Pursuing an advanced degree in a preferred field is a tangible step toward furthering your professional or academic career. Several universities offer accredited graduate programs in wildlife biology and other related disciplines. The entrance and graduation requirements can differ significantly depending on the type of degree you choose, the individual university and your career goals.
Master of Science in Wildlife Biology
Schools in nearly every part of the country offer master's degrees that can adequately prepare wildlife biologists and similar professionals for their jobs. According to the National Association of University Fisheries and Wildlife Programs, universities that offer such master's degrees include the following: Arkansas Tech University, Colorado State University, University of Florida, amongst many others. Individual schools offer unique coursework, often directly related to the wildlife and resources in their specific geographic location. For example, Iowa State University offers an aquatic research facility that focuses on the region's fish populations and Missouri State University offers research opportunities that focus specifically on bats within the state.
The U.S. Geological Survey recommends that an advancing wildlife biologist have a master's degree in wildlife biology or in a directly-related field. A large number of universities offer both undergraduate and graduate degrees in related disciplines. Humboldt State University, for instance, offers graduate degrees in forestry, watershed and wildlife sciences as well as environmental and natural resources sciences. Similarly, Iowa State University offers Master of Science degrees in fisheries biology, forestry and wildlife ecology.
Thesis vs. Non-thesis Option
Many schools offer the option of earning a graduate degree that either does or does not require a thesis. The non-thesis option is often preferred by professionals who have already obtained some experience in their field and are seeking continuing education. On the other hand, students planning to pursue a research-oriented career or doctoral studies are advised to complete a thesis-based degree program. Such a course of study is designed to meet the requirements of many doctoral programs and can develop skills that will prove helpful when writing a dissertation.
In addition to various master's programs related to wildlife biology, many universities offer related doctoral programs that go into greater depth within specific areas of the field. Interested students can find doctoral programs with several different options offered at schools such as Michigan Tech University, which focuses on research in forest science, and the University of Minnesota, which offers doctoral research in fisheries and aquatic biology. Schools offering doctoral programs in other parts of the country include the State University of New York, Syracuse as well as Oregon State University. Students considering these options should carefully review doctoral admissions requirements when choosing a master's program.
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