Academic Programs Catalog

College of Agriculture and Natural Resources

Department of Fisheries and Wildlife

Undergraduate Programs
Fisheries and Wildlife

Fisheries and wildlife management involves the maintenance and management of wild populations of fish and wildlife species and the ecosystems in which they live.  Wild populations cannot be managed without an understanding of how human, social, economic, political and behavioral considerations interact in the natural world.  As a fisheries and wildlife major at Michigan State University, students will acquire basic knowledge in the application of these interactions between and among the natural and social sciences. 

Majors in the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife prepare for rewarding careers as fisheries and wildlife technicians, biologists, managers, naturalists, and applied ecologists.  Others may choose to pursue related careers as conservation officers, environmental consultants or natural resource administrators.  Employment is generally found with state and federal natural resource agencies such as the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the National Park Service.  There are also excellent job opportunities with private companies such as International Paper and non-profit organizations such as The Nature Conservancy or Trout Unlimited as well at many universities and colleges.

The undergraduate program in the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife at Michigan State University is nationally and internationally recognized.  The program provides a strong base in the foundational and applied sciences of natural resource management. The program is designed to develop understanding of the cultural, recreational, and economic values of biological resources. The department offers a core of required courses including biology and physical sciences, math and statistics, communications, ethics and philosophy, and experiential learning in addition to a large selection of other fisheries and wildlife courses.  The fisheries and wildlife undergraduate program also allows students to develop their individual interests through completion of one of six concentrations that are designed to provide additional breadth and depth, including: conservation biology, fisheries biology and management, wildlife biology and management, water sciences, fish and wildlife disease ecology and management, and preveterinary.

Conservation Biology focuses on the science of analyzing and protecting the earth’s biological diversity drawing from the biological, physical and social sciences, economics, and the practice of natural resource management.

Fisheries Biology and Management is designed for students interested in the research and management of fish, other freshwater and marine organisms, and the ecosystems that sustain them.

Wildlife Biology and Management is for students interested in understanding and managing terrestrial habitats and animals including game, non-game, and endangered species.

Water Sciences is designed for students interested in examining the biological, physical, chemical, geological and hydrological aspects of lakes and ponds, rivers and streams, wetlands and groundwaters including water quality. This concentration provides students with an understanding for protecting and restoring water resources around the Great Lakes and the world.

Fish and Wildlife Disease Ecology and Management is designed to provide students with an improved understanding of the emergence and spread of infectious diseases and the likely consequences that increased contact between fish and wildlife, and domestic animal and human populations have on these environmental problems.

Preveterinary is designed for students who are interested in careers in veterinary medicine and satisfies the course requirements for admission to Michigan State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. Dual advising at the College of Veterinary Medicine is required.

Students who complete the requirements for the fisheries and wildlife major and choose elective courses appropriately can also satisfy requirements for certification by: the American Fisheries Society as an Associate Fisheries Scientist;  the Wildlife Society as an Associate Wildlife Biologist; the Society of Wetland Scientists as a Wetland Professional-in-training.

Students who are enrolled in the Bachelor of Science degree in Fisheries and Wildlife may elect to minor in any number of related relevant subject areas. For additional information available on minors, visit http://www.reg.msu.edu/AcademicPrograms/Programs.aspx?PType=MNUN.

Requirements for the Bachelor of Science Degree in Fisheries and Wildlife

  1. The University requirements for bachelor's degrees as described in the Undergraduate Education section of this catalog; 120 credits, including general elective credits, are required for the Bachelor of Science degree in Fisheries and Wildlife.

    The University’s Tier II writing requirement for the Fisheries and Wildlife major is met by completing Fisheries and Wildlife 434 referenced in item 3. below.

    Students who are enrolled in the Fisheries and Wildlife major leading to the Bachelor of Science degree in the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife may complete an alternative track to Integrative Studies in Biological and Physical Sciences by completing items 3. a. and 3. b. below. The completion of Biological Sciences 171 or 172 or Lyman Briggs 144 and Chemistry 161 or Lyman Briggs 171L satisfies the laboratory requirement. Completion of items 3. a. and 3. b. below will be counted toward both the alternative track and the requirements for the major.

    The completion of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources mathematics requirement may also satisfy the University mathematics requirement.
  2. The requirements of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources for the Bachelor of Science degree.

