Our Academic Partners

The Freshwater Collaborative of Wisconsin is a partnership of Wisconsin’s 13 public universities, working with the private sector, nonprofits, government agencies, community members and others to train the water professionals to meet workforce needs. 

Each of Wisconsin’s 13 public universities offers a degree program or coursework in water studies — and every school is part of the Freshwater Collaborative of Wisconsin. This allows students to enroll at one UW university for a degree and to expand their water knowledge by participating in hands-on experiences and unique coursework at other UW System schools.

Learn more through the links below.


UW Eau Claire

Core areas of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire’s water-related programs include surface and groundwater chemistry, environmental pollutants, industry collaborations, water quality and emerging contaminants, and bathymetry map creation. Steering Committee Member: Sarah Vitale, vitalesa@uwec.edu.

UW Green Bay

More than 400 miles of coast connects the four campuses of the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay in Marinette, Manitowoc, Sheboygan and, of course Green Bay. Students at one of the four coastal locations can focus on Great Lakes coastal science, restoration and management; watershed management and restoration; water quality, safety and emerging contaminants; and agricultural water management. A B.S. in Water Science was added in 2019. A new fully on-line M.S. in Biodiversity Conservation and Management will start in the fall of 2023 in collaboration with UW Extension. State lead on the designation of a Bay of Green Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve and hosts the Cofrin Center for Biodiversity, Environmental Management and Business Institute, Lakeshore Water Institute, Aquatic Ecology and Fisheries Lab and the Lower Fox River Watershed Monitoring Program. Steering Committee Member: Emily Tyner, tynere@uwgb.edu.

The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse offers water-focused educational programs and research opportunities in a range of areas, including river science, aquatic contaminants, nutrient dynamics and aquatic invertebrate and fish ecology. The campus is home to the River Studies Center, Prairie Springs Science Center, the USGS-run Upper Midwest Science Center, and other state and federal natural and water resource agencies and has numerous research vessels on the mighty Mississippi River. Steering Committee Member: David Schumann, dschumann@uwlax.edu.

UW Madison

The University of Wisconsin-Madison is home to more than 100 faculty and scientists pursuing diverse interests in water, including many large, interdisciplinary research initiatives. Water-focused graduate degree programs cover watershed and ecosystem management and restoration; water quality and emerging contaminants; water treatment, infrastructure and engineering; and agricultural water management. The university is home to the Aquatic Sciences Center, Center for Limnology and the Water Science and Engineering Lab. Steering Committee Member: James Hurley, hurley@aqua.wisc.edu, Alison Mikulyuk, alison.mikulyuk@aqua.wisc.edu.

UW Milwaukee

A pioneer in water-focused research, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s School of Freshwater Sciences is the largest institution of its kind on the Great Lakes. The School offers a bachelor’s degree program, two master’s degree programs and a PhD. The School also hosts a Great Lakes research fleet and is home to the Center for Water Policy and the Great Lakes Genomics Center. Core strengths include hands-on learning in the areas of Great Lakes and coastal ecosystem management, including invasive species; human and ecosystem health, including water quality and emerging contaminants; aquaculture; weather and climate; sensor development and observing systems; and water policy and economics. UWM also offers a bachelors degree program in environmental engineering, which includes the study of water-related issues such as safe drinking water, water pollution and waste management. Steering Committee Member: Sandra McLellen, mclellan@uwm.edu

UW Oshkosh

The University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh is home to the state-certified Environmental Research and Innovation Center (ERIC), which conducts water testing and runs long-term research sites in Oshkosh, Eagle River, Sturgeon Bay and Manitowoc. The university offers BS, MS and other water-related educational programs, including multidisciplinary options, in environmental engineering technology, biology, geology, chemistry and more. Students have hands-on opportunities in both the lab and field, and access to 50-plus paid water-related internships each year. Areas of focus include recreational water and sustainable stormwater treatment technology innovation. Steering Committee Member: Greg Kleinheinz, kleinhei@uwosh.edu, director of ERIC lab

UW Parkside

Kenosha’s University of Wisconsin-Parkside offers water-intensive programs within three departments: Biological Sciences, Environmental Studies and Geosciences. There are plans to add a freshwater ecology program soon. Parkside’s facilities include the SC Johnson Integrated Science Lab, GIS/Spatial Analysis Lab, the Root River Environmental Education Community Center, the Center for Environmental Education, Demonstration and Applied Research, and outdoor labs with access to aquatic habitats and infrastructure. Program strengths include biomonitoring, restoration, remediation, habitat management, hydrology and water quality. Steering Committee Member: Jessica Orlofske, orlofske@uwp.edu.

