Fisheries Biology - MS

S.J. & Jessie E. Quinney College of Natural Resources

About This Degree

Utah State University is the only university in the state with a college devoted to the study of natural resources, and the fisheries biology program is one of the few programs in the nation where students have the opportunity to focus on freshwater fish populations.

Students in the fisheries biology program study river, lake, and wetland ecosystems. 

What You Will Learn

The program highlights the ecology of freshwater systems, management of important fisheries, restoration of stream, riparian, and wetland areas, and the monitoring and protection of plant and animal populations in lakes and rivers.

Each student has an individualized plan of study created for them by their graduate committee, and students are able to take courses in other departments on campus, such as biology and civil and environmental engineering. This allows students to gain a broad education in areas related to fish populations and aquatic ecosystems.


Conservation Biology:

Students in this specialization study the population dynamics, genetics, and habitats of aquatic species. Students focus on the monitoring and restoration of species that are of conservation concern.

Fisheries Management:

Students pursuing this specialization study the management of fish populations, their habitats, and the policies that impact fisheries. Graduates are qualified for careers as fisheries managers with state and federal agencies.

Career And Outcomes

Career Opportunities

Graduates in fisheries biology can pursue the following careers:

  • Fish hatchery biologist
  • Fisheries biologist
  • Endangered species coordinator
  • Marine biologist
  • Restoration ecologist
  • Research scientist
  • Fisheries manager

Job Outlook


Request Information Fisheries Biology
Description Fisheries Biology

I am not a current USU student

I have not applied or been admitted, even if I've taken a USU Concurrent Enrollment course

I am a current USU student

I have been admitted and plan to attend, or continue attending USU

USU Locations



Admission Requirements

Students must have a science-based undergraduate degree to be considered.

To be accepted to the program, it is recommended that applicants first contact a specific faculty member with whom they are interested in working. If the faculty member is accepting graduate students and agrees to work with the student, the student can then apply by completing the following application requirements:

Application Requirements:

  • Complete the online application
  • Pay the $55 application fee
  • Have a 3.0 or higher GPA on your last 60 semester or 90 quarter credits
  • Provide transcripts of all college/university credits
  • Provide three contacts for letters of recommendation

International students have additional admissions requirements.


The department has the following deadlines:

  • Fall semester - June 15
  • Spring semester - October 15
  • Summer semester - March 15
  • Preference for financial assistance will be given to applicants who apply before January 10.

Plan Options

Students can receive the MS by pursuing one of two options:

  • In the Plan A option, students complete graduate-level coursework and must write a thesis.
  • The Plan B option requires the production of a paper or creative work of art and is expected to reflect equivalent scholarship standards as a thesis.

Financial Aid

Most students are supported by research assistantships provided by faculty having grants or contracts. There are no separate applications for financial assistance. All applicants accepted into the graduate program before January 10 will be considered for college and university fellowships and other financial assistance for the following year. Only a few fellowships are awarded each year, usually to PhD candidates.

A variety of funding opportunities are available on the graduate school website.

Take The Next Step

You May Also Be Interested In


Conduct graduate research in a selective program where you can study a variety of areas in biology, including ecology, evolution, microbiology, virology, animal behavior, and more.


Work on exciting research projects with renowned faculty studying ecology through the lens of a variety of different scientific disciplines.

Master of Natural Resources

Earn a master’s as a working professional as you take courses to help you become a manager and decision maker in the natural resources field.

Watershed Science

Integrate physics, chemistry, and biology to understand watershed systems with hands-on field work and a plan of study based on your individual research interests.