Best wildlife biology schools in the US: Imagine the perfect day you would have if you could do anything you wanted.
Do you picture yourself lake fishing? Take a nap by a peaceful stream? Cycling a trail up a mountain?
Wildlife biology might be the right profession for you if you’ve always been an outdoor enthusiast.
Wildlife biology requires an analytical mind and a grasp of the sciences, much like any other hard science discipline. Your intended institution will require subject-matter professionals to instruct you as well as top-notch resources to enable you to test and analyze your discoveries.
But the degree offers you more than that. Additionally, it motivates you to go outside. Going for a swim or viewing birds might be part of your workday. The top wildlife biology courses also give you access to parks with those facilities.
While that sounds like a lot of fun, concentrating too much on the recreational aspects of a program can cause you to neglect the other elements that a good program must have. You need good teachers and resources in addition to access to the outdoors if you want to succeed.
It takes more than a walk in the woods to find those kinds of schools. This article lists the best wildlife biology schools in the US and describes each school’s program in addition to ranking the top ten wildlife biology programs in the country.
Read over this list, choose your school, and then return to nature, where you belong.
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What are Wildlife Biologists Skills?
What abilities do wildlife biologists have?
The unique skills that wildlife biologists employ in the course of their daily work are known as “wildlife biologist skills.” This could include technical talents particular to their position as well as soft skills that are useful in numerous careers. They enable wildlife biologists to effectively carry out their duties, including researching wildlife populations and habitats, creating plans to protect endangered species, monitoring and tagging animals, restoring ecosystems, researching animal diseases, educating the public, and publishing academic research.
Best Wildlife Biology Schools in the US
The 10 best wildlife biology schools in the US are listed below:
1. SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry
The goal of the Environmental Science and Forestry program at SUNY College is to strike a balance between the needs of people and wildlife. The program sees itself as a continuation of the field’s early efforts in 1914.
Students are taught to manage all kinds of wildlife, including endangered species and overabundant populations, as part of the school’s applied ecology-based curriculum. According to this viewpoint, its scientists of the future interact with all species of animals, including plants and invertebrates.
Working on one of the many field stations in the program gives students experience. The Adirondack Ecological Center, with its 15,000 acres, is a vital contributor to place-based research on a global scale. The Ecological Center, which operates one of the most significant conservation and sustainability experiments in the world, is situated in the center of the six million-acre Adirondack Park.
The Cranberry Lake Biological Station in the Adirondacks offers students the opportunity to study and manage hills, lakes, small ponds, bogs, and stream drainages. It is situated off the third-largest lake in the area.
2. South Dakota State University (Brookings, SD)
Students who desire to take care of our natural resources can benefit from South Dakota State University’s degrees in fisheries and wildlife sciences. Students who complete the program are prepared for rewarding jobs as state or federal biologists, park naturalists, hatchery managers, and other positions.
Students enroll in classes to learn about natural populations of creatures and how they interact with humans. Along with hard abilities in technology and statistics, students also gain crucial soft skills like teamwork, leadership, and ethics.
The faculty at SDSU offers their years of knowledge and experience to students. That includes Dr. Charles Fenster, whose investigation has led to numerous significant accolades and funds for him to carry on his research into green infrastructure.
With such assistance, it is understandable why SDSU graduates have gone on to work for the USGS, the National Park Service, and Departments of Natural Resources across the nation.
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3. Auburn University (Auburn, AL)
The School of Forestry & Wildlife Sciences at Auburn University offers a number of distinctive programs. Auburn can access wildlife populations and human needs unique to its region thanks to its location in the American south. The school is able to offer programs that others cannot because of these characteristics.
One of just two in the nation, the school’s wildlife enterprise management degree is one of these programs. In the private sector, graduates with this degree offer hunting and fishing excursions. Students gain knowledge of both the business necessities for being an entrepreneur as well as how to care for the wildlife environment in which they work.
The curriculum prepares students to work as facility directors at hunting/shooting ranges, managers at fishing resorts, or outdoor adventure promoters by fusing ethical considerations with practical realities.
4 University of New Hampshire (Durham, NH)
The University of New Hampshire provides students with access to a variety of biological communities because it is close to New Hampshire’s Atlantic Coastline and only one hour from the White Mountains. Students at UNH also study their findings in the institution’s cutting-edge lab in addition to receiving field instruction in those fields.
