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Ecology programs teach people how life forms relate to each other and their environments.

Ecology programs include topics such as:


A few community colleges and other two-year schools offer associate degree programs in ecology. An associate degree usually takes two years to complete. Students may work as a field crewmember, technical assistant, or lab technician with an associate degree, or transfer to a college or university for further study.

Many colleges and universities offer bachelor's degrees in ecology. A bachelor's degree usually takes about four years of full-time study.

Many universities offer graduate degrees in ecology. A master's degree typically requires two years of study beyond a bachelor's degree. Doctoral (PhD) degree programs usually require two or more years of study beyond the master's degree.

See schools that offer this program.

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Careers Directly Related to this Program of Study

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Program Admission

You can prepare for this program by taking courses in high school that prepare you for college. This typically includes four years of English, three years of math, three years of social studies, and two years of science. Some colleges also require two years of a second language.

Below is a list of high school courses that will help prepare you for this program of study:

Graduate Admissions

Admission to graduate programs is competitive. You need a bachelor's degree in ecology or a related science, good grades, and good test scores.

Additional requirements at some schools include:

Typical Course Work

Program Courses

This undergraduate program typically includes courses in the following subjects:

No matter where you go to school, you're likely to take a set of "core" courses similar to the list above. Once you've completed those courses, you can take advanced courses in ecology.

Graduate Program Courses

Graduate programs may include:

Graduate students usually focus on one area of interest. Typical courses vary by specialty. All require original research. A list of common graduate requirements is below:

Things to Know

Take every opportunity to get hands-on experience doing ecology fieldwork. Get a summer or part-time job at a park or nature center, or attend a summer field camp.

Many jobs in this field require you to write technical reports and give presentations. Taking writing and speaking courses will develop your communication skills.

Many ecologists spend a large part of their time conducting field research.


East Side Area

Central Washington University

Washington State University - Pullman

Wenatchee Valley College

King-Snohomish Area

Bellevue College

Everett Community College

Seattle Pacific University

Seattle University

University of Washington - Bothell

University of Washington - Seattle

Spokane Area

Eastern Washington University

Tacoma Area

Tacoma Community College

University of Washington - Tacoma

West Side Area

Evergreen State College, The

Western Washington University