Wildlife and fisheries science is the application of ecological knowledge to populations of vertebrate animals and their plant and animal associates in a manner that strikes a balance between the needs of populations and the needs of people. Thus, students majoring in wildlife and fisheries science at the University of Tennessee develop a broad understanding of biology, ecology, physical sciences (e.g., soils) and applied natural resource management. Students also develop strong quantitative skills through courses in statistics, mathematics, and forest measurements. In addition, courses in human dimensions and natural resource policy provide students with the ability to understand the motivations of, and communicate with, diverse public on natural resource issues.
Career Opportunities in Wildlife and Fisheries Science – Management Concentration
Students with a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Wildlife and Fisheries Science are employed by an array of private, state, and federal entities. Private consulting firms, forest product companies, conservation organizations, and other industries that manage or impact natural resources employ wildlife and fisheries biologists. Among state agencies, wildlife and fisheries biologists are hired by agencies responsible for management of wildlife and fish, as well as those responsible for enforcing environmental regulations. At the federal level, wildlife and fisheries biologists are hired by many agencies including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. National Park Service, and the Environmental Protection Agency, among others. The Master of Science (MS) in Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences and the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Natural Resources degrees are offered through the graduate program in the Department of Forestry, Wildlife, and Fisheries. Students receiving a MS in Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences are hired by similar agencies as those with a BS; however, the opportunities for advancement and salary levels tend to be greater than for those with only a BS degree. Students receiving a PhD in Natural Resources are generally interested in teaching and/or research at universities or other institutions or in serving in a variety of positions with conservation organizations and agencies.
Salary Trends in Wildlife and Fisheries Science – Management Concentration
Recent graduates of the Wildlife and Fisheries Management Concentration have earned between $35,000-$45,000 entry-level positions, with an average salary of approximately $40,000. Salaries vary depending on location, candidate’s abilities, and previous work experience.
High School Preparation
Students interested in majoring in wildlife and fisheries management should focus on high school courses emphasizing science and math. Courses in biology, chemistry, and agriculture are particularly useful. Criteria for admission include successful completion of the full high school program, grade point average, and acceptable performance on the ACT or SAT tests. Students completing advanced placement high school courses may be able to test out of certain university courses following their enrollment at the University of Tennessee.
How to Major in Wildlife and Fisheries Management
Students interested in majoring in wildlife and fisheries management should contact the Department of Forestry, Wildlife and Fisheries. Each student is assigned to a wildlife and fisheries management faculty member who advises the student with program planning and career counseling.
Requirements for Wildlife and Fisheries Management
All students at UT are required to complete 14 courses as part of the general education requirement. These courses have been integrated into the wildlife and fisheries management curriculum and are completed as part of the four-year curriculum. To meet the requirements, courses must be completed in: English composition, mathematical sciences, humanities and the arts, cultures and civilizations, social sciences, and natural sciences.
All students in the Department of Forestry, Wildlife and Fisheries must apply for permission to progress to junior- and senior-level classes in the department. Students must obtain an overall 2.2 GPA in 13 core courses including English, mathematics, chemistry, botany, economics, public speaking, statistics, soil science, and ecology. In addition, each student must provide a statement of career goals, names of three references, a summary of work experience, and a transcript.
Special Programs, Co-ops, and Internships
A formal internship program is available for wildlife and fisheries management students through the Department of Forestry, Wildlife and Fisheries. Most students acquire work experience during the summers preceding their junior and senior years, either through a formal internship or informally with private companies or state or federal agencies. Wildlife and fisheries management faculty members assist students in identifying work experience opportunities, and interviews for these positions are coordinated through the department.
Highlights of Wildlife and Fisheries Management
In the fall term of their senior year, majors in wildlife and fisheries management enroll in a block of wildlife and fisheries courses designed to maximize hands-on experience in conducting management activities. Fall block courses follow a specialized schedule that maximizes time in the field and facilitates field trips requiring overnight stays. Courses offered within the fall block include:
- Prescribed Fire Management
- Human Dimensions of Wildlife and Fisheries
- Wetlands Ecology and Management
- Wildlife Techniques
- Fisheries Techniques
- Upland Habitat Management
Ready for the World
Students are encouraged to participate in faculty-led study abroad programs sponsored by CASNR. Other UT faculty-led and semester abroad programs are offered through the Center for International Education, and some students choose to spend a semester or year abroad as part of their degree program. CASNR does offer some scholarships for CASNR students participating in study abroad programs. Students, faculty and staff participate in the annual Unity through Diversity Dinner held each fall. Some students select a minor in Modern Foreign Languages and Literature.
Learn more about UT’s Ready for the World initiative to help students gain the international and intercultural knowledge they need to succeed in today’s world.
Academic Plan and Milestones
Following an academic plan will help students stay on track to graduate in four years. Beginning with first-time, first-year, full-time, degree-seeking students entering in the Fall 2013 semester, UT has implemented Universal Tracking (uTrack), an academic monitoring system designed to help students stay on track for timely graduation. In order to remain on track, students must complete the minimum requirements for each tracking semester, known as milestones. Milestones may include successful completion of specified courses and/or attainment of a minimum GPA.
To see a sample academic plan and milestones for this major, go to http://catalog.utk.edu/preview_program.php?catoid=16&poid=6517
For More Information
Dr. Keith Belli , Forestry, Wildlife and Fisheries, 427 Plant Biotech Building, Knoxville, TN 37996-4563 (865) 974-7126 http://fwf.ag.utk.edu
The information on this page should be considered general information only. For more specific information on this and other programs refer to the UT catalog or contact the department and/or college directly.