The UIU Advantage
Do you enjoy being outdoors? Do you love nature? A degree in Conservation Management allows you to work outside while you protect nature and its wildlife! A degree in Conservation Management allows you to combine a satisfying work experience with your love of nature. This major prepares you for rewarding jobs in natural resource management, fisheries management, park management and enforcement, ecological fieldwork, and natural areas improvement.
Why Conservation Management at UIU?
- Our Conservation Management program is widely respected with strong graduate placement. Lab courses teach applied skills used in field work, analysis, and interpretation.
- UIU’s Fayette Campus is ideally situated in rural NE Iowa among forested hills, traquil rivers, scenic parks and prime fishing and wildlife areas. Many lab courses are conducted outdoors.
- Faculty have real-world experience working with and managing wildlife, fisheries, forestry, plant habitats, and environmental quality, and who have a passion for helping students and creating engaging experiences to foster success in their careers.
Explore Your Program
Conservation Management Courses
See course descriptions for the classes you need for your Conservation Management degree, as well as any general education requirements.
Keep up with your academic program’s registration deadlines, session dates, holiday breaks and exam schedules.
Careers in Conservation Management
A degree prepares you for many careers with state, federal, and non-profit conservation organizations. These include but are not limited to the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Iowa County Conservation, and many more.
Conservation Management Major Requirements
- BIO 135 Principles of Biology I
- BIO 220 Zoology
- BIO 231 General Botany
- BIO 280 Plants of Iowa
- BIO 335 Ecology
- BIO 365 Conservation Biology
- BIO 403 Field Internship
- BIO 496 Senior Project
- ES 220 Soil & Water Conservation
- GEOG 356 Introduction to Geographic Information Systems
One of the following:
- BIO 430 Wildlife Management
- BIO 433 Ecological Restoration and Ecosystem
Management Practices and Principles
- BIO 435 Fisheries Management
One of the following:
- MATH 105 College Mathematics with Applications
- MATH 107 College Algebra
- MATH 115 Trigonometry & Analytic Geometry
- MATH 120 Calculus I
- MATH 200 Calculus II
Electives from the following
- MATH 220 Elementary Statistics
- BIO 301 Individual Research in the Biological Sciences
- BIO 315 Ichthyology
- BIO 323 Plant Nutrition
- BIO 325 Plant Physiology
- BIO 385 Ornithology
- BIO 391 Mammalogy
- BIO 393 Herpetology
- BIO 428 Plant Pathology
- BIO 430 Wildlife Management
- BIO 435 Fisheries Management
- BIO 470 Wildlife Forensics
- BIO 480 Stream Ecology
- BIO 490 Entomology
- ES 326 Soil Genesis Classification & Morphology
Majoring in Conservation Management
What is a conservation and management degree?
Conservation Management degree programs provide students with a broad but thorough understanding of natural resources and the environment in order to help conserve natural resources and promote biodiversity of all species. Students can expect to study different animal species and their behaviors, plant physiology and nutrition, soil and water, natural resources policy and law, and ecological conservation techniques. Human dimensions of natural resources are integrated into many courses.
Typical work in this field involves ensuring compliance with regulations and laws to protect natural resources, helping private landowners find cost-share practices for conservation initiatives, and monitoring of resources including plant and animal life before, during, and after stewardship plans have been developed.
How to apply
To apply, visit our Online Application portal to create an account and start your application. Still unsure if this program is right for you? Reach out to our admissions to ask specific questions or request additional information about the Conservation Management program at Upper Iowa University.
Conservation Careers and Opportunities
Pursuing your degree in conservation management provides abundant opportunities to work with different groups across federal, state, and local governments, as well as private landowners.
Our graduates have gone on to find rewarding conservation careers as:
- Soil Conservationists and soil health specialists
- Natural Resources Technician
- Conservation Enforcement (Conservation Officers, Game Wardens, Wildlife Officers
- Park Rangers
- Natural Resource Managers
- Environmental Educators (Naturalists, Interpretors)
- Fisheries Biologists
- Fisheries management Personnel
- Ecology or Environmental Consultants
- Natural Areas Land Managers (Foresters, Private Lands Biologists)
- Wildlife Biologists
- Conservation Scientists
- Landscape Ecologists
Conservation Management Salary Information
A bachelor’s degree in Conservation Management from UIU will provide career paths into county, state and federal agencies such as county conservation, Department of Natural Resources and the US Fish and Wildlife Service, US Geological Survey, Natural Resources Conservation Service, and the Army Corp of Engineers. and jobs with private consulting firms and organizations such as Trout Unlimited, Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation and Pheasants Forever.. Specifically, available positions are expected to grow with state and local government-owned forest lands.
Conservation Scientists and Foresters earned an average of $63,750 per year according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2021, with a job outlook percentage 7% higher for 2020-2030.The highest paying sector for conservation scientists and foresters was in the Federal government. 
Keep in mind, your city’s cost of living expenses and many other factors like years of experience, certifications, unique skills and graduate degrees will also all influence earning potential in the conservation management field.
