During a winter morning on Jan. 23, 2015, young adult fox is pictured before being released from a cable restraint on campus near the Lakeshore Nature Preserve at the University of Wisconsin-Madison as part of a research effort to study the behavior of growing fox and coyote populations in the city of Madison. The research, called the UW Urban Canid Project and led by David Drake, associate professor of forest and wildlife ecology, involves setting fox and coyote restraints, checking the traps twice a day, recording the animals’ medical information and attaching radio collars to allow future monitoring. (Photo by Jeff Miller/UW-Madison)

Career Development

What can I do with a Conservation Biology Major?

When Aldo Leopold and Norman Fassett, a former UW Botany professor, first initiated the major in the 1940s, they intended for the major to prepare individuals for careers as game wardens, ranger naturalists, and museum workers. As the major evolved, career opportunities evolved as well. Conservation Biology alumni have worked both domestically and internationally in:

  • Conservation and non-profit positions (ex. Conservation International, Audubon Society, and Nature Conservancy)
  • Research and field jobs (ex. Ecological Restoration, Urban Forestry, and Smithsonian Environmental research)
  • Environmental education (ex. Environmental Consultants, Park Service Naturalists, and Teachers)
  • State and government agencies (ex. Department of Natural Resources, Environmental Protection Agency, and U.S. Forest Service)
  • Graduate School (ex. Masters or PhD programs in Evolutionary Biology, Environmental Conservation, or Policy)
  • Other Biological Opportunities (Health Care, Forensic Science, Biotechnology, etc)

Advantages of a Letters and Science Major and transferable skills that are most in demand by employers 

Conservation-related Volunteer, Internship, and Job Resources

Students are encouraged to participate in both in- and out-of-classroom experiences.  These experiences provide opportunity for students to apply their knowledge to the world around them and gain practical experience in the field.  Internships, research, study abroad, volunteer, and other conservation related experiences and are therefore encouraged.  Plan ahead by working closely with advisors to build these experiences into your plans.

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Local Opportunities-Volunteer, Internships, Jobs

Greater Wisconsin Opportunties

National and International Opportunities

Conservation-Related Job Search, Events and Grad School Resources

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Career Preparation, Events and Advising, and Graduate and Professional School Resources