Conservation Biology has as its central tenet the protection of the world’s biodiversity. Biodiversity, the sum total of all living things, represents the immense variation and richness found in the natural world.
Majors Planning Form (PDF)
Objectives of the major are that students 1) gain knowledge about fundamental principles important to the conservation of global biodiversity, 2) learn the particular methods associated with biodiversity conservation, 3) develop an appreciation for conservation needs at both local and global levels, 4) participate in a meaningful conservation-oriented research project or internship and 5) prepare for careers in conservation biology.
Note that students majoring in Conservation Biology may not also double-major or minor in Biology or in the Biology - Environmental Studies combined major. First-year students considering a Conservation Biology major should seek early advisement from a participating faculty member and should begin the introductory courses required for the major in the first year.
Honors To graduate with honors in Conservation Biology, a student must have a minimum 3.5 GPA in all courses required for the major at the time of graduation and must satisfactorily complete a year-long honors research project, supervised by an honors committee comprised of the project advisor and two other faculty members. Students wishing to conduct and honors project should consult with potential project advisors by the end of the junior year.
Major requirements Conservation Biology majors must complete a predetermined set of courses (outlined below) and complete a significant period of study outside of northeastern North America. This requirement may be met through study abroad, study at a biological field station, or through participation on certain courses with a travel component. Students should consult with Conservation Biology faculty member in planning how to complete this requirement.
I. Introductory Courses
Students must take all of the following courses:
Biology 101 and 102, General Biology
Global Studies 101, Introduction to Global Studies I: Political Economy
Economics 100, Introduction to Economics, or Economics 108, Economics for Environmentalists
Environmental Studies 101, Introduction to Environmental Studies
II. Allied Science or Math Courses
Students take one of the following options:
A) Geology 103, Dynamic Earth, and Geology 104, Evolving Earth
B) Chemistry 103, 104 – General Chemistry
C) Any two of the following four Math courses: 113, Applied Statistics, 213, Applied Regression Analysis, 135, Calculus I, 136, Calculus II
D) Math 113, Applied Statistics and Global Studies 233, GIS with lab
III. 200- and 300-level courses
Biology 221, Ecology
Biology 245/245, Genetics OR Biology 343, Evolution
Global Studies 301, Theories of Global Political Economy or Global Studies 333, Ethics of Global Citizenship
IV. 400-level courses
Biology 440, Conservation Biology
Students completing the major must take one advanced ecology elective, three biodiversity electives (of which 1 can be about vertebrate animals) and a global perspectives elective. Approved courses are listed below. In addition, students may petition the major coordinator to have other courses fulfill these electives. This option may be particularly relevant for students traveling abroad. Students may count up to two courses taken while abroad toward the requirements for the major.
The following courses fulfill the Advanced Ecology elective:
Biology 330, Ecology of Lakes and Rivers
Biology 357, Behavioral Ecology
Biology 360, Marine Ecology
Biology 380, Tropical Ecology
The following courses fulfill the Biodiversity elective. Students must take three, only one of which can be specific to vertebrates:
Biology 209, Vertebrate Natural History
Biology 215, Invertebrate Biology
Biology 224, Biology of Vascular Plants
Biology 227, Mammalogy
Biology 231, Microbiology
Biology 258, Ethnobotany
Biology 281, Ornithology
Biology 319, Plant Systematics
Biology 325, Mycology
Biology 328, Biology of non-vascular plants .
Invertebrate Paleontology may also fulfill a diversity elective.
The following courses fulfill the Global Perspectives Elective. Students must take one.
Anthropology 102, Cultural Anthropology
Anthropology 225, Environmental Perception and Indigenous Knowledge
Anthropology 210, Environmental Archaeology
Anthropology 240, Environment and Resource Use in Kenya
Economics 228, African Economies
Economics 234, Comparative Economic Institutions
Economics 236, Globalization Issues: Equity, the Environment and Economic Growth
Economics 308, Environmental Economics
Economics 336, Economic Development
Economics 384, Natural Resource Economics
Environmental Studies 261, Sustainable Agricultural Systems
Environmental Studies 263, Sustainable Development
Environmental Studies 363, Ecotourism: Panacea or Viable Sustainable Development
Government 312, Environmental Law and Politics
Government 327, Politics of Development and Underdevelopment
Global Studies 215, World Regional Geography
Global Studies 280, Culture and Ecology
Philosophy 310, Philosophy of the Environment
Philosophy 335, Environmental Ethics and Global Relations
Sociology 253, Race, Class and Environmental Justice
Sociology 375, Environmental Movements
Sociology 465, Environmental Sociology
Sociology 476, Globalization and Sustainibility
Students are encouraged to consider taking at least 1 semester of independent research with a faculty member (or members) but doing so is not be a requirement of the major. Students are also encouraged to study a foreign language, but doing so is not required for the major.