Herpetology Colleges and Schools in the U.S.
Herpetologists study amphibians, reptiles and their relationship to the environment. To prepare, herpetology students can choose bachelor's, master's and doctoral degree programs in zoology, environmental studies and related fields offered at colleges and universities across the U.S.
How to Select a School for Herpetology
Herpetologists study specific species and habitats of amphibians and reptiles; some are involved in ecological studies because amphibians are very sensitive to environmental changes. Those with a passion for amphibians and reptiles may enroll in zoology or environmental studies degree programs. Graduate students may select a school based on the ability to pursue specialized research projects through university-affiliated herpetology research centers and laboratories.
When deciding between degree programs, students can consider their research goals. Those passionate about studying the biology and behavior of reptiles and amphibians may prefer a zoology degree program, whereas those interested in applying herpetology research to environmental preservation efforts may favor environmental studies degree programs. Students interested in both may look for zoological programs offering a concentration in environmental and ecological studies.
Individuals seeking employment as herpetology researchers often benefit from gaining field experience while earning their degree. Many schools have student-run clubs that may lead to research opportunities and involvement with professionals in the field. In addition, herpetology laboratories and research centers may hire graduate students to aid in research.
Herpetology-Related Program Overviews
Bachelor's Degree Programs
Aspiring herpetologists may benefit from undergraduate studies in zoology, environmental studies or related fields. Some zoology programs may offer interdisciplinary options with environmental studies. Classes may include genetics, evolution and anatomy. Students enrolled in an environmental studies degree program may study public policy and environmental law in addition to science-based classes, such as plant taxonomy and herpetology.
Master's Degree Programs
Both zoology and environmental studies are offered at the master's degree level. Both programs typically require students to complete an original research project for their thesis, which allow aspiring herpetologists to focus on a particular species or problem. Those enrolled in zoology degree programs may take courses in genetics, cell biology and histology. Environmental studies students may develop plans for resource management and study economic and societal impacts on the ecosystem and the response of reptiles and amphibians to those changes.
Doctoral Degree Programs
Many herpetology-related doctoral degree programs require students to develop a dissertation based on original research with an amphibian or reptile species, have teaching experience and, in some cases, pass an oral exam. When selecting a program, students may consider the concentrations offered for specialization, such as a focus on environmental impacts or field-based research.
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