    Certain courses referenced in requirement 3. below may be counted toward College requirements as appropriate.  The completion of item 3. d. below satisfies the College's mathematics requirement.
  3. The following requirements for the major:
                   
    a. One of the following groups of courses (9 or 10 credits):   
      (1) BS  161 Cell and Molecular Biology 3
        BS 171 Cell and Molecular Biology Laboratory 2
        BS 162 Organismal and Population Biology 3
        BS 172 Organismal and Population Biology Laboratory 2
      (2) BS  161 Cell and Molecular Biology 3
        BS 171 Cell and Molecular Biology Laboratory 2
        LB 144 Biology I - Organismal Biology 4
      (3) LB  144 Biology I – Organismal Biology 4
        LB  145 Biology II: Cellular and Molecular Biology  5
        Students pursuing the Preveterinary concentration must complete either group (2) or group (3).  
    b. One of the following groups of courses (5 credits):  
      (1) CEM  141 General Chemistry 4
        CEM  161 Chemistry Laboratory I 1
      (2) CEM  151 General and Descriptive Chemistry 4
        CEM  161 Chemistry Laboratory I 1
      (3) LB  171 Principles of Chemistry I 4
        LB  171L  Introductory Chemistry Laboratory I 1
    c. One course from each group (6 to 8 credits):   
      (1) PHY  231 Introductory Physics I 3
        PHY  183 Physics for Scientists and Engineers I 4
        LB  273 Physics I 4
      (2) CSS  210 Fundamentals of Soil Science 3
        GLG 201 The Dynamic Earth 4
        GEO  203 Introduction to Meteorology 3
        GEO 206 Physical Geography 3
        ENT  319 Introduction to Earth System Science 3
    d. One course from each group (6 or 7 credits):   
      (1) MTH  124 Survey of Calculus I 3
        MTH  132 Calculus I 3
        LB  118 Calculus I 4
      (2) STT  231 Statistics for Scientists 3
        STT  224 Introduction to Probability and Statistics for Ecologists 3
        STT  421 Statistics I  3
    e. Two of the following courses (6 credits):   
      COM 100 Human Communication 3
      COM 225 Introduction to Interpersonal Communication 3
      COM 275 Effects of Mass Communication 3
      CSUS 325 Study and Practice of Communication for Sustainability (W) 3
      CSUS 433 Grant Writing and Fund Development (W) 3
      FW  435 Integrated Communications for the Fisheries and Wildlife Professional 3
      JRN 472 Laboratory in Environmental Reporting 3
      WRA 320 Technical Writing (W) 3
      WRA  331 Writing in the Public Interest (W) 3
      WRA 341 Nature, Environmental, and Travel Writing 3
      WRA  453 Grant and Proposal Writing 3
    f. One of the following courses (3 credits):   
      FW  438 Philosophy of Ecology (W) 3
      FW 439 Conservation Ethics 3
      PHL  340 Ethics     3
      PHL 342 Environmental Ethics 3
      PHL  380 Nature of Science 3
      PHL   484 Philosophy of Biological Science 3
      GEO  432 Environmental Ethics (W) 3
    g. One of the following courses (3 or 4 credits):   
      FW  493 Professional Internship in Fisheries and Wildlife 3
      FW  490 Independent Study in Fisheries and Wildlife 3
      FW  480 International Studies in Fisheries and Wildlife 3
      FW  499 Senior Thesis in Fisheries and Wildlife 4
    h. All of the following courses (17 credits):   
      FW  101 Fundamentals of Fisheries and Wildlife Ecology and Management 3
      FW  293 Undergraduate Seminar in Fisheries and Wildlife 1
      FW  364 Ecological Problem Solving 3
      FW  424 Population Analysis and Management 4
      FW  434 Human Dimension of Fisheries and Wildlife Management (W) 3
      ZOL  355 Ecology     3
    i. One of the following courses (2 or 3 credits):  
      FW 101L Fundamentals of Fisheries and Wildlife Ecology and Management Laboratory 2
      FW 238 Introductory Fisheries and Wildlife Field Experience 3
    j. One of the following concentrations:   
      Conservation Biology (27 to 29 credits):  
      (1) All of the following courses (12 credits):  
        FW  444 Conservation Biology 3
        FW 445 Biodiversity Conservation Policy and Practice 3
        FW  443 Restoration Ecology 3
        ZOL  445 Evolution (W) 3
      (2) One of the following courses (3 credits):  
        FOR 404 Forest Ecology 3
        PLB  441 Plant Ecology 3
        ZOL 485 Tropical Biology  3
      (3) One of the following courses (3 or 4 credits):  
        CSS  350 Introduction to Plant Genetics 3
        ZOL  341 Fundamental Genetics 4
      (4) One of the following courses (3 credits):  
        FW  410 Upland Ecosystem Management 3
        FW  414 Aquatic Ecosystem Management 3
        FW  416 Marine Ecosystem Management  3
        FW  417 Wetland Ecology and Management 3
        FW 454 Environmental Hydrology for Watershed Management 3
        FW  479 Fisheries Management 3
      (5) One of the following courses (3 credits):  
        CSUS 464 Environmental and Natural Resource Policy in Michigan

