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Arizona State University’s Undergraduate Conservation Biology Program
Conservation biology is the multidisciplinary science of conserving biological diversity. Biological diversity (biodiversity) is the totality of genes, species and ecosystems in a region, and this wealth of life on Earth is the product of millions of years of evolutionary history. Present threats to biodiversity are unprecedented, and biodiversity loss represents a concern for all of humanity. Conservation biologists investigate the impact of humans on the Earth’s biodiversity, and develop practical approaches to prevent the extinction of species and promote the sustainable use of biological resources.
The ASU School of Life Sciences major in Conservation Biology is designed to prepare students to contribute to this important endeavor. Fewer than 10% of US colleges and universities offer a BS degree in Conservation Biology, and these are rarely affiliated with an academic unit in a liberal arts college.
A major strength of the ASU major in Conservation Biology is that it:
- capitalizes on SOLS strengths in population biology, behavioral ecology, climate change, urban ecology, conservation of endangered species and social and historical aspects of conservation.
- is allied with ASU’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Thus the degree provides a platform for not only a scientific approach to conservation, but also for consideration of the human dimension – an understanding of which is extremely important in all aspects of real-world conservation work.
The Conservation Biology curriculum is designed to provide students with 1) the important skills and concepts that a student needs to work in the multidisciplinary field of conservation biology; and, 2) the means for delivering those skills and concepts. These goals are accomplished through coursework, seminars, hands-on field experiences (ASU offers a broad suite of interactive field courses), internships, and an active local (student) Central Arizona Chapter of the Society for Conservation Biology. The curriculum prepares students for employment in State and Federal agencies, and non-governmental organizations (see Career Opportunities), as well as providing a solid platform for those students who desire to go on to graduate school.