Fisheries and Wildlife Biology

Fisheries and Wildlife Biology Bachelor of Science (B.S.) Degree

About Fisheries and Wildlife Biology

Be ready to meet the growing need for fisheries and wildlife management professionals.

You have always been passionate about the outdoors and the work to serve and preserve the natural world. You can fulfill your dream of a meaningful career with the Bachelor of Science in Fisheries and Wildlife Biology at PennWest California.

This bachelor's degree program at PennWest California offers a broad core of courses focused on the biology and ecology of fish and wildlife, supplemented with courses in chemistry, physics, geography/geology and mathematics.

The fisheries and wildlife biology curriculum provides essential field opportunities through internships and undergraduate research projects. Its core content is enhanced by the breadth of the University's general education requirements. 

Learn, specialize and prepare for professional certification.

The fisheries and wildlife biology degree program at PennWest California provides a broad-based curriculum that introduces you to the various techniques and philosophies of fisheries and wildlife management. Almost all courses include a laboratory portion where you'll study the practical application of scientific theories and learn how to apply the scientific method with inquiry-based investigations.  

Our undergraduate curriculum includes those courses identified by the Wildlife Society and the American Fisheries Society as critical to becoming certified by either society upon graduation. This undergraduate program also incorporates many applied education experiences, so students can network with future employers and develop professional contacts. Many of our graduates continue their studies in graduate school, while others enter the workforce.


Professionals in demand: PennWest California's challenging program fosters your expertise in fisheries and wildlife management. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more zoologists and wildlife biologists will be needed to study the impact that human population growth and development has on wildlife and its natural habitats. Americans’ increasing demand for outdoor recreation and open space, as well as fish for the table, has resulted in a steady increase in the need for qualified aquatic ecologists and fisheries scientists. As energy demands intensify, fisheries and wildlife biologists will be needed to better manage the nation's renewable natural resources.

Solid foundationThe bachelor’s degree in fisheries and wildlife biology applies knowledge from many fields to the study and management of the environment. The curriculum focuses on developing an understanding of physical, chemical and geological sciences, along with a working knowledge of mathematics and statistics. You will study such topics as ecology, biodiversity, pollution, energy and sustainability. You'll be equipped to design, analyze and interpret environmental information and data.

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The median annual wage for zoologists and wildlife biologists was $62,290 in May 2017, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
of biology graduates (classes of 2010-2015) who responded to a PennWest California survey reported they are working or pursuing further education.  


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Degree Benefits

The bachelor's degree in fisheries and wildlife biology offers you the flexibility to focus on a specific content area leading to certification by the American Fisheries Society or the Wildlife Society, if desired.  The objectives for this degree program include:

  • Develop knowledge of biological processes and structures occurring in fisheries and wildlife
  • Provide laboratory and field experiences that promote scientific inquiry and application of experimental methods.
  • Create opportunities for student research projects.
  • Set the necessary foundation for continued professional growth in graduate school.
  • Teach skills required for entry-level career positions with industry and governmental organizations.
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Graduate Outcomes

A steady demand exists for wildlife and fishery biologists among private industry (e.g., consulting firms) and by state (e.g., the Pennsylvania Game and Fish commissions) and federal organizations such as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Some students also choose to go on for master's or doctoral degrees. Devin DeMario ’07, for example, worked as a biologist aide for the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission after graduation, then earned a master’s degree at Penn State. Today she advocates for science-based fish and wildlife conservation policies as a government affairs associate for the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies in Washington, D.C.



Fisheries and Wildlife Biology (B.S.)


PennWest California professor takes students outside for field work in environmental studies.

Vital Resources

Students take classes in the Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences, which is housed in a building equipped with a computer lab, , animal rooms, greenhouse, herbarium and vertebrate teaching museum. PennWest California students also benefit from various academic societies and clubs: Beta Beta Beta is the national honor society for biological sciences. The student chapter of the Wildlife Society connects students with the professional community to study, manage and conserve wildlife and their habitats worldwide. The American Fisheries Society promotes scientific research and works to strengthen the fisheries profession. The Sustainability Club provides training workshops to students and the public, and promotes sustainable living strategies.  The Bass Fishing Club provides recreational and competitive opportunities to its members and promotes the value and importance of outdoor recreation.  Open to all interested students, the Biology Club explores career opportunities, offers behind-the-scenes tours of zoos and museums

A student studies plant in environmental studies lab.

