Conservation Science Master's Degree Programs

See what a master's degree in conservation science entails, find out how you can prepare for a career with a master's degree in conservation science or conservation biology, and learn what courses are required. Discover the employment outlook and median salary of conservation scientists. Schools offering Natural Resources & Conservation degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Does a Master's Degree Program in Conservation Science Entail?

Master's degree programs in conservation science, or conservation biology, involve preparing students to work at a local to global level to conserve natural resources. These programs address issues from sustainability and biodiversity to conservation planning and policy development.

If you're planning on applying to a master's degree program, you'll need to have a bachelor's degree from an accredited school. A major in conservation science or other environmental topics may be preferred, but some schools accept students with undergraduate backgrounds in other areas. You typically also need to provide GRE scores, letters of recommendation and a statement of purpose.

PrerequisitesA bachelor's degree, standardized test scores, reference letters and statements
Common CoursesResearch methods, environmental philosophy, environmental program management, land use and laws
Online OptionsGraduate certificates
Job Outlook7% expected job growth from 2014-2024, median salary $60,360 (for conservation scientists)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Courses Are Required?

Courses in a master's degree in conservation science touch on major environmental issues, including resource allegation, biodiversity and environmental conservation strategies. Some programs offer you the opportunity to specialize in specific areas, such as building systems or conservation biology. Depending on the program, you may also be able to select a thesis or non-thesis track. Some of the courses you can expect to take include:

  • Research methods
  • Environmental philosophy
  • Land use and laws
  • Environmental program management

Are Programs Available Online?

To earn a master's degree in conservation science, you'll generally need to complete an on-campus program. However, if you're interested in pursuing additional education in this field through an online program, you may be able to find graduate certificates in specific areas, such as fisheries management, or for-credit courses in wildlife or conservation science.

What Will My Career Options Be?

With a master's degree in conservation science, you may find jobs in both the public and private sector, working to protect our natural resources. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment opportunities for conservation scientists are expected to grow at an average rate of 7% between 2014 and 2024 ( The BLS attributes this healthy growth rate to the rise in demand for conservation programs and sustainable development. In 2014, the median salary for a conservation scientist was $60,360, according to the BLS.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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