Water Science


(Bachelor of Science)

Overview of the Program

The UW-Green Bay Water Science program is an integrated program designed to provide students with the tools necessary to solve the water related challenges of today and tomorrow. Students may complete program requirements in four years. The curriculum is interdisciplinary, with a core set of courses drawn from geoscience, chemistry, environmental science, biology, physics, math and statistics, and public and environmental affairs. In addition, a diverse set of elective courses allow students to focus on subdisciplines in water science that can meet their career needs and interests. The major requirements are comprised of 71 credits, which include 33 credits of supporting courses, 22 credits of upper level core courses, and 16 credits of upper level electives. The comprehensive major has a principal focus on water’s role in natural processes in Earth’s systems. These skills include a solid understanding of the chemistry, surface water hydrology, groundwater, and biology of freshwater systems. UW-Green Bay Water Science majors have opportunities to work as research assistants on faculty projects, develop internships, or to conduct their own independent projects. UW-Green Bay faculty members are very active in research on water and wastewater treatment, runoff pollution, stream hydrology, groundwater quantity and quality, limnology, and aquatic ecology.

Student Learning Outcomes and Program Objectives

  1. Students will be able to describe the role water plays in the lithosphere, hydrosphere, cryosphere, atmosphere, and biosphere, with emphasis on interactions between these reservoirs.
  2. Students will apply the scientific method to investigations of hydrologic processes, Earth systems, and interactions among the various physical and biological realms utilizing standard scientific field and laboratory methods.
  3. Students will demonstrate an understanding of the hydrology of streams and lake systems and the role water has in landscape‑forming processes that act on the Earth's surface.
  4. Students will be able to describe the processes of and importance of groundwater flow and aquifer systems.
  5. Students will be able to compare chemical interactions that occur in various hydrologic settings and their importance to water resources, geological and biological systems, and water/wastewater treatment.
  6. Students will be able to describe the role water plays in atmospheric systems and the climate system.
  7. Students will be able to describe the interactions between water systems and ecosystems.
  8. Students will be able to describe the challenges of maintaining surface and ground water quality.
  9. Students will apply their knowledge base and research skills to current issues pertaining to water resources, management, and remediation, with emphasis on related economic, social, and public policy dimensions.
  10. Students will analyze, interpret, and report on laboratory and field findings using appropriate statistical techniques and computer applications.

Curriculum Guide 

The following is an example of a four-year Water Science program and is a representation of one possible pathway. Students are encouraged to plan ahead and check with your advisor to ensure that they have the most accurate and up-to-date information available about a particular four-year degree option. Because some courses are fall/spring and even/odd year basis, timing of certain courses may vary.  Students are encouraged to consider a minor that pairs well with Water Science. 120 credits necessary to graduate. 

Plan of Study Grid
WATER 201 Introduction to Water Science 3
GEOSCI 202 Physical Geology 4
First Year Seminar 3
English Comp 100 or Gen Ed 3
Gen Ed or Math Course 3
BIOLOGY 203 Principles of Biology: Organisms and Evolution 3
BIOLOGY 204 Principles of Biology Lab: Organisms and Evolution 1
GEOSCI 222 Ocean of Air: Weather and Climate 3
MATH 260 Introductory Statistics 4
Gen Ed 4
CHEM 211 Principles of Chemistry I 4
CHEM 213 Principles of Chemistry I Laboratory 1
ENV SCI 330 Hydrology 3
Stream Ecology
or Limnology
Gen Ed or Elective 4
CHEM 212 Principles of Chemistry II 4
CHEM 214 Principles of Chemistry II Laboratory 1
ENV SCI 335 Water and Waste Water Treatment 3
ENV SCI 337 Environmental GIS 3
Gen Ed or Elective 4
Ground Water: Resources and Regulations 1
or Water Resources Policy and Management
Fundamentals of Physics I
or Principles of Physics I
PHYSICS 203 Introductory Physics Lab I 1
WATER 444 Geochemistry of Natural Waters 3
Elective 4
EPP 351
Water Resources Policy and Management
or Ground Water: Resources and Regulations
GEOSCI 432 Hydrogeology 3
WATER 321 Stable Isotopes in the Environment (Recommended) 1
Elective 6
Gen Ed 3
Independent Study (Recommended)
or Internship
or Stream Ecology
Elective 4
Elective 4
Electives 8
Gen Ed 6
Internship (Recommended)
or Independent Study
 Total Credits121-126


Rebecca Abler; Professor; Ph.D., Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Patrick S Forsythe; Professor; Ph.D., Michigan State University*

Richard Hein; Professor; Ph.D., University of Rhode Island

John A Luczaj; Professor; Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University*

Patricia A Terry; Professor; Ph.D., University of Colorado*

Michael E Zorn; Professor; Ph.D., University of Wisconsin - Madison*

Michael Holly; Associate Professor; Ph.D., University of Wisconsin - Madison

Steven J Meyer; Associate Professor; Ph.D., University of Nebraska - Lincoln

Kpoti (Stefan) Gunn; Assistant Professor; Ph.D., Ohio State University

Christopher Houghton; Assistant Teaching Professor; Ph.D., University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee