Online Wildlife Biology Degrees by Program Level

Dec 03, 2019

Get information about online degree programs in wildlife biology. Read about program requirements and details, course descriptions, as well as career options.

Essential Information

Wildlife biology degree programs are not typically offered online. At the bachelor's degree level, students may be able to complete some courses in biology or zoology via distance learning, and fully online programs in general biology, though rare, are also available. Master's degree students have a few more fully online degree programs to choose from in general biology, and students may choose electives in wildlife biology. Both degree levels typically have hybrid format programs as well. Some of these programs are designed for teachers.

Wildlife biology degree programs typically include hands-on fieldwork, laboratory work and research projects, which prepare students for a career working with wildlife. Because this is a competitive field in which experience is important, prospective online students should evaluate if they would have any practical learning opportunities.

Bachelor's Degree in Wildlife Biology

Due to the specificity of the subject, online programs in wildlife biology are rare. Bachelor of Science programs in fish, wildlife, and conservation biology are available in a hybrid format, requiring some in-person coursework. On-campus programs are available at the associate's, bachelor's, master's and doctorate level. Students may also look for online and on-campus programs in related fields, such as biology, fish and wildlife studies, ecology, zoology, wildlife management, and wildlife conservation.

Program Information and Requirements

Hybrid programs include some wildlife biology courses online, but require other classes to be completed on campus. Classes with lab components must be completed on campus. There are degree-completion programs in wildlife biology or related fields that can be completed entirely online. Online bachelor's degree programs in wildlife biology last three to five years, depending on course load and number of transfer courses.

Computer requirements include a relatively up-to-date operating system, audio and visual software, and hardware. High-speed Internet is recommended. Some schools require students to install educational software. Instructors and students discuss class topics using online forums.

List of Common Bachelor's-Level Wildlife Biology Courses

A bachelor's degree in wildlife biology is a multidisciplinary program. In addition to general education requirements and physical science classes required for a bachelor's degree, wildlife biology students take classes in basic animal biology and conservation issues in wildlife ecology.

Wildlife Conservation

This course shows how fisheries and wildlife are natural resources and have value to humans. Students learn about the importance of biodiversity and methods of preserving habitats and populations. It also discusses limiting cultural and economic issues on conservation.


This is an introductory course on the study of mammals. It traces the evolution and genetic diversity of mammals in their current state. Other topics include behavior, reproduction and population cycles, diets and taxonomy.


Ornithology is the study of birds. This class provides a fundamental knowledge of the evolution, behavior, reproduction, migration, physiology and habitats of birds.


Students learn about the adaptation and evolution of fish in this basic ichthyology course. It also provides information about their genetics, reproduction, behavior and morphology.

Degree in Wildlife Science Overview

There are many schools that offer wildlife biology graduate programs on campus and a few that offer such programs with selected online courses. A Master of Wildlife Science with entirely online coursework is rare. The program takes two years of study to complete.

Program Information and Requirements

This distance education master's degree program is made up of wildlife and fisheries classes from other departments. Students and advisors determine course requirements together. A final exam may require on-campus proctoring. Students submit a professional paper.

Classes require high-speed Internet access. Students can access library databases and reference resources online. Video and audio hardware and software are required to view tutorials, lectures, and other educational content. Faculty and fellow students can be reached through online discussion forums and chat rooms. For video conferencing, students need a microphone and web camera.

Common Master's-Level Courses in Wildlife Science

Since a student collaborates with the advisory committee to choose classes, a variety of classes in biology, ecology, marine life sciences, zoology and wildlife conservation may be available.

Vertebrate Biology

The vertebrate biology course describes the evolution of backbones in animals. It details the structure and function of vertebrae and through anatomy and physiology.

Invertebrate Biology

This class discusses details the function and structure of animals without backbones. The ecological role of invertebrates and population dynamics are also considered.

Animal Behavior

This class emphasizes the role of natural selection in the formation of animal behavior. Topics include mating, communication, interspecies relationships, food-seeking, migration and parenting.

Career Information for Graduates

Career opportunities are similar for graduates of online wildlife biology bachelor's and master's degree programs. Master's degrees may give graduates an advantage in hiring, professional standing and earnings. Federal and local governments, environmental agencies, park services and learning institutions benefit from the services of wildlife biologists. Positions for wildlife biologists include fisheries biologist, biology or environmental education teacher, zookeeper, wildlife conservation specialist, wildlife researcher, and wildlife manager.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, wildlife biologists earned median annual wages of $63,420 as of May 2018.

Aspiring wildlife biologists can find online programs with the necessary education at the bachelor's and master's degree levels. Typically, they must work through a general biology degree and take electives in wildlife biology; fully online programs in this domain can be rare.

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