Drone image of the Seamans alongside Nikumaroro.

SAFS offers a range of opportunities for students to expand their learning beyond the classroom. Opportunities include internships, research in faculty labs, or service learning and study abroad. Students may also earn degree credit from their experiences.

SAFS encourages students to become involved in research as soon as possible, even as early as their freshmen year. Experience in research activities both at SAFS and external to SAFS broadens your education by allowing you to apply learning to different situations, strengthen your resume, and interact with potential employers.

Research Opportunities

Some examples of research opportunities include (but are not limited to):

Tell us about your Independent Study Experience!

SAFS wants to know when students participate in learning outside of the classroom (including internships, research, community service, volunteering, study abroad, fieldwork, etc.) Share your experience with us by completing this brief survey.

Earning Degree Credit

SAFS majors may earn up to three credits of independent study towards their degree. To register for credits:

  1. Find a SAFS faculty sponsor who is willing to advise you for credit —this will usually be the faculty member who is coordinating your project. If the project has been developed with another scientist, ask him or her to recommend a SAFS faculty member who is familiar with the project or the scientist’s work. Otherwise, please contact the SAFS Undergraduate Adviser for assistance.
  2. Once you have a project and a faculty sponsor, submit the appropriate form (link) to the SAFS Undergraduate Adviser in FSH 116 by no later than the first day of the quarter in which credit is to be earned.

FISH 498 Internship

Internships typically provide practical experience either on-campus or off-campus. Students may participate in projects at regulatory agencies (city, county, state, federal), non-profit organizations, or industry.To register, complete and submit a SAFS Independent Study Contract to FSH 116, with all relevant signatures

FISH 499 Undergraduate Research

Independent research involves examining a hypothesis, collecting data, and summarizing the results in a research paper. FISH 499 may be taken either C/NC or for a numerical grade, based on agreement between student and faculty sponsor. Fish 499 may be taken by students who are not SAFS majors, but they must have a SAFS faculty member as a sponsor.

To register, complete and submit a SAFS Independent Study Contract to FSH 116, with all relevant signatures

Study Abroad

Many of our undergraduates participate in Study Abroad or Exchange Programs as part of their degree program. We work with our students to help them identify the option that makes sense for them, from a single summer UW course to a full quarter/semester exchange. More information on study abroad programs through the UW can be found on the UW Study Abroad website.


There are several different types of study abroad, including:

  • Exploration Seminars – UW courses abroad that meet over a shorter period between Summer quarter and Autumn quarter
  • International Programs with set courses and curriculum
  • University Exchange – study at international colleges and universities
  • National Student Exchange – study at other U.S. colleges and universities

Before You Go

Once you have decided to study abroad, we recommend you do the following:

  • Plan far ahead (at least a year, if possible) — this allows time to meet with advisers, prepare applications and adjust degree plans. Most students go abroad in their junior year.
  • Meet with a Study Abroad adviser, attend an informational meeting, attend the annual Study Abroad Fair – these are all useful in helping students to decide on a study abroad program and learn about application procedures.
  • Meet with the SAFS adviser to plan courses — the typical Study Abroad program spans 1-2 UW quarters so it is best to complete as much of the core science, math, and FISH courses as possible prior to going. Depending on the Study Abroad program, it may be possible to apply some of the coursework to degree requirements. The SAFS adviser can help to evaluate coursework and go over procedures for petitioning. For more on applying study abroad credits to SAFS degree requirements, review SAFS Study Abroad Credit Guidelines.

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