Wildlife and Conservation Biology

The major in wildlife and conservation biology, offered through the Department of Natural Resources Science (NRS), 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. Wildlife majors meet the educational requirements for state and federal employment in the wildlife profession, and can apply to become Certified Wildlife Biologists (CWBs) who are recognized by The Wildlife Society.

The major requires professional courses (19 credits) including natural resource conservation (NRS 100), a seminar in natural resources (NRS 200), introductory ecology (BIO 262), resource economics (EEC 105), introductory soil science (NRS 212), and conservation biology (NRS 223). Basic science requirements (23 credits) include eight credits of introductory biological sciences (BIO 101/103 & 102/104); eight credits of introductory and organic chemistry (CHM 103/105 & 124/126); three credits introductory calculus (MTH 131); and four credits of introductory statistics (STA 308 or 409). Required concentration courses (23-25 credits) include principles of wildlife ecology and management (3 credits); wildlife field techniques (3 credits); field botany and taxonomy (4 credits); wetland wildlife or nongame and endangered species management (4 credits); and 9-11 additional credits from an approved list of concentration courses that may include either field ornithology, mammalogy, vertebrate biology, herpetology, animal behavior or wildlife biometrics. Supporting electives (24-26 credits) must be selected from the approved list or from concentration electives or from other 300- or 400- level natural resources science courses. Students may complete specific course work to apply to become a certified wildlife biologist that includes the following supporting electives: three credits in botany; six credits in zoology; six credits in resources policy; and six credits in communications. Up to 12 credits of experiential learning courses may be taken toward satisfying concentration (letter grade courses only) and supporting elective requirements (letter or S/U courses). Concentration and supporting elective courses must total at least 49 credits. At least 12 credits of natural resources science courses must be completed in concentration and at least 6 more in supporting electives. A total of 120 credits is required for graduation.

In order to transfer from University College for Academic Success to the College of the Environment and Life Sciences as a Wildlife and Conservation Biology major (or be coded as such in the College of the Environment and Life Sciences), a student must have earned 30 credits including BIO 101, 103, 102, 104 with grades of C or better; NRS 100, 223 with a grade of C or better.

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.

Restoration Science and Management: This interdepartmental minor provides students in-depth, interdisciplinary training in the principles and application of restoration science and management to solve environmental problems and issues. Students who declare a minor in restoration science and management are required to complete 18 credits, including 4 credits from NRS 401, 3 credits from NRS 543, 3-6 credits from one or more experiential learning project courses (NRS 395, NRS 397, GEO 397, NRS 491, NRS 492 NRS 495, NRS 497), and 4-8 credits from one or more of the following courses: BIO 262, GEO 103, GEO 320, NRS 223, NRS 445, NRS 475. Students minoring in restoration science and management are encouraged to take a capstone course that allows them to apply their analytical skills in a real-world application and to engage with NGO, state, federal agencies on projects and internships.

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.