Fisheries and Wildlife Science

Composite Major

Department Chair: Dr. Andre DeLorme,, (701) 845-7573
Faculty Contact: Dr. Bob Anderson,, (701) 845-7338
Department Office: 203 Rhoades Science Center, (701) 845-7452
Schedule a Visit:, (701) 845-7101 or (800) 532-8641, ext. 7101


The Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences degree (B.A. or B.S.) prepares you for careers in wildlife and fisheries management with state and federal agencies, and conservation organizations. Graduates are qualified for federal positions with agencies such as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service, Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Geological Survey and others. Common conservation organizations include Ducks Unlimited, Pheasants Forever, Delta Waterfowl, and The Nature Conservancy. The degree also prepares you for higher academic degrees. The curriculum allows you to meet the certification requirements of the American Fisheries Society and The Wildlife Society. You have the choice of majoring in the Fisheries Option, Wildlife Option, or Conservation Law Enforcement Option.

Multiple field trips involving hands-on experience are taken in all fisheries and wildlife classes. Faculty strongly encourage students to get summer work experience through fisheries and wildlife internships and actively help students obtain those summer positions. VCSU biology faculty have connections with many area agencies such as the USFWS Wetland Management District, USFWS Fish Hatchery, USGS Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center, and North Dakota Game and Fish Department. Internships provide you with great practical experience and make our graduates more competitive in the job market. Guest lecturers from various agencies often visit classrooms to lecture on management issues or discuss employment opportunities.


Both the VCSU Fisheries and Wildlife Conservation Club and the American Fisheries Society Student Subunit are active organizations that schedule outings and fundraisers. Prairie Waters Education and Research Center is a short drive away from campus. VCSU, nestled in the middle of farm country, is located minutes from wetlands, rivers, and prairie, making for phenomenal hunting and fishing. The lakes of Minnesota are one hour away, and the breath-taking badlands of western North Dakota are four hours away. With these scenic options nearby, the classroom is often reached by foot.

Practical Experience

VCSU is uniquely positioned for students in this major to thrive with the Sheyenne River only 75 yards from the science building for hands-on lab opportunities. The program has two pontoon boats for Fisheries and Limnology field trips at Lake Ashtabula Reservoir and other area lakes. The Rhoades Science Center houses state-of-the-art terrestrial and aquatic biology labs, along with fully equipped Aquatic Macroinvertebrate and Necropsy labs. 

“My favorite memory at VCSU was when my Intro to Fisheries and Wildlife class traveled to South Dakota to band ducks. VCSU does a great job using these kinds of real-life, hands-on activities to take education beyond the classroom and into the real world.” —Candice Kraft ’12, Jamestown, N.D.; teaching assistant, University of Wisconsin–Green Bay

General Education Requirements

English Composition
Select one of the following:6
College Composition I
College Composition II
Introduction to Professional Writing
College Composition II
Introduction to Professional Writing
College Composition III
Speech Communication
Select one of the following:3
Fundamentals of Public Speaking
Interpersonal Communication
Intercultural Communication
Select one of the following:3
College Algebra
Finite Mathematics
Calculus I
Elementary Statistics
Lab Science
Select two of the following:8
Concepts of Biology
General Biology I
General Biology II
General Zoology
Introductory Chemistry
Introduction to Organic and Biochemistry 1
General Chemistry I 1
General Chemistry II
Introduction to Earth Science
The Earth Through Time
Concepts of Physics
Introductory Astronomy
Introductory College Physics I
Introductory College Physics II
University Physics I
University Physics II
Technology, Engineering, and Design
HPER 100Concepts of Fitness and Wellness2
Select one of the following:3
Introduction to Computer Information Systems
Introduction to Programming in Java
Introduction to Structured Programming I
Discovering Computing
Select one of the following:3
Introduction to Literature
Introduction to Film
World Literature I
World Literature II
American Literature I
American Literature II
Civilization, Thought, and Literary Heritage
1st Year Spanish I
1st Year Spanish II
2nd Year Spanish I
2nd Year Spanish II
Introduction to Theatre Arts
Acting One
Art and Music
Select one of the following:3
Introduction to the Visual Arts
Fine Arts and Aesthetics
Music Appreciation
Music Fundamentals
History of Rock and Roll
Social Science
Select two of the following:6
Understanding Media and Social Change
Human Communication
Principles of Microeconomics
Principles of Macroeconomics
Human Geography
United States to 1877
United States to Present
World Civilizations to 1500
World Civilizations since 1500
Women in America
Environmental History
Native American Studies
American National Government
State and Local Government
Introduction to Psychology
Introduction to Sociology
Introduction to Anthropology
Additional Humanities or Social Science
Select one additional course from Humanities or Social Science or select from the following:2
Drawing I
Ceramics I
Survey of Geography
Group Piano for Non-Majors
Group Piano for Non-Majors
Concert Choir
Athletic Band
Concert Band
Planetarium Science
Theatre Practicum
Total Credits39


