As the world population grows, human societies are increasingly challenged to find a way to balance development needs of communities with maintenance of a healthy and sustainable natural resource base. Growing communities require construction of new highways, housing and businesses, and these projects  influence the quality of the environment. Local, state and federal environmental laws require compliance by corporations, contractors and even state agencies such as Departments of Transportation as they implement projects that impact the landscape. Environmental consulting firms employ a staff of professionals that perform site-based studies in order to conform to the legal requirements for these projects.

Studies performed by environmental consultants include wetland delineations, biological assessments, stream geomorphological surveys, and field monitoring of restoration projects. In order to prepare for a career in environmental consulting, students should develop a skill set that includes proficiency in plant species identification, geospatial data analysis and knowledge of soil properties and hydrology. Courses covering environmental policy and law are also valuable. As consultants must submit well researched written reports to their clients, writing and presentation skills are critical.

Students are strongly encouraged to participate in summer internships to gain practical field experience. Governmental organizations such as the Environmental Protection Agency and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources have ongoing internship programs for environmental assessment. Students planning a career in consulting are advised to take coursework needed to meet the qualifications for certification as an Ecologist by the Ecological Society of America.

Major Core
  • ECOL 3400 Professional Development for Careers in Ecology
  • ECOL 3500/3500L Ecology
  • ECOL 4000 Population and Community Ecology or ECOL 4150/4150L Population Biology of Infectious Disease
  • ECOL 4010 Ecosystem Ecology or ECOL 4310/4310L Freshwater Ecosystems (preferred)
  • ECOL 4240/4240L Physiological Ecology or ECOL 4540 Behavioral Ecology
  • ECOL 4500 Evolutionary Ecology
  • ECOL 4950 Senior Seminar
  • STAT 2000 Introduction to Statistics or BIOS 2010 Elementary Biostatistics
Natural History Requirement (choose 1)*
  • PBIO 4650/4650L Plant Taxonomy (recommended)
  • ECOL 4050/4050L Ichthyology
  • ENTO 3140/3140L Insect Natural History
  • ENTO 4000/4000L General Entomology
Methods and Skills Requirement (choose 1)*
  • FANR 3800/3800L Spatial Analysis of Natural Resources
  • GEOG 4370/4370L Geographic Information Science
Major Electives (choose 4 courses)*
  • CRSS(FANR) 3060/3060L Soils and Hydrology
  • ECOL 4940 Internship
  • ENVM 4930 Environmental Law and Governmental Regulation
  • FANR(ECOL) 4810 Natural Resources Law
  • WASR 4400/4400L Introduction to Wetlands
  • WILD 4040/4040L Herpetology or other courses from the Natural History Requirement list

*This is not an exhaustive list; please see the UGA Bulletin for more options.