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Best Online Master’s Degrees in: Zoology

Editor’s Picks: Online Schools for Zoology

Value
The best online master’s degree in zoology for value is Canisius College, which offers an online Master of Science in Anthrozoology. To supplement the almost entirely online format, students are required to attend one four-day course on-campus, at the end of each semester, to meet with colleagues and professors. Canisius College ranked among PayScale.com’s top 2012 ROI Rankings, with an annual return on investment (ROI) of 5.3%, and an annual ROI of 7.3% for students receiving financial aid. Canisius was ranked 20th by U.S. News and World Report on its list of best regional universities in the northern U.S.

Flexibility
The online master’s degree in zoology at Canisius College wins the award for best flexibility. The university was recognized by U.S. News and World Report, specifically for its excellence among top online degree programs, its website reports. Canisius understands that flexibility is an important factor in prospective students choosing online education, and the college has concentrated its efforts on constantly improving flexible options for distance learners. As noted on Canisius.edu, the school continues to receive awards for its “diverse online learning technologies, which provide greater flexibility for students to take classes by the methods of their choosing at the times of their choosing.”

Career Support
At Canisius College, students can take advantage of a strong and effective Career Center. The well-planned resources available through this department are intended to help transition students through each step of the university experience — exploring majors and career options, searching for jobs and internship possibilities, graduate and professional school counseling, and alumni services. For all this, Canisius College wins the award for best career support for its online master’s degree in zoology.

Financial Support

Canisius College wins the award for best financial support for its online master’s degree in zoology. The Financial Aid section of Canisius.edu provides a wealth of knowledge for students to fully research tuition and financial aid. Canisius highlights its own extensive merit-based scholarship program, however, the web page also features direct links to many federal grants and services, and even shows sample budgets for the year, with a handy net price calculator to help figure individual tuition and cost-of-living estimates.

Technology Support
The award for best online master’s degree in zoology for technology support goes to Canisius College. According to U.S. News & World Report, Canisius was ranked 46th for best student services and technology, among top online graduate education programs . Maybe this is because the university’s Information Technology Services department offers a multitude of resources, like remote access to class sessions and the school’s computer networks, and personal recommendations for compatible software and hardware, just to name a few. With a qualified Help Desk staff, this department is always glad to help; as stated on its web page, “everyone in ITS is eager to help you use technology effectively.”

Student Engagement
Canisius College has made a concerted effort to encourage student engagement, inviting students to join in the multiple academic, service, and social endeavors, as well as the various honor societies’ activities, for instance. And its programs are paying off — Canisius has been recognized among U.S. News and World Report’s list of America’s Best Colleges, and Top Online Education Degree Programs, but Canisius also earned high marks from its student body in the 2011 National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE), earning a score of 93%, as reported on Canisius.edu. For its many outstanding efforts, Canisius College wins the award for best online master’s degree in zoology for student engagement.

Disability Support

Canisius College wins the award for best online master’s degree in zoology for disability support. The dedicated Disability Support Services department at Canisius features a multitude of academic accommodations for students with disabilities. Here, students can find alternative testing accommodations, auxiliary aids, readers, note takers, and alternative text options. Information about general services is also available, should students need assistance in the library, or with shuttle transportation, housing, or food service.

Library and Research Support
Canisius College wins the award for best online master’s degree in zoology for library and research support. The Andrew L. Bouwhuis Library at Canisius College offers innovative library and research features like multiple catalogue and archives database searches, as well as online study guides, live blog feed of library-related articles, and web tools to help with citations and study guides. Students even have the opportunity to borrow Kindle readers from the circulation desk to make researching multiple texts much more efficient.

Learning Support
The award for best online master’s degree in zoology for learning support goes to Canisius College. As outlined in the Academic Support Services section of Canisius.edu, students are offered proctoring guidelines, career center services, student retention services, advising, and tutoring, among other resources, to supplement their course work. Canisius has been recognized for excellence in student services by other national institutions, as well; U.S. News & World Report ranked this university 46th for best student services and technology among top online graduate education programs.

Faculty Credentials
Canisius College wins the award for best online master’s degree in zoology for faculty credentials. According to Canisius.edu, more than 93% of the university’s 217 full-time professors hold a Ph.D. or terminal degree, and many faculty members have years of practical, work-related experience. Canisius.edu also mentions that Forbes listed this university as one of America’s top colleges, with “quality of teaching” being one of the deciding criteria.

