The Fisheries Science Program is for students interested in research and management of aquatic animals and ecosystems, including shellfish, endangered species, sport fish, and aquaculture fish. Most graduates work for state or federal conservation agencies, environmental consulting firms, or public utilities.
Because the more challenging and rewarding jobs require a master’s degree, the program emphasizes preparation for graduate study.
Ranked one of the top programs in the nation, the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences offers educational and research programs at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. The comprehensive curriculum covers the principles and practices of individual disciplines, along with advanced skills in communications and data analysis. Faculty specialties include endangered species management, coldwater stream management, conservation genetics, reservoir ecology, recirculating aquaculture systems, wildlife physiology and ecotoxicology, habitat analysis and management, geographic information systems, human dimensions and natural resources policy and administration. All students completing undergraduate degree requirements receive the Bachelor of Science in Fisheries or Wildlife Sciences.
Numerous opportunities exist for undergraduate students to gain hands-on experience through cooperative education, internships, directed research, and volunteer positions. Exchange programs exist with both American and foreign universities.
The department hosts cooperative units with the U.S. Geological Survey (Biological Resources Division), U.S. Forest Service, and the National Marine Fisheries Service, and works closely with a related National Park Service unit. These cooperatives provide students access to lands, waters, animals, facilities, and equipment throughout the nation. The department maintains facilities in Cheatham and Latham Halls for laboratory analysis, small-scale aquatic experiments, computer analysis, and geographic information systems.
The latest computer technology is available through the Center for Environmental Applications of Remote Sensing (CEARS). The department is affiliated with the Conservation Management Institute, a long-term research and outreach project that houses and services major biological databases for more than 30 state and federal resource agencies. Aquaculture laboratories provide state-of-the-art facilities for endangered species and foodfish aquaculture. Center Woods is an on-campus woodlot housing captive animal facilities for bear, and other animals. Most student research is conducted in field locations in Virginia and adjacent states, but current projects also occur in New York, New Jersey, Florida, South Dakota, Belize, China, Botswana, and Madagascar.