Study Wildlife Biology – Terrestrial – at the University of Montana

Earn your degree in wildlife biology at the University of Montana and join students from around the world who share your passion for nature and conservation. Ranked #1 in North America for the quality and productivity of faculty research, UM is one of the best colleges for wildlife biology in the nation, offering unique opportunities for field-based, hands-on learning in the heart of the Rocky Mountains.

The terrestrial concentration of the wildlife biology bachelor’s degree focuses on birds and mammals and the habitats in which they live (we also offer a concentration in aquatic wildlife biology). You’ll learn from faculty who are known internationally in their fields of study. You’ll also benefit from one-on-one mentorship and personal instruction, in a program that’s not too big, and not too small. When you graduate, you’ll be ready to lead in important careers that involve the study, management, and conservation of wildlife.


wildlife biology program in North America based on research productivity (Academic Analytics, 2016)


countries and 44 states represented by wildlife biology students


oldest wildlife biology program in the country, founded in 1936


450 peer-reviewed scientific publications published by faculty and students in the past three years

Other degree options for wildlife biology at UM

Minor in Wildlife Biology

Bachelor of Science in Wildlife Biology – Aquatic

Master of Science in Wildlife Biology

Ph.D. in Fish and Wildlife Biology

What can you do with a wildlife biology degree?

As one of the best schools for wildlife biology in North America, we offer unique opportunities that prepare our graduates for career success. Almost all of our alumni find jobs in their field of study, and many have gone on to leadership roles that directly impact science, conservation, and policy nationally and globally.

Wildlife biology jobs

Our bachelor’s degree program prepares you for graduate school or for wildlife biology jobs such as:

  • Wildlife and/or fisheries biologist
  • Wildlife conservation officer/game warden
  • Wildlife/terrestrial program manager
  • Wildlife researcher
  • Wildlife and/or fisheries technician

With time and experience, many of our wildlife biology bachelor’s degree graduates advance into leadership roles, such as overseeing large-scale species conservation efforts or directing the conservation efforts of governmental agencies or NGOs.

Wildlife biology salary

Zoologists and wildlife biologists earn an average of $63,270 per year nationally, according to recent data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The average annual income for this occupation in Montana is $66,870.

Video: Study wildlife biology at the University of Montana

Check out the kind of research University of Montana students are doing to keep wild places wild.

Experiential learning in the wildlife biology degree

Numerous field experiences, internships and undergraduate research opportunities await you as a wildlife biology major at UM. Right now, our students are working on exciting projects that involve everything from amphibians and reptiles, to raptors to grizzly bears and wolves.

Field courses and internships for wildlife biology majors

Explore 25,000 acres of land managed for student and faculty research and learning, including Lubrecht Experimental Forest. Take summer field courses and internships at UM’s Flathead Lake Biological Station. Engage in hands-on learning and research with private ranches and public lands across western Montana.

Our degree in wildlife biology emphasizes field-based learning, and all students are required to complete an internship and at least two credits of hands-on experience. Your faculty mentor will work with you to find opportunities that are a good match. Find more resources to help with internships and jobs.

Study wildlife biology abroad

We offer a variety of field-based study abroad classes that focus on environmental and conservation issues. Majors in wildlife biology at the University of Montana also qualify for Franke Sustainability Fellowships, which fund international research and education focused on sustainability. Learn more about study abroad opportunities at UM.

Undergraduate research in the wildlife biology degree

UM’s research connects with dozens of wildlife species in Montana and around the world, and our wildlife biology faculty and students have published more than 450 peer-reviewed scientific publications in just the past three years. Opportunities for undergraduate research include both paid and volunteer positions that often involve working with wildlife conservation agencies and NGOs. Explore undergraduate research opportunities at UM.

Wildlife biology facilities and labs

Our wildlife biology program offers access to specialized conservation genetics labs, including the National Genomics Center for Fish and Wildlife Conservation located on the UM campus. Our students frequently use remote field cameras, GPS and satellite collars, and radio telemetry equipment, as well as computing systems that enable advanced spatial and statistical analyses.

Career development in the wildlife biology program

Discover what you want to do and find the opportunities to make it happen. At the Franke College of Forestry and Conservation, 97% of our alumni are employed or pursuing graduate study in their fields.

Student organizations for wildlife biology majors

Develop your professional network, cultivate career skills and make new friends through active student organizations including the American Fisheries Society and The Wildlife Society. Learn more about student organizations for wildlife biology majors at UM.

Wildlife biology scholarships

We offer several scholarships specific to the wildlife biology program. Wildlife biology majors also qualify for Franke College of Forestry and Conservation scholarships, which complement other scholarships and financial aid opportunities awarded at the University of Montana.

Wildlife biology degree requirements

The terrestrial concentration of the wildlife biology degree at UM provides a basic background in biological sciences during the first two years, followed by an exploration of ecology, habitat, taxonomy and conservation in the junior and senior year curriculum. Much of the course work focuses on birds and mammals and their habitats.

View all classes for the bachelor’s in wildlife biology with a concentration in terrestrial wildlife.