Conservation Ecology - Bachelor of Science in Conservation Ecology

Co-directors of the Program:

Regents Professor, Michelle K. Nishiguchi, Department Head, Biology

Professor, Kathryn E. Stoner, Department Head, Fish, Wildlife and Conservation Ecology

Professors Boecklen, Boeing, Caldwell, Cowley, Desmond, Hanley, Houde, Milligan, Nishiguchi, Roemer, G.Smith, Wright; Associate Professors Bailey, Cain, Mabry; Assistant Professor Ferrenberg, Gebreselassie; College Associate Professors Boykin, Frey

New Mexico State University offers an interdisciplinary, undergraduate program in Conservation Ecology. The goal of this program is to train biologists for the current and future challenges that we face in the conservation and wise use of natural resources. An overriding principle of the program is to provide a solid foundation in basic science coupled with a practical approach towards sustainability and stewardship. The curriculum encompasses several disciplines and includes a wide variety of courses from Fish, Wildlife and Conservation Ecology, Biology, and Geography.

This educational experience will provide students with an overview of global biodiversity and an understanding of the ecological and evolutionary processes that have created and sustained it. Courses in population and community ecology coupled with population viability analysis and risk assessment will give students the necessary background to understand the theory and development of these fields as well as the tools to tackle real-world problems. Courses in basic genetics, evolution, and conservation genetics will expose students to the importance of conserving genetic variation in order to maintain adaptive potential within populations, thereby sustaining the evolutionary process. Students will also receive background on wildlife law and environmental policy, information vital for assisting governing bodies in making decisions regarding the protection and wise use of our natural resources. Skills obtained in the application of geographic information systems, molecular genetics, and professional communication can also be acquired through various electives. If biochemistry is taken as an elective, this curriculum provides the necessary educational background for many pre-vet requirements, thus preparing students for veterinary school and future jobs such as wildlife or zoo veterinarian, or conservation medicine practitioner. In sum, we seek to provide undergraduate students with an education that will allow them the opportunity to contribute to the conservation of all life on Earth. To graduate, an overall grade point average of 2.0 is required in courses taken in the major field and in all courses taken at NMSU. The department offers a minor in Conservation Ecology for students majoring in other disciplines. The minor includes 20 credits.

New Mexico and University Requirements
Area I: Communications
ENGL 111GRhetoric and Composition4
ENGL 218GTechnical and Scientific Communication3
or ENGL 318G Advanced Technical and Professional Communication
Select one from the following:3
Effective Leadership and Communication in Agricultural Organizations3
Public Speaking3
Principles of Human Communication3
Area II: Mathematics
MATH 142GCalculus for the Biological and Management Sciences3
Area III: Science, with Laboratory8
Natural History of Life
and Natural History of Life Laboratory
Cellular and Organismal Biology
and Cellular and Organismal Biology Laboratory
Select a total of 15 combined credits from Areas IV and V, with at least 9 credits in one of the two areas: 115
Area IV: Social Behavioral Sciences: Select 6-9 credits including one from the following:
Introduction to Economics3
Principles of Macroeconomics3
Principles of Microeconomics3
Area V: Humanities and Fine Arts: Select 6-9 credits 1
Viewing a Wider World3
Natural Resource Economics3
The second VWW course will be achieved with the 9 credit 300-level rule 2
Core Curriculum
A ST 311Statistical Applications3
CHEM 111GGeneral Chemistry I4
CHEM 112GGeneral Chemistry II4
CHEM 211Organic Chemistry4
Select 3-4 credits from the following:3-4
Anatomy and Physiology of Farm Animals4
Plant Physiology3
Physiology of Humans
and Laboratory of Human Physiology
Animal Physiology3
Environmental Biology of Fishes4
Major Requirements
AGRO 305Principles of Genetics3
or BIOL 305 Principles of Genetics
BIOL 301Principles of Ecology3
or FWCE 301 Wildlife Ecology
BIOL 312Plant Taxonomy3
or RGSC 316 Rangeland Plants
BIOL 313Structure and Function of Plants3
BIOL 322Zoology3
BIOL 462Conservation Biology3
BIOL 467Evolution3
BIOL 488Principles of Conservation Genetics3
FWCE 110GIntroduction to Natural Resources Management4
FWCE 255Principles of Fish and Wildlife Management3
FWCE 330Natural History of the Vertebrates4
FWCE 402Seminar in Natural Resource Management1
FWCE 409Introduction to Population Ecology3
FWCE 447Wildlife Law and Policy3
FWCE 464Management of Aquatic and Terrestrial Ecosystems4
One from the following sequences:8
General Physics I
and General Physics I Laboratory
General Physics II
and General Physics II Laboratory
General Physics for Life Sciences I
and Laboratory to General Physics for Life Science I
General Physics for Life Sciences II
and Laboratory to General Physics for Life Sciences II
Requirements in Diversity of Life
Select 6-8 credits from BIOL or FWCE:6-8
Ecology of Plants3
Invertebrate Zoology4
Animal Behavior3
Avian Field Ecology4
Other Related Courses
Survey of Biochemistry4
Disease Vector Biology3
Genomics Technology3
Bioinformatics and NCBI Database3
Biology of Emerging Infectious Diseases3
Genetic Aspects of Population Biology3
Ecological Biometry3
GIS for Natural Resource Scientists4
Cartography and Geographic Information Systems4
Fundamentals of Geographic Information Science and Technology (GIS & T)4
Introductory Geology4
Soil Chemistry3
U.S.-Mexico Border Politics3
Watershed Management3
Rangeland Restoration Ecology3
Vegetation Measurements for Rangeland Assessment4
Elective Course3
Total Credits120-123

Areas IV and V are linked. You have to take a total of 15 credits between these two areas, for example, either 9 credits in Area IV and 6 credits in Area V or vice versa. See Required Courses section.


9 credits can be taken within a single department (e.g. Biology) that is outside the College of ACES, this will count for the second VWW class requirement.