Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology Master of Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology (M.F.W.C.B.)

Online Master's in Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology

Earn your master's in wildlife biology online from CSU

Colorado State University's online Master of Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology (M.F.W.C.B.) focuses on the ecology and management of wild animals, for their benefit and the benefit of humans. With direct and indirect human impacts on the environment increasing, lands that are inhabited by wildlife species are being changed or lost at unprecedented rates. Managing for wildlife in these times includes activities such as study design, data collection and interpretation, and communication to constituencies so policies can be selected that have positive outcomes for wildlife and humans.

Study design and analysis is often the job of wildlife biologists, who have a deep respect and passion for the natural world, the wildlife that inhabits it, and how humans interact with and impact them both. The Master of Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology degree provides the training and credentials natural resource professionals need to effectively guide studies, decisions, and policies related to fish and wildlife management.

A master's degree for natural resource professionals

This intensive, coursework-only online master's degree is designed for professionals in the natural resources area, with a focus on the skills and tools needed to analyze, communicate, and make decisions about conservation issues. Students will broaden their critical thinking on current issues and receive the training to be successful and advance in careers at natural resources agencies, firms, and non-government organizations.

Fish and wildlife management focus

CSU has been applying an interdisciplinary approach to fish and wildlife management since the late 1940's and has a strong reputation for its innovative approaches to solving complex wildlife issues using state-of-the-art methodologies.

Faculty incorporate their research and field work experience into coursework and discussions with online students. Examples of recent issues that FWCB faculty have been involved with include:

  • The impacts of natural gas development and associated habitat mitigation on wildlife (e.g., mule deer, greater sage-grouse, small mammals including bats, and an array of avian species).
  • The introduction and management of whirling disease-resistant rainbow trout in Colorado.
  • Behavioral ecology of the (critically endangered) waved albatross in the Gal├ípagos Islands.
  • Understanding African elephant behavior, ecology, and associated human-wildlife conflicts.

Ecological partnerships at CSU

CSU has long-standing collaborative relationships with agencies and institutions such as:

  • USDA-APHIS-Wildlife Service National Wildlife Research Center
  • USGS Fort Collins Science Center
  • US Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station
  • Center for Disease Control
  • US National Park Service
  • Colorado Parks and Wildlife
  • The Nature Conservancy

All are located either on the CSU campus or within the City of Fort Collins, and FWCB faculty and researchers work jointly with these outside researchers on various projects.

These close working relationships enhance the relevance of coursework by incorporating real-world examples of the various fish and wildlife conservation issues facing our planet today into courses. Students benefit from these relationships by becoming familiar with these agencies and the research happening within them, as well as the positive reputation our department has with them.

Flexible course delivery to fit your schedule

The master's in wildlife biology is offered online in a flexible, self-paced study format optimal for working professionals. The discipline requires knowledge of biological, physical, chemical, and ecological processes; study design; and statistics. Courses are delivered online using Canvas, a convenient online learning management system, which also offers forums for collaboration with other students and faculty.

What you learn

Build your knowledge base and understanding of how to review scientific information; analyze, interpret, and explain data; develop and communicate strategies and plans; and make complex decisions to successfully manage fish and wildlife while considering budgets, stakeholders, and human values. Topics of study include:

  • Conservation biology: theory and practice
  • Issues in wildlife-human conflicts
  • Fish and wildlife study design
  • Applied sampling, analysis, and data interpretation
  • Stakeholder communication on natural resource issues
  • Conservation decision-making
  • Population dynamics and habitat management
  • Natural resource policy

Who will benefit from this program

This online wildlife management degree is designed for natural sciences professionals who may be:

  • Agency personnel
  • Individuals working for environmental consulting firms
  • Personnel working in non-government organizations

These roles may require developing management plans for species, drafting RFPs, reviewing reports, and/or coordinating communication between various groups of stakeholders involved with fish and wildlife conservation initiatives. The skills gained in this program are directly applicable to these tasks. The master's in wildlife biology curriculum may also appeal to natural resource professionals who have been working in the field for over 10 years and are in need of updating their knowledge and skills.

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