The Department of Ecology offers the Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences, which may be earned in four options: Conservation Biology and Ecology, Fish and Wildlife Management and Ecology, Organismal Biology, or Biology Teaching. (Please note that you will not major in Ecology,as such, but Biological Sciences through the Department of Ecology.) Most positions for professional biologists require a graduate degree. These options, not including the teaching options, are intended to provide the prerequisite educational background for graduate programs. Admission to graduate programs is highly competitive and will depend on academic performance, scores on standard exams (Graduate Record Exams), and other factors.
Please click on the option title below to review the program of required courses for that option.
The primary goal of the Conservation Biology and Ecology option is to give students a clear understanding of the ways that natural and human-related processes affect biological diversity and relate this knowledge to its broad societal context. The program of study for the Conservation Biology & Ecology Option will (1) train students broadly and comprehensively in ecology and conservation biology, (2) provide extensive coursework in the scientific method and statistical analysis, and (3) be highly interdisciplinary, reflecting the broad scope of conservation biology. The curriculum provides strong qualifications for graduate school, which is required for careers in conservation biology and ecology.
The option in Fish and Wildlife Management is a professional degree program offered for those students who have an interest employment inin these Fields. Study leading toward a bachelor's degree emphasizes basic principles of animal ecology, with considerable work in related fields. Students graduating with a bachelor's degree may be qualified for entry-level positions in natural resources management. However, the four-year option primarily provides prospective fish and wildlife biologists adequate background for applying to graduate programs, required for most professional positions.
The Organismal Biology option provides a rigorous program of study in plant or animal biology at the whole-organism, species, population, and community levels, while allowing students the greatest flexibility in selecting those biology courses which best meet their interests and objectives. It accomplishes this by requiring students to select 20 required credits in biology in consultation with their advisor to achieve a personal curriculum. In addition, students can use the elective credits to develop strength in a second area which may enhance their prospects of gaining employment with a bachelor's degree or their prospects of acceptance into specialized graduate programs. Most professional positions in biology require completion of one or more graduate degrees, and the Organismal Biology Option is excellent preparation for graduate studies.
The Biology Teaching option certifies graduates to be qualified to teach secondary school biology. It is similar to the Organismal Biology Option, but includes professional preparation courses required for state teacher certification. Since the Biology Teaching Option includes 40 credits of biology courses, it is an extended major and the State of Montana does not require a teaching minor. However, employment opportunities will be enhanced by obtaining a second area of certifications, usually a teaching minor (listed under College of Education, Health and Human Development). Obtaining a Biology Teaching major, a teaching minor, and certification will require more than eight semesters.
The Ecology and Evolution Option has been superseded by the Conservation Biology and Ecology Option. New students will not be admitted to this option effective summer semester 2012. Current majors in this option may continue in this option or transfer to another Ecology Department option.
View the Undergraduate Faculty Advisors in the Ecology Department.
Please Consult the Montana State University Undergraduate Catalog for the most current information on departmental and University curricular and graduation requirements, term offerings and departmental information.