SAFS is one of the largest, most diverse and comprehensive academic aquatic and fisheries science programs in the United States. Our faculty’s breadth of expertise includes marine and freshwater ecology, habitat restoration, quantitative fishery management, pathology, genetics, and a number of disciplines related to physical, biological, and societal processes that bear on emerging issues of aquatic ecology, conservation and management.

At SAFS, the learning never stops and endless connections are made––in the lab, in the classroom and out in the field.

SAFS offers two graduate degrees: a Master of Science or Doctor of Philosophy. Students can pursue a variety of thesis and dissertation research. Examples of current student research topics can be viewed in our archives of the SAFS Annual Graduate Student Research Symposium.

View our core research areas on our Faculty and Research page.


  • You lead research efforts locally and globally: the majority of our MS and PhD graduates publish peer-reviewed papers stemming from their research.
  • You enhance your professional development through teaching opportunities – as teaching assistants and, in a few cases, as an instructor. These experiences prepare you for careers in academia, agency science, environmental consulting, and public education.
  • You have access to a wide network of experts and organizations; graduate work at SAFS often leads to positions at governmental and non governmental agencies, private companies and universities.
  • You develop leadership skills by mentoring, advising and instructing junior colleagues in your field.
  • You work closely with our dedicated faculty to make a real difference in your field.

Student Impact:

  • MS and PhD students have been authors and co-authors of hundreds of peer-reviewed publications, including papers in major scientific journals such as Nature and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
  • SAFS graduate students are frequently awarded prestigious national awards that support their studies. Between 2000 and 2014, SAFS students have been awarded 19 National Science Foundation graduate fellowships, eight National Marine Fisheries Service-Sea Grant Fellowships and six Sea Grant Knauss Fellowships. Graduate student research can be used for management purposes, even before publication. In addition, many graduate students provide voluntary service outside of the school.

What We DoDSCN1714

SAFS offers courses and conducts research on the conservation, management, and effective use of fish, plant and mammal resources. Education and research in the School include:

  • aquatic ecology
  • ichthyology
  • population dynamics
  • fisheries management
  • restoration ecology
  • aquaculture
  • ecological modeling and statistical analysis
  • seafood quality and safety
  • effects of human activities on freshwater and marine ecosystems

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