Whether you want to become an executive in a biological and engineering firm, lead scientist at a research center, analyst at a federal agency, or a professor in academia, you’ll need a graduate degree in Ecology.
Help develop innovative solutions to environmental problems.
At Western, we offer the supportive environment you’ll need to become a scientist with the ability to perform research, solve problems and collaborate with affected communities. You’ll also be expected to incorporate citizen science into effective research and produce accessible and accurate results for utilization by both policymakers and the public. You’ll earn your Master of Science in Ecology and bachelor’s degree in one of two undergraduate programs in just five years through our accelerated Master of Science in Ecology 3+2 program. You can choose an undergraduate program in Biology or Environment & Sustainability and pair it with a Master of Science in Ecology emphasizing in Ecology & Conservation or Fisheries & Wildlife Management.
The Gunnison Valley offers a wide-range of research opportunities in Aquatic Ecology, Fisheries Biology, Forest and Fire Ecology, Invasive Species Ecology and more. Whether you want to explore the migratory behaviors of an endangered species or advise policymakers on environmental issues, Western provides the rigorous coursework, laboratory research and extensive fieldwork to prepare you for a career in ecology.
Choose your path
Choose an undergraduate program in Biology or Environment & Sustainability and pair it with a Master of Science in Ecology emphasizing in Ecology & Conservation or Fisheries & Wildlife Management.
At Western, course rotations are crafted to encompass a variety of subject fields for a comprehensive education and versatile degree. For required courses and degree plans, visit the official University Catalog. Below is a general overview of courses at Western Colorado University related to this area of study.
|BIOL 606||Ecological Research Methods||3||View|
|BIOL 613||Advanced Ecological Analysis||3||View|
|BIOL 690||Ecology MS Proposal Development||3||View|
|BIOL 695||Ecology/ Conservation Thesis Research||1-9||View|
|BIOL 696||Fisheries/ Wildlife Thesis Research||1-9||View|
|ENVS 611||Integrative Skill in Environmental Management||3||View|
|ENVS 615||Science of Climate Mitigation and Adaptation||3||View|
|ENVS 618||Public Lands Management||3||View|
|ENVS 623||Studies in Environmental Management||1-6||View|
|ENVS 625||Studies in Integrative and Public Land Management||3||View|
Heidi Steltzer, Ph.D.
Adjunct Faculty, Professor of Environment and Sustainability and Biology and Coordinator of Environmental Science Degree Program at Fort Lewis College
Jessica Young, Ph.D.
Professor of Environment & Sustainability, Master in Environmental Management and Master of Science in Ecology
Career preparation starts your first year at Western and is the primary focus of every degree.
Visit Career Services in Library 120 or online to discover your interests, define your goals, and land the career of your dreams.
The data below is automatically collected by Burning Glass Technologies, a firm that sources job market data and provides analytics. The statistics illustrate general trends in U.S. careers, but do not precisely represent every job and salary.
Alumni Association Future Alumni ScholarshipThe Alumni Association Scholarship is a one-time scholarship of $1,000 and is applicable for the student’s junior or senior year at Western. Any child or grandchild of an alumni is eligible to receive the Future Alumni Scholarship.
- This is a one-time non-renewable scholarship of $1,000.
- Only one Future Alumni Scholarship will be awarded per academic year.
- GPA must be 3.2 or above (college).
Alumni Legacy Scholarship
The Alumni Legacy Scholarship is a one-time non-renewable scholarship and is only applicable for the student’s first year at Western (incoming freshman or new transfer students are eligible).
Do you have a son or daughter looking at college? Have they considered attending Western? As an alumni, your son, daughter and/or grandchildren are eligible for certain benefits distributed through this scholarship, as follows:
- This is a one-time scholarship of $1,000.
- Nominee must be an incoming freshman or new transfer.
- The cost of orientation is reduced by half (a $45 value).
- The admission application fee is waived (a $30 value).
- GPA must be 2.0 or above (high school or college of transfer).
The applicant must fill out the application form found here (click). Application forms are accepted year-round. If the applicant meets the GPA guidelines, the scholarship will be awarded.
Mountaineer Alumni Recommendation Scholarship
The Mountaineer Alumni Recommendation Scholarship is a one-time non-renewable scholarship and is only applicable for the student’s first year at Western. This scholarship is not available to midyear transfers or students beginning in the spring semester.
Are you an alumni or employee of Western and know a prospective (or incoming) student who would be a great fit at Western? A recommendation from alumni and employees can support any new student and provide them a $500 scholarship their first year. (Western employees may not recommend a spouse or dependent receiving tuition benefits).
- Any Western alumni/employee may nominate only one student per academic year to receive the $500 scholarship (distributed $250 per semester).
- The scholarship is good for the first year only and is non-renewable.
- The recommended student must be a full-time undergraduate student, attending Western for the first time.
The applicant must fill out the application form found here. The nominating alumni/employee must fill out the application form and submit the required documents by June 1. The recommended student must meet university admissions acceptance standards and complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
The Western Presidential Honors Scholarships, established by the Jack and Marilyn MacAllister Foundation shall be an elite class of scholarships awarded to Western's highest achieving and most deserving students, celebrating the ideals of academic excellence and service to the campus and community. Recipients of the Scholarships will be members of the Western Colorado University Honors Program.
There are eight Presidential Honors Scholarships of $2500 each. Each year two new Presidential Honors Scholarships will be awarded to two incoming freshmen.
Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE) or Central Plains (CP) tuition represents a substantial savings relative to normal, out-of-state tuition. Students eligible for the WUE or CP program will be charged 150% of Western’s total in-state tuition. For 2018-19, total in-state tuition was $8,934. WUE/CP tuition was $13,401. The WUE/CP discount is valued at $4,695.
For more information about the WUE and CP geography-based programs, visit Western’s Tuition Discount Programs Page.
Immediately upon acceptance at Western, every student is considered for a merit scholarship worth between $2,500-$4,500 per year for in-state students and $8,000-$10,000 for out-of-state students. The amount is based on the student's GPA and ACT/SAT scores. Visit our Net Price Calculator at western.edu/cost to determine whether you qualify for a merit scholarship.
For more information about merit scholarships at Western, visit our scholarships page.
Take your education beyond the classroom.
While you can work anywhere in the world to conduct research, you can also find great local opportunities to work with faculty on projects such as:
- Aquatic Ecology: Monitoring and assessing aquatic ecosystems in the West.
- Fisheries Biology: Evaluating and managing aquatic ecosystem health and human activities to maintain sustainable fish populations for commercial, recreational and conservation purposes.
- Forest and Fire Ecology: Investigating the role of wildfire and climate on forest ecology and management in the West.
- Invasive Species Ecology: Working with land managers to identify and implement methods for invasive species control and restoration of native communities.
- Population and Conservation Ecology: Investigating population dynamics of rare plants.
- Terrestrial Ecosystem Ecology: Quantifying changes in carbon and nutrients under different disturbance regimes and land management strategies in the Arctic and western Colorado.
- Wildlife Ecology: Studying habitat relationships and land management consequences to wildlife populations and communities.
One-of-a-kind research opportunities
MS in Ecology student Courtney King gazes through a scope at bighorn sheep during her wildlife techniques class.