Faculty Accessibility
Canisius College wins the award for best online master’s degree in zoology for faculty accessibility. According to Canisius.edu, one unique element of the this university is that it allows for extraordinarily open communication between students and their professors; Canisius encourages team work, and allows students to work closely with their instructors, often publishing or presenting scholarly articles based on joint research. The school recognizes these opportunities as one of the many benefits of keeping class sizes small; the student-to-faculty ratio currently averages 11 to 1.

Alumni Engagement
Canisius College wins the award for best online master’s degree in zoology for alumni engagement. Canisius.edu’s Alumni page offers many resources for alums, including up-to-date news about reunions and events, an alumni directory and description of benefits, photo galleries, and links to connect to other alumni via Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. There is even a shopping portal, for those looking to buy Canisius College merchandise.

Prior Learning Options
Canisius College wins the award for best online master’s degree in zoology for prior learning options. On the Transfer Students page, students are promised the opportunity to “transfer to Canisius in one day.” Here, by using this unique resource Canisius calls “Transfer Express,” students looking to transfer credits to this university can potentially apply, be evaluated, and go on a campus tour, all in one day. In addition to this innovative program, students can also research transfer scholarships and prior veteran course work, and find out if their credits will transfer to Canisius.

New Online Student Orientation
Canisius College wins the award for best online master’s degree in zoology for its new online student orientation resources. Through the Readiness for Online Learning page of Canisius.edu, students are offered multiple innovative opportunities to get comfortable with the online learning format before beginning their course work. Here, students can participate in a virtual orientation program, see sample online course plans, connect with the online student community, and research technology requirements, all in preparation for the distance learning experience at Canisius College.

Explore a Master’s Degree in Zoology

Zoologists study animals, wildlife, and their habitats by conducting experiments in controlled or natural surroundings. They collect biological data for analysis, estimate wildlife populations, write reports and research papers to present their findings, and recommend wildlife conservation and management policies. They may spend time in the field collecting data on animals in their natural habitats, or in offices and laboratories. Students with an interest in field work and an undergraduate education in chemistry, physics, biology, or ecology may be interested in a zoology master’s degree. A zoology master’s degree may take two years to complete with approximately 30 semester hours of course work and often a thesis requirement.

Class Curriculum

Core course work in a zoology master’s degree program may include evolutionary biology, neurobiology, cell biology, and ecology. Advanced course work may consist of endocrinology, ecosystem analysis, entomology, physiologic and biochemical adaptation, biodiversity, and conservation biology. Specific course work may also be available in mammalogy, ornithology, herpetology, ichthyology, and plant taxonomy.

  • Ecology. Ecology studies the relationship between organisms and the environment. Course work may cover a general survey of ecology or specify by a region or organism. Students may study prokaryotes, viruses, protists, fungi, plants, and animals through lecture, laboratory, and field work.
  • Taxonomy. Taxonomy courses cover the origin and evolution of amphibians and reptiles (herpetology), mammals (mammalogy), ornithology (birds), and ichthyology (fish). Students study each branch’s reproductive and physiological tactics, taxonomy, and populations.
  • Biometry. Biometry covers the statistical methods applied to biological problems. Students may learn sampling techniques, data analysis, experimental design, and population dynamics. Advanced course work may cover inferential statistics, exploratory and confirmatory data analysis, estimation and hypothesis testing, randomization, replication, and sample-size determination.

A zoology graduate program may consist of laboratory and field work with corresponding written assignments. Comprehension and reading assignments may follow lectures. Zoology departments may require students to work on a thesis and may have research or internship opportunities available.

Building a Career

Zoologists and wildlife biologists primarily conduct research, working on teams with other scientists and technicians, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. While a bachelor’s degree may be sufficient for employment, a master’s degree in zoology or wildlife biology may be necessary to advance past entry-level positions. According to the BLS, the median pay for zoologists and wildlife biologists in 2010 was $57,430 per year. Zoologists who worked for the federal government had a higher median annual wage of $71,110. State government zoologists had a median annual wage of $52,360. Employment for zoologists and wildlife biologists is expected to grow by 7% between 2010 and 2020. Employment and wages depend on factors like area, employer, experience, and position.

A master’s degree in zoology may help for application into a veterinary school program, though both a bachelor’s and master’s may not be required for veterinary school application. A Doctor of Veterinary Medicine usually takes four years to complete. Veterinarians also require a state license. The BLS reports that the median annual wage of veterinarians was $82,040 in May 2010. Employment for veterinarians is expected to increase by 36% between 2010 and 2020.

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