Description of Program

Established in 1936, the Fish and Wildlife Management Program at MSU is one of the oldest and most successful natural resource programs in the United States. The Program, which offers BS (Fish and Wildlife Management Option of the Biological Sciences Degree), MS, and PhD (joint program with the University of Montana) degrees, has awarded over 270 graduate degrees since 1936. Current undergraduate enrollment is around 300. More than 30 graduate students are enrolled in MS or PhD programs.

Montana State University is located in the heart of the Rocky Mountains in a panoramic setting. Mountains, prairies, and blue-ribbon trout streams are all within minutes of campus. Yellowstone National Park and its world-renowned wildlife and fish populations is 90 miles from campus. Accordingly, much of the Fish and Wildlife Management Program's research is conducted close to campus.

Faculty, staff and graduate students in the Program conduct research on the ecology and management of diverse mammal, bird, and fish species.  Special emphasis is directed towards applied work. The Fish and Wildlife Program has six faculty members in the Ecology Department and two members of the Montana Cooperative Fisheries Research Unit of the USGS Biological Resources Division, all of whom advise graduate students in the curriculum.

Some examples of recent or current areas of study are: various land impact studies concerning deer, elk, pronghorn, bison, and other species of wild ungulates; population studies of deer, bighorn sheep, and other species; inter-specific relationships between deer and other wild and domestic ungulates; effects of climate upon the population ecology of large mammals; ecology and habitat management of waterfowl; raptor (bald eagle, osprey, ferruginous hawk) habitat studies; bird population studies in relation to land use changes; inter-specific competition between carnivores; ecology of warm- and cold-water fisheries; and management of whirling disease.