Online master's degree programs in conservation biology are relatively uncommon due to the hands-on nature of the field. However, there are several master's programs available specifically in conservation biology, as well as several closely related programs, that can usually be completed in 1 to 3 years online. Explore a few of the different degree program types and potential coursework.
Types of Online Master's Degree Programs in Conservation Biology
Master of Science in Conservation Biology
Students can earn an online Master of Science (MS) in Conservation Biology or an online MS in Environmental Studies with a concentration in conservation biology. The online MS in Conservation Biology program may total around 36 credits, be completed in 1 to 2 years and include a professional course in teaching college biology. The curriculum for this program is very flexible to allow for customization through electives, but core course topics for this program may include research design and theories and issues in conservation biology. Online MS in Environmental Studies programs may also require around 36 credits, include labs and projects that students can complete in local ecosystems and offer courses in areas such as law, conservation genetics and biogeography to students in the conservation biology concentration.
Master of Fish, Wildlife and Conservation Biology
There is at least one available online Master of Fish, Wildlife and Conservation Biology that focuses on the conservation and management of wildlife. The program is designed for natural resources professionals, can be completed in 3 years and may be around 30 total credits. The program is self-paced and students learn from real-world examples and discussions about current field work of faculty members. Students may take coursework that covers subjects in fish and wildlife management, population dynamics, habitat management, policy, research sampling, conservation biology and more.
Professional Science Master's in Conservation Biology
Professional Science Master's (PSM) in Conservation Biology programs are more common in an on-campus setting, but there is at least one online PSM specifically in conservation biology, as well as a similar, online PSM in Fisheries and Wildlife Administration. The online PSM in Conservation Biology requires 31 to 34 credits, can be completed in 18 months and may offer a thesis, non-thesis and field problems (project) option. Students in this program may also take courses in topics like biostatistics, research, conservation biology and field experience in their local area. PSM programs in fisheries and wildlife administration may require around 45 credits, may include a capstone or internship requirement and offers coursework in conservation, but may include more coursework in business, management and the social sciences than a PSM in Conservation Biology.
Common Entrance Requirements
Most online master's degree programs in conservation biology require students to have a minimum GPA of a 2.5 to 3.0 and hold a bachelor's degree. Several of these programs may require the bachelor's degree to be in fish, wildlife and conservation biology, environmental science or another closely related field. Although rare, some programs may require applicants to have professional work experience in natural resources or a closely related field. Usually, applicants to these programs can expect to include a list or letters of reference and a statement of purpose. Some programs may also require students to include GRE scores and/or a detailed resume.
There are several master's degree programs in conservation biology that can be completed completely online. These programs cover a wide range of conservation topics and typically do not require a thesis.