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Graduate Degree Programs
M.S., M.P.S. or Ph.D. in Wildlife Ecology & Management

Study in this area provides students with advanced preparation in biological concepts of wildlife populations as they relate to resource management. M.P.S. students will undertake a professional experience in wildlife management or policy, or a synthesis course in wildlife management planning. M.S. and Ph.D. students will address important research questions in wildlife science, typically aimed at supporting resource management agencies in their decision making.

The work of a wildlife biologist is diverse and often includes monitoring the status of wildlife populations, restoration of declining or extirpated species or populations, managing sustainable harvests of game species, identifying and managing threats to wildlife and their habitat, mitigation of human-wildlife conflict, and communicating wildlife issues and regulations with the public. Graduate education is rapidly becoming a universal prerequisite to employment as a professional wildlife biologist. A major strength of our program is the diversity of our research partners, including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Geological Survey, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, and many other state agencies. Graduate students working on agency-funded projects typically network with representatives from these agencies, which often opens up career opportunities. Certification by The Wildlife Society is supported by our faculty, and also enhances career opportunities because many state and federal agencies, and consulting firms give hiring preference to those who are certified. Graduates with an advanced degree in Wildlife Ecology and Management from ESF are employed worldwide, with nearly 100 percent placement shortly after graduation. Some of the organizations employing our recent graduates are:

North America

  • Colorado Parks and Wildlife
  • Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington
  • Nature Conservancy
  • Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife
  • Panthera
  • University of Rhode Island
  • University of Washington
  • US Fish and Wildlife Service
  • US Forest Service


  • ICM-Bio, Brazil
  • Itaipuu Binancional - Reserve Ecologica, Paraguay
  • Land of the Lepard National Park, Russia
  • Wildlife Conservation Society, Malaysia

Associate Wildlife Biologist Certification by The Wildlife Society

Graduate students often complete TWS certification requirements begun as an undergraduate. They can then become certified as Associate Wildlife Biologists by The Wildlife Society.

Wildlife programs at ESF date to establishment of the Roosevelt Wild Life Station in 1919. The Roosevelt Wild Life Collections that stemmed from early wildlife expeditions currently house over 10,000 vertebrate specimens that are an integral part of today's teaching and research programs. Today, the faculty in wildlife supervise more than $1.6 million in sponsored research and about 35 graduate students. While much research occurs in New York State, our students tackle pressing wildlife issues nationwide and around the world. Recent studies have been conducted in Michigan, Florida, Alaska, Canada, Peru, Russia, Malaysia, Mexico, Argentina, Madagascar, and elsewhere! Technology is increasingly central to wildlife research, and our graduate training often involves extensive use of computer modeling, satellite imagery and spatial analysis to evaluate habitat, radio and GPS telemetry to study animal behavior and population dynamics, and remote cameras and acoustic sampling devices to detect species and monitor populations. We also highly value boots-on-the-ground education as well effective translation of science into conservation action.

Placement of ESF graduates with M.S. and Ph.D. degrees has been nearly 100 percent. Some of the organizations employing our recent graduates are:

  • Blasland, Bouck and Lee, Environmental Consultants
  • Disney World Animal Park
  • Illinois Natural History Survey
  • Iowa Department of Natural Resources
  • New York Department of Environmental Conservation
  • New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
  • North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission
  • Missouri Department of Conservation
  • University of Missouri-Columbia
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  • U.S. Geological Survey - Biological Resources Division
  • U.S. Forest Service
  • Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

Participating Faculty

  • Jonathan Cohen;
    wildlife ecology and management, population and habitat ecology, threatened and endangered species
  • Cynthia J. Downs;
    Animal Physiology, ecoimmunology, physiological trade-offs, organismal ecology, scaling, allometry, Ecological and evolutionary consequences of variation in physiological phenotypes
  • Jacqueline Frair;
    wildlife ecology and management, ecology of large herbivores and predators, animal movements, resource selection, population demography, quantitative methods in conservation, landscape ecology
  • James Gibbs;
    herpetology, vertebrate conservation biology, genetics and ecology in birds, reptiles and amphibians, songbirds, giant tortoise, statistics, wildlife population monitoring, galapagos islands, conservation biology, ecological monitoring, population genetics, applied demography, undergraduate conservation education
  • Mark V. Lomolino;
    conservation biology, wildlife, ecology, evolution and biogeography
  • Michael L. Schummer;
    Waterfowl Ecology, Waterfowl Management, Waterfowl Conservation, Wetlands Management, Wetlands Conservation, Ornithology, Plant-Animal Associations, Conservation Biology, Wildlife Ecology, Wetlands Ecology, Wildlife-habitat relationships, ecology, climate change, human dimensions of wildlife, avian toxicology
  • H. Brian Underwood;
    wildlife ecology, deer, small mammals, songbirds, quantitative ecology and biostatistics, population surveys, ecological modeling and simulation, national park management, applied population analysis, life-history evolution, trophic dynamics, large mammal management
  • Christopher Whipps;
    fish parasites and diseases, wildlife diseases, parasitology, microbiology, taxonomy, molecular systematics, diagnostics, parasites as biological tags and ecological indicators, epidemiology and control of pathogens of ecological and veterinary importance, evolution and biology of disease causing organisms in animal populations using molecular systematics