Wildlife Ecology and Conservation department

Wildlife Ecology and Conservation department

Admissions Information for WEC Graduate Program

Thank you for your interest in the graduate program of the Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation (DWEC). Our program is strong in all aspects of wildlife conservation, and we operate locally to globally. We offer the following graduate degrees:

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

(2) Master of Science, (2a) M.Sc. (coursework & thesis required), and (2b) M.Sc. (non-thesis, coursework only).

These degrees (1, 2a, and 2b) require students to be enrolled in on-campus programs. 

One new option that DWEC offers, via partnership with the Maples Center for Forensic Medicine, is (2c) an online-only, non-thesis M.Sc. degree in Wildlife Forensics. For this degree please see the following link, https://masters.wildlife.forensics.med.ufl.edu/

Which degree is right for you? 

Thesis and dissertation degrees (1 & 2a) are research degrees requiring dedication to becoming trained as a scientist, and typically students are hired as gradaute assistants and paid a modest stipend to conduct their research and earn their degrees. Non-thesis degrees typically do not involve research, only taking courses, and students taking these degrees must pay all costs associated with coursework.

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, land owners, politicians and scientists spanning diverse disciplines.

Admission Requirements

For all gradaute degrees, students must have an earned Bachelor's degree and a GPA of 3.0 or better. 

The University of Florida Graduate School requires all applicants to take the Verbal and Quantitative GRE Exam (but not GRE Subject Tests). However, WEC will not use GRE scores for determining admissions petitions, awards of merit or resources to graduate students. According to UF Graduate School policy, applicants with GRE verbal scores below 140 (10th percentile) require approval from the Graduate School for admission to the program (http://gradcatalog.ufl.edu/content.php?catoid=10&navoid=2019).

For research degrees (thesis / dissertation) assistantship stipends are usually awarded on a 0.40-0.50 FTE basis and currently pay $20,000-$25,000 annually, but alternative assistantship structures and salaries are sometimes possible, depending on the source of funding. The nature of appointments vary, but many assistantships include coverage of tuition. The department has a limited number of teaching assistantships, generally assigned as part of the initial agreement with the student; some assistantships require teaching, and this will be clear in your letter of offer. A limited number of additional assistantships are available, generally to support one or two semesters of a student to enable them to complete their degree or to meet special teaching needs in the department.

A word from the wise about the stipend amounts...
Your professional life as a graduate student obtaining a research based degree (thesis / dissertation) can be thought of as a pie in thirds: 1/3 time you work for UF (your advisor, as a TA, etc.), 1/3 time you excel in courses and coalesce non-research aspects of your degree program, and 1/3 time you are expected to conduct high caliber thesis research. You aren't getting paid very much as a graduate student because of the added values of the work. You are getting a degree, receiving varied training in the latest approaches, and developing interpersonal and professional skills through collaboration with your peers, teachers, and colleagues (some quantifiable, and others that are immeasurably important). And most of the money paid in stipend ultimately derives from the taxes of US citizens. As a public service that is given directly to you, high pay scales for graduate students would probably be inappropriate. Therefore, if you need a lot of money immediately, graduate school is not for you.


  • If you are considering the online non-thesis M.Sc. in Wildlife Forensics, please direct inquiries through links on this page: https://masters.wildlife.forensics.med.ufl.edu/
  • If you are considering a non-thesis M.Sc. degree (non-forensics) and wish to discuss, send an inquiry to the WEC Graduate Coordinator (see below).

Other inquiries:

DWEC Student Services Office:

Attn: Ms. Claire Williams, Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation, P.O. Box 110430, Rm. 102 Newins-Ziegler Hall, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611 (Phone: 352-846-0633).

To check the status of an active application go to https://one.uf.edu/.


Dr. Katie Sieving, Professor
WEC Graduate Coordinator

chucao at ufl period edu