Professional Connections

PennWest California graduates in fisheries and wildlife biology hold positions with a wide range of employers, including Greene County (Pa.) Soil and Water Conservation District, National Park Service, Georgia Department of Natural Resources, JRJ Energy Services, Pittsburgh City Parks, Murray American Energy and U.S. Forest Service. Program alumni also are engaged in graduate studies at locations such as the Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden in California and Ohio University.

Statewide Cooperative

Based at PennWest California, Partners for Fish and Wildlife is a cooperative effort among many agencies throughout Pennsylvania. The program works to restore habitat for wildlife on agricultural and other lands by constructing stream bank fencing, stream crossings, wetlands, grasslands and border-edge cuts. The program also works to enhance forest habitats for early successional species by strategically removing tree canopy, controlling invasive plant species, and planting native vegetation.  Partners for Fish and Wildlife works with landowners to improve water quality and wildlife habitats, providing hands-on management and research opportunities for our students.


B.S., Fisheries and Wildlife Biology

Through your curriculum, you'll develop intellectual and analytical skills essential for fisheries and wildlife management professionals.


Course Credits
General Education Courses 40 or 42
Building a Sense of Community
UNI 100 First-Year Seminar
ENG 101  English Composition I
Public Speaking
Any Oral Communication Course
Mathematics and Quantitative Literacy
MAT 181  College Algebra  OR  MAT 273  Applied Calculus  OR  MAT 281  Calculus I
Health and Wellness
Any Health and Wellness Course
Technological Literacy
GIS 311  Geographic Information Systems
Any Humanities Course
Fine Arts
Any Fine Arts Course
Natural Sciences
GLG 150  Introduction to Geology  OR  GLG 303  Hydrology  OR  PHY 121  General Physics I
3 or 4
Social Sciences
Any Social Science Course
General Education Options
  • Any Ethics and Multicultural Awareness Emphasis Course
  • ENG 102  Composition II
  • PHS 137  Introduction to Environmental Chemistry  OR  CHE 102  General Chemistry II (3 or 4 credits)
  • Any General Education Course
Required Major Courses 49
BIO 120  General Zoology 4
BIO 125  General Botany 4
BIO 215  Cellular and Molecular Biology 4
BIO 218  Genetics 4
BIO 248  General Ecology 4
BIO/ENS 300- or 400-level Botany Course 4
ENS 423  Wildlife Management Techniques  OR  ENS 424  Fisheries Management 4
ENS 492  Animal Population Dynamics 4
ENS 495  Design and Analysis 4
CHE 101  General Chemistry I 4
MAT 215  Statistics 3
Select two of the following:
  • ENS 399  Conservation Biology
  • ENS 420  Principles of Wildlife Management
  • ENS 425  Principles of Aquaculture
Related Electives 11
Select two of the following:
  • BIO 337  Ornithology
  • BIO 400  Mammalogy
  • BIO 407  Mycology
  • BIO 433  Herpetology
  • BIO 435  Ichthyology
  • BIO 441  Ethology
  • BIO 445  Entomology
  • BIO 446  Freshwater Invertebrate Zoology
  • BIO 488  Water Pollution Biology
Select one of the following:
  • ENS 435  Natural Resource Law and Policy
  • GIS 413  Environmental Applications in GIS
  • REC 362  Recreation Site Design and Management
  • REC 365  Recreation Resource Management
Free Electives 18 or 20
Total 120

Additional requirements, not counted toward the General Education requirements, include:

  • Special Experience Course (1 course required): Any Special Experience Course
  • Writing-Intensive Component Courses (2 courses required): Any two BIO or ENS Upper-Division Writing Component Courses
  • Laboratory Course (1 course required): BIO 215 Cellular and Molecular Biology

Program Note: See adviser for information regarding certification by the American Fisheries Society and the Wildlife Society.

B.S., Fisheries and Wildlife Biology

Related programs
  • Environmental Studies (Minor)