BS Biological Sciences (Conservation Biology and Ecology)




Program Description

Ecology is the study of the distribution and abundance of organisms, the interactions among organisms, and the interactions between organisms and the physical environment. Conservation biology is an applied science based on ecological principles that focuses on conserving biological diversity and on restoring degraded ecosystems.

Arizona State University is committed to a more sustainable world, and sharing knowledge of conservation biology and ecology through the BS program in biological sciences with a concentration in conservation biology and ecology is one critical component to help meet this global challenge.

Conservation biologists at ASU investigate the impact of humans on Earth's biodiversity and develop practical approaches to prevent the extinction of species and promote the sustainable use of biological resources. Some investigate the causes of ecosystem degradation and use ecological principles to reestablish desired conditions in a variety of ecosystems, including rivers, wetlands, grasslands, urban landscapes and forests.

All Life Science degrees can be used to enter medical school. To find out more about pre-med facts visit our pre-med FAQ page

This program is available for on-campus students, online students and as an accelerated degree. The requirements and / or available classes are slightly different according to how you wish to attend class. Class requirements are listed below for on-campus students in the first section and online students in the second section. If you are interested in the accelerated degree program please visit our accelerated degree program page.

Due to the high volume of overlap in curriculum, students enrolled in a Bachelor of Science degree in the School of Life Sciences may be restricted from declaring a concurrent degree within the school. Students should speak with their academic advisor for any further questions.


Required Courses (Major Map)

Major Map

Online Major Map

Major Map on-campus archive

What if: See how your courses can be applied to another major and find out how to change your major.


At a Glance: program details

  • Location: Tempe campus, or online
  • Additional Program Fee: Yes
  • Second Language Requirement: No
  • First Required Math Course: MAT 251 - Calculus for Life Sciences
  • Math Intensity: Moderate program math intensity moderate


Degree details for on-campus students

Major core 

Once you start a General BIO sequence, you must complete the full sequence (BIO 181 & 182 OR BIO 281 & 282)

  • BIO 181 General Biology I (4) or BIO 281 Conceptual Approaches to Biology for Majors I (4)
  • BIO 182 General Biology II (4) or BIO 282 Conceptual Approaches to Biology for Majors II (4)
  • BIO 340 General Genetics (4) 
  • BIO 345 Evolution (3)

Concentration core 

  • BIO 320 Fundamentals of Ecology (3)
  • BIO 322 Conservation of Biodiversity (3)

Human dimensions of conservation and ecology

  • BIO 304/ENV 302 Plants and Civilization (3)
  • BIO 324/PHI 310 Environmental Ethics (3)
  • BIO 412 Conservation in Practice (3)
  • BIO 434 People and Nature: Ecosystem Services (3)
  • BIO/MIC/MBB 495 Undergraduate Research - (maximum of 6 credits can be used toward major)

Conservation biology and ecology field methods

  • BIO 405 Sonoran Desert Field Botany (3)
  • BIO 407 Novel Ecosystems (3)
  • BIO 410 Techniques in Conservation Biology and Ecology (3)
  • BIO 484 Internship (1-6) (must receive faculty approval to use as major credit)
  • BIO 494 Discovering Biodiversity: Field to Database (3)

Advanced ecology

  • BIO/SOS 421 Landscape Ecology (3)
  • BIO 422 Ecosystem Ecology (3)
  • BIO 423 Population & Community Ecology (3)

Advanced ecology, biodiversity, field or research

  • ABS 376 Wildlife Ecology (3) 
  • ABS 380 Restoration and Wildlife Plants (3) 
  • ABS 470 Life History of Mammals (3)
  • ABS 476 Big Game Habitat Management  (3)
  • ABS 481 Riparian and Wetland Restoration (3)
  • ASM 443 Primatology (3) 
  • BIO 303 Plant Diversity and Evolution (4) 
  • BIO 325 Oceanography (3)
  • BIO 331 Animal Behavior (3)
  • BIO 370 Vertebrate Zoology (4) 
  • BIO 385 Comparative Invertebrate Zoology (4) 
  • BIO 386 General Entomology (4) 
  • BIO 410 Techniques in Conservation Biology and Ecology (3) 
  • BIO 419 Physiological Plant Ecology (3) 
  • BIO 421 Landscape Ecology (3)
  • BIO 461 Comparative Animal Physiology (3) 
  • BIO/MIC/MBB 484 Internship (1-6) (must receive faculty approval to use as major credit)
  • BIO/MIC/MBB 492 Honors Directed Study
  • BIO/MIC/MBB 495 Undergraduate Research (maximum of 6 credits can be applied to major)

Advanced human dimensions of conservation and ecology

  • BIO 304/ENV 302 Plants and Civilization (3) 
  • BIO 324/PHI 310 Environmental Ethics (3) 
  • BIO 434 People and Nature: Ecosystem Services (3) 
  • JUS/FIS 444 Environment and Justice (3) 
  • REL/SOS/JST 349 Nature, Sustainability and Religion
  • SOS 310 Equity, Justice and Sustainability (3) 
  • SOS 321 Policy and Governance in Sustainable Systems (3) 
  • SOS 325 The Economics of Sustainability (3) 

