Those who are interested in pursuing a Master's degree in Wildlife and Fisheries Biology should have sound undergraduate training in the biological or related sciences. Initially, applicants should contact the faculty members whose research interests are closest to their own. Programs of study are designed to emphasize relationships between wild animals and their changing environments and production of aquatic organisms.
Admission to the master's program or the doctoral program requires acceptance by the University and the Graduate Student Admission Committee of Wildlife and Fisheries Biology. This committee will base its acceptance recommendation to the Graduate Admissions Office on previous coursework, GRE scores, letters of recommendation, undergraduate background and current research interests. Students are required to have completed a bachelor's degree, preferably in a natural science, with a minimum of 30 credit hours in natural sciences. Students accepted without the appropriate course background will be required to make up these deficiencies as outlined by the Graduate Student Admission Committee and consistent with University admission policies.
Students seeking the MS degree in Wildlife and Fisheries Biology may select a thesis or a non-thesis option. Requirements for the thesis option include a minimum of 24 credit hours of coursework, six hours of thesis research (WFB 8910 ), an acceptable thesis based on original research, and satisfactory performance on a final oral examination/thesis defense. Additional coursework usually includes subjects such as experimental statistics, biological sciences and forestry. Thesis research areas may include conservation biology, wildlife management, endangered species, freshwater fisheries science and wildlife toxicology.
The non-thesis option is designed primarily for students with substantial experience in natural resources who wish to enhance their professional degree skills. Students in the non-thesis option are not allowed to transfer to the thesis option without approval by vote of the faculty of the Department of Forestry and Environmental Conservation. Candidates must complete a minimum of 30 credit hours of approved courses, including three to six hours of WFB 8630 , which result in a broad, well informed and integrated exposure to natural resources management and environmental issues. The non-thesis project must be substantial in nature and result in an extended report addressing a major problem or issue relevant to the field of wildlife management, fisheries management, natural resources or environmental studies. The scope of the project should be consistent with the credit hours awarded for the project. A maximum of three credit hours from independent studies (WFB 8610 or similar courses) may be applied toward the coursework requirement. The graduate advisory committee ensures appropriate elective course selection and may require a student to complete more than 24 credits if deficiencies in the student's background exist or if additional courses are required for professional certification. Students are also required to pass a final oral examination.
Combined BS/MS in Wildlife and Fisheries Biology
Under this plan, students may reduce the time necessary to earn both degrees by applying graduate credits to both undergraduate and graduate program requirements. Students should obtain specific requirements for the dual degree from the Department of Forestry and Environmental Conservation as early as possible in their undergraduate program to ensure that all prerequisites are met. Enrollment guidelines and procedures can be found in the Undergraduate Announcements.