Degree Overview

Students studying Aquatic and Fishery Sciences (AFS) learn the dynamics of freshwater and marine environments and the sustainable management of aquatic resources. Our bachelor’s degree program emphasizes experiential learning through unique lab and field research opportunities. Undergraduate students receive individualized attention and mentorship from a small supportive community, while also benefiting from the diversity of a large research institution.

AFS is an open major, which means that students currently registered at UW can declare this major at any time as long as they have a 2.0 cumulative grade point average. It is also transfer-friendly, allows for over 50 free electives, and can easily be combined with minors and double degrees. Learn more about the AFS Major requirements and scholarship opportunities available.

A minor in Aquatic and Fishery Sciences is also available. Review the requirements for this degree on the Minor page.

AFS Learning Objectives

Our undergraduate program supports you in developing key skills to:

  • Pursue lifelong scientific inquiry. You will be taught basic and applied aquatic sciences, with an emphasis on biology, ecology, conservation, and management.
  • Critically evaluate science and the scientific method. We use lab classes, proposal writing, field experience, and research projects to encourage evidence-based learning.
  • Be proficient in scientific methodology and analytical approaches. You will have many opportunities to apply your knowledge in small, instructor-guided learning environments.
  • Develop an understanding of the social and ethical issues in the field. Key issues are taught within their social context, and healthy debate is encouraged in all our classes.
  • Learn effective and persuasive communication skills. Our favorable student-to-faculty ratio gives you the chance to practice your oral and writing skills in all our classes.
  • Understand and appreciate the liberal arts and social sciences. Our degree requirements incorporate a range of complementary subjects offered across campus that encourages breadth as well as depth.
  • Cultivate broad academic and social skills that allow you to practice across different disciplines, cultures, and communities. Students are exposed to a wide range of learning environments that promote these skills, including internships, interactions with external agencies, and field-based courses.

Combining a School of Aquatic and Fishery Science degree with another major or minor provides additional ways to complement your undergraduate education and can enhance career opportunities after graduation. Contact the adviser to discuss options and timelines.

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