Wildlife, Fish & Conservation Biology, Bachelor of Science College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences

The Wildlife, Fish & Conservation Biology major deals with the relationships between the requirements of wildlife and the needs of people. Understanding these relationships is vital for the maintenance of ecological diversity, recreational resources, and food supplies. Students completing the major possess a broad knowledge of ecology and natural history, but with the quantitative skills to use this knowledge in critical thinking and decision-making.

The Program

The major emphasizes broad training in biological sciences, with specialization in one of four areas. The major is designed primarily for students interested in becoming professionals in the diverse fields of wildlife, fish, & conservation biology, including veterinary & wildlife health sciences. The breadth of course requirements, when combined with electives, also make this an excellent preparatory major for secondary school teaching. Certification by professional societies such as The Wildlife Society, American Fisheries Society, or the Ecological Society of America, or preparation for graduate studies may also be achieved by careful planning of electives with a faculty advisor.

Lead Faculty Advisor

Douglas Kelt

Wildlife, Fish, & Conservation Biology Major Advisor

Erica Cefalo

Students transferring to UC Davis from another institution or new students declaring the major of Wildlife, Fish & Conservation Biology must consult the major advisor so that their program can be evaluated and a faculty advisor assigned. Advising is located in 1086 Academic Surge and can be reached by email at wfcbadvising@ucdavis.edu.

Career Alternatives

The major prepares students to excel in the dynamic fields of environmental and conservation biology, emphasizing vertebrate animals—both native and invasive—in their natural environments, as well as resolution of conflicts between humans and wild animals. Positions now held by graduates of this major include wildlife biology, fisheries biology, wildlife damage management, and resource biologists and managers with local, state, and federal agencies, biologists or consultants with private industries such as environmental consulting firms, commercial fishing businesses, electrical utilities, sporting clubs or businesses, and aquaculture operations, as well as veterinarians, medical physicians, and professors/researchers who teach and/or conduct research in academic institutions.

The major requirements below are in addition to meeting University Degree Requirements & College Degree Requirements; unless otherwise noted. The minimum number of units required for the Wildlife, Fish & Conservation Biology Bachelor of Science is 111.

Written/Oral Expression
Completing UWP 001 or UWP 001V or UWP 001Y and CMN 001 will simultaneously satisfy the College English Composition Requirement.
UWP 001Introduction to Academic Literacies4
or UWP 001V Introduction to Academic Literacies: Online
or UWP 001Y Introduction to Academic Literacies
Choose one:4
Introduction to Public Speaking
Interpersonal Communication Competence
Interpersonal Communication Competence
Interpersonal Communication Competence
Introduction to Performance & Digital Media
Written/Oral Expression Subtotal8
Preparatory Subject Matter
Biological Science
BIS 002AIntroduction to Biology: Essentials of Life on Earth5
BIS 002BIntroduction to Biology: Principles of Ecology & Evolution5
BIS 002CIntroduction to Biology: Biodiversity & the Tree of Life5
CHE 002AGeneral Chemistry5
CHE 002BGeneral Chemistry5
CHE 008AOrganic Chemistry: Brief Course2
CHE 008BOrganic Chemistry: Brief Course4
MAT 016AShort Calculus3
MAT 016BShort Calculus3
PHY 001APrinciples of Physics3
PHY 001BPrinciples of Physics3
Choose one:4
Applied Statistics in Agricultural Sciences
Applied Statistics for Biological Sciences
Applied Statistics for Wildlife Research
Wildlife, Fish & Conservation Biology
Choose one:3-4
Wildlife Ecology & Conservation
Natural History of California's Wild Vertebrates
Introduction to Conservation Biology
Preparatory Subject Matter Subtotal50-51
Depth Subject Matter
Students graduating with this major are required to attain at least a C average (2.000) in all courses taken at the university in depth and area of specialization subject matter.
ESP 100General Ecology4
or EVE 101 Introduction to Ecology
NPB 102Animal Behavior3-4
or WFC 141 Behavioral Ecology
Evolution & Ecology
EVE 100Introduction to Evolution4
Wildlife, Fish, & Conservation Biology
Choose WFC 100 or WFC 101 & WFC 101L or WFC 102 & WFC 102L:4-7
Field Methods in Wildlife, Fish, & Conservation Biology
Field Research in Wildlife Ecology
and Field Research in Wildlife Ecology: Laboratory
Field Studies in Fish Biology
and Field Studies in Fish Biology: Laboratory
WFC 121Physiology of Fishes4
or WFC 130 Physiological Ecology of Wildlife
WFC 122Population Dynamics & Estimation4
or WFC 124 Sampling Animal Populations
Conservation Biology
WFC 154Conservation Biology 4
Choose three lecture courses and two laboratory (L) courses:14-15
Biology & Conservation of Wild Mammals
Laboratory in Biology & Conservation of Wild Mammals
Biology & Conservation of Wild Birds
Laboratory in Biology & Conservation of Wild Birds
Biology & Conservation of Fishes
Laboratory in Biology & Conservation of Fishes
Herpetology Laboratory
Depth Subject Matter Subtotal41-46
Strongly Recommended, But Not Required
Anatomy, Physiology & Cell Biology
Comparative Vertebrate Organology
Landscape Architecture
Introduction to Geographic Information Systems
Statistics; choosing one is recommended:
Applied Statistical Methods: Nonparametric Statistics
Applied Statistical Methods: Analysis of Variance
Applied Statistical Methods: Regression Analysis
Restricted Electives
Choose one of the four Areas of Specialization:12-24
No course may be used to simultaneously satisfy the Depth Subject Matter and the Area of Specialization.
No course may be used to simultaneously satisfy two Area of Specialization requirements.
Areas of Specialization
Restricted Electives Subtotal12-24
Total Units111-129