Several wildlife industries, including conservation biology, big game management, conservation genetics, and population ecology, are among the fields in which the school’s programs prepare students for careers.
The wildlife and conservation biology program at UNH is a significant contributor to the university’s $110 million research endowment because it is a part of a tier-one research institution.
Even undergraduates have the chance to work on innovative projects like the EcoQuest Study Abroad Program in New Zealand, where they get hands-on training in ecology, resource management, and environmental policy.
The Hamel Center for Undergraduate Research provides students with the tools and funding they need to work on independent projects. Past initiatives have looked into the habitat of moose and the effects of the European Monetary Union.
5. University of Maine (Orono, ME)
The University of Maine’s Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Conservation Biology, established in 1935, allows students’ research passions to guide their academic pursuits. Students have the opportunity to study everything from aquatic animals to natural resource management thanks to collaborations within the College of Natural Sciences.
In the many natural resource areas around the school, students can put their skills to use. Nearly 15,000 acres of woodland that are protected by the university include hiking, biking, and cross-country skiing trails.
Students can see deer, moose, bears, beavers, bobcats, and other animals at the nearby Sunkhaze Meadows National Wildlife Refuge. The campus of the university is close to Acadia National Park in addition to the coastline of Maine.
These illustrations show how the U Maine program encourages students to blur the distinction between leisure and employment. They think that protecting the environment should be enjoyable and fulfilling.
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6. Brigham Young University (Provo, UT)
Some people might not think Utah is the best location to study wildlife biology, but they haven’t looked at what Brigham Young University has to offer.
The school’s newly constructed Life Sciences Building allows students to study in cutting-edge spaces and work with cutting-edge equipment. These tools assist students in exploring remote locations and analyzing their research in a safe setting.
The school is dedicated to preparing students for professions in natural resource management, which is why it has invested in these resources. With a focus on ecology and biology principles in the core curriculum and a wide range of elective options, students can let their interests guide their education.
BYU offers numerous chances to study abroad for students whose interests take them outside of the United States. Students can take their love of the outdoors anywhere in the world, including Western Europe, Africa, Australia, and more.
7. Texas State University (San Marcos, TX)
Texas State University is aware of how human activity affects the environment. In light of this, their wildlife undergraduate and graduate programs work to encourage people to discover new ways to enjoy the great outdoors while also preserving the existing populations.
Fishing, birdwatching, and picnics are just a few of the outdoor recreation pursuits covered in the school’s curricula. However, it also incorporates lessons that highlight the realities of ecological life. Students learn about natural history and wildlife management in these courses.
This pragmatic strategy advances rather than detracts from the department’s research agenda. TSU offers a variety of programs that support students’ research efforts and involve them in lengthy faculty projects.
However, the school’s active Student Chapter of the Wildlife Society may be the clearest indication of its dedication to environmental protection. Every aspect of the department is driven by a passion for enjoying and protecting the great outdoors.
8. Utah State University (Logan, UT)
The only university with a College dedicated to studying natural resources is Utah State University, despite the fact that another Utah-based institution was already included on this list. Additionally, students have access to resources through UST’s distinctive wildlife biology program to learn about the management of human-wildlife conflict.
The several research centers run by the school are at the heart of the program.
The multidisciplinary Center for Integrated BioSystems approaches agricultural and biological sciences in a progressive manner.
Thanks to accomplishments like cloning the first hybrid animal, the Center has been named one of the 30 Awesome College Labs by Popular Science magazine.
The administrative Ecology Center promotes networking and collaboration between departments and schools to coordinate research and ecology science.
The Utah Agricultural Experiment Station provides meeting and research space for researchers from all of the land-grant universities in the country.
It’s clear why UST stands out on this list with all of these supports.
9. University of Vermont (Burlington, VT)
The University of Vermont’s wildlife and fisheries program, which is a part of the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources, is dedicated to the study of ecological diversity.
The program includes a curriculum that emphasizes the biology, ecology, management, and conservation of animal populations in order to achieve this goal. The natural history and conservation requirements of all species—from hunted and endangered species to overpopulated species—are taught to students.
The numerous natural resources of the state are available to students in the wildlife and fisheries program at the University of Vermont. Within a few miles of the main campus are mountains, fields, lakes, and fields. The institution frequently offers challenging fieldwork courses that let students get their hands dirty while learning.
