Natural Resources & Conservation

2021 Best Natural Resources & Conservation Colleges for Non-Traditional Students

168 Colleges
21,077 Bachelor's Degrees
$31,913 Avg Cost*

Finding the Best Natural Resources & Conservation Schools for Non-Traditional Students

Best Natural Resources & Conservation Colleges for Non-Traditional StudentsIn 2018-2019, 21,077 people earned their bachelor's in natural resources and conservation, making the major the #23 most popular in the United States.

For this year's Best Natural Resources & Conservation Colleges for Non-Traditional Students ranking, we looked at 168 colleges that offer a bachelor's in natural resources and conservation. Not only do the schools that top this list have excellent natural resources and conservation programs, but they also offer a lot of support to non-traditional students.

To come up with these rankings, we looked at factors such as affordability, and overall quality of the natural resources and conservation program at the school. See our ranking methodology to learn more.

One Size Does Not Fit All

When choosing the right school for you, it's important to arm yourself with all the facts you can. To that end, we've created a number of major-specific rankings, including this Best Natural Resources & Conservation Schools for Non-Traditional Students list to help you make the college decision.

In addition to our rankings, you can take two colleges and compare them based on the criteria that matters most to you in our unique tool, College Combat. Go ahead and give it a try, or bookmark the link so you can check it out later.

2021 Best Natural Resources & Conservation Schools for Non-Traditional Students in the United States

The colleges and universities below are the best for non-traditional students studying natural resources and conservation.

Top 25 Natural Resources & Conservation Schools for Non-Traditional Students

#1

Unity College

Unity, ME

Unity College has taken the #1 spot in this year's natural resources and conservation ranking for non-traditional students. Unity is a fairly small private not-for-profit school located in the rural area of Unity. Unity also took the #1 spot in our Best Colleges for Natural Resources & Conservation rankings.

The student loan default rate at Unity is lower than is typical, just 5.9% of students default in three years. There are roughly 44 part time students in attendance at Unity. Students may be able to receive credit for their military training, depending on their background.

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Paul Smiths College of Arts and Science earned the #2 spot in our 2021 rankings. Paul Smith's College is a fairly small private not-for-profit school located in the rural area of Paul Smiths. As a testament to the quality of education offered at Paul Smith's College, the school also landed the #5 rank in our Best Colleges for Natural Resources & Conservation ranking.

About 5.9% of Paul Smith’s College students default on their loans in three years, which is lower than average. Approximately 167 students take at least one class online at Paul Smith’s College. 14 students are part time. Paul Smith’s College does offer credit for military training for eligible students.

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#3

Lake Superior State University

Sault Ste Marie, MI

Our rankings recognize Lake Superior State University as the #3 school in this year's rankings. Located in the town of Sault Ste Marie, Lake Superior State University is a public college with a small student population. In addition to being on our bet for non-traditional students list, Lake Superior State University is in the top 5% of all schools on our Best Colleges for Natural Resources & Conservation list.

The student loan default rate at Lake Superior State University is lower than is typical, just 5.2% of students default in three years. There are approximately 214 students at Lake Superior State University that take at least one class online. About 322 of the students at Lake Superior State University are attending part time. Students may be able to receive credit for their military training, depending on their background.

Full Natural Resources & Conservation at Lake Superior State University Report

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Our rankings recognize SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry as the #4 school in this year's rankings. Located in the medium-sized city of Syracuse, ESF is a public school with a small student population. ESF also took the #2 spot in our Best Colleges for Natural Resources & Conservation rankings.

About 2.1% of ESF students default on their loans in three years, which is lower than average. There are approximately 55 students at ESF that take at least one class online. About 213 of the students at ESF are attending part time. Eligible students may be able to receive credit for their military training.

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Texas A&M University - College Station landed the #5 spot in our 2021 best natural resources and conservation schools for non-traditional students. Texas A&M College Station is a fairly large public school located in the midsize city of College Station. Texas A&M College Station not only placed well in our non-traditional rankings. It is also #3 on our Best Colleges for Natural Resources & Conservation list.

