Conservation Biology and Ecology Option

The Conservation Biology and Ecology option will give students a clear understanding of the ways that natural and human-related processes affect species, communities, and ecosystems, and relate this knowledge to its broad societal context. This option provides students with strong preparation for graduate study which is necessary for most jobs in Ecology and Conservation Biology. The defining characteristics of the degree include:

  • Understanding natural and human-related processes that affect populations, species, communities, and ecosystems
  • Understanding methods to quantify and mitigate effects on populations, species, communities and ecosystems
  • Strong emphasis on background in basic biology
  • Required grounding in courses on physical environment & human dimensions of conservation, including economics, law, history and social science
  • High standards for statistical knowledge
  • Emphasis on classes in written and spoken communication
Freshman YearCredits
BIOE 103CS - Environmental Science and Society3  
BIOB 170IN - Principles of Biological Diversity4  
CHMY 141 - College Chemistry I4  
COMX 111US - Introduction to Public Speaking (formerly COM 110US)
or CLS 101US - Knowledge and Community
University Core and Electives0-3  
PHSX 205 - College Physics I  4
M 161Q - Survey of Calculus  4
WRIT 101W - College Writing I*  3
BIOB 160 - Principles of Living Systems (Chem pre-req)  4
University CORE and Additional Electives   0-3
Year Total: 14-17 15-18
Sophomore YearCredits
PHL 236Q - Logic3  
STAT 216Q - Introduction to Statistics3  
CHMY 143 - College Chemistry II4  
ENSC 110 - Lnd Res Environ Sciences3  
WRIT 201 - College Writing II3  
BIOB 375 - General Genetics  3
CHMY 211 - Elements of Organic Chemistry  5
ECNS 101IS - Economic Way of Thinking  3
Take one of the following:  3-4
ERTH 101IN - Earth System Sciences
ERTH 102CS - Topics in Earth Sciences (3 of 16 offered)
STAT 217Q - Intermediate Statistical Concepts  3
Year Total: 16 17-18
Junior YearCredits
Take one of the following:3-5  
ENSC 245IN - Soils
BCH 380 - Biochemistry
STAT 411 - Methods for Data Analysis I3  
Take one of the following:0-3  
BIOO 412 - Animal Physiology (3, Fall only)
BIOO 433 - Plant Physiology (3, Spring only)
Social Sciences Elective3  
University CORE and Additional Electives3  
BIOE 370 - General Ecology (equiv to 270)  3
Take one of the following:  0-3
BIOO 433 - Plant Physiology (3, Spring only)
BIOO 412 - Animal Physiology (3, Fall only)
Social Sciences Elective  3
University CORE and Additional Electives  3
BIOE 375 - Ecological Responses to Climate Change  3
BIOB 420 - Evolution  3
Year Total: 12-17 15-18
Senior YearCredits
BIOE 440R - Conservation Biology3  
Take two of the following:3-6  
BIOE 428 - Freshwater Ecology (Fall only)
BIOE 445 - Macrosystems ecology: Linking plants, animals, and ecosystems across scales (Spring only)
BIOE 455 - Plant Ecology (Spring only)
BIOO 415 - Ichthyology (Spring only)
BIOO 470 - Ornithology (Spring only)
BIOO 475 - Mammalogy (Fall only)
Social Sciences Elective3  
University CORE and Additional Electives3-6  
Complete two of the above list  3-6
Social Sciences Elective  3
University CORE and Additional Electives  6-9
Year Total: 12-18 12-18
Total Program Credits: 120

Semester for completing WRIT 101W is assigned for freshmen during Orientation.

Social Sciences Elective Block

A minimum of six (6) credits of electives must be taken in the social sciences, including subjects such as economics, sociology, political science, history, philosophy, or language. It is acceptable to select electives broadly or to focus them in one area. The intention is to develop a better understanding of the ways that conservation biology and ecology are related to broader issues in society, and to develop additional areas of expertise that are useful in the formulation and implementation of conservation policy. If any of the courses selected have the IS suffix, they will simultaneously satisfy a requirement of the University CORE. Classes may be lower or upper division.

Suggested Electives for the Conservation Biology and Ecology Option

University requirements for graduation also must be completed, including university core requirements and a minimum of 120 total credits of which 42 must be in courses numbered 300 and above. The classes listed above satisfy university core requirements except that you must also take one class each for the Diversity, Arts and Humanities requirements (courses with suffixes of D, A and H). Some of the suggested electives meet these core requirements. The curriculum above completes 37-41 credits numbered 300 and above (including 6 credits in the Social Sciences elective block.). You have some flexibility in the classes that you select to fill your Junior and Senior years. It is intended that you use these credits to develop strength in an area of emphasis that matches your interests and goals. We recommend that you consult the list of suggested electives below and speak to your advisor.

Ecology and Evolution:
BIOE 405Behavioral and Evolutionary Ecology3
BIOE 408Rocky Mountain Vegetation2
BIOM 415Microbial Diversity, Ecology, and Evolution3
BIOE 428Freshwater Ecology3
BIOO 435Plant Systematics3
BIOB 484Population Genetics (not currently offered)3
Environmental Science:
ENSC 245INSoils3
ENSC 272CSWater Resources3
ENSC 353Environmental Biogeochemistry3
ENSC 410RBiodiversity Methods3
ENSC 448Stream Restoration Ecology3
ENSC 465Environmental Biophysics3
ENSC 468Ecosystem Biogeochem3
Fish & Wildlife Management:
WILD 301Princ of Fish & Wildlife Mgmt3
Geography and Earth Science:
ERTH 212RNYellowstone: Scientific Lab4
ERTH 303Weather and Climate3
GPHY 284Intro to GIS Science & Cartog3
GPHY 411Biogeography3
GPHY 426Remote Sensing (consent of instructor or junior standing)3
STAT 412Methods for Data Analysis II3
Social Sciences:
ECNS 317Economic Development3

Requirements for Admission to Upper Division Courses in Biology

For admission to upper division (numbered 300 or higher) Biology (BIOB, BIOE, BIOO) and Fish and Wildlife Management (WILD) courses, students must have completed at least 45 total university credits with a cumulative GPA of at least 2.5 for all courses and have also earned a "C-"or better for any prerequisite courses.  Limited exceptions may be made by consent of instructor. Any student who obtains enrollment in an upper division biology course without satisfying these requirements will be required to withdraw from the course.