Montana State University
College of Letters & Science > Department of Ecology > PhD in Fish & Wildlife Biology

Department of Ecology

Montana State University
P.O. Box 173460
Bozeman, MT 59717-3460

Tel: (406) 994-4548
Fax: (406) 994-3190
Location: 310 Lewis Hall

Department Chair

Dr. David Roberts

ecology@montana.edu

Ph.D. in Fish and Wildlife Biology

student with fish

The Ph.D. in Fish & Wildlife Biology serves the needs of students whose dissertation research addresses an applied fish or wildlife management problem. It serves the interests of students primarily interested in research careers in federal or state fish and wildlife agencies or in academic careers in fish and wildlife departments. Coursework associated with this degree tends to emphasize applied fish and wildlife management. The Ph.D. in Fish & Wildlife Biology is currently our largest Ph.D. program with nine graduate students. Four students have completed this degree in the last three years.

The full program of study is determined by the graduate committee following the Graduate School guidelines below, usually after the student has completed the required oral qualifying exam during the third semester in the program. 

All students earning a doctoral degree from Montana State University must complete a minimum of 60 credit hours post-baccalaureate, of which 18 -28 of must be dissertation credits. (This may include 10 thesis credits from a Master's degree program.)  A maximum of 30 credits from a previously earned master's degree (from MSU or another accredited University) may be applied toward the 60 credit minimum required for the doctoral degree.

  1. Special Topics (591): Credits allowed toward degree requirements for Special Topics (591) courses may not exceed the number defined by each degree program.
  2. Individual Problems (592): Not more than six credits of Individual Problems (592) courses may be included on a doctoral Program of Study.
  3. Pass/Fail Credits: A maximum of nine credits (excluding dissertation) may be included on a doctoral Program of Study. 4XX level courses may be used on a Program of Study: a maximum of 9 credits are allowed.
  4. Limit on Age of Courses: The age of courses at the time of graduation for a doctoral degree may not exceed 10 years.
  5. Courses from a Master’s program: The Graduate ‘Program of Study’ lists those courses the student’s committee feels are required to earn the doctoral degree.
  6. Resident Credit Requirements: A minimum of thirty (30) credits applicable to the degree must be taken from MSU.
  7. Dissertation Credit Requirements: All Ph.D. candidates are required to register for and complete a minimum of eighteen dissertation (690) credits. An unlimited number of 690 credits may be taken to finish a dissertation; however, only the 18-28 690 credits are applicable toward degree requirements.

Courses taken while in a master’s degree program at M.S.U, beyond those listed on the graduate Program of Study, may be used on an additional master’s program or a doctoral program at a later time.