Additionally, collaborations with foreign institutions enable students to study places like Florida, South Texas, and Costa Rica.
The wildlife conservationists of the future are prepared by a degree from U Vermont, regardless of where their careers lead them.
10. Colorado State University (Fort Collins, CO)
Colorado State University first appears to have many of the same attributes as other colleges on this list of best wildlife biology schools in the US.
They do have access to all kinds of wildlife, particularly in mountainous areas. They are conducting interesting study. Students can study all the wildlife the world has to offer thanks to the school’s partnerships with institutions around the world.
The caliber of CSU’s teachers, though, is what really sets school apart.
- Professor Lise Aubry is a pioneer in the field of examining how habitat loss and climate change affect the ecology and microevolution of wild animals.
- Joel Berger, who holds the Barbara Cox Anthony University Chair in Wildlife Conservation, also works with the Wildlife Conservation Society as a Senior Scientist. He has carried out extensive fieldwork in inaccessible locations around the globe, examining some of the most difficult to study creatures.
Fort Collins is a great place for aspiring wildlife biologists because it has expansive mountainscapes, idyllic natural scenery, and even the Horsetooth Reservoir.
Improving your Skills as a Wildlife Biologist
You can take into account the following strategies to advance your abilities as a wildlife biologist:
1. Get an Education:
Earning a bachelor’s degree is one of the finest methods to broaden your understanding of wildlife biology and conservation. You might think about majoring in biology, zoology, conservation, or wildlife biology. You can gain a better understanding of biological science, conservation strategies, and research techniques by taking these courses of study. A bachelor’s degree can help you advance your career and is frequently required for entry-level positions in wildlife biology. A master’s or a doctorate in a field related to wildlife biology are frequently required of candidates for senior positions and in-depth research jobs.
You can gain expertise in zoology and conservation through independent study. You might think about using printed or digital resources to learn about the local animal population, as well as academic journals and other publications that cover wildlife biology, such as the Wildlife Society’s journals and magazines. Getting to know local experts or academics in the wildlife and conservation fields can also help you find educational opportunities nearby and learn more about their work. To find out more about the laws and rules pertaining to wildlife, visit the website of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.
3. Find an Internship
A good approach to learn more about the area of wildlife biology, make contacts, and acquire hands-on experience with fieldwork and research methods is through an internship. Universities, governmental institutions, parks, and conservation societies are just a few of the entities that could offer internships. If you are a college student, you can think about asking your instructors or advisors if they are aware of any internship opportunities.
4. Spend Time Outdoors
As a wildlife biologist, you’ll probably spend a lot of time outside investigating the local species and habitats. Participating in wilderness excursions and other outdoor activities may be beneficial to getting ready for this and improving your outdoor skills. Camping excursions, hiking and backpacking, snowshoeing and winter camping, rock climbing, navigation classes, rafting, and canoeing are a few examples of this. These pursuits can be enjoyable and increase your comfort level in the great outdoors.
5. Attend Conferences
Meeting other professionals and learning more about the field of wildlife biology can both be accomplished by attending conferences, seminars, and lectures. You can search for events within your campus, such as guest speaker appearances, or you might think about researching forthcoming events through professional groups. The International Congress for Conservation Biology, Northeast Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, Wildlife Society, and Zoological Association of America are a few organizations that organize conferences on wildlife biology.
Frequently Asked Questions
Wildlife Biology or Zoology—which is better?
While wildlife biologists focus on how animals interact with their environments, zoologists investigate actual animals. While wildlife biologists examine how a creature interacts with other components like the environment and plant life, zoologists concentrate on the qualities and characteristics of an organism.
To what degrees is wildlife best suited?
Students interested in careers in wildlife conservation should major in wildlife biology, fish and wildlife management, and wildlife and forestry conservation. Although the emphasis of each of these programs on wildlife conservation varies, they are all pertinent to the industry.
Is wildlife biology a popular field?
According to the BLS, employment in the field of wildlife biology will grow by about 5% over the following ten years, which is about average when compared to other professions. Only 18,500 jobs for wildlife biologists are now open countrywide, though.
Are Wildlife Biologists frequent travelers?
Some zoologists and biologists of wildlife may not spend much time in the field. Zoologists and wildlife biologists may need to travel to remote areas of the world for fieldwork. Cetologists, for instance, may spend months at sea on a research ship conducting whale population studies.
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