What is Wildlife and Conservation Biology (WCB)?
The WCB program provides students with a multi-disciplinary curriculum, rooted in ecological studies, to prepare them to manage and conserve wildlife populations and their habitats. The WCB curriculum enables students to combine science with a passion for nature and the outdoors.
What kinds of students are most attracted to the WCB major?
Students who are interested in the environment and animal populations and have a love for nature and the outdoors will thrive in the WCB program.
What distinguishes the WCB major from other Biology majors?
The WCB curriculum has a strong applied focus on natural resource management and wildlife conservation. Students are challenged to apply fundamental principles and field and analytical techniques to real-world studies on the conservation and management of animal populations and their habitats. The program provides extensive hands-on training in field techniques and develops connections with wildlife professionals and stakeholder partners in the region. Overall, the program provides more field and outdoor experiences than other majors in the college.
What potential careers does a WCB degree prepare students for?
The WCB degree prepares students for a diversity of careers focused on ecology and natural resource management and conservation, including wildlife biologist, conservation biologist, park service ranger, conservation officer, environmental educator, environmental consultant, research scientist or academic researcher.
What are some potential employers of WCB graduates?
Our recent WCB graduates have taken jobs at local and regional state and federal agencies, as well as NGOs and private consulting companies, including the US Fish & Wildlife Service and associated National Wildlife Refuges, New Hampshire Fish & Game or other state fish and game departments, USDA Aphis, USDA Plant and Animal Inspection Service, Stantec Consulting, Normandeau Associates, local land trusts (e.g. Bear Paw Regional Greenways), and University Cooperative Extension programs. Our students also enter highly ranked graduate programs throughout the country.
Does a WCB major prepare students for further graduate studies?
Yes, the WCB degree prepares students well to continue their education with graduate studies in ecological fields, including Natural Resources, Environmental Science, Ecology and Evolution, Wildlife Biology, Conservation Biology, and Forest and Conservation Sciences.
What kinds of laboratory experiences are offered in the WCB curriculum?
Most WCB courses have an associated laboratory or recitation. Labs are often field-based, providing students opportunities to learn outdoors in the University’s surrounding woodland properties, farms, and coastal and estuarine research centers. Local and regional field trips are also components of several courses, exposing students to diverse habitat, ecosystems, field techniques, and management and conservation activities. Many of these field trips engage participation by wildlife professionals, including UNH alumni, and thereby provide opportunities for students to experience real-world projects with stakeholder partners. Some courses provide computer lab experiences, through the department’s dedicated computer cluster and mobile laptop resources.
What is the capstone experience for WCB students?
The WCB major includes a dedicated capstone course, NR 750 Sustaining Biological Diversity, as a culmination of the curriculum. This course integrates learning experiences across the 4 years with a semester-long group project, it also focuses on communication and professionalism. Field trips with wildlife professionals highlight careers and opportunities to prepare students for a range of professions in wildlife and conservation biology.
What is a typical class size for a course in the WCB major?
Class size varies depending on the level of the course and whether it is specific to the WCB major or a common requirement for other majors in the college. In general, class size reduces as a student progresses to higher-level courses specific to the major. Introductory level core courses, such as Chemistry, Biology, Math and Wildlife Ecology, tend to be larger lectures (100-200 students), with lab sections capped at 24 students; most other core courses have enrollments <50. Upper-level courses specific to the WCB major have class sizes of 20-25.
What are the credit requirements for the WCB major?
The WCB curriculum grants ~94 credits of the 128 credits required for a Bachelor’s degree at UNH. This consists of 25 WCB specific requirements and includes 6 of 11 Discovery requirements that are met with required WCB courses; another 1-2 Discovery requirements can be met with course selection within the major.
Are there opportunities to take elective courses while fulfilling the WCB major?
Yes, there are ~34 open credits after students fulfill the WCB requirements. These include a few remaining Discovery requirements; the rest can be filled by electives of the student’s choice. This leaves room for a minor, see below.
Is it possible to double major or take a minor while fulfilling the WCB major?
Many WCB students pursue a minor in a related field, e.g., Animal Behavior, Forestry, Geospatial Analysis, and Wetland Ecology are popular minors. With careful planning, students may also pursue a dual major, outside of the College of Life Sciences and Agriculture, e.g., in a foreign language. Justice Studies and Sustainability are two popular dual majors that interface with the WCB major.
Are there internship opportunities?
A large proportion of our students pursue internship opportunities, especially in the summer, with state agencies, state and national parks, or local conservation organizations.
Are there opportunities for students to pursue independent research?
Yes, students are encouraged to pursue undergraduate research opportunities, with faculty within or outside of the WCB major. All WCB faculty provide undergraduate research opportunities. Funding is available through the Hamel Center for Undergraduate Research.
Are there study abroad opportunities geared specifically for WCB students?
The Ecoquest New Zealand program is specifically tailored with a curriculum in ecological field studies, relevant to students in WCB and related majors. These opportunities can be pursued in either an academic semester or the summer. Hundreds of additional approved international study abroad opportunities are available; more information can be found at the UNH Study Abroad Office.
Will students have a dedicated academic advisor within the WCB program?
Yes, WCB students are assigned a faculty advisor in their freshman year. This advisor is a faculty member who teaches in the WCB program and will remain the student’s advisor through graduation. Advisors meet with their students at least once per semester to help them select and register for classes, consult about internship and research opportunities and career advice and are available by appointment to help students with their academic questions throughout the year