Wildlife and Fisheries Resources

Bachelor of Science - Wildlife & Fisheries Resources Major

The wildlife and fisheries resources curriculum prepares students for professional positions as wildlife and fish biologists, natural resources conservation officers, wildlife and fisheries managers and planners, wildlife or fisheries communication specialists, wildlife and fisheries toxicologists, and environmental consultants.  The program is unique in the region as our graduates are fully trained in both the wildlife and fisheries fields.  The curriculum provides a solid basic background in biology, ecology, and natural resource management.  Students fulfilling this program will select a concentration in wildlife or fisheries (or both) to meet the requirements for professional certification as either a wildlife biologist (certified through The Wildlife Society) or fisheries biologist (certified through The American Fisheries Society).  A careful selection of restricted electives enables students to specialize in related natural resource areas and to have the opportunity for widening employment in other environmental fields.  Other options can be tailored to your objectives.  Students will be able to consult with their advisor in the selection of courses from a group of restricted electives to develop their area of emphasis.

Special Opportunities

Students will have special opportunities to enhance their education in the WVU Wildlife and Fisheries Resources Program.  The Program has student chapters of The American Fisheries Society, The Wildlife Society, and the Society for Conservation Biology.  Student participation in these organizations leads to opportunities for further field experience with state and federal agency biologists, graduate students, and faculty.  A USGS Fish and Wildlife Cooperative Research Unit is also housed within our program.  This unit provides three additional faculty members conducting extensive research programs all around the country.  In addition, the WVDNR provides a liaison biologist to the Unit that provides a direct link from students to the state's natural resources agency.  Undergraduates benefit from the personnel at the Unit in several ways: the Unit and liaison provide federal and state contacts for employment opportunities; the Unit research programs may provide summer employment on fish and wildlife projects, and faculty in the Unit also teach in our program.

All of our faculty are involved with graduate training.  This active research program provides invaluable classroom experiences as faculty remain up-to-date with all the latest studies and methods in the field.  Students also benefit through volunteer experiences and summer employment opportunities for students working on research projects.

In the Wildlife and Fisheries Resources Program, you will be advised by caring faculty members who understand what it will take to be successful in this field.  All students are required to take a Professional Experience course (internship) as part of the curriculum, but we encourage students to get as much additional experience working with professionals throughout their time in the program.  The curriculum also includes a capstone class that allows students to showcase their learning through management plans and research projects.

Career opportunities in wildlife and fisheries are expanding.  Even so, we encourage our students to consider going for advanced degrees when they finish here.  Such qualified seniors find that assistantships are readily available due to the solid course background, training, and experience they received while here at WVU.

Click here to view the Suggested Plan of Study

General Education FOUNDATIONS

Please use this link to view a list of courses that meet each GEF requirement.

NOTE: Some major requirements will fulfill specific GEF requirements. Please see the curriculum requirements listed below for details on which GEFs you will need to select.

General Education Foundations
F1 - Composition & Rhetoric3-6
Introduction to Composition and Rhetoric
and Composition, Rhetoric, and Research
Accelerated Academic Writing
F2A/F2B - Science & Technology4-6
F3 - Math & Quantitative Skills3-4
F4 - Society & Connections3
F5 - Human Inquiry & the Past3
F6 - The Arts & Creativity3
F7 - Global Studies & Diversity3
F8 - Focus (may be satisfied by completion of a minor, double major, or dual degree)9
Total Hours31-37

Please note that not all of the GEF courses are offered at all campuses. Students should consult with their advisor or academic department regarding the GEF course offerings available at their campus.