The school has a low student loan default rate of 2.1%. Approximately 4,608 students take at least one class online at Texas A&M College Station. There are roughly 9,459 part time students in attendance at Texas A&M College Station. Eligible students may be able to receive credit for their military training.

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University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point comes in at #6 in this year's ranking. UW - Stevens Point is a medium-sized public school located in the distant town of Stevens Point. On top of its placing in our non-traditional rankings, UW - Stevens Point also did well on our Best Colleges for Natural Resources & Conservation list. It's in the top 10% of all schools reviewed in that analysis.

The student loan default rate at UW - Stevens Point is lower than is typical, just 3.5% of students default in three years. There are approximately 2,589 students at UW - Stevens Point that take at least one class online. About 1,574 of the students at UW - Stevens Point are attending part time. Eligible students may be able to receive credit for their military training.

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#7

Oregon State University

Corvallis, OR

Oregon State University comes in at #7 in this year's ranking. Located in the city of Corvallis, Oregon State is a public college with a very large student population. As a testament to the quality of education offered at Oregon State, the school also landed the #7 rank in our Best Colleges for Natural Resources & Conservation ranking.

The student loan default rate at Oregon State is lower than is typical, just 3.9% of students default in three years. Approximately 6,917 students take at least one class online at Oregon State. 8,853 of Oregon State students are attending part time. Students may be able to receive credit for their military training, depending on their background.

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North Carolina State University earned the #8 spot in our 2021 rankings. Located in the large city of Raleigh, NC State is a public school with a fairly large student population. NC State not only placed well in our non-traditional rankings. It is also #4 on our Best Colleges for Natural Resources & Conservation list.

About 2.8% of NC State students default on their loans in three years, which is lower than average. Approximately 11,555 students take at least one class online at NC State. 7,111 students are part time. Eligible students may be able to receive credit for their military training.

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#9

University of Florida

Gainesville, FL

University of Florida landed the #9 spot in our 2021 best natural resources and conservation schools for non-traditional students. Located in the city of Gainesville, UF is a public school with a fairly large student population. As a testament to the quality of education offered at UF, the school also landed the #8 rank in our Best Colleges for Natural Resources & Conservation ranking.

The school has a low student loan default rate of 1.5%. Approximately 21,513 students take at least one class online at UF. 8,083 students are part time. UF does offer credit for military training for eligible students.

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#10

Michigan State University

East Lansing, MI

The #10 spot in this year's ranking belongs to Michigan State University. Michigan State is a fairly large public school located in the city of East Lansing. In addition to being on our best for non-traditional students list, Michigan State has also earned the #9 rank in our Best Colleges for Natural Resources & Conservation ranking.

About 3.4% of Michigan State students default on their loans in three years, which is lower than average. There are approximately 9,273 students at Michigan State that take at least one class online. About 6,488 of the students at Michigan State are attending part time.

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#11

University of Maine

Orono, ME

University of Maine comes in at #11 in this year's ranking. UMaine is a fairly large public school located in the small suburb of Orono. On top of its placing in our non-traditional rankings, UMaine also did well on our Best Colleges for Natural Resources & Conservation list. It's in the top 10% of all schools reviewed in that analysis.

About 5.7% of UMaine students default on their loans in three years, which is lower than average. There are approximately 2,773 students at UMaine that take at least one class online. 2,475 of UMaine students are attending part time. UMaine does offer credit for military training for eligible students.

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University of California - Berkeley comes in at #12 in this year's ranking. Located in the medium-sized city of Berkeley, UC Berkeley is a public college with a very large student population. In addition to being on our best for non-traditional students list, UC Berkeley has also earned the #6 rank in our Best Colleges for Natural Resources & Conservation ranking.

The student loan default rate at UC Berkeley is lower than is typical, just 2.0% of students default in three years. Approximately 930 students take at least one class online at UC Berkeley. 3,108 of UC Berkeley students are attending part time.

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#13

Virginia Tech

Blacksburg, VA

Virginia Tech earned the #13 spot in our 2021 rankings. Virginia Tech is a very large public school located in the city of Blacksburg. Virginia Tech also claimed a spot on our Best Colleges for Natural Resources & Conservation list. It's in the top 10% of all schools in this category.

