Wildlife Conservation is an option under the Environmental Science and Terrestrial Resource Management major. Wildlife Conservation is the science and art of managing animal populations and their related resources. This option offers coursework in wildlife ecology, quantitative science, and the social and political aspects of wildlife conservation issues. Students can expect hands-on field experiences including how to identify, capture, and handle animals; and how to assess, map, and plan wildlife habitats. Instruction on writing technical reports and scientific papers, and presentation of findings and implementation of wildlife conservation plans will be covered.

While each student’s academic plan is unique to them, this is a suggested Four Year Course Plan for the Wildlife Conservation Option. Please note that most ESRM 300/400 level classes only occur once a year, which is why they are listed during specific quarters.

Required Option Courses
(minimum 35 credits)

ESRM 350 (5) Wildlife Biology and Conservation
ESRM 351 (5) Wildlife Research Techniques
ESRM 441 (5) Landscape Ecology
ESRM 450 (5) Wildlife Ecology and Conservation
ESRM 451 (3) Analytical Methods in Wildlife Science
ESRM 458 (5) Management of Endangered, Threatened and Sensitive Species
QSCI 482 (5) Statistical Inference in Applied Research

One of the following:
ESRM 452 (3) FIeld Ornithology
ESRM 453 (3) Ecology and Biology of Mammals
ESRM 459 (3) Wildlife Conservation in NW Ecosystems

Or by petition:
FHL 492 Ecology and Conservation of Marine Birds and Mammals
FISH 464 (4) Arctic Marine Vertebrate Ecology
FISH 497A (1-15) Special Topics in Aquatic and Fishery Sciences
BIOL 480 (4) Field Ecology

Relevant General Elective Courses

BIOL 356 (3) Foundations in Ecology
BIOL 409 (5) Sociobiology
BIOL 443 (5) Evolution of Mammals and their Ancestors
BIOL 452 (5) Vertebrate Biology
BIOL 472 (5) Community Ecology
BIOL 476 (5) Conservation Biology
ESRM 400 (3) Natural Resources Conflict Management
ESRM 425 (5) Ecosystem Management
ESRM 456 (3) Biology and Conservation of Birds
ESRM 459 (3) Wildlife Conservation in NW Ecosystems
ESRM 457/FISH 455 (3/5) Fish and Wildlife Toxicology
FISH 475 (3/5) Marine Mammalogy
QSCI 483* (5) Statistical Inference in Applied Research II
QSCI 480* (3) Sampling Theory for Biologists
QSCI 486* (3) Experimental Design
FISH 557* (4) Estimation of Population Parameters

*A minor in quantitative science is recommended for graduate study. See more on this minor here.

Required Capstone
(10 credits)

ESRM 494 (5) Capstone Proposal
ESRM 495 (5) Senior Project OR ESRM 496 (5) Senior Thesis
ESRM 462 (2) Restoration Ecology 1
ESRM 463 (3) Restoration Ecology 2
ESRM 464 (5) Restoration Ecology 3

Required Capstone Experience for Wildlife Conservation Students

ESRM wildlife conservation students must complete a 10 credit major capstone. Students may choose the experience most appropriate to their goals. The first option spans 2 quarters and includes the Capstone Proposal (ESRM 494) and Senior Thesis (ESRM 496) or Senior Project (ESRM 495). The second option is the 3 quarter award-winning Restoration Ecology Capstone through UW-Restoration Ecology Network (ESRM 462, 463, 464). Capstone requirements include a project proposal, data collection or project implementation, analysis of data/project, final written report of findings/project, and an oral presentation. Participation in the UW Undergraduate Research Symposium in May is highly recommended for those students pursuing an individual capstone project.

Career Opportunities and Graduate Study

With the bachelor’s degree and relevant experience, career opportunities include working as entry-level wildlife managers, naturalists in national or state parks, or as field biologists for agencies and environmental consulting firms. Most professional positions in the wildlife field require a graduate degree and this option offers strong preparation for subsequent graduate work. Public agencies, such as the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Washington State Department of Natural Resources, the Washington State Department of Ecology, the U.S. Forest Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, hire wildlife professionals as do private sector environmental consulting firms, forest industry, and conservation organizations. The option also is an appropriate choice for students interested in subsequent professional degrees in public policy or environmental law.

SEFS and Affiliated Faculty

John Marzluff (lead), Stanley Asah, Sarah Converse, Christian Grue, Joshua Lawler, L. Monika Moskal, Ken Raedeke, John Skalski, Sandor Toth, Laura Prugh, Beth Gardner, and Aaron Wirsing

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