Wildlife and Conservation Biology

The major in wildlife and conservation biology, offered through the Department of Natural Resources Science, prepares students for professional careers in the public and private sectors of wildlife biology. In addition, the major provides a solid background for graduate study. Wildlife biologists are professionals concerned with the scientific management of the earth’s wildlife species and their habitats. They work in the areas of preservation, conservation, and management of wildlife species. Graduates can become Certified Wildlife Biologists (CWBs) who are recognized by the Wildlife Society, an international professional organization. In addition, wildlife majors meet the educational requirements for state and federal employment in the wildlife profession.

The major requires 19 credits of professional courses, which include natural resource conservation, seminar in natural resources, physical geology, resource economics, introductory soil science, and conservation biology. As part of the basic science requirements (22 credits), wildlife majors must complete eight credits in introductory biological sciences; four credits in introductory chemistry; four credits in organic chemistry; three credits in introductory calculus; and three credits in introductory statistics. Required concentration courses (22-26 credits) include three credits in the principles of wildlife management; three credits in wildlife field techniques; four credits in field botany and taxonomy; 3-4 credits in wetland wildlife or nongame and endangered species management; and 9-12 credits from an approved list of concentration courses that may include, for example, field ornithology, biology of mammals, vertebrate biology, herpetology, and wildlife biometrics. Supporting electives (21-25 credits) must be selected from the approved list. We encourage students to complete course work so they can become a certified wildlife biologist, which includes the following upper-division course work: three credits in botany; six credits in zoology; six credits in resources policy or administration, environmental law, or land use planning; and six credits in communications. Additional supporting electives must be selected from concentration electives, or from other 300- or 400-level natural resources science courses. Up to 12 credits of experiential learning courses may be taken toward satisfying concentration (letter grade courses only) and supporting elective requirements.

Minors in Natural Resources Science

The following minors are University-approved. Students may also design their own minors; see Minor Fields of Study.

GIS and Remote Sensing. This minor field of specialization provides students in-depth training in the use of GIS (geographic information system) and remote sensing technology and application of geospatial data processing methods to environmental problem solving. Students who declare a minor in GIS and remote sensing must complete 18 credit hours consisting of the following core courses: NRS 409, 410, 415, 516, and 522. The remaining credits may be taken from NRS 423, 524, 533, or CPL 511. Students minoring in GIS and remote sensing are encouraged to take a capstone course that allows them to apply their analytical skills in a real-world application.

Soil Environmental Science. This minor field of specialization provides students in-depth training in the application of soils information to solve environmental problems and issues. Students fulfilling the requirements of the soil environmental science minor meet the qualifications for basic membership in the Society of Soil Scientists of Southern New England, are eligible for certification as soil scientists under the American Registry of Certified Professional Soil Scientists, and meet the requirements for federal job listings under soil scientists. Students who declare a minor in soil environmental science must complete 18 credits from the following courses: NRS 212, 351, 412, 426, 450, 452, 461, 471, 510, or 567. Students minoring in soil environmental science are encouraged to take a capstone course that allows them to apply their analytical skills in a real-world application.

Wildlife and Conservation Biology. This minor field of specialization provides students in-depth training in the principles of managing wildlife populations and their habitats. Students who declare a minor in wildlife and conservation biology must complete at least 18 credits of NRS courses within the WCB major curriculum, at least 12 of these 18 credits must be at the 200 level or higher, and all courses in the minor must be taken for a letter grade. Students minoring in wildlife and conservation biology are encouraged to take a capstone course that allows them to apply their analytical skills in a real-world application.

A major in this program is also available. See above.