Two students (man, woman, both white) lowering a buoy into the water from the Neeskay

Turn Your Cause
into Your Career

Learn how to protect and manage our waters with a Freshwater Sciences degree

Fill out this form to learn more about UWM’s freshwater sciences degrees


A World of Fresh Ideas

Make your impact on the world while also making a well-paid living as an expert in aquatic science, water policy or climate issues.

Learn on Lake Michigan’s shores and get hands-on training that makes you career-ready for employers such as environmental organizations, government agencies, fisheries, water tech companies and countless others. Your customizable School of Freshwater Sciences degree is the path to reaching your professional goals and protecting our natural resources.

The faculty members are awesome. They’re all really passionate about what they do. Also, I love being right on Lake Michigan and go there with my friends often.

Portrait of Antoni (white woman), a freshwater sciences accelerated master's student
AntoniFreshwater Sciences
Accelerated Master’s

Freshwater Sciences Degree Programs

Bachelor of Science Degrees
  • Four-year undergraduate degrees in freshwater sciences allow you to focus on aquatic science or water policy
  • Hands-on learning, research opportunities, career development coursework and internships that build your professional network
Master of Science Degrees
  • Customizable graduate degrees with thesis and professional track options that emphasize hands-on training and career development
  • More than 90% of freshwater master’s graduates land well-paying jobs right out of school or go on to PhD programs
Accelerated Master’s Degrees
  • Five-year program combines undergraduate and graduate degrees, featuring customizable paths focused on aquatic science and/or water policy
  • Save on tuition, launch your career sooner and earn more right out of college
Doctoral Degrees
  • 100% of our PhD program graduates have gone into a water-related job after graduation
  • Perform research with world-renowned scientists in aquaculture, pollution, genomics, ecosystem health and more

North America’s Only School Dedicated to Freshwater Sciences

Take advantage of our expertise to build the foundation for yours.

A Committed, Like-Minded Community

Our faculty, staff and students are passionate about protecting waters and the environment through scientific research and practical policy.

Hands-On, Meaningful Learning

You’ll gain real-world experience through internships, research opportunities and class-based community outreach projects.

Learn on the Great Lakes

Our doors literally open up to Lake Michigan, and our faculty teach you on the beaches, atop our rivers and beneath the waves.

Career-Ready Graduates

You’ll build your skills and networks through career development coursework and mentorships in one of the global economy’s fastest-growing sectors.

Ships, Tools and Tech

To become a proper water scientist, you need to train on proper equipment, which is why we’ve invested so much in the fleet and equipment you’ll be using.

  • The 71-foot Neeskay is the only year-round research vessel operating on the Great Lakes.
  • The 26-foot research vessel Osprey is ideal for short trips on Lake Michigan.
  • Faculty and students use smaller, inflatable vessels for fieldwork on inland lakes and rivers.
  • A remotely operated vehicle (ROV), equipped with a camera, can collect samples up to 1,000 feet deep.
  • Research and coursework is supported by state-of-the-art facilities, including biosecure and quarantine labs, a pathogen testing facility, an instrument shop, a genomics center and multiple research centers.
Two students collecting water samples in a creek