​​​​​​​​​​​​​Program Description

Do you strive to be a steward of the environment? Sustainability has become a hot topic due to an increase in pollution, deforestation, climate change and demand for outdoor recreation. If these issues interest you, explore a biology degree with a concentration in natural resources. At CMU, we combine the study of biology and ecology with geology, statistics, economics and policy so that our natural resources students are prepared at graduation to go out and manage the land and water resources of Michigan and beyond.​​

Points of Pride

  • CMU’s $95 million Biosciences Building is the largest capital project ever in the university’s 120-plus year history. The four-story, 169,000-square-foot building, scheduled to open for classes in January 2017, will dramatically advance the university’s instructional learning and scientific research space.
  • You can develop your research skills by working at the CMU Biological Station on Beaver Island. CMU is the only university in Michigan and one of two in the Midwest to operate an island research station.
  • The mesocosm research facility at the CMU Biological Station on Beaver Island is funded by a National Science Foundation grant and allows faculty and students to do replicated experiments in a dozen 250-gallon experimental tanks.
  • Biologists in CMU's Institute for Great Lakes Research study the sustainability and management of the world's largest supply of surface fresh water. They also oversee a $10 million EPA grant to monitor and assess Great Lakes coastal wetlands, which support a $7.5 billion commercial and sports fishery.
  • CMU’s Neithercut Woodland, a 252-acre woods 30 minutes north of Mount Pleasant, is home to formal and informal nature studies. The tract includes mixed hardwood forests, a stream and wetland habitats suitable for aquatic and terrestrial studies.
  • Veit’s Woods, a short walk from campus and bordering the Chippewa River, is CMU’s 28-acre natural preserve used for ecological, hydrogeological and botanical work, educational field trips, and student research projects.

Put Your Degree to Work

​U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics sample data

JobMedian PayJob Growth through ​2022​
Conservation scientist/forester$59,060 per year3% (34,200 more jobs)
Natural science manager$115,730 per year6% (2,900 more jobs)
Environmental scientist$63,570 per year15% (13,200 more jobs)

For More Information

Visit the biology website or contact:

Department of Biology
Brooks Hall 217
Phone: 989-774-3227
Fax: 989-774-3462

Program Overview

The course listings below are a representation of what this academic program requires. For a full review of this program in detail please see our official online academic bulletin AND consult with an academic advisor. This listing does not include the General Education courses required for all majors and may not include some program specific information, such as admissions, retention, and termination standards.

(Click on the course name or number for a complete course description.)

Biology Major: Natural Resources Option

Natural Resources option is for students who plan to enter an area of natural resource management, wildlife biology, nature interpretation, or museum science.
Total: 53-58 semester hours
Core Courses
(20 hours)
BIO 110
Concepts of Biology
BIO 203
General Botany
BIO 208
BIO 218
General Zoology
BIO 326
BIO 340
Required Courses I
(3 hours)
BIO 240
Conservation of Natural Resources
Required Courses II
(4 hours)
Select one of the following:
BIO 390
Comparative Animal Physiology
BIO 391
Plant Physiology
BIO 392
Mammalian Physiology
Other Requirements I
(5-9 hours)
Select one of the following options:
Option A
(8 hours)
Option B
(5 hours)
Option C
(9 hours)
Other Requirements II
(3-4 hours)
Select one of the following:
PHS 101
Survey of Physical Science
College Physics I
Other Requirements III
(3 hours)
Select one of the following:
Note: If BIO 500 is selected, it may count toward the 42 hours required in BIO.
BIO 500
Biological Statistics
Elementary Statistical Analysis
(15 hours)
Biology electives to be selected in consultation with a biology advisor. It is recommended that at least one class be taken at the CMU Biological Station on Beaver Island or another field station.