About Our Program
A two-year preparatory program in Wildlife Conservation with a specialized Wildlife Curriculum was developed at Arkansas Tech University (then Arkansas Polytechnic College) in 1956. Two years later, plans were made to offer a four-year degree. During the 1959-1960 academic years, a full slate of courses was developed to provide the foundation for a specialized degree in fisheries and wildlife management. Courses in aquatic plants, limnology, animal ecology, mammalogy, problems in wildlife management, and problems in fisheries management were added to existing courses in ichthyology and ornithology under a new category of classes termed professional wildlife. Thus, 1960 marks the first year that a full curriculum of fisheries and wildlife courses was available, and the founding of Tech's Fisheries and Wildlife Program. In 1964 the program received official recognition as a University Program, and in 1967 a B.S. Degree titled Fisheries and Wildlife Management was offered with the first being granted in 1968. In the year 2000, a M.S. Degree in Fisheries and Wildlife Science was established to help meet the demand for, and continue Tech's tradition of producing, well qualified natural resource professionals.
Thus, Tech's Fisheries and Wildlife Science Program is a well established, well respected program with a strong record of attracting, educating, and placing students. Conceived in 1956, it is the oldest and largest undergraduate F&W program in the state. It has developed a reputation for producing hardworking, knowledgeable, and practical biologists. Tech's Fisheries and Wildlife Science Program is unique in scope, as it is the only program in Arkansas that offers a full-scope of fisheries and wildlife courses. For over a decade the number of students in the Fisheries and Wildlife Program has exceeded 100. That makes the program the largest in the state with a fisheries and wildlife emphasis, and one of the larger undergraduate programs in the Nation. Our tradition of focusing on undergraduate education produces a direct and very rich interaction between students and faculty. Our master's program allows us to create additional learning opportunities for undergraduates, in addition to helping meet the demand for natural resource professionals with graduate degrees.
A trademark of our program is our field-oriented approach that provides a tremendous number of opportunities for hands-on learning through field laboratories, faculty research projects, and working relationships with groups and agencies such as the U.S. Corp of Engineers, U.S. Forest Service, commercial fish farmers, and the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. While graduate students must do research to satisfy the requirements for their degree, superior upperclassmen also have opportunities to become leaders on research projects. Our undergraduates learn by using the technology commonly used in fisheries and wildlife management, such as modern electrofishing equipment, animal telemetry equipment, a geographic information systems (GIS) laboratory, and global positioning systems (GPS).