Department of Ecology

310 Lewis Hall, Bozeman, MT 59717-3460
Tel: 406-994-4548   Fax: 406-994-3190

The department offers advanced work leading to Master of Science degrees in biological sciences and fish and wildlife management. The master's degree generally requires a thesis and research publication. At the doctoral level, the Doctor of Philosophy degree is offered in ecology and environmental sciences, biological sciences and in fish and wildlife biology. At both the master’s and doctoral level the following areas of study are available: terrestrial and aquatic ecology, fish and wildlife management, evolutionary biology, quantitative ecology, and conservation biology. Successful applicants are accepted into both the department and The Graduate School.


Only a limited number of graduate students are admitted to our program each year. We accept students into the program based on their academic performance,  recommendation letters, experience, and potential for scientific and professional excellence. Students must meet the minimum entrance requirements for the department to recommend admission. For more detailed information on applying, securing an advisor, financial assistance and more, please review the Ecology Graduate Admissions Information page.

Program Requirements

The minimum credit requirement for a master's degree is 30 credits, and at least 20 credits must be from course work other than thesis work. A minimum of 10 thesis credits must be successfully completed. There are two (2) one credit courses required for all master's candidates: BIOE 554 Foundations of Ecology & Mgmt  and BIOE 555 Communication in Ecol Sciences. Students are required to choose from a specific list of electives for part of the credits. The remainder of the program of study is determined by the graduate committee following The Graduate School guidelines. 

The minimum credit requirement for a doctoral degree is 60 credits beyond the bachelor's degree, including a minimum of 18 thesis credits. A maximum of 30 credits from a previously earned master’s degree may be applied toward the 60 credit requirement. No specific courses are required for a doctoral degree, the program of study is determined by the graduate committee following The Graduate School guidelines. Please refer to the Graduate School Policies and Guidelines page for more information.