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New UW-Stevens Point graduate program blends business and natural resources 

March 28, 2024
A new online Master of Natural Resources in Conservation and Leadership program at UW-Stevens Point blends business and natural resource courses to build skills that will help with career advancement.

Since it created the first conservation major in the nation in 1946, the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point has been a leader in providing well-rounded and highly educated professionals to multi-faceted natural resources fields across the nation. 

With a newly revamped online Master of Natural Resources in Conservation and Leadership degree, UW-Stevens Point is offering natural resources professionals the opportunity to grow as a leader in their field by gaining the business management skills they need to advance while continuing to work full-time.  

This graduate program is 100 percent online and blends courses in business management with those in natural resources. Students also choose a certificate program to tailor the degree, with options such as water resources, applied management and environmental education and interpretation. 

Applications are now open for this fall. Students may begin in the fall or spring, with additional summer courses offered. Students may study part- or full-time, with courses that are asynchronous (at your own pace) and synchronous (time-based). 

The UW-Stevens Point College of Natural Resources (CNR) collaborated with the university’s Sentry School of Business and Economics to create a program that fits the needs of today’s natural resources professionals, said Brenda Lackey, associate dean for academic affairs within the CNR. 

“UW-Stevens Point’s Growth Initiative supported an analysis of those working in natural resources and found there is a need and demand for this kind of program,” said Lackey. “The overwhelming response from employees and our CNR alumni was that adding business and management courses to the degree would benefit both student and employee master’s degree candidates.” 

This program refocuses an online master of natural resources program that began in 2018. The CNR also offers an in-person, thesis-based Master of Science degree in natural resources. 

Nine business credits include courses on budget and project management and Lean Six Sigma management, while 12 natural resources credits include policy, research and ecology courses. 

“This new program is flexible for working adults looking for management skills,” said Nicholas Schultz, the graduate recruitment coordinator at UW-Stevens Point. “You don’t need to have a natural resources undergraduate degree to enter this program, so it also offers a career change for those interested in jobs with an environmental, sustainability or natural resources focus.” 

Scholarships are available, said Lackey, and additionally, the tuition is the same for in state and out-of-state residents, Lackey said. “This is a great opportunity for those living in Alaska or right here in Wisconsin.” 

Patrick Marschie, an alum of the online graduate program, credits it for helping him land his job as a cooperative forestry manager within the South Dakota Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources. 

“This program opened up professional opportunities and gave me the tools to succeed,” he said. “I would not be in a natural resources management position without completing UWSP’s MNR program.” 

The program is one of the first to come out of UW-Stevens Point’s Growth Initiative, an aspect of the university’s strategic plan that has faculty working to create programming that meets the needs of today’s professionals and the global economy. 

“UW-Stevens Point is dedicated to providing vibrant programs that foster student success,” said Renee Pfeifer-Luckett, associate vice chancellor for program growth. “With the Growth Initiative, the university is extending our reach beyond our campuses by offering new online and graduate programs that cater to evolving learner needs.”

To learn more or apply for the Master of Natural Resources in Conservation and Leadership program, go to, attend one of the many upcoming information sessions or contact Schultz at