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Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Conservation Biology

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Graduate Program

M.S., M.W.C., and Ph.D. in Wildlife Ecology

Since its inception in 1935, the Wildlife Ecology Program at the University of Maine has developed a tradition of excellence in the graduate-level training of wildlife professionals. In recent years, our program also has broadened to be part of interdisciplinary programs in Conservation Biology and Ecology and Environmental Sciences at the University of Maine.  Our graduates work for a wide variety of agencies and organizations across the United States and in many other nations.  With 9 faculty and about 24 graduate students, the graduate program in Wildlife Ecology is large enough to create a stimulating environment, but small enough for students to receive individual attention. Close relationships with many federal and state agencies and private conservation organizations provide a substantial funding base and a network for collaborative research. The faculty also are joined in research and graduate student advising by several cooperating faculty and research associates.  Biologists from the U.S. Geological Survey, Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service stationed on or near campus participate in the program and add to the research specialties of the faculty. The Maine Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, a unit of the U.S. Geological Survey, is an integral part of the Wildlife Ecology graduate program because it maintains a close liaison among the University, State, and Federal agencies. The University of Maine also has a wealth of programs in ecology and resource management that offer outstanding opportunities for interdisciplinary interaction. Other schools, departments, or programs include:  Marine Science; Ecology and Environmental Science; Biological Sciences; Geology; Aquaculture; Forest Management; Forest Ecosystem Sciences, Sustainable Agriculture, and Plant, Soils, and Environmental Science.

Annual Report



Maine Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit and
Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Conservation Biology University of Maine
2013 Report to Cooperators




Degrees and Qualifications

The Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Conservation Biology offers Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degrees in Wildlife Ecology and a non-thesis degree, the Master of Wildlife Conservation. Acceptance to the University of Maine graduate programs in wildlife ecology is highly competitive. Most successful applicants have an excellent academic record (3.4-4.0), high scores on the Graduate Record Examination, substantial practical experience through summer or post-graduate employment, and strong letters of recommendation. The minimum standards are a cumulative GPA of 3.0 (on a 4.0 basis) and a cumulative GRE score of 50th percentile (quantitative and verbal), although exceptions are sometimes made for students whose overall record is very strong. For the M.S. and Ph.D. programs, an undergraduate degree in wildlife ecology or biology or a closely-related discipline is generally required, and applicants are encouraged to take the GRE advanced biology exam. The M.W.C. degree is appropriate for practicing natural resource professionals who wish to update their education, international students who want to be exposed to a U.S. perspective on wildlife conservation, and students who have an outstanding academic record, but who lack a background in biological sciences.

Financial Assistance

M.S. and Ph.D. students are only accepted if the department or faculty have funding for graduate assistantships, tuition and research expenses. Stipends for graduate assistantships range from a minimum of $17,000 upward per year. Most graduate students are supported by graduate research assistantships, but some students have teaching assistantships and participate in teaching at the undergraduate level partial. Financial support is not usually available for students in the M.W.C. program. There are also several University-wide scholarships available on a competitive basis and the faculty nominate top ranking applicants for these awards.

Inquiries and Applications

We post all available graduate assistantships on this website. We strongly encourage potential applicants to apply to specific openings and to discuss your qualifications and interests with faculty. Note that posted assistantships often have unique deadlines and starting dates. Applications for the Master of Wildlife Conservation program are reviewed periodically from January through March for programs that begin in September. Thus March 31 is a deadline but earlier applications are strongly encouraged.


Links below provide more information on the graduate program and faculty in the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Conservation Biology. Graduate catalogs and application forms may be obtained from the Graduate School, Stodder Hall, University of Maine, Orono, ME 04469-5782. If you would like additional information, please call, write or email individual faculty or the department.


Available Graduate Assistantships

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Contact Information

Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Conservation Biology
5755 Nutting Hall, Room 210
Orono, Maine 04469-5755
Phone: (207) 581-2862 | Fax: (207) 581-2858 E-mail:
The University of Maine
Orono, Maine 04469
A Member of the University of Maine System