Freshwater scientists provide scientifically sound management of natural and constructed water systems for productive and equitable use while sustaining natural biota, diversity and freshwater availability. They also generate solutions to the problems facing freshwater through a complete understanding of water resources, the social systems in which they operate, and the application of technology, conservation, and sustainable management practices. Students take a broad curriculum within Freshwater Sciences and choose from the Water Policy or Aquatic Sciences track. Both tracks combine core classes in natural sciences, mathematics, economics and computer science with additional coursework in areas such as sustainability and environmental law.

Studies in Freshwater Sciences will help students prepare for careers in ecological and environmental sciences, natural resources, technology, and policy relevant to freshwater systems and resources. A degree in Freshwater Sciences also prepares students for professional careers in business and industry, government, non-profit organizations, as well as graduate studies in freshwater and environmental sciences.

Requirements

Students must earn a minimum of 120 credits to complete the BS in Freshwater Sciences degree. Students in this program must complete at least 30 credits in residence at UWM and must maintain an average of at least 2.00 in all 300-level and above courses in the freshwater sciences major.

General Education Requirements (GERs)

UW-Milwaukee has General Education Requirements that must be met in order to earn a bachelor’s degree. Some of the requirements of your program, including Foundation Courses, fulfill the campus GERs. Please review the requirements and consult with your academic advisor.  

Foundation Courses

BIO SCI 150Foundations of Biological Sciences I (satisfies GER-NS+)4
BIO SCI 152Foundations of Biological Sciences II (satisfies GER-NS+)4
CHEM 102General Chemistry5
CHEM 104General Chemistry and Qualitative Analysis5
COMPSCI 202Introductory Programming Using Python3
ECON 103Principles of Microeconomics (satisfies GER-SS)3
MTHSTAT 215Elementary Statistical Analysis (satisfies QL-B)3
MATH 213Calculus with Life Sciences Applications4
or MATH 231 Calculus and Analytic Geometry I
Total Credits31

Core Courses

FRSHWTR 101Elements of Water3
FRSHWTR 120Preparing for a Career in Freshwater Sciences1
FRSHWTR 201The Water Environment3
FRSHWTR 202Life in Water4
FRSHWTR 391Water and Natural Resource Economics3
FRSHWTR 392Water, Energy, Food, and Climate3
FRSHWTR 361Intro to Environmental Data Systems 3
Select one of the following:3-4
Chemical Hydrogeology
Water Quality
Environmental Surface Hydrology
FRSHWTR 660Professional and Capstone Planning1
or FRSHWTR 662 Thesis Research Planning and Proposal Development
FRSHWTR 661Undergraduate Capstone3
or FRSHWTR 663 Undergraduate Research and Thesis
GEOG 215Introduction to Geographic Information Science3
Total Credits30-31

Aquatic Science Track Requirements

Required Courses
PHYSICS 120General Physics I (Non-Calculus Treatment)4
or PHYSICS 209 Physics I (Calculus Treatment)
Electives
Choose at least 9 credits from the following list, including at least 3 FRSHWTR credits:9
Exploration of Inland Seas
Ecology and Evolution of Freshwater Organisms
Sanitation and Sustainability
Water Pollution, Technology and Management
Calculating Nature
Molecular Level Tools to Understand Larger Scale Change
Introduction to Sensing Networks
Ichthyology
Freshwater Sciences Practicum: (Topic: Brew City Aquaponics)
Field Experimentation and Analysis in Freshwater Sciences
Analytical Techniques in Freshwater Sciences
Biogeochemistry of Natural Organic Matter
Aquatic Isotope Biogeochemistry
Principles of Aquaculture Systems
Finfish Aquaculture and Nutrition Principles
Water Quality in Aquaculture
Fish Health
Benthic Ecology
Introduction to Meteorology
General Ecology
Marine Biology
Conservation Biology
Limnology I
Principles of Stream Management and Restoration
Introduction to Energy, Environment and Sustainability
Remote Sensing: Environmental and Land Use Analysis
Hydrogeography
Applied Climatology
Watershed Analysis and Modeling
Geographic Information Science
Water Quality
Physical Hydrogeology
Introduction to Mathematical and Computational Modeling
Climate Change, the Environment and Human Health
Total Credits13

Electives

With the help of their academic advisor, students will select electives to complete the 120 total credits required for the degree. Electives are tailored to each student’s interests and career goals. Students may choose a related area of specialization outside of the Freshwater Sciences by completing any minor or interdisciplinary certificate offered by UWM, typically comprised of 18-22 credits. In some cases, students may choose to study two related areas, or they may complement a certificate or minor with other courses of interest.

Aquatic Science Example Pathway

Plan of Study Grid
Year 1
Semester 1Credits
FRSHWTR 120 Preparing for a Career in Freshwater Sciences 1
CHEM 100 Chemical Science 4
MATH 105 Introduction to College Algebra (QLA) 3
ENGLISH 101 Introduction to College Writing 3
Humanities GER 3
 Credits14
Semester 2
FRSHWTR 101 Elements of Water 3
CHEM 102 General Chemistry 5
MATH 115 Precalculus 4
BIO SCI 150 Foundations of Biological Sciences I 4
 Credits16
Year 2
Semester 3
FRSHWTR 202 Life in Water 4
CHEM 104 General Chemistry and Qualitative Analysis 5
MATH 213 Calculus with Life Sciences Applications 4
BIO SCI 152 Foundations of Biological Sciences II 4
 Credits17
Semester 4
FRSHWTR 201 The Water Environment 3
ENGLISH 102 College Writing and Research 3
MTHSTAT 215 Elementary Statistical Analysis (QLB) 3
1st semester World Language 4
Arts GER 3
 Credits16
Year 3
Semester 5
ECON 103 Principles of Microeconomics (SS) 3
COMPSCI 202 Introductory Programming Using Python 3
FRSHWTR 361 Intro to Environmental Data Systems 3
2nd semester World Language 3
GER OWC-B 3
 Credits15
Semester 6
FRSHWTR 392 Water, Energy, Food, and Climate 3
FRSHWTR 391 Water and Natural Resource Economics 3
PHYSICS 120 General Physics I (Non-Calculus Treatment) 4
FRSHWTR 464 Chemical Hydrogeology 4
 Credits14
Year 4
Semester 7
FRSHWTR 660 Professional and Capstone Planning 1
GEOG 215 Introduction to Geographic Information Science 3
AS Elective 3
AS Elective 3
Humanities GER 3
Additional Elective 3
 Credits16
Semester 8
FRSHWTR 661 Undergraduate Capstone 3
Social Science GER 3
AS Elective 3
Cultural Diversity GER 3
 Credits12
 Total Credits120

Accelerated Program Option

This program is offered as part of an accelerated bachelor's/master's program. For more information, see Accelerated Master's Degrees.

Honors in the School of Freshwater Sciences

Dean's Honor List

GPA of 3.500 or above, earned on a full-time student's GPA on 12 or more graded credits in a given semester.

Honors College Degree and Honors College Degree with Distinction

Granted to graduating seniors who complete Honors College requirements, as listed in the Honors College section of this site.

Commencement Honors

Students with a cumulative GPA of 3.500 or above, based on a minimum of 40 graded UWM credits earned prior to the final semester, will receive all-university commencement honors and be awarded the traditional gold cord at the December or May Honors Convocation. Please note that for honors calculation, the GPA is not rounded and is truncated at the third decimal (e.g., 3.499).

Final Honors

Earned on a minimum of 60 graded UWM credits: Cum Laude - 3.500 or above; Magna Cum Laude - 3.650 or above; Summa Cum Laude - 3.800 or above.