Benefits of a Conservation Management Degree
A bachelor’s degree in Conservation Management comes with many career opportunities and benefits. You will have the unique opportunity to impact the preservation and protection of natural resources, wildlife and habitats.
Here are just of few of the many benefits of pursuing a career in Conservation Management:
- Working outdoors and in nature
- Protecting wildlife and fisheries resources
- Ample opportunities to work with local, state, and federal government agencies on protected prairie and forest lands
- Improving water quality, soil health, and air quality
- Creating new green spaces
- Reconnecting people with nature
- Positive job outlook with employment growth rising
- Making a beneficial impact that spans multiple generations
Employment of conservation scientists and foresters is expected to grow 7% between 2020 and 2030 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics—with most growth projected to occur in state and locally owned forest land.
Upper Iowa University has a highly respected Conservation Management program where students will experience academic and hands-on preparation for employment in the many areas of conservation management.
Your conservation management coursework will include core studies in:
- Principles of Biology
- General Botany
- Plants of Iowa
- Conservation Biology
- Soil and Water Conservation
- Introduction to Geographic Information Systems
You’ll take additional courses in math or statistics, with course electives to tailor your own study or specializations.
Conservation Management Skills
A love for nature and protecting the precious natural resources that make up our world is crucial to being successful in a conservation management career.
Upper Iowa University will help you build on top of that passion and develop the skills required to make an impact in your career.
Conservation Management graduates gain skills such as:
- Project planning and management
- Geographic information systems map making
- Ecological measuring and monitoring techniques
- Interpreting government regulations
- Listening and responding to conservation and resource concerns from wide stakeholder groups
- Evaluating of water quality parameters, soil health indicators, and indicators of ecosystem health
- Networking and collaborating with various government agencies
Students may also enhance their degree by taking additional elective courses to fulfill minor studies that are very complementary of their degree. Some of these complementary minors to a Conservation Management degree include:
What is Conservation Management?
National Geographic defines conservation as “the care and protection of [natural] resources so that they can persist for future generations. It includes maintaining diversity of species, genes, and ecosystems, as well as functions of the environment, such as nutrient cycling.”Conservation Management would involve guiding and overseeing that care and protection. Learn more about Conservation Management at UIU.
Will I have the opportunity to work on real-world conservation projects?
Students enrolled in the Conservation Management program complete internships as a part of their coursework that include real-world projects where students can put skills learned through their coursework into use. Additionally, all students complete a senior project under the direction of science faculty that can be either theoretical or applied.
Where do Conservation Management graduates find employment?
Program graduates typically find work in a number of different local, state and government agencies that focus on conservation, such as the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and the Natural Resources Conservation Service.
Will you help me find a Conservation Management position following graduation?
UIU’s science faculty help you to make career connections in classes, through they encourage volunteer events, and bring back alumni speakers to help you make connections to better position you to have summer and permanent employment. Faculty work in conjunction with career development support including access to professional networking events, interview preparation, and career guidance. Students will also gain access to Handshake, UIU’s new online career management system.
Can I tailor my classes to specialize in a specific field or area of conservation, such as wildlife biology or conservation officer/game warden?
UIU’s Conservation Management major has a wide variety of upper-level electives to choose from that will allow you to specialize your degree to a specific field while complementary minors help you further specialize your career goals (Biology, Criminal Justice, Earth Systems Science).
Hunter Slifka, '18
The field day experiences definitely expanded my soil health vocabulary and helped me become more familiar with farm management best practices.
Meet Upper Iowa’s Conservation Management Faculty
Dr. Scott Figdore
Robert L. Fox Endowed Chair of Science – Professor of Science (1992)
“It has been very rewarding over the years to interact with dedicated faculty and staff in instructing and motivating students as they pursue careers that balance their love of nature with their desire to maintain outdoor areas in their natural state.”
Dr. Paul Skrade
Associate Professor of Biology
“Upper Iowa’s rural location in the Driftless Area of Northeast Iowa is surrounded by bluffs, streams, forests and rivers — perfect for getting students outside and learning hands-on field techniques.”
Dr. Jennifer Stoffel
Professor of Biology
“While at UIU, students are prepared for careers at the city, county, state and federal levels (as well as with non-profit organizations) by becoming interdisciplinary problem solvers — ready to provide solutions for the real-life challenge of conserving our resources.”
Dr. Rich Walker
Assistant Professor of Biology (2021)
“We’re lucky at Upper Iowa to be located right next to Volga River State Recreation Area, a 5,700-acre area classroom where I take UIU stream ecology students to collect data on the chemical, physical, and biological characteristics of streams. Lots of cool bugs and fishes, too!”
- ^ Bureau of Labor Statistics. U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Conservation Scientists and Foresters.https://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/conservation-scientists.htm
- ^ Headwaters Land Conservancy https://headwatersconservancy.org/benefits-of-land-conservation/
- ^ Natural Resources Conservation Service https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/detail/nh/technical/cp/?cid=nrcs144p2_015697
- ^ Natural Geographic https://www.nationalgeographic.org/encyclopedia/conservation/