Conservationist Schools and Degree Programs

Degree programs for aspiring environmental or nature conservationists are offered at the undergraduate and graduate levels, with some online learning options available. Explore the fields of study that can lead to a conservationist career, such as forestry and restoration ecology. Learn more about the coursework required for these programs. Schools offering Natural Resources & Conservation degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need to Know

Degree programs for aspiring conservationists are diverse, offering many opportunities for an individual to specialize in a particular area of study. From marine sciences to forestry to land management, schools offer many approaches towards earning a degree, including programs and courses that are available online, in the classroom or lab, and out in the field.

Degree Program Bachelor's, master's and Ph.D. programs are widely available
Classes Natural Resources, Ecology, Animal Science, Forestry, Marine Science
Colleges A school in a region of interest might best serve a student's needs

What School is Best for Me?

An academic course of study to become a conservationist might include forestry, environmental science, natural resource management or a related area. Also, there are schools that offer degree programs in conservation in general, which may be the most direct route to becoming a conservationist. You might consider a school in a region that is close to an area of interest. For example, many marine science programs may be located on the coast because of proximity to marine life, and many forestry programs may be located in the northwestern part of the U.S. because of the vast forests. The following are a few examples of schools that offer degree programs that would be suitable for a prospective conservationist:

  • Utah State University (Logan): Conservation and restoration ecology program
  • University of Nevada, Reno: Wildlife ecology and conservation program
  • University of Massachusetts at Amherst: Environmental conservation program
  • University of Montana (Missoula): Ecosystem science and restoration, forestry and resource conservation programs
  • Colorado State University (Fort Collins): Fish, wildlife and conservation biology program
  • University of Arizona (Tuscon): Natural resources - wildlife conservation and management program

What Degrees are Required?

A bachelor's degree is often the minimum requirement for conservation scientist or conservationist positions. However, an individual interested in being a college professor or a researcher will need a master's degree or a Ph.D.

You might be able to find a major in fields such as natural resources conservation, conservation and restoration ecology or wildlife ecology and conservation, among others. At the master's level, you might pursue a Master of Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology program or a Master of Science in Conservation Ecology and Sustainable Development or Natural Resources. Doctoral programs include a Doctor of Philosophy in Conservation Biology or Natural Resources - Wildlife Conservation and Management.

What Will I Study in These Programs?

Undergraduate programs provide a strong science background in areas such as ecology and conservation biology. These programs will also cover practical conservation concerns. Many undergraduate programs also require experience in outdoor conservation projects, either through field research courses or summer programs held in conjunction with nature conservation and environmental organizations. These course topic might also be explored:

  • Resource economics
  • Natural restoration
  • Habitat management
  • Soil science
  • Biochemistry

What About Graduate Courses?

Graduate degree programs require a specialized area of environmental conservation such as ecology, forestry or wildlife. Common conservation course topics at the advanced undergraduate or graduate level can include the following:

  • Conservation genetics
  • Climate change ecology
  • Natural resources law
  • Natural resources policy
  • Watershed management

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:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

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