Schools with Wildlife Conservation Programs: How to Choose

Programs are widely available for earning undergraduate and/or graduate degrees in wildlife conservation and the related fields of wildlife management and wildlife biology. Associate degree programs can be found at vocational and community colleges, while bachelor's and master's degrees can be earned at 4-year universities.

How to Choose a Wildlife Conservation School

Wildlife conservation programs offer preparation for work in a variety of jobs with wildlife, so students will need to be sure their program has the right education level. In general, associate program graduates are qualified for entry-level jobs such as forestry worker or wildlife management technician. However, a bachelor's degree is usually required for jobs in wildlife conservation and its related fields. A master's degree is needed for those with career plans that include teaching, research, or high-level management.

In addition to degree level, students will want to keep these considerations in mind:

  • Practical training is a critical component of a wildlife conservation program. Some schools offer undergraduate research opportunities, and many degree programs require students to complete internships.
  • Students seeking a graduate education within their area of interest may want to apply to a school that offers undergraduate preparation as well.
  • Graduates of some programs may qualify for various professional certifications, such as the optional Certified Wildlife Biologist credential offered by The Wildlife Society.

Wildlife Conservation Program Overviews

Associate Degrees

Many community and vocational colleges offer associate degree programs in wildlife conservation. These programs generally take two years to complete. Graduates are prepared for entry-level jobs in the wildlife field, or they may pursue additional education through a bachelor's degree program. Common courses include:

  • Environmental science
  • Biology
  • Wildlife management
  • Soil sciences
  • Hydrology

Bachelor's Degrees

Bachelor's degree programs in wildlife conservation usually take at least four years to complete. These programs prepare students for a variety of careers in the wildlife field as a wildlife conservationist, biologist or public educator. Students often have the opportunity to participate in internships, research projects or field studies through the school or with affiliated organizations. Courses that students may take include:

  • Wildlife management
  • Biology
  • Botany
  • Wildlife history
  • Conservation law

Master's Degrees

Master's degree programs prepare students for careers in research, education or administration in the field of wildlife and environmental conservation. These programs usually take at least two years to complete and offer students specialized coursework in a particular research or career focus. Students must typically choose between the completion of a research thesis or project to graduate. Courses vary based on specific areas of study and may cover:

  • Wildlife habitats
  • Fishery populations
  • Marine animals
  • Environmental ecology

10 Schools with Wildlife Conservation Programs

College/University Institution Type
Boston University 4-year, Private
Colorado State University 4-year, Public
Cornell University 4-year, Private
Front Range Community College 2-year, Public
Michigan State University 4-year, Public
Montana State University 4-year, Public
Oregon State University 4-year, Public
University of California-Davis 4-year, Public
University of Florida 4-year, Public
University of Washington-Seattle 4-year, Public

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