The School of Aquatic and Fisheries Sciences (SAFS) provides a highly regarded education in a productive, enjoyable and collaborative environment. Our students graduate with a clear awareness of themselves as professionals and with a solid foundation for their future careers; they fulfill their curious nature by spending ample time in the classroom, in the field and in the lab.

SAFS offers a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree with a major in Aquatic and Fishery Sciences and a Minor in Aquatic and Fishery Sciences.

2019-20 Scholarships for Prospective and Current SAFS Majors
Application deadline: April 7, 2019

The UW School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences (SAFS) is pleased to announce the availability of scholarships in 2019-20 for undergraduate majors and prospective majors in SAFS. Visit our Scholarship page for more information.


Why SAFS? 

  • You get the individual attention you deserve. The School’s small size and favorable faculty-to-student ratio foster the free exchange of information and active learning and provide ready access to research experiences.
  • SAFS has ranked top of our field in education and research in multiple surveys.
  • Our distinguished faculty represent a broad diversity of academic disciplines, and they are deeply interested and engaged in innovative teaching approaches in topical subjects.
  • Our research and teaching are connected to local, national and international issues. Students are exposed to ongoing challenges around the world and are taught the skills necessary to address these issues.
  • Our degree program emphasizes experiential learning. Our classes incorporate active investigation, and all students graduate with individually mentored research projects.
  • Students gain key skills at our research and field facilities. Experiences vary from research in our well-equipped faculty laboratories to immersion at our field camps.

What We Do

Our program focuses on the biology of freshwater and marine systems and the management and sustainable use of ocean resources.

We work in aquatic systems around the world

  • Understanding the links among marine, freshwater and estuaries provides us with a broad perspective on factors that shape aquatic biodiversity.
  • We study large-scale processes: how climate affects aquatic systems, how nutrients flow between organisms and their environment, how human structures affect water availability.


We characterize and study the biodiversity of aquatic organisms

  •  We describe the world’s aquatic biodiversity so that we can study their complexity and preserve our natural heritage. For example: we classify and catalog aquatic species in a museum collection accessible to researchers worldwide. We use genetic tools to identify species and describe diversity among invertebrate, fish, bird and mammal populations.

We investigate how organisms interact with and influence their aquatic environments

  • We examine the factors that influence population abundance and distribution so that we can understand the scientific basis for the conservation of species and the areas they inhabit.
  • Our ecological studies range from behavioral studies, to population ecology to community interactions with ecosystems.
  • We study how individuals and species interact, why populations change over time, and how aquatic food webs are structured. For example: we tackle issues in restoration, and study the effects of invasive species, large-scale migratory patterns and factors affecting water and habitat quality.

We explore how individual organisms are influenced by, and modify, their environment

  • We use sophisticated approaches to study physiological and genetic behavior in aquatic organisms, to anticipate how they might respond to natural and human effects. For example: we investigate how diseases spread through populations, how growth and reproduction is influenced by different environments, and how organisms might adapt to changes in their environment.

dead fishWe develop effective approaches to conserve and sustainably manage aquatic resources

  • We use innovative approaches to blend research disciplines, allowing us to advance solutions to a range of issues in the aquatic environment.
  • We use quantitative methods to study changes in individuals, populations, species, ecosystems and human behaviors. For example: we use integrated approaches to define population units and conservation areas, manage fisheries and aquaculture, and understand and reduce human impacts on aquatic systems.

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