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 I
& CHMY 142 - College Chemistry I Lab
COMX 111US - Introduction to Public Speaking
or CLS 101US - Knowledge and Community
University Core or 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 or Additional Electives   0-3
Year Total: 14-17 15-18
Sophomore YearCredits
STAT 216Q - Introduction to Statistics3  
CHMY 143 - College Chemistry II
& CHMY 144 - College Chemistry II Lab
ENSC 110 - Land Resources and Environmental Sciences3  
WRIT 201 - College Writing II
or WRIT 221 - Intermediate Tech Writing
ECNS 101IS - Economic Way of Thinking3  
BIOB 375 - General Genetics  3
CHMY 211 - Elements of Organic Chemistry
& CHMY 212 - Elements of Organic Chemistry Lab
ERTH 101IN - Earth System Sciences  4
STAT 337 - Intermediate Statistics with Introduction to Statistical Computing  3
Year Total: 16 15
Junior YearCredits
Take one of the following:3-5  
ENSC 245IN - Soils
BCH 380 - Biochemistry
& BCH 381 - Biochemistry Lab
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   3
BIOB 420 - Evolution  3
Social Sciences Elective  3
University CORE or Additional Electives  3-6
Year Total: 12-17 12-15
Senior YearCredits
BIOE 440R - Conservation Biology3  
Directed Electives*3-6  
University CORE or Additional Electives3-6  
BIOE 375 - Ecological Responses to Climate Change  3
Directed Electives*  3-6
University CORE and Additional Electives  9-12
Year Total: 9-15 15-21
Total Program Credits: 120
Directed Electives
Choose 6 credits from the following:
BIOE 405Behavioral and Evolutionary Ecology3
BIOE 408Rocky Mountain Vegetation3
BIOE 416Alpine Ecology3
BIOE 420Field Ornithology3
BIOE 421Yellowstone Wildlife Ecology3
BIOE 428Freshwater Ecology3
BIOE 445Macrosystems Ecology: Linking Plants, Animals, and Ecosystems Across Scales3
BIOE 455Plant Ecology3
BIOO 415Ichthyology3
BIOO 470Ornithology3
BIOO 475Mammalogy3
ENSC 410RBiodiversity Survey and Monitoring Methods3

Check course prerequisites and terms offered (BIOO 415, BIOO 470, and BIOO 475 require BIOO 310, fall only)

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 Vegetation3
BIOM 415Microbial Diversity, Ecology, and Evolution3
BIOE 428Freshwater Ecology3
BIOO 435Plant Systematics3
BIOB 484Population Genetics3
Environmental Science:
ENSC 245INSoils3
ENSC 272CS Water Resources3
ENSC 353Environmental Biogeochemistry3
ENSC 410RBiodiversity Survey and Monitoring Methods3
ENSC 448Stream Restoration Ecology3
ENSC 465Environmental Biophysics3
ENSC 468Ecosystem Biogeochem and Global Change3
Fish & Wildlife Management:
WILD 301Princ of Fish & Wildlife Mgmt3
Geography and Earth Science:
ERTH 212RNYellowstone: Scientific Lab4
ERTH 303Weather and Climate3
GPHY 284 Intro to GIS Science & Cartog 3
GPHY 411Biogeography3
GPHY 426Remote Sensing3
Statistics and Logic:
STAT 412Methods for Data Analysis II3
PHL 236QLogic3
Social Sciences:
ECNS 317Economic Development3