Curriculum Requirements

A minimum of C- must be obtained in all courses required for the major.
Core Requirements
WVUE 191First Year Seminar1
ENGL 101Introduction to Composition and Rhetoric3
ENGL 102Composition, Rhetoric, and Research3
Select one of the following sets:8
General Biology
and General Biology Laboratory
General Biology
and General Biology Laboratory
Principles of Biology
Introductory Physiology
Select one of the following:4
Survey of Chemistry
Fundamentals of Chemistry
Select one of the following:3
College Algebra 5-Day
College Algebra 4-Day
College Algebra 3-Day
STAT 211Elementary Statistical Inference3
CSAD 270Effective Public Speaking3
WMAN 100The Tradition of Hunting3
WMAN 150Principles of Conservation Ecology3
WMAN 175Introduction to Wildlife and Fisheries3
WMAN 205Wildlife-Fisheries Camp3
WMAN 224Vertebrate Natural History3
WMAN 234Forest Wildlife Management3
WMAN 300Wildlife and Fisheries Techniques (fulfills Writing and Communication skills requirement)3
WMAN 313Wildlife Ecosystem Ecology4
WMAN 330Conservation Genetics3
WMAN 421Renewable Resources Policy and Governance3
Select one of the following:3
WMAN 445Introduction to Fisheries Management3
WMAN 446Freshwater Ecology4
WMAN 450Advanced Wildlife and Fisheries Management (Capstone; fulfills Writing and Communication skills requirement)4
WMAN 491Professional Field Experience3
AGRN 202Principles of Soil Science3
AGRN 203Principles of Soil Science Laboratory1
FOR 205Dendrology3
Select one of the following:3
Introduction to Computing in Natural Resources
Intro to Computer Applications
RESM 440Foundations of Applied Geographic Information Systems3
RESM 441Introduction Geographic Information Systems Natural Science2
Policy & Administration--select one of the following:3
Agricultural and Natural Resources Law
Agriculture, Environmental and Resource Policy
Environmental Impact Assessment
Human Dimensions Natural Resource Management
Environmental Policy
Land Use Planning Law
Environmental Regulation
GEF 63
Select 1 Required Area of Emphasis24
** An additional English writing based course will be needed for certification requirements if ENGL 103 is taken.
Total Hours121

Suggested Plan of Study

First Year
WVUE 1911WMAN 150 (GEF 7)3WMAN 2053
ENGL 101 (GEF 1)3Select one of the following:4 
WMAN 100 (GEF 5)3  
WMAN 175 (GEF 8)3  
Select one of the following (GEF 2):4GEF 6 requirement3 
 Area of Emphasis Course3 
Select one of the following (GEF 3):3  
 17 13 3
Second Year
Select one of the following (GEF 8):4ENGL 102 (GEF 1)3WMAN 4912
 FOR 2403 
 CSAD 270 (GEF 4)3 
FOR 2053WMAN 2343 
STAT 211 (GEF 8)3AGRN 2023 
WMAN 2243AGRN 2031 
 13 16 2
Third Year
WMAN 3003WMAN 3134 
WMAN 4213WMAN 3303 
WMAN 4911Select one of the following:3 
FOR 310 (or other Area of Emphasis Course)3  
Area of Emphasis Course3  
 Area of Emphasis Course3 
 13 13
Fourth Year
WMAN 4453WMAN 4464 
RESM 4403WMAN 4504 
RESM 4412Area of Emphasis Course3 
Policy & Administration Course3Area of Emphasis Course3 
Area of Emphasis Course3  
Area of Emphasis Course3  
 17 14
Total credit hours: 121

Fisheries Sciences Area of Emphasis Requirements

*A minimum of C- must be obtained in all courses required for the area of emphasis.
Physical Sciences: select two of the following:6
Survey of Chemistry
Fundamentals of Chemistry
Organic Chemistry: Brief Course
Organic Chemistry
and Organic Chemistry Laboratory
Planet Earth
and Planet Earth Laboratory
Environmental Geoscience
and Environmental Geoscience Laboratory
Physical Oceanography
Introductory Physics
Advanced Soil Judging
Soil Fertility
Soil Survey and Land Use
Soil Genesis and Classification
Soil Microbiology
Environmental Soil Management
Reclamation of Disturbed Soils
Fisheries--select one of the following:3
Aquaculture Management
Marine Ecology
Stream Ecosystem Assessment
Fish Ecology
Quantitative Sciences--select one of the following:3
Applied Calculus
Intermediate Statistical Methods
Statistical Methods 1
Restricted Electives: *12
** Any 100-400 level course in Biology (BIOL), Geology (GEOL), Forestry (FOR), Forest Management (FMAN), Wildlife and Fisheries (WMAN), or Resource Management (RESM) agreed upon between the student and the advisor.
Total Hours24

