Wildlife Biology - Aquatic

Chad Bishop, Wildlife Biology Director

The Wildlife Biology Program combines the best features of a liberal arts curriculum with scientific preparation in wildlife conservation. The Program provides students with an extensive knowledge in ecology, population biology, conservation biology, and critical thinking and quantitative skills. Our students receive a strong academic and scientific background with an emphasis on hands-on, experiential learning. The educational requirements for certification by The Wildlife Society can be met within the framework of the undergraduate program.

While some employment opportunities exist in wildlife conservation for students with the baccalaureate degree, we encourage students to continue their education through the master's degree to qualify for most state, federal, and private positions.

Two concentrations are offered in the Wildlife Biology Program: terrestrial and aquatic. They both follow the same schedule of courses for the freshman and most of the sophomore year and then pursue different curricula for the last two years. Each leads to a B.S. in Wildlife Biology. The University is well-suited for instruction in wildlife biology because of the excellent opportunities for field instruction and research at Lubrecht Experimental Forest, Flathead Lake Biological Station, and the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial and Bandy ranches. The Montana Forest and Conservation Experiment Station, the Division of Biological Sciences, and the Montana Cooperative Wildlife Research Unit facilitate research.

High School Preparation: In addition to general University admission requirements, the student should elect four years of mathematics and three years of science, including biology, chemistry and physics.

Wildlife Biology Honors Track

The honors curriculum is designed particularly for students with strong academic records who intend to do graduate work. Entrance into this emphasis is open only to students who, at the beginning of the junior year of the wildlife biology program, have a grade-point average of 3.5 or above and who petition the faculty for entrance.

Honors students must complete either WILD 370, WILD 470 and WILD 494 (terrestrial option) or BIOO 340, BIOE 428 and WILD 494 (aquatic option). Honors students are encouraged to enroll also in WILD 499. The balance of the coursework for the junior and senior years will be developed in consultation with the honors student's faculty advisor.

All students in the honors emphasis are required to meet with their faculty advisor prior to autumn semester registration of their junior and senior years to work out their course schedules.

Bachelor of Science - Wildlife Biology; Aquatic Concentration

W.A Franke College of Forestry & Conservation

Degree Specific Credits: 87-89

Required Cumulative GPA: 2.5

Catalog Year: 2019-2020

Note: Experiential Learning is required - Students have several options to fulfill this requirement - list is available from the Wildlife Advisor in Forestry 103C

General Education Requirements

Information regarding these requirements can be found in the General Education Section of the catalog.


Major Required Courses29
Major Required Courses - Aquatic Concentration23-24
Outside Major Required Courses20-21
Advanced College Writing Requirement15
Total Hours87-89

Major Required Courses

Complete all of the following courses:
BIOB 160NPrinciples of Living Systems3
BIOB 161NPrncpls of Living Systems Lab1
BIOB 260Cellular and Molecular Biology4
BIOB 272Genetics and Evolution4
BIOE 370General Ecology3
BIOE 371Gen Ecology Lab (equiv to 271)2
WILD 180Careers in Wildlife Biology2
WILD 346Wildlife Physiological Ecology3
WILD 410Wildlife Policy & Biopolitics3
or NRSM 422 Nat Res Policy/Administration
WILD 480The Upshot--Appld Wildlife Mgt3
WILD 494Senior Wildlife Seminar1
Total Hours29

Minimum Required Grade: C-

Major Required Courses - Aquatic Concentration

Complete all of the following courses:
BIOE 428Freshwater Ecology5
BIOO 320General Botany5
BIOO 340Biology and Mgmnt of Fishes4
NRSM 385Watershed Hydrology3
WILD 408Advanced Fisheries3
Complete one of the following courses:3-4
BIOE 406
Behavior & Evolution
BIOM 427
& BIOM 428
General Parasitology
and General Parasitology Lab
BIOO 462
WILD 485
Aquatic Invertebrate Ecology
Total Hours23-24

Minimum Required Grade: C-

Outside Major Required Courses

Complete all of the following courses:
CHMY 121NIntroduction to General Chemistry4
CHMY 123Introduction to Organic and Biochemistry4
CHMY 124Introduction to Organic and Biochemistry Lab2
COMX 111AIntroduction to Public Speaking3
M 162Applied Calculus4
STAT 216Introduction to Statistics3-4
or WILD 240 Intro to Biostatistics
Total Hours20-21

Minimum Required Grade: C-

Advanced College Writing Requirement

Complete any three of the courses from the following lists:
The following courses are required in the Aquatic Concentration:15
BIOE 371
Gen Ecology Lab (equiv to 271)
BIOE 428
Freshwater Ecology
BIOO 320
General Botany
WILD 408
Advanced Fisheries
The following courses are additional options that can also be used to fulfill the Advanced College Writing requirement:
BIOB 483
Phylogenics and Evolution
BIOE 342
Field Ecology
BIOE 403
Comparative Vert Anatomy
BIOE 409
Behavior & Evolution Discussion
BIOL 484
Plant Evolution
BIOO 470
BIOO 475
FORS 330
Forest Ecology
FORS 341
Timber Harvesting & Roads
FORS 349
Practice of Silviculture
FORS 440
Forest Stand Management
NRSM 344
Ecosystem Science and Restoration Capstone
Climate Change Ethics/Policy
NRSM 379
Collab in Nat Res Decisions
NRSM 426
Climate and Society
NRSM 462
Rangeland Ecology
NRSM 475
Environment & Development
PTRM 300
Recreation Behavior
PTRM 451
Tourism & Sustainability
PTRM 482
Wilderness & Protected Area Management
WILD 410
Wildlife Policy & Biopolitics
WILD 470
Conserv of Wildlife Populatns
WILD 499
Total Hours15

Minimum Required Grade: C-