Ecology/Aquatic Biology

Department: Natural Sciences
Delivery Method: On-Campus
Type: Concentration of Biology
Students canoeing down river


With our campus near the shore of the world’s largest freshwater lake, UW-Superior is ideally located for the study of ecology, aquatic biology and fishery sciences. Opportunities abound for hands-on freshwater research with faculty who are leaders in the field and nationally renowned for their research in areas such as microplastics, toxicology, fisheries biology and more. With a small, supportive campus community, you’ll have opportunities to get to know professors and fellow students who share your passions and interests.

This concentration is a great choice for those interested in a career in aquatic ecology, limnology, fishery science, terrestrial ecology, field biology, natural resource management, and education among many others. Students may also plan to continue their education on to graduate programs depending on their career goals and aspirations.

What You’ll Learn

Students in this program can take a tailored approach with their curriculum, focusing on biology and environmental science electives that fit their interests and align with their future goals. Students will work with instructors on various research projects and independent studies throughout their time at UW-Superior.

Coursework includes aquatic biology, field biology, ecology and management, forestry, plant taxonomy and water chemistry among other speciality courses. Additional opportunities exist with migratory waterfowl studies, water quality assessment, vegetations surveys, and Lake Superior ecology.

International Students

STEM Designated Degree Program

For international students, this major is a STEM Designated Degree Program which can qualify you to extend your post-graduation stay in the United States.

Unique Opportunities

For an institution the size of UW-Superior, the opportunities for research can parallel those of large institutions when it comes to ecology and aquatic biology. Students often will have more opportunities for hands-on research, occurring at earlier points in their college career, due to smaller class sizes and strong student to faculty ratio. Some of these unique resources include:

  • Lake Superior Research Institute (LSRI), located on the UW-Superior campus, is one of the nation’s only research facilities devoted to freshwater and invasive species research. LSRI’s ballast-water research facility on Lake Superior and on-campus laboratory provide unique hands-on opportunities for employment and laboratory research.
  • In 2024, UW-Superior will introduce the “Superior Floating Classroom.” This Lake Superior research vessel will provide an intimate connection to Lake Superior and allow advanced scientific research and exploration on the Big Lake.

Career Opportunities

Graduates in the ecology/aquatic biology program find an array of rewarding career opportunities waiting for them upon graduation. Our students have been afforded internship and field experience opportunities throughout their undergraduate programs with the Lake Superior Research Institute, both the WI and MN Department of Natural Resources, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Many UW-Superior alumni reported job offers prior to graduation in positions such as:

  • Aquatic Biologist
  • Aquarium professional
  • Ecologist
  • Fisheries conservationist
  • Marine biologist
  • Resource manager

Ready to get started?

Applying to UW-Superior is easy and free for undergraduate students. Once your application is submitted, you’ll hear from us within just a few days. We’re here to help you every step of the way with any questions you may have, so why wait? Start your application today.  

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