UM launches nation's first joint wildlife biology and public administration degree

Students in WILD 370 Wildlife Habitat Conservation and Management practice their telemetry skills. Students took to the Oval and other parts of campus, receivers and antennas in hand, to search for transmitters and learn skills scientists use to track and study animals.

MISSOULA - The University of Montana is launching a program that is the first for Montana, and also the entire nation. 

The new program has a heavy focus on preparing students to take care of Montana's outdoors and making sure they can succeed quickly after working in an entry level position.

This degree is so unique because it combines a four year bachelor's of science degree in wildlife biology and a two year master's degree in public administration, and allows the student to finish in five years instead of six.

The program was started after wildlife service employers in Montana voiced the need for people who understand all of the workings of wildlife biology but also truly have a grasp on government policy.

“Employers have consistently indicated a need for students majoring in wildlife biology to have a stronger foundation in public administration and policy,” Chad Bishop, director of UM's Wildlife Biology Program, said. “Our new joint program squarely addresses this need and we look forward to teaching and working with the many UM students who are interested in the program.”

Students who complete this program can go on to work for a number of agencies. An example would be the Department of Natural Resources where they can help to take care of public lands or help protect Native American rights and property.

“Our programs are committed to serving workforce demands and our collaboration will help to strengthen the gap between science, policy and public service,” Sara Rinfret, director of the Department of Public Administration and Policy, said.

To be eligible for the program, UM students must be a wildlife biology major in at least junior standing with a 3.5 GPA.

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