A UAlbany graduate student working with a drone to document the tree canopies at the Huyck Preserve.

Master of Science 

Biodiversity, Conservation, and Policy

Program of Study


Master's Research Requirement

Your research requirement can be met through independent study, contributions to faculty research, internship projects, or any combination of work in these categories.

Common research projects include field and lab studies of organisms of interest in conservation, data analysis for environmental conservation organizations, and assessment of New York State conservation policy and activities.

Sample internship placements:

  • Albany Pine Bush Preserve Commission 
  • New York State Coastal Management Program 
  • New York State Museum
  • New York State Natural Heritage Program 
  • NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historical Preservation 
  • NYS Department of Environmental Conservation 
  • The Nature Conservancy 
  • UAlbany Office of Sustainability
  • U.S. Geological Service 
  • Other land conservancies and regional conservation organizations

Additional Information

See the Graduate Bulletin for details.

For more information, contact Dr. Andrei Lapenas at 518-442-4191 or [email protected].

Required Courses

  • Biodiversity and Conservation Biology: Theoretical Issues
  • Biodiversity and Conservation Biology: Policy Issues
  • Responsible Conduct and Skill in Research
  • Responsible Conduct and Skills in Scientific Communication
  • Topics in Biodiversity, Conservation, and Planning

Policy and Planning Skills Courses

One of the following policy courses:

  • Politics and Policy
  • Field Seminar in Public Policy
  • Environmental Politics and Policy

One of the following tool-based courses:

  • Introduction to Remote Sensing of the Environment (Graduate)
  • Introduction to Geographic Information Systems

Three Support Courses

One elective and two additional courses in areas of interest. Graduate-level statistics is recommended.


Master's Thesis in Biodiversity, Conservation, and Policy


Career Paths

Earning this degree prepares you to work in a variety of roles related to biological sciences, land use planning, invasive species management, wildlife and habitat preservation, environmental assessment, and natural resource protection policy development, analysis, and administration.

Sample job titles for an MS Biodiversity, Conservation, and Policy degree:

  • Climate Change Researcher
  • Conservation Specialist
  • Environmental Policy Analyst
  • Erosion Control Manager
  • Habitat Management Coordinator
  • Land Restoration Specialist
  • Natural Resource Manager
  • Soil and Water Conservationist
  • Wildlife Protection Policy Enforcer


Biodiversity and Conservation Employers

UAlbany biodiversity, conservation, and policy alumni go on to work in conservation science, land and water management, wildlife protection, and policy analysis for a wide range of employers such as:

  • State conservation and resource management agencies
  • Branches of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  • United Nations environmental programs
  • Environmental policy research groups
  • Nonprofit wildlife preservation organizations

Some master's graduates also go on to complete doctoral programs in related fields.


International Students

This degree is designated as a STEM program. International students maintaining F-1 status are allowed to apply for up to 12 months of post-completion Optional Practical Training (OPT) following completion/graduation from their degree program. Currently, this degree program is also designated by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) as an eligible degree for the F-1 STEM OPT work authorization extension; students who secure qualifying employment may be eligible to apply for the STEM OPT extension for a cumulative total of up to 36 months of F-1 OPT work authorization.

Admissions Requirements

Departmental Assistantship Consideration

  • Fall: January 15
  • Spring: November 1
  • Summer: Not Available

No Departmental Assistantship Consideration

  • Fall: Rolling
  • Spring: November 1
  • Summer: Not Available
Required Application Materials
  • Transcripts from all schools attended
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Official GRE score
  • Statement of goals
Student Learning Objectives

Learning objectives that UAlbany students are expected to attain through their course of study within their academic program.

Master of Science
  • Demonstrate an integrated understanding of conservation, environmental science and policy.
  • Develop a thesis (knowledge-based). Formulate a testable hypothesis based on research of the literature and existing data.
  • Demonstrate skills in advanced research tools using one or more of the following: GIS in research, collection and/or analysis of remotely sensed data for research, and/or advanced statistical techniques.
  • Demonstrate computational and analytical skills. Learn the application of  basic and advanced statistical techniques for testing hypotheses.
  • Ability to conduct research and to contribute to the goals of a research group or team.
  • Demonstrate skills in information technology. Learn to use scientific, public policy and legal database search tools and demonstrate capability to search bibliographic databases.
  • Understand and coordinate research in conformity with biological, social science and resource management analytical techniques and applications.
  • Understand scientific ethics as practiced in western societies, including the topics of human subjects, animal use in research, and plagiarism.