About 1.6% of Virginia Tech students default on their loans in three years, which is lower than average. Approximately 8,844 students take at least one class online at Virginia Tech. 2,711 of Virginia Tech students are attending part time.

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#14

West Virginia University

Morgantown, WV

West Virginia University earned the #14 spot in our 2021 rankings. WVU is a fairly large public school located in the small city of Morgantown. WVU also claimed a spot on our Best Colleges for Natural Resources & Conservation list. It's in the top 15% of all schools in this category.

The school has a low student loan default rate of 8.0%. There are approximately 5,231 students at WVU that take at least one class online. 3,018 students are part time.

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South Dakota State University earned the #15 spot in our 2021 rankings. Located in the town of Brookings, South Dakota State is a public college with a large student population. On top of its placing in our non-traditional rankings, South Dakota State also did well on our Best Colleges for Natural Resources & Conservation list. It's in the top 15% of all schools reviewed in that analysis.

About 4.2% of South Dakota State students default on their loans in three years, which is lower than average. There are approximately 2,992 students at South Dakota State that take at least one class online. About 3,377 of the students at South Dakota State are attending part time. South Dakota State does offer credit for military training for eligible students.

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Humboldt State University earned the #16 spot in our 2021 rankings. Humboldt State University is a moderately-sized public school located in the remote town of Arcata.

The school has a low student loan default rate of 7.4%. There are approximately 1,865 students at Humboldt State University that take at least one class online. There are roughly 824 part time students in attendance at Humboldt State University. Humboldt State University does offer credit for military training for eligible students.

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Our rankings recognize Pennsylvania State University - University Park as the #17 school in this year's rankings. Penn State University Park is a fairly large public school located in the small city of University Park. Penn State University Park also claimed a spot on our Best Colleges for Natural Resources & Conservation list. It's in the top 10% of all schools in this category.

The school has a low student loan default rate of 4.9%. Approximately 13,255 students take at least one class online at Penn State University Park. 1,670 students are part time. Students may be able to receive credit for their military training, depending on their background.

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Stephen F Austin State University landed the #18 spot in our 2021 best natural resources and conservation schools for non-traditional students. Located in the town of Nacogdoches, SFASU is a public college with a fairly large student population.

The student loan default rate at SFASU is lower than is typical, just 8.2% of students default in three years. Approximately 3,450 students take at least one class online at SFASU. About 3,230 of the students at SFASU are attending part time. Eligible students may be able to receive credit for their military training.

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The University of Tennessee - Knoxville earned the #19 spot in our 2021 rankings. Located in the medium-sized city of Knoxville, UT Knoxville is a public school with a fairly large student population. UT Knoxville excels when it comes to major quality. It's ranked in the top 10% of all schools on our Best Colleges for Natural Resources & Conservation list.

The school has a low student loan default rate of 4.7%. There are approximately 9,112 students at UT Knoxville that take at least one class online. There are roughly 3,637 part time students in attendance at UT Knoxville. UT Knoxville does offer credit for military training for eligible students.

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The #20 spot in this year's ranking belongs to University of Minnesota - Twin Cities. UMN Twin Cities is a very large public school located in the city of Minneapolis. In addition to being on our bet for non-traditional students list, UMN Twin Cities is in the top 10% of all schools on our Best Colleges for Natural Resources & Conservation list.

The student loan default rate at UMN Twin Cities is lower than is typical, just 2.2% of students default in three years. Approximately 13,571 students take at least one class online at UMN Twin Cities. About 10,971 of the students at UMN Twin Cities are attending part time. Students may be able to receive credit for their military training, depending on their background.

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#21

University of Vermont

Burlington, VT

Our rankings recognize University of Vermont as the #21 school in this year's rankings. Located in the small city of Burlington, UVM is a public college with a large student population. UVM also claimed a spot on our Best Colleges for Natural Resources & Conservation list. It's in the top 10% of all schools in this category.

