Faculty and student at field burn

Program Overview

Quick Facts

  • Delivery: On Campus
  • Credits: 120
  • Hands-on Experience in All Upper-Level Courses
  • Over 80% of Program Courses Include Field Experiences
  • Great Preparation for Graduate School

In today’s world, increased industrial expansion and ballooning population growth has led to the diminishing of natural habitats for the flora and fauna that are vital to the health of our ecosystem. This is why the proper care and conservation of the wildlife and their habitats that surrounds us is more important than ever.

The wildlife biology and conservation concentration places an emphasis on wild animals, plant and tree life, and the management of the habitats in which they live. Through courses in subjects like forestry, plant classification, wildlife biology, ecology, ornithology, and mammalogy, you will be prepared to pursue a career in wildlife conservation with governmental agencies, nonprofit organizations or private consulting firms. This concentration also serves as an excellent prerequisite to study any of these subjects at a deeper level in graduate school.

Meet the Biology Faculty Who Teach in this Concentration

Research Opportunities

Ball State’s wildlife biology and conservation faculty are more than teachers—they are also active researchers that work with students.  Many students conduct their own research under the direction of our faculty.

Some of the research projects our students have assisted with include:

  • herpetology surveys on local properties
  • camera trapping studies to document local fauna
  • bird window strike studies of local buildings
  • behavioral ecology of freshwater fish
  • migration and song patterns of the cerulean warbler
  • the cause of the deadly “white-nose syndrome” disease in bats in the northeast and central United States
  • bat use of local riparian ecosystems
  • urban Canada goose ecology and management
  • disease testing in local white-tailed deer populations

Classrooms Indoors and Out

Ball State University manages a number of resources, collections and properties used for teaching and research in the wildlife biology and conservation concentration. Indiana is also home to several regional and state parks that provide great opportunities for birding, plant taxonomy, ecological research and more on field trips.

  • Don and Brenda Ruch Herbarium – This collection, located in the Foundational Sciences Building, serves as a growing repository 20,000+ of samples of plant matter for research and analysis.
  • Rinard Orchid Greenhouse – This on-campus greenhouse houses nearly 2,000 orchids and tropical fruit-bearing plants, and tropical animals making Ball State University the home of the largest university-based orchid collection in the United States.
  • The Environmental Education Classroom – This is home to our community outreach program that provides outreach education to kids from 3 to 90 years old!
  • Christy Woods and the Teaching and Research Greenhouse – This 17-acre area is located on the southwest end of campus to give students hands-on experience studying, testing and growing local and exotic flora.
  • Additionally, six properties in the area provide dozens of acres of wetlands, tallgrass prairies, forests and agricultural fields to visit for teaching, and research.

Student Organizations

The Ball State chapter of The Wildlife Society founded in 1995 provides an opportunity to connect with other students in your concentration for support, professional development opportunities and academic discussion. Through biweekly meetings, this student run club offers insight to the profession through speakers, such as alumni of the program that now work for the Indiana Department of Natural Resources and other governmental and nonprofit agencies.

Small Class Sizes

Our low student-to-professor ratio and small class sizes give you daily contact with professors in lecture, laboratory and out in the field, plus the individualized attention you need to excel. You will get to know our faculty and they will get to know you!

The concentration in wildlife biology and conservation fulfills part of the requirements that lead to a bachelor of arts or bachelor of science degree with a major in biology. All biology majors must also complete the biology core curriculum and the University Core Curriculum.

Credits Required

Total to Graduate: 120

  • Biology Core Curriculum: 37-38
  • Wildlife Biology and Conservation Concentration: 34-35
  • University Core Curriculum: 66-70


All biology majors in every concentration are required to complete a core curriculum in biology that is separate from your concentration requirements and from the University Core Curriculum.

These foundational courses provide you with an overview of the principles in biology and develop a necessary competency in chemistry, physics and math.

Biology Core Courses: 18 credits

  • BIO 111 – Principles of Biology 1
  • BIO 112 – Principles of Biology 2
  • BIO 201 - Symposium
  • BIO 214 – Genetics
  • BIO 216 – Ecology
  • One of the following:
    • BIO 314 – Methods in Genetics
    • BIO 315 – Methods in Cell Biology
    • BIO 316 – Methods in Ecology

*Note:  All wildlife biology and conservation concentration student are required to take BIO 316.

Other Required Courses: 18-20 credits

  • CHEM 111 – General Chemistry 1
  • CHEM 112 – General Chemistry 2
  • PHYC 110 – General Physics 1
  • One of the following:
    • CHEM 230 – Organic Chemistry for the Life Sciences AND CHEM 241 – Organic Chemistry Laboratory 1
    • CHEM 231 – Organic Chemistry 1 AND CHEM 241 – Organic Chemistry Laboratory 1
  • One of the following:
    • MATH 112 – Precalculus Trigonometry
    • MATH 114 – Precalculus Trigonometry (accelerated 8 week course)
    • MATH 161 – Applied Calculus 1
    • MATH 165 – Calculus 1 


The courses you will take to complete the wildlife biology and conservation concentration are:

  • BIO 210 – Introduction to Botany
  • BIO 316 – Methods in Ecology
  • BIO 448 – Biometry
  • BOT 380 – Forestry
  • BIO 416 – Population Ecology or BIO 430 – Conservation Biology
  • BOT 440 – Taxonomy of Vascular Plants
  • BOT 470 – Dendrology or BOT 481 – Aquatic Botany
  • ZOOL 440 – Ornithology
  • ZOOL 446 – Mammalogy
  • ZOOL 483 – Wildlife Biology
  • GEOG 265 – Intro to Geographic Information Systems

For a complete list of all the courses you will take for your degree and their descriptions, please see our Course Catalog.

View Catalog

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Take the Next Step

Do you want to learn more about our program or have questions about the application process or financial aid? We’re here to help! One of the best ways to understand why Ball State is right for you is to schedule a visit through our Office of Undergraduate Admissions to see it for yourself. Or if you’d like to speak directly to someone in our department, please feel free to call or email us.


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