Fish, Wildlife and Conservation Ecology - Master of Science

The Department of Fish, Wildlife and Conservation Ecology (FWCE) offers graduate work leading to the Master of Science degree with a major in Fish, Wildlife and Conservation Ecology.  Faculty members in the department also may advise Ph.D. candidates through the graduate programs in the Department of Biology, Department of Animal and Range Sciences, Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, as well as other Ph.D. granting departments. For additional information please see the graduate catalog entries for the respective departments.

For the Master of Science degree, a minimum of 30 semester credits of graduate work in the major and related subjects is required, together with a thesis for most students. Of these credits, at least 15 must be in courses numbered 500 or above, and at least 15 must be for courses with the FWCE prefix. Those programs involving a thesis or research project include 4 to 6 credits of research (FWCE 598 Special Research Programs or FWCE 599 Master's Thesis). Students electing a minor in FWCE are required to take at least 9 credits in the minor field. A nonthesis option is available to some students, depending on prior training and experience, and subject to approval by the advisor and department head.

All students in the program must complete the following requirements:

  • A ST 505 Statistical Inference I or equivalent
  • One semester of Graduate Seminar (FWCE 515 Graduate Seminar - may be repeated for credit)
  • A minimum of 3 additional credits from the Quantitative Methods category in addition to A ST 505 Statistical Inference I (eligible courses listed below)
  • One course each from the Ecological Concepts, Organismal Biology and Ecological Techniques categories (eligible courses listed below)
  • 4 to 9 credits from the Independent Study category (eligible courses listed below)

In addition, a student may petition to have up to 3 credits of special topics courses (FWCE 548 Graduate Problems) to apply to one of the three areas. Courses other than those listed may be acceptable, given permission by the student's supervisory committee.

Prefix Title Credits
Degree Requirements
A ST 505Statistical Inference I (or equivalent)4
FWCE 515Graduate Seminar (As the topic covered in FWCE 515 varies by semester, the course may be taken multiple times)1
Quantitative Methods: Eligible Courses 1
Select minimum of 3 credits from the following:3
SAS Basics3
Statistical Inference II3
Advanced Regression3
Statistical Analysis with R3
Special Topics1-4
Population Ecology (s)3
Ecological Biometry3
Advanced Spatial Analysis3
Ecological Concepts: Eligible Courses²
Select one from the following:3-4
Animal Communication3
Genetic Aspects of Population Biology3
Communities and Ecosystems3
Behavioral and Evolutionary Ecology3
Principles of Conservation Genetics3
Aquatic Ecology4
Wildlife Habitat Relationships3
Fundamentals of Biogeography3
Organismal Biology: Eligible courses²
Select one from the following:3-4
Large Mammal Ecology, Conservation and Management3
Environmental Biology of Fishes4
FWCE 536
Ecological Techniques: Eligible courses²
Select one from the following:3-4
Management of Aquatic and Terrestrial Ecosystems4
Large Mammal Ecology, Conservation and Management3
FWCE 534
Wildlife Damage Management3
GIS for Natural Resource Scientists4
Vegetation Measurements for Rangeland Assessment4
Watershed Methods and Management3
Independent Study: Eligible courses
Select one from the following:4-9
Graduate Problems 21-3
Special Research Programs1-3
Master's Thesis1-9
To meet the 30 credit hour requirements of the MS program, completion of 1 to 2 courses in addition to the requirements described above will be necessary. The additional course(s) must be approved by the graduate student’s supervisory committee.
Total Credits21-29

Graduate work in the department is intended to prepare students for careers in research, teaching, extension and management. Facilities available to graduate students include two ranches of approximately 90,000 acres, a large suite of shared laboratories, and a large fish-culture facility. We actively cooperate with state and federal natural resource management agencies, and graduate students have access to national forests and extensive public lands, as well as the Jornada Basin Long-Term Ecological Research site and associated databases (see for details). Additional research opportunities for graduate students are available in the New Mexico Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, located in the department since 1988.

Additional information on the graduate program and faculty is available at