting for the natural resources program by providing hundreds of acres of undeveloped plant communities and forested areas, two pond ecosystems, and a life studies center consisting of a greenhouse, potting area, and lecture facility.

Number Suggested Course Order Cr Semester Grade Prerequisites/Notes
ENG101 English Composition I


    ENG098, FYE101, RDG098, or placement
MAT126 Topics in Mathematics (or higher)


    MAT096 or placement
BIO116 Ecology


    ENG098, FYE101, MAT092, RDG098, or placement
BIO102 Introduction to Forestry


    ENG098, FYE101, MAT092, RDG098, or placement
ENG102 English Composition II


BIO140 Introduction to Greenhouse


    ENG098, FYE101, MAT092, RDG098, or placement
CIS127 Computer Technologies


    ENG098, FYE101, RDG098, or placement
  General Elective


    Electives: Any course (see page 67 for exceptions)

Note: BIO104, EGM105, EGM106, MGT110 recommended




    ENG098, FYE101, RDG098, or placement
BIO130 Plant Science


    ENG098, FYE101, MAT092, RDG098, or placement
CHE120 Environmental Chemistry


    ENG098, FYE101, MAT096, RDG098, or placement
  NRD Professional Elective


    Electives: BIO104, BIO141, BIO145, EAS125, EAS126, EGM104
  Humanities Elective


    Electives: ART, ASL, DAN, ENG, FRE, HUM, MUS, PHL, SPA, SPC, THE  Note: SPC113 recommended
  Health Elective




Electives: BIO101, BIO103, BIO112, BIO230, CHC101, CHC102, CHC108, CHC220, EXS102, EXS201, PER126, PER127, PER130
BIO122 Zoology: The Biology of Animals


    ENG098, FYE101, MAT092, RDG098, or placement
BIO220 Soil Science


    BIO130, CHE107, or CHE120 (or co-requisite)
NRD232 Global Environmental Issues

(Capstone Course)


    Completion of most NRD major courses and permission of division dean
NRD220 Practicum in Natural Resources


    Prerequisites: Completion of most NRD major courses and permission of division dean

Note: Completed in final semester

  Social Science Elective


    Electives: ANT, ECO, GEO, HIS, POL, PSY, SOC, SSC
                                                          Total: 65/67 credits

Campus/format: A majority of this program can be completed during the day at the Gardner Campus.

Helpful hints: Since the Natural Resources program is a rigorous curriculum in the sciences, students who have taken previous high school or college science courses or have a background in the sciences will be best prepared. Also, since the focus of the curriculum is on plant science, an interest in horticulture and plant biology is recommended.

Transfer options: Many graduates seek immediate career entry. Students should check with individual colleges and universities to examine transfer options. For a complete list of transfer agreement options visit MWCC’s transfer services website: and

Special requirements: A 120-hour practicum is required. Technical standards must be met with or without accommodations.

Career options: Students can pursue entry-level jobs in horticulture/floriculture, agriculture, forestry, or recycling. Graduates can also work for golf courses or landscaping firms.

Earning potential: $34,000.

Program Competencies for NRD

Upon graduation from this program, students shall have demonstrated the ability to:

  • Apply mathematical models, including algebra, to natural resources concepts and models.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of ecological principles.
  • Use computer technology as it applies to biology and natural resources principles.
  • Analyze soil samples for pH, chemicals, bacteria, mold, growth potential, etc.
  • Sample water and air, analyze data, report in proper format, and determine cause of abnormal data.
  • Analyze growth requirements of a variety of animal types.
  • Organize and apply knowledge applicable to management of a greenhouse.
  • Employ principles of plant science and pathology to greenhouse procedures and forestry management.
  • Access pertinent environmental laws and regulations as applied to hazardous materials, wetlands, recycling, and others applicable to natural resources management.
  • Exhibit employment skills applicable to a variety of technician level titles.

Technical Standards* for NRD

* For general information about technical standards and accommodation, see page 66.

Students entering this program must be able to demonstrate the ability to:

  • Comprehend textbook material at the 11th grade level.
  • Communicate and assimilate information either in spoken, printed, signed, or computer voice format.
  • Gather, analyze, and draw conclusions from data.
  • Complete repetitive tasks such as transplanting and trimming while maintaining attention to detail.
  • Work at tasks with minimum supervision and with constant awareness of the development of impending problems, such as insect/mold infestations.
  • Purchase, store, apply, and properly dispose of materials such as fertilizers and pesticides, with regard to the law and with respect.
  • Work as part of a team in areas often cramped for space such as greenhouse workstations.
  • Function well in outdoor natural settings such as bogs/swamps while dressed in suitable/uncomfortable gear and under less than ideal conditions of temperature, moisture, and insects.
  • Possess an adequate level of physical dexterity and strength to lift/maneuver bags of soil/fertilizer and to properly and safely operate equipment such as saws, sprayers, and trimmers.