WFSC students are advised to use this handbook as a guide to supplement Texas A&M information and resources for students in order to successfully navigate the WFSC program and meet all university and departmental requirements. All information in this handbook is subject to change at any time. Students are responsible for staying updated on the Texas A&M University Student Rules as well as the WFSC website.
The Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences aspires to preeminence among academic programs dealing with ecology, management, and conservation biology. Our faculty is dedicated to the discovery and dissemination of knowledge in conservation of biodiversity, natural resource management, and the sustainable use of natural resources. An overarching goal of the department is to facilitate the sustainability of the earth’s biota and the ecosystems on which they depend while accommodating for human health and welfare.
The Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences discovers and communicates knowledge relevant to the conservation and management of wildlife and fishery resources and the ecosystems that sustain them through integrated academic instruction, research, and extension programs. We subscribe to a multidisciplinary approach that fosters interdepartmental collaboration and outreach to agencies, nonprofit organizations, and public and private interests over a wide range of natural resource topics, including environmental quality, sustainable management of natural resources, bioinformatics, and biocomplexity.
The faculty, staff, and students of the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences value scholarship in all its forms – discovery, integration, application, and teaching. We value understanding for its own sake, for the betterment of people, and for the conservation of the natural world. The department encourages, appreciates and rewards various forms of scholarly activity in teaching, research, extension, and public service, including integration of these activities. Diverse viewpoints, ethical consideration, and approaches to pursuing and manifesting scholarship, including constructive criticism, are accepted and nurtured.
WFSC Academic Advising
Mon – Fri | 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
No walk-in appointments accepted. Advising appointments can be made by online or by phone at 979-845-5708.
WFSC Advisors | Regular meetings (at least one per semester) with your academic advisor are highly recommended!
Lindsay Hutchins | 118 WFES
Academic Advisor III
979.845.5704 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Faegen Lee | 116 WFES
Academic Advisor I
979.862.4215 | email@example.com
TAMU Information for Current Students
Undergraduate Catalog – catalog.tamu.edu/undergraduate
University Student Rules – student-rules.tamu.edu
Schedule of Classes – howdy.tamu.edu
WFSC Undergraduate Program – wfsc.tamu.edu/students/undergraduate-2
Official Forms of Communication
Student Rule 1.2: “To avoid missing important communications from the university, it is the student’s responsibility to keep the registrar informed of current local and permanent addresses. Communications mailed to either address of record, or to a student’s official TAMU email account, will be deemed to be adequate notice.”
Students are encouraged to check their TAMU email account daily for university as well as academic advisor emails. Contact the TAMU Email Help Desk at firstname.lastname@example.org or 979-845-8300 for questions.
Students majoring in Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences (WFSC) will complete 120 hours of coursework to obtain the Bachelor of Science degree in Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences. Of these hours, 41 consist of the University’s Core Curriculum, which acts to enrich and broaden the University’s tradition of providing excellence through preparation in each student’s academic major. Another 40 hours are required of all WFSC majors as part of the core curriculum of the WFSC department. These courses provide students with a solid scientific and ecological base for their chosen degree option. There are three degree options in the following areas: Fisheries, Aquaculture, and Aquatic Sciences, Wildlife Ecology & Conservation, and Vertebrate Zoology. In addition, students choose a concentration (emphasis) for a specific area of interest. The option and emphasis include an additional 39 hours of course work. Students must always refer to the catalog under which they entered Texas A&M for their specific curriculum requirements. Students should review the University Catalog and Academic Calendar for requirements, dates, and deadlines.
WFSC Academic Requirements
The Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences requires all students to maintain at least an overall and major GPA of 2.0 or higher. Students who entered the program (Fall 2012 and after) will be required to receive at least a C or better in BIOL 111, 112, RENR 205/215 and ALL WFSC courses.
WFSC students are not permitted to take WFSC 302 – Natural History of Vertebrates more than three times. This is a required WFSC core course which must be taken for a grade of a C or better. If at least a C is not achieved on the student’s third attempt (including q-drops), the student will be dismissed from the WFSC major permanently. See student rule (10.21).
University Core Curriculum (41 Hours)
These courses have been selected by the WFSC department to provide students with a solid foundation for the departmental core and degree option coursework.
WFSC Core Curriculum (40 Hours)
Departmental courses necessary for a sound education in the wildlife and fisheries conservation professions. Students in the Vertebrate Zoology option will need to follow the footnotes for additional requirements.
WFSC Degree Options (39 Hours)
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. To find more information on the degree options visit the section on Degree Options.
Concentrations (Emphasis Areas)
Each student will choose a course of study from among the following concentrations areas:
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
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:
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
This emphasis is for students interested in understanding and managing both aquatic and terrestrial habitats. Courses taken may meet course certification requirements of both the American Fisheries Society and The Wildlife Society. Students are advised to ask the advisor in their appointment to follow the appropriate coursework.
