Professional Master of Science in Zoo and Aquarium Management [proMSc]

Zoo and aquarium industry administrators have indicated a need for individuals trained in both zoo/animal science and management skills. Today's professional zoo and aquarium managers deal with more complex tasks and more sophisticated employees and are required to solve increasingly difficult problems. For example, today's curators are making decisions about animal welfare; education programs; research policies; conservation strategies and record keeping, while directing large staffs of keepers, educators, other employees and volunteers.

To address these and other industry requirements, the Department of Zoology, with strong support from zoo and aquarium industry professionals, has developed the professional Master of Science [proMSc] in Zoo and Aquarium Science Management. The objectives of this proMSc in Zoo and Aquarium Management are to

Building upon the current curriculum for the department's B.S. Zoology with a concentration in Zoo and Aquarium Science, the proMSC provides a combination of interdisciplinary coursework and professional experience that will train students to work in managerial positions in the zoo and aquarium industry. The program should appeal to working professionals with Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degrees who wish to advance or change their careers.


The student must complete 30 credits under Plan B (without thesis). In addition to meeting the requirements of the University and the College of Natural Science, students must meet the requirements specified below. Each student's specific program of study, including an internship in collaboration with an industrial partner, must be approved by the student’s guidance committee.

1. The following core course (2 credits):
ZOL 892 Biodiversity 2
2. One of the following courses:
ZOL 896
Population & Community Ecology 4
ZOL 897 Ecosystem Ecology 4
3. All of the following courses (16 credits):
ENT 442 Concepts of Biological Information Systems
FW 444 Conservation Biology
GEO 459
Tourism in Regional Development 3
PRR 841
Park and Recreation Administration and Policy 3
ZOL 890
Special Problems 4
4. A minimum of 8 credits from the following courses:
FW 424
Population Analysis and Management
FW 811
Fisheries and Wildlife Laws and Regulation 3
FW 828 Conservation and Genetics
PRR 443
Park and Recreation Planning and Design Concepts 4
PRR 451
Interpretation and Visitor Information Systems
PRR 460 Resource and Environmental Economics 3
PRR 485 Legal Aspects of Parks, Recreation, and Sport
PRR 829 The Economics of Environmental Resources
PRR 848
The Law and Leisure Services 3
PRR 870 Park, Recreation and Natural Resources Marketing
ZOL 851
Quantitative Methods in Ecology and Evolution
5. Complete an internship with an industrial partner.

This internship is a critical component of the management linkage and one of the best mechanisms for assimilating the student into the job market. It will be conducted at a location where financial support has been arranged. There is strong support from the private and public sector for these internships.

6. Pass a final oral examination. This examination, which covers both course work and research, is administered by the student's guidance committee.
7. Complete the Business Management and Communication Skills Certificate Program, offered by the faculty of The Eli Broad College of Business and the College of Communication Arts and Sciences.

The program incorporates a case-study approach and is organized as a series of week-end workshops. These cover such topics as project management; business law; intellectual property; management theory; finance; writing skills; presentation skills; information retrieval; interpersonal skills and group work. The certificate program will normally be undertaken during the first year of enrollment.

Additional cost to the student beyond the usual tuition and fees is involved. According to the 2007 - 2008 brochure for the program, “The total cost for this program is $3,000. MSU students can be billed for the $3,000 in two installments of $1,500 each by the Controller’s Office.”

After the completion of the certificate program is approved by The Eli Broad College of Business and by the Associate Dean of the College of Natural Science, the Office of the Registrar will enter on the student's academic record the name of the certificate program and the date it was completed. This certification will appear on the student's transcript upon completion of the requirements for the degree program.

The PSM logo indicates a program approved by the Council of Graduate Schools for Professional Science Master's affiliation.  See the Professional Science Master's (PSM) webpage for more information.




For more information

Please contact:

Richard Snider, Professor
Department of Zoology
235 Natural Science Building
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 48824

Phone: (517) 355-8473