Wildlife Ecology Master's Programs

A master's degree in wildlife ecology can be earned through taking a variety of different classes. Learn more about these classes, program length, and general program admission requirements.

How to Earn a Master's Degree in Wildlife Ecology

Students that want to enter into a master's degree program in wildlife ecology will need to already hold a minimum of a bachelor's degree. These programs typically require students to complete at least 30 units of credit prior to graduation, and some of the courses that they may take include ecotoxicology, conservation biology, historical ecology, and tree physiology and ecophysiology.


Ecotoxicology is the study of toxicants and how they impact the ecosystem, populations, and different communities. Students in a class like this will learn about a variety of toxicants and their sources, along with the effects that they have on the environment at different levels. By the end of this course, students will know how to identify toxicants and assess the risks associated with them along with how they will affect the areas that are exposed.

Conservation Biology

The goal of a course like this is to understand the social, economic, ecological, and biological principles of the field of conservation biology. Some of the many different topics addressed in a class like this include biodiversity, habitat loss, population ecology, invasive species and their effects, and conservation planning. Students in a conservation biology course will also look at different human activities and how the affect the biosphere. Lastly, students will learn the different approaches to monitoring conservation intervention efforts.

Historical Ecology

The importance of past events on current ecosystems is the main focus in a historical ecology course. Those in this course will learn about the interactions between humans, landscapes, and other aspects of the environment. A historical ecology course will touch base on a variety of subjects including biology, geography, anthropology, and possibly archaeology.

Physiology of Trees and Ecophysiology

Tree physiology and ecophysiology will teach students about the effects of different climate changes on the forests both in the past and in the present. Students in a course like this will study the physiological development of trees and forests. By the conclusion of this class, attendees will be able to understand the different factors that can affect the growth of both trees and ecosystems.

Ecology of Forests

Students in this course will be taught about the important and major factors that can influence the structure and the function of different forest ecosystems. A forest ecology course will also help students to understand the natural disturbances that occur in forest ecosystems. Additionally, there will be an emphasis on the current challenges that forest ecosystems are facing, like climate change, pollution, and introduced species, along with the impact that humans are having, or could have, on these types of ecosystems.

Ecology of Landscapes

A course in landscape ecology will focus on teaching the students about how important spacial patterns are on broad scales. This class will also discuss the function, structure, and changes of different land areas and the interactions of ecosystems. Students will learn how to use different tools important in spacial analysis, and also how to make decisions and use problem solving skills in the area of land-use management.

Common Admission Requirements

All students that want to gain admission into a master's degree program for wildlife ecology will need to hold at least a bachelor's degree, preferably in a field such as wildlife ecology, biology, or another closely related area. Applicants will usually need to hold a 3.0 GPA or higher on a 4.0 scale when it comes to their previous undergraduate coursework. The GRE exam must also be taken and scores should be sent to all schools that students are applying too, and some schools require students to have a cumulative score in the top 50th percentile. Lastly, students may also need to submit additional documents such as their undergraduate transcripts, letters of recommendation, resume or CV, or a statement of purpose depending on the school that they are applying to.

Anyone wishing to enter in to a master's degree program in wildlife ecology will need to meet set program admission requirements like holding a 3.0 GPA, submitting all of the necessary documentation, and taking the GRE exam. Once admitted into one of these programs, students will need to earn 30 units of credit from courses like forest ecology, conservation biology, historical ecology, and landscape ecology.