The CS curriculum recognizes that the field of conservation sciences require a multidisciplinary approach. It is designed to give students the scope to develop individualized programs that span the full range of disciplines needed to accomplish conservation goals. To understand the complex array of biological, economic and social dimensions of conservation, a core course is required of all students during the first year. While taking the core course, students will develop graduate programs to fit their individual needs and participate in a seminar that focuses on understanding the interdisciplinary nature of the program.
The program assumes that students will enter with undergraduate training that satisfies all the prerequisites for the required graduate coursework in one of the many academic dimensions of conservation sciences. Those entering without an appropriate background in biology will be expected to complete the necessary prerequisites early in their graduate program. At a minimum, students will be expected to have an advanced undergraduate level course in general ecology. This deficiency needs to be remedied in the first year of a student's program.
CS Students choose electives in consultation with their advisor and/or Student Advisory Committee. Given the multidisciplinary nature of the field of conservation sciences, all student programs are expected to reflect coursework or knowledge in both social and biological sciences. Additionally, students are encouraged to develop depth in their area of greatest interest.
Electives in Biological Dimensions of Conservation - Students in CS need to have a good understanding of ecology, population and organismal biology. Ecological implications of issues and policies involving species diversity, endangered species concerns, and habitat protection all require a basic understanding of ecological principles and their associated models. Students in the program must be prepared to deal with such issues through formal academic training. NOTE: Students lacking a background in biological sciences sufficient to enroll in graduate-level courses should take a graduate level general ecology course prior to fulfilling the course requirements in this section of the curriculum.
Electives in Social Aspects of Conservation - Problems in conservation and their potential solutions occur within diverse societal contexts. These contexts are defined by social institutions and processes such as economics, policy and law, politics, cultural identities, history, values and ethics, and spiritual traditions. Courses in this section of the curriculum analyze societal contexts and/or describe the operations of specific institutions. For example, students whose career goals include a desire to influence conservation policy need to understand workings of the public policy framework in which economics and law play a critical role. It is important that every graduate program include courses in the social sciences.