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Career prospects after the degree programme Natural Resource Sciences

«After graduating, environmental engineers bring along important factors: professional competence, structured working methods, but also a broad horizon and extensive know-how.»

Monika Scherrer, municipal president Degersheim

The future relies on sustainability

Environmental markets are developing rapidly and very dynamically. The areas of environmental technologies and services, energy and water supplies, regional agriculture, urban and landscape development are regarded as having high developmental potential both in the short and long term. In the course of (building) a sustainable economy, numerous new jobs are being created in the environmental sector.

The future relies on sustainability. With a Bachelor’s degree in Natural Resource Sciences, you will be well equipped for this. The programme leads to professional qualifications, and thanks to the practically-oriented training, it will open up a wide range of career opportunities for you, be it as an employee in the private sector, public administration, a non-profit organisation, or as a self-employed entrepreneur

Career opportunities and remuneration after graduation

Graph: Percentage share in different fields of activity. Multiple answers possible

Almost half of our graduates who completed their studies in 2017 moved directly into employment. One year after graduation, 73% were in paid employment; two years after graduation. Among the graduates who graduated in 2015, 80% are in employment.

When looking for employment, personal contacts are often more promising than applications for publicly advertised positions. For many, gainful employment during their studies or an internship is a decisive move towards successful employment upon graduation. Two thirds of those who have found employment upon graduation consider their work to be within the realm of natural resource science(s).

The majority of graduates' annual income ranges between approximately CHF 65,000 and CHF 104,000.

Source: Institute of Natural Resource Sciences (IUNR) graduating survey, January 2019

Agriculture and Horticulture

«It's a study programme with a future because we'll always need sustainable agriculture.» Sonja Züst, sales consultant Andermatt Biocontrol AG
«My bachelor’s degree enabled me to turn my hobby into a profession.» Mira Langegger, project manager at ProSpecieRara
«I am about to embark on many projects and thanks to the skills acquired during my studies, I feel properly equipped to tackle them and make them a reality.» Kesang Schneider, a farmer on her own farm

Those graduating with the BSc in Natural Resource Sciences work in:

  • Agricultural research, consulting and educational institutions
  • Vegetable, fruit, wine and ornamental plant production 
  • Organisations trading and marketing agricultural goods
  • Public agricultural institutions and association

Renewable energies and eco-technologies

«It is a study programme which is relevant for the future because we can make a real difference for generations to come.» Ruedi Schmid, co-founder and managing director Clevergie AG
«During my studies, I acquired the skills to work in an interdisciplinary team and to find the optimum approach so that all the needs of the project partners are met.» Denis Kriegenmann, junior project manager at CSD Ingenieure AG
«The varied nature of the degree programme helped me to look at projects holistically and to develop broad technical expertise. When I'm working on ARA projects, it's apparent just how many crossovers there are with other disciplines.» Till Brändle, project engineer at CSD Envirotec

Possible occupational fields after your studies are ...

  • Engineering offices or advisory offices, e.g. with focus on renewable energies, energy efficiency and sustainable construction
  • Research institutes in recycling management and technology
  • Solar companies
  • Energy departments at federal, cantonal and municipal authorities
  • Sustainability departments of companies in logistics, energy and resource optimisation
  • Start-ups, e.g. for innovative water technology, solar energy or CO2-neutral solutions

Nature Management

«It’s a study programme which is relevant for the future because we can make a difference right at the interface between people and the environment.» Roger Morgenthaler, project employee at CSD Ingenieure AG
«The practical relevance of the degree to what we actually do in the field is a great advantage and this makes it easier to handle the tasks I have to perform in my work.» Christa Andrey, managing director NATURAndrey GmbH
«The degree programme provides a very broad knowledge base. The wide range of modules covering many areas of interest means you can really focus in on your subject.» Severin Gisler, project manager Allegra Trail GmbH

Those graduating with the BSc in Natural Resource Sciences work in:

  • Environmental consulting and Engineering offices 
  • Centres of expertise for landscape, environment, nature protection, hunting and
    fishing at federal, cantonal and community levels
  • Administrative offices for nature reserves and nature parks 
  • Institutes for nature and landscape research 
  • Environmental organisations and foundations involved in nature and landscape

Environmental Systems and Sustainable Development

«It is a study programme which is relevant for the future as we can actively shape and develop our environment.» Amina Clénin and Severin Hermann, founder and managing director of Arbignon AG
«As product manager, I am responsible for sustainability issues - I acquired the necessary skills during my studies.» Yvonne Schuler, Product Manager Tourism Engadin Scuol Samnaun Val Müstair AG

Those graduating with the BSc in Natural Resource Sciences work in:

  • Sustainability departments in local government, businesses and other organisations
  • Environmental communications offices
  • Environmental organisations and foundations focusing on sustainable development
  • Independent change management for sustainable development
  • Tourism agencies in regions and municipalities
  • Nature parks and regional development offices

Urban Ecosystems

«It's a study programme which is relevant for the future because more and more people are living together in a smaller space, and so it is all the more important to protect the available green areas and to use them in a sensible way.» Simon Witzig, Manager of Werkhof Gemeinde Degersheim
«The degree programme lays the foundation for us to think in an interconnected and sustainable way.» Bettina Knobel, project manager of the Stadtgärtnerei in Basel-Stadt
«The advantage of this multifaceted degree course is that afterwards you're able to take in different perspectives when working in interdisciplinary teams.» Marc Vögelin, project manager Fachstelle Spielraum

Those graduating with the BSc in Natural Resource Sciences work in:

  • Offices for nature protection, environmental consulting and ecology
  • Landscape architecture offices, spatial and environmental planning companies
  • Centres of expertise at federal, cantonal and community levels for nature protection,
    planning, construction, management and maintenance
  • Research and educational institutions involved in urban ecology and biodiversity

Master's in Environment and Natural Resources

After completing your bachelor's degree in environmental engineering, you can also take our postgraduate master's degree in Environment and Natural Resources.
The master's combines socio-economic and scientific research methods. Our goal is a discipline-based education, while at the same time teaching interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary skills for answering complex questions in the environmental field. At the beginning of your studies, you choose one of the three main specialisations: Agrofoodsystems, Biodiversity & Ecosystems or Ecological Engineering.

«I chose the master's program in Environment and Natural Resources because after completing my bachelor's degree in environmental engineering, I wanted to specialise even more in closed nutrient cycles, particularly in aquaponics, with a focus on organic agriculture and horticulture. I really value the interesting exchange of knowledge at the ZHAW and feel very comfortable at this university of applied sciences. I am convinced that this master's specialisation in Ecological Engineering will strengthen me in many ways for the future.»

Florentina Gartmann, student in the Ecological Engineering Master's Research Unit and research assistant in the Ecotechnology Research Group