Wildlife biology is often included as a specialization or an available area of study or research within graduate degree programs in biology that vary in their titles. Students can find these interdisciplinary programs at the master's and doctoral levels and may study additional topics in ecology, conservation biology and/or evolutionary biology that all incorporate aspects of wildlife. Here we explore a few of the universities in North Carolina that offer graduate programs to prepare students for careers in wildlife biology.
Schools in North Carolina with Graduate Programs in Wildlife Biology
North Carolina State University
Students at North Carolina State University in Raleigh can pursue a Master of Science (MS) or Master of Fisheries, Wildlife and Conservation Biology or a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Fisheries and Wildlife Conservation Biology. The MS degree program requires 30 credits, including seminars and research credits, a thesis and a minor area of study. The Master of Fisheries, Wildlife and Conservation Biology is a non-thesis degree, but still requires a research paper and at least 36 credit hours, including seminars and courses in special problems. PhD students must take 36 to 54 credits, maintain a 3.0 GPA, pass written exams and complete a dissertation and defense.
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Biology students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill can pursue a specialization in evolution, ecology and organismal biology at the master's or doctoral levels. Students in this specialization may study the behavior or form of different organisms, how organisms adapt to their environment and how various species formed. Students can pursue a Master of Arts (MA) that requires a written library report or an MS with a required thesis. In this institution, students may only be able to study at the master's level if their graduate advisor requests that they pursue a master's or if they are a doctoral student who requests to be moved to a master's program. Master's students must earn at least 30 credits, while PhD students must complete written and oral exams, a dissertation and may finish their degree in 10 to 16 semesters.
Western Carolina University
Western Carolina University in Cullowhee offers a general MS in Biology, but graduates of the program can work for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife or other wildlife-organizations. The MS program requires at least 30 semester hours and a thesis for graduation. Students in the program have unique hands-on learning and research opportunities at local national forests, national parks and the Highlands Biological Station. Faculty members in the program also provide research opportunities in various wildlife-related areas, such as behavioral ecology, invertebrate zoology, ornithology, population and community ecology and herpetology.
Appalachian State University
Appalachian State University in Boone also offers an MS in Biology and those interested in studying wildlife may pursue a specialization in ecology and evolutionary biology. Within this discipline students may pursue research in areas like conservation biology, organismal biology and physiology and graduates of the program have found careers at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management and more. Students also have research opportunities at the local Center of Biodiversity and must complete at least 30 hours of coursework. The program also requires a thesis with an oral defense and written comprehensive exam.
Common Entrance Requirements
Students pursuing master's or doctoral degree programs in wildlife biology usually need at least a bachelor's degree, and often this degree is in biology or another related field. Several of these degree programs have a minimum GPA set around a 3.0 and most of these programs require the GRE, with some programs requiring specific score benchmarks. The majority of these degree programs at either level require students to find a faculty advisor prior to admission or include a list of potential advisors in their application. Other common application materials for these programs include transcripts, letters of recommendation or reference and a statement of purpose. Some programs may also ask for a resume or an additional essay explaining a student's research interests.
North Carolina students who are interested in wildlife biology can pursue an MA, MS or PhD in various areas of biology from several different institutions. These programs typically require a final research paper, thesis or dissertation, depending on the degree level, and offer a wide range of research opportunities.