CSU offers new online master’s for fish and wildlife conservationists

deer300Starting this fall, Colorado State University will offer an online master’s degree in Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology. The program will focus on ecology and management of wild animals, for their benefit and the benefit of humans.

With the construction sector experiencing a period of sustained growth worldwide, and human population steadily on the rise, land that may once have been a habitat for wildlife species is being developed at unprecedented rates. But before natural resources are harvested or converted into residential and commercial developments, agricultural land, roads, and other uses, studies are conducted to gather data that will influence decision-making—studies that need to be interpreted and communicated to constituencies effectively.

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 new online master’s degree provides the training and credentials natural resource professionals need to effectively guide decision-making related to fish and wildlife management.

Master’s students in this course-intensive online program will be able to study current issues such as maintaining biodiversity, endangered species management, and potential impacts of climate change on species management. Understanding human-wildlife interactions from animal damage and zoonotic diseases such as avian influenza and West Nile virus will also be a point of discussion.

Non-thesis master’s degree

As a non-thesis master’s degree, this program offers applicable training for professionals in careers at natural resources agencies, firms, and non-government organizations. CSU has long-standing collaborative relationships with agencies such as the 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, and The Nature Conservancy. Faculty and researchers work jointly with researchers from these agencies on projects and bring real-world examples of the various fish and wildlife conservation issues facing our planet today into the online classroom.

Gail Dethloff, Graduate Program Developer for the program, explained why it’s becoming increasingly important to stay current in the field of wildlife management. “Questions in natural resource management and conservation often have multiple facets, and the research used to address them is updated on a regular basis,” she said. “Natural resource professionals often need to expand and update their knowledge base to more thoroughly and effectively address such questions.”

The department offers on-campus master’s and doctorate degree options, known for rigorous quantitative research methods and faculty expertise, and the new addition of the online master’s degree builds on that foundation by offering a degree for natural resource professionals seeking to gain skills readily applicable to their jobs. As Dethloff stated, “By offering this program online, CSU’s Fish Wildlife and Conservation Biology Department allows those professionals to continue engaging in and addressing issues while educating themselves on the most up-to-date information and techniques to use in their field.”

Applications for the Master of Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology program are now being accepted for the Fall 2016 semester. For more information, visit the CSU Online website, or call (970) 491-5288.

About CSU Online

Colorado State University Online creates and delivers CSU’s online and distance program, providing affordable access to a quality education from wherever students call home around the nation and world, on a schedule that fits their lives.

CSU’s online students receive the same education, learn from the same faculty, and earn the same regionally accredited degree as students on campus.

CSU Online is a division of the Office of Engagement, which strengthens CSU’s ability to achieve excellence in the areas of teaching and learning, retention and graduation, admissions and access, and engagement and service, and assists communities through engagement, scientific discovery, and regional research.