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The Honors Integrated Minor in Ecology and Legacy focuses on human and nonhuman relationships in their ecosystems, and how these complicated entanglements manifest across place, population, and time. There is an urgent need for students who have multidisciplinary training and can think critically about how ecosystem well-being is intimately connected to societies and cultures.

The integrated coursework offered through the Honors Integrated Minor in Ecology will prepare students to engage with broad issues of ecology, conservation, and environmental justice in their disciplines and/or professional areas with critical and systems-based thinking. Students will be introduced to diverse scientific and humanistic approaches to ecology that shape our understanding of “nature” and influence the past, current, and future formations of human and nonhuman relationships.

Investigating these issues and concepts both in class and out in the field, students in the Honors Integrated Minor in Ecology will pursue place-based studies and practices to contextualize and orient their own ecological commitments.

The Honors Ecology & Legacy Integrated Minor includes two distinct tracks taken in a set sequence with a cohort of peers: Global (including a multi-week summer intensive abroad) and Utah (including a one-week field intensive).

Faculty Director: Dr. Juliana Chow, Assistant Professor, Honors College.

Administrative Support: Dominic Pecoraro, Associate Director of Special Programs, Honors College.

The minor is open to students in any major. Both incoming and current Honors students can apply, review more information for each track and apply below.

Costa Rica

Study the diversity of tropical ecosystems by understanding human perceptions and impacts of/on nature. Courses focus on ecological thinking, wildlife conservation, and comparative ecology. Summer fieldwork focuses on ecology and conservation management in Costa Rica.

Cohort comprised of up to 15 Honors students from any major

Coursework schedule:

  • Fall 2024: HONOR 2211 – Writing with Honors (3 credits)
  • Spring 2025: HONOR 2109 – Intellectual Traditions through an Ecological Lens (3 credits)
  • Summer 2025: HONOR 2700 – Comparative Ecology (3 credits) + HONOR 2470– Conservation and Land Management (3 credits)
  • Fall 2025: HONOR 2104 – Cross Cultural Dialogue (3 credits)
  • +1 pre-approved minor elective completed in any semester prior to graduation (3 credits)

Summer Fieldwork: Partnership with Organizational for Tropical Studies at Costa Rica field stations (6-week intensive).

Cost: $7000. Our programs usually cost ~$5-8k (includes tuition, fees, room/board, etc.) plus airfare (~$1k) for the summer intensive; scholarships are available.

Applications for the 2024-25 cohort submitted after May 3 will be reviewed on a rolling basis through the summer.

Apply Now

Sloth and Baby

“To say this program changed my life is an understatement. Ecology and Legacy marks a pivot point for me because it redefined how I want to approach my career in materials science and engineering.”

– Danielle Beatty, Honors Bachelors of Science, Materials Science Engineering

Honors students in the field in Utah 2022


Utah has 3,000 species of plants, 1000 species of North American bees, and millions of migrating birds. We are also home to a growing, dynamic population, representing a wealth of indigenous, historic, and contemporary cultures. In this minor, students study Utah’s desert ecosystems, learn how cultures, histories, and ecologies interact, and engage with issues in environmental justice and sustainability. Capstone experience after completion of prerequisites includes interdisciplinary coursework in the humanities and science, intensive fieldwork, writing assignments, and projects.

Open to all Honors students


  • Take the exploratory HONOR 2109 – Intellectual Traditions through an Ecological Lens and HONOR 2211 – Writing in Honors (Ecology Writing section) in the Fall 2024 or Spring 2025 semester.
  • Complete other core requirements for the minor in subsequent years which will include HONOR 2110 – Intellectual Traditions through an Ecological Lens – Utah focus, HONOR 2700 – Comparative Ecology, a pre-approved elective, and a capstone experience.

Cost: No additional cost beyond regular class tuition, fees, etc.

Exploratory courses are open enrollment, no application is necessary.

“When you open my journal from the Ecology and Legacy Minor, the first line of almost every entry is ‘Today was the best day of my life.’ As an undergraduate at such a large university, it is easy for education to become impersonal. This minor gave me a support system and a family at the University of Utah.”

– Jaya Muehlam