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Wildlife Ecology and Conservation department

Wildlife Ecology and Conservation department

Graduate Program Overview

Dr. Jim Austin
Graduate Coordinator

The Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation (WEC) graduate program prepares students for professional employment in conserving natural resources in a changing world. WEC faculty teach, conduct research, and provide service and extension in the following areas: behavioral ecology, community ecology, conservation biology, conservation education, conservation genetics, ecosystem management, environmental interpretation, habitat restoration, human dimensions of wildlife management, international conservation, introduced species, landscape ecology, plant ecology, population biology, range ecology, systems ecology, tropical conservation, urban wildlife relations, wetlands ecology, wildlife diseases, and wildlife management.

This diversity of faculty expertise attracts and maintains a population of approximately 100 graduate students enrolled in MS and Ph.D. programs.

WEC offers MS and PhD. Degrees in Wildlife Ecology and Conservation. WEC faculty also partner with the School of Natural Resources and the Environment (SNRE) to offer graduate degrees in Interdisciplinary Ecology (IE). Please see the SNRE website ( for admission information to the IE degrees.

Prospective students are expected to explore the WEC faculty research programs ( and initiate a dialog with potential graduate mentors before applying to the program.

Degrees Offered in WEC

The graduate programs in WEC include research and non-research degrees. The specific requirements and aims of these differ considerably.

MS (thesis) or PhD (dissertation) in Wildlife Ecology and Conservation

For both MS and PhD research degrees, prospective students must develop a dialog with a potential faculty advisor before applying to the program. Faculty wishing to accept students must have a funding plan to support the student in place before acceptance (See this link for a recommended application strategy and information on fiscal support for graduate students.)

WEC does not offer research degrees through distance education – all students are expected to be able to attend UF through the main campus in Gainesville or at one of the RECs.

Interdisciplinary Ecology Via The School Of Natural Resources And Environment

Graduate students can also apply to this major to work with Faculty in WEC to obtain MS (Thesis) or PhD (Dissertation) degrees in the Interdisciplinary Ecology Program through the School of Natural Resources and Environment.

Non-thesis MS Degrees

There are two options available for obtaining non-thesis MS degrees through WEC.

  • On-campus non-thesis program in Wildlife Ecology and Conservation.

This program is designed for professionals (e.g., government and non-governmental employees, natural resource industry personnel) who want advanced wildlife ecology and conservation coursework. The program is course-based (on campus). Prospective students must have identified a prospective faculty member willing to serve as their coursework advisor.

Specifics on this program, including how to apply, can be read here.

  • Master of Science in Wildlife Ecology and Conservation with a concentration in Wildlife Forensic Sciences and Conservation (online only - see Maples Center link below).

Although this MS is granted as a Wildlife Ecology and Conservation degree, it is not overseen by WEC. It is run entirely through the Maples Center for Forensic Medicine with instructors external to WEC.

Specifics on this program, including admissions requirements and program goals, can be viewed at Contact the Maples Center at for all questions about this degree program.

Please note that no financial aid from UF is available for non-thesis MS degrees.

  • The costs of attending and self-funding graduate school at UF are summarized in this brochure.
  • UF employees can get help through UF's EEP
  • See com and other online resources for external financial aid sources you can apply for.