Wildlife Biology


Wildlife biology examines the biology, ecology, and behaviour of vertebrate animals — especially mammals, birds and fishes. In this specialization, you’ll learn about the proper management and conservation of wildlife species and their habitats, and come to understand how wildlife species are essential within their ecosystems to society more broadly.

Many of the courses in this specialization are ‘hands-on’ and will bring you into field settings to study wildlife in their natural environments. You’ll be introduced to the latest techniques and findings in wildlife research, and will explore how these can be applied to real-world problems in conserving wildlife and minimizing human-wildlife conflicts.

Macdonald Campus is an ideal location to study wildlife biology. You’ll be surrounded by the St. Lawrence River, the primary drainage of the Great Lakes and numerous other freshwater systems in Mid to eastern Canada, where aquatic species of all kinds can be studied. Our campus has excellent sites for dynamic learning experiences, including the Lyman Museum, Canada’s largest arboretum (Morgan Arboretum), a full-scale bird observatory (McGill Bird Observatory), the Ecomuseum Zoo and field courses to Africa, Barbados, Panama and the desert.

This specialization must be taken along with a major in the BSc(AgEnvSc). The recommended major is Environmental Biology.


The Wildlife Biology program offers a useful the combination of hands-on experience and theoretical knowledge. You can work in fields like conservation, research and consulting or pursue further studies in graduate school or a professional program like Veterinary Medicine.

You can become a professional:

  • Wildlife Biologist
  • Conservation Biologist
  • Government Research Scientist (e.g. Canadian Wildlife Service, Parks Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Provincial Environment/Natural Resource Departments)
  • Environmental Consultant
  • Wildlife Veterinarian
  • Wildlife Educator


Faculty research a variety of wildlife and environmental topics, covering both the social and natural sciences. Research areas include ecology, evolutionary biology, ecotoxicology, genomics, ecophysiology and ecological economics. We have experts in mammals (including marine mammals), birds, fish, insects, plants, microbes and soils. Many researchers study Canada’s North, although local work also occurs at the Macdonald Farm, Arboretum, McGill Bird Observatory, Lyman Museum, Herbarium, in the St. Lawrence and other venues.

Student experience

Practical, real-world experiences is a large part of this program. Students can take advantage of the many unique learning environments on or near campus. You can also participate in field courses and semester-long programs in places like Africa, Barbados, Panama and in the United States.

Summer internships are a popular way to gain practical experience outside the typical academic setting. Our undergraduate students have worked on assessing the impact of climate change on Arctic birds, as wildlife rehabilitation interns around the world, studying tent caterpillar deforestation, Assessing world-wide patterns of fish morphological variation, monitoring puffins in Alaska, developing new ways of surveying bats, monitoring levels of toxic contaminants in whales among so much more. A research-intensive Honours program is also a possibility in your final year.

Ready to apply?

For this program, you'll need to apply to the Faculty of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences.

Check the full admission requirements for information about deadlines and whether supporting documents are required as part of your application. 

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