Fisheries Graduate Program


Alaskans rely on sound science to sustain the harvest of fish and shellfish and manage habitat use. Our fisheries faculty help educate the scientists who work in Alaska's fishing industry and conservation agencies.

Fisheries students enjoy a low student-to-faculty ratio and chances to work on the biology of Alaska’s many unspoiled species. Nearly all our graduate students have financial support from fellowships, research grants, and internships awarded by governmental and tribal agencies as well as businesses and nongovernmental organizations in the private sector. Most of our graduates stay in Alaska and work for those agencies and companies.

Faculty supervise student research on a broad array of biological issues in laboratories specializing in quantitative stock assessment, biology and ecology of marine and freshwater species, molecular genetics, behavioral ecology and more. These university facilities are located across Alaska at Juneau, Seward, Kodiak and Fairbanks. Our students also work in laboratories and facilities of public and private agencies such as the NOAA Fisheries Auke Bay Laboratory, USGS Glacier Bay Field Station, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game Mark, Tag and Age Laboratory, and the Salmon Broodstock Lab at the Douglas Island Pink and Chum Macaulay Hatchery.

Our students’ theses and dissertations have addressed issues of fisheries science in the Arctic; the interior Yukon, Kuskokwim and Copper rivers; the Bering Sea, Prince William Sound and the Gulf of Alaska; and the Inside Passage of Southeast Alaska. Their subjects have ranged from the effects of the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill to the evolution of salmon or rockfish to the submarine movements of deep-sea crabs. Our students learn techniques such as wintertime scuba diving, DNA fingerprinting, and classical methods of fisheries science—boats, ships, nets and hip boots. Quantitative techniques (statistical analysis, sampling, stock assessment and GIS) are a part of every student’s program and are the particular focus of many.


To be accepted into a graduate degree program in the Department of Fisheries, applicants must have an eligible faculty member willing to serve as a major advisor. Successful applicants generally contact individual faculty members in their area of interest before submitting a formal application. Faculty welcome such inquiries, since new graduate students are an essential component of our research programs. See research areas of our current faculty listed above.

Students are typically only accepted once they have identified a funding source and project. Most fisheries students are supported by graduate research assistantships associated with research grants secured by faculty members. Some research projects may require graduate assistants with backgrounds and strengths relevant to those projects. Consideration for such assistantships may entail additional or more stringent criteria.

Learn more about admission requirements.