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.
WFSC Degree Plans
Degree plans for each concentration are provided to students. Students are advised to follow the degree plan provided by the advisor during their appointment as the information and coursework are subject to change. Students are encouraged to review the TAMU Catalog and the WFSC website for the most current list of courses.
Field experience is a requirement for all WFSC degree options and can be obtained by completing an internship, studying abroad, or doing research with a professor. By completing a field experience, students have the opportunity to use the skills they have learned in a real world environment. Students can see a list of available opportunities on the WFSC Job Board.
Students will need to complete 136 work hours in an internship relating to wildlife or fisheries. The internship requires the approval of WFSC Advising Office prior to the start date. Internship Agreement forms should be submitted to the WFSC Advising Office by the deadlines below. Your advisor will enroll you in WFSC 484, your internship course credit, for the semester requested. Students should request enrollment in WFSC 484 within one semester after the completion of the internship. Any forms submitted after the deadlines are not guaranteed to be processed.
July for Fall Internships
December 1 for Spring Internships
April 1 for Summer Internships
Many opportunities are available to travel around the world through Texas A&M University. The Study Abroad Programs Office provides advising on trips sponsored by departments all over campus and has up to date lists of new programs and trips being offered. As their motto says, “Go Away” on a study abroad trip!
Each year the department sponsors a trip visiting the Caribbean since the 1980’s. Research topics emphasize terrestrial, freshwater and marine vertebrate research and both basic and applied topics focused on insects. For more information, visit dominica.tamu.edu or studyabroad.tamu.edu.
Amazon River Tropical Biology
Focuses on the natural history, ecology, evolutionary biology, geography, and culture of the Amazon River and Rio Negro, a massive black-water tributary. During this boat-based expedition, students will learn about tropical biology by surveying biota and recording observations about this unique ecosystem. For more information, contact the instructor, Dr. Kirk Winemiller at email@example.com.
During the winter mini-mester odd years, WFSC students interested in learning about approaches for the conservation of natural resources in a developing country and research into vertebrate natural history. These objectives are to provide students with first hand experience of a wide range of ecological, economic and social factors affecting the effectiveness of nature-based tourism as a conservation tool in South Africa, and provide students with a field experience in vertebrate natural history in a developing country. This study abroad satisfies one writing intensive requirement. For more information, visit studyabroad.tamu.edu.
Research with a faculty member can satisfy a field experience credit. Students are encouraged to contact a faculty member directly if they are interested in research. Students will complete an undergraduate research agreement form and submit to a WFSC advisor who will register the student for WFSC 491. The student must complete at least 136 hours in order for research to count as field experience.
Students will receive an email notifying them of their pre-registration start date and time in their Howdy Portal. Missing this time will prevent students from registering until open registration, which is at the end of the pre-registration period. A student register for a course as late as the first five class days of the fall or spring semesters or first four class days of the summer terms or 10-week summer semester (Student Rule 1.17.1).
A student may drop a course with no record during the first twelve class days of a fall or spring semester and during the first four class days of a summer term or a 10-week summer semester (Student Rule 1.17.2).
- Q-drop period for fall and spring semesters begins on the thirteenth class day and ends on the 60th class day (TAMU Student Rule 1.17.2).
- Q-drop period for any summer course begins on the fifth class day and ends on the 15th class day for a summer term and the 35th class day for a 10-week summer semester (Student Rule 1.17.2)
Check with the department in which the course is offered. WFSC advisors cannot force students into a course that is offered outside WFSC. Force requests for WFSC courses are requested online and are reviewed on a case by case basis. Priority is given to students who are graduating within the semester and/or year. Force requests are not guaranteed.
Undergraduate Degree Planner
The Undergraduate Degree Planner is a course planning tool designed to facilitate the timely completion of your degree at Texas A&M University and to assist in planning the courses required to fulfill your degree program which all student are required to submit. This can be located in the Howdy Portal on the My Record tab. If students do not complete a degree planner by the annual September 30 deadline, a registration hold will be placed on the student account and the student will be blocked from registration until the degree planner is completed.
All completed degree planner coursework is updated in degree planner. Students are responsible for planning the remaining coursework required for their degree plan. Completed coursework is listed in green, planned coursework is yellow, and incomplete requirements are red. After completing and submitting the degree planner, the academic advisor will either approve or deny the degree planner. If denied, an explanation will be provided and the student must make corrections until the degree planner is considered satisfactory by an advisor. Reminders to complete degree planner are sent to students’ TAMU email by an advisor. The degree planner may be submitted as early as March 1 each year, but must be submitted and approved by September 30 each year to avoid a registration hold.
