Freshwater Science

Bachelor of Science (BSc)

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

Freshwater Science student and professor in the field at UBC Okanagan

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.

research Participation

Our close-knit campus allows you to work together with faculty to conduct or assist with research projects. Some of the many topics being researched by renowned UBC faculty researchers include: biogeochemistry, freshwater ecology and paleoecology, hydrology and stream geomorphology.

Experiential Learning

The unique Okanagan landscape provides a variety of experiential learning opportunities. Work closely with your fellow classmates and faculty while studying in an outdoor setting on field trips and in field courses. Learn essential field skills and measurement techniques in a dedicated hydrology and stream restoration field school.

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.

what you need to know

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 aquatic chemistry, hydrology, aquatic organisms, and the health of aquatic ecosystems.

At UBC Okanagan, you can complete a Bachelor of Science (BSc) with a major or 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 science courses and descriptions

The following link 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)

For your application to be considered, you will need to:

  • meet general requirements (e.g., graduate from secondary school)
  • demonstrate a certain level of English competency
  • meet specific requirements for the degree you’re applying to

Then, UBC will take a closer look at your application. We’ll read your Personal Profile to get a sense of who you are and what you’ve achieved. We’ll also look at all of your Grade 11 (junior level) and Grade 12 (senior level) courses, paying special attention to the courses that relate to the degree you’re applying to.

Find your specific requirements at https://you.ubc.ca/

WHEN TO DECLARE YOUR MAJOR

Declaring helps you plan your program more effectively, build your education, and stay connected.

Students are encouraged to declare their major in freshwater science at the end of their first year in order to take the prerequisite second-year courses. Refer to the Academic Calendar for admission requirements.

Application Deadlines

Plan ahead to ensure you meet important deadlines and other target dates listed at you.ubc.ca.

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.

Apply to UBC at you.ubc.ca — 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.

Your Career Options

Build a broad foundation and great career potential with a UBC degree — respected by employers around the globe. Career options range from aquaculturist and ecologist to land conservation manager and fisheries specialist.

  • Aquaculturist
  • Aquatic scientist
  • 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
  • Water resource manager
  • 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
  • Not for profit sector
  • Universities, colleges, and research institutions

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
  • earn money to pay for tuition

Inquire about Co-op by phone at 250.807.9623 or by email.

The Irving K. Barber School of Arts and Sciences offers MSc and PhD degrees in earth and environmental sciences. UBC Okanagan also has an innovative Interdisciplinary Graduate Studies (IGS) program in which students may have a freshwater science 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.

  • 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.

Follow your ideas and jump-start your career:

Get a financial boost to start your research experience. Pay for travel and other expenses. Win merit-based cash awards that look impressive on your resumé.

  • 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.
  • Learn through doing, create strong connections, and develop professional skills with a campus job arranged by UBC’s Work Study Program.
  • Meet a community need and get practical experience by volunteering for a Community Service Learning project — a life-changing experience.

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.

  • Get a glimpse into life on UBC’s Okanagan campus at you.ubc.ca.
  • 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 

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

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

  • 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.

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, includes a rooftop patio that offers a panoramic view of the campus and the Okanagan Valley.

Find out more about living in residence at you.ubc.ca.

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 at you.ubc.ca.