Faculty and student at field burn

In today’s world, increased industrial expansion and ballooning population growth has led to the diminishing of natural habitats for the flora and fauna that are vital to the health of our ecosystem. This is why the proper care and conservation of the wildlife that surrounds us is more important than ever.

The wildlife biology and conservation concentration places an emphasis on wild animals, plant and tree life, and the management of the habitats in which they live. Through courses in subjects like forestry, plant classification, wildlife biology, ecology, and mammology, you will be prepared to pursue a career in wildlife conservation with governmental agencies, nonprofit organizations or private consulting firms. The concentration also serves as an excellent prerequisite to study any of these subjects at a deeper level in graduate school.

Additionally, our program can help you fulfill the requirements to become officially certified as a wildlife biologist by The Wildife Society.

What It’s Like to Study Wildlife Biology and Conservation at Ball State

Ball State’s wildlife biology and conservation faculty are more than teachers—they are also active researchers that regularly invite students to work alongside them.

Some of the research projects our students have assisted with include:

  • behavioral ecology of freshwater fish
  • migration and song patterns of the cerulean warbler
  • the cause of the deadly “white-nose syndrome” disease in bats in the northeast and central United States

Ball State University manages a number of resources, collections and properties used for teaching and research in the wildlife biology and conservation concentration. Indiana is also home to several regional and state parks that provide great opportunities for birding, plant taxonomy, ecological research and more on field trips.

  • Ball State Herbarium Collection – This collection, located in the Cooper Science Building on the southwest end of campus, serves as a growing repository hundreds of samples of plant matter for research and analysis.
  • Rinard Orchid Greenhouse – This on-campus greenhouse houses nearly 2,000 orchids and tropical fruit-bearing plants, making Ball State University the home of the largest university-based orchid collection in the United States.
  • Christy Woods and the Teaching and Research Greenhouse – This 17-acre area is located on the southwest end of campus to give students hands-on experience studying, testing and growing local and exotic flora.
  • Additionally, six properties in the area provide dozens of acres of wetlands, tallgrass prairies, forests and agricultural fields to visit for teaching, and research.

The Ball State chapter of The Wildlife Society provides an opportunity to connect with other students in your concentration for support, professional development opportunities and academic discussion. The club frequently offers insight to the profession through speakers, such as alumni of the program that now work for the Indiana Department of Natural Resources and other governmental and nonprofit agencies.

Our low student-to-professor ratio and small class sizes give you daily contact with professors in lecture, laboratory and out in the field, plus the individualized attention you need to excel.

Program Requirements

The concentration in wildlife biology and conservation fulfills part of the requirements that lead to a bachelor of arts or bachelor of science degree with a major in biology. All biology majors must also complete the biology core curriculum and the University Core Curriculum.

Credits Required

Total to Graduate: 120

  • Biology Core Curriculum: 44-45
  • Wildlife Biology and Conservation Concentration: 25-26
  • University Core Curriculum: 66-70


Biology Core

All biology majors in every concentration are required to complete a core curriculum in biology that is separate from your concentration requirements and from the University Core Curriculum.

These foundational courses provide you with an overview of the principles in biology and develop a necessary competency in chemistry, physics and math.

Biology Core Courses: 25 credits

  • BIO 111 – Principles of Biology 1
  • BIO 112 – Principles of Biology 2
  • BIO 210 – Intro to Botany
  • BIO 214 – Genetics
  • BIO 215 – Cell Biology
  • BIO 216 – Ecology
  • BIO 315 – Cell Methods or Bio 316 – Ecology Methods
  • BIO 499 – Senior Symposium

Other Required Courses: 19-20 credits

  • CHEM 111 – General Chemistry 1
  • CHEM 112 – General Chemistry 2
  • CHEM 231 – Organic Chemistry
  • PHYCS 110 – General Physics 1
  • one course in mathematics:
    • MATH 112 – Pre-calculus Trigonometry
    • MATH 161 – Applied Calculus
    • MATH 165 – Calculus 1

Note: All aquatic biology and fisheries concentration students are required to take Math 161.

View Catalog

The courses you will take to complete the wildlife biology and conservation concentration are:

  • BIO 448 – Biometry
  • BOT 380 – Forestry
  • BOT 440 – Taxonomy of Vascular Plants
  • BOT 470 – Dendrology or Bot 481 – Aquatic Botany
  • ZOOL 440 – Ornithology
  • ZOOL 446 – Mammalogy
  • ZOOL 483 – Wildlife Biology
  • GEOG 265 – Intro to Geographic Information Systems

For a complete list of all the courses you will take for your degree and their descriptions, please see our Course Catalog.

View Catalog

What Can You Do with a Degree in Biology with a Concentration in Wildlife Biology and Conservation?

Our program will prepare you for careers that apply to ecological sciences for the management and conservation of wildlife resources such as state fish and wildlife agencies, federal wildlife and land management agencies, environmental consulting firms, and nongovernmental conservation organizations.

While employment opportunities exist in wildlife management and research for students with a bachelor's degree, you may find more opportunities for wildlife management and research positions with a master's degree.

And no matter where you are in your education or career, our faculty and the Ball State Career Center will help guide you every step of the way.

Paying for Your Education

Apply to Ball State

Admission to Ball State is selective, and we carefully evaluate all applications on an individual basis. Applying is easy. Use our convenient, comprehensive, and secure online application.

Apply Now

Want to Learn More?

The best way to get a true feel for Ball State is to spend some time here, so we encourage you and your family to schedule a campus visit. Take a tour, attend an information session, meet with a professor in our area, and ask plenty of questions. Or if you’d rather speak to someone directly by phone or email, please feel free to contact us.

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