    3

        CSUS 465 Environmental Law and Policy 3
        EEP  255 Ecological Economics 3
        FW  481 Global Issues in Fisheries and Wildlife 3
        FOR  466 Natural Resource Policy 3
        MC 450 International Environmental Law and Policy 3
        ZOL  446 Environmental Issues and Public Policy 3
      (6) One of the following courses (3 or 4 credits):  
        ENT  422 Aquatic Entomology  3
        FOR  204 Forest Vegetation 3
        FW  471 Ichthyology 4
        PLB  218 Plants of Michigan 3
        PLB  418 Plant Systematics 3
        ZOL  360 Biology of Birds  4
        ZOL  365 Biology of Mammals 4
        ZOL  384 Biology of Amphibians and Reptiles (W) 4
      Fisheries Biology and Management (25 to 28 credits):  
      (1) One of the following courses (3 credits):   
        FW  472 Limnology  3
        FW  420 Stream Ecology 3
      (2) All of the following courses (10 credits):  
        FW  471 Ichthyology 4
        FW  479 Fisheries Management  3
        FW  474 Field and Laboratory Techniques for Aquatic Studies  3
      (3) One of the following courses (3 credits):  
        FW  414 Aquatic Ecosystem Management 3
        FW  416 Marine Ecosystem Management 3
        FW  417 Wetland Ecology and Management 3
        FW 454 Environmental Hydrology for Watershed Management 3
      (4) One of the following courses (3 or 4 credits):  
        ENT 404 Fundamentals of Entomology 3
        ENT  422 Aquatic Entomology 3
        ZOL  306 Invertebrate Biology 4
      (5) One of the following courses (3 or 4 credits):  
        PLB  418 Plant Systematics 3
        PLB 424 Algal Biology 4
      (6) One of the following courses (3 or 4 credits):  
        CSS 350 Introduction to Plant Genetics 3
        FW 431 Ecophysiology and Toxicology of Fishes 3
        ZOL  328 Comparative Anatomy and Biology of Vertebrates (W) 4
        ZOL  341 Fundamental Genetics 4
        ZOL  483 Environmental Physiology (W) 4
      Wildlife Biology and Management (26 or 27 credits):  
      (1) All of the following courses (9 credits):  
        FW  410 Upland Ecosystem Management 3
        FW  417 Wetland Ecology and Management 3
        FW 413 Wildlife Research and Management Techniques 3
      (2) Two of the following courses (8 credits):  
        ZOL  360 Biology of Birds  4
        ZOL  365 Biology of Mammals 4
        ZOL  384 Biology of Amphibians and Reptiles (W) 4
      (3) One of the following courses (3 credits):  
        FOR  204 Forest Vegetation 3
        PLB  218 Plants of Michigan 3
        PLB  418 Plant Systematics 3
      (4) One of the following courses (3 credits):  
        FOR 404 Forest Ecology 3
        PLB 105 Plant Biology 3
        PLB 203 Biology of Plants 3
        PLB 335 Plants Through Time 3
        PLB 441 Plant Ecology 3
      (5) One of the following courses (3 or 4 credits):  
        CSS 350 Introduction to Plant Genetics 3
        ZOL  328 Comparative Anatomy and Biology of Vertebrates (W) 4
        ZOL  341 Fundamental Genetics 4
        ZOL  483 Environmental Physiology (W) 4
      Water Sciences (24 to 28 credits):  
      (1) Two of the following courses (6 credits):  
        FW  417 Wetland Ecology and Management 3
        FW  420 Stream Ecology 3
        FW  472 Limnology 3
      (2) The following course (3 credits):   
        FW  474 Field and Laboratory Techniques for Aquatic Studies  3
      (3) One of the following courses (3 credits):  
