Environmental and Resource Economics Major (B.S.)

Environmental and Resource Economics Major (B.S.)
UNH students in College Woods

What is environmental resource economics?

The environmental and resource economics degree program uses applied economic theory to study problems that impact land use, water, agriculture, forestry, fisheries and local communities. Students concentrate in one of the following areas: environmental and natural resource economics, agricultural economics, community economics or public resource policy. This major is well-suited to students who are interested in determining how best to conserve natural resources and protect the environment and want to understand how to evaluate competing interests and risks.

Why study environmental resource economics at UNH?

Students work closely with faculty and are encouraged to participate in research projects or UNH’s EcoQuest program in New Zealand. Upon graduation, students are qualified for a wide variety of opportunities within a field that has a 98 percent employment rate. Private business, public institutions and government agencies currently have a strong demand for specialists trained in natural resource development; land and water use policy; natural resource and small business management; agricultural, fisheries and forestry marketing; and community development.

Potential careers

  • Agricultural, fisheries and forestry marketing
  • Community development
  • Environmental conservation
  • Environmental planning and consulting
  • Land- and water-use policy making
  • Retail insurance and financial agencies

Program Coordinator for Environmental and Resource Economics
Phone: (603) 862-3914
Office: Natural Resources & the Environment, James Hall Rm 138, Durham, NH 03824
  • EcoQuest
    Hands-on environmental studies for U.S. students
    Ecology, sustainability, and environmental science were the focus of a special visit by EcoQuest’s international students to the Ramsar wetland at Pūkorokoro Miranda on 28 October 2022.
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  • UNH student Madelyn Bradley '23
    Promoting energy efficiency within the food service industry
    Madelyn Bradley is an environmental and resource economics major from Wakefield, R.I. who was awarded a sustainability fellowship by the UNH Sustainability Institute.
    Learn More
  • UNH social innovation interns show off their changemaker t-shirts
    UNH Changemakers Apply Their Skills in the Field
    Twenty-five students who were selected to participate in the 9th annual social innovation internship presented a summary of their accomplishments to an audience in Hamilton Smith Hall on July 24.
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  • Jordan Strater presents at Northeast Resource Recovery Association annual membership meeting.
    A chance to develop rare expertise and work on solving recycling industry crisis
    Jordan Strater '19 is interning at the Northeast Resource Recovery Association, where she’s researching a solution to a serious problem facing towns and the recycling industry. 
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Curriculum & Requirements

Beginning in the 2024-2025 academic year, the Environmental and Resources Economics B.S. is pausing admissions to the program. Current students will continue to have access to the same high-quality education and resources until they graduate.

Students majoring in environmental and resource economics will normally concentrate in one of the following three areas: environmental and natural resource economics, agricultural economics, or community economics. One capstone experience, supervised and approved within the major, is required of all seniors. The capstone explores areas of interest based on the integration of prior learning. The capstone requirement may be satisfied through a course, created work or product, or some form of experiential learning (e.g., honors thesis, mentored research project, and other special student activity). In addition, students must satisfy University requirements, including those for the Discovery Program. 

Upon graduation, students are qualified for a wide variety of opportunities. Private business, public institutions, and government agencies currently have a strong demand for specialists trained in natural resource development; land and water use policy; natural resource and small business management; agricultural, fisheries, and forestry marketing; and community development. In many cases, students may wish to improve their qualifications by pursuing more specialized graduate studies.

Plan of Study Grid
First Year
ENGL 401 First-Year Writing 4
Discovery: Biological Science with Lab 1 4
ECON 401 Principles of Economics (Macro) 4
NR 435 Contemporary Conservation Issues and Environmental Awareness (or another Discovery ETS course) 4
EREC 411 Environmental and Resource Economics Perspectives 4
Discovery: Physical Science 4
MATH 420 Finite Mathematics 4
Discovery: Fine and Performing Arts 4
Second Year
EREC 525 Statistical Methods and Applications 4
Elective or Course for Minor 4
Discovery: Historical Perspectives 4
Discovery: World Cultures 4
EREC 572 Introduction to Natural Resource Economics 4
Discovery: Humanities 4
Elective or Course for Minor 4
Elective or Course for Minor 4
Third Year
EREC 627
or CEP 614
or NR 602
Community Economics
or Fundamentals of Planning
or Natural Resources and Environmental Policy
ECON 611
or ECON 635
Intermediate Macroeconomic Analysis
or Money and Banking
Elective or Course for Minor 4
Elective or Course for Minor 4
ECON 605 Intermediate Microeconomic Analysis 4
EREC 606
or NR 643
Land Economics Perspectives: Uses, Policies, and Taxes
or Economics of Forestry
Elective or Course for Minor 4
Elective or Course for Minor 4
Fourth Year
EREC 708
or TOUR 767
Environmental Economics 2
or Social Impact Assessment
Elective or Course for Minor 4
Elective or Course for Minor 4
Elective or Course for Minor 4
EREC 756
or CEP 777
Rural and Regional Economic Development 3
or Topics in Community Planning
Elective or Course for Minor 4
Elective or Course for Minor 4
Elective or Course for Minor 4
 Total Credits128

At least one Discovery course must have the Inquiry attribute.


