Wildlife Biology Degree Programs: Nowadays, the scope of knowledge of a wildlife biologist is vast. Almost all degree programs offered on the subjects teach ecology and conservation principles.
Specialists in the biology of terrestrial or aquatic species are now needed at reserves, zoos, national parks, as well as at the state agencies. Wildlife specialists now work at an interface between living organisms, their environment, and the needs of human populations. They need both management and communication skills.
Because of the significant variety of possible situations, a biologist can find himself or herself in; each university takes its own direction with its wildlife biology programs.
Table of Contents
- 1. Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO
- 2. Brigham Young University, Provo, UT
- 3. Texas State University, San Marcos, TX
- 4. SUNY college of environmental science and forestry, Syracuse, NY
- 5. The University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY
- 6. Lees MacRae college, Banner Elk, NC
- 7. Frostburg State University, Frostburg, MD
- 8. Kansas State University, Fisheries, Manhattan, KS
- 9. University of Vermont, Burlington, VT
- 10. Texas A&M University, Canyon, TX
- 11. Unity College, Unity, Maine
- 12. The University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, ND
- 13. Ohio State University, Athens, OH
- 14. University of Michigan, Flint MI
- 15. Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR
Best Wildlife Biology Degree Programs
Let us see what the best wildlife biology programs offer in these top 15 universities or colleges in the US – so you can find the best fit.
1. Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO
Wildlife and conservation biology major program is offered at the Warner College of Natural resources and has the highest ranking at College Raptor site at present. The main features of the program are:
- There are several concentrations offered: wildlife biology, fisheries, aquatic science, and conservation biology.
- The students learn to gather data on terrestrial and aquatic species behavior, distribution, genetics, and physiology.
- Another essential part of the curriculum is learning different approaches for the remediation of the environment.
- The college is involved in preparing public policies on environmental protection.
- For the practical studies, the college invites students to their cooperative fish and wildlife unit, as well as the Larval Fish laboratory.
2. Brigham Young University, Provo, UT
First of all, one should not think that Brigham Young University is a private institution. There are several strict rules and an Honor Code that is usually absent in most public universities. Still, the wildlife & wildlands conservation program is considered one of the best and attracts students despite the presence of a dress code and other regulations concerning behavior.
Besides the necessary coursework covering physics, chemistry, and main Biology disciplines, there are courses on:
- Rangeland biodiversity and management.
- Wildlife law.
- Conflict resolution.
- Geographic Information System (GIS).
There are several important features the students should be aware of:
- Religious courses are a required part of the curriculum.
- There are so-called “Arts” and “Letters” required courses that cover literature, history, and American Heritage.
- The students can participate in field labs and research projects.
- The degree allows the students to work in natural resources management – both in private and state companies.
- It is also possible to work at the zoos and natural reserves with this degree.
3. Texas State University, San Marcos, TX
The Wildlife Biology Bachelors degree from Texas State University offers general training in wildlife biology with a focus in wildlife management (including management of recreational wildlife areas). Here are the main highlights:
- The program prepares the future graduates for work in wildlife reserves and recreational parks.
- Future graduates would also be able to work as teachers, museum curators, and researchers.
- The degree offers a comprehensive curriculum that covers most Animal and Plant Science disciplines, as well as conservation, wildlife management, and recreation management.
- The University also has a Student Chapter of Wildlife Society, which accepts undergraduate students.
- The department has extensive teaching staff, as well as several field sites and additional facilities, such as:
- The Meadows Centre for Water and Environment (Spring Lake).
- Edwards Aquifer Research and Data Center.
4. SUNY college of environmental science and forestry, Syracuse, NY
The SUNY College of forestry and environmental science was ranked second place at the list of the best “green colleges“.
In particular, their wildlife science program gives the students sufficient knowledge to achieve a delicate balance between the needs of the environment and the needs of the human population.
The main features of the degree are:
- The focus of the program is on the applied ecology.
- The students would be able to specialize in specific taxonomic groups of animals and plants.
- There are in-depth courses on scientific communication, ecological monitoring, and biodiversity, as well as GIS.
- It is possible to choose courses on environmental law and management.
- The field stations include Adirondacks Ecological Centre, Heiberg Forest, and Cranberry Lake Biological Station.