WFSC Dismissal and Scholastic Probation Policy
According to student rule 12.1, a student is scholastically deficient when:
1.1 His or her semester grade point ratio is less than 2.00; or
1.2 His or her cumulative grade point ratio is less than 2.00; or
1.3 The cumulative grade point ratio in his or her major field of study is below a 2.00; or
1.4 He or she is not meeting college and/or major course of study grade point requirements.
Procedures and Responsibilities
The Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences policy defines scholastic deficiency as a term or cumulative GPA below a 2.0. Students who are scholastically deficient are either placed on probation, dismissed from their major, or suspended by the university.
Cumulative GPA below 2.0
- 1st Semester < 2.0:
- Student is placed on academic probation
- Blocked from course registration until meeting, or other requirement is met with department (i.e. probation contract/acknowledgement is signed).
- If requirement is not met by the add/drop deadline of the term, student’s schedule will be dropped and/or blocked from continuous registration
- 2nd Semester < 2.0 and previous academic probation terms are NOT met:
- Student is dismissed from major with the option to appeal for continued enrollment
- If appeal is granted, student is placed on final probation and will NOT be allowed to pre-register for following term until the terms of probation have been met
- 2nd Semester < 2.0 and previous academic probation terms ARE met:
- Student will continue with final academic probation
- 3rd Semester < 2.0:
- Student will be dismissed from major with no option to appeal
- Dismissed students will be eligible to apply for readmission at a date to be determined by the department
- If a student meets terms of probation and falls below a 2.0 overall GPA in a subsequent semester, the student will be dismissed from the major with the option to appeal.
Term GPA below 2.0
- 1st Term GPA < 2.0:
- Student will be placed on term academic probation and will receive a letter and/or email notifying them of this status
- Student will be blocked from registration until meeting, or other requirement is met with department (i.e. probation contract/acknowledgement is signed). Student could be recommended to utilize various student services on campus. These services can include, but are not limited to: Academic Success Center, Student Counseling Services, Student Disability Services, Writing Center, Veteran Resource and Support Center, Student Athlete Services, etc.
- 2nd Term GPA < 2.0:
- Student will be dismissed from major with an option to appeal
- If appeal is granted, student will be placed on final academic probation
- Student will be required to utilize various student services on campus. These services can include, but are not limited to: Academic Success Center, Student Counseling Services, Student Disability Services, Writing Center, Veteran Resource and Support Center, Student Athlete Services, etc.
- 3rd Term GPA < 2.0:
- Student will be dismissed from their major with no option to appeal
- Dismissed students will be eligible to apply for readmission at a date to be determined by the department
- Term GPA’s do not need to be consecutive to determine probation and/or dismissal.
Grade Point Deficiencies and Dismissal/Scholastic Probation
To assign an academic status, students are evaluated on the number of attempted hours and deficient grade points. The chart below details the student classification, deficiency points, and probation/dismissal terms.
WFSC Scholastic Probation
Students assigned WFSC probation may have either a semester or overall GPA below 2.0. These students will complete a probation contract and self-assessment. Students with an overall GPA below 2.0 are required to make-up the negative deficiency points by the end of the probationary semester. All students on WFSC probation must meet with an advisor following the release of midterm grades, or the student will be blocked from continued enrollment until meeting with an advisor. Students with a semester GPA below 2.0 are encouraged to complete a “Success Plan” with the Academic Success Center, while students with an overall GPA below 2.0 are required to complete the “Success Plan.”
Students who fail to meet previous probation terms or meet the grade point deficiency threshold to be dismissed from WFSC are given the option to appeal the dismissal. Students will be blocked from continued enrollment until the successfully changing majors to a different department.
Students dismissed have the opportunity to present, in writing, extenuating circumstances contributing to their academic deficiency to the Departmental Academic Committee. Reviews will be read and evaluated by the committee, but are not guaranteed a reversal of the original dismissal decision. If the appeal is granted by the committee, the student will be allowed to continue with Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences on academic probation. Students placed on academic probation are required to make-up a determined number of deficient grade points in the following semester, in addition to signing a probation contract and completing the required “Success Program” offered by the Academic Success Center. Failure to complete these requirements can and will be grounds for certain academic dismissal the following semester.
If the appeal is not granted, students dismissed by the department can re-apply following one regular semester while not enrolled as a Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences major. Students are strongly encouraged to continue taking classes to demonstrate their readiness and commitment to academic success on their return to Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences. A re-admission application must be submitted and re-admitted students are placed on final probation.
