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Explore the biology – ecology and environmental biology emphasis bachelor's degree program at UW-Eau Claire

The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire's biology – ecology and environmental biology emphasis bachelor's degree is an excellent major for those curious about nature, passionate about doing science in the great outdoors and eager to make the world a better place.

Through lab work, field experience and real-world projects, you'll explore new places, pursue novel ideas and solve global environmental problems. Access to an on-campus greenhouse, as well as Eau Claire's abundance of lakes, streams, forests and wildlife areas, offers new perspectives and ways of learning.

Research and exploring the unknown is highly encouraged in this program. Opportunities to collaborate with faculty and partnerships with major organizations give you the power and freedom to discover the next big thing.

You'll also make a difference. Your knowledge of environmental science can be applied to important societal concerns in the management of wildlife and fisheries, protection and restoration of habitats, environmental law and policy and environmental education. Whether you're preparing for a career in education, research, consulting or natural resource management, you'll gain the knowledge, skills and experience needed to succeed.

Barking up the right tree

At UW-Eau Claire, education is more than reading from a textbook. It’s applying what you’re learning to real-world examples — and sometimes those examples are our four-legged friends!

Students in an animal behavior class recently analyzed the differences between herding and toy breeds, male and female dogs, and rescued and non-rescued pets. This course-embedded research gave Blugolds experience in the field and a close look at how domestication can affect an animal’s biology.

Why biology - ecology and environmental biology emphasis at UW-Eau Claire?

State-of-the-art facilities. As a UW-Eau Claire ecology and environmental biology major, you'll be able to work in spaces that inspire you. Our on-campus greenhouse — exclusively reserved for biology majors — provides a space for you to grow your own plants and conduct research. We're also just a quick walk away from Putnam Park State Natural Area. 

Exceptional collections. Explore hundreds of thousands of specimens right on campus. UW-Eau Claire is home to extensive collections of amphibians, reptiles, fish, insects, invertebrates, mammals and birds as well as saltwater aquaria and a herbarium.

Research collaboration and real-world experience. Limitless research opportunities await you at UW-Eau Claire. The biology department's faculty-student research program has given students the opportunity to work on projects across the state, the country and internationally. Many biology students have then used their research to conduct independent studies, co-author publications and present results at professional scientific meetings.

Supportive faculty and individualized learning. Courses are taught by passionate, enthusiastic professors who know and love their fields. Through creative projects and local field trips, they go out of their way to immerse you in the diverse world of ecology and environmental biology. Small class sizes help you form relationships and gain an even more personalized education.

Fascinating curriculum and learning opportunities. Explore unique and interesting topics like animal behavior, Wisconsin wildlife, eDNA, wildflowers, GIS and more. You'll also have opportunities to study abroad, participate in national student exchanges and secure an internship. Field course experiences may take you to places like Belize, Costa Rica, the Rocky Mountains, the Great Lakes or the Bahamas. 


acres of natural area right on campus


square feet of on-campus greenhouse space

94% employed

or continuing education after graduation

2021-2022 Graduate Report

Leandra O’Connell

Unparalleled research opportunities

Graduating with a degree in ecology and environmental biology, Leandra O’Connell will leave her time at UWEC with a profound understanding of the natural world — and a strong desire to protect it.

As a student researcher, Leandra completed an extensive literature search to understand patterns of hybridization in the plant family Asteraceae. She later presented her findings at the International Botanical Society of America conference in Alaska. During the conference, she was mistaken for a Ph.D. student by senior researchers — a testament to the advanced research opportunities available to Blugolds.

Read more about Leandra's experience as a Blugold.

Quick facts

Biology - ecology and environmental biology emphasis program details
  • Program length: four years
  • Offered: in person
  • Campus: Eau Claire
  • This major does not require a minor.
  • Students majoring in this program may choose either a Bachelor of Arts (BA) or Bachelor of Science (BS) degree.
Student organizations
  • Biology Club
  • Conservationists
  • Molecular Movement 
  • Pre-Professional Health Club
  • Reef Team
  • Tri Beta Society

What can I do with a biology - ecology and environmental biology emphasis degree from UWEC?

Many UW-Eau Claire alumni are out in the field on a daily basis exploring and discovering the unknown.

Where are biology - ecology and environmental biology emphasis alumni now?

Ecology and environmental biology careers

UW-Eau Claire has brought me valuable, hands-on experience and knowledge to set me up for success in my career field. I studied abroad in Scotland and traveled all around Europe. I worked with cockroaches, butterflies, sharks, stingrays and a variety of Wisconsin vegetation. I did all of this while meeting some of the most amazing people along the way.

Natalie Paparone Ecology and Environmental Biology

Boundary Waters research led by biology students is first of its kind

Significant research has been done on the presence of microplastics in oceans and rivers, but little has been done in freshwater lakes like those in the Boundary Waters…until now. The student-led study is likely the first of its kind confirming the presence of microplastics in the Boundary Waters — and is quickly gaining national attention.

“The more attention we can give to what our impact has on someplace like the Boundary Waters, the more we can help people understand that we need to step back and think about what we’re doing,” said ecology and environmental biology student Thomas Adams.

Biology - ecology and environmental biology emphasis bachelor’s degree program curriculum

The bachelor’s degree program in ecology and environmental biology provides engaging, field-oriented learning that will provide you with the quantitative and qualitative skills necessary for scientific inquiry, conservation and ecological application. Our goal is to foster your curiosity and set you up with the knowledge necessary to find a career you will love.

What classes do biology - ecology and environmental biology emphasis majors take?

Your classes may cover topics like: 

Learn more about the comprehensive biology - ecology and environmental biology emphasis major in the UWEC course catalog.

Learn more about UWEC

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Department information

Photo of student working in a biology lab


Phillips Science Hall 330
101 Roosevelt Avenue
Eau Claire, WI 54701
Visit the Biology department website