Three female scientists on a summer ecosystem survey study a waterway.

Fish & Wildlife Biology (Graduate)

Apply your research to active problems within the fish and wildlife management fields alongside award-winning researchers.

Fish & Wildlife Biology – Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Candidates within the Fish & Wildlife Biology graduate program at Montana State conduct applied research on the ecology and management of the diverse mammal, bird and fish species within the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Established in 1936, the Fish & Wildlife Management Program at Montana State is one of the oldest and most successful resource management programs in the United States and graduate students benefit both from this tradition and the resources provided by the Department of Ecology and mentorship from the Montana Cooperative Fishery Research Unit of the USGS Biological Resources Division. Graduates of the Fish & Wildlife Biology often go on to research careers in federal or state fish and wildlife agencies, as well as academia.



Students within the Fish & Wildlife Biology graduate program are able to work with such researchers as professor Al Zale, who collaborated with other MSU researchers on a recently completed artificial waterway at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Fish Technology Center in Bozeman to refine the design of waterways intended to assist grayling and other species to overcome irrigation structures that would otherwise block the fishes’ seasonal movements.



An illustration of a geyser mid-eruption.

Nature's Laboratory
Montana State students make Montana, including nearby Yellowstone National Park, their classroom, laboratory and playground.

An illustration of a microscope in profile.

Carnegie Classified
The prestigious Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education® ranks Montana State University among the Top 5 public, 4-year universities for Very High Research Activity with a STEM-dominant research doctoral program.

An illustration of a guide post, its signs pointing in opposite directions.

Adventure Awaits
LendEDU has ranked MSU #1 in Outdoor Recreation, due to its proximity to world-class skiing, blue-ribbon rivers for fishing and seemingly endless hiking opportunities, as well as access to rental equipment from the ASMSU Outdoor Recreation Program.




Fund Your Education

The Graduate School at Montana State is dedicated to helping students secure funding during their time at MSU. Some resources the College of Letters & Sciences and the Graduate School offer includes:

More information about funding your Fish & Wildlife Biology doctorate can be found on the Graduate School website.

Recent Areas of Study

Graduates within the Fish & Wildlife Biology program conducted research on such projects as:

  • Relationships between deer and other wild and domestic ungulates
  • Ecology and habitat management of waterfowl
  • Raptor habitat studies
  • Ecology of warm- and cold-water fisheries
  • Management of whirling disease




Admissions Requirements

Note: no GRE Required.

Each program within the Graduate School at Montana State has its own particular requirements for admission, and the Fish & Wildlife Biology program is not different. To ensure that you start your application on the right foot, please review the admissions requirements for the Fish & Wildlife Biology program. This includes any additional deadlines that the College of Letters & Sciences may have aside from the Graduate School, which does practice rolling admissions.