        FW  414 Aquatic Ecosystem Management 3
        FW  416 Marine Ecosystem Management 3
        FW 454 Environmental Hydrology for Watershed Management 3
        FW  479 Fisheries Management 3
      (4) One of the following courses (3 or 4 credits):  
        ENT 404 Fundamentals of Entomology 3
        ENT  422 Aquatic Entomology 3
        FW  471 Ichthyology 4
        ZOL  306 Invertebrate Biology 4
      (5) One of the following courses (3 or 4 credits):  
        PLB  418 Plant Systematics 3
        PLB  424 Algal Biology 4
      (6) Two of the following courses (6 to 8 credits):  
        CSS 350 Introduction to Plant Genetics 3
        FW 431 Ecophysiology and Toxicology of Fishes 3
        GLG  421 Environmental Geochemistry 4
        MMG  425 Microbial Ecology 3
        ZOL  303 Oceanography 4
        ZOL  341 Fundamental Genetics 4
        ZOL  353 Marine Biology (W) 4
        ZOL  483 Environmental Physiology (W) 4
      Fish and Wildlife Disease Ecology and Management (33 to 35 credits):  
      (1) All of the following courses (24 credits):  
        EPI  390 Disease in Society: Introduction to Epidemiology and Public Health 4
        FW  423 Principles of Fish and Wildlife Disease  3
        FW 423L  Principles of Fish and Wildlife Disease Laboratory  1
        FW  444 Conservation Biology 3
        FW 463 Wildlife Disease Ecology 3
        MMG  301 Introductory Microbiology 3
        ZOL 341 Fundamental Genetics 4
        ZOL  445 Evolution (W) 3
      (2) One of the following courses (3 or 4 credits):  
        CEM 143 Survey of Organic Chemistry 4
        CEM 251 Organic Chemistry 3
      (3) One of the following courses (3 credits):  
        FW  410 Upland Ecosystem Management 3
        FW  414 Aquatic Ecosystem Management 3
        FW  416 Marine Ecosystem Management 3
        FW  417 Wetland Ecology and Management 3
        FW 454 Environmental Hydrology for Watershed Management 3
        FW  479 Fisheries Management 3
      (4) One of the following courses (3 or 4 credits):  
        FW 471 Ichthyology 4
        ZOL  306 Invertebrate Biology 4
        ZOL  316 General Parasitology 3
        ZOL  360 Biology of Birds  4
        ZOL  365 Biology of Mammals 4
        ZOL  384 Biology of Amphibians and Reptiles (W) 4
      Preveterinary (38 or 39 credits):
     
      (1) All of the following courses (31 credits):  
        BMB  401 Basic Biochemistry  4
        CEM  251 Organic Chemistry I 3
        CEM  252 Organic Chemistry II  3
        CEM  255 Organic Chemistry Laboratory 2
        FW  423 Principles of Fish and Wildlife Disease  3
        FW  423L  Principles of Fish and Wildlife Disease Laboratory  1
        FW 463 Wildlife Disease Ecology 3
        MMG  301 Introductory Microbiology 3
        MMG  302 Introductory Laboratory for General and Allied Health Microbiology 1
        MMG  409 Eukaryotic Cell Biology  3
        PHY  251 Introductory Physics Laboratory I 1
        PHY  232 Introductory Physics II  3
        PHY 252 Introductory Physics Laboratory II  1
      (2) One of the following courses (4 credits):  
        ANS  314 Genetic Improvement of Domestic Animals 4
        ZOL  341 Fundamental Genetics 4
      (3) One of the following courses (3 or 4 credits):  
        ANS 313 Principles of Animal Feeding and Nutrition 4
        HNF 150 Introduction to Human Nutrition 3
        HNF 260 Principles of Human Nutrition 3