Wildlife Sciences Area of Emphasis Requirements

*A minimum of C- must be obtained in all courses required for the area of emphasis.
Physical Sciences: select one of the following:3
Survey of Chemistry
Fundamentals of Chemistry
Organic Chemistry: Brief Course
Organic Chemistry
and Organic Chemistry Laboratory
Planet Earth
and Planet Earth Laboratory
Environmental Geoscience
and Environmental Geoscience Laboratory
Physical Oceanography
Introductory Physics
Advanced Soil Judging
Soil Fertility
Soil Survey and Land Use
Soil Genesis and Classification
Soil Microbiology
Environmental Soil Management
Reclamation of Disturbed Soils
Botany--select one of the following:3
Plant Physiology
Plant Diversity
Flora of West Virginia
Plant Ecology
Plant Geography
Plant Systematics
Vegetation of West Virginia
Principles of Plant Science
Elements of Silviculture
Wildlife Biology--select from WMAN 425, WMAN 426, or BIOL 433 if not used above, or one of the following:3
Interpretive Bird Study
Big Game Ecology and Management
Waterfowl Ecology
Restricted Electives*12
** Any 100-400 level course in Biology (BIOL), Geology (GEOL), Forestry (FOR), Forest Management (FMAN), Wildlife and Fisheries (WMAN), or Resource Management (RESM) agreed upon between the student and the advisor.
Total Hours24

Major Learning Goals

Wildlife and Fisheries Resources

Upon the successful completion of a Wildlife and Fisheries Resources degree students will be able to:

  • Comprehend the historical importance of wildlife and fisheries management, and the role contemporary agencies play in wildlife and fisheries management in the United States.
  • Demonstrate expertise on the life-history characteristics of game and non-game wildlife and fishes.
  • Identify and classify using common and Latin names West Virginia trees, plants, reptiles, mammals and fishes by sight and birds and amphibians by sight and sound.
  • Explain and employ commonly used wildlife and fisheries management principles, methods, and techniques.
  • Define, explain, and apply knowledge regarding biological and chemical processes, population ecology and population dynamics, community and ecosystem ecology, aquatic ecology (lakes, streams, and rivers), terrestrial ecology (forests andgrasslands) and wetland ecology in relation to wildlife and fisheries management and research applications.
  • Demonstrate laboratory, computer and quantitative skills relevant to wildlife and fisheries science.
  • Critically evaluate peer-reviewed literature and apply research findings to the conservation and management of wildlife and fisheries resources.
  • Conduct a research project or compose a management plan focused on wildlife or fisheries that includes project design, collecting, analyzing and interpreting data, and reporting results as a research paper or management plan in appropriate scientific style, and presenting the project to their peers.

WMAN 100. The Tradition of Hunting. 3 Hours.

Introduction to the cultural and spiritual role of hunting; use of hunting as a wildlife management tool; and its economic value in wildlife conservation programs. Includes discussions on gun control, anti-hunting, and animal rights.

WMAN 150. Principles of Conservation Ecology. 3 Hours.

Overview of the science of conservation ecology with emphasis on the concepts of biological diversity, extension, habitat loss and fragmentation, establishment of protected areas, endangered species, and establishment and preservation of new populations.

WMAN 160. Ecology of Invading Species. 3 Hours.

Survey of invasive/exotic plant and animal species and their effects on native ecosystems, including the breakdown of natural barriers to invasion by the increase of world commerce which unifies widely dispersed resources.

WMAN 175. Introduction to Wildlife and Fisheries. 3 Hours.

Introduction to the study and management of wildlife and fisheries resources of the Appalachians. Includes an overview of resource management history, career opportunities, natural resources policy, and the basic life of birds, mammals, and fishes.

WMAN 200. Restoration Ecology. 3 Hours.

Principles and practice of restoring natural ecosystem function, structure, and integrity.

WMAN 205. Wildlife-Fisheries Camp. 3 Hours.

A course in field ecology and wildlife/fisheries sampling techniques. Designed to introduce the beginning wildlife conservation professional to the science of collecting data on wildlife and fish populations in their natural habitats.

WMAN 221. Interpretive Bird Study. 3 Hours.

PR: BIOL 117 or consent. Intensive field studies in recognition through sight, song, and behavioral patterns of birds, and their ecology in the Central Appalachians. (2 hr. lec, 2 hr. lab.).

WMAN 224. Vertebrate Natural History. 3 Hours.

PR: BIOL 117 or consent. Relationships of fish, amphibians, and reptiles to the forest, with emphasis on the ecology, taxonomy, evolution, natural history, and field identification of these groups. Laboratory emphasizes natural history and anatomy of fish, amphibians, and reptiles.

WMAN 234. Forest Wildlife Management. 3 Hours.

Principles and problems of forest wildlife management with emphasis on habitat management at the stand and landscape levels. Habitat manipulations through use of appropriate silvicultural practices, wildlife enhancement techniques, and regulations are evaluated.

WMAN 250. Big Game Ecology and Management. 3 Hours.

Intensive field trip and online material emphasizing white tailed deer and black bear ecology with additional material on western game species and exotics.