- The college offers and encourages internships or volunteering at various agencies and conservation organizations.
- The college is affiliated with Syracuse University.
5. The University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY
The Wildlife and Fisheries Biology and Management program is focused on wildlife and fishery resources management, with an emphasis on ecology and evolution.
- The program combines basic core subjects (General Biology, Genetics, Physics, and Chemistry) with intensive training in fisheries/wildlife management.
- Their degree includes optional specialized courses in management, wildlife law, science journalism, renewable resources.
- During the Junior and Senior years, the students would be able to choose a specialization in either aquatic or terrestrial species.
- The facilities include:
- University of Wyoming National Park research center.
- Jenkins Microscopy facility.
- The degree is compatible with professional requirements for the American Fisheries Society and the American Wildlife Society.
6. Lees MacRae college, Banner Elk, NC
The Lees MacRae College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. The institution is located in the Southern Appalachian Mountains is ideally situated for studying Biology. There are reserves and forests within reach. Besides the standard curriculum, there are other attractive options offered in this program:
- Courses in Wildlife rehabilitation and veterinary science are available at the college.
- There are various long-term research projects the students can participate in.
- The college is affiliated with the Elk Valley Preserve and Field Station where students can gain experience in caring for wildlife, as well as studying vertebrate and invertebrate terrestrial and aquatic species.
- The teaching staff includes three professors with a Ph.D. in ecology, as well as a professor in wildlife veterinary science.
- During the senior year, students are required to conduct their own research project.
7. Frostburg State University, Frostburg, MD
Frostburg State University is the only institution that offers a 4-year program in wildlife Biology in Maryland.
- The program allows students to obtain several optional specializations, such as game management, management of fisheries and wildlife research and conservation.
- The students have an opportunity to perform field studies in the Allegheny Mountains.
- In the course of the study, it would be possible to participate in cave and stream surveys to evaluate the population dynamics of endangered species.
- The university also offers internships in wildlife parks and state services.
- It is possible to add minors in ethnobotany, animal behavior, sustainability, geography, or sustainability.
- There is a local fish museum where the students can get some practical experience and theoretical knowledge.
- There are also multiple labs (genetics and microbiology) that students can use for research and studies.
- The program allows passing certification for the Wildlife Society and Fisheries Society.
8. Kansas State University, Fisheries, Manhattan, KS
Kansas State University offers both Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science for Wildlife and Conservation Biology degree. Besides the standard required coursework in Math, Biology, and Chemistry, the main features of the degree are:
- The program offers a specialization in fisheries ecology and management optional courses that include Ichthyology, fisheries management, and fish ecology.
- The students can also specialize in wildlife ecology and management, and the coursework covers mammology, ornithology, and ichthyology, as well as plant biology.
- Besides the necessary coursework, the students would be able to study biodiversity and conservation.
- Courses are accompanied by complementary laboratory classes that teach students practical skills.
- The research facilities include:
- Kansas Cooperative Fish and Wildlife research unit.
- Konza Prairie Biological Station.
- Konza Prairie Long-Term Ecological Research.
9. University of Vermont, Burlington, VT
The Wildlife and Fisheries Biology program is offered by the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources. The curriculum is ecology-based and aims to teach students possible interventions that help to bring populations into balance. Among other things, the program offers the following:
- The students can choose between fisheries and wildlife biology specializations.
- The program includes summer courses in population studies and ornithology.
- Students can also participate in field labs carried out on the Lake Champlain.
- There are more than 25 service-learning courses available in the program, including environmental restoration, environmental problem-solving, and community engagement.
- The school also offers online courses and courses that require travel (Denmark, Nepal, Costa-Rica, Bahamas).
- The university offers graduate opportunities, as well as assists students in applying for studies abroad.
10. Texas A&M University, Canyon, TX
The students that graduate from the Wildlife Biology program can work as wildlife biologists, refuge managers, park rangers, or managers with state agencies. There are several highlights of the program:
- The coursework includes both traditional biology courses and modern ecosystem management courses.
- The program offers opportunities to experience both works in the field and laboratory research.
- Through the local Wildlife Society, the students would be able to connect with various wildlife research opportunities.