The school has a low student loan default rate of 2.5%. There are approximately 1,537 students at UVM that take at least one class online. About 1,454 of the students at UVM are attending part time. Students may be able to receive credit for their military training, depending on their background.

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University of California - Davis landed the #22 spot in our 2021 best natural resources and conservation schools for non-traditional students. Located in the suburb of Davis, UC Davis is a public school with a very large student population. UC Davis also claimed a spot on our Best Colleges for Natural Resources & Conservation list. It's in the top 10% of all schools in this category.

The school has a low student loan default rate of 1.6%. Approximately 1,528 students take at least one class online at UC Davis. There are roughly 1,248 part time students in attendance at UC Davis.

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The #23 spot in this year's ranking belongs to University of Wisconsin - Madison. Located in the large city of Madison, UW - Madison is a public college with a fairly large student population. In addition to being on our bet for non-traditional students list, UW - Madison is in the top 15% of all schools on our Best Colleges for Natural Resources & Conservation list.

About 1.3% of UW - Madison students default on their loans in three years, which is lower than average. There are approximately 6,424 students at UW - Madison that take at least one class online. There are roughly 4,418 part time students in attendance at UW - Madison. Eligible students may be able to receive credit for their military training.

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Our rankings recognize University of New Hampshire - Main Campus as the #24 school in this year's rankings. UNH is a fairly large public school located in the suburb of Durham. On top of its placing in our non-traditional rankings, UNH also did well on our Best Colleges for Natural Resources & Conservation list. It's in the top 15% of all schools reviewed in that analysis.

The student loan default rate at UNH is lower than is typical, just 2.2% of students default in three years. There are approximately 1,816 students at UNH that take at least one class online. 1,402 students are part time. Students may be able to receive credit for their military training, depending on their background.

Full Natural Resources & Conservation at University of New Hampshire - Main Campus Report

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#25

The University of Montana

Missoula, MT

Our rankings recognize The University of Montana as the #25 school in this year's rankings. UM is a large public school located in the small city of Missoula.

There are approximately 2,310 students at UM that take at least one class online. There are roughly 2,994 part time students in attendance at UM. Eligible students may be able to receive credit for their military training.

Full Natural Resources & Conservation at The University of Montana Report

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Rest of the Top Schools for Best Natural Resources & Conservation Colleges for Non-Traditional Students

Additional Noteworthy Schools

These are some additional schools worth mentioning that are also great but just didn't quite make the cut to earn our top Best Natural Resources & Conservation Colleges for Non-Traditional Students award.

Rank College Location
26 University of Georgia Athens, GA
27 Tennessee Technological University Cookeville, TN
28 Delaware Valley University Doylestown, PA
29 Michigan Technological University Houghton, MI
30 Mississippi State University Mississippi State, MS
31 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Chapel Hill, NC
32 University of California - Santa Barbara Santa Barbara, CA
33 Colorado State University - Fort Collins Fort Collins, CO

Natural Resources & Conservation by Region

View the best for non-traditional students Natural Resources & Conservation colleges in a specific region near you.

Region
Southeast
New England
Rocky Mountains
Plains States
Middle Atlantic
Far Western US
Southwest
Great Lakes

Natural Resources & Conservation Majors to Study

Major Annual Graduates
Natural Resources Conservation 20,652
Natural Resource Management 2,459
Wildlife Management 2,179
Forestry 2,042
Fisheries Sciences 555

View All Natural Resources & Conservation Related Majors >

Related Major Annual Graduates
Engineering 196,678
Computer & Information Sciences 173,112
Biological & Biomedical Sciences 160,242
Physical Sciences 53,214
Engineering Technologies 52,780

View All Natural Resources & Conservation Related Majors >

Notes and References

Footnotes

*Avg Cost is for the top 25 schools only.

References

  • The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), a branch of the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) serves as the core of the rest of our data about colleges.
  • Some other college data, including much of the graduate earnings data, comes from the U.S. Department of Education’s (College Scorecard).
  • Veteran-specific data can be found at the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs.
  • Credit for the banner image above goes to Lynn Betts.

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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