Conservation Biology

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. Conservation Biology Major offered

Coordinator: Associate Professor Barthelmess (Biology)

Information on this multidisciplinary major can be found by linking directly to it from the Majors and Programs page at

Biodiversity is the sum total of all living organisms on earth. Conservation Biology is the discipline that deals with the protection of the world’s biodiversity. Biodiversity conservation requires an understanding of not only organisms and their interactions with environments (ecology), but also of how biodiversity changes through time (genetics and evolution), how people value biodiversity (philosophy and ethics), how modern economic systems influence the lifestyle and conservation choices people are willing to make (economics, sociology), and how globalization impacts the distribution of organisms through space and time as well as the transfer of knowledge, values, and cultures and how this transfer influences biodiversity (global studies).

Although the biology department coordinates the Conservation Biology major, faculty from departments across the University collaborate in offering courses for this major. The Conservation Biology major is designed for students who are interested in learning the tools and skills used to describe, understand, and protect biological diversity on our planet. This major is suitable for any undergraduate student including those who wish to teach, attend graduate school, or join the conservation workforce upon graduation.

Faculty participating in the major are committed to teaching in a liberal arts environment and at the same time maintain active research programs focused on biodiversity conservation. Students pursuing this major will have the opportunity to participate in these research endeavors.