Major and Minor Programs

The FWCB major provides students with a broad science background emphasizing the biological and environmental sciences and other coursework needed for careers in fisheries, wildlife, conservation biology, and other natural resource and environmental careers. All students complete the core curriculum (.pdf) and an approved professional experience, which can consist of an approved study abroad capstone course, an internship, or an independent research project. Students must also complete one of the following specializations: Fisheries, Wildlife, or Conservation Biology. See below for details. A pre-veterinary medicine program (.pdf) is also available as part of the FWCB major.

The University offers 150 minor programs that students can complete to complement their major field of study. Through careful choice of restricted electives, students completing the FWCB can also fulfill the requirements for minors such as Wildlife Care and Handling, Marine Biology, Park and Protected Areas Management, Water Science, Sustainability Sciences, and Forest Ecosystem Management and Conservation. FWCB offers two minors that are well-suited to students in many programs, such as Animal Science, ESPM, and Ecology.

Fisheries & Aquatic Sciences

The Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences specialization (.pdf) prepares students who wish to pursue careers in fisheries and aquatic resource science, management, and administration; fish hatchery management; aquaculture, aquatic education, and aquatic environmental assessment. The curriculum meets the education criteria for the Certified Fisheries Professional designation established by the American Fisheries Society, the major professional organization for fisheries scientists and managers in North America.


The Wildlife specialization (.pdf) prepares students for careers in wildlife science, management, and administration; zoo biology; terrestrial ecology; environmental assessment; and education. With proper selection of electives, students can meet the education criteria for the Certified Wildlife Biologist designation established by The Wildlife Society, the major professional organization for wildlife scientists and managers in North America. Find more information on how to obtain the TWS certification.

Conservation Biology

The Conservation Biology specialization (.pdf) prepares students for careers dealing with a broad range of conservation issues in aquatic or terrestrial habitats. Positions typically focus on protection of endangered species and management for biodiversity. Careers as environmental educators or naturalists are also options.

Pre-Veterinary Medicine

The Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree (D.V.M.) is a rigorous four-year professional program preceded by three to four years of pre-professional study. Fisheries, Wildlife & Conservation Biology in the College of Food Agricultural and Natural and Natural Resource Sciences (CFANS) is one of four primary majors at the University of Minnesota that offers a pre-veterinary program (.pdf).

FWCB Minor

The Fisheries and Wildlife Minor enables students in other majors to develop an understanding of the principles and practices of fisheries, wildlife, and conservation biology. An overview of fish and wildlife biology and natural history and the general principles applied to managing their populations and habitats is provided.

Wildlife Care and Handling

This minor enables students to develop an understanding of wildlife care and handling. Students become acquainted with diagnosis, animal handling, ethics and population-level concerns of animal care. This minor is well-suited to students in programs such as FWCB, animal science, biology, and environmental science/policy/management.