Ecology, M.S.

Ecology, M.S.

Get a Master's in Ecology

Ecology MSEcology is an interdisciplinary field of study that examines how living organisms interact with each other and with their environment, as well as the solutions that prevent and reduce negative environmental impacts. Students seeking a master's in ecology will find different career opportunities due to the interdisciplinary nature of the degree that includes jobs in environmental protection, conservation, forestation, wildlife management, wetland science, restoration and more.

Ecologists work in private biological and engineering firms, research centers, state parks, federal agencies, health systems and academia. Whether students want to explore the migratory behaviors of an endangered species or advise policy makers on environmental issues, a master's in ecology from Florida Tech provides the rigorous classroom study, laboratory research and extensive hands-on experience to prepare students for a career in ecology.

Experienced Respected Faculty

At Florida Tech, students experience an intimate, focused environment where professors mentor students, class sizes are small and faculty-led and personal research is conducted. Professors take an interdisciplinary approach to the degree curriculum, guiding graduate students to collaborate and explore their ideas among a wider view of different biological disciplines. Bringing a wealth of teaching and research experience to the classroom, professors in the master's in ecology program present the latest ecological topics and research being done around the world.

Superb Location for Ecology Majors

While many graduate students live and work in the area, Florida Tech also attracts students from around the world. The university's location on Florida's Space Coast puts it in close proximity to rich marine environments such as the Atlantic Ocean and Indian River Lagoon, as well as other forests, rivers and wildlife areas. Florida Tech has many associations with local, state and national agencies, marine environmental firms, public aquaria and private marine research organizations that often work with students for internships and future employment.

Hands-On Experience

A wide range of organisms and ecosystems can be studied in ecology and the approaches can be observational, experimental and theoretical, or a combination of these. Research is a foundation of every master's in ecology degree at Florida Tech, giving students a chance to build subject matter expertise for leadership roles in the workplace.

Earn an Advanced Degree

After receiving a master's in ecology, students often enter a doctoral program at Florida Tech. Along with furthering research activities, individuals with a Ph.D. degree increase their earning potential and position over their lifetime. Some tuition scholarships are available.

Why Pursue a Master's in Ecology at Florida Tech?

When searching for the best ecology graduate programs, look no further than Florida Tech. The program is the perfect choice for graduate students interested in the ecological issues facing the environment today and for those individuals interested in work as environmental educators. Ecology is one of the specializations in the Florida Tech graduate biology program that also includes biotechnology, marine biology and cell and molecular biology.

World-Class Faculty

Guided by a faculty with extensive experience in the field, students earning a master's in ecology at Florida Tech study in an intimate learning environment where class sizes are small and research is hands-on. With hundreds of published research papers, books and over 10,000 citations, professors at Florida Tech are nationally recognized researchers providing major contributions to their field.

A Hands-On Program

Unlike other ecology graduate programs, Florida Tech's master's degree program is not just something to study in the classroom, but something to get out in the field and do. Nearby "natural" laboratories including the Atlantic Ocean marine ecosystem, estuarine habitats of the Indian River Lagoon and the area's other natural resources provide students with living laboratories to conduct research. Combined with the university's high tech biological facilities, students develop subject matter expertise and research methods they will use in their career.

Research Opportunities

Research is the foundation of every degree program at Florida Tech. As a master's degree candidate in ecology, students work with professors to identify research topics that match their particular study interests, something not all ecology graduate programs offer. Degree candidates are encouraged to engage in studies that make a contribution to the field at the local, regional, state, or national level on relevant ecology topics such as sustainability, coastal management, climate change and more.

High-Tech Laboratory Facilities

Ecology graduate programs need state-of-the-art facilities and Florida Tech delivers. The university is equipped with state-of-the-art facilities in the F. W. Olin Physical Sciences Center (and Instrumentation Center) and the F.W. Olin Life Sciences Building. These facilities offer cutting-edge laboratories and instrumentation as well as laboratories for photochemistry and computation chemistry. The Harris Center for Science and Engineering serves the research needs of an aquaculture and fish biology program. Other facilities students might find unique to Florida Tech that other ecology graduate programs do not have are the Vero Beach Marine Laboratory, an off-campus facility on the Atlantic Ocean and the Center for High Resolution Microscopy and Imaging.

What Ecology research or other opportunities can I expect? 

With a world-class faculty and some of the most diverse environments on the planet located near campus, including the Indian River Lagoon, Florida Tech gives students a unique opportunity to conduct hands-on laboratory and fieldwork as they pursue their research.

In addition to ecology, the biology sciences graduate program offers specialization in biotechnology, cell and molecular biology and marine biology, giving students a chance to collaborate with peers and faculty in a variety of biological disciplines.

Some of the research topics studied and published by students working towards and master's in ecology include:

  • Bacterial genetics
  • Genetic engineering
  • Developmental biology
  • Coral-reef ecology
  • Climate change
  • Plant geography of the Amazon and the Andes
  • Polar biology
  • Invasive species
  • Animal studies to investigate treating retinal detachment

Florida Tech graduate students in the ecology department can arrange internships under the supervision of professors. Students are also encouraged to submit research findings for publication in leading ecology research journals.

How will a master's degree benefit my Ecology career?

Individuals from around the world have advanced their career with a degree from Florida Tech. Graduates with a master's in ecology from Florida Tech are well prepared for leadership positions in private biological and engineering firms, research centers, federal agencies, health systems and academia.

Career Outlook

Students in ecology graduate programs find that career opportunities for an ecology graduate can be very diverse with jobs available in environmental protection, conservation, forestation, wildlife management, natural resources, wetland science, restoration, land use planning and more. Ecologists work in private biological and engineering firms, research centers, nature centers, state parks, federal agencies, health systems and academia. Florida Tech graduates have secured positions with research and technology companies including Scripps Research Institute, Millennium Research Laboratories, Florida Biologix and others.

The Occupational Outlook Handbook, published by the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Standards (BLS), provides information about specific jobs including median annual pay, working conditions and job outlook, among other things.

According to the Labor Bureau, job growth for ecological scientists (which is included with environmental scientists) is projected to grow 15 percent through 2022, while employment of wildlife biologists is projected to grow five percent. During the same time period conservation scientists can expect 3 percent job growth.

Employment growth is projected to be in private consulting firms as increasing demands are placed on the environment by population growth. These firms help clients monitor and manage environmental concerns and comply with local, state and federal regulations. Jobs will also be found with government industries and publicly funded universities, hospitals and national research facilities that develop practices to minimize waste, prevent pollution and conserve resources.

Careers in Ecology

  • Conservation Scientist
  • Environmental Protection Officer
  • Wildlife Scientist
  • Wildlife Management Director
  • Research Ecologist
  • Ecological Field Technician
  • Wetland Research Analyst
  • Restoration Project Manager
  • Forestry Technician
  • Botanical Garden Director
  • Postsecondary Teacher