Schools with Wildlife Biology Courses

Review the difference between wildlife biology and zoology, and get info on choosing a school for your wildlife biology studies. Explore the curricula for these programs at the associate's, bachelor's, master's and doctoral degree levels. Find out what you'd learn as an undergraduate or graduate wildlife biology student. Schools offering Biology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Students can study wildlife biology through associate's, bachelor's, master's and doctoral degree programs. Online options are available; many programs prepare students for employment at national parks and similar facilities.

What Is the Difference Between Zoology and Wildlife Biology?

In general, you can consider wildlife biology a specialization or division of zoology. Wildlife biologists are primarily concerned with wild animals, such as those that may be designated as endangered, affected or threatened by environmental changes. There can be more of an emphasis on conservation in the field of wildlife biology. The difference between the two is sometimes blurred, and there are practicing wildlife biologists who have a degree in zoology.

Where Can I Find an Appropriate Program?

Although the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) only lists 24 schools that may offer programs in wildlife biology, it lists another 97 with programs in wildlife, fish and wildlands sciences management. In addition, the NCES lists another 67 schools that present programs in zoology and animal biology. If you investigate the individual institutions, you may be able to locate a school that meets your needs.

You can find wildlife biology programs in one of the school's departments, divisions or colleges. These include life, earth and environmental sciences, forestry and conservation, plant and wildlife sciences, biology, natural resources or zoology. As a student or recent graduate, you may be able to take advantage of--and earn credit for--one of the many federal internships available through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

What Undergraduate Degrees Are Available?

There are a number of community colleges that offer an Associate of Science in Biology program with an emphasis on pre-wildlife biology or wildlife biology. These are 2-year programs, generally intended for transfer to a 4-year school and a bachelor's degree.

Some programs don't include all the general-education requirements necessary to directly pursue a bachelor's degree, so you may need to determine what will be required of you in your junior and senior years. Although associate's degree programs include a heavy dose of chemistry and biology courses, some programs are more detailed. They may offer courses in such subjects as plant and fungal biology, animal geology, natural resources and ecology. Schools may emphasize a certain amount of fieldwork.

Though the most common wildlife biology degree at the baccalaureate level is a Bachelor of Science (B.S.), schools may offer a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.). The B.A. program may include a foreign-language requirement. If you're interest lies in the area of conservation, you may be able to earn a B.S. in Wildlife and Wildlands Conservation. Schools may give you the option of concentrating in terrestrial animals (which emphasizes birds and mammals) or aquatic studies--which emphasizes freshwater ecology, hydrology and fish.

Typical undergraduate courses include animal behavior, wildlife management, ecology conservation biology, herpetology and wildland soils. In addition to outdoor labs, mandatory internships are quite common over the course of a 4-year program. As a graduate, you may satisfy the requirements set by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to become a wildlife inspector, biologist or refuge manager.

Which Schools Offer Associate's Degrees in Wildlife Biology?

Many programs exist at the associate's degree level. We've listed a few with relevant pathways.

  • An Associate of Applied Science in Wildlife Resources Management is available at Hocking College.
  • There's an Associate of Science degree with a specialization in biology at Tacoma Community College which is transferable to a major in Wildlife Ecology and Conservation Sciences at Washington State University.
  • Front Range Community College offers an Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree program in Forestry, Natural Resources, Wildlife with specializations in forestry technology, natural resources, and wildlife technology.

Which Schools Offer Bachelor's Degrees in Wildlife Biology?

Consider some of the following programs in your search for a 4-year degree. Online options exist; some programs pair with certifications for wildlife biologists.

  • Oregon State University has an online Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree program in Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences.
  • SUNY Cobleskill offers a Bachelor of Technology program in Wildlife Management.
  • You can earn a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science with a Fish and Wildlife Management Concentration online at American Public University.

Are There Graduate Programs Available?

A program leading to a Master of Science in Animal Biology generally takes two years to complete, consisting of coursework and independent study. With the help of a faculty advisor and committee, you format your own program based on your area of interest. In a 30-credit program, you write and defend a thesis. In a 36-credit program you write and defend a shorter, professional paper. If deemed appropriate to your field of research, you may have to fulfill a foreign-language requirement.

Schools vary in their requirements for a Ph.D. in Animal Biology. Some insist on a minimum number of graduate semester-credits, while others simply recommend that you may want to enroll in some coursework. In either case, the program can take 4-6 years to complete. Your research is conducted with faculty consultation, and all programs require you to write and defend a dissertation. Some schools also require you to sit for written and oral comprehensive examinations on your coursework.

Which Schools Offer Master's Degrees in Wildlife Biology?

Master's degrees in wildlife biology include in-depth coursework in areas like issues in wildlife, conservation, and natural resources. Online options are designed for professionals in the field.

  • American Public University offers a Master of Science in Environmental Policy and Management with a Fish and Wildlife Management Concentration.
  • There's an online Professional Science Master's in Fisheries and Wildlife Administration available at Oregon State University.
  • An online Master of Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology (FWCB) degree program is offered at Colorado State University.

Which Schools Offer Doctoral Degrees in Wildlife Biology?

Many relevant graduate programs in wildlife biology are associated with state and national parks. Here are a few doctoral programs available from areas of the country where wildlife is prominent.

  • Oregon State University provides a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree program in Fisheries Science and Wildlife Science.
  • A Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree program in Fish and Wildlife Biology is available from Montana State University.
  • Colorado State University offers a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree program through its Department of Fish, Wildlife and Conservation Biology.

Wildlife biology courses are widely available through undergraduate and graduate degree programs. Students can even enter into programs that are offered through distance learning.

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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