The student must take at least 2 Writing-Intensive courses in addition to any of the following: EREC 708 Environmental Economics, EREC 756 Rural and Regional Economic Development, and CEP 777 Topics in Community Planning.


EREC 708 Environmental Economics, EREC 756 Rural and Regional Economic Development, EREC 760 , CEP 777 Topics in Community Planning, and TOUR 767 Social Impact Assessment satisfy the capstone requirement for the major.

Degree Requirements

Minimum Credit Requirement: 128 credits
Minimum Residency Requirement: 32 credits must be taken at UNH
Minimum GPA: 2.0 required for conferral*
Core Curriculum Required: Discovery & Writing Program Requirements
Foreign Language Requirement: No

All Major, Option and Elective Requirements as indicated.
*Major GPA requirements as indicated.

 Major Requirements

Required Courses
Principles of Economics
ECON 401Principles of Economics (Macro)4
EREC 411Environmental and Resource Economics Perspectives (or equivalent) 14
Intermediate Economic Theory
ECON 611Intermediate Macroeconomic Analysis 24
or ECON 635 Money and Banking
ECON 605Intermediate Microeconomic Analysis 24
Quantitative Methods
EREC 525Statistical Methods and Applications4
MATH 420Finite Mathematics4
or MATH 424B Calculus for Life Sciences
Select at least five of the following, two must be 700 level:
EREC 572Introduction to Natural Resource Economics4
EREC 606Land Economics Perspectives: Uses, Policies, and Taxes4
EREC 627Community Economics4
EREC 708Environmental Economics4
EREC 756Rural and Regional Economic Development4
ANSC 548Agricultural Business Management4
NR 602Natural Resources and Environmental Policy4
NR 643Economics of Forestry4
CEP 614Fundamentals of Planning4
CEP 777Topics in Community Planning4
TOUR 767Social Impact Assessment4
The capstone can be fulfilled through a course (EREC 708, EREC 756, CEP 777 or TOUR 767), or a created work or product, or some form of experiential learning (e.g., honors theses, mentored research projects in EREC #795, EREC #799, and other special student activities)

EREC 411 cannot be used to satisfy the Social Science Discovery program requirement; or taken for credit if credit has been earned for ECON 402.


Offered once a semester by Economics Department

Students are encouraged to consider adding additional courses from the economics (ECON) department to their program.  In special cases, students may petition to have these courses, particularly ECON 706 and ECON 726, substitute for major EREC electives.

Students will be able to:

  • Evaluate the validity and limitations of scientific theories and claims about the environment;
  • Describe and explain the interactions among physical, biological, chemical, and human components of the environment;
  • Formulate tests of environmental questions, acquire data, and apply scientific methods to answer these questions;
  • Characterize the various social drivers of environmental problems and the relative attributes of policy instrument solutions;
  • Locate, evaluate, and summarize print and electronic media including peer-reviewed literature and then compose and deliver informed positions on current environmental problems to the public.
  • Describe and explain the ecological and societal value of biodiversity, sustainability, and environmental stewardship;
  • Master mathematical, statistical, and study design knowledge and skills, and use state-of-the-art software, hardware, and analytical techniques relevant to environmental conservation and sustainability:
  • Use principles of ecology, economics, sustainability, and policy science to solve real-world environmental problems;
  • Communicate effectively to peers within the environmental community and with audiences outside of the discipline.

Explore Program Details

Key Learning Objectives:

The Environmental and Resource Economics Program (EREC) offers training in environmental and resource economics, public resource policy, agricultural economics, and community economics.  The curriculum emphasizes applied economics in a public policy context.  Graduates are trained in critical, integrative, and evaluative thinking.  The ability to integrate fundamental economic concepts and methods into logical decision-making is the program’s overall goal. Graduates are able to analyze and evaluate broad economic and social problems concerning allocation of individual, firm, and social resources. 

We measure objectives according to proficiency in the following areas.

