Conservation Ecology careers


The need for new understanding and novel approaches to the management of wildlands and protected areas, exploring sustainable management of our aquatic ecosystems and understanding the composition, structure and function of terrestrial ecosystems has never been greater.

The school’s interdisciplinary orientation prepares students to analyze environmental problems from many perspectives. Conservation Ecology, consolidates three natural systems fields of study: Aquatic Sciences, Conservation Biology, and Terrestrial Ecosystems. This new broader field of study reflects the realities of today’s scientific world, where cross-discipline fluency is required. It’s also a natural strength of SNRE, where the breadth and depth of interest among our faculty offers a decidedly multidisciplinary and applied approach. This new field of study will continue to provide students with an understanding of the composition, structure and function of natural systems and ecological sciences through classroom and field-based instruction. This broadened field also closely reflects a wide variety of conservation positions out in the industry that encompass the areas of aquatic sciences, conservation biology and terrestrial ecosystems that will help our students to gain ecological skills and be even more successful in obtaining enriching and satisfying positions post-graduation.

What you will study

The curriculum of this new field of study allows students to be even more flexible and interdisciplinary. In their classes, labs and field assignments, students will work on local, regional, national and international environmental issues ranging from urban settings to wilderness areas. You may focus your coursework around a specific topic, such as aquatic or terrestrial ecosystems, or blend classes and experiences to create the customized Conservation Ecology experience that is best for your career. Reviewing the course offerings and talking to your advisor about career paths will help compose your course of study.

During your work inside our classrooms, you will learn the fundamental physical, chemical and biological concepts and basic techniques necessary for the study of aquatic ecosystems. You will explore a variety of related subjects, including fisheries, watershed management, river/stream ecology, wetland science, aquatic-conservation biology and Great Lakes ecosystems. The curriculum also focuses on applied plant ecology, ecosystem ecology, biogeochemical cycling and modeling, landscape ecology, spatial analysis and the management of forest and agro-forestry systems. Your coursework will prepare you to become both a scientist and practitioner within the field of Conservation Ecology.

Launching your career

Once you have gained the knowledge and skills, you will be well prepared to work for a variety of organizations, focused on areas such as research, management, restoration, consulting and education – and also specific positions such as fisheries biologists, limnologists, ecologists, remote-sensing specialists, wetlands ecologists or natural resource managers. Students completing an M.S. with a Conservation Ecology emphasis will be prepared for a variety of roles within government (United States Forest Service, Environmental Protection Agency, and NOAA), non-profits (The Nature Conservancy), environmental consulting and private corporations (Biohabitats Inc, botanical gardens) just to name a few.

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Conservation Ecology at SNRE includes the Aquatic Sciences, Conservation Biology, and Terrestrial Ecosystems field of studies. Click below to view more information on career resources within the area of Conservation Ecology:

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