Conservation Biology, Professional Science Master's

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College : Graduate Studies Degree :MS
Department : Option : Nonthesis
Program Websites :


This program will not be accepting applications or enrolling new students effective Fall 2017. 

The Professional Science Master’s (PSM) in Conservation Biology provides students with high-quality training in evaluating, understanding, and providing solutions to society’s conservation challenges. The program will teach relevant skills, provide expertise to meet STEM workforce needs, prepare graduates for careers in the public and private sectors.


The Professional Science Master’s (PSM) in Conservation Biology is an applied degree with a combination of graduate biology and professional courses with a required internship.  Professional courses can be from the business, management, law, public administration, and policy areas. This broad background coupled with the internship experience prepares PSM graduates for employment in the broad field of conservation.
Total Credit Hours Required:
31-38 Credit Hours Minimum beyond the Bachelor's Degree

The Professional Science Master's (PSM) in Conservation Biology consists of a minimum of 31 credit hours, including at least 15 credit hours of core and restricted elective courses in conservation biology, 12 credit hours of professional development courses, and 3 credit hours of internship. The program is designed to be completed in two years.

With graduate program coordinator approval, a maximum of 6 credit hours of directed research (6918) or independent study (6908) may be used to meet degree requirements.

Required Courses—7-10  Credit Hours

Conservation Biology Core—6-9 Credit Hours

Students must take two of the following courses.

  • PCB 6042 Conservation Biology Theory (4 credit hours)
  • PCB 6556 Conservation Genetics (3 credit hours)
  • PCB 6466 Methods in Experimental Ecology (3 credit hours)
  • PCB 5326C Ecosystems of Florida (5 credit hours)

Professional Development Core—1 Credit Hour

Students must take the following required course.

  • PCB 6095 Professional Development in Biology I (1 credit hour)

Electives—21-25 Credit Hours

Conservation Biology Restricted Electives—9-13 Credit Hours

Students should select one course from each of the following subject areas.

General Biology
  • ENY 5006C Entomology (4 credit hours)
  • PAZ 5235 Zoo and Aquarium Biology Management (3 credit hours)
  • PCB 6042 Conservation Biology Theory (4 credit hours)
  • ZOO 6520 Behavioral Ecology (3 credit hours)
  • ZOO 5456C Ichthyology (4 credit hours)
  • ZOO 5463C Herpetology (4 credit hours)
  • ZOO 5475L Field Ornithology (3 credit hours)
  • BOT 6623C Plant Ecology (4 credit hours)
  • BSC 5332 Invasion Biology (3 credit hours)
  • PCB 5326C Ecosystems of Florida (5 credit hours)
  • PCB 5435C Marine Conservation Biology (4 credit hours)
  • PCB 6035C Wetland Ecology (4 credit hours)
  • PCB 6046 Advanced Ecology (5 credit hours)
  • PCB 6053C Restoration Ecology (4 credit hours)
  • PCB 6466 Methods in Experimental Ecology (3 credit hours)
Evolutionary Biology, Applied Mathematics, and Genetics
  • BSC 5824 Biogeography (4 credit hours)
  • MAP 5117 Mathematical Modeling (3 credit hours)
  • MAP 6938 Mathematical Biology (4 credit hours)
  • PCB 5447 Disease Ecology and Ecoimmunology (3 credit hours)
  • PCB 5935 Population Genetics (3 credit hours)
  • PCB 6675C Evolutionary Biology (4 credit hours)
  • PCB 6677 Molecular Evolution (3 credit hours)

Professional Development Restricted Electives—12 Credit Hours

Students should select at least 12 credit hours of courses from the list below or comparable courses as approved by the graduate program coordinator.

