Graduate Programs

Students in the field

Graduate degrees in Biology and Wildlife prepare students for careers as professional biologists, whether in academia, state and federal agencies, non-profit organizations, or industry. In addition to gaining knowledge in a particular subdiscipline, graduate students receive training in research design and analysis, critical thinking, and professional skills such as scientific writing, oral communication, and grantsmanship.

The structure and requirements for degrees in Biological Sciences and in Wildlife Biology and Conservation are similar, but projects in Wildlife Biology generally place more emphasis on applied topics of relevance for management and conservation of free-ranging vertebrates. This difference generally results in more field studies for students in Wildlife Biology, and with more Wildlife Biology students targeting employment at management agencies, particularly at the MS level. Wildlife Biology projects are often supported by funding through the Alaska Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit. Wildlife Biology faculty, which includes Cooperative Unit faculty, must serve on graduate committees for Wildlife Biology students.

Graduate students in Biology and Wildlife have access to many modern facilities, including the DNA core lab, a state-of-the-art greenhouse, and the extensive resources of the UA Museum of the North.

Our Graduates Have Exceptional Employment Outcomes:

The graph below classifies the employment type of students who graduated from our programs over the past 5 years. 100% of PhDs and 96% of MS students graduating between 2015 and 2020 were employed when surveyed in September 2020.

Graduate employment outcomes 2016-20
Requirements for Acceptance into the B&W Graduate Program:
  • You must have a strong academic record in an appropriate discipline and evidence of ability to complete a graduate degree
  • A faculty member must agree to accept you as his or her student
  • Funding sources for you and your research must be identified
Selecting an Advisor

Before applying, you should contact one or more faculty members in the department and tell them about your interests and background. We urge you to contact faculty members early; it can take some time to sort out potential research projects and funding opportunities.

Obtaining Funding

Graduate students are funded through a variety of mechanisms. Often, faculty members have funding available for Research Assistantships (RAs) through their research programs. Sometimes graduate students bring fellowships or scholarships that support them and/or their research. The Department also supports a limited number of students on Teaching Assistantships (TAs). Finally, graduate students are strongly encouraged to apply for grants and fellowships throughout the course of their degree, and both formal and informal guidance from faculty is provided.