M.S. in Ecology 3+2

Careers

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Courses

For required courses and degree plans, visit the official University Catalog. Below is a general overview of courses at Western Colorado University related to this area of study.

 BIOL 606 - Ecological Research Methods (3 cred.)

A field- and lab-based course that builds on the capacity for students to conceptualize and complete ecological research projects. Students identify ecological questions and develop research to address them. Scientific communication to varied stakeholders is emphasized throughout. Prerequisite: admission to the MEM or MS programs.

 BIOL 613 - Advanced Ecological Analysis (3 cred.)

Students gain knowledge and experience in advanced statistical analysis and simulation modeling using ecological data. Specific topics include linear and generalized linear models, mixed-effects models, general additive models, multivariate analysis, spatial analysis, and simulation models. Emphasis is placed on working with data, writing and commenting scripts, and use of a wide range of internet resources for the R language and environment. Prerequisites: admission to the MEM or MS programs.

 BIOL 620 - Ornithology (4 cred.)

A graduate-level survey of bird evolution, ecology, and conservation. This course has a strong field component providing frequent opportunities to identify, observe, and conduct research on birds in their native environments. Prerequisite: acceptance to MS or MEM program.

 BIOL 690 - Ecology MS Proposal Development (3 cred.)

Students are required to develop a proposed research project in consultation with their academic advisor and present it in written and oral form to their thesis committee (composed of their advisor, another faculty member or PhD-level researcher, and an external project sponsor or reviewer). This course should be completed by the end of the spring semester of the first year to prepare students for summer research. Prerequisite: instructor permission.

 BIOL 695 - Ecology and Conservation Thesis Research (1-9 Credits cred.)

Students conduct research adhering to their thesis proposal, complete a written thesis, and defend their thesis. Students must also explicitly connect the research project with relevant and real-world efforts to achieve the broader impacts of ecology and conservation science in society. This is a repeatable course. Prerequisite: BIOL 690.

 BIOL 696 - Fisheries and Wildlife Thesis Research (1-9 Credits cred.)

Students conduct research adhering to their thesis proposal, complete a written thesis, and defend their thesis. Students must also explicitly connect the research project with relevant and real-world efforts to achieve the broader impacts of fisheries and wildlife science in society. This is a repeatable course. Prerequisite: BIOL 690.

 ENVS 608 - ENVIRONMENTL POLITICS POLICY (3 cred.)

Analysis of the key interactions between environmental policy and management, focusing on environmental decision-making within an array of policy contexts. Emphasis is on important federal policies such as the Clean Water Act and NEPA, with additional attention to relevant state and local policies. Prerequisites: ENVS 601

 ENVS 611 - INTEGR SKILLS IN ENVIRNMT MGMT (3 cred.)

Course focuses on developing and managing environmental projects and organizations. Students develop a thorough understanding of integrative assessment, adaptive management, and triple bottom line strategies. Students apply these approaches to the development of professional skills such as organizational development, conflict management, and environmental communication. Prerequisites: ENVS 601

 ENVS 615 - SCI OF CLMTE MITAGTN ADAPTAT (3 cred.)

An investigation of the science of climate change, with an emphasis on mitigation and adaptation strategies for careers in environmental management. Students will develop an understanding of the principles of atmospheric and earth sciences that form the scientific basis of climate change and survey the large body of evidence of anthropogenic warming. Topics include greenhouse gas emissions, climate forcings and feedbacks, observed and projected climate changes, effects on ecological and human systems, and the opportunities and challenges of a diverse suite of strategies for climate change mitigation and adaptation at the local, regional, and planetary scale. Prerequisite: ENVS 605.

 ENVS 618 - Public Lands Management (3 cred.)

An exploration of the current and traditional approaches to public land and resource management. A regional focus on the Western U.S. is integrated with comparative examples from other regions and countries to enhance and broaden student perspectives. Course examines the history and future management implications of public lands agencies and policies, such as the National Parks, National Forests, Bureau of Land Management, NEPA and multi-use mandates. Special focus will be given to the management skills necessary in leading public lands agencies on the regional level. Prerequisites: ENVS 605; ENVS 608; ENVS 611.

 ENVS 623 - NEPA (3 cred.)

An examination of selected topics covering the content understanding, analytical skills, and management approaches vital to environmental management. Topics will vary from semester to semester based on faculty interest and student need. This course is repeatable, as long as the topic changes. Prerequisites: ENVS 616 or ENVS 617 or ENVS 618.

 ENVS 625 - STUDYIN: PLANTS AND SOILS (3 cred.)

An examination of selected topics covering the content understanding, analytical skills, and management approaches vital to cultivating sustainable and resilient communities. Topics include subjects such as Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation, Sustainable Food Systems, Sustainable Energy Futures, Sustainable Economic Development, Movements in Community Resilience, and Frameworks in Sustainability. This course is repeatable, since students are required to take this course three times, as long as the topic changes. Prerequisites: ENVS 617 or ENVS 618.

 ENVS 625 - STUDYIN:SUST RANGELAND MGMT (3 cred.)

An examination of selected topics covering the content understanding, analytical skills, and management approaches vital to cultivating sustainable and resilient communities. Topics include subjects such as Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation, Sustainable Food Systems, Sustainable Energy Futures, Sustainable Economic Development, Movements in Community Resilience, and Frameworks in Sustainability. This course is repeatable, since students are required to take this course three times, as long as the topic changes. Prerequisites: ENVS 617 or ENVS 618.

 ENVS 625 - STUDYIN:WILDERNESS MANAGEMENT (3 cred.)

