Animal Ecology

Major in Animal Ecology

The Animal Ecology major focuses on the science behind the care, management, conservation, and research of wildlife. Students will first build a foundation by taking a wide base of general education classes such as biology, math, and environmental science. As they get further into the program, they will then choose an Option and begin taking advanced level coursework.

Degree Requirements

In order to graduate, students must complete a certain number of credits. These credits should include general education coursework, advanced classes required by whichever specialization, or Option, that they've chosen, and any additional elective courses still needed to reach that total.

Total Credits to Graduate: 128 credits

  • General Education Requirements: 75 credits
  • Option Requirements: 33-45 credits
  • Free Electives: 8-20 credits
  • NREM 104: 400 hours of career-related Experience

Current General Education Requirements

Current Animal Ecology Student Required Coursework by Catalog Year


Animal Ecology has four emphasis areas to pick from. One is required, more than one is optional. The chosen Option will be officially declared when the student begins taking advanced coursework.

Academic Planning

Reach out to an academic advisor to get started on planning for your degree! You can view sample 4 Year Plans for each option at the link below:

Not sure which Option is best for you? Select an area that sounds interesting to you:

Minor in Animal Ecology

The NREM Department also offers a minor in Animal Ecology. Each of the minors has it's own requirements, but must also meet all University requirements.

  • Must take at least fifteen (15) credits.
  • Six (6) of the 15 credits must be taken at Iowa State University, at the 300-level or above.
  • At least nine (9) of the 15 credits can only be applied towards the minor. They cannot be used to meet any other university, college, or major/department requirement. They can be used as free electives.
  • Courses cannot be taken as pass/not pass.

Required Courses

NREM 1203crIntroduction to Renewable Resources
A ECL 312 (or NREM 311)4crEcology (Field Ecology)
A ECL 3654crVertebrate Biology

Additional Electives (to reach 15 credits)

A ECL 3213crFish Biology
A ECL 3332crFisheries Techniques
A ECL 3663crNatural History of Iowa Vertebrates
A ECL 371 (or 372)3crEcological Methods (Wildlife Population Methods)
A ECL 4011crIntro to Aquatic Animal Health & Medicine
A ECL 4153crEcology of Freshwater Inverteb., Plants & Algae
A ECL 4183crStream Ecology
A ECL 4253crAquatic Insects
A ECL 4403crFishery Management
A ECL 4423crAquaculture
A ECL 4513crWildlife Management
A ECL 4543crPrinciples of Wildlife Diseases
A ECL 4553crInternational Wildlife Issues
A ECL 457 +Lab3crHerpetology
A ECL 458 +Lab3crOrnithology
A ECL 459 +Lab3crMammalogy
A ECL 4713crIntroduction to Conservation Biology
A ECL 486 (+Lab)3-4crAquatic Ecology
A ECL 516*3crAvian Ecology
A ECL 518*3crStream Ecology
A ECL 520*3crFish Ecology
A ECL 551*3crBehavioral Ecology
A ECL 570*3crLandscape Ecology
A ECL 589*3crPopulation Ecology
BIOL 4723crCommunity Ecology
NREM 2703crFdn. to Natural Resource Policy and History
NREM 3051-3crSeminar (repeatable credit)
NREM 3153crGenetics for Natural Resource Managers
NREM 3303crPrinciples of Interpretation
NREM 3803crField Ecology Research & Teaching
NREM 3853crNatural Resource Policy
NREM 4063crWildlife Camp
NREM 4463crIntegrating GPS & GIS for Natural Resource Mgt.
NREM 4603crControversies in Natural Resource Management
NREM 490A1-4crIndependent Study in Animal Ecology
NREM 4961-5crTravel Course in Animal Ecology
NREM 535*3crRestoration Ecology

*Instructor Permission Required

Declaring a Minor

To declare one of our minors, complete the curriculum change form linked below. For help on how to fill this out, view the instructions page linked at the top of the document or contact your academic advisor.

E-mail the completed form to your advisor for signatures and processing.

Curriculum Change Form

Ready to join the animal ecology program in NREM?

Learn next steps for the NREM admissions process or apply now to start your adventure!