Two Majors Give Students More Options in Applied Resource Economics

Students will soon choose between majors in environmental and natural resource economics and economics of sustainable development and management to highlight unique skills gained at UConn

Young Building

W.B. Young Building (Milton Levin/UConn Photo)

The College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources is expanding offerings for students with the creation of two new majors: environmental and natural resource economics and economics of sustainable development and management. Both majors provide a strong foundation in applied economics, with the emphasis on applications that were formerly reflected in the previous major’s three areas of concentration.

Kimberly Rollins, head of the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, says this change in the titles of the major better reflects the content of the program for both prospective students and employers.

“We realized we need to describe our majors in a way that more effectively demonstrates how they prepare students and what graduates are able to do with these degrees,” Rollins says. “For our students, it’s important that the naming of their UConn degrees highlights not only their knowledge of economics, but also the specialized education and skills they’ve gained in the program.”

While the academic program for these concentrations will not change, the different tracks within the majors will be more apparent. The outgoing applied resource economics major included three concentrations: business management and marketing, environmental economics and policy, and development economics and policy. These previous concentrations will serve as the requirements for the two majors.

For instance, the previous environmental economics and policy concentration will constitute the new environmental and natural resource economics major. This degree will focus on developing students’ abilities to understand the interactions between economics, environmental change, and policies.

This kind of understanding includes identifying and quantifying costs to society now and in the future from losses of scarce environmental resources, environmental degradation, and of how costs are distributed among various groups in society. This type of knowledge is often lacking in policy discussions, says Rollins.

“When decisions are made, important policy decisions, the information is not just coming from scientists. Lawmakers also have to incorporate economics, and, often, much of the economics information may be biased,” Rollins says. “We need more well trained economists who understand how important considerations overlap and affect each other.”

The previous business management and marketing, and development economics and policy concentrations will together constitute the new major, economics of sustainable development and management. This program will prepare students to understand the foundations of economics, business management, and community and regional economic development with a focus on sustainability.

“This degree is well-suited to support students interested in managing the day-to-day operations of businesses, as well as local and regional organizations focused on economic development, an aspiration we see in lots of our graduates,” says Rollins.

Students who are current applied resource economics majors can choose to stay in the major or switch to one of the new majors. Beginning in Fall 2023, new students will enroll in only the new majors.

For students looking to supplement majors outside of the department, they will be able to minor in any of the previous concentrations, as well as equine business management.

“We’re excited about how this change will better serve our students now and allow our students to better serve society in the future,” says Rollins.


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