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Posted by MKnight on September 10, 2002 at 13:25:09:
This is for all of you who keep posting messages about what college/grad school to attend for studying herpetology. The bottom line is that there really ARE NOT any major universities that actually offer a degree in herpetology. Why? Because it's too specialized a field. Don't get me wrong, however, there are plenty of herpetologists out there to work with (same with mammalogists, ichthyologists, etc.). Most schools have departments/degrees that are broader in scope (at least in name), such as Dept. of Biology, Dept. of Zoology, Dept. of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology. Within each of these departments is usually one or more people that work with reptiles & amphibians. All you really need to do is search through various academic institutions around the country and see what they have to offer and choose your favorite! A very important thing, especially if you want to get a job later, is to FIND A SPECIFIC FACULTY MEMBER who is doing work that you'd also like to do! A quick check of the most recent Journal of Herpetology or Herpetologica can help narrow the field. Once you've found some schools you like and found a faculty member, CONTACT that person to see if you can work in his/her research group. There's a big difference between being a professional herpetologist and a herpetoculturist. If you plan on going to school for a degree, or should I say specialization, in herpetology then be forewarned that your faculty advisor will expect you to do more than just want to breed & raise herps. Modern biology revolves around evolution and hypothesis testing. If you are looking for an undergrad degree, don't worry, your faculty mentor will train you in this. If you're looking for grad school then you should already know the importance of, and steps involved in, the basic scientific method. Fifteen years ago, I was in the same place as many of you. I got my degree (Wildlife Science), went on for a Master's (Biology), and now I'm working on the Ph.D. (also Biology). Note the degrees! There's no "Herpetology" anywhere, yet this has been my field of study and my career. There are a lot of good herpetologists out there to work with (I know many of them), and a lot of good research programs in which to gain that critical experience. Please listen to someone who knows from experience, and if you need any additional information please let me know! I'm busy doing the professional herpetogist thing so be patient if I don't respond right away. Hope this helps!!
By the way, I'm not looking for a research assistant right now, but might be by early next year.