Master’s Degree

The University of Florida’s online Master of Science in Wildlife Forensic Sciences and Conservation is open to qualified local, national, and international professionals who work in the fields of ecology, wildlife management, conservation biology, forensic science, veterinary medicine, and related disciplines.

This program is offered through UF’s Maples Center for Forensic Science in partnership with the Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation in the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. Students are prepared for real-world situations in wildlife forensics such as poaching and illegal trade and courses are taught by faculty members who have years of experience in the field working with law enforcement and wildlife organizations.

The MS in Wildlife Forensic Sciences and Conservation is comprised of four 3-credit core requirements plus 21 elective credits. Complete courses from the comfort of your home, on your own time. The degree is non-thesis, but does require the completion of a final cumulative exam that consists of a written and an oral component.

Note: Students are expected to maintain a 3.0 GPA in the program

Master’s Degree Benefits

  • Completely online, interactive courses
  • Flexible for working professionals
  • Earn a degree in as little as two years
  • Build core skills in historical and contemporary laws and legislation, crime scene processing, and conservation medicine.

Why Wildlife Forensic Sciences & Conservation?

Fish and wildlife officers, conservationists, and park rangers are just a few professionals who will benefit from the online wildlife forensic sciences and conservation graduate program. Adding graduate-level coursework to your resume can provide potential earning increases and job advancements, as well as boost your knowledge in an area of interest.

What will you learn?

Students can expect to cover a wide variety of topics that dive into historical and contemporary laws and legislation, crime scene processing, and conservation medicine. Topics will include:

  • Overview of crime scene procedures and protocols
  • Various types of evidence unique to wildlife forensics
  • Evidence recognition and handling
  • Crime scene test methods and techniques
  • Conservation and ecology issues in wildlife crime
  • Current trends in wildlife and biodiversity threats
  • Legalities in domestic and international wildlife issues

Courses Required for the Master’s Degree

(33 total credit hours required)

Core Courses – 12 Credit Hours Required (Updated 10/23/2023)

Course #Course TitleInstructorCreditsSpringSummerFall
WIS 6561Wildlife Crime Scene ProcessingSusan Underkoffler3X
WIS 6557 International Wildlife Conservation Law, Policy & Ethics – OR – Joseph Rivera3X
WIS 6558U.S. Wildlife Law, Policy & EthicsJoseph Rivera3X
WIS 6559Forensic Science in Conservation BiologySusan Underkoffler3X
SUR 6395GIS Fundamentals  – OR – Amr Abd-Elrahman3X
STA 6093Introduction to Applied Statistics for Agricultural and Life Sciences – OR – Denis Valle/Ben Baiser3X
WIS 6934Forensic DNA Statistics and Applied Population GeneticsJeff Rodzen3X (2025)

(Master’s students must take EITHER WIS 6557 OR WIS 6558 and ONE OF THE FOLLOWING: SUR 6934 OR STA 6093 OR WIS6934 )

Electives – 21 Credit Hours Required

Course #Course TitleInstructorCreditsSpringSummerFall
VME 6574Aquatic Animal Pathology & Forensic ScienceMegan Stolen3X
VME 6617Environmental Risk Assessment of Veterinary DrugsNgaio Richards3X
WIS 5562Conservation MedicineHayley Adams3X
WIS 6052Bird LanguageLee Burton3X
WIS 6306Applied Wildlife Forensic GeneticsNicole Chinicci3X
WIS 6905**Supervised Research (Special Topics)Adams/Richards/Underkoffler1-5XXX
VME 6581Working Dogs in Conservation and Forensic SciencesHayley Adams3X
WIS 6946**Wildlife Forensics InternshipAdams/Richards/Underkoffler1-6XXX
VME 6053Skeletal Trauma Analysis in AnimalsMaranda Kles3X
VME 6573Applications of DNA for Companion Animal and Wildlife CasesAnn Marie Clark3X
VME 6580Cybercrime in Wildlife InvestigationsCraig du Plooy3X
WIS 6050Professional Communication in Wildlife Forensic ScienceHayley Adams3X
WIS 6051Wildlife Tracks and SignLee Burton3X
WIS 6421Wildlife Toxicology: The Ecohealth PerspectiveHayley Adams3X
WIS 6425Carrion Ecology & EvolutionAdrienne Brundage3X
WIS 6563Wildlife Forensic PathologyJohn & Margaret Cooper3X (Beginning 2024)
WIS 6565Negative and Suboptimal Research FindingsNgaio Richards3New Summer 2024
WIS 6576Human-Wildlife ConflictHayley Adams3X
WIS 6905**Botswana Field Course/Study Abroad (Special Topics)
Grading and Max Credits: Graduate Catalog Info WIS6905

Students may take any electives from UF’s online Veterinary Forensic Sciences program to satisfy any elective requirements for the online Wildlife Forensic Sciences and Conservation program.

View additional elective courses here.