P.S.M. degree in Conservation Biology

Conservation biology is the observation, investigation, development and implementation of conservation practices with the aim of protecting species, their habitats and ecosystems from excessive rates of extinction and the erosion of biotic interactions. It is an interdisciplinary subject drawing on sciences, economics and the practice of natural resource management.

UW-Stout's P.S.M. degree in Conservation Biology provides students with high‐quality training in evaluating, understanding and providing solutions to society’s conservation challenges. The program teaches relevant skills and provides expertise to meet STEM workforce needs, while preparing graduates for careers in the public and private sectors including business, industry, government and nonprofit agencies.

Demand for Graduates

The Conservation Biology program offers opportunities in molecular ecology, water quality/limnological sciences and fishery sciences. Molecular ecologists work to discover, describe, understand and conserve biodiversity at multiple levels. Molecular ecologists are in increasing demand as we attempt to preserve species diversity in fragmented habitats, reintroduce populations to native territory as part of planned management strategies, and protect native populations threatened by invasive species. Biodiversity is the world’s greatest nonrenewable resource. Due to increasing population size, global climate change and the substantial rise in global trade practices over the past 25 years, conserving biodiversity — whether at the population level, species level, or ecosystem level — is one of the chief concerns of scientists. There is significant industry and agency need in all areas of aquatic biology. Job growth in both areas is spurred by accelerated degradation of water resources, increasing population size, concerns regarding global climate change and the associated ecological impacts on bodies of water. An increase in the need for scientists trained in all aspects of water quality monitoring is predicted due to increasing demands on industry to comply with environmental laws and regulations.

Entrance Requirements

Admission requirements for the program include:

  • a bachelor’s degree in biology, environmental science or a science-related field from an accredited institution;
  • a grade point average of 3.0 or higher.

Those with a non-science related degree may be admitted if one of the three following conditions are met:  Completion of minimum competency course(s) with a grade of B or better, evidence of equivalent courses, or evidence of professional knowledge in this area.


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“The Professional Science Masters (PSM) degree is an innovative graduate degree, a response by higher education to address the need for highly skilled scientists and mathematicians who also have developed skills in business, technology transfer, regulatory affairs, information technology and/or communications. In today’s work world, this type of cross-training across academic disciplines is highly marketable and desired by employers." 

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