ESS – Ecosystem Science and Restoration – Bachelor’s Degree Program (BS)

ESS – Ecosystem Science and Restoration – Bachelor’s Degree Program (BS)

Study Ecosystem Science and Restoration at the University of Montana

What is an ecosystem? How do they work, and how can we apply science to solve pressing environmental problems to help restore degraded ecosystems? In the ecosystem science and restoration concentration of the environmental science degree, you’ll learn all of this and more, in a hands-on program that spans the range of ecology from microbial to global scales.

Our hands-on learning opportunities are among the most meaningful and transformative educational experiences available to college students anywhere in the world. You’ll visit local river, stream and forest restoration sites and explore ecosystem science concepts through trips to wildfire areas. You’ll also have unique opportunities to complete internships with community nonprofits, agencies and private restoration partners, and get hands-on restoration experience working with the UM Society for Ecological Restoration.

97%

of Franke College graduates are employed or in graduate school

6

concentrations to help build your expertise

25K

acres of land managed for faculty and student research and learning

Other degree concentrations for environmental science and sustainability at UM

Climate Science and Environmental Change

Environmental Policy and Planning

Resource Conservation

Sustainable Livelihoods and Communities

Water Resources

What can you do with an environmental science degree?

As an environmental science major at UM, you’ll gain hands-on, field-based experience that will prepare you to apply scientific knowledge in the natural world — in a program specifically designed to address current and emerging issues in environment, sustainability and ecosystem management. When you graduate, you’ll be sought after by employers around the globe: 97% of Franke College of Forestry and Conservation alumni are employed or in graduate school.

Environmental science jobs

Our graduates go on to pursue a variety of environmental and sustainability jobs, working with all types of organizations in the public and private sectors. Ecosystem restoration jobs include:

  • Programmatic scientist
  • Natural resource manager
  • Field ecologist
  • Restoration practitioner
  • Forester
  • Range technician
  • Naturalist

Environmental science salary

How much can you earn with an environmental science and sustainability major? Here are average salaries for several careers you might pursue with a focus in ecosystem science and restoration:

  • Field ecologist: $45,449
  • Naturalist: $59,680
  • Forester: $70,798

Video: A culture of sustainability at the University of Montana

At UM, sustainability is part of everything we do. Find out what it means to us, and how we’re leading the way to a more sustainable future.

Beyond the classroom: Experiential learning in the environmental science and sustainability degree program

The University of Montana offers an outstanding location to study ecosystem science and restoration. Our surrounding forests, grasslands and aquatic ecosystems are some of the most pristine in the world, while many areas are also degraded or altered by biological invasions or years of natural resource extraction and fire exclusion. These ecosystems are exceptional outdoor laboratories, where you’ll learn how ecosystems work, and apply your knowledge to local ecosystem management.

Field experiences in the ecosystem science and restoration program

Engage in ecosystem science and restoration through a variety of first-hand experiences at local river, stream and forest restoration sites. You can also gain hands-on experience and network with experts and enthusiasts in the UM Society for Ecological Restoration. Recent projects include:

  • Assisting in the restoration of a native Palouse prairie on Mt. Sentinel (adjacent to campus).
  • Organizing field trips to local native nurseries.
  • Helping to plan, build and raise funding for Montana’s first Firewise Demonstration Garden.

Ecosystem restoration internships

Participate in internships that involve planning, implementing and monitoring ecosystem restoration projects — working with community nonprofits, agencies or private restoration partners. For example, our students recently collaborated with private consulting firms and state agencies to develop and compare evaluation metrics for floodplain recovery to improve the feasibility of broad scale monitoring across many projects along the Clark Fork River restoration. Learn more about internships and jobs.

Study abroad opportunities for environmental science and sustainability majors

Study ecosystem management, restoration and conservation issues around the globe. When you major in environmental science and sustainability at UM, you’ll be eligible for Franke Sustainability Fellowships, which fund international research and education focused on sustainability. Learn more about study abroad opportunities at the University of Montana.

Career development in the environmental science and sustainability major

Build your professional network, make new friends and meet others who share your passion for the natural world. In the environmental science bachelor’s degree program at UM, you’ll have exciting opportunities for career development even as an undergraduate — including these opportunities through the ecosystem restoration concentration:

  • Engage with professionals in the field of ecosystem management and restoration through your capstone class.
  • Get experience in grant writing, research design, project management and communicating scientific ideas to a variety of audiences.
  • Work with award-winning faculty who are award-winning scientists, providing opportunities to engage in research locally, nationally and internationally.
  • Graduate with strong academic and professional references.

Student organizations for environmental science majors

Our student chapter of the Society for Ecological Restoration is a great way to build your professional network and work on service projects. Here are more opportunities you might want to explore:

  • American Fisheries Association
  • Climate Response Club
  • Fire Club
  • Student Recreation Association
  • Backcountry Hunters and Anglers
  • UM Whitewater Club
  • UM Ski Club

Environmental science and sustainability scholarships

Get help with tuition and other education costs. Majors in environmental science and sustainability qualify for Franke College of Forestry and Conservation scholarships, which complement other scholarships and financial aid opportunities awarded at UM.

Explore classes for the ecosystem science and restoration concentration of the environmental science and sustainability degree

In the ecosystem science and restoration program, you’ll gain a strong knowledge of key ecological principles and how they apply to restoration and other solutions to environmental challenges. As you progress in your degree, you can choose from a variety of upper division classes and tailor your capstone experience to best fit your interests and career path.

View all classes for the ecosystem science and restoration concentration of the environmental science degree.