Professor and Student at river

With the aquatic biology and fisheries option, you will promote the protection and restoration of water quality, the management of freshwater environments, and the recreational and sport-fishing use of lakes and streams. You will also discover the importance of cooperation among industry, agriculture, and the public, which is necessary to achieve individual and mutual goals.

Your courses in aquatic biology and fisheries will cover subjects such as freshwater organisms like microbes, algae and fish, nutrient dynamics, freshwater ecosystems and the physical processes that affect these environments. You will also study applied biological methods like habitat and water quality assessment, environmental conservation, fisheries and invasive species management, and water resource management.

These courses have prepared our graduates to work in management and research positions for governmental and private organizations, and they serve as prerequisites for further study in graduate school.

What It’s Like to Study Aquatic Biology and Fisheries at Ball State

Ball State’s aquatic biology and fisheries faculty are more than teachers—they are also active researchers who regularly invite students to work alongside them.

Some of the research projects our students have assisted with include:

  • trophic and population ecology of Lake Michigan yellow perch
  • effects of stream channelization on Indiana fish communities
  • benthic invertebrates of Lake Michigan
  • current and historic fish assemblages of the Wabash River
  • ecology of mountain streams in Puerto Rico
  • morphological variation among spotfin shiners in the Wabash River watershed
  • phytoplankton of the Ohio River
  • evolution of mate preference in fish
  • fish behavior analysis

Additionally, the Ball State University Aquatic Biology and Fisheries Center serves as a focal point for aquatic research and services throughout the region, and the center promotes the pursuit of research among faculty and students alike.

The Ball State chapter of the American Fisheries Society provides an opportunity to connect with other students in your concentration for support, professional development opportunities and academic discussion.

Our low student-to-professor ratio and small class sizes give you daily contact with professors in lecture, laboratory and out in the field, plus the individualized attention you need to excel.

Program Requirements

The concentration in aquatic biology and fisheries fulfills part of the requirements that lead to a bachelor of arts or bachelor of science degree with a major in biology.

All biology majors must also complete the biology core curriculum and the University Core Curriculum.

Credits Required

Total to Graduate: 120

  • Biology Core Curriculum: 44
  • Aquatic Biology and Fisheries Concentration: 22-23
  • University Core Curriculum: 66-70


Biology Core

All biology majors in every concentration are required to complete a core curriculum in biology that is separate from your concentration requirements and from the University Core Curriculum.

These foundational courses provide you with an overview of the principles in biology and develop a necessary competency in chemistry, physics and math.

Biology Core Courses: 25 credits

  • BIO 111 – Principles of Biology 1
  • BIO 112 – Principles of Biology 2
  • BIO 210 – Intro to Botany
  • BIO 214 – Genetics
  • BIO 215 – Cell Biology
  • BIO 216 – Ecology
  • BIO 315 – Cell Methods or Bio 316 – Ecology Methods
  • BIO 499 – Senior Symposium

Other Required Courses: 19-20 credits

  • CHEM 111 – General Chemistry 1
  • CHEM 112 – General Chemistry 2
  • CHEM 231 – Organic Chemistry
  • PHYCS 110 – General Physics 1
  • one course in mathematics:
    • MATH 112 – Pre-calculus Trigonometry
    • MATH 161 – Applied Calculus
    • MATH 165 – Calculus 1

Note: All aquatic biology and fisheries concentration students are required to take Math 161.

View Catalog

The courses you will take to complete the field botany concentration are:

  • BIO 448 – Biometry
  • BIO 480 – Limnology
  • BOT 481 – Aquatic Botany or Zool 465 – Fishery Resource Management
  • ZOOL 432 – Invertebrate Zoology
  • ZOOL 444 – Ichthyology
  • ZOOL 484 – Aquatic Entomology

For a complete list of all the courses you will take for your degree and their descriptions, please see our Course Catalog.

View Catalog

What Can You Do with a Degree in Biology with a Concentration Aquatic Biology and Fisheries?

Here are a few examples of where your degree can take you:

  • National Biological Survey and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service conduct research, managing resources, and studying fish culture.
  • State fisheries, wildlife, and natural resources departments perform tasks in the areas of fisheries management, fisheries research, fish culture, water management, and information and education.
  • State health departments work to control, monitor, and evaluate water pollution.
  • Municipal divisions oversee water pollution control and monitor wastewater and drinking water treatment.
  • Industries conduct water pollution research, control, and abatement, and bioassay and toxicology studies.
  • Private consulting firms perform biological research and analysis, chemical research and analysis, and environmental studies as well as engineering.
  • Private fisheries firms work with fish hatcheries, aquaculture, and hydroponics.

And no matter where you are in your education or career, our faculty and the Ball State Career Center will help guide you every step of the way.

Paying for Your Education

Apply to Ball State

Admission to Ball State is selective, and we carefully evaluate all applications on an individual basis. Applying is easy. Use our convenient, comprehensive, and secure online application.

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Want to Learn More?

The best way to get a true feel for Ball State is to spend some time here, so we encourage you and your family to schedule a campus visit. Take a tour, attend an information session, meet with a professor in our area, and ask plenty of questions. Or if you’d rather speak to someone directly by phone or email, please feel free to contact us.

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