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Program of Study

The Field of Zoology Wildlife Conservation is one of the Fields that make up the Biological & Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program (BBS);  therefore, program requirements of the BBS should be followed by all graduate students in the Field (with the exception of those admitted through the Employee Degree Program).  You should consult the BBS Program guidelines to ensure that you are compliant with all requirements.  Consult the Office of Graduate Education with any questions you might have.

Elements of your PhD program which are specific to the Field of Zoology Wildlife Conservation are detailed below.


Faculty in Zoology Wildlife Conservation may represent the following concentration(s) on a Special Committee: animal cytology; comparative and functional anatomy; developmental biology; ecology; histology; wildlife conservation.

Special Committee

As a member of the BBS Program, the Field of Zoology Wildlife Conservation requires three laboratory rotations during the first academic year. During this time, the Director of Graduate Studies serves as temporary Chair of your committee. By the end of the rotation period, you should have a Special Committee Chair.  By the end of your third semester of registration, you should have a full Special Committee. Please go online to student center to update your special committee members. The Field of Zoology Wildlife Conservation requires that you have four faculty on your Special Committee.

  • Special Committee Chair:  Faculty mentor in whose lab your research takes place. 
  • Faculty Representing Two Minors:  These faculty can represent a Zoology Wildlife Conservation concentration other than the one represented by the Special Committee Chair or represent a completely different Graduate Field.
  • Field-Appointed Minor Member:  The Field-Appointed Minor Member is appointed by the Director of Graduate Studies.  Once you have chosen the members of your Committee, you should meet with the DGS.  At this meeting, you will let the DGS know who is on your Committee and what your research project will be. The DGS will subsequently choose a member of the Field to serve as Field-Appointed Member.  Please note:  the Field-Appointed Minor Member is a permanent member of your Committee and must be included in all meetings and exams.

Student Annual reports are required of all Zoology Wildlife Conservation students. You should meet with your entire Special Committee at the end of the Spring semester to review progress over the academic year and to set goals for the coming year. The online annual report needs to completed by all Biological and Biomedical Science PhD students before July 1st of their 2nd year and beyond. Students are responsible for setting up their committee meetings.


During your  first year, your coursework is chosen in consultation with the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS), who serves as your Special Committee Chair until a permanent committee chair is selected at the end of your rotations.

In subsequent years , the courses that you take are chosen by you in consultation with the members of your Special Committee.  Once your Special Committee is selected, you should meet with the entire Committee to formulate a program plan, in which coursework is included.  Each faculty person will determine the courses that you should take to meet major and minor requirements.  Coursework should be designed to meet the needs of your research program and to assure a broad range of knowledge in the Field that is expected of a PhD candidate.

Teaching Experience

A one-semester teaching experience is required of all Zoology Wildlife Conservation students. 


The format of your A-exam is determined by your Special Committee; it may be written or oral or a combination of both.  You should consult with your Special Committee to determine the format and content of the exam well in advance of the proposed exam date.  A Schedule of Exam Form must be filed with the CVM Office of Graduate Education fourteen (14) days prior to the exam.  The Results of Exam Form must be filed within three (3) days of the exam date.


The B-exam is based on the contents of your dissertation and is an oral exam for defense of your dissertation. A preliminary draft must be distributed to all members of your Special Committee at least six (6) weeks prior to the B-Exam and final copies, complete in all respects and editorially acceptable for final approval, must be distributed at least seven (7) days in advance.

You are required to present a one-hour seminar on the results of your thesis research prior to the exam; this seminar is open to the College and University communities.

Your dissertation must follow the Graduate School guidelines.

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