  • THE LANGUAGE OF ECONOMICS - Students will learn basic concepts of microeconomics: scarcity, choice, opportunity cost, supply, demand, market structure, equilibrium, utility, costs, and profit. Students will understand how the optimizing actions of individuals and firms underlie demand and supply in markets, and how the resulting market equilibrium affects the welfare of consumers and firms, as well as how different market structures, technologies, and policies affect market equilibrium and welfare outcomes. Students will learn basic concepts of macroeconomics: inflation, monetary and fiscal policy, unemployment, business cycles, economic growth, comparative advantage, GDP, GNP, money supply, trade deficits and exchange rates, and how large sectors of the economy – government, households, business, and foreign trade – interact to determine overall levels of economic activity.
  • DEPTH AND APPLICATION OF KNOWLEDGE- Students will acquire knowledge and skills to obtain a professional position or graduate training in the discipline.  In addition to core skills from coursework, this includes the ability to recognize the economic implications of natural-resource and environmental issues, evaluate policy decisions, analyze data, identify major contemporary policy and management strategies, and bring relevant environmental issues into an economic context.  Students will also be able to use appropriate quantitative methods to analyze economic, social, and environmental phenomena, and use these analyses to draw conclusions concerning effectiveness and policy implications.
  • METHODS OF INQUIRY- Students will understand and use methods of inquiry appropriate to economics, leading to the ability to formulate and test hypotheses, recognize the shortcomings of different approaches, and determine the best method for specific problems. They will also know how to incorporate relevant biological and social data into economic analysis.
  • PROBLEM-SOLVING- Students will use acquired skills to solve complex problems, gaining the ability to distinguish among different problem-solving strategies, use observation, experimentation, simulation, and models to gain knowledge, formulate and test hypotheses using environmental and economic data, recognize methodological limitations, build on present knowledge to develop appropriate problem-solving strategies, and evaluate results and refine strategies accordingly.
  • MULTIDISCIPLINARY PERSPECTIVE- Students will recognize the value of, and participate in, multidisciplinary work, to understand the perspectives and scope of related disciplines, and to interact effectively with professionals in related fields.  Students will become familiar with economic and ecological systems and how and why they change.  They will understand the human dimensions of natural resource and environmental issues, and recognize that the diversity of human perspectives and their relationships to local and global ecosystem affect peoples’ practices, policies, and outcomes. 
  • COMMUNICATION – Students will be able to gather and interpret information from diverse sources.   Students will refine their ability to communicate clearly and effectively including orally presenting ideas and knowledge clearly, writing logically and effectively for diverse audiences, and being able to convey complex ideas in environmental and resource economics to laypersons.

NOTE:  This statement draws on previous work done by the University of Rhode Island, the University of Wyoming, and Washington State University.

What types of jobs or careers do most Environmental and Resource Economics (EREC) majors pursue?

Many of our students pursue jobs in local, state, and federal government, planning agencies, and NGOs, although quite a few end up in the private sector as well (especially banking). We have a good rate of placement in excellent graduate programs as well. The unemployment rate nationally for our field is less than 1%.

Is it possible to add a double major, dual major or minor and still graduate on time?

This is possible but requires you to take action fairly quickly in your academic career to make it happen. Working closely with your adviser is a must.

How big is EREC?

We have about 75 students in EREC.

Are there opportunities to work closely with faculty?

Yes! Our faculty advise our students, and we have an open-door policy. Many of our students work with our faculty on their research projects and the Undergraduate Research Conference.

Are there opportunities to study abroad within the EREC major?

Absolutely. Many of our students participate in the EcoQuest program in New Zealand, among others.

Can first-year students do research?


Can students get paid for the time that they spend doing research?

Sometimes faculty members hire hourly student labor, usually in the summer.

What kind of internship opportunities are available for students to get experience in their area of interest?

Planning, local government, state agencies….

Other than office hours, are professors open and accessible?

We pride ourselves on our open-door policy. Many students have co-authored and presented professional papers with their professors.

What is the difference between EREC and the Economics major (ECON) in the Paul School on campus?

We work closely with our colleagues in the Paul School, and there is some substituting of courses between EREC and ECON. The biggest differences between the two programs are our focus (mainly environmental, community, and agricultural economics) and the extremely applied nature of our work.

Rigorous academic pursuit and hands-on learning from the mountains to the sea. Full immersion learning at a diversity of sites in the North and South Islands.


Xi Sigma Pi is facilitated through the UNH NREN department. Its goal is to unite likeminded individuals through service and fraternal spirit through a shared enjoyment of the environment. In addition, members receive recognition for their service by earning a cord to wear during graduation. Opportunities to take up leadership roles and give back to the NREN department are abundant.

XI SIGMA PI NREN Honor Society

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