UW’s College of the Environment- School of Aquatic & Fishery Sciences

As one of the oldest schools within the University of Washington, the School of Aquatic & Fishery Sciences is also one of the newest members of the university’s College of the Environment. While the school itself had already established itself over the course of more than 80 years, the benefits of joining the College of the Environment could not be ignored. The school prides itself in interdisciplinary work, and joining with the college furthered those goals.

With the largest facilities on campus, the School of Aquatic & Fishery Sciences (SAFS) also houses the majority of faculty and students. There are many draws to this school, as it encourages as well as facilitates intensive hands-on learning and a variety of research capabilities. Within the campus itself, SAFS has a collection of literally millions of preserved specimens, representing over 4100 species. This is in addition to wet labs, molecular and genetic physiology labs and more, all on campus. Off-campus, field studies take place in Alaska, observing salmon firsthand. These facilities simply underscore the school’s heavy focus on research and analysis.

For undergraduates, all four years of education build for what is meant to be a lifelong learning experience. Beginning with an understanding of vocabulary and language relating to aquatics and fishery, each course builds upon the last until a final research project, Capstone Research, is completed by seniors with the support of a faculty mentor. After years of investigating aquatic ecosystems from the smallest of details to the broadest of pictures, this project is certain to be the highlight of a strong educational process.

Graduates have the option of pursuing a Master of Science or Doctor of Philosophy. In keeping with the interdisciplinary nature of the College of the Environment, a related program is also connected to the SAFS- the Quantitative Ecology and Resource Management (QERM) program. This is connected to over a dozen programs within the university and allows mathematically inclined students to work in ecological and conservationist fields.

In addition to the extensive studies in the world of aquatics, courses also engage the world of man and the social and ethical issues that arise in these particular fields. Setting the College of Environment apart from other schools of fishery, the goal of sustainability is met by close relationships with other fields and by stepping outside of the specific fields of aquatics and fishery to the outside influences. This holistic approach creates a holistic student, prepared to continue a lifetime of learning and analysing in order to contribute to his or her field.


– Editors, CityRoom

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