The Department of Wildland Resources at the Utah State University Uintah Basin Regional Campus will introduce a new degree program in wildlife science this year.
“This will be a four-year degree program offering a bachelor’s in science,” explains Brent Bibles, assistant professor of wildlife ecology.
Coursework, according to Bibles, will cover “the ecology, behavior, conservation and management of wildlife populations and communities” in the intermountain West.
“Previously, we started the wildlife science coursework here at the Uintah Basin campus,” Bibles says. “Then the student had to leave for on-site instruction at the USU Logan Campus. Now, with our enhanced Internet systems and video conferencing, students stay on the USU Uintah Basin Regional Campus for the entire course of study.”
“This is the culmination of 12 years of effort,” adds Rich Etchberger, associate professor in wildlife biology. “It has taken more than a decade to get the complete program established on-campus.”
“Over the years, we have partnered with the Bureau of Land Management, Fish and Wildlife and other agencies involved in natural resources,” explains Etchberger. “These partnerships have resulted in paid internships for our students studying wildlife science.”
Graduates will be qualified to work as wildlife biologists for federal agencies and private companies that specialize in land management and natural resources. The benefits of being able to complete a full course of study in the Basin are redoubled by local job opportunities.
“The local energy extraction industry depends on a lot of environmental compliance consultants,” Bibles says. “The advantage to the student is to be able to work and study from home.”
Bibles sees a number of opportunities for the new wildlife biologists in land management agencies, environmental consulting companies, private industry with environmental divisions and other agencies.
“Our graduates go from the classroom to the field to the job,” Etchberger proudly explains. “We have 100 percent employment placement for our graduates. This is almost unheard of in any industry.”
Wildlife resources study in the Uintah Basin exposes students to tremendous environmental diversity, say the professors. Promotional material for the USU program describes local “environments ranging from semi-arid desert to alpine offering students diverse field-based courses or research projects.”
The basic course of undergraduate study begins with a core curriculum in science. The first two years include courses in math, biology, chemistry, English and statistics.
“Subsequent study, or the last two years, includes advanced wildlife management and science courses,” Bibles explains. “Students receive practical experience in the field integrating scientific and management principles.”
Information about thedegree program is available online.