Skip to main content Skip to navigation
School of the Environment

Wildlife Ecology & Conservation Sciences

The Wildlife Ecology and Conservation Sciences major combines strong science, a broad back-ground in natural resources and the environment, with in-depth, hands-on courses to help you fully understand the ecology, habitat, and conservation of wild animals, and to prepare you for graduate school and management careers.

The program also offers an optional pre-veterinary option designed specifically to prepare students for admission  to schools of veterinary medicine.

Your Experience in Wildlife Ecology & Conservation Sciences

  • Gain hands-on experience with wildlife and con­servation through:
    • WSU’s unique captive wildlife research and teaching facilities featuring grizzly bears, deer, bighorn sheep, endangered rabbits and amphibians .
    • Field trips, internships, and undergraduate research projects with free-ranging wildlife such as large carnivores, ungulates, small mammals, amphibians, and upland game birds.
  • Acquire cutting-edge technical skills in conservation genetics, wildlife nutrition, population modeling & geospatial analysis.
  • Work closely with professors who are nationally recognized experts in:
    • Large carnivore management and conservation
    • Behavioral ecology, reproduction, and nutrition of wildlife
    • Habitat restoration and conservation of endangered species
    • Forest, grassland, and wetland habitat management
field work on shrub steppe
big horn collaring

Expand your interest in wildlife and conservation with field trips, lectures/seminars, scientific demonstrations and restoration activities by joining the Wildlife Society.

Learn the fundamental concepts of wildlife ecology and conservation science through course work and hands-on experience.

Gain hands-on experience through field trips, field camps, internships and research.

Your Course of Study

  1. University general education requirements (UCORE)
  2. Basic biology, chemistry, math & statistics classes
  3. Earth and Environmental Science integrated common core classes
    • NATRS 300 Natural Resources Ecology OR BIOL 372 General Ecology
    • Introduction to GIS (SOILS 368)
    • GEOL 210 Earth History & Evolution OR ENVR_SCI 250 Intro to Earth System Science
    • NATRS 312 Nat Res & Society OR POL_S 430 The Politics of Natural Resource & Environmental Policy
    • GEOL 315 Water & Earth OR NATRS 460 Watershed Management

4. Wildlife Ecology and Conservation Sciences core classes

  • Methods in Wildlife Ecology (NATRS 310)
  • Wildlife Nutrition (NATRS 431)
  • Wildlife Ecology (NATRS 435)
  • Population Ecology (NATRS 441)
  • Wildlife Habitat Ecology (NATRS 446)
  • Conservation Biology (NATRS 450)

5. Animal Systematics or Wildlife electives

  • Wildlife Genetics (NATRS 318)
  • Biology of Fish (BIOLOGY 412)
  • Ornithology (BIOLOGY 423)
  • Mammalogy (BIOLOGY 428)
  • Biology of Amphibians and Reptiles (BIOLOGY 432)

6. Broadening natural resource classes

  • Natural Resource Measurements (NATRS 204)
  • Forest and Arid Land Plants & Ecosystems (NATRS 301&302)
  • Natural Resources Policy & Law (NATRS 438)

7. Professional electives or minor that match your interests and enhance your career goals.

Wildlife Ecology and Conservation Science majors may elect the Pre-veterinary Option

Expert advisors help you fulfill prerequisites and build the science skills you need to successfully apply to Veterinary School at WSU or elsewhere. Because a pre-veterinary pathway requires extra science courses, we recommend that you begin that option your first year.

Additional Required Pre-Veterinary Courses

  • Elementary Organic Chemistry (CHEM 345)
  • Biochemistry (MBIOS 303)
  • General Genetics (BIOLOGY 301)
  • General Physics (PHYSICS 101)

Wildlife Ecology and Conservation Sciences Advising Sheet (pdf)

When you have competed your Wildlife Ecology & conservation Sciences major you will be able to:

  • Demonstrate understanding of core ecological principles affecting organisms and the ecosystems in which they live.
  • Apply basic statistical and quantitative methodology in ecological analysis.
  • Independently locate and apply relevant ecological literature to assigned problems.
  • Interpret a wide range of scientific literature in animal and community ecology and apply this information to problem-solving analysis, particularly related to the conservation of biological diversity of species, populations, and ecosystems.
  • Prepare technical biological reports and ecological analyses with supporting documentation for both scientific and popular audiences.
  • Interpret species conservation and resource management conflicts from multiple perspectives.
  • Effectively analysis diverse conservation challenges ranging from ecology of individual species to global ecosystems and ecological functions on Earth.

Hands-on Experiences

Our program offers numerous hands-on experiences and course work with wildlife in order to prepare you for a diverse and rewarding career once you graduate.

Your Career Options in Wildlife Ecology and Conservation Sciences

Wildlife ecology majors can find rewarding employment in a variety of areas:

  • Nonprofit and private organizations
  • State and federal agencies, such as the U.S. Fish and
    Wildlife Service, U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service, and Washington Department of Wildlife
  • The major helps you meet the U.S. Office of Personnel’s requirements for wildlife biologist, wildlife refuge manager, general biologist, zoologist, fish biologist, range conservationist, and soil scientist

A major in wildlife ecology also can be ideal preparation for graduate programs in environmental science, natural resource science, or veterinary medicine.

  • Range conservationists
  • Wildlife biologists
  • Wildlife refuge manager
  • Wildlife ecologists
  • General biologist
  • Zoologist
  • Fish biologist
  • Range conservation
  • Soil science
  • Park managers
  • Information specialists
  • Environmental educators
  • Peace Corps workers
  • Policy advisors
  • Land restoration specialists
  • Environmental consultants
  • Environmental lawyers

More Careers and Opportunities >>

Wildlife Society

Website: The Wildlife Society

Faculty Advisors:
Dr. Lisa Shipley
Johnson 105

Dr. Rod Sayler
Johnson 119