Expand your curiosity of the aquatic world with a minor in Aquatic Science. Through a combination of courses in the natural sciences, computer science and mathematics, you’ll be able to follow your interests in Aquatic Science and take on issues like food scarcity, access to clean water and climate change. Through courses and research, you’ll be prepared for many water-based endeavors, both in the workforce or in post-graduate studies.

FacilitiesOn the Water

Studying Aquatic Science, you’ll have access to resources typically found at large research universities but with the personalized, liberal arts program that Hobart and William Smith provide. Two research vessels – The William Scandling and JB Snow – allow for researching, sampling and analysis on the 35-mile Seneca Lake. You can also work with scientists at the HWS Finger Lakes Institute who’s mission is to better understand, educate the public and policy makers about the health and protection of the Finger Lakes.


Experiential EducationTaking it to the Field

Work with your professors and other scientists on water quality analysis at the Finger Lakes Institute or attend a discussion on global access to water at the Intercultural Affairs Center.

At Hobart and William Smith, learning goes beyond textbooks and classrooms. You’ll gain high-impact practical experience that deepens learning and opens doors.


Global EducationWorldwide Study

Study climate change’s impact on the Great Barrier Reef in Australia or the challenges behind water access in Denmark.

Wherever you go, our nationally-ranked global education program will allow you to apply classroom knowledge, develop cultural understanding and build global connections that expand your personal capacity and sense of purpose.


Belonging, Diversity and Equity

Subtopics in aquatic science, most notably access to clean water, show disparities in our world. Marginalized groups in America and throughout the world are more likely to be at risk of unsafe drinking water, leading to potential for larger health risks. The program provides students the resources and knowledge to work on solutions that address these inequalities. Additionally, the program welcomes all students from all backgrounds to provide a variety of perspectives, insights and ideas to improve the health and wellbeing for all.



Dive into Aquatic Science and learn how water impacts the world.


Learn about hydrology using scientific quantitative reasoning to examine the characteristics and importance of water across environmental and geophysical sciences. Discuss the role of water in natural systems and explore atmospheric moisture; floods and stream processes; the physical, chemical, and ecological characteristics of lakes and oceans; aquifers and groundwater processes; and wetlands.


Develop a working knowledge of the general biology and ecology of aquatic systems and of the organisms that make up aquatic communities. Study in the classroom and field focuses on lake systems, but also includes streams and rivers, wetlands, and ponds.


Discover the study of lakes from a chemical, biological, physical, and geological perspective. Topics include the thermal structure of lakes, lake optics, dissolved gases, biological nutrients, trace elements, plankton populations, food-chain dynamics, estuaries, and the origin and nature of lake basins. Additionally, participate in weekly laboratories and weekend trips aboard The William Scandling and the JB Snow.



Following your studies in Aquatic Science, you’ll come away with a better understanding of how water shapes the world. This knowledge can be used in fields like limnology, hydrology, freshwater or marine biology and conservation. Capstone research work will also prepare you for post-graduate study.


Katie Bush ’06
Katie Bush ’06, an affiliated faculty member of the Center for the Environment at Plymouth State University, is the program manager for the Environmental Public Health Tracking Program at New Hampshire’s Department of Health and Human Services and serves as support staff for the New Hampshire Climate and Health Program. An environmental epidemiologist, Bush’s research focuses on the connection between environmental quality and human health.

Rachel Calabro ’93
Rachel Calabro ’93 serves as the Climate Change Program Manager for the Rhode Island Department of Health, a program that educates the public on the connection between climate change and health and works to mitigate associated risks under the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Climate-Ready States & Cities Initiative.

Kerrie Gallo ’98
Kerrie Gallo ’98 serves as the deputy executive director for the Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper, a non-profit organization dedicated to restoring and protecting waterways in Western New York.

Porter Hoagland ’77, P’13
Peter Hoagland ’77 P ’13, an oceanographer emeritus with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, studies economic and public policy of ocean and coastal resources and their conservation and use.

Elizabeth Rohring ’86
Elizabeth Rhoring ’86 serves as the National Extension Program lead and the Designated Federal Officer for the National Sea Grant Advisory. The Sea Grant Office administers funding to associated colleges within its network to maintain healthy coastal environments and economies.
Amelia “Mimi” Smith ’21
Amelia “Mimi” Smith ’21 is a STEM research fellow with the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education program under the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Rylee Wernoch ’21
Rylee Wernoch ’21 is working to conserve the Chesapeake Bay as a member of the Chesapeake Conservation Corps, through the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center. Read More

Douglas Wood ’05
Douglas Wood ’05, a physical scientist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, manages the survey schedule of the organization’s fleet and monitors data quality. Read More

Alan Worden ’87
A lover of the sea, Alan Worden ’87 is involved with many aquatic enterprises in Nantucket, including co-developing the Westmoor Club, a private field club, and working as a senior advisor for ReMain Nantucket, which works to sustain and develop parts of the island.