A major in wildlife biology is perfect for someone who loves animals, enjoys
the outdoors and has an aptitude for science.
This biology major offers students specialized training in wildlife
ecology, with emphasis on management and conservation of animals. Students
spend a significant amount of time in classes and labs, but also have
the opportunity to do interesting research projects as well as work in the
Few schools have programs specifically named "wildlife biology." However, you
can also specialize in wildlife through a degree in zoology, biology, ecology
or environmental science.
Students take range of science classes, including the basics of biology,
chemistry and physics and more advanced classes like zoology, botany,
genetics, physiology, forestry, soil science, wildlife, ornithology, mammalogy
They also may take classes in other disciplines such as mathematics, political
science, human dimensions, communications, statistics, computers, economics
Often, students also have the opportunity to take part in research projects.
At Colorado State University, for example, professor Gary White says internships
and independent research projects are possible, although not required.
However, White says a four-week summer session at a field campus in the
mountains and a 10-day field trip to visit practicing wildlife biologists
at their field stations are mandatory.
"Also, we encourage our students to gain summer employment in the field,"
In high school, take calculus, chemistry, physics, composition, public
speaking and biology, he says.
Wildlife biology professor Alton Harestad emphasizes the importance of
hands-on work. Students in his program may enroll in the cooperative education
program and do paid work terms.
Harestad says high school students should take the necessary sciences classes
but also should not ignore such classes as math and English.
"Learn how to manage time efficiently and effectively, learn how to work
as team members, learn how to communicate through speaking to groups and by
writing," he suggests.
Field experiences, a staple of many programs, can add to the cost of a
degree in this field. White says his program's field trip and summer class
are additional expenses and there are also some laboratory courses that have
In addition, books can be a big expense. Being a science major requires
many expensive texts and supplies. You often will need one or two books for
a lecture class as well as one or two books for a lab for the same class.
Occupational Outlook HandbookFor more information related to this field of study, see: Biological
Wildlife SocietySee their site for certification information
National Wildlife FederationThe oldest protector of wildlife in the U.S.