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Add a minor, professional development credit, or the training you need to make a real difference in the conservation community.

Three students huddle around a wood turtle while one marks a radio tag on its shell with a pencil

Get Your Hands Dirty

Our closed research facility gives you access to rare and endangered species, a variety of ecosystems for field study, and world-renowned scientists working on current conservation challenges. You’ll get experience in the daily work of saving species from extinction.

A woman holds a small fish with a group of students standing on the shore of Pohick Bay

Open Doors to the Conservation Community

Learn about conservation from experts in the field. You’ll become part of a community of conservation scientists and meet leaders from many backgrounds and nations who come together to solve the problems facing our environment and its inhabitants.

Two young women stand waist-deep in a watershed collecting samples

Shape Your Future

What you learn here will translate immediately to professional work or further study — jobs and internships at NGOs, nonprofits, research institutes, and commercial partners. You’ll develop relationships with practitioners that range across a variety of fields and job responsibilities.

Where All of the Outdoors Is Your Classroom

Stand Out in Your Field

The networks you build here open doors for your future through recommendations and opportunities that could lead to jobs and internships.

Here are some places our students have gone:

  • Zoo and animal care facilities
  • Veterinary practices and schools
  • Nonprofits and NGOs in the D.C. area
  • Lobbying in support of conservation
  • Environmental consultancies
  • Government projects and agencies
  • Graduate schools
  • World Wildlife Fund
  • NSF-funded research organizations
  • The Smithsonian Institution
Haley Overstreet

"I have SMSC to thank for this wonderful path to a dream career!"

— Haley Overstreet, 2014 Wildlife Ecology and Conservation student

Haley’s in-class practicum with Forest Global Earth Observatory Network (ForestGEO) gave her hands-on fieldwork experience in tree surveying. She volunteered for the organization while finishing her degree at Mason, interned there after graduation, and now works at their headquarters in Washington, DC.

“Through SMSC, I was able to complete my concentration in environmental studies.”

— Maritza Rivas, 2016 Wildlife Ecology and Conservation student

Maritza participated in a semester-away program during her junior year at Mason while she earned a BA in Global Affairs. In 2018, she began work as an Environmental Educator for Virginia State Parks, making her the organization’s first female Hispanic Chief Ranger!