A Four-Year Bachelor’s Degree in Aquarium Science from Western Oregon University and OCCC

There are several paths one can take to become a professional aquarist but one of the best ways to get your first job working in an aquarium or research facility and set yourself up for advancement in your new career is to earn a bachelor’s degree in Aquarium Science. Listings for entry level aquarium jobs often prefer but do not require a four-year degree but professional aquarists aspiring to move on to leadership positions later in their careers usually find it difficult without an undergraduate degree. While there are a few other programs that offer a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Aquarium Science, not many offer the breadth and depth of hands-on experience offered by the Aquarium Science Program at Oregon Coast Community College or support from stakeholders in our industry.

A Competitive and Challenging Aquarium College Degree

This unique collaboration between Western Oregon University and Oregon Coast Community College offers students the opportunity to earn their bachelor’s degree in the traditional setting of WOU for the first three years and finish their degree by working in the classrooms and Teaching Aquarium at OCCC during their final year. While finishing their degrees, students in this program gain invaluable experience in and out of the classroom through more than 50 credit hours of courses such as:

  • AQS 100 Introduction to Aquarium Science (3 credit hours)
  • AQS 110 Aquarium Science Practicum 1 (2)
  • AQS 111 Aquarium Science Practicum 2 (2)
  • AQS 165 Current Issues in Aquarium Science (1)
  • AQS 173 Water Chemistry in Aquatic Systems (4)
  • AQS 215 Biology of Captive Fishes (4)
  • AQS 216 Elasmobranch Husbandry (2)
  • AQS 220 Biology of Captive Invertebrates (4)
  • AQS 226 Biology of Diverse Captive Species (2)
  • AQS 232 Reproduction & Nutrition of Aquatic Animals (4)
  • AQS 240 Life Support System Design and Operation (4)
  • AQS 245 Animal Husbandry in a Research Capacity (2)
  • AQS 252 Exhibits and Interpretation (3)
  • AQS 270 Fish & Invertebrate Health Management (4)
  • AQS 295 Aquarium Science Internship (12)

For more specific information about the WOU/OCCC degree program for Aquarium Science, please follow this link.

Earn an Aquarium College Degree while Gaining Marketable Skills and Experience

If you’ve always dreamed of a rewarding career working with fish and invertebrates but also aspire to earn an undergraduate degree, this path to becoming a professional aquarist is not only worthy of your consideration, it’s one of the best ways to make these dreams happen. No other aquarium degree program in the country has earned a better reputation for producing skilled and technically qualified applicants to our industry. This reputation is reviewed and confirmed each year by a visit from the National Visiting Committee, a group consisting of curator-level and above industry stakeholders. If you’re interested in learning more about earning an undergrad degree in aquarium science, please review the information about the AQS Program on this site, as well as the WOU link above. If you have further questions, please email AQS Program Director Larry Boles.