Aquatic Science Careers and Graduate School

Some questions we often hear are "What can I do with an Aquatic Science degree from UW-L?" or "Will I be able to get a job with an Aquatic Science degree from UW-L?" or "Do I have to get an advanced degree, e.g., M.S. or Ph.D, to actually get a job with an Aquatic Science degree from UW-L?"

These are relevant and important questions and as you might expect there are no easy answers. Everyone's situation in unique and there are many variables one must consider when deciding on a job/career. For example, what specifically do you want to do?, how well did you perform in your coursework?, do you have any research/internship experiences?, and are you willing to relocate? Specific situation questions are best directed to an Aquatic Science Advisor.

However, in general, the field of Aquatic Science is strong and career prospects are good. Most areas of Aquatic Science could fall into the category of Environmental Scientists or Specialists and according to the 2010/2011 edition of the Occupational Outlook Handbook, "employment is expected to grow much faster than the average for all occupations. Job prospects are expected to be favorable, particularly in State and local government." This favorable outlook is in response to the concerns about surface water, ground water, agricultural chemicals, and hazardous wastes.

An excellent resource on information about careers in the aquatic sciences is a website developed by the American Society of Limnology and Oceanography and can be found here. Another good website specifically for those interested in marine careers should check out this one by Sea Grant.

Some occupations within the field of Aquatic Science do require an advanced graduate degree, especially those involving teaching and/or research. Our graduates are very competitive and have been successful at landing M.S. and Ph.D. positions. At UW-L, we have a M.S. program in Aquatic Biology.

For further information, contact:

Dr. Eric A. Strauss, Aquatic Science Advisor
University of Wisconsin-La Crosse
La Crosse, WI  54601

2033 Cowley Hall;  Telephone: (608) 785-8262