Wildlife Biology Major: Information and Requirements
Learn about earning an undergraduate degree with a major in wildlife biology. Find out about courses, some popular career choices and continuing education at the graduate level.
Wildlife biologists study the behavior, diseases and life processes of animals. They collect and examine biological data to determine the effects of water and land use on animal populations. Wildlife biologists may spend a significant amount of time outdoors conducting field studies, as well as many hours in an office analyzing research findings and writing up reports.
Future wildlife biologists must have more than just a love of wild animals and the outdoors; they also need patience, physical stamina, self-discipline, problem-solving skills and an attention to detail. Courses for an undergraduate degree in wildlife biology are science- and math-intensive, and most programs require students to maintain a grade of C or better in all biology coursework. Wildlife biology majors can expect experiential learning in the lab, as well as hands-on training in the field. Additionally, they may have the opportunity to assist in research and summer fieldwork through their school; this type of experience may help with scholarship funding and employment after graduation.
Wildlife biology majors typically have the option of focusing their studies in either land or aquatic animals. Students take classes in physics, chemistry, calculus and statistics, as well as a variety of biology subjects. Major courses include:
- Population biology
- Cell biology
- Fisheries management
- Wildlife management
- Animal behavior
- Wildlife conservation
Popular Career Options
Graduates with a bachelor's degree in wildlife biology may begin a career with state and federal fish and wildlife agencies, environmental consulting agencies and conservation organizations in entry-level positions such as:
- Game warden
- Conservation educator
- Field biologist
- Wildlife manager
Continuing Education Information
Although not required for entry-level positions, graduate degrees are very common for wildlife biologists. Individuals interested in specializing in certain species, including endangered ones, or areas such as aquaculture and conservation biology may want to consider a graduate program. Both master's and doctoral programs in wildlife biology are available, and completing the latter is essential for independent research and teaching positions at colleges and universities.
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