Requirements in related fields

General Chemistry (Both Required)
  • CHM 113 General Chemistry I (4)
  • CHM 116 General Chemistry II (4)
Physical Science Course (Complete one of the following)
  • CHM 231 + CHM 235 Organic Chemistry and Lab (4)
  • GIS 205 Geographic Info Science I (3)
  • GIS 211 Geographic Info Science II (4)
  • GLG 101 + GLG 103 Introduction to Geology and Lab (4)
  • GPH 111 Introduction to Physical Geography (3)
  • PHY 101 Introduction to Physics (4)
  • PHY 111 + PHY 113 General Physics I and Lab (4)
  • PHY 112 + PHY 114 General Physics II and Lab (4)
Quantitative and spatial analysis (complete one of the following)
  • BIO 411 Quantitative Methods in Conservation and Ecology (4)
  • BIO 415 Statistical Models for Biology  (4) 
  • GIS 311 Geographic Information Science III (4)
  • GIS 470 Advanced Statistics for Geography and Planning (3)  
  • GIS 471 Spatial Statistics for Gepgraphy and Planning (3) 
  • SOS 212 Systems, Dynamics and Sustainability (3)
Math (complete one of the following)
  • MAT 251 Calculus for Life Sciences (3)
  • MAT 210 Brief Calculus (3)
Statistics (complete one of the following)
  • STP 231 Statistics for Biosciences (3) 
  • STP 226 Elementary Statistics (3)

Please see an advisor if any of the above courses are not offered in the term you wish to take them

For more information on requirements and recommendations specific to this degree please see our Did you know for on-campus degrees page.

Degree details for online students

Major Core 

  • BIO 181 General Biology I (4) 
  • BIO 182 General Biology II (4) 
  • BIO 340 General Genetics (4) 
  • BIO 345 Evolution (3)

Concentration Core 

  • BIO 320 Fundamentals of Ecology (3)
  • BIO 322 Conservation of Biodiversity (3)

Human Dimensions of Conservation and Ecology (complete one of the following)

  • BIO 304/ENV 302 Plants and Civilization (3)
  • BIO 324/PHI 310 Environmental Ethics (3)
  • BIO 412 Conservation in Practice (3)
  • BIO 434 People and Nature: Ecosystem Services (3)
  • BIO 495 Undergraduate Research (maximum of 6 credits can be applied to major)

Conservation Biology and Ecology Field Methods (Complete one of the following)

  • BIO 405 Sonoran Desert Field Botany (3)
  • BIO 407 Novel Ecosystems (3)
  • BIO 410 Techniques in Conservation Biology and Ecology (3)
  • BIO 484 Internship (1-6) (must receive faculty approval to use as major credit)
  • BIO 494 Discovering Biodiversity: Field to Database (3)

Advanced Ecology (Complete one of the following)

  • BIO/SOS 421 Landscape Ecology (3)
  • BIO 422 Ecosystem Ecology (3)
  • BIO 423 Population & Community Ecology (3)

Advanced Ecology, Biodiversity, Field or Research (Complete one of the following)

  • ASM 443 Primatology (3) 
  • BIO 303 Plant Diversity and Evolution (4) 
  • BIO 325 Oceanography (3)
  • BIO 331 Animal Behavior (3)
  • BIO 370 Vertebrate Zoology (4) 
  • BIO 385 Comparative Invertebrate Zoology (4) 
  • BIO 386 General Entomology (4) 
  • BIO 410 Techniques in Conservation Biology and Ecology (3) 
  • BIO 419 Physiological Plant Ecology (3) 
  • BIO 421 Landscape Ecology (3)
  • BIO 461 Comparative Animal Physiology (3) 
  • BIO 484 Internship (1-6) ((maximum of 6 credits can be applied to major)
  • BIO 495 Undergraduate Research (maximum of 6 credits can be applied to major)


Advanced Human Dimensions of Conservation and Ecology (Complete one of the following)

  • BIO 304/ENV 302 Plants and Civilization (3) 
  • BIO 324/PHI 310 Environmental Ethics (3) 
  • BIO 434 People and Nature: Ecosystem Services (3) 
  • JUS/FIS 444 Environment and Justice (3) 
  • REL/SOS/JST 349 Nature, Sustainability and Religion
  • SOS 310 Equity, Justice and Sustainability (3) 
  • SOS 321 Policy and Governance in Sustainable Systems (3) 
  • SOS 325 The Economics of Sustainability (3) 

Please see an advisor if any of the above courses are not offered in the term you wish to take them

