University of Montana Catalog 2023-2024

Fish and Wildlife Biology Ph.D.

Doctor of Philosophy - Fish and Wildlife Biology

Degree Specific Credits: 60

Required Cumulative GPA: 3.0


  • The Ph.D. student is required to obtain a minimum of 60 graduate semester credits beyond the bachelor’s degree and can include M.S. credits.  A dissertation committee may require more credits depending on the student’s background for the proposed dissertation research program.
  • Of the 60 graduate semester credits, no more than 20 of these credits may be thesis credits.
  • Of the remaining credits, at least 20 must be numbered at the 500-level or above. Specific courses will be determined by each student’s graduate committee.
  • At least 30 graduate semester credits must be taken at the University of Montana.
  • Up to 30 semester masters degree credits, 10 of which may be for thesis, research, or independent study courses, may be applied to the 60 credit requirement. See Graduate School Policy D2.100 for policies on graduate transfer credits.
  • The only required coursework for the Ph.D. program is at least two semesters ofWILD 594 (Graduate Seminar). Additionally, each student should be able to demonstrate, through appropriate coursework, competence in some aspect of 1) theory, 2) applications, and 3) methods. Most students’ coursework will also include appropriate biometry/statistics courses. Additional required coursework will be determined by each student’s graduate committee. These courses will be selected primarily to assist the student in planning, conducting, and writing the dissertation.

Other Requirements

  • Research Statement – a short written description of preliminary research ideas.
  • Preliminary Research Proposal – expansion of the research statement to provide initial thoughts on conceptual basis and study design.
  • Research Proposal – a formal research proposal presenting the conceptual and empirical framework of the research.
  • Comprehensive exam – 5 days of written questions, 3-hour oral exam.
  • Defense – written dissertation, seminar, and defense.
  • Supervised teaching – 2 semesters of TAing or similar experience as approved by the student’s graduate committee.