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UCF - Graduate Program Handbooks 2017-2018

Program Info

Last Updated 2015-05-15

Conservation Biology, Professional Science Master's

Together, the Graduate Student Handbook and your graduate program handbook should serve as your main guide throughout your graduate career. The Graduate Student Handbook includes university information, policies, requirements and guidance for all graduate students. Your program handbook describes the details about graduate study and requirements in your specific program. While both of these handbooks are wonderful resources, know that you are always welcome to talk with faculty and staff in your program and in the Graduate College.

The central activities and missions of a university rest upon the fundamental assumption that all members of the university community conduct themselves in accordance with a strict adherence to academic and scholarly integrity. As a graduate student and member of the university community, you are expected to display the highest standards of academic and personal integrity.

Here are some resources to help you better understand your responsibilities:


The Professional Science Master's (PSM) in Conservation Biology provides students with high-quality training in evaluating, understanding, and providing solutions to society's conservation challenges. The program will teach relevant skills, provide expertise to meet workforce needs, and prepare graduates for careers in the public and private sectors. By producing experts who are able to critically think and provide leadership in conservation biology, this program has the potential to transform both the professionals who work in the discipline as well as the field of conservation biology.

The PSM in Conservation Biology will combine traditional biological science with business, communications, law, politics, urban and regional planning, and environmental engineering. The goal of the program is to produce biologists capable of working within the broader arena of environmental politics, law, and economics; to communicate issues of conservation biology to diverse audiences; and to recommend solutions to policy makers, the general public, and industry. 


The Professional Science Master’s (PSM) in Conservation Biology is an applied degree with a combination of graduate biology and professional courses with a required internship.  Professional courses can be from the business, management, law, public administration, and policy areas. This broad background coupled with the internship experience prepares PSM graduates for employment in the broad field of conservation.

The Professional Science Master's (PSM) in Conservation Biology consists of a minimum of 31 credit hours, including at least 15 credit hours of core and restricted elective courses in conservation biology, 12 credit hours of professional development courses, and 3 credit hours of internship. The program is designed to be completed in two years.

With graduate program coordinator approval, a maximum of 6 credit hours of directed research (6918) or independent study (6908) may be used to meet degree requirements.

Required Courses—7-10  Credit Hours

Conservation Biology Core—6-9 Credit Hours

Students must take two of the following courses.

  • PCB 6042 Conservation Biology Theory (4 credit hours)
  • PCB 6556 Conservation Genetics (3 credit hours)
  • PCB 6466 Methods in Experimental Ecology (3 credit hours)
  • PCB 5326C Ecosystems of Florida (5 credit hours)

Professional Development Core—1 Credit Hour

Students must take the following required course.

  • PCB 6095 Professional Development in Biology I (1 credit hour)

Electives—21-25 Credit Hours

Conservation Biology Restricted Electives—9-13 Credit Hours

Students should select one course from each of the following subject areas.

General Biology
  • ENY 5006C Entomology (4 credit hours)
  • PAZ 5235 Zoo and Aquarium Biology Management (3 credit hours)
  • PCB 6042 Conservation Biology Theory (4 credit hours)
  • ZOO 6520 Behavioral Ecology (3 credit hours)
  • ZOO 5456C Ichthyology (4 credit hours)
  • ZOO 5463C Herpetology (4 credit hours)
  • ZOO 5475L Field Ornithology (3 credit hours)
  • BOT 6623C Plant Ecology (4 credit hours)
  • BSC 5332 Invasion Biology (3 credit hours)
  • PCB 5326C Ecosystems of Florida (5 credit hours)
  • PCB 5435C Marine Conservation Biology (4 credit hours)
  • PCB 6035C Wetland Ecology (4 credit hours)
  • PCB 6046 Advanced Ecology (5 credit hours)
  • PCB 6053C Restoration Ecology (4 credit hours)
  • PCB 6466 Methods in Experimental Ecology (3 credit hours)
Evolutionary Biology, Applied Mathematics, and Genetics
  • BSC 5824 Biogeography (4 credit hours)
  • MAP 5117 Mathematical Modeling (3 credit hours)
  • MAP 6938 Mathematical Biology (4 credit hours)
  • PCB 5447 Disease Ecology and Ecoimmunology (3 credit hours)
  • PCB 5935 Population Genetics (3 credit hours)
  • PCB 6675C Evolutionary Biology (4 credit hours)
  • PCB 6677 Molecular Evolution (3 credit hours)

Professional Development Restricted Electives—12 Credit Hours

Students should select at least 12 credit hours of courses from the list below or comparable courses as approved by the graduate program coordinator.

