Courses, Lab and Field Experiences for UW Students

The Freshwater Collaborative of Wisconsin network offers a variety of courses and lab and field experiences that will help you broaden your skills, perspectives and professional networks. 

A number of water-related courses are available to undergraduates students at any UW System institution. Courses may be in-person, hybrid or fully online. Work with your advisor to determine how a Collaborative course may fit into our academic degree plan and what you will need to do to enroll and transfer credits.

You can also enhance your skills by participating in lab and field experiences in rural and urban settings at UW System campuses throughout the state, including on the Mississippi River, Lake Superior, Lake Michigan and many rivers, streams and wetland areas.

Check out our current offerings below:

Spring 2023

Ag-Water Nexus in Wisconsin: Field Experience (title in Canvas)

April 21-23, 2023
Institutions: UW-Green Bay, UW-Madison, UW-Platteville, UW-River Falls, UW-Stevens Point, UW-Stout
In-person, multi-day field experience

As part of the UW System Freshwater Collaborative of Wisconsin, a cross-campus colleague network of instructors from UW-Green Bay, UW-Stevens Point, UW-Madison, UW-Platteville, UW-Stout and UW-River Falls will pilot a three-day field trip course (April 14-16, 2023) built around geophysical variations in southwest Wisconsin agriculture. This course uses different forms of agriculture, variations in physiography and differences in water resource systems to provide students with a greater understanding of the relation between agriculture and water. Students and faculty will explore the nexus of agriculture and water broadly through examples and case studies of the water/agriculture connection in Southwest Wisconsin. The field course stops will leverage ongoing ag-water quality monitoring and research projects and will engage students with agricultural and resource management professionals and producers working to mitigate the impacts of agriculture on water quality/quantity in southwest Wisconsin.

Course Numbers by Campus:
UW-Green Bay: Class: Env Sci 483-0001, Class Number: 3374
UW-Madison: Class: BSE 375 LEC 002, Class Number: 77192
UW-Platteville: Class: SCSCI 3380-03C, Class Number: 3783
UW-River Falls: Class: ESM 389-02, Class Number: 2958
UW-Stevens Point: Class: WATR  350-02, Class Number: 42310
UW-Stout: ENSC 496 – Special topics: Agriculture-Water Nexus in Wisconsin.

Summer 2023

Freshwater Science Field Studies in Western Wisconsin (UW-Eau Claire course number: GEOL 491) 

May 22-26, May 30-June 1 (no class Memorial Day)
Institutions: Taught by faculty from UW-Eau Claire, UW-Stout, UW-River Falls, and UW-Oshkosh
Open to Any UW System Student

In this immersive two-credit course you will learn field and laboratory skills used to assess freshwater science investigations in geology, biology, geography, and agriculture. Areas of study include restoration, nutrient management, agricultural influence, groundwater and surface water interactions and more. Applicants must be enrolled in a freshwater science-related discipline at their university and have completed at least two semesters of their program.

Food, parking, and housing expenses are covered through a Freshwater Collaborative of Wisconsin grant. Participants will pay for two course credits through your home institution, and transportation to campuses. Financial assistance may be available for participants with financial need. 

Application deadline is March 31. Email application to Sarah Vitale ( Students who wish to enroll and are not currently attending UW-Eau Claire should contact Sarah Vitale. See Program Flyer for additional details. 

Download Application

Download Program Flyer

Special Topics in Freshwater Science Laboratory and Field Techniques (Course numbers: UW-River Falls: 1197, UW-Madison: 88063)

June 5-16, 2023
Institutions: Taught by UW-River Falls and UW-Madison on the UW-River Falls Campus
Open to any College Student

Laboratory and field training are essential in water-related fields of study; thus, through a collaboration between UW-River Falls and UW-Madison campuses, this two-credit transformative summer course focuses on laboratory and field techniques for freshwater-related work. The objective is to increase students’ field and laboratory skills to support professional development and cultivate interest in freshwater sciences. The course will focus on practical knowledge of field measurements related to water quality and nutrient analysis and good laboratory practices pre-and post-sampling.

The course will be located at the UW-River Falls campus, with lodging and accommodations provided for selected participants through funds awarded by the Freshwater Collaborative of Wisconsin.

Students who wish to enroll and are not currently attending UW-River Falls or UW-Madison should contact instructors Dr. Bahareh Hassanpour ( and Dr. Grace Bulltail at for details about the selection and enrollment process.

Download Program Flyer

Environmental Field Sampling & Analysis (Course EGRT 374/574)

June 12-23, 2023
Institution: Hosted by UW Oshkosh in Door County and Land O’Lakes
Open to Students at Any UW Campus

Students enrolled in this two-week, three-credit field experience will spend one week at the Lowenwood campus (former Conserve School) in Land O’Lakes and one week at Crossroads at Big Creek in Door County. They will learn how to sample for various contaminants; how to take, preserve, transport and analyze