Degree type(s): Pre-Professional Concentration
Degree field(s): Biology
Location(s): Bismarck, ND
Program offerings by location and modality are subject to change.

Pre-Professional Concentration in Wildlife and Conservation Biology Overview

The concentration in wildlife and conservation biology will encourage global stewardship by promoting an appreciation for the natural environment and by training students to be good stewards of the environment. This program will also emphasize the ethical considerations related to the discipline of wildlife and conservation biology. The coursework will also encourage critical thinking and communication skills. Students with this degree will be eligible for entry level biologist and biological technician positions with government agencies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and private companies, such as consulting firms. Additionally, students will be well prepared to pursue further study in graduate programs in wildlife biology, conservation, ecology and related fields. Further, with a criminal justice minor, students will be qualified to obtain positions as game wardens or conservation officers.

Pre-Professional Concentration Highlights

The University of Mary possesses some distinct advantages that would distinguish our wildlife and conservation program from those at other schools. The first of these is our geographical location. Besides the abundant access to natural resources in the area, Bismarck is home to the North Dakota Game and Fish Department, the North Dakota Natural Resources Trust, Ducks Unlimited, Delta Waterfowl, and several other agencies, NGOs, and environmental consultants. The program at the University of Mary utilizes the valuable resources to prepare students for careers in the field. Further, the importance of University of Mary’s philosophy and mission in shaping wildlife graduates should not be understated. One of the main shortcomings applicants for wildlife jobs have is a lack of leadership skills (Unger 2007). The emphasis on servant -leadership at the University of Mary distinguishes our graduates from those in other institutions. Also the focus on Benedictine values, particularly global stewardship produces students who are uniquely prepared to take on the role as stewards of our natural resources.

Unger, K. 2007. The graying of the green generation. The Wildlife Professional 1:18-22.


Employment of conservation scientists and foresters is projected to grow 7% from 2014 to 2024.

Heightened demand for American timber and wood pellets will help increase the overall job prospects for conservation scientists and foresters. Most growth from 2014 to 2024 for conservation scientists and foresters is expected to be in federal- and state- owned forest lands, particularly in the western United States. Jobs in private forests will grow alongside demand for timber and pellets, and governments are likely to hire more foresters as the number of forest fires increases and more people move into forest lands. In recent years, preventing and suppressing wildfires has become the primary concern for government agencies managing forests and rangelands. The development of previously unused lands, in addition to changing weather conditions, has contributed to increasingly devastating and costly fires.

In addition, efforts to discover new and improved ways to clean up and preserve the environment will continue to add to job growth. More biological scientists will be needed to determine the environmental impact of industry and government actions and to prevent or correct environmental problems, such as the negative effects of pesticide use. Some biological scientists will find opportunities in environmental regulatory agencies, while others will use their expertise to advise lawmakers on legislation to save environmentally sensitive areas.

A recent study of employees in the agency functions of fisheries, wildlife, law enforcement, and information and education, indicated that 47 percent plan to retire by 2015 (Unger, 2007). Even more dramatic were the expected retirements for those individuals in leadership positions in their agencies. Of this group of higher-ups, normally defined as state agency directors, deputy directors, bureau chiefs, and regional supervisors, 77 percent expected to seek retirement by 2015 (Unger, 2007).

+ Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook 2016-17 Edition

Unger, K. 2007. The graying of the green generation. The Wildlife Professional 1:18-22.


  • BIO 103 Biology I
  • CHE 111 General Inorganic Chemistry I
  • ENG 121 College Composition II or COM 110 Oral Communication
  • ANT 171 Cultural Anthropology
  • ALU 122 Freshman Leadership Seminar
  • BIO 106 Biology II
  • CHE 112 General Inorganic Chemistry II
  • ENG 121 College Composition II or COM 110 Oral Communication
  • THE Core Elective
  • ART Core Elective


  • CHE 217 Organic Chemistry I
  • MAT 209 Calculus with Analytical Geometry I
  • POL 101 Responsible Citizenship
  • CHE 318 Organic Chemistry II
  • BIO 309 Microbiology or BIO 312 Parasitology
  • PHI 208 Philosophical Ethics
  • BIO 330 Zoology or BIO XXX Cell/Molecular Biology
  • MAT 204 Statistics
  • THE Core Elective

*Apply to the School of Arts and Sciences


  • BIO 311 Genetics
  • PHY 203 Introduction to Physics
  • BIO 422 Ecology
  • PHY 304 Intermediate Physics
  • BIO 354 Botany
  • BIO 414 Conservation Biology or BIO 433 Range Management
  • PHI 2XX Search for Truth Elective 3-4


  • BIO 339 Mammalogy 4 or BIO 333 Ornithology
  • BIO 432 Wildlife Management Elective Elective
  • BIO 480 Senior Seminar
  • CHE 310 Biochemistry
  • BIO 433 Range Management
  • BIO 415 Conservation biology Elective
  • ALU 499 Senior Competences Assessment

* Students must pass an information technology literacy competence test or take CIS 101.

Note: Because some biology courses (e.g. Histology) are offered every other year, it is important for students to consider the rotation of courses in planning their programs of study to ensure they take these courses in the appropriate year. This list primarily includes the recommended Biology electives for the wildlife/conservation concentration.


Students must take five biology electives selected from three major areas of study. Of the five, at least one course must be taken from each of the three areas. These electives are in addition to the required biology courses. For the wildlife concentration, students will take seven biology electives

ORGANISMAL & SYSTEMATICS AREA (for Wildlife/Conservation, choose zoology or parasitology and Mammalogy or Ornithology)

  • BIO 312 Parasitology
  • BIO 330 Zoology
  • BIO 339 Mammalogy
  • BIO 333 Ornithology

CELL AND MOLECULAR AREA (for Wildlife/Conservation, choose Microbiology)

  • BIO 309 Microbiology
  • BIO 314 Histology
  • BIO 318 Immunology and Serology
  • BIO 319 Hematology & BIO 320 Hematology Lab
  • BIO 417 Developmental Biology

ENVIRONMENTAL AREA (take all of the following)

  • BIO 422 Principles of Ecology
  • BIO 415 Conservation Biology
  • BIO 432 Wildlife management
  • BIO 433 Range management

A summer internship in Wildlife/Conservation is also strongly recommended for this concentration to gain practical experience in the field.

We are committed to making a world-class education accessible and affordable for all student. In addition to the many scholarships and financial aid opportunities offered at Mary, students interested in Wildlife Conservation may qualify for the EcoWeb Scholarship program. Go to for more info.

Acceptance at the University of Mary does not automatically qualify you to pursue a program in one of the academic programs of study. Application requirements are specific to each major or academic program.

We recommend consulting your advisor for details. Applications are reviewed by the faculty members of the program. You will be notified that you have been admitted, admitted provisionally, or denied admission to the program.