If you want a hand in studying and managing animals and plants, a wildlife biology career may suit you. The best wildlife biology colleges allow you to study near key habitats and employ the best technology and skilled faculty. They rank near the top of lists complied by Peterson’s, U.S. News & World Report and QS World Universities.


When discerning the best wildlife colleges for you, consider how programs at each school match up with your research interests and career goals.

Study Out East

The State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse offers master’s and doctoral degrees in fish and wildlife biology and management. The program partners with the the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Areas of research include population habitat relationships, wildlife in Adirondack ecosystems, stream ecology and Great Lakes fisheries. Cornell University in Ithaca offers a doctoral program in zoology and wildlife conservation. Students in the program have an opportunity to collaborate with the Conservation Biology Institute of the Smithsonian Institution. Its research focuses on animal taxonomy, physiology or ecology and wildlife.

Live in the Midwest

At the University of Wisconsin in Madison, you can pursue a bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degree in wildlife ecology. Formed in 1939, the school’s department of wildlife management was the first of its kind in the world. The school has its own lakeside arboretum. The Ohio State University in Columbus offers a forestry, fisheries and wildlife undergraduate degree, as well as a graduate program in fisheries and wildlife science. Graduate students in 2014 collaborated in the Terrestrial Wildlife Ecology Laboratory and the Urban Coyote Ecology and Management project. The undergraduate coursework covers certification requirements for the Wildlife Society, Society of American Foresters and the American Fisheries Society.

Blaze a Westward Trail

Undergraduate and graduate students in the Wildlife, Fish and Conservation Biology program at the University of California, Davis, have gone on to become private consultants, agency wildlife or fish biologists, zoo biologists and wildlife veterinarians. The school’s wildlife society invites experts for weekly lectures and discussions. Oregon State University in Corvallis offers undergraduate and graduate degrees through its Department of Fisheries and Wildlife. The school provides wildlife and habitat conservation and management instruction through the school’s extension program. Graduate students are tackling avian conservation and management, habitat restoration and conservation ecology, and wildlife conservation and management.

Consider Southern Biomes

Biology majors at the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida, can study marine wildlife in the Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science. They can also take advantage of the Abess Center for Environmental Science & Policy and the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden. The university has a student organization to help you seek research funding, find employment or apply for further graduate study. The University of Florida in Gainesville has a Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation. Undergraduates and graduates can study conservation biology, spatial ecology, wildlife conservation and management, wetland ecology and management, and human dimensions in wildlife conservation.

Alaskan Wildlife Biology Graduate Programs

If you are looking for a unique experience, you may want to head north to Alaska and earn a bachelor’s, master’s and PhD in wildlife biology at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. UAF is one of the best wildlife biology colleges for students interested in studying cold climate animal-habitat connections. Students apply research findings to the management of free-range vertebrates found in spruce forests, bogs and alpine tundra. Opportunities are also available to observe animals of the Arctic tundra. Graduate students can find interesting research positions working on faculty projects or with government agencies such as the Alaska Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit.

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