Academic Programs Catalog

College of Agriculture and Natural Resources

Graduate Study

The mission of the Fisheries and Wildlife department is to build local, national, and international capacities to conserve ecosystems that support fish, wildlife, and society through integrated programs in research, education and engagement. The department’s faculty, students and staff address a wide range of research themes that fall along spectrums of disciplinary expertise, scientific approaches to understanding, collaborators, funding sources, and stakeholder groups.  Our expertise ranges from disciplinary areas with a long-standing history in the domain of fisheries and wildlife to those emerging more recently. Collectively, we are tackling challenges and developing solutions in areas including, but not limited to: managing for sustainable harvest of fisheries and wildlife populations, developing sound governance structures and effective policies, assessing the ecological status of animal populations and their ecosystems at broad geographic scales, incorporating the diverse ways that humans use and value natural resources into management processes and decisions, and understanding and responding to emerging infectious diseases, global climate change, human-wildlife conflict, wildlife trafficking, environmental toxins, and invasive species.

The department's graduate program is a national leader in the training of students for careers in research, management, teaching, extension and consulting. The Department of Fisheries and Wildlife offers a thesis or non-thesis Master of Science (M.S.) degree and a Doctoral (Ph.D.) degree in Fisheries and Wildlife. Graduates of our master's program are hired by a variety of local, state and federal governmental agencies, private corporations, museums, zoos and nature centers, tribal organizations, and environmental consulting firms. Ph.D. graduates are employed on the faculty of leading universities and compete successfully for positions outside of academia, such as research positions with federal agencies. Approximately 100 graduate students are currently enrolled, and the majority of these students receive financial assistance in the form of graduate assistantships.

Graduate student research projects span the department’s diverse disciplinary areas. These projects take advantage of modern computing facilities, a world-class library, university research stations, department relationships with a global network of scientists, management agencies, and stakeholder groups, and the tremendous natural resources of Michigan. Graduate students are also involved in projects of national and international scope and present research results to a wide range of regional, national and international audiences.

The Department of Fisheries and Wildlife offers Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degree programs in fisheries and wildlife, a Doctor of Philosophy degree program in fisheries and wildlife—environmental toxicology, and a Graduate Certificate in Conservation Law.

Students in the Master of Science degree program in fisheries and wildlife are eligible for the dual JD program with Michigan State University - College of Law.

Students who are enrolled in Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degree programs in the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife may elect specializations in environmental and resource economics,  fish and wildlife disease ecology and conservation medicine, and gender, justice and environmental change. For additional information, refer to the statements on Interdepartmental Graduate Specializations in Environmental and Resource Economics, Graduate Specialization in Fish and Wildlife Disease Ecology and Conservation Medicine, and the Graduate Specialization in Gender, Justice, and Environmental Change in this catalog.


Fisheries and Wildlife - Master of Science

Programs of study are based on the academic preparation, interests, and career goals of individual students.  Although individual students' programs vary, all Master of Science programs in fisheries and wildlife are designed to provide preparation in one of the areas of specialization within the field of fisheries and wildlife, broad preparation in related areas, and a foundation for fisheries and wildlife related careers in administration, research, and management.

Master of Science

In addition to meeting the requirements of the university and of College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, the student must meet the requirements specified below.

Admission

Admission to a master's program requires prior completion of an undergraduate major in a biological or other appropriate science with course work appropriate to support the graduate program. Students lacking sufficient courses may be admitted provisionally until such deficiencies are removed by completing collateral courses. Scores on the Graduate Record Examination General Test are required.

Requirements for the Master of Science Degree in Fisheries and Wildlife

The student may elect either Plan A (with thesis) or Plan B (without thesis). A total of 30 credits is required for the degree under either Plan A or Plan B. The student and the major professor plan a program of study that includes FW 894 and courses related to one or more areas of specialization within the field of fisheries and wildlife. Students are required to plan and execute a departmentally approved outreach experience, or in lieu of this, include FW 895 in their approved program. The program must be approved by the student's guidance committee which includes at least two members in addition to the major professor, at least one of which is from the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife.



 


Fisheries and Wildlife - Doctor of Philosophy

In addition to meeting the requirements of the university and of College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, the student must meet the requirements specified below.

Admission

Applicants for a doctoral program should have completed a Bachelor of Science degree in a biological or other appropriate science. For some areas of specialization, additional background in mathematics, chemistry, botany, zoology or a related Master of Science degree is desirable. Scores on the Graduate Record Examination General Test are required.

Requirements for the Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Fisheries and Wildlife

The student and the major professor plan a program of study that includes FW 894 and courses related to one or more areas of specialization within the field of fisheries and wildlife. Students are required to plan and execute a departmentally approved outreach experience, or in lieu of, include FW 895 in their approved program. The program must be approved by the student's guidance committee, which includes at least three members in addition to the major professor, at least one of whom is from a department other than Fisheries and Wildlife and at least one of whom is from the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife.


Fisheries and Wildlife - Environmental Toxicology

Doctor of Philosophy

For information about the Doctor of Philosophy degree program in fisheries and wildlife—environmental toxicology, refer to the statement on Doctoral Program in Environmental and Integrative Toxicological Sciences in the Graduate Education section of this catalog.


Conservation Law - Graduate Certificate

The Graduate Certificate in Conservation Law provides students an opportunity to explore conservation law by gaining familiarity with the language, theory and practices of the law discipline to better integrate their core education with their respective environmental or conservation-related disciplinary field.

The graduate certificate is available as an elective to students who are enrolled in master’s or doctoral degree programs at Michigan State University.


Requirements for the Graduate Certificate in Conservation Law

               
Students must complete both of the following courses (9 credits):  
LAW 630M Conservation Law Clinic I 6
LAW 630N Conservation Law Clinic II 3