SAFS opportunities

SAFS provides an extensive range of opportunities for students to expand their research experiences for degree credits beyond their degree requirements. Opportunities include internships, research in faculty labs, or service learning.

Please see “Other Opportunities” for experiences at external locations that may be used for credit.

Photo inset:  © 2010

Finding independent research opportunities in SAFS and UW

Typically, there are four ways to find independent research opportunities

  1. Solicit opportunities from faculty and graduate students

  2. Check notices delivered via electronic media (emails and blogs)

  3. Participate in independent research while registered in a field course

  4. Take an internship program officially affiliated with SAFS

Faculty research groups

Find out about Faculty interests by reading our Faculty Profiles and Research Program websites. Identify research areas that you are interested in, and email faculty and staff directly. Provide them with some background about yourself and explain that you would like to find opportunities within their group.

If you are taking a class that fits within your interest area, discuss opportunities with your instructors and the TAs. They are often looking for volunteers and assistants on their research projects.

The majority of opportunities in the School are found by contacting researchers directly.

Electronic notices

All SAFS undergrads are subscribed to a departmental email list. Opportunities are sent to that list.

Opportunities will also be posted to the SAFS Student Services Blog

Field courses

Every other summer (in even years) we run our Fish 491: Aquatic Ecological Research in Alaska Course. Undergraduate students travel to our two Alaska Field camps for 6-7 weeks. During this time, they gain formal knowledge and practical experience in the design and completion of a research project in a unique setting.

A large number of SAFS undergrads attend Friday Harbor Laboratory, in the San Juan Islands, for a quarter or more. FHL is a UW-owned marine lab where students and scientists at all levels participate in research and take courses.

The UW also grants credit to students participating in the Beam Reach program, a 10 week program where students sail in the San Juan Islands studying endangered orcas in their natural habitat.

Internship programs affiliated with SAFS

SAFS and the Alaska Fisheries Science Center, NOAA, have created a joint internship program. SAFS undergraduates with a minimum 3.2 GPA may receive scholarship funding from SAFS while volunteering for a NOAA/AFSC agency in the summer. For more info, see the NOAA/AFSC/SAFS Summer Intern Program website.

Options for earning research credit

Students may enroll in Internship (Fish 498) or Independent Research (Fish 499) credit as early as their freshman year. Fifteen credits of each can be counted towards the 180 credits required for graduation. Three credits of either Fish 498 or 499 can be counted toward an upper division FISH elective requirement.

Once you have identified a potential research activity, consult the SAFS adviser and determine whether earning credit makes academic and financial sense for you.

Internship credits (Fish 498)

An Internship typically provides practical experience either on-campus or off-campus. The student may participate in projects at regulatory agencies (city, county, state, federal), non-profit organizations or industry. Internships are only available on a C/NC basis. The student, faculty sponsor, and workplace supervisor will outline the learning objectives of the internship experience together. Here are the relevant forms:

Internship Links

Independent Research credits (Fish 499)

Independent research involves examining a hypothesis, collecting data, and summarizing the results in a research paper. FISH 499 may be taken either C/NC or for a numerical grade, based on agreement between student and faculty sponsor. Fish 499 may be taken by students who are not majors in the department, but they must have a SAFS faculty member as a sponsor. Here are the relevant forms:

Undergraduate Research Links

Enrolling in FISH 498/ 499

Print the contract for 498 or 499. Write a short proposal that includes your learning objectives, how you will meet these objectives, and how you will demonstrate that you have met your goals. Your faculty sponsor (and worksite supervisor, if applicable) should sign the form, which should then be submitted to the SAFS student services office. You will then receive the entry code required for registration.

This process should be accomplished in advance of the start of the quarter (preferably by the 8th week of the previous quarter), so that you are ready to dive into your project when the quarter begins. Completed forms should be submitted to the adviser by no later than Monday of the first week of the quarter in which credit is being requested in order to be registered prior to the Late Add Period($20 fee). Forms received after this date will still be processed for registration but the adviser cannot guarantee that students will be registered in 498/499 prior to the start of the Late Add Period.

Finding a faculty sponsor for FISH 498/499

If the project is directly coordinated with a faculty member, that person will be your sponsor. If the project has been developed with other scientists, ask them to recommend a SAFS faculty member who is familiar with the project or the scientist’s work. Otherwise, please contact the SAFS Undergraduate Adviser for assistance.