Requirements in related fields

General Chemistry (Both Required)
  • CHM 113 General Chemistry I (4)
  • CHM 116 General Chemistry II (4)
Physical Science Course (Complete one of the following)
  • CHM 231 + CHM 235 Organic Chemistry and Lab (4)
  • GIS 205 Geographic Info Science I (3)
  • GIS 211 Geographic Info Science II (4)
  • GLG 101 + GLG 103 Introduction to Geology and Lab (4)
  • GPH 111 Introduction to Physical Geography (3)
  • PHY 101 Introduction to Physics (4)
  • PHY 111 + PHY 113 General Physics I and Lab (4)
  • PHY 112 + PHY 114 General Physics II and Lab (4)
Quantitative and Spatial Analysis. (Complete one of the following)
  • BIO 411 Quantitative Methods in Conservation and Ecology (4)
  • BIO 415 Statistical Models for Biology  (4) 
  • GIS 311 Geographic Information Science III (4)
  • GIS 470 Advanced Statistics for Geography and Planning (3)  
  • GIS 471 Spatial Statistics for Gepgraphy and Planning (3) 
  • SOS 212 Systems, Dynamics and Sustainability (3)
Math Proficiency (Complete one of the following)
  • MAT 251 Calculus for Life Sciences (3)
  • MAT 210 Brief Calculus (3)
Statistics (Complete one of the following)
  • STP 231 Statistics for Biosciences (3) 
  • STP 226 Elementary Statistics (3)

For more information or to review recommendations from advising visit our advising recommendations page



Admission Requirements

All students are required to meet general university admission requirements.

Freshman Transfer International Readmission

Transfer Options

ASU is committed to helping students thrive by offering tools that allow personalization of the transfer path to ASU. Students may use the Transfer Map search to outline a list of recommended courses to take prior to transfer.

ASU has transfer partnerships in Arizona and across the country to create a simplified transfer experience for students. These pathway programs include exclusive benefits, tools and resources, and help students save time and money in their college journey. Students may learn more about these programs by visiting the admission site: https://admission.asu.edu/transfer/pathway-programs.



Change of Major Requirements

A current ASU student has no additional requirements for changing majors.

Students should refer to https://changingmajors.asu.edu for information about how to change a major to this program.



Flexible Degree Options

Accelerated program options

This program allows students to obtain both a bachelor's and master's degree in as little as five years.
It is offered as an accelerated bachelor's and master's degree with:


Acceptance to the graduate program requires a separate application. During their junior year, eligible students will be advised by their academic departments to apply.



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Career Outlook

The curriculum prepares students with skills and concepts for employment and provides a solid platform for students who wish to attend graduate school. Graduates are prepared for careers with:

  • governmental agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency and state game and fish departments
  • K-12 education, colleges and universities
  • nongovernmental organizations such as The Nature Conservancy and Conservation International
  • private companies focused on environmental resources, environmental law or environmental economics

The concentration can provide training in specific skills that might be needed in these areas:

  • animal and plant physiology, identification and ecology
  • behavioral ecology and population biology
  • community, ecosystem and landscape ecology
  • conservation of endangered species
  • ecology of different habitats, including cities, lakes, rivers and grasslands
  • restoration of degraded ecosystems

Example Careers

Students who complete this degree program may be prepared for the following careers. Advanced degrees or certifications may be required for academic or clinical positions. Career examples include but are not limited to:

Biological Sciences Professor


  • Growth: 9.3%
  • Median Salary*: $85,600
  Bright Outlook

Climate Change Analyst


  • Growth: 7.8%
  • Median Salary*: $73,230
Green Occupation   Bright Outlook

Environmental Analyst


  • Growth: 5.1%
  • Median Salary*: $64,020
  Bright Outlook

Environmental Protection Specialist


  • Growth: 7.8%
  • Median Salary*: $73,230
Green Occupation   Bright Outlook

Fish and Game Warden


  • Growth: 1.2%
  • Median Salary*: $58,040
Green Occupation

Fish and Wildlife Biologist


  • Growth: 3.9%
  • Median Salary*: $66,350
Green Occupation

Geographic Information Systems Technician (GIS Technician)


  • Growth: 5.7%
  • Median Salary*: $92,870
  Bright Outlook

High School Teacher


  • Growth: 3.8%
  • Median Salary*: $62,870

Hydrogeologist


  • Growth: 4.8%
  • Median Salary*: $137,940
Green Occupation   Bright Outlook

Park Ranger


  • Growth: 5.1%
  • Median Salary*: $64,020
  Bright Outlook

* Data obtained from the Occupational Information Network (O*NET) under sponsorship of the U.S. Department of Labor/Employment and Training Administration (USDOL/ETA).



Global Opportunities

Global Experience

With over 250 programs in more than 65 countries (ranging from one week to one year), study abroad is possible for all ASU students wishing to gain global skills and knowledge in preparation for a 21st-century career. Students earn ASU credit for completed courses, while staying on track for graduation, and may apply financial aid and scholarships toward program costs. https://mystudyabroad.asu.edu



Attend Online

ASU offers this program in an online format with multiple enrollment sessions throughout the year. Applicants may view the program description and request more information here.



Program Contact Information

If you have questions related to admission, please click here to request information and an admission specialist will reach out to you directly.