Research Outline

Ornithology Programs at Higher Education Institutes in the United States


To have a list of ornithology programs at universities and colleges in the United States. An ideal response would have the names of these programs and the higher educational institute that offers it in a Google spreadsheet, along with any contact information from the ornithology departments. Additionally, for each program, to have a description of their major research projects, and specifically highlight those that have worked with waterfowl.

Early Findings

  • The Wilson Ornithological Society has published a guide to graduate studies in ornithology in North America that they state has been "significantly updated" in 2019. As Cornell University is on this list, and is considered a top school, we decided to use this list as a guidepost for selection purposes.
  • "The University of Connecticut, Storrs, located about 20 miles east of Hartford, has offered courses in ornithology since 1900, when the institution was called the Connecticut Agricultural College. Students may earn both M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in the Departments of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Physiology and Neurobiology, and Psychology; and the M.S. degree in the Department of Natural Resource Management and Engineering."
  • "Dartmouth College has an undergraduate student body numbering about 4300, and a graduate student body of about 850. Hanover is a town in the heart of the New England winter skiing and summer lake resort areas, about a two-hour drive from Boston. The degree of Ph.D. may be earned in the Department of Biology in the fields of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, and Molecular Biology. Faculty members currently involved in ornithological studies are Douglas T. Bolger (Environmental Studies Program): Conservation biology, population ecology, and habitat requirements of birds, with emphasis on the effects of habitat fragmentation."
  • Cornell University, Ithaca, NY. "Although Cornell University does not offer a degree specifically in ornithology, it has long been known as a major center of ornithological research. Dr. Arthur A. Allen was appointed one of the nation’s first professors of ornithology in 1917. Since then, Cornell has become a famous center for study of avian biology. The degree of Ph.D. may be earned in several fields, and departments. Those that provide opportunities for study with birds include Anatomy; Ecology and Systematics; Natural Resources; Neurobiology and Behavior; Psychology; and Veterinary Medicine."
  • The Ohio State University, Columbus. "The Department of Zoology offers the degree of Ph.D., and enrolls more than 60 graduate students, many of whom are engaged in studies of avian biology. Faculty members are involved in such areas of avian biology as behavior, conservation, ecology, evolution, genetics, physiology, social systems, and vocal communication."
  • The Pennsylvania State University. "Penn State University offers M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in both Wildlife and Fisheries Science, and Ecology. In both programs, students are involved in graduate research with birds."
  • The University of Rhode Island, Kingston, RI. "Ornithological research at the University of Rhode Island is taxonomically and geographically diverse and interdisciplinary, although most work involves the study of basic avian biology and ecology and their application to conservation-related problems."
  • Auburn University, Auburn, AL. The Department of Zoology and Wildlife Science at Auburn University trains students in its Program in Field Ornithology. The department offers M.S. and Ph.D. degrees with specialties in Zoology and in Wildlife Science.

Summary Of Our Early Findings Relevant To The Goals

  • We have one hour for initial research to assess the question(s) asked, to determine the availability, and to create any custom presentations that are required for the research.
  • The list provided by the Wilson Ornithological Society is comprehensive. We have provided some highlights in the early findings so a sense of what is available can be seen. If, after reading the list, we should not be focusing on certain ones, that should clearly be communicated to us in any reply. If we do not get feedback, we will proceed with this list and use the universities and colleges that are in the United States to proceed with additional research.
  • We parsed out the schools that are in the United States, and left out the ones in Canada. It should be noted, however, that Cornell does NOT offer a degree specifically in ornithology. However, this does not seem to be a criterion in selection of these higher educational institutions. A degree is secondary to the fact that these universities listed offer programs. We proceeded as such.
  • It will take many more research hours to look individually at each program to find and highlight those that are specifically focused on waterfowl. That is reflected in the scoping below.
  • Providing the list of the universities and colleges in the United States that offer ornithology programs (with or without degrees for that specific branch of study) will be quite easy, as well as providing 1-2 contacts and their information. This is readily available on the Wilson list. However, the list is quite extensive, and even though the schools are listed, the contacts provided will still have to be verified for veracity.
  • On the other hand, each higher educational institute will have to be exhaustively checked to see whether their programs are attached to "major" research projects and to highlight those that are specifically focused on waterfowl. This will be very time-consuming and is reflected in the scoping below.
  • We created a custom Google spreadsheet that can house all the data if further research is desired.
  • Please select one or more of the options provided in the proposed scoping section below.