Aquatics students.

Program Overview

Quick Facts

  • Delivery: On Campus
  • Credits: 120
  • 90% of Courses with Field Experiences
  • Experiential Learning Opportunities

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 including marine biology programs.

Meet the Biology Faculty Who Teach in this Concentration


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:

  • 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
  • big data approaches to understanding and preventing the spread of aquatic invasive species
  • the diversity of reproductive strategies among the world's fishes
  • who buys fishing licenses in Indiana and how they use them

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.

Experiential Learning

Some courses offer trips to regions such as Sapelo Island, Belize, or South Africa.  These unique opportunities allow for students to have hands-on-learning experiences in different locations.  Typically these are offered over Spring Break or at the beginning of summer.  Contact your advisor to learn more about these exciting courses!

Student Organization

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.

Small Class Size

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.

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: 37-38
  • Aquatic Biology and Fisheries Concentration: 22-23
  • University Core Curriculum: 66-70


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: 18 credits

  • BIO 111 – Principles of Biology 1
  • BIO 112 – Principles of Biology 2
  • BIO 201 - Symposium
  • BIO 214 – Genetics
  • BIO 216 – Ecology
  • One of the following:
    • BIO 314 – Methods in Genetics
    • BIO 315 – Methods in Cell Biology
    • BIO 316 – Methods in Ecology

*Note:  All aquatic and fisheries concentration students are required to take BIO 316.

Other Required Courses: 18-20 credits

  • CHEM 111 – General Chemistry 1
  • CHEM 112 – General Chemistry 2
  • PHYC 110 – General Physics 1
  • One of the following:
    • CHEM 230 – Organic Chemistry for the Life Sciences AND CHEM 241 – Organic Chemistry Laboratory 1
    • CHEM 231 – Organic Chemistry 1 AND CHEM 241 – Organic Chemistry Laboratory 1
  • One of the following:
    • MATH 112 – Precalculus Trigonometry
    • MATH 114 – Precalculus Trigonometry (accelerated 8 week course)
    • MATH 161 – Applied Calculus 1
    • MATH 165 – Calculus 1 

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


The courses you will take to complete the aquatic biology and fisheries concentration are:

  • BIO 210 – Introduction to Botany
  • BIO 316 – Methods in Ecology
  • BIO 448 – Biometry
  • BIO 480 – Limnology
  • BOT 481 – Aquatic Botany or ZOOL 465 – Fishery Resources Management
  • BIO 482 – Aquatic Microbiology
  • 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

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Take the Next Step

Do you want to learn more about our program or have questions about the application process or financial aid? We’re here to help! One of the best ways to understand why Ball State is right for you is to schedule a visit through our Office of Undergraduate Admissions to see it for yourself. Or if you’d like to speak directly to someone in our department, please feel free to call or email us.


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