The Undergraduate Certificate in Wildlife Health aims to provide a comprehensive and multi-disciplinary undergraduate experience immersing students in the contemporary health concerns of wildlife populations. This program will offer a diverse exploration of critical issues affecting free-ranging wildlife health, combining in-depth coursework encompassing the scientific, regulatory, and policy-related aspects of wildlife health and conservation.

Moreover, a cornerstone of this certificate lies in its dedication to fostering dynamic, hands-on educational experiences aimed at tackling both current issues and future challenges in wildlife conservation. Graduates with specialized knowledge in wildlife health are highly sought after by a multitude of employers, ranging from state wildlife and natural resources agencies to federal agencies such as The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, and the United States Geological Survey.

Specific areas in the curriculum include:

  • Wildlife health and wildlife conservation
  • What is a disease? What causes disease?
  • Diseases shared with humans and domestic animals
  • Effects of disease on wildlife populations
  • Disease management

Further Details:

Why Wildlife Health?

The study of wildlife health and wildlife diseases is an intrinsic component to One Health, or the intersections of human, animal, and ecosystem health. Understanding the role and impact of disease on wildlife populations also informs us on the dynamic interfaces involving environmental, agricultural, and demographic changes driven by increasing human populations. Due to its complexity, the study of wildlife health and wildlife diseases is interdisciplinary, creating a unique educational opportunity for training future generations of wildlife disease biologists, ecologists, veterinarians, public health epidemiologists, and conservationists.

How to Apply

UGA’s Wildlife Health Certificate requires an application for admission into the undergraduate certificate program. There are no application deadlines for the certificate.

Application to the certificate is a two-step process:

  • Complete the Application to the Undergraduate Certificate in Wildlife Health. This Qualtrics form will be routed to the program coordinator, who will notify you of your acceptance into the certificate program.
  • (Not sure about this yet) – Apply for the Undergraduate Certificate in Wildlife Health in Athena.

Prerequisites:

Applicants must have an overall GPA of 3.0 or higher to apply.

Admission is open to all majors who have completed the following prerequisite courses:

BIOL 1103 or BIOL 1107 or BIOL 1108

Courses/Program of Study

Required Courses (7 credit hours)

All required courses must be taken for a grade, and a minimum grade of C (2.0) is mandatory for all classes taken in fulfillment of the certificate.

POPH 3300, Introduction to Wildlife Health (3 credits)
Offered in Fall.

Wildlife health is intricately connected to wildlife biology, veterinary medicine, and infectious diseases, necessitating a specialized educational track to equip students with the unique knowledge and skills required to address these issues. This course will examine the key concepts involved in an interdisciplinary and collaborative approach to wildlife health.

 

POPH 3500, Current Topics in Wildlife Health (1 credit)
Offered in Spring.

This seminar course introduces students to current issues and the multi-disciplinary responses to pressing wildlife health problems via a series of guest lecturers and readings from peer-reviewed manuscripts. This class will be heavily discussion-based and presenters will include UGA faculty, state and federal wildlife researchers, and others whose work contributes to our understanding, management, and research of wildlife health and disease issues.

 

POPH 3600, Advanced Topics in Wildlife Health (3 credits)
Offered in Spring.

Advanced Topics in Wildlife Health is a dynamic, skills-based learning course designed to immerse undergraduate students in the forefront of wildlife health research and management. Students will engage in hands-on experiences and will gain an understanding of the intricacies involved in wildlife health research. Examples of these experiences may include field-based amphibian pathogen sampling, chronic-wasting disease sampling, mist-netting, vector sampling, necropsy lab, morbidity/mortality field investigation, and laboratory diagnostics.

 

Electives (6-8 credit hours)

Wildlife Elective Requirement

To ensure students in the Wildlife Health certificate program receive instruction and sufficient background in wildlife studies, a minimum of 3 elective credit hours must come from a WILD or FISH course. Optional courses to satisfy this requirement are:

