2024-2025 Undergraduate/Graduate Catalog

Biological Sciences: Wildlife and Conservation Biology M.S.

30 Credits

Program Rationale:

The specialization in Wildlife and Conservation Biology is designed to train students for professional careers as wildlife or conservation biologists, lab technicians, or provide adequate preparation for entry into a Ph.D. program. Students in the program will acquire the necessary background and research skills to measure, monitor, and protect the world’s biodiversity. Students will learn to conduct supervised research, network with other professionals, gain relevant field and lab skills, and experience teaching.

The specialization in Wildlife and Conservation Biology has several unique aspects that separate it from other graduate programs. The specialization will be administered through the Biology Department at CCSU, however, to capitalize on the expertise currently found throughout the CSU system, faculty from all four CSU's may serve on thesis committees.  Students will also be able to take suitable coursework at more than one of the CSU campuses. Coursework in the specialization will be interdisciplinary and incorporate performance-based assessment to verify the acquisition of critical skills. It is a research thesis only program and each thesis will be required to have a collaborative component with a state or federal agency or non-profit organization. Each thesis is also required to have at least one clear deliverable that is directly associated with the conservation component of the project.

Overall Learning Goals/Principal Learning Outcomes for the Program:

1)    Students will develop expertise in field and lab methods used in wildlife and conservation biology

2)    Students will increase their scientific literacy in wildlife and/or conservation biology

3)    Students will experience the stressful physical conditions they may encounter in future careers during rigorous field work (Varies depending on student’s career path

4)    Students will develop the necessary written skills to publish scientific research in reports and in scientific journals

5)    Students will construct and deliver an oral presentation at a professional conference

6)    Students will gain practical grant writing experience

7)    Students will gain practical teaching experience by preparing and teaching lecture and labs

Requirements during program:

1)    Thesis Proposal, Written thesis with oral defense

2)    Planned Program including required coursework from core and electives

3)    Small internal/external grant submission

4)    Teach two lectures and one lab under supervision

5)    Present at a professional conference (oral or poster)

6)    Physical fitness test (Only for those that wish to pursue careers that require fieldwork)

Admission Requirements:

Applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution of higher education. A minimum cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.0 on a 4.00 point scale (where A is 4.00), or its equivalent, and overall good standing (3.00 GPA) in all post-baccalaureate course work is required.

Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General (No minimum will be required)

Narrative statement describing formative experiences that lead to your interest in wildlife conservation or conservation biology.

Letters of recommendation by two college instructors or supervisors (where applicable), familiar with your ability and record in biology and the related sciences.

Sufficient preparation in the biological sciences (See Prerequisites below). Note that any deficiencies will have to be made up at the beginning of the   graduate program.

Prerequisite Courses (Candidates admitted without the required prerequisite courses will be considered Conditionally Accepted and are required to make these up at the beginning of the program. Note that only one 400 level course may be used in the planned program.)

Subject Area Preparation                                                                                      

General Ecology. Satisfied by BIO 405 Ecology or equivalent*

Genetics: Satisfied by BIO 484/BIO 584, BMS 306 or equivalent*

Introduction to Statistics. Satisfied by STAT 104 Elementary Statistics or equivalent*

*Students that are attempting to meet the prerequisite requirements by taking equivalent courses that are not listed above are strongly encouraged to discuss their choices with the program coordinator before and during the application process.

Additional Recommended

**A course in animal or plant physiology (BIO 449).

**If you plan to apply to the federal government for a position in a wildlife-related field.

The graduate application, application fee, and official transcripts are to be submitted directly to Graduate Recruitment and Admissions Office from each institution attended except Central Connecticut State University.

Instructions for uploading the statement and for obtaining and submitting the recommendation letters will be found within the online application.

When an applicant’s admission folder is complete, it will be forwarded to the department chair. The Departmental Graduate Committee will make a recommendation for acceptance. Students who are accepted will be assigned an advisor at the time of acceptance. If applicable, a thesis advising committee will be assigned after the student begins the program of study.

Contact: Dr. Paul Hapeman, 860-832-2671

Requirements (30 credits)

Core Courses (11-12 Credits)

BIO 500Seminar in Biology

1 TO 2

BIO 587Advanced Wildlife Techniques


BIO 598Research in Biology


GEOG 501Geographic Information Systems: Basics and Beyond


Example Biology Electives, 12-13 credits of the following:

BIO 584Advanced Conservation Genetics


BIO 586Advanced Conservation Biology


BIO 582Advanced Mammalogy


BIO 469Entomology


BIO 420Ornithology


BIO 507Advanced Stream Ecology


BIO 508Coastal Ecology



BIO 509Coastal Ecology Laboratory


BIO 540Topics in Advanced Biology

3 TO 4

The following elective courses could also be taken at other CSU campuses:

BIO 555 Herpetology, 4 credits, WCSU

BIO 502 Population and Community Ecology, 3 credits, SCSU

BIO 525 Ichthyology, 3 credits, SCSU

BIO 513 Coastal Ecosystem Management, 3 credits, SCSU

BIO 540 Topics in Advanced Biology courses should be selected with a topic focus appropriate to the specialization (may be repeated with different topics).


Plan A: Thesis Capstone

BIO 599Thesis

3 OR 6

Plan A requires research-based thesis and thesis defense seminar.

Plan A requires 6 credits.

Total Credit Hours: 30