You Bought a Zoo, Now What? Colorado State University Creates Professional Science Master’s Degree

Note to Reporters: Photos from The Wild Animal Sanctuary are available with the news release at

Colorado State University has begun enrolling students for a new program this fall that gives managers of zoos and animal sanctuaries the business and scientific knowledge to run these facilities.

The two-year Master of Professional Natural Sciences program allows students to pursue advanced scientific training while also developing workplace skills. These programs prepare graduates for careers in business, government, and non-profit organizations, combining rigorous study in science and/or mathematics with coursework in management, policy, law or related fields.

“Life science-related organizations complain there are potential employees with a strong science background who lack cross-training skills to manage these businesses,” said Judy Brobst, who supports program coordination and who helped develop the program. “Students who enroll in this program will get hands-on experience through internships and cross training that prepares them to go straight from the classroom into the working world.”

Students will get multi-disciplinary courses through five colleges on campus: the colleges of Natural Sciences, Business, Agricultural Sciences, Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and the Warner College of Natural Resources.

The deadline to apply for the first fall courses is July 30, 2012.

“We are extremely excited about Colorado State University’s new professional science master’s program, as non-profit organizations like ours will benefit greatly from the well-rounded people that will graduate from this program,” said Pat Craig, executive director of The Wild Animal Sanctuary in Keenesburg. “It’s been an extreme challenge to find qualified individuals in our unique field of work, and we look forward to having such a great resource available to us in the future.”

The new master’s program will also help students identify careers working with animals – many students know they want to work with animals but struggle to identify specific jobs, Brobst said.

The zoo, aquarium, and animal shelter management master’s will prepare students for hundreds of careers at animal-related facilities including:

• Zoological parks and aquariums
• Captive breeding initiatives
• Animal rehabilitation facilities
• Animal rescue facilities
• Humane societies and animal welfare
• Animal sanctuaries
• Animal conservation organizations
• Animal husbandry
• Operations management and education
• Regulatory affairs

Added Craig, “We look forward to working with young adults who have a passion for helping animals as well as the desire to learn how to manage the complexities surrounding our unique field of work.”

For more information on the program, go to or contact Judy Brobst at (970) 491-1190.