WMAN 260. Waterfowl Ecology. 3 Hours.

Intensive field-trip and on-line material emphasizing the ecology of waterfowl and management of wetland habitats.

WMAN 293. Special Topics. 1-6 Hours.

PR: Consent. Investigation of topics not covered in regularly scheduled courses.

WMAN 300. Wildlife and Fisheries Techniques. 3 Hours.

PR: WMAN 150 and WMAN 175 and WMAN 224 and WMAN 234 and FOR 205. Field and laboratory techniques for the scientific management and evaluation of wildlife and fisheries resources.

WMAN 313. Wildlife Ecosystem Ecology. 4 Hours.

PR: BIOL 115 and BIOL 117. Basic principles of ecosystem, community, and population ecology. Emphasizing structure, function, succession, physiological ecology, population growth and regulation, and systems modeling.

WMAN 314. Marine Ecology. 3 Hours.

Study of key coastal species and their interactions. Self-paced lectures and exercises culminating with one-week capstone trip to Atlantic coast for hands-on study of invertebrates, coastal fishes and birds, and marine ecology.

WMAN 330. Conservation Genetics. 3 Hours.

PR: BIOL 101 and BIOL 102 or equivalent or higher and (MATH 126A or MATH 126B or MATH 126C). Introduction to the principles of modern genetics needed to understand and manage important challenges in conservation of biodiversity including game, non-game, and endangered/threatened species. Also listed as GEN 330.

WMAN 421. Renewable Resources Policy and Governance. 3 Hours.

PR: Consent. Forest, wildlife, fisheries, and recreation resource policies of the world, with an emphasis on the U.S. important federal and state laws; governance of public and private lands and renewable natural resources. (Crosslisted with FOR 421.).

WMAN 425. Mammalogy. 3 Hours.

PR: BIOL 117 or consent. Mammals and their biological properties with emphasis on life history, ecology, and distribution of regional forms.

WMAN 426. Ornithology. 3 Hours.

PR: BIOL 115 and BIOL 117 or consent. Identification, distribution, and ecology of birds (particularly of forest lands.) (2 hr. lec, 1 hr. lab.).

WMAN 431. Wildlife Habitat Techniques. 3 Hours.

PR: Wildlife major or consent; WMAN 313 and FOR 205. Field and laboratory techniques necessary in management and study of wildlife; collection of field data, mapping, censusing, habitat evaluation, wetland delineation, use of literature and scientific writing.

WMAN 445. Introduction to Fisheries Management. 3 Hours.

PR: WMAN 224 or consent. Basic principles of management of fishery resources, with an emphasis on freshwater stocks. Includes current environmental and management issues, concepts, and methods used in management of commercial and recreational fisheries.

WMAN 446. Freshwater Ecology. 4 Hours.

PR: (BIOL 101 and BIOL 102 and BIOL 103 and BIOL 104) or BIOL 115 or WMAN 224 or consent. Physical, chemical, and biological characteristics of inland waters with emphasis on the structure and function of stream ecosystems.

WMAN 449. Stream Ecosystem Assessment. 3 Hours.

Self-paced lectures and exercises culminating in a one-week trip to the mountains of West Virginia for hands-on study of stream fishes, invertebrates, water and habitat quality, geomorphology, and ecology.

WMAN 450. Advanced Wildlife and Fisheries Management. 4 Hours.

PR: WMAN 300. Principles and practices of wildlife and fisheries habitat and species management.

WMAN 490. Teaching Practicum. 1-3 Hours.

PR: Consent. Teaching practice as a tutor or assistant.

WMAN 491. Professional Field Experience. 1-18 Hours.

PR: Consent. (May be repeated up to a maximum of 18 hours.) Prearranged experiential learning program, to be planned, supervised, and evaluated for credit by faculty and field supervisors. Involves temporary placement with public or private enterprise for professional competence development.

WMAN 492. Directed Study. 1-3 Hours.

Directed study, reading and/or research.

WMAN 493. Special Topics. 1-6 Hours.

PR: Consent. Investigation of topics not covered in regularly scheduled courses.

WMAN 494. Seminar. 1-3 Hours.

PR: Consent. Presentation and discussion of topics of mutual concern to students and faculty.

WMAN 495. Independent Study. 1-6 Hours.

Faculty supervised study of topics not available through regular course offerings.

WMAN 496. Senior Thesis. 1-3 Hours.

PR: Consent.

WMAN 498. Honors. 1-3 Hours.

PR: Students in the Honors Program and consent by the honors director. Independent reading, study or research.