Degree Options

The Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences offers three Concentration areas within their major of Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences: Fisheries, Aquaculture, & Aquatic Sciences/Wildlife Ecology & Conservation/Vertebrate Zoology.  After consultation with an advisor, each student will choose a course of study from among the options within the department.

Fisheries, Aquaculture, and Aquatic Sciences

This option is designed for both students interested in the research and management of fish, other freshwater and marine organisms, and the ecosystems that sustain them, as well as controlled production of organisms in aquatic systems. For students interested in the controlled production of organisms in aquatic systems, courses in this option are structured to provide the scientific and technological basis of fish culture. Careers are available in state and federal resource agencies; fisheries management companies; nongovernmental conservation organizations; environmental consulting firms; and private consultation. In addition, careers may be available in supporting areas such as quality control, supply, marketing, distribution, finance, consultation as well as domestic and foreign resource development. This option meets American Fisheries Society requirements for certification as an Associate Fisheries Professional.

Wildlife Ecology & Conservation Option

This option is designed for students interested in the research, management and conservation of wildlife and the ecosystems that support it.  This option provides considerable flexibility when designing a degree program and allows students to focus on both conservation and management terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. Job opportunities are available with state and federal agencies; private land management individuals and companies; state, national and international organizations; environmental consulting firms; and  various private enterprises.  Emphasis areas in this option include:

Wildlife Ecology Emphasis: The wildlife ecology emphasis is for students interested in understanding and managing terrestrial habitats and animals , including game, non-game, and endangered species. The ability to be professionally certified is becoming increasingly important for employment.  Courses taken in this emphasis meet course certification requirements of The Wildlife Society.

Wildlife & Fisheries Management Emphasis: This emphasis is for students interested in understanding and managing both aquatic and terrestrial habitats. Courses taken meet course certification requirements of both the American Fisheries Society and The Wildlife Society.

Conservation Biology Emphasis: This emphasis is for students interested in conservation of the earth’s biodiversity. This emphasis allows the student to focus on various ecological environments and socio-economic aspects including urban and/or wetland conservation.

Vertebrate Zoology Option

This emphasis provides the rigorous training needed for careers in the fields of ichthyology, herpetology, mammalogy and ornithology, with disciplinary expertise in  areas such as behavior, ecology, evolution, genetics, molecular biology, physiology and systematics. It is a flexible program which permits the inclusion of courses specifically required by graduate degree programs as well as schools of dentistry, law, medicine and veterinary medicine.

For students interested in biological diversity and the ecological processes and population interactions that sustain it, courses in this option are designed to provide a strong foundation in basic and applied organismal biology that will prepare students for graduate studies as well as careers within governmental and nongovernmental agencies and environmental firms dealing with biological conservation.

Students who are interested in mathematical and statistical approaches to conservation of endangered species, management of exploited populations, and their habitats will be equipped in basic ecological data analysis and modeling. The demand for professionals who can integrate quantitative methods and ecological concepts is rapidly increasing among government agencies, academia, and the private sector.  Possible careers include entry-level assistant positions in fisheries management, wildlife management, environmental consulting, and research at conservation agencies. This is also suitable for students who plan to obtain a post baccalaureate degree (M.S. or PhD) in ecology and related fields later in order to pursue higher level positions.


An 18-hour minor is offered in WFSC as a supplement to other related majors. The minor includes three required courses as well as three additional courses that students can choose.  BIOL 111 and 112 as well as RENR 205 are required prerequisites for several of these courses. For more information, download the PDF file.

Students wishing to take courses leading to a minor field of study in Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences will complete the following list of course requirements. Please note there are prerequisites for WFSC 304 and 302. (See footnotes)

All students must take the following courses:
WFSC 3041 3 Cr Wildlife & Fisheries Management
WFSC 3022 3 Cr Natural History of the vertebrates
WFSC 403 3 Cr Animal Ecology

Select 1 course in each of the following three categories of 300-400 level courses. Students must choose at least one terrestrial and one aquatic course.:

WFSC 311 3 Cr Ichthyology*
WFSC 401 3 Cr Mammalogy
WFSC 402 3 Cr General Ornithology


WFSC 405 3 Cr Urban Wildlife and Fisheries
WFSC 406 4 Cr Conservation Biology and Habitat Management
WFSC 410 4 Cr Principles of Fisheries Management*


WFSC 408 3 Cr Techniques of Wildlife Management
WFSC 444 3 Cr Aquaculture I: Principles and Practices*
WFSC 448 3 Cr Fish Ecophysiology*
WFSC 404 3 Cr Aquatic Ecosystems*
WFSC 425 3 Cr Marine Fisheries*
WFSC 447 3 Cr Aquaculture II: Aquatic Animal Nutrition, Feeding & Disease Management*

*Aquatic Courses

1 WFSC 304 has a prerequisite of RENR 205, Fundamentals of Ecology.
2 WFSC 302 has a prerequisite of BIOL 111 & 112, Biology I & II
BIOL 101, Botany& BIOL 107, Zoology.

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