Major Requirement

Required Courses
BIOL 121Introduction to Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences4
BIOL 122Fisheries and Wildlife Techniques4
BIOL 150General Biology I4
BIOL 151General Biology II4
BIOL 170General Zoology4
BIOL 311Botany4
BIOL 360Environmental Law and Regulations3
BIOL 375Conservation Biology4
BIOL 410Field Ecology4
BIOL 430Human Dimensions in Fisheries and Wildlife3
BIOL 455Introduction to GIS4
BIOL 491Integrated Science Capstone2
Total Credits44

Student must complete the Required Courses and select at least one Concentration from the following:

Fisheries Concentration

Concentration A-Fisheries Focus
Required Courses
BIOL 347Aquatic Entomology4
BIOL 367Ichthyology4
BIOL 412Fisheries Management4
BIOL 440Biostatistics and Experimental Design4
BIOL 470Limnology4
CHEM 122General Chemistry II5
MATH 146Applied Calculus I3
ENGL 410Technical and Scientific Writing3
or COMM 200 Introduction to Media Writing
or COMM 314 Public Relations
Total Credits31

Wildlife Concentration

Concentration B-Wildlife Focus
Required Courses
BIOL 312Botany4
BIOL 336Range Management and Range Plants4
BIOL 343Ornithology4
BIOL 355Mammalogy4
BIOL 411Wildlife Management4
BIOL 440Biostatistics and Experimental Design4
MATH 146Applied Calculus I3
ENGL 410Technical and Scientific Writing3
or COMM 200 Introduction to Media Writing
or COMM 314 Public Relations
Total Credits30

Conservation Law Enforcement Concentration

Concentration C-Conservation Law Enforcement
Required Courses
BIOL 343Ornithology4
BIOL 355Mammalogy4
BIOL 367Ichthyology4
POLS 116State and Local Government3
CJ 252Introduction to the Social and Criminal Justice System3
POLS 376U.S. Constitution: Civil Liberties3
CJ 390Criminology and Delinquency3
Select two courses from the following:6
Introduction to Media Writing
Public Relations
Technical and Scientific Writing
Total Credits30

Total General Education 39 Hrs
Total Major Requirement 44 Hrs
Total Concentration Requirement 30-31 Hrs
Total Credits Needed to Graduate 120 Hrs

For degree and graduation requirements, visit degree requirements and graduation requirements.

Learning Outcomes

After a student completes the Fisheries and Wildlife Science Program, he or she should be able to:

  1. Demonstrate a fundamental knowledge of the major concepts in Biology and Fisheries and Wildlife Science.

  2. Exhibit critical thinking skills by applying the scientific method to solve problems.

  3. Exhibit the ability to read and communicate in a scientific style.

  4. Analyze the consequences of activities on themselves and his/her environment.

  5. Be prepared for entry-level natural resource positions and/or graduate school.