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Fisheries and Aquatic Science Degree


Students working in water

Students of fisheries and aquatic sciences learn the skills necessary to understand and manage freshwater fish populations. This study also includes an understanding of the relationships among physical, chemical and biological components of aquatic ecosystems.


Student with Fish

Graduates of this program may go on to work as scientists and managers for state and federal natural resource agencies, researchers, or as professionals for environmental consulting firms, nonprofit environmental firms, and water-based industries.



Shelly Kotynek
NR 120

Semester-by-semester planning
Connecting with clubs
Changing your major
Academic success resources
Dr. Jereme Gaeta
BNR 175

Career planning
Graduate school planning
Undergraduate research opportunities
Selecting degree program electives
Club membership is not specific to any major in the Quinney College of Natural Resources and all students are encouraged to get involved.  Visit the Student Organizations website to see how to get involved in what interests you.

The Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences is the study of the biology of rivers, lakes, and wetlands.  The program highlights the ecology of freshwater and marine systems, management of important fisheries, restoration of riparian and wetland areas and restoration, and protection of the plant and animal communities in lakes and rivers.

Students who . . .

  • Want to apply their knowledge of biological sciences to real-world situations.
  • Like to work outside, on rivers, lakes, and reservoirs.
  • Are interested in restoring water related habitats such as wetlands and riparian areas.
  • Would like to prevent and reduce water pollution.

Students in this major receive a solid foundation in:

  • math and science
  • biology
  • chemistry
  • calculus
  • physics
  • statistics
  • general ecology

They then focus on watershed science courses, including hydrology and limnology and on the management and ecology of fisheries and other aquatic organisms.   Capstone courses provide the valuable opportunity to apply the skills and knowledge they’ve to “real world” problems. Students may use their electives to explore interests in policy or water law, environmental history or ethics, oceanography, or genetics.

Curriculum can meet the USA Federal Government's Office of Personnel Management requirements for the Fish Biologist Series

Fisheries biologists and aquatic scientists work for state and federal agencies, private consulting firms and no-governmental organizations such as Trout Unlimited or The Nature Conservancy to:

  • Restore endangered fish populations.
  • Manage lakes and reservoirs.
  • Restore river systems such as the Colorado or Green rivers.
  • Improve water quality in streams and lakes.
  • Use computer tools such as GIS to analyze land uses and their effects on water.