Fisheries and Wildlife Science

Students who major in Fisheries and Wildlife Science will learn to study and manage wildlife, from game to endangered species.

Our 14,000-acre lakeside campus and devoted faculty provide unique, hands-on opportunities to survey fish and wildlife populations. From their first semester, our students engage in activities such as small mammal trapping, fish sampling and identification, bird capture and banding, wildlife habitat assessments and amphibian ecology studies. Students will develop their ecological acumen as well as cognitive, social and scientific skills to identify, objectively analyze and problem solve management issues in the wildlife and fisheries disciplines.

Coursework is designed to meet the biologist certification requirements of the American Fisheries Society or The Wildlife Society (TWS). The degree is offered within a standard eight-semester sequence, providing flexibility for summer employment, internships and study abroad. Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences is a challenging program requiring students to be proficient in science and math as a foundation for conducting research.

Skills & Opportunities

  • Developing technical knowledge and skills such as species identification, calculating population size, live trapping and tagging.
    Focusing on longstanding and emerging issues such as invasive species, habitat fragmentation and degradation, climate change and more.
  • Working directly with faculty and local biologists on professionally relevant fisheries and wildlife research.
  • Minoring in Geographic Information Systems.
  • Collaborating with the Adirondack Watershed Institute on research, citizen outreach and hands-on stewardship to preserve water quality and combat invasive species.
  • Participating in the Smitty Creek Watershed long-term monitoring and research project.
  • Collaborating with the Paul Smith’s Visitor’s Interpretive Center.
  • Graduating ready to operate within real-world conditions.

Our Passionate Faculty

With their friendly demeanor, diverse backgrounds and desire for student success, our faculty understand that this degree is a stepping stone to your career. As such, they are diligent in assisting students to receive an extracurricular education through summer field experiences and in-semester experiences, often through the student chapters of The American Fisheries Society and The Wildlife Society. Students actively participate alongside wildlife professionals in TWS conclaves and meetings, volunteer opportunities, and venturing to field jobs throughout North America.

Key Facts
  • B.S. degree

Pairs well with the following minors:

Career Options
  • Fisheries technician, biologist or manager
  • Wildlife technician, biologist or manager
  • Conservation biologist
  • Ecologist
  • Public educator and outreach specialist
  • Wildlife law enforcement officer
  • Game warden
  • Wildlife consultant
  • Wildlife policy analyst
  • Graduate School
    •  Research Scientist
Courses & Objectives

At the end of the program students will be able to:

  • Apply science as a body of knowledge and as a method of inquiry.
  • Apply key concepts of biology and ecology to fisheries and wildlife organisms, populations, communities, and their habitats.
  • Apply basic math skills to problem solving in fisheries and wildlife populations and their habitat.
  • Apply key principles of physics and chemistry to fisheries and wildlife adaptations.
  • Develop a comprehensive understanding of the relation between trends in human population growth and major issues (past, present, and future) affecting fish and wildlife populations, communities, and their habitat.
  • Explain how major issues affect the dynamics of fish populations, communities, and their habitats.
  • Articulate scientifically a rationale and justification for assessing and monitoring the effects of major issues on fish and wildlife populations, communities, and their habitat.
  • Apply gained knowledge of assessment and monitoring protocols to evaluate the effects of major issues on fish and wildlife populations, communities, and their habitats
  • Delineate the management environment in ecological, economic, political, and socio-cultural terms.
  • Define the cyclic management process as related to an organization’s mission statement, goals, objectives, strategies,assessment plan (problem definition), implementation plan (action plan), and evaluation/monitoring program.
  • Articulate the appropriateness of management approaches used to address the issues and problems affecting fisheries and wildlife, their habitats, and humans.
  • Define the skills needed to effectively work with a variety of stakeholders in an interdisciplinary management setting as an integrated team.

Sample courses:

  • Natural History of North American Vertebrates
  • Biology
  • General Ecology
  • Genetics
  • Chemistry
  • Aquatic Invertebrates
  • Ichthyology
  • Watershed Management
  • Stream Ecology Management
  • Limnology
  • Forest Soils
  • Physics
  • Plant Biology
  • Conservation Biology
  • Zoology Electives (Ornithology, Mammalogy, Herpetology)
  • Wildlife Management

More program information and a full course list can be found in the College Catalog. For program planning sheets, click here.

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