Fisheries Science is multidisciplinary, drawing expertise from the biological, physical, and social sciences. Fisheries faculty conduct research such as populations and communities of aquatic resources, their responses to exploitation, and changes in environmental conditions, and their management from the sub-cellular to the ecosystem level. Much of the research is quantitative and may be either basic or applied in nature. A diversity of faculty talent exists within the University System of Maryland to provide graduate students with a strong education in ecology, biology, and management of fish and invertebrate resources.

The multidisciplinary nature of fisheries science requires broad training in areas that may include ecology, oceanography, aquaculture, economics, mathematics, seafood technology, pathology and diseases, and management science. Students will select a curriculum, with assistance from their Research Advisory committees, to best achieve their academic and professional goals. Students will obtain most of their academic course work from a broad array of relevant courses presently available throughout the University System of Maryland. The faculty recognizes that flexible, yet rigorous, curriculum choices are important for students in fisheries science.

Graduates may expect to find challenging career opportunities. Most career opportunities in fisheries science are in the government and academic sectors, although in recent years private businesses, research firms and aquaculture businesses offer increasingly diverse career choices.  


A Bachelor's degree in the natural sciences or other field with a strong quantitative emphasis, including a grade of C or better in the following courses:
1. Two semesters of Calculus
2. Two semesters of Introductory Chemistry
3. Two semesters of Organic Chemistry, Biochemistry, or Physics
4. Two semesters of Introductory Biology (or high placement test, high GRE Biology scores)
5. Advanced Biology courses, such as Ecology and Ichthyology, are recommended

Core Courses and Other Requirements (M.S. and Ph.D.):

Core components will be offered and at least three different core area courses must be completed by all students in the Fisheries Science AOS. The requirements may be waived if equivalent course work has been obtained elsewhere, and if the student and his or her Research Advisory committee successfully petition the AOS Committee. 

1. Fisheries Science and Management - covers the basic principles of aquatic productivity, fish/invertebrate population biology, harvest and conservation of resources, assessing yield potentials, and fishery management practices.
2. Fisheries Ecology - covers the biological processes that affect productivity, abundances, and distributions of fish and invertebrate resources. Includes life history theory, predator-prey relationships, bioenergetics, trophic ecology, and zoogeography.
3. Aquaculture - covers the theory and practices of modern aquaculture of fishes and invertebrates. Includes coverage on water quality, production systems, extensive and intensive approaches, culture genetics, fish diseases, and management. 
4. Quantitative Fisheries Science - covers the basic principles of population dynamics
5. Graduate Level Course in Oceanography (physical, chemical or biological) or Limnology - covers major and minor elements, composition of seawater, seawater ionic structure and interactions, nutrient distributions, biogeochemical cycles, and the biology of marine organisms.

In addition, the following core courses are required:

6. One 400 - 700 level  3 - 4 credit course from one of the other MEES AOSs (from an approved list)
7. One course or seminar in Environmental Management, Policy, Ethics or Philosphy of Science (item 1 may satisfy this requirement; any such 3-4-credit course can satisfy item 6)
8. One 3 - 4 credit course in Statistics/Biostatistics (600 level for the Ph.D., 400 level for the M.S.)
9. One graduate level seminar (MEES 608 or equivalent) for each year in residence (on average).
10. Courses in Experimental Design and Analysis and in Scientific Writing are strongly recommended.


For the Ph.D. Comprehensive Examination, it was agreed that the type (open book, closed book, library, etc.) of the written exam should be at the discretion of each committee member as to the type of exam, with the suggestion that no question set of any committee member should take longer than eight (8) hours to complete. It was also suggested that the written exam be completed within a time span of two (2) weeks. It was also proposed that the Oral Examination not take longer than four (4) hours to complete, and that the oral examination should take place within one month after the completion of the written examination.

The AOS selected "areas" in which Ph.D. candidates will be tested on their comprehensive examination The Comprehensive Examination must be passed by each candidate as one requirement for Admission to Candidacy. The exam normally is administered to a candidate before five semesters have been completed in a Ph.D. program. It consists of five days of written responses to questions in the approved areas and a subsequent 4-hr. oral examination. AOS Co-Chairs are to be advised by the Advisory Committee of the comprehensive exam dates and the areas that have been selected for each Ph.D. candidate.

The AOS agreed at its 30 August 1994 meeting that the Advisory Committee of each Ph.D. candidate will develop an exam comprised of five areas. Three of those areas will be based upon the AOS core courses and two will be selected from four additional areas listed below.

Core Courses Exam Areas (3 of 5 comprehensive exam areas):

1. Fisheries Science and Management
2. Fisheries Ecology 
3. Aquaculture 
4. Quantitative Fisheries Science
5. Biological and Chemical Oceanography

Additional Exam Areas (2 of 5 comprehensive exam areas):

1. Organismic Biology and Ecology 
2. Statistics, Modelling, and Mathematics
3. Physiology, Pathobiology, and Biochemistry
4. Evolution and Genetics