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Biology Degree Program

Aven Nelson Building

1000 E. University Ave, WY 82071

Phone: 1-307-766-4158

Fax: 1-307-766-2851


Biology Major – Ecology and Evolution Concentration

University of Wyoming Faculty are global leaders in ecology and evolution. Our faculty direct leading research laboratories and teach fundamental courses in these essential, interdependent disciplines. The University of Wyoming is located in a geographically complex landscape, which enables students to experience the principles of ecology and evolution first hand. This unique combination of a world-class faculty and a diverse natural environment positions UW to be an educational leader in these disciplines.


A Focused Lens

The Ecology and Evolution concentration affords biology majors opportunity to specialize in ecology and evolution. Previously, ecology and evolution are spread across departments and colleges, and students must choose a taxonomic group or an applied field, such as animal ecology or agroecology, respectively. This new concentration will enable biology students to focus on these fundamental topics without the taxonomic constraint.


A Competitive Edge

This concentration will prepare students for a career or further graduate study. Students will receive the academic training to become park naturalists, environmental consultants, restoration ecologists, natural resource managers, conservation scientists, environmental educators, and research technicians in academic or government agencies. In addition to core concepts and theories, this concentration will teach students important skills that are required in the workforce, including organism identification, quantitative reasoning, data analysis, and scientific communication. Students also will have opportunities to participate in faculty research projects, which will train them for graduate research, careers in scientific discovery, or any endeavor where critical thinking and problem solving are essential components of the vocation.

A student examines the leaves of a plant growing in the Aven Nelson greenhouse.

Concentration Requirements

To fulfill the requirements of the concentration, students will select five courses that meet a minimum of 15 credit hours in addition to what is required for the Biology Major. These can be selected from a variety of upper-division (3000-4000) courses that satisfy their individual interests (listed below). Students must select

  1. one course in organismal biology (A),
  2. one course in ecology (B),
  3. one course in evolution (C),
  4. any one additional course from these three categories,
  5. and one fourth-year capstone course (D).

Students who concentrate in Ecology and Evolution should plan to take Evolutionary Biology (LIFE3500) in their third year to be able to take an additional evolution course before graduating. All courses listed below will count toward this concentration. However, there are many other excellent courses offered across campus that are relevant to this concentration. Students can obtain approval to take other courses that are not included on the list below to satisfy the requirements of the concentration.


List of Potential Courses


Organismal Biology 

  • Plant diversity and systematics (BOT3600; 4 cr)
  • Ornithology (ZOO4350; 3 cr)
  • Mammalogy (ZOO4370; 3 cr)
  • Microbial diversity and ecology (SOIL4540; 4 cr)
  • Invertebrate zoology (ZOO4540; 4 cr)


  • Vegetation ecology (BOT4700; 4 cr)
  • Behavioral ecology (ZOO4415; 3 cr)
  • Tropical field ecology (ZOO4650; 4 cr)
  • Paleobotany (BOT/GEOL4280; 4 cr)


  • Special Topic: Macroevolution (BOT4790; 3 cr)
  • Special Topic: Evolution of development (BOT4790; 3 cr)
  • Special Topic: Evolution seminar (BOT4790; 3 cr)
  • Fundamental concepts in evolution (BOT/ZOO5060; 3 cr)

Senior Capstone Course

  • Undergraduate research (BOT4965; 3 cr)
Several green, leafy plants grow in organized structures throughout the Aven Nelson greenhouse.

Faculty Blurbs

“Laramie is a wonderful place to study Ecology and Evolution because we live in a wild and diverse landscape of mountains and prairies and because the faculty at UW are global leaders in this field. It is the perfect concentration for students who are interested in pursuing careers as environmental consultants, restoration ecologists, conservation scientists, or environmental educators”.

-Dr. Daniel C. Laughlin, Associate Professor, Community ecology and ecological modeling


"A concentration in Ecology and Evolution will expand your understanding of how organisms are connected to one another and the environment.  Between Wyoming's amazing natural landscape and the cutting-edge science done by UW researchers, this is a great place to learn about ecology and evolutionary biology.  Whether you are preparing for graduate study or a career in the natural sciences, this concentration will help you learn to think broadly and deeply about biology."

- Dr. Chris North, Associate Lecturer, Marine biology and ecology

Contact Us

Biology Degree Program

Aven Nelson Building

1000 E. University Ave, WY 82071

Phone: 1-307-766-4158

Fax: 1-307-766-2851


1000 E. University Ave. Laramie, WY 82071
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