Wildlife and Conservation Biology Curriculum
Wildlife and Conservation Biology Curriculum
The Wildlife and Conservation Biology field is highly diverse. You can work as a field biologists working to study wildlife; you can manage wildlife on federal and state properties; you can work to conserve wildlife on large scale, such as throughout all of the Americas; or you can work to conserve wildlife by working in zoological parks. To address this diversity, the Wildlife and Conservation Biology here at Murray State University is divided into 5 different tracks, based upon your career goals. Another aspect of the 5 tracks within the Wildlife and Conservation Biology program is that, upon completion, student will have the coursework necessary to apply for Associate Wildlife Biologist from The Wildlife Society, which is the minimum requirements for many wildlife biology jobs throughout the US and in many other countries.
For each track, there are documents outlining the requirements for graduation, as well as the order you will take these courses in (the 4-year plans). Each of these plans are based on the year when you will start (either an odd year, such as 2015, or an even year, such as 2016).
Transfer students will need to consult with faculty to determine which plan is best suited for the semester they enter based on coursework already taken at another university and based upon the courses that are still needed. Most transfer students will not enter right into the Junior year classes because many universities do not offer courses that transfer for all the classes that are need prior to the Junior year. For examples, Biology 216 (Biological Inquiry and Analysis) often does not have an equivalent at other Universities. However, this course is a pre-requisite for many of the upper-level courses. Because this course is only offered in the Spring, it can delay when student can begin taking wildlife course work. Be sure to visit the Murray State University Transfer Center to find out what courses from your university will transfer to courses here at Murray State University. Transfer students may find it advantageous to transfer in the Spring rather that in the fall. This can be determined by examining the course work carefully that is required before the wildlife courses can be taken. If you have any questions, be sure to contact the faculty at Murray State University or the staff at the Transfer Center.
The Conservation Biology Track is for perspective students who are interested in working with wildlife, but are interested in making a difference on a broader scale. For example, the wildlife biologist studies wildlife on a local to a landscape scale. The conservation biologist typically works on a broader scale, such as working to conserve wildlife on a global scale. The coursework for the Conservation Biology Track reflects this by having students take additional coursework in policy and international relations.
Conservation Education and Interpretation
The Conservation Biology Track is for perspective students who are interested in teaching children and adults about ecology, wildlife, and the natural world. It is also suitable for students desiring to work in the park systems as Interpretive Rangers. The coursework include the basic curriculum for wildlife biologists, but also includes a broad range of courses in other areas, such as stream ecology, lake ecology, invertebrates, and similar courses to give students a broad range of knowledge to draw from when teaching people about the environment. Graduates can expect to work for state and federal agencies, private organizations, nature centers, state and natural parks, residential environmental education centers, and others. There are often a wide range of job opportunities in this field and graduates can work almost anywhere throughout the country in environmental education.
Conservation Law Enforcement Track
The Conservation Law Enforcement Track is for perspective students who desire to be law enforcement officers for state and federal agencies that enforce various wildlife regulations. Law enforcement officers might include game wardens, conservation officers, special agents, and others. This track is also suitable for individuals desiring careers as law enforcement park rangers. Coursework in this track differs from the other tracks in that courses are taken from the Criminal Justice Department to give students a foundation in Law Enforcement
Wildlife Biology Track
The Wildlife Biology Track is for perspective students who desire to be wildlife managers and biologists for state agencies, federal agencies, and private firms; students who wish to conduct research on free-ranging wildlife; or for students seeking other careers with free-ranging wildlife. Coursework provides additional specialized experience and knowledge for working with wildlife in their environment. Wildlife Biologists may work as urban specialist, endangered species managers, game managers, herpetologists, ornithologists, mammalogists, and other areas.
The Zoological Conservation Track is for perspective students who desire to work with wildlife, but in a captive setting. Graduates from the Zoological Conservation Track receive the coursework to necessary to assist zoo veterinarians in caring for captive wildlife, for managing wildlife in captive situations, and for studying them in their captive environment.