  • COM 6047 Interpersonal Support in the Workplace (3 credit hours)
  • EDS 6100 Leadership (3 credit hours)
  • INR 6352 Global Environmental Politics (3 credit hours)
  • GEB 5516 Technological Entrepreneurship (3 credit hours)
  • GEB 6115 Entrepreneurship (3 credit hours)
  • GEB 6116 Business Plan Preparation (3 credit hours)
  • GEB 6518 Strategic Innovation (3 credit hours)
  • MAN 6448 Conflict Resolution and Negotiation (3 credit hours)
  • MAN 6305 Human Resources Management (3 credit hours)
  • PAD 5041 Ethics and Values in Public Administration (3 credit hours)
  • PAD 5336 Introduction to Urban Planning (3 credit hours)
  • PAD 5338 Land Use and Planning Law (3 credit hours)
  • PAD 5850 Grant and Contract Management (3 credit hours)
  • PAD 6142 Nonprofit Organizations (3 credit hours)
  • PAD 6353 Environmental Program Management Research (3 credit hours)
  • PAD 6397 Managing Emergencies and Crises (3 credit hours)
  • PHM 5035 Environmental Philosophy (3 credit hours)
  • PUP 6201 Urban Environmental Policy (3 credit hours)
  • PUP 6208 Environmental Politics (3 credit hours)
  • PUP 6247 Continuing Issues in Environmental Politics (3 credit hours)

Internship—3 Credit Hours

  • IDS 6946 Internship in Conservation Biology (3 credit hours)

Additionally, all students pursuing the Professional Science Master's must enroll in the following course:

  • IDS 5949 Co-op Ed / Work Experience (0 credit hours)

Students must register for IDS 5949 and IDS 6946 simultaneously. Students must complete the course with a satisfactory (S) grade. If the student does not complete the course with a satisfactory grade, the student will be asked to repeat the course to meet program requirements.

Culminating Experience

All students a required to complete an internship. During their internship, students will gain hands on experience in the area of conservation they are most interested in. Previous interns have worked in area from science education, land management, wildlife conservation and public policy. Internship placement assistance is given to students in good standing in the program.

A student's understanding, writing, and analytical skills will be evaluated by means of a written report completed at the end of the internship and a presentation that is based on their internship experience to be completed in Fall semester following the internship.

Timeline for Completion

The PSM in Conservation Biology should be completed in 2 years (or five semesters) if a student attends full time. In addition to a Program of Study to be filed before the completion of 12 hours, students should also make use of the Graduate Plan of Study tool to track their progress to degree. When a student nears the end of the degree please see the below explanation in regards to filing your Intent to Graduate.  

Intent to Graduate

Students who intend to graduate must complete the online Intent to Graduate Form by logging into myUCF and navigating to the Student Center – Academics > Undergraduate and Graduate Careers > Intent to Graduate: Apply.

Once the online form is completed, students will receive e-mail communications from the College of Graduate Studies at various stages of the review process. Students can also log in to myUCF and check the status of their Intent to Graduate at any time by navigating to the Student Center - Intent to Graduate: Status.

The ability to file online opens at mid-term of the semester prior to the semester of graduation. Intents to graduate should be filed online no later than the last day of registration for the semester of graduation.

Internship Overview

The internship is a key element of the PSM in Conservation Biology. The purpose of the internship is to provide hands-on experience to students and allow for networking opportunities with key employers in the conservation field. Internships range from 12-16 weeks depending on the semester and can be paid or unpaid positions. Student must work at least 20 hours a week for the organization, but can work up to 40 hours if needed. The specifics of the internship learning outcomes and logistics must be outline in the Internship Proposal Form due two weeks before the start of the semester of internship (see more below).

There are a variety of internship opportunities in the central Florida area and nationally. Students may be able placed in state and federal agencies or nonprofit organizations and assistance seeking an internship will be provided to ensure a strong experience. The semester before the internship, students will meet with the PSM Internship Coordinator to review areas of interests, locations, and special skills relevant to the internship. Then students will interview with potential sites and secure their placement by submitting the Internship Proposal form. This form will be provided as soon as internship match has been made and should be completed by both the internship supervisor and student. All internships must be approved by the program director in order to get credit for the experience. The grade for the IDS 6946 course will be largely determined by the Final Internship Report submitted by the student at the end of the internship. All students are also required to present their work at the Annual PSM Day held each year. 

Finally, all PSM students must co-enroll in IDS 5949 along with the IDS 6946 course. The IDS 5949 course is for zero credits and thus there is no cost to the course. The course focuses on professional development activities related to the internship experience and creating community among PSM students at UCF. Students must receive a "Satisfactory" (S) grade for the course. 

For more information about the internship, email

Financial Support

Graduate Assistantships

UCF has several different graduate assistantship opportunities. Students in the Conservation Biology PSM program are not offered teaching or research assistantship positions, but are still eligible for assistantships with offices across campus. For general information about assistantships, see> Financial Information > Graduate Assistantships.

International Students

Several types of employment are available to international students, including on-campus employment. For more information about the types of employment available to international students, and the requirements and restrictions based on visa type, please see the International Services Center’s website: > Current Students > Employment.

