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Population and Conservation Biology

Student in a lab.

The program introduces students to contemporary issues in population and conservation biology through population biology seminars. The seminars allow small groups of students to study closely with faculty members with similar research interests and create a scholarly cohort that becomes an integral component of the scientific community at Texas State.

Students receive training in theoretical, experimental, and practical aspects of population and conservation science.

 Contact The Graduate College for general questions about getting started with your application, funding your degree, and more.
If you have program-specific questions after reviewing the program details, we encourage you to contact the following:

Graduate Advisor
Dr. Noland Martin
Supple Science (SUPP), Room 260

“This program gives me the freedom to shape the direction of study and research I want to pursue. Students are expected to learn from one another and participate in shaping classes. Discussion and active participation are the norm. All of this provides an excellent environment for learning and research.”

— Michelle Downey, M.S. ’10, Events Coordinator, Smalley-Curl Institute, Rice University

Course Work

The master of science (M.S.) with a major in population and conservation biology is a research degree requiring at least two years of full-time course work and the completion of a thesis. The program combines principles of population biology with training in measurement and analysis of biological systems. First-year students complete a two-semester core-course sequence in principles of population biology as well as statistics and experimental design.

The second year includes a two-semester seminar sequence in population biology and elective courses. The seminar courses pair small groups of students with faculty who conduct research on current topics, including theoretical advances, contemporary research, and methodological issues. Students specialize in sub-disciplines of the field with their electives.

Degree Hours Thesis Option Minor Option
M.S. 30–32 hours Thesis No minor
Supple Science building

Students are successful at receiving competitive grants and publishing their research in top-tier journals. Graduates are positioned to pursue professional careers and are exceptional candidates for entering Ph.D. programs.

Program Mission

The objectives of the M.S. degree in population and conservation biology are:

  • to offer students a high quality, quantitatively rigorous program with an emphasis on population and conservation biology

  • to provide students with knowledge and skills to enter a highly competitive, but growing job market in natural resource management and ecology

  • to prepare students for advanced studies in ecology, behavioral ecology, conservation biology, population, and evolutionary biology, systematics, and biodiversity studies

Student creativity and independence are valued by all faculty.

Visit program website ›

Program Faculty

Population and conservation biology faculty are internationally known researchers in the field. They are widely published in top-tier journals including Science, Molecular Ecology, Trends in Ecology and Evolution, EvolutionBehavioral EcologyThe American Naturalist, and Conservation Biology. They have received extensive external grant funding from a variety of sources including the National Science Foundation and serve as officers, board members, and editorial staff members for professional societies. In addition, they are engaged and award-winning teachers.

Meet our faculty ›

Career Options

Graduates of this high-quality, rigorous program have the knowledge and skills to enter a highly competitive and growing job market in natural resource management and ecology. Graduates with master’s degrees in population and conservation biology are also prepared for advanced doctoral studies in ecology, behavioral ecology, conservation biology, population and evolutionary biology, systematics, and biodiversity studies.

Application Process

Step 1

Review Requirements

Application Deadlines

Deadlines U.S. Citizen International
Fall - Priority February 1 February 1
Fall - Standard June 15 June 1
Spring October 15 October 1
Summer I April 15 No Admission
Summer II No Admission No Admission

Application Deadline
This program has a flexible deadline, which means applications received after the posted deadline may be reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis, with no guarantees for admission consideration.

Funding Information
Applications must be complete by the priority deadline to be considered for certain types of funding.

Decision Timeline
This program reviews applications on a rolling basis.

Application Requirements

The items required for admission consideration are listed below. Additional information for applicants with international credentials can be found on our international web pages.


  Review important information about the online application.

Application Fee(s)  

  • $55 nonrefundable application fee
  • $90 nonrefundable application fee for applications with international credentials

  Review important information about application fees.

Transcripts & GPA

  • baccalaureate degree in biology or related field from a regionally accredited university
  • a copy of an official transcript from each institution where course credit was granted
  • minimum 3.0 GPA in your last 60 hours of undergraduate course work (plus any completed graduate courses)

  Review important information about transcripts. Official transcripts, sent directly from your institution, will be required if admission is granted.

GRE Scores

  • GRE not required


  • mentor recommendation letter from a current Texas State faculty member in the Department of Biology. Visit the faculty list for current faculty and their research interests and contact information. Your mentor must email their letter of support directly to The Graduate College at This letter must be on file before the program's deadline.
  • resume/CV
  • statement of purpose describing your professional aspirations and rationale for pursuing graduate study
  • three letters of recommendation addressing the substance and quality of your preparation for graduate study

  Review important information about documents.


Applicants are required to submit TOEFL, PTE, or IELTS scores that meet the minimum program requirements below unless they have earned a bachelor’s degree or higher from a regionally accredited U.S. institution or the equivalent from a country on our exempt countries list.

  • official TOEFL iBT scores required with a 78 overall
  • official PTE scores required with a 52 overall
  • official IELTS (academic) scores required with a 6.5 overall and
    • minimum individual module scores of 6.0

  Review important information about official test scores.