Opportunities for careers in zoo science are competitive and, today, even entry-level positions require a college degree. Drake's zoo and conservation science concentration provides our graduates the background and practical experience needed for a competitive advantage in obtaining coveted area director, curatorial, and management positions. In addition, applicants with strong academic backgrounds and operational animal experience are very competitive as candidates for many senior roles in zoos - including education, operations, member relations and CEO positions.
"My volunteer and research experience at the Ape Cognition and Conservation initiative helped me figure out what I want to do in the future. To not only help care for these animals but to also do research as a sophomore in college is something not many people my age have the opproutnity to do. I feel very lucky to have had this experience."
-Grace Baumgartner, Environmental Science, Class of 2018
This interdisciplinary concentration prepares students in a liberal arts tradition for entry level positions leading to leadership positions in zoos and conservation organizations. Coursework in this concentration is strongly interdisciplinary, drawing upon biology, psychology, and environmental science classes. Students develop technical and quantitative skills including laboratory and field methods, statistical analysis, and professional communication. Hands-on experience is a key component of this concentration. The program includes a sophomore practicum and a junior-year internship; this provides real-world experience in zoo and conservation settings and connect students with ongoing projects at the Blank Park Zoo and the Ape Cognition and Conservation Initiative, both of which are Drake partners located in Des Moines.
Drake’s Zoo and Conservation Science concentration is distinguished by its fundamental interdisciplinarity, emphasis on field experiences, opportunities for research and independent study, and service learning approach in the practicum and internship sequence. (This concentration is available only to students majoring in Biology, Environmental Science, Psychology, or Neuroscience.) Graduates of the program will be well prepared to work in work in the areas of animal behavior, wildlife rehabilitation, and animal conservation, or to pursue graduate study in diverse fields of zoological and environmental sciences.
This concentration is available only to students majoring in biology, environmental science, psychology, or neuroscience. The concentration requires completion of at least 15 credit hour that are not counted toward any other major, minor, or concentration. (This is to ensure that the additional credential represents genuine added competencies). The distribution of credits among departments varies due to cross-listing of courses.
Catalog Requirements for the Zoo and Conservation Science Concentration
Michael J. Renner
Professor of Biology & Psychology
Department of Environmental Science & Sustainability
College of Arts and Sciences