- The university also offers Masters Degree programs in Biology and Environmental Sciences.
11. Unity College, Unity, Maine
The wildlife biology program offered by Unity college is focused on giving students as much practical experience as possible.
- The college is located in Maine and has access to unique natural areas.
- The teaching staff at the college offers personalized training for students.
- The students will be offered field experience in various ecosystems: the forest, the ocean, and the lakes.
- The courses offered in the program include both general biology, liberal arts, as well as courses on local North American Wildlife and population management.
- There are various ongoing conservation and research projects that the students can participate in.
12. The University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, ND
There are several exciting features of the Wildlife Biology program offered at the University of North Dakota.
- The university proposes an integrative approach to wildlife and fisheries studies.
- As the university is located in the prairie region, the students are offered a unique opportunity to study this particular ecosystem in depth.
- The students can specialize in Wildlife Biology, Fishery management, as well as Conservation Biology.
- The curriculum includes core courses, courses in population biology, conservation biology, and wildlife population management techniques.
- A summer internship or cooperative education experience are required for the completion of the program.
- The facilities include:
13. Ohio State University, Athens, OH
Ohio State University prepares students for careers as specialists in conservation, wildlife biology, zoology, and ecology. The curriculum corresponds with requirements of the state and federal agencies for these positions. Prospective students need to know the following:
- The students can personalize their curriculum to specialize in various fields of study in Biology, as well as environmental studies.
- The curriculum offered corresponds to the requirements for the Environmental Studies Certificate.
- The courses cover Plant Sciences, Zoology, Ecology, Genetics, as well as laboratory classes.
- A biological internship is required for degree completion.
- There is an undergraduate research immersion program offered by the Ohio Center for Ecology and Environmental Studies.
14. University of Michigan, Flint MI
The Wildlife Biology program at the University of Michigan is considered a “signature” degree. The program offers the following opportunities to its students:
- The program consists of a mix of essential theoretical courses, field experience, and wildlife management methods.
- The required coursework includes chemistry, physics, mathematics, communication, and humanities.
- There are unique courses in Biology, such as Plant-Animal Interactions, Forest Vegetation identification, and Forest Ecology offered at the university.
- Fieldwork opportunities are available to students at the Great Lakes and wider Michigan region.
- The ultimate goal of the program is to prepare the students for entry-level positions at state and federal agencies devoted to wildlife study and management.
- The faculty collaborates with several universities, Native American Tribes, Busch garden, and Detroit Zoo.
15. Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR
Oregon State University offers both online and On-Campus programs in Fisheries and Wildlife Science. The students are prepared to study marine, freshwater, and terrestrial species. The highlights of the on-campus program include:
- Besides the core curriculum, the program includes an internship and specialization curriculum that is composed together with the student’s advisor.
- The specializations include marine conservation, aquatic management, and conservation, Mammalian Biology and Ecology, Stream or Riparian ecology.
- This degree can be a part of a double degree.
- The degree also required an exploratory or an intensive internship for completion.
- The Hatfield Marine Science Center offers specialized courses on Marine Science, Aquatic species conservation and management.
As you can see from this review, each university does its best to develop a program that prepares the students to study and protect life around them. You can choose a school based on location, possible research opportunities, or the courses you are interested in.
Most of the colleges are affiliated with particular research facilities and also collaborate with other organizations and institutions. Taking up Wildlife Biology, you must be prepared not only for intensive theoretical curriculum but also long-term field courses and internships at various regions. To complete this degree, one must also cover a variety of disciplines from Math and Statistics to Ecology, Geography, and even law.
Also, as the profession is quite competitive, moving on to graduate degrees and taking up additional minors is usually advised.
However, isn’t studying natural world worth it all of the effort?
-  – “The Best Wildlife Biology Colleges 2019”. Accessed May 24, 2019. Link.
-  – “American Fisheries Society”. Accessed May 24, 2019. Link.
-  – “THE WILDLIFE SOCIETY | Leaders in Wildlife Science, Management and Conservation”. Accessed May 24, 2019. Link.
-  – “Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences (B.S.) Corvallis | College of Agricultural Sciences | Oregon State University”. Accessed May 24, 2019. Link.