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Student in labMaster of Science in Conservation Biology

What is Conservation Biology?

We all leave a footprint on the world. And as our population grows, there is an increasing need for conservation biologists to protect it. When you seek a Master of Science degree, you're preparing for a career in the field and in the laboratory answering questions related to ecology, evolution and changes in the environment. Throughout the program, you will train to understand biodiversity and identify solutions to potential conflicts between humans and the natural world. As a graduate student, you will choose between specializations in biodiversity (bio-inventory, taxonomy, and molecular systematics), ecology (natural systems, plant/animal communities, paleoecology, and microbial ecology), and anthropogenic impacts (environmental toxicology and water conservation). Admission to this program requires prospective students hold a degree from an accredited college or university with a minimum of 2.5 grade point average (four-point scale). To apply, submit an application packet containing official transcripts, an official score on the Graduate Record Exam (GRE), a statement of purpose and three letters of recommendation. All application materials should be submitted to the UWA School of Graduate Studies.


  • Our graduate curriculum features two tracks: a research-based thesis track and a non-thesis option. Both require the completion of 36 semester hours beyond the Baccalaureate.
  • The core curriculum for each track consists of 12 semester hours and includes courses in conservation biology, methods in conservation biology, research design and data analysis, and graduate seminar.
  • The remaining elective course requirements are flexible, and are tailored to students’ areas of interest.
  • Effective scientific communication forms the bridge between professionals and the public, and our program considers this skillset to be of primary importance to graduate education.

Extra-Curricular Activities

  • Interactions with dedicated faculty and supportive mentors
  • Opportunities for international travel and research
  • Departmental cookouts, canoe trips, and other outings
  • Development of lifelong friendships with likeminded students and professionals
  • Travel to regional and national scientific meetings
  • Outreach efforts with UWA’s dynamic Tri-Beta Biological Honor Society

Job Placement and Career Preparation

Our graduates successfully compete for careers in state and federal governmental agencies such as the U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Departments of Environmental Protection and Agriculture, National Park Service, county and state health agencies, as well as non-government organizations and environmental consulting firms. Graduates are also well-prepared for entrance into doctoral programs in conservation biology and related fields. With the selection of appropriate courses, an MS in Conservation Biology also provides possibilities for related careers in natural resources regulation and enforcement agencies.

College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics contact Dr. John McCall, Dean | jmccall@uwa.edu | (205) 652-3414

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