UW Platteville

Located in Wisconsin’s unique Driftless Area landscape, the University of Wisconsin-Platteville’s areas of focus include engineering and agriculture, water infrastructure, waste management and technological applications, groundwater, surface runoff and a broad spectrum of stream and lake research. Platteville, surrounded by small watersheds in a rural, agricultural setting, is home to Pioneer Farm, the Tree-Ring, Earth and Environmental Sciences Laboratory, the Fluid Mechanics Laboratory, the Geotechnical Engineering Laboratory and a dedicated freshwater research laboratory. Steering Committee Member: Will Hoyer, hoyerw@uwplatt.edu.

Located at the heart of the St. Croix River Basin, the University of Wisconsin-River Falls provides an emphasis on undergraduate research and partnerships with UW Extension and local communities, ecosystem restoration and agricultural water management. The school fosters transdisciplinary understanding of and training around water sustainability (as evidenced by the How We See Water class and other ongoing campus activities like The Water Bar). The university’s environmental engineering degree reflects its interdisciplinary focus across departments and colleges. Other assets include the Ecological Restoration Institute, broad water management expertise, multiple agricultural programs, two campus lab farms and a trout stream on campus that is used as a living laboratory for surface and groundwater studies. Steering Committee Member: Jill Coleman Wasik, jill.colemanwasik@uwrf.edu.

UW Stevens Point

The College of Natural Resources is the largest such college in the nation, featuring the third largest undergraduate water resources program with areas of expertise that include fisheries and aquatic sciences; groundwater and surface water quantity and quality; stream restoration and hydrology, Great Lakes and watershed management and restoration; and aquaculture. It hosts the U.S. Geological Survey Wisconsin Cooperative Fishery Unit, and partners with UW Extension on numerous ventures including the Center for Watershed Science and Education, Extension Lakes, and the Center for Land Use Education. Steering Committee Member: Brian Sloss, bsloss@uwsp.edu.

The University of Wisconsin-Stout, Wisconsin’s polytechnic university, offers water-focused, interdisciplinary programs in environmental science, applied social science, applied science and conservation biology. Experiential learning opportunities and campus facilities include the Center for Limnological Research and Rehabilitation, the National Science Foundation-funded LAKES Research Experience for Undergraduates, hosting the annual Red Cedar Watershed Conference, and partnerships with Wisconsin DNR, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, U.S. Geological Survey and the Army Corps of Engineers. Steering Committee Member: Dan Freedman, freedmand@uwstout.edu.

UW Superior

Located on the shores of our largest inland sea, the University of Wisconsin-Superior makes the most of its unique surroundings with an academic focus on aquatic biology (including invasive species), fisheries science, chemistry, environmental science (including microplastics analysis, toxicity testing and issues concerning human health), watershed management and planning. The university is home to the Lake Superior Research Institute, the Great Lakes Maritime Research Institute and the Transportation and Logistics Research Center. Steering Committee Member: Matthew TenEyck, MTenEyck@uwsuper.edu.

UW Whitewater

The University of Wisconsin-Whitewater is a hub for water business, law and finance; other water-related areas of focus include water quality, safety and emerging contaminants, and watershed management and restoration. Key spots on campus include the Institute for Water Business, Fiscal and Economic Research Center, Modern Instrumentation Lab, Microscopy Lab, Animal Care Facility and GIS Center. Steering Committee Member: Elisabeth Harrahy, harrahye@uww.edu.


Additional Partners

Headquartered at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Wisconsin Sea Grant is a statewide program of basic and applied research, education, and outreach and technology transfer dedicated to the stewardship and sustainable use of the nation’s Great Lakes and ocean resources.

The University of Wisconsin System is one of the largest systems of public higher education in the country, serving approximately 170,000 students each year and employing 39,000 faculty and staff statewide. With 13 universities across 26 campuses and a statewide extension network, the UW System is a tremendous academic, cultural and economic resource for Wisconsin, the nation and the world.

Center for Water Policy logo

The Center for Water Policy provides world class interdisciplinary solutions to resolve regional, national and international problems related to the protection, restoration and conservation of freshwater resources to ensure long term environmental health and quality of life. It also leads the UW Water Policy Network of faculty, researchers and students across the 13 universities in the University of Wisconsin System.