Yellow aspen trees in the foreground of Gallatin National ForestEcological knowledge is critical to conservation and management of the state’s resources, including fish, wildlife, plants, and the ecosystems and landscapes that sustain them. Through ongoing research, outstanding teaching, and community outreach, students and faculty in the Department of Ecology seek to learn about these resources and tackle fundamental and applied questions that address ecological and natural resources questions for Montana and a wide variety of ecosystems across the globe.

The Department of Ecology’s contributions to ecological research and natural resource management are profound. Using funding from sources such as the National Science Foundation and Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, departmental research represents the balance between cutting-edge basic research in ecology and local applied research focused on the land-grant mission of MSU. Through a partnership with Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks and the U.S. Geological Survey, the Department of Ecology is also home to the Montana Cooperative Fishery Research Unit, which provides practical information used for the management of regional fisheries. The Ecology Department is committed to addressing the research needs of the State of Montana to preserve the extraordinary resources and amenities that underlie the current and future economy of Montana.

Ecology is an extremely research-active department, with one of the largest research-based graduate programs in science at MSU. The Department conducts research for over 50 federal and state agencies and NGOs in Montana, the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, and around the world, including eastern Africa and Antarctica. Exceptional faculty and location of MSU make the department highly competitive with peer institutions, allowing its research to meet the challenges of contemporary scientific inquiry and natural resource management.

The Department of Ecology offers a Bachelor of Science degree in Biological Sciences with four options: Biology Teaching, Conservation Biology & Ecology, Fish & Wildlife Ecology & Management, and Organismal Biology. Graduate degrees include a Masters or PhD in Biological Sciences, Masters in Fish & Wildlife Management, PhD in Fish & Wildlife Biology, and an inter-college PhD in Ecology and Environmental Sciences. 

To learn more about the Department of Ecology and academic degrees offered, follow the links in our navigation menu, or Contact Us.