  • WILD(FISH) 3000W, Introduction to Fish and Wildlife Management (2 hours)
  • WILD(FISH) 3001, Fish and Wildlife Policy (1 hour)
  • WILD 3700W, Animal Behavior (3 hours)
  • WILD(ECOL) 4040/4040L, Herpetology (4 hours)
  • WILD(BIOL) 4050, Mammalogy (3 hours)
  • WILD(ECOL) 4060/4060L, Ornithology (4 hours)
  • WILD 4100-4100L, Principles of Wildlife Habitat and Management (4 hours)
  • WILD 4110, Wildlife Science (3 hours)
  • WILD 4400, Wildlife Physiology and Nutrition (3 hours)
  • WILD(FISH) 4550, Sustainable Aquaculture (4 hours)
  • WILD(ECOL/POPH) 4575, Conservation Medicine (6 hours)
  • WILD(POPH) 5100, Wildlife Diseases (3 hours)
  • WILD 5700, Applied Population Dynamics (2 hours)

 

The remaining three to five credits must be taken from the following list of undergraduate courses, although alternative courses may be suggested and accepted as satisfying the certificate requirements on a case-by-case basis.

Elective courses can be taken for a grade or pass / fail (if option is available). A “Pass” grade or a minimum grade of “C” (2.0) will be required in all elective classes taken in fulfillment of the certificate.

These courses will give the student more in-depth knowledge in different areas of wildlife health and allow students to explore different viewpoints, increase their understanding of interdisciplinary convergence, and enhance their awareness of how the intersection of different disciplines impacts the study of wildlife health and diseases.

To see an outline of each course, please go to https://bulletin.uga.edu/CoursesHome

  • ECOL(EHSC)(FISH) 4600, Ecotoxicology (3 hours)
  • ECOL 4510, Population Biology of Infectious Diseases (4 hours)
  • EHSC 4200, Global Climate Change and Public Health (3 hours)
  • EHSC(FDST)(MIBO) 4310-4310L, Environmental Microbiology (4 hours)
  • EHSC 4400, Environmental Issues in the Developing World (3 hours)
  • EHSC 4490, Environmental Toxicology (3 hours)
  • FANR(WILD) 4820, Human Dimensions of Natural Resources and Wildlife Conservation (3 hours)
  • IDIS 3100, People, Parasites, and Plagues (3 hours)
  • POPH 4000, Comparative Parasitology and the Changing Global Climate (3 hours)
  • POPH 4000L, Comparative Parasitology Lab (1 hour)
  • VPAT 3700, Introduction to One Health (3 hours)
  • POPH 4125, Infectious and Vector-Borne Diseases Associated with Wildlife in a Changing World (3 hours)
  • VPAT 4000, On the Origins of Disease (3 hours)
  • WILD(FISH) 3000W, Introduction to Fish and Wildlife Management (2 hours)
  • WILD(FISH) 3001, Fish and Wildlife Policy (1 hour)
  • WILD 3700W, Animal Behavior (3 hours)
  • WILD(ECOL) 4040/4040L, Herpetology (4 hours)
  • WILD(BIOL) 4050, Mammalogy (3 hours)
  • WILD(ECOL) 4060/4060L, Ornithology (4 hours)
  • WILD 4100-4100L, Principles of Wildlife Habitat and Management (4 hours)
  • WILD 4110, Wildlife Science (3 hours)
  • WILD 4400, Wildlife Physiology and Nutrition (3 hours)
  • WILD(FISH) 4550, Sustainable Aquaculture (4 hours)
  • WILD(ECOL/POPH) 4575, Conservation Medicine (6 hours)
  • WILD(POPH) 5100, Wildlife Diseases (3 hours)
  • WILD 5700, Applied Population Dynamics (2 hours)
Completing the Certificate

Please follow the steps below so that credit for the certificate is applied to your UGA transcript.

When nearing completion of the required coursework for the certificate program, complete the Final Program of Study.

Upon receipt of your Final Program of Study, the program coordinator will confirm course eligibility and send you the exit questionnaire.

Upon receipt of the exit questionnaire, the program coordinator will confirm all certificate requirements have been met.

The final step is to apply for graduation from the certificate program in Athena.

Certificate Faculty

Christopher A. Cleveland, [email protected] – Program Coordinator, Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study, College of Vet Med

Ellen Haynes, [email protected] – Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study, College of Vet Med

Sonia Hernandez, [email protected]  – Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study, College of Vet Med

Daniel Mead, [email protected] – Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study, College of Vet Med

Nicole Nemeth, [email protected]  – Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study, College of Vet Med

Mark Ruder, [email protected] – Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study, College of Vet Med

Rebecca Poulson, [email protected]  – Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study, College of Vet Med

Michael Yabsley, [email protected]  – Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study, College of Vet Med

We’re UGA Vet Med, and our

passion powers our commitment.