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Graduate Programs

Wildlife and Fisheries Biology (MWFR, MS, PhD)

The Wildlife and Fisheries Biology (WFB) Program is housed within the Department of Forestry and Environmental Conservation. The Program offers three degree options: Master of Wildlife and Fisheries Resources (MWFR), Master of Science (MS), and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD). Enrollment in these programs is open to students who have earned a baccalaureate degree in wildlife, ecology, biology, or a related field.

  • The MWFR is a non-thesis, terminal degree available in an on-campus or fully online format.  This degree may be suited for students who will pursue a career in business, education, or other areas that do not require substantial research experience. Visit the Master of Wildlife and Fisheries Resources (MWFR) page.
  • The PhD and MS are research degrees that require a dissertation and thesis, respectively.
  • Specialization & Research Emphasis

    Areas of specialization within WFB are aligned with those of the major advisor (advisory committee chair). The most common areas of specialization include research topics in: 

    • wildlife ecology
    • conservation biology
    • fish ecology and management
    • population analysis
    • landscape ecology
  • Admission Requirements

    (in addition to Graduate School requirements

    A Bachelor of Science in a WFB-related discipline is desirable, but not required. The candidate may be required to satisfy undergraduate deficiencies before being admitted to full status. 

    GRE (Graduate Record Examination) scores are not required for application.  Prospective major advisors may, however, choose to require the GRE for admission.

    The following items are required as part of the application: (1) Online application, (2) Official TOEFL/IELTS/PTE scores for international students, (3) Unofficial transcripts (official transcripts will be required upon admission), and (4) two letters of recommendation.

  • Requirements for Degree

    The WFB Program follows Graduate School minimum degree requirements for credit hours (including research credits), time limits, and theses/dissertations. Details can be found in the Graduate School’s Policies and Procedures handbook.

    Complete departmental requirements of the WFB program can be found in the Department of Forestry and Environmental Conservation’s Graduate Student Handbook. 

    View this page for complete information regarding the Master of Wildlife and Fisheries Resources (MWFR) degree.

    With regard to MS degree credit requirements, the Graduate School requires a minimum of thirty hours beyond the bachelor’s degree for any master’s degree, to include a minimum of 24 hours of graduate credit and a minimum of six hours of master’s thesis research. At least one-half of the total graduate credit hours required by the advisory committee, exclusive of thesis research, must be selected from courses numbered 8000 or above. 

    With regard to PhD degree credit requirements, the Graduate School requires that a doctoral degree comprise a minimum of 30 credits beyond the master’s degree, and at least 60 credits beyond the bachelor’s degree. A minimum of 12 credit hours of non-research coursework and a minimum of 18 hours of dissertation research are required for any doctoral degree. 

    Plan of Study

    The Plan of Study varies by degree and is tailored to each student's needs and interests. Students within all Wildlife and Fisheries graduate degrees take two semesters of Graduate Seminar (FNR 8080 or equivalent). Beyond that, the student works with his or her advisory committee to identify courses that will help develop proficiencies in experimental design, statistical analysis, and wildlife and fisheries biology that are relevant to their research topics or career interests.

  • Financial Information

    View this page for complete information regarding the Master of Wildlife and Fisheries Resources (MWFR) degree.

    Most students in our research-based degree programs (MS, PhD) are supported through Research Assistantships (RA). These assistantships are made available to students at the discretion of individual FEC department faculty members. Therefore, we recommend you contact faculty whose research interests you, and inquire about the availability of such assistantships prior to submitting a formal application.  Our faculty have expertise in a wide variety of wildlife- and fisheries-related disciplines and are dedicated to providing a quality education for students and to pioneering wildlife and fisheries research both locally and around the world.

    Prior to applying, it is the applicant’s responsibility to identify a faculty member willing to serve as their advisor. Applicants can then email faculty members with a brief description of your interests, prior experience, and inquire about availability of funding and opportunities.

    Please note that aspiring students will need to connect with a faculty advisor and be accepted into the Department’s Graduate Program to be eligible for the assistantship. Students that feel qualified for this award should consider mentioning it when communicating with potential faculty advisors. Students on these assistantships will be expected to TA for the Master of Wildlife and Fisheries Resources (online) degree program one semester each year.

    FEC Graduate Faculty directory

    Many faculty members post opportunities for RAs on the FEC Graduate Research Assistantship Openings web page. [will link when available]

    There are a small number of College and University fellowships available to incoming students, that would provide a stipend. Some of those can be browsed at the  College and University fellowship list

  • Job Placement

    Many populations of fish and wildlife have rebounded from historic lows due to decades of careful, science-based management. Nevertheless, biodiversity is still in decline for a variety of wildlife species; large mammals, amphibians, reptiles, and aquatic species are particularly threatened. Our Wildlife and Fisheries Biology graduate program provides students the scientific understanding and technical skills to contribute to management and conservation of fish, wildlife, and their habitats. Our graduates are employed by:

    • Federal agencies such as National Park Service and US Fish and Wildlife Service
    • State agencies such as SC Department of Natural Resources
    • Zoos and aquaria (for example, Zoo Knoxville and Indianapolis Zoo)
    • Public and private schools and camps and environmental educators
    • Environmental consulting firms
    • Timber companies and other private firms that manage wildlife on their property
    • Academic institutions (as educators and researchers)
  • Contact Information

    Toni Becker, MS
    Student Services Manager
    Office: 265 A Lehotsky Hall
    Clemson, SC  29634-0317
    Phone: 864-656-1645
    Fax: 864-656-3304

    Dr. Patrick Jodice
    Graduate Coordinator
    Office: 238 Lehotsky Hall
    Phone: 864-656-6190
    Fax: 864-656-3304

    Dr. Thea Hagan
    Program Director of online MWFR Program
    Office: 245 Lehotsky Hall
    Clemson, SC  29634-0317
    Phone: 864-656-4823
    Fax: 864-656-3304

College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences
College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences |