The Student Experience:

Contemporary careers in conservation require problem solving skills that transcend the boundaries of traditional, single discipline orientations. The challenge for pre-professional training in conservation then is to provide essential skill development and fundamental content information while maintaining enough flexibility to accommodate a variety of needs, talents, and goals. The Conservation Science program at Muskingum College addresses these challenges through the context of a close working relationship between students and program advisors. Together they develop an academic plan that best suites the student's unique needs and ambitions while ensuring critical and analytic skill development and appropriate content learning.

At the heart of the academic plan is the curriculum. The conservation science major requires approximately 65 credit hours. Core courses provide a grounding in the natural and social sciences (approximately 42 hours). Additional courses are drawn from electives in the natural and social sciences, as well as the humanities and technical skill areas (e.g., computer science).

In addition to the classroom curriculum, the conservation science major requires students to gain experience in a number of critical areas; particularly research and conservation education in order to more fully develop skills required in this demanding field. Research and science education experience are both enhanced through participation in a three semester sequence that centers on the development and execution of the senior research project. In addition, students are strongly encouraged (and assisted) in efforts to gain additional experience through external internships. Such experiences allow students unparalleled opportunities to explore their individual interests and hone their personal goals. Internships may be conducted locally, however there are many opportunities for national or international experiences.

Southern white rhinoFinally, in order to provide a more comprehensive experience for conservation training, Muskingum College has developed partnerships with several local and regional institutions including Muskingum Area Technical College and the International Center for the Preservation of Wild Animals (the Wilds). These collaborations provide many important benefits including additional opportunities for course work, research training, and internships.

In the broadest sense, the program's mission is to help students identify personal and professional goals as well provide the critical intellectual tools needed to work towards those ends. The program's rigorous interdisciplinary curriculum is designed to provide students with a skills in analysis and communication that should prepare them for exciting careers in a broad number of areas including the natural and social sciences, government service, work with non-profit organizations, law and global commerce.

Students are actively encouraged to engage in consideration and discussion of their career interests with their advisors from the earliest phases of their participation. Insights resulting from such reflection can place students in much stronger position to participate in the design and evolution of their academic plan as well as provide a rewarding sense of personal growth.

Clearly, individuals amenable to introspection and self-challenge are most likely to experience the fullest benefits of this unique program.


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