Areas of Specialization

(1) Wildlife & Conservation Biology

WFC 151Wildlife Ecology4
or WFC 168 Climate Change Ecology
Choose one:2-5
Plant Ecology
Population Biology of Invasive Plants & Weeds
Introductory Mycology
PLS 131
Trees & Forests
California Plant Communities
and California Plant Communities Field Study
Biology & Management of Aquatic Plants
Choose two:6-9
Biology & Conservation of Wild Mammals
Biology & Conservation of Wild Birds
Biology & Conservation of Fishes
Population Dynamics & Estimation
Sampling Animal Populations
Tropical Ecology & Conservation
Ecology of Waterfowl & Game Birds
Ecology of Human-Wildlife Conflicts
Plant Geography
Coastal Ecosystems
Animal Coloration
Climate Change Ecology
Note: Students interested in certification as a Wildlife Biologist from The Wildlife Society should consider additional courses in plant sciences and statistics.
Total Units12-18

(2) Fish Biology

Fish Biology
WFC 120Biology & Conservation of Fishes3
WFC 120LLaboratory in Biology & Conservation of Fishes2
Choose one:3-5
ENT 116
Biology of Invertebrates
and Biology of Invertebrates Laboratory
Experimental Invertebrate Biology
Choose three courses including at least one course from each of the following two groups:9-13
(a) Aquatic Systems
Fish Production
Principles of Hydrologic Science
Biological Oceanography
Limnology Laboratory
Coastal Oceanography
Wetland Ecology
Marine Ecology
Wildlife Space Use & Habitat Conservation
(b) Water Policy/Law
Environmental Law
Environmental Policy
ESP 166N
Water Policy & Politics
Water Law
Total Units17-23

(3) Wildlife Health

Note that this Areas of Specialization recommends additional preparatory courses; prerequisites for admission to Veterinary Medicine vary among schools and students should confirm the specific requirements of the school(s) to which they wish to apply.
WFC 151Wildlife Ecology4
Choose BIS 102 & BIS 103 or ABI 102 & ABI 103:6-10
Animal Biochemistry & Metabolism
and Animal Biochemistry & Metabolism
Structure & Function of Biomolecules
and Bioenergetics & Metabolism
Choose one:3-5
Biology & Conservation of Wild Mammals
Biology & Conservation of Wild Birds
Biology & Conservation of Fishes
Population Dynamics & Estimation
Sampling Animal Populations
Tropical Ecology & Conservation
Ecology of Waterfowl & Game Birds
Behavioral Ecology
Marine Conservation Science
Ecology of Human-Wildlife Conflicts
Climate Change Ecology
Choose one:3-5
Animal Welfare
Principles & Applications of Domestic Animal Behavior
Ethics of Animal Use
Comparative Vertebrate Organology
Developmental Biology
MIC 101
Introductory Microbiology
Introductory Microbiology Laboratory
Systemic Physiology
Principles of Environmental Physiology
Infectious Disease in Ecology & Conservation
Additional Preparatory
Recommended, not required:
Genes & Gene Expression
General Chemistry
Organic Chemistry for Health & Life Sciences
Organic Chemistry for Health & Life Sciences
Organic Chemistry for Health & Life Sciences
General Physics
General Physics
General Physics
Total Units16-24

(4) Individualized

Students may, with prior approval of their advisor and the curriculum committee, design their own individualized specialization within the major. The specialization will consist of at least four upper division courses with a coherent theme.