An examination of selected topics covering the content understanding, analytical skills, and management approaches vital to cultivating sustainable and resilient communities. Topics include subjects such as Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation, Sustainable Food Systems, Sustainable Energy Futures, Sustainable Economic Development, Movements in Community Resilience, and Frameworks in Sustainability. This course is repeatable, since students are required to take this course three times, as long as the topic changes. Prerequisites: ENVS 617 or ENVS 618.

Faculty & Staff

Faculty

Kevin Alexander, Ph.D. headshot
Professor of Biology, Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs
Phone: 970.943.3405
Office Location: Taylor Hall 322
Robin A. Bingham, Ph.D. headshot
Professor of Biology
Phone: 970.943.3355
Office Location: Hurst Hall 222
Jonathan Coop, Ph.D. headshot
Associate Professor
Phone: 970.943.2565
Office Location: Kelley Hall 105
Brian Dalton, Ph.D. headshot
Lecturer in Biology
Phone: 970.943.2287
Office Location: Hurst Hall 132
Jennie DeMarco, Ph.D. headshot
Lecturer in Environment & Sustainability
Phone: 970.943.2013
Office Location: Leslie J. Savage Library 303
Derek  D. Houston, Ph.D. headshot
Thornton Chair in Biology
Office Location: Hurst Hall 143B
Patrick Magee, Ph.D. headshot
Assistant Professor of Wildlife & Conservation Biology
Phone: 970.943.7121
Office Location: Hurst Hall 143A
Jessica Young, Ph.D. headshot
Professor of Environment & Sustainability, Master in Environmental Management and Master of Science in Ecology
Phone: 970.765.8488
Office Location: Kelley Hall 143

Scholarships

Institutional Scholarships

Common Scholarships

Western offers approximately 70 common scholarships for which a wide variety of students are eligible (e.g., locals, veterans, transfers). Apply for any number of these common scholarships using Western’s Common Scholarship Application, which is due April 1. For more information, visit western.edu/scholarships.

Early Action Credit

If a student is accepted to Western by Nov. 1 and qualifies for a merit scholarship, the student will receive an additional $500 for the first year. Use our Net Price Calculator to determine whether you qualify for a merit scholarship.

Mountaineer Alumni Recommendation Scholarship

Western Colorado University alumni can nominate prospective students for a $500 scholarship ($250 per semester) for first year only. Application deadline is typically June 1. For more information, visit western.edu/mars.

Neighboring States Program

Students with a permanent address from one of the seven contiguous neighboring states to Colorado who have demonstrated financial need are automatically considered for a special $1,000 per year grant, totaling $4,000 over four years.

The Western Neighboring States program can be added to WUE, CP or merit scholarships. So, if you are a permanent resident of one of those seven states—and show financial need—you are eligible.

For more information about the Neighboring States program, visit Western’s Tuition Discount Programs Page.

Presidential Promise

The Presidential Promise is guaranteed to students who have received a scholarship through the Denver Scholarship Foundation (DSF) and/or GearUp—and are eligible for a Pell Grant.

For students who meet these criteria, Western will cover the cost of tuition and fees through the combination of federal, state and institutional aid. For more information on the Presidential promise, visit western.edu/scholarships.

Tuition Discount Programs

Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE) or Central Plains (CP) tuition represents a substantial savings relative to normal, out-of-state tuition. Students eligible for the WUE or CP program will be charged 150% of Western’s total in-state tuition. For 2018-19, total in-state tuition was $8,934. WUE/CP tuition was $13,401. The WUE/CP discount is valued at $4,695.

For more information about the WUE and CP geography-based programs, visit Western’s Tuition Discount Programs Page.

Western Merit Scholarship

Immediately upon acceptance at Western, every student is considered for a merit scholarship worth between $2,500-$4,500 per year for in-state students and $8,000-$10,000 for out-of-state students. The amount is based on the student's GPA and ACT/SAT scores. Visit our Net Price Calculator at western.edu/cost to determine whether you qualify for a merit scholarship. 

For more information about merit scholarships at Western, visit western.edu/scholarships.

Get Involved

Research Opportunities 

While you can work anywhere in the world to conduct research, you can also find great opportunities to work with faculty on projects such as:

  • Aquatic Ecology: Monitoring and assessing aquatic ecosystems in the West.
     
  • Fisheries Biology: Evaluating and managing aquatic ecosystem health and human activities to maintain sustainable fish populations for commercial, recreational and conservation purposes.
     
  • Forest and Fire Ecology: Investigating the role of wildfire and climate on forest ecology and management in the West.
     
  • Invasive Species Ecology: Working with land managers to identify and implement methods for invasive species control and restoration of native communities.
     
  • Population and Conservation Ecology: Investigating population dynamics of rare plants.
     
  • Terrestrial Ecosystem Ecology: Quantifying changes in carbon and nutrients under different disturbance regimes and land management strategies in the Arctic and western Colorado.
     
  • Wildlife Ecology: Studying habitat relationships and land management consequences to wildlife populations and communities.

Western engages a new kind of scientist: one whose ability to perform research with immediate relevance for solving problems is matched only by their skills in collaborating with affected communities. This scientist is also expected to incorporate citizen science into effective research, producing accessible and accurate results for utilization by both policy-makers and the public. You’ll earn your Master of Science in Ecology and bachelor’s degree in one of two undergraduate programs in just five years through our accelerated Master of Science in Ecology 3+2 program.

Choose an undergraduate program in Biology or Environment & Sustainability and pair it with a Master of Science in Ecology emphasizing in Ecology & Conservation or Fisheries & Wildlife Management.

Learn More

Reach out for more information about the program.

Mandy Casteel-Denney
Office Facilitator
Phone: 
Office Location: 
Kelley Hall 114A

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