  • COM 6047 Interpersonal Support in the Workplace (3 credit hours)
  • EDS 6100 Leadership (3 credit hours)
  • INR 6352 Global Environmental Politics (3 credit hours)
  • GEB 5516 Technological Entrepreneurship (3 credit hours)
  • GEB 6115 Entrepreneurship (3 credit hours)
  • GEB 6116 Business Plan Preparation (3 credit hours)
  • GEB 6518 Strategic Innovation (3 credit hours)
  • MAN 6448 Conflict Resolution and Negotiation (3 credit hours)
  • MAN 6305 Human Resources Management (3 credit hours)
  • PAD 5041 Ethics and Values in Public Administration (3 credit hours)
  • PAD 5336 Introduction to Urban Planning (3 credit hours)
  • PAD 5338 Land Use and Planning Law (3 credit hours)
  • PAD 5850 Grant and Contract Management (3 credit hours)
  • PAD 6142 Nonprofit Organizations (3 credit hours)
  • PAD 6353 Environmental Program Management Research (3 credit hours)
  • PAD 6397 Managing Emergencies and Crises (3 credit hours)
  • PHM 5035 Environmental Philosophy (3 credit hours)
  • PUP 6201 Urban Environmental Policy (3 credit hours)
  • PUP 6208 Environmental Politics (3 credit hours)
  • PUP 6247 Continuing Issues in Environmental Politics (3 credit hours)

Internship—3 Credit Hours

  • IDS 6946 Internship in Conservation Biology (3 credit hours)

Additionally, all students pursuing the Professional Science Master's must enroll in the following course:

  • IDS 5949 Co-op Ed / Work Experience (0 credit hours)

Students must register for IDS 5949 and IDS 6946 simultaneously. Students must complete the course with a satisfactory (S) grade. If the student does not complete the course with a satisfactory grade, the student will be asked to repeat the course to meet program requirements.

Culminating Experience

All students a required to complete an internship. During their internship, students will gain hands on experience in the area of conservation they are most interested in. Previous interns have worked in area from science education, land management, wildlife conservation and public policy. Internship placement assistance is given to students in good standing in the program.

A student's understanding, writing, and analytical skills will be evaluated by means of a written report completed at the end of the internship and a presentation that is based on their internship experience to be completed in Fall semester following the internship.

Independent Learning

The internship experience and report serve as the independent learning experiences for this program.

Application Requirements

For information on general UCF graduate admissions requirements that apply to all prospective students, please visit the Admissions section of the Graduate Catalog. Applicants must apply online. All requested materials must be submitted by the established deadline.

In addition to the general UCF graduate application requirements, applicants to this program must provide:

  • One official transcript (in a sealed envelope) from each college/university attended
  • Official, competitive GRE score taken within the last five years
  • Three letters of recommendation that address the applicant's capabilities and likelihood of success as a graduate student
  • Résumé
  • A personal statement addressing related experience/coursework, immediate and long-range goals, and overall fit with the program
  • A computer-based score of 230 (or 89 internet-based score) on the Test of English as a Foreign language (TOEFL) if an applicant is from a country where English is not the official language, or if an applicant's degree is not from an accredited U.S. institution, or if an applicant did not earn a degree in a country where English is the only official language or a university where English is the only official language of instruction. Although we prefer the TOEFL, we will accept IELTS scores of 7.0.

Applicants do not need an undergraduate degree in a biological science, but are expected to have 18 hours of biological sciences, including ecology and genetics. Courses in organic chemistry, calculus, and statistics are also recommended. After acceptance, minor deficiencies must be remedied by enrollment in the appropriate course at the first opportunity.

Applicants who do not have a competitive GPA or GRE may occasionally be accepted if there is other convincing evidence of potential for high achievement and success. For U.S. applicants, GRE scores can be self reported prior by the submission deadline if the official score cannot be received in time. Admission will be conditional upon receipt of the official score.


Graduate students may receive financial assistance through fellowships, assistantships, tuition support, or loans. For more information, see the College of Graduate Studies Funding website, which describes the types of financial assistance available at UCF and provides general guidance in planning your graduate finances. The Financial Information section of the Graduate Catalog is another key resource.


Fellowships are awarded based on academic merit to highly qualified students. They are paid to students through the Office of Student Financial Assistance, based on instructions provided by the College of Graduate Studies. Fellowships are given to support a student’s graduate study and do not have a work obligation. For more information, see UCF Graduate Fellowships, which includes descriptions of university fellowships and what you should do to be considered for a fellowship.