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Wildlife Ecology and Conservation department

Wildlife Ecology and Conservation department

Welcome to our world class graduate program in Wildlife Ecology and Conservation!

Research conducted through the Department is as diverse as the expertise of our faculty. Affiliated faculty can be found in the Center for Latin American Studies, the Florida Museum of Natural History and the U.S. Geological Services Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, to name a few. Rigorously designed field research within Florida and around the globe (Latin America, Africa, Asia, New Zealand, etc.) is a special strength of our faculty. Our work is of the highest scientific caliber, incorporating the latest analytical, technical, conceptual, and philosophical approaches in order to solve real-world conservation problems in collaboration with agencies, resource managers, landowners, politicians and scientists spanning diverse disciplines. It is a big job, and our dedicated faculty rely heavily on graduate students as collaborators in accomplishing this work. In many ways, graduate students are the lifeblood of any academic department, and we welcome your interests and talents in ours.

If you are ready to apply, or are exploring admission – see this page. []

Which Degree is right for you?   We offer the following graduate degrees:

(1) Doctor of Philosophy, Ph.D. (coursework & dissertation required)*

(2) Master of Science, M.Sc.

(a) M.Sc. (coursework & thesis required)*

(b) M.Sc. (non-thesis, coursework only)*

(c) M.Sc. (non-thesis, coursework only, online only, in Wildlife Forensics)

*These degrees require students to be enrolled in on-campus programs.  

The non-thesis M.Sc. degree in Wildlife Forensics is offered via our partnership with the Maples Center for Forensic Medicine. This is a non-thesis online-only degree. For information and admission to this degree program, please see  

Thesis and dissertation degrees (1 & 2a) are research degrees requiring dedication to training as a scientist, and typically students are hired as Graduate Assistants and paid a modest stipend with tuition included to conduct their research and earn their degrees. Non-thesis degrees, in contrast, typically do not involve research, only courses, and students taking these degrees must pay all associated costs.

2) Funding is fundamental to support our research graduate students.  DWEC is not a service department (i.e., we do not offer General Biology with numerous labs staffed by graduate students). Service departments (like UF Biology Department) receive university funding to support a large team of graduate teaching assistants. Instead, graduate students in DWEC are funded primarily by faculty grants for competitive projects, with supplements from the university, to provide graduate assistantships and tuition waivers. Many of our PhD students also compete for and receive Fellowships. Therefore, admission to a faculty member’s lab requires faculty review of your qualifications, your own candid assessment of the lab as a training ground for your needs and goals, and a funding package. Often, faculty you would like to work with are fully financially committed to other students, or may be in between funding cycles. Finding a place in DWEC as one of our graduate students is about presenting yourself well, being prepared for the rigors of graduate training in science, but it is also about money. Faculty will know about resources they have, or that you both can apply for within the university (UF Graduate Fellowships, for example).  However, you should consider external funding that you can apply for yourself.  To support your study with tuition and stipend, seek premiere fellowships providing two or more years of support. Use sites like these as a guide to what is available. Sources of fellowships will vary for US citizens versus foreign national applicants. Remember, only those motivated to apply for fellowships can receive one.  Check the qualifications before you apply. 

Please ask me if you have any questions about degree programs, funding, or deciding when and how to begin your search for a graduate program.  Please review materials here, and on the Admissions page to figure out what all your questions are. I look forward to talking with you about your goals and your plan for achieving them.


Dr. Katie Sieving, Professor

Graduate Coordinator, DWEC

(352) 846-0569 – office phone