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I am an aspiring wildlife biologist but have a BS in Environmental Science. Should I go back to school for a BS in Wildlife Biology or try to get into a Wildlife Master's Program?

Wildlife, Biology, post-baccalaureate, Master's degree, #biology #environmental Conservation

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Karina’s Answer

In my experience, the wildlife biology field is dominated by experience and knowledge more than credentials. If a masters is an interest for you, then absolutely pursue one that will give you more experience. If you prefer getting experience while working, then the Student Conservation Association, Texas A&M wildlife job board, Fish & Wildlife Scientific Aid positions, and other internships will provide valuable knowledge. The title of a Wildlife Biologist can sometimes be used interchangeably with Environmental Scientist - common with CA Fish & Wildlife.

Karina recommends the following next steps:

Determine which fields within environmental science/wildlife biology interest you
Gain experience through internships and jobs
Find a mentor that you can do research with or volunteer for to gain more knowledge

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Jeremy’s Answer

I think it really depends on your current CV, past work experience, and what type of wildlife biology masters program that you are interested in. Take a look at the Texas A&M Wildlife Job Board, Conservation Job Board, school job boards, and other job boards to see if there are any M.S. research assistantship positions that you already qualify for. It never hurts to apply to a few vacancies or to reach our to professors to see how you might make your CV more attractive without going back to school for another B.S.. In wildlife you often apply to work with a professor before you apply to a school so you should be able to get a better idea without having to spend a bunch on application fees. Just make sure to take the GRE ASAP so you can respond quickly to available positions. Sometimes RA positions will become available a few weeks before a semester starts and things can move quickly.

Thanks for the comment Jeremy. After I finished my first degree, I took a volunteer internship with the National Park Service doing invasive vegetation treatments and removal. I am currently employed with a botanic garden doing the same work with invasive plants. My B.S. was from an online school (regionally accredited) so I did not have a lot of one-on-one interaction with professors. The degree was also not heavy in biological sciences at all. Ashley D.