Database of Funding Opportunities

Additional information on grants and scholarships for graduate students can be found here: Be sure to specify your level of education before reviewing opportunities. 

Graduate Student Associations

Biology Graduate Student Association

The UCF Biology Graduate Student Association (BGSA) was established in 1997 to provide opportunities for UCF biology students to participate in extracurricular activities in biology.

  • Regular seminars by visiting professors as well as UCF faculty and grad student presentation sessions
  • Active service organization, participating in both roadside and beach cleanup activities
  • Social events (canoeing, nature walks, volunteer activities, social gatherings
  • Journal Club Paper Discussions of scientific data in areas studied in the department (e.g., Behavioral Ecology, GIS modeling, Conservation Biology)

Graduate Student Association

The Graduate Student Association (GSA) is UCF's graduate organization committed to enrich graduate students' personal, educational and professional experience.

Professional Development

Pathways to Success Workshops

Coordinated by the College of Graduate Studies, the Pathways to Success program offers free development opportunities for graduate students including workshops in Academic Integrity, Graduate Grantsmanship, Graduate Teaching, Personal Development, Professional Development, and Research. For more information and how to register, please visit .

Job Search

UCF’s Career Services department offers a wide range of programs and services designed to assist graduate students. These services include evaluation and exploration of career goals, preparation for the job search and job search resources. To learn more, visit their website at


  • College of Graduate Studies Forms
    A listing of general forms and files for graduate students including student services and records and graduation forms.
  • Graduate Petition Form
    When unusual situations arise, petitions for exceptions to policy may be requested by the student.Depending on the type of appeal, the student should contact his/her program adviser to begin the petition process.
  • Traveling Scholar Form
    If a student would like to take advantage of special resources available on another campus but not available on the home campus; for example, special course offerings, research opportunities, unique laboratories and library collections, this form must be completed and approved.


Plagiarism is the act of taking someone else’s work and presenting it as your own. Any ideas, data, text, media or materials taken from another source (either written or verbal) must be fully acknowledged.a) A student must not adopt or reproduce ideas, opinions, theories, formulas, graphics, or pictures of another person without acknowledgment.b) A student must give credit to the originality of others whenever:

  1. Directly quoting another person's actual words, whether oral or written;
  2. Using another person's ideas, opinions, or theories;
  3. Paraphrasing the words, ideas, opinions, or theories of others, whether oral or written;
  4. Borrowing facts, statistics, or illustrative material; or
  5. Offering materials assembled or collected by others in the form of projects or collections without acknowledgment.

When using the ideas, opinions, theories, formulas, graphics, or pictures of another, students must give credit to the original source at the location or place in the document where that source's material is found as well as provide bibliographic information at the end of the document. When students are verbally discussing the ideas, opinions, theories, formulas, graphics, or pictures of another, they must give credit to the original source at the time they speak about that source. In this manner, students must make clear (so there is no doubt) within their written or verbal materials, which parts are gained from other sources, and which are their own original ideas, theories, formulas, graphics, and pictures.The Office of Student Conduct has a set of criteria that determines if students are in violation of plagiarism. This set of criteria may be set to a higher standard in graduate programs. Therefore, a student may not be found in violation of plagiarism by the Office of Student Conduct, but a professor or program requiring higher standards of attribution and citation may find a student in violation of plagiarism and administer program level sanctions. The standard in doctoral programs should be the highest as students earning these degrees are expected to be experts in their fields and producing independent work that contributes knowledge to their discipline.

Example of Material that has been appropriately cited:

Paraphrased Material

Source: Osborne, Richard, ed. How to Grow Annuals. 2nd ed. Menlo Park: Lane, 1974. Print. Page 24: As a recent authority has pointed out, for a dependable long-blooming swatch of soft blue in your garden, ageratum is a fine choice. From early summer until frost, ageratum is continuously covered with clustered heads of fine, silky, fringed flowers in dusty shades of lavender-blue, lavender-pink or white. The popular dwarf varieties grow in mounds six to twelve inches high and twelve inches across; they make fine container plants. Larger types grow up to three feet tall. Ageratum makes an excellent edging.

Use and Adaptation of the Material:

You can depend on ageratum if you want some soft blue in your garden. It blooms through the summer and the flowers, soft, small, and fringed, come in various shades of lavender. The small varieties which grow in mounds are very popular, especially when planted in containers. There are also larger varieties. Ageratum is good as a border plant (Osborne 24).


The writer has done a good job of paraphrasing what could be considered common knowledge (available in a number of sources), but because the structure and progression of detail is someone else’s, the writer has acknowledged the source. This the writer can do at the end of the paragraph since he or she has not used the author’s words.

The above example was provided by Northwestern University.

Northwestern University, Sept. 2016. “Academic Integrity: A Basic Guide.” Accessed 20 September 2017.

For more information about Academic Honesty, Click here.

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