A number of 4-year colleges and universities across the country offer wildlife biology programs at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Coursework can include a number of specialties, such as conservation of endangered species, enforcement of regulations, education, resource management and research.
Top Plant and Animal Science Schools
The following 4-year schools offer wildlife biology degree programs:
|College/University||Location||Institution Type||Degrees Offered||Tuition (2015-2016, In-state)*|
|Cornell University||Ithaca, NY||4-year, Private||Master's, Doctoral||$29,581|
|University of California--Davis||Davis, CA||4-year, Public||Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral||$13,951 (Undergraduate), $13,164 (Graduate)|
|University of Florida||Gainesville, FL||4-year, Public||Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral||$6,381 (Undergraduate) $12,737 (Graduate)|
|Michigan State University||East Lansing, MI||4-year, Public||Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral||$13,560 (Undergraduate) $16,122 (Graduate)|
|University of Wisconsin--Madison||Madison, WI||4-year, Public||Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral||$10,415 (Undergraduate), $11,870 (Graduate)|
|University of Minnesota--Twin Cities||Minneapolis, MN||4-year, Public||Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral||$13,790 (Undergraduate) $17,289 (Graduate)|
|Duke University||Durham, NC||4-year, Private||Bachelor's||$49,241|
*Source: *National Center for Education Statistics
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College Selection Criteria
Further considerations for choosing a wildlife biology program:
- Students may benefit from seeking programs with significant hands-on experience either in a laboratory or in the field.
- Because wildlife studies depend on the location of the habitats of different species, students will want to find a school that has access to the populations they want to study.
- Some programs put more of an emphasis on conservation than others, so students interested in a job protecting wildlife should take that into consideration.
- Students should look at research opportunities and interests with the faculty of each program to see which one best aligns with their own interests.
Bachelor's Degree in Wildlife Biology
Bachelor's degree programs in wildlife biology last four years and include general education requirements in addition to laboratory and field experiences. Students prepare for entry-level work in government agencies and private organizations; they may also go on to teach in a high school setting. A high school diploma or its equivalent is required for entry into a bachelor's degree program.
Master of Science in Wildlife Biology
An M.S. in Wildlife Biology is appropriate for students who want to be research technicians or instructors at the high school or community college level. It can also be good preparation for those who need to clarify their research objectives before starting a Ph.D. program. The program usually requires two years of study and combines classroom lectures with independent research. Some M.S. programs require a thesis, while others do not. If students choose to complete a non-thesis program, they may still need to complete a professional research paper. A bachelor's degree in wildlife biology or a related field is necessary for admission.
Ph.D. in Wildlife Biology
A Ph.D. program is most appropriate for students wanting to conduct original, independent research involving fish and wildlife or the habitats in which these animals live. It's also appropriate for those who aim to teach topics such as conservation and environmentalism in a university setting. The program generally takes 4-6 years to complete and requires the completion of a dissertation; there may also be a final exam. Enrollees may need to satisfy a language requirement if advisors deem it necessary to a student's specialty based on the region of interest or the scholastics involved in a particular set of wildlife study.
Bachelor's, master's and doctoral degree programs in wildlife biology are available at public and private institutions throughout the United States for interested students. School location and opportunities for hands-on experiences should play a role in a student's school selection process.