What is Population Biology?

Population biology is the study of ecological and evolutionary processes that create and maintain biological diversity. Investigative research in population biology spans the biological sciences from molecules to ecosystems and has input from the physical, chemical and earth sciences.

What is Conservation Biology?

Conservation biology is the application of population biology principles for the management and conservation of endangered or threatened species, biodiversity and natural resources. Population and conservation biology is an interdisciplinary field of study that integrates both basic and applied biology.


Masters Degree in Population and Conservation Biology 


The M.S. with a major in Population and Conservation Biology is a research degree that requires a minimum of two years full-time course work and research leading to a thesis. The program is envisioned as an interdisciplinary course of study that combines principles of population biology with strong training in measurement and analysis of biological systems, augmented with the student’s choice of study in particular specialties. Students are required to complete a two-semester series in statistics and experimental design in the first year. The course of study in the second year of the program includes a two-semester seminar sequence in population biology as well as elective courses. The Population Biology seminar courses pair small groups of students with faculty who conduct research in population and/or conservation biology. These seminars explore current topics in the field, including theoretical advances, contemporary research and methodological issues. Elective courses in the second year allow students to specialize in particular sub-disciplines of the field, including: ecology of populations, population management, conservation biology or evolutionary ecology and genetics.


The objectives of the degree are to provide a high quality, quantitatively rigorous M.S. with a major in 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; and, to prepare students for advanced studies in ecology, behavioral ecology, conservation biology, population and evolutionary biology, systematics and biodiversity studies.

Program Philosophy:

The Population and Conservation Biology Program emphasizes rigorous training in population biology and the application of theory and analytical tools to conservation problems. The program is structured around electives courses that provide a foundation in basic principles of population and conservation biology.  The program also introduces students to the most contemporary issues in population and conservation biology through its Population Biology seminar courses. These courses are offered every semester and are intended to create a cohort of scholars that becomes an integral component of the scientific community in the Department of Biology at Texas State University. We strongly value the independence of students in their intellectual pursuits and the creativity it engenders. We also value and expect students to participate in all aspects of the program, including helping to guide the continued growth of the program, the Department of Biology and our intellectual community.