Fisheries and Wildlife Science – Fisheries Focus

Ichthyology students
Statewide mussel survey
Student working with ND Game and Fish
Students using seine
Students working with biotelemetry tags
Students conducting water quality monitoring
Orangespotted sunfish

The Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences degree (B.S.) with a Fisheries Focus prepares students for careers as fisheries professionals with state and federal agencies, conservation organizations, environmental consulting, and graduate school. Graduates are qualified for federal positions with agencies such as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Forest Service, Natural Resources Conservation Service, U.S. Geological Survey and others. The degree also prepares you for higher academic degrees, and about 15% of graduates go on to earn a Master’s degree. Students majoring in the Fisheries focus meet the certification requirements of The American Fisheries Society as an Associate Fisheries Professional upon graduation.

Hands-on experience is a major component of all Fisheries courses at VCSU and is applied in both laboratory and field settings. In addition, students are encouraged to seek real world experience through volunteering and summer employment opportunities with fisheries professionals. This real world experience in professional settings increases VCSU graduates’ marketability when entering the workforce. VCSU faculty use established relationships with multiple state and Federal agencies to aid students in acquiring summer employment. In addition, faculty members often offer summer employment opportunities in aquatic research to current students.

You have the choice of majoring in the Fisheries, Wildlife or Conservation Law Enforcement. Many students do major in more than one Focus.


  • Small class sizes that enable faculty to really focus on field trips and hands-on learning.
  • Field-oriented classes – a sampling of fisheries field trips includes: collection of stream fish through seining and backpack electrofishing, spring spawning events with ND Game and Fish (northern pike and walleye), aquatic macroinvertebrate surveys, mark/recapture population estimates, water quality monitoring and more!
  • All Science Faculty have their Ph.D.’s, and teach their own labs. You probably have not thought about this, but at larger Universities, graduate students often are the ones to teach the labs.
  • Outstanding facilities - Rhoades Science building is new (2013) and has excellent labs that were designed around the Fisheries and Wildlife Science major. Examples include the aquatics lab, terrestrial lab, greenhouse, and the Necropsy room.
  • Students have multiple opportunities to travel to regional and national professional meetings. Faculty annually take fisheries students to the Dakota Chapter of the American Fisheries Society meeting. For the past several years, some students have also attended the National Meeting of the American Fisheries Society. At larger Universities undergraduate students often do not get these opportunities.

Contact Us

Bob Anderson, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Science
Phone: 701-845-7338

Casey Williams, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Phone: 701-845-7457

Lauren Dennhardt, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor

Phone: 701-845-7451