Texas A&M University Dismissal Policy
Immediately following the posting of final grades each semester, the Undergraduate Studies Office will filter and sort AOC data for each college. Students falling at or below the grade point threshold levels listed below will be identified. Undergraduate Studies will send a roster of those students in each college falling at or below the dismissal threshold to the respective AOC Dean (Dr. Kim Dooley, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences). Registration holds will be placed on all dismissed students for a period of one calendar year. If students have extenuating circumstances impacting their academics in the semester of dismissal, an appeal may be submitted to their college AOC Dean. For more information on the appeals process, see Student Rule 57.1.5 for guidelines for the appeal.
Calculating Grade Point Deficiencies
What does C=6 (or C+1, 2, or more) mean?
Answer: The University uses variance points to determine whether or not students are placed on probation. Students’ grades are weighed based on the number of credit hours of a class and the grade that they earn. In order to remain in good academic standing, students must earn at least zero variance points in both their semester and overall GPR. The more positive points students have, the less susceptible to being placed on probation they will be. If you are on probation, you have negative variance points, and you need to earn positive points. Earning A’s and B’s will add points to your overall variance while earning D’s and F’s will remove points from your overall variance. Earning a C does not earn either positive or negative variance points, because a C is considered a 2.0 and this is the minimum GPR required for graduation. The number listed on your contract (C+6, for example) is the number of positive points that you need to earn this semester.
Variance points earned per class:
Examples schedule for variance point calculation:
If you are on semester probation (your semester GPR is below 2.0, but your cumulate GPR is above 2.0), you must agree to get a 2.0 or above the following semester.
Related Statutes, Policies, or Requirements
Withdrawing from the University
Refer to Student Rule 19 for updated information and student rules regarding withdrawal procedures. Deadline to withdraw is the last day to Q-drop; however, W’s may be awarded after the Q-drop deadline if you have an emergency or very unusual, substantial, non-academic circumstances that occur after the withdrawal deadline. Documentation of these circumstances will be required when submitting this request after the 60th class day. No withdrawals will be accepted once finals begin.
WFSC Student Organizations
Texas A&M University Chapter of American Fisheries Society
The Texas A&M Chapter of the American Fisheries Society is a professional organization of individuals interested in maintaining high standards for the fisheries profession by insuring that the undergraduate and graduate members of our chapter are prepared for careers in fisheries ecology, fisheries management, aquaculture, genetics, and the human dimensions of fisheries.
TAMU Student Chapter of the Wildlife Society
The Texas A&M University Chapter of the Wildlife Society serves as a technical guide organization for students with a genuine interest in wildlife and fisheries sciences. Our society takes the students’ interests to heart and provides information and links to vital new opportunities involving wildlife conservation, research, and management.
TAMU Chapter of Society for Conservation Biology
The Texas A&M Student Chapter of the Society for Conservation Biology is dedicated to educating students and the community about the conservation and preservation of ecosystems and organisms all over the world.
Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences (MANRRS)
The overall objective of the MANRRS shall be to promote and implement initiatives which foster inclusion and advancement of members of ethnic/cultural groups under-represented in agricultural and natural resource sciences and related fields in all phases of career preparation and participation.
Society for the Advancement of Chicanos & Native Americans in Science (SACNAS)
The Texas A&M University Chapter of SACNAS is a non-excluding organization that provides support for Hispanics/Chicanos, Native Americans, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians and any other underrepresented minority students in science, engineering and technology fields.
COALS Student Council
The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Student Council is a professional organization that serves as the liaison between students, faculty and the Dean in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. This organization represents the nearly 8,000 students within the college through service activities, networking opportunities, professional development, and opportunities for funding through scholarships and grants.
The Department of Wildlife & Fisheries Sciences offers several scholarships for continuing students. Students must be enrolled full time during the semesters that the scholarship is awarded. The University Scholarship Application is available at scholarships.tamu.edu. The applications will be available in October of each year with a February 1 deadline. Scholarships vary depending on the availability of funds each year. A current list of scholarships offered can be found at on the WFSC website.
University Writing Center
The mission of the Writing Center is to support writing and public speaking for graduate and undergraduate students across the university, with particular emphasis on supporting W and C courses. They provide one-on-one consulting sessions, online resources, and workshops on speaking and writing. To find more information or schedule an appointment, visit writingcenter.tamu.edu. The Writing Center is located in Evans Library, with a drop-in location at West Campus Library.
Academic Success Center
The Academic Success Center strives to help each Aggie achieve their highest possible academic potential with programming designed to identify and address individual needs. Students participate in an initial online learning skills assessment to ensure that they pursue the right track. Scholastic performance specialists help each student develop an individualized plan that incorporates campus academic support services. Academic coaching helps students accomplish their plans and chart their progress. The Academic Success Center also provides targeted workshops, discussion groups, and other events to help students identify and access the information and skills they need to succeed. For more information, go to sucesscenter.tamu.edu or visit them on the 9th floor of Rudder Tower.