AQUA Program Core Courses

AQUA 101  Introduction to Freshwater Systems and Resources

This course introduces freshwater ecosystems and the links between human water use and freshwater resources. Students are asked to consider water-related challenges such as climate change, population growth/demand, eutrophication, and pollution. Examples highlight the interplay between humans and freshwater within the framework of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, Blue Economy, and current events. Topics include water as a unique substance, ecological principles, management practices, governance, groundwater, lakes, and rivers. Lab and Field Trips. Three credits.

Katie at the river with rubber boot

LakesLab 2012

AQUA 102  Introduction to Ocean Systems and Resources

This course introduces ocean ecosystems and the links between human use and marine resources. Students are asked to consider challenges such as climate change, pollution, aquaculture and fisheries, and sustainability of species and ecosystems. Examples highlight the interplay between humans and oceans within the framework of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, Blue Economy, and current events. Topics include estuarine and ocean ecosystems, scientific principles, and resource management approaches. Lab and Field Trips. Three credits.

AQUA 202  The Oceans' Commons and Society 

The "tragedy of the commons" has been a reoccurring concept when discussing ocean resources. In this course students will encounter how social scientists study and understand the use of the resources in the oceans' commons. The course will explore theoretical paradigms, governance, social class, gender, race, fishing, aquaculture, and oil and gas.  Students will gain a foundational understanding in social science approaches to issues relating to the oceans resources. Credit will be granted for only one of AQUA 202, AQUA 200, 297 or 298. Prerequisite or co-requisite: AQUA 100 or AQUA 101 and 102. Three credits.

AQUA ST: 298  Managing Water Resources in the Context of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

Students will be introduced to the United Nations Agenda 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – a plan of action for people, planet, and prosperity. The investigation of water and its intersection with SDGs to achieve goals related to poverty, food security, gender and racial equity, inequalities, sustainable production and consumption, and climate action, among others, is the focus of this course. Water management, including issues of governance, environmental protection, and water-related ecosystems, will be discussed. Three credits. 

AQUA 325  Aquatic Resources Field Camp

This 4-day field camp, focused on integrated watershed management, is convened during the final week of April, after the exam period has concluded. Students are based out of StFXU.  

The camp usually consists of assigned reading, laboratory and field exercises, and daily field trips to watershed sites. Students must complete the field camp prior to the beginning of either their third- or fourth-year of study. Required. No-credit. 


AQUA 400  Work Experience/Student Internship

Students will spend the equivalent of one term, during the summer between the junior and senior year, gaining hands-on experience in an aquatics-related work and/or volunteer setting(s). Students have worked in research labs, aquatic resource businesses, community-based environmental organizations, public policy agencies, government offices, etc. Local, national and international opportunities vary, but may be considered by students. To focus the applied learning experience, students submit monthly reports and complete a final, reflective report detailing their experiences. Students are also tasked to identify a StFX faculty advisor and begin defining a senior research topic for AQUA 450 prior to and during their work term experience. Prerequisite: AQUA 200, 297 and 298, 201 and 202, or 202 and 298. Three credits.

AQUA 450  Senior Seminar in Aquatic Resources

This seminar represents the capstone for students completing their aquatic resources major. Each year the seminar considers an important interdisciplinary theme in the aquatics field, such as the issue of marine debris/garbage, tidal power, aquaculture, oil and gas pipeline approval processes, off shore oil and gas exploration, north Atlantic right whales, and more. Students will continue working with their faculty advisors on their senior projects during the first term. In the second term, students will present their senior research to the AQUA 450 class in a talk, they will prepare a poster for display at StFX Student Research Day, and they will submit their major research paper to their academic advisors. Visits by AQUA guest speakers are coordinated with seminar work. This course is only open to AQUA major students. Co-requisite: AQUA 400. Three credits.