116 Fishery Sciences
The School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences (SAFS) encompasses multi-disciplinary programs at the interface between the traditional fields of natural history, environmental biology, and natural resource management. Primary foci are the management of sustainable fisheries of commercially important species; biocomplexity and ecosystem-based management; and sustainable aquaculture. In addition, human-induced effects on natural ecosystems (including habitat change and restoration, impacts of climate change, emerging diseases, the effects of invasive species, and processes affecting endangered species and declining populations) are major areas of research. In pursuit of these objectives, a variety of basic sciences are used, including ecology and evolution, population biology, behavior, physiology, microbiology, and genetics. The scope of aquatic systems ranges from watersheds, rivers and lakes, to estuarine and near-shore shelf, open ocean systems and culture facilities. Graduates of the School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences are uniquely qualified for careers in universities as well as other educational settings, natural resources management agencies at the local to international levels, environmental consulting, and non-profit organizations with an environmental focus.
The School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences (SAFS) offers the following programs of study:
The School's undergraduate program has been substantially modified in recent years to reflect student and faculty interests in ecology and conservation biology, as well as more traditional fields such as stock assessment and fishery management. Faculty dedication to teaching, substantial benefit gained in close faculty contact within a relatively small program, and significant experiential training and research have made SAFS an appealing major that has doubled in recent years. The Bachelor of Science degree provides an underpinning in sciences such as biology, chemistry, and mathematics/statistics, then adds a core curriculum within aquatic sciences. Students study within areas of individual interest, grouped in three primary areas: aquatic ecology, conservation and management of aquatic resources, and biology and culture of aquatic animals.
Bachelor of Science
Suggested First- and Second-Year College Courses: Recommended courses for first year students: English composition; calculus; CHEM 120 or CHEM 142, and CHEM 220; BIOL 180; and FISH 250 and/or FISH 101. Recommended courses for second year students: BIOL 200 and BIOL 220; Q SCI 381; FISH 310 and/or FISH 311; and any additional courses that meet the College general education requirements. Students should start FISH core courses as soon as they meet the appropriate prerequisites.
Department Admission Requirements
Students in good academic standing may declare this major at any time, including on their application for admission to the UW. After notification of admission and before registration, new students should visit or email the Student Services Office for help in planning their programs.
180 credits, as follows:
Students must complete the College of the Environment General Education and the Aquatic and Fishery Sciences major requirements outlined below. Many courses may overlap in both categories unless otherwise noted. Courses taken to meet the degree requirements outlined below may not be taken on the satisfactory/not-satisfactory grading option. Remaining credits to bring the total to 180 are general electives.
All students must make satisfactory academic progress in the major. Failure to do so results in probation, which can lead to dismissal from the major. For the complete continuation policy, contact the departmental adviser or refer to the department website.
Aquatic and Fishery Sciences
Minor Requirements: Minimum 28 credits to include three courses (two of which must be at least at the 300 level) from FISH 101, FISH 250, FISH 310, FISH 311, FISH 312, FISH 323, and FISH 324; Q SCI 381 or Q SCI 482; minimum two upper-division FISH courses totaling at least 8 credits.
The minor in marine biology is sponsored jointly by the School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences, the School of Oceanography, and the College of Arts and Sciences, and is designed to immerse students in the study of marine organisms and ecosystems, starting in the freshman year. Because the experience of marine sciences cannot be taught entirely within the classroom, the minor is structured to provide ample opportunity for fieldwork and research within the coursework. A description of the minor can be found under the Interdisciplinary Undergraduate Program section of the catalog.
Students interested in quantitative skills applied to biological and ecological fields should consider minoring in quantitative science, an interdisciplinary minor supported by the School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences and the School of Enviromental and Forest Sciences. More information may be found on the Center for Quantitative Science website.
Student Outcomes and Opportunities
SAFS graduates pursue careers in the private sector (environmental consulting firms, private companies), the public sector (state and federal agencies, non-profit organizations, non-governmental agencies, education), and many continue into graduate programs in either research or policy. The undergraduate degree prepares students for either direct employment in a number of fields within public and private sectors, or for competitive entry into applicable graduate programs worldwide.
Of Special Note:
Graduate Program Coordinator
The School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences, established in 1919, offers courses and conducts research on the conservation, management, and effective use of natural resources. Education and research in the School include studies of aquatic ecology; ichthyology; population dynamics; management of free-ranging stocks; restoration ecology; and effects of human activities on freshwater and marine ecosystems. SAFS is recognized internationally as one of the best graduate programs, especially in the area of quantitative fisheries management, but all of the research programs are well respected.
Students may apply for admission into programs leading to the Master of Science or Doctor of Philosophy. Students who apply for the PhD program must hold a master's degree prior to beginning their doctoral studies. All students who receive a master's degree from the School and wish to pursue a PhD are reviewed by the Recruitment, Admissions, and Scholarship Committee before being accepted into the PhD program.
Master of Science
45 credits as follows:
Doctor of Philosophy
Admission to the PhD Program after Receiving an MS Degree from the School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences
Students who wish to continue study toward the doctoral degree after receiving a master's from the School must apply to the Graduate Program Coordinator by way of the Student Services Office; the application is considered by the Recruitment, Admissions, and Scholarship Committee and a recommendation is then sent to the director for concurrence or denial. Applications must be submitted by the sixth week of the quarter in which the master's degree is conferred. For more information, please refer to the SAFS website.
Bypassing the Master's Degree
Students admitted to the School at the pre-master's level may, under exceptional circumstances, proceed directly to post-master's study. Application should be made to the Graduate Program Coordinator via the Student Services Office for consideration by the Recruitment, Admissions and Scholarship Committee. More information is available on the SAFS website.
Students who bypass the master's degree must complete all PhD requirements within ten years of beginning graduate study, including MS coursework if used to fulfill any PhD requirements.
Minimum 90 credits, as follows:
General information on graduate student support is available from the Office of Student Financial Aid, 105 Schmitz. The majority of first-year graduate students are offered research assistantships by appropriate faculty members, depending on the availability of research funding. The School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences also has a limited number of fellowship opportunities for outstanding entering students. Other students may have their studies supported by the agency for which they work or they may be international students with scholarships from their home countries.
Graduate applicants are urged to discuss their financial needs with professors in their potential major fields during the early stages of the graduate application process. The graduate applicant is automatically considered for any fellowships, research assistantships, or teaching assistantships available from the School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences when the admission application is submitted.