Bachelor of Science (BSc)

Freshwater Science

Study water quality and quantity, aquatic organisms and the health of aquatic ecosystems.

Freshwater Science Leading Image
Field trips are an integral part of UBC Okanagan’s freshwater science program.

What You Need to Know

Why study freshwater science at UBC’s Okanagan campus?

Career opportunities
Build a broad foundation with a globally recognized UBC degree. With your skills and knowledge you can make a career in national and international freshwater or environmental sectors, or progress into graduate studies in Freshwater Science.

Undergraduate research
Students can undertake an individual research project as directed studies or honours. Some courses provide opportunities for group projects.

Student networks
Join the Freshwater Science Course Union to build friendships, get involved in research, and gain increased access to career resources.

Co-op experience
Put your classroom learning to the test with Co-op job placements throughout the region and beyond. Co-op helps you to gain beneficial skills such as how to build your resumé, apply for jobs, expand your professional network and earn money to pay for tuition.

Program Overview

Get your UBC degree in freshwater science, which integrates and synthesizes aquatic aspects of biology, chemistry, geography and earth and environmental sciences.

Freshwater Science is designed to give you a broad perspective on inland waters. The program concentrates on understanding the science behind emerging environmental issues facing society using a highly interdisciplinary approach. Emerging issues, include: land-use/water interactions, toxicants in the aquatic environment, and potential effects of global climate change on aquatic environments and water resources. Students study water quality and quantity, aquatic organisms and the health of aquatic ecosystems.

In undergraduate studies at UBC Okanagan, you can complete a Bachelor of Science (BSc) with a major on honours in freshwater science.


UBC Okanagan’s freshwater science program offers a wide variety of foundational and advanced courses that prepare students for careers in freshwater or environmental sectors.

Sample courses:

  • EESC 402 — Freshwater Resources 
  • EESC 435 — Applied Fluvial Geomorphology Field Techniques
  • CHEM 301 — Aqueous Environmental Chemistry
  • BIOL 375 — Flora and Fauna of Inland Waters

Browse freshwater sciences courses and descriptions

Degree Options

The following links takes you to freshwater science program details in the Okanagan Academic Calendar, a comprehensive guide to all programs, courses, services, and academic policies at the University of British Columbia:

Bachelor of Science (BSc)

Learn about graduate studies in earth and environmental sciences or Interdisciplinary Graduate Studies (IGS).


British Columbia High School Requirements

  • Chemistry 11
  • English 12 or English 12 First Peoples
  • Pre-calculus 12 (minimum 67%)
  • Two other approved Grade 12 courses, including at least one of Biology 12, Chemistry 12, Geography 12, Geology 12, or Physics 12

For general admission requirements and program specific requirements, all Canadian high school, international high school, Canadian post-secondary or international post-secondary applicants should visit

Application Deadlines

Application Deadlines
Plan ahead to ensure you meet important deadlines and other target dates listed at

Tuition Fees
UBC Okanagan's fees compare favourably with universities of the same high calibre. See Financial Planning for helpful resources, and add up your first-year costs with our Cost Calculator.

How to Apply

Apply to UBC at—there are just five steps in the application process. Soon you could be studying at one of the world's top universities.

Check out the steps to apply to UBC, and be sure to choose "Okanagan campus."

Or let our Student Recruitment & Advising experts guide you: call 1-877-807-8521.

UBC Okanagan

Your Career Options

Earn a UBC degree respected by employers around the globe. Build a broad foundation and great career potential with undergraduate studies in Freshwater Science. Career options range from aquaculturist, ecologist, and land conservation manager to and fisheries specialist.



  • Aquaculturist
  • Conservation and fishery officer
  • Ecologist
  • Ecosystem management specialist 
  • Environmental auditor
  • Environmental education specialist
  • Fisheries specialist
  • Hatchery specialist
  • Hydrometric technologist
  • Land conservation manager
  • Natural resource officer
  • Remediation specialist
  • Stream Restoration specialist
  • Water specialist

Potential Employers

  • Aquaculture, agricultural, food, forestry
  • Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada—Freshwater Institute
  • Engineering and environmental consulting firms
  • Environment Canada’s National Water Research Institute (NWRI)
  • Environmental monitoring or protection agencies
  • Government and private laboratories
  • Inspection facilities
  • Utility generation companies
  • Water, stream flow, and wastewater treatment services

Co-op Experience

Learn and earn with Co-op, a paid opportunity for students to enrich their education with work experience. At UBC’s Okanagan campus, sign up for Co-op to: build your resumé with professional experience; learn valuable tips on how to successfully apply for jobs; expand your network of industry contacts; and earn money to pay for tuition. Inquire about Co-op by phone at 250.807.9623 or by email.

Further Studies

UBC Okanagan offers MA, MSc and PhD degrees in earth and environmental sciences and the Interdisciplinary Graduate Studies (IGS) program in which students may build an individualized program and have a Freshwater Science department faculty member as their primary supervisor.

Gain Valuable Experience

Learning experiences beyond the classroom help prepare you for a career and life after university. Expand your horizons while studying abroad, conducting meaningful research, or working in the community with your UBC colleagues.

Travel and Learn

  • See the world through Go Global, a UBC program for exchange and study with more than 150 international partner institutions. Experience university life abroad as a resident, or earn academic credit while participating in summer group-study courses led by UBC profs.
  • Travel to a conference or competition with financial assistance available through the Tuum Est Student Initiative Fund, which provides financial support up to $3,500.

Undergraduate Research

Follow your ideas and jump-start your career:

Research Scholarships

Get a financial boost to start your research experience and help pay for travel and other expenses. Merit-based cash awards also look impressive on your resumé. Available awards include:

Work Opportunities

  • Meet a community need and get practical experience by volunteering for a Community Service Learning project—a life-changing experience.
  • Acquire real-world job skills and strong connections at a campus job arranged by UBC’s Work Study Program.
  • Co-op puts your classroom learning to the test, allowing you to explore career options while earning money. Inquire about Co-op by phone at 250.807.9623 or by email.

Meet Your Peers and Profs

Find out what students, faculty, and alumni have to say about UBC Okanagan’s freshwater science program:
Raphael Nowak

Raphael Nowak, UBC Student

“UBC Okanagan has enabled me to turn a lifelong hobby into an academic pursuit while remaining committed to community service.”

Adam Wei

Adam Wei, UBC Professor

“Understanding processes allows us to manage the future of forests and water resources.”

Ryan Whitehouse

Ryan Whitehouse, UBC Alumnus

“It was an easy decision to stay and continue studying at UBC Okanagan.”

Welcome to UBC's Okanagan Campus

The University of British Columbia is a global centre for research and teaching, consistently ranked among the 40 best universities in the world. In the Freshwater Science program at UBC’s Okanagan campus, you gain all the benefits of attending a globally respected university while studying in a close-knit learning community.


Tour the Campus

  • Get a glimpse into life on UBC’s Okanagan campus at
  • Take a virtual tour of our state-of-the-art labs, modern facilities, campus residences.
  • Visit the campus for a personal guided tour led by a student ambassador.
  • Tour the campus, city and lake with this interactive 360-degree Kelowna From Above* video.
  • * Best viewed in Chrome and Firefox

Day One: What to Expect

On the first day of university, take part in “Meet the Dean” sessions where you can get to know the Dean, professors, and the staff who provide student support. It’s all part of CREATE, UBC Okanagan’s new student orientation.

Attend an orientation that’s tailored to your needs as an aboriginal student, domestic student, international student, or a student living in residence. You can even register your parents for an orientation that includes a workshop and campus tour.

Academic Support

  • Peer mentors are a great resource — ask questions and learn from students who've been there, done that.
  • Navigate your studies with the help of a professor, your Program Advisor.
  • Use the library which offers print, audiovisual and electronic research materials, a leisure-reading collection and loaner laptops. It also offers research consultations, instruction and workshops.
  • The library’s Writing and Resource Centre can help you articulate your ideas. Pursue your research in a range of subject areas and scholarly genres including essay writing, grammar, presentation skills, punctuation, thesis development and coursework.
  • Familiarize yourself with resources designed to help you succeed. Student Services offers a variety of academic supports, from study sessions to tutoring and writing workshops.


Take advantage of the many opportunities to get involved and stay active—from workout space in the new Hangar Fitness Centre, to athletic courts, intramurals, fitness classes, and varsity athletics.

Learn more at Sports and Recreation, which includes links to fitness facilities, sport clubs, intramurals and recreation programs, as well as the nationally ranked UBC Okanagan Heat varsity teams that compete in the Canada West Universities Athletics Association.

    Clubs and Associations

    • Make friends with similar interests, attend events, and explore career options at one of many clubs and associations including Freshwater Science Course Union
    • Branch out, get involved in student life, and have fun in various campus clubs.

    Living in Residence

    Meet new people while living in a study-oriented environment with easy access to academic and personal support.

    UBC Okanagan offers modern residence living surrounded by hiking and biking trails. One of the newest residences, Purcell, features a rooftop patio that offers a panoramic view of the campus and the Okanagan Valley

    Find out more about living in residence at

    The Okanagan Valley: What to Expect

    UBC’s Okanagan campus borders the dynamic city of Kelowna, a hub of economic development with a population of more than 150,000 people—the fourth fastest growing population in Canada. In fact, the Okanagan Valley is rated one of the best communities in Canada to grow your business.

    More than 160 buses travel daily from campus to key locations such as Kelowna's cultural district and thriving downtown waterfront. The campus is two minutes from the Kelowna International Airport, one of the top 10 busiest airports in Canada.

    UBC Okanagan is situated within the First Nations territory of the Okanagan Nation, whose spirit of stewardship for the land is reflected in the university’s respect for sustainability.

    A diverse natural region with sandy beaches, beautiful farms, vineyards and orchards, and snow-capped mountains, the Okanagan Valley features sweeping stretches of lakeside and endless mountain trails for biking and hiking.

    Explore the Okanagan lifestyle.


    Last reviewed shim10/4/2018 1:10:29 PM