College of Arts and Sciences

Zoo and Conservation Science

Program Option

Environmental Science and Policy department home page

Psychology & Neuroscience department home page

The information on this page pertains to program requirements for students who matriculated in the 2023-2024 academic year.  View requirements for previous catalog years here.

Program Overview

This interdisciplinary major prepares students in a liberal arts tradition for entry level positions leading to leadership positions in zoos and conservation organizations. Coursework is strongly interdisciplinary, drawing upon biology, behavioral science, and environmental science and ecology classes to prepare them for the multi-faceted world of captive management of exotic species. 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 program: The program includes two internships; this provides real-world experience in zoo and conservation settings and connects students with ongoing projects at the Blank Park Zoo and the Ape Cognition and Conservation Initiative, both of which are AZA-recognized 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 internship sequence. Graduates of the program will be well prepared to work in animal-related conservation organizations such as zoos, as well as areas such as animal behavior and wildlife rehabilitation, or to pursue advanced education in veterinary school or graduate study in diverse fields of zoological and environmental sciences.

Zoo and Conservation Science MAJOR

The major must include at least 15 credit hours that are not counted toward any other major, minor, or concentration. The distribution of credits among departments varies due to cross-listing of courses.

Course Credits
BIO 025/PSY 024 - Animal Behavior 3
BIO 026L/ENSS 026 - Ethological Methods 3
BIO 128L/ENSS 128 - Zoo Biology 3

ENSS 127 - Endangered Species Conservation, or

ENSS 125 - Conservation Biology

MGMT 110 - Organizational Behavior 3
Life Science Base  
BIO 012 - General/Pre-Professional Biology I 3
BIO 012L - General/Pre-Professional Biology I Lab 1
BIO 013 - General/Pre-Professional Biology II 3
BIO 013L - General/Pre-Professional Biology II Lab 1
BIO 117 and BIO 118L - Ecology with Lab 5
BIO 140 - Biology Research and Statistical Methods, or
PSY 011 - Introductory Statistics
CHEM 001 - General Chemistry I 3
CHEM 003 - General Chemistry I Lab 1
PSY 001 – Introduction to Psychology 4
Disciplinary Background Courses - Select one course from each of the following areas.  
Behavioral Science  
PSY 060 - Principles of Behavior 3
PSY 120 and PSY 121 - Conditioning and Learning with Lab 4
PSY 123 - Biological Basis of Behavior with Lab 4
PSY 126 - Comparative Psychology 4
PSY 127 - Behavior Genetics 3
PSY 128 - Hormones and Behavior 3
Biological Mechanisms  
BIO 018/18L - Anatomy & Physiology with lab 4
BIO 101 - Comparative Anatomy 3
BIO 103/103L - Microbiology with Lab 5
BIO 105 - Intro to Genetics 3
NSCI 001 - Introduction to Neuroscience 3
Organismal Biology, Ecology, and Evolution  
BIO 098 - Introduction to Primatology 3
BIO 101 - Comparative Anatomy 3
BIO 112L - Avian Winter Ecology 3
BIO 113/113L - Vertebrate Biology with Lab 4
BIO 114/114L - Evolution with Lab 4
BIO 119/119L - Herpetology with Lab 3
BIO 122/122L - Mammalogy with Lab 3
BIO 130/130L - Ornithology with Lab 3
Practical Courses - Select one from each of the following  
BIO 159/ENSS 159/PSY 192 - Zoo/Great Ape Internship 6
BIO 197/ENSS 197/PSY 192 - Senior Research 2
TOTAL 57-62

The information in this catalog does not constitute a contract between the university and the student. The university reserves the right to make changes in curricula, admission policies and processes, tuition and financial aid, academic standards and guidelines, student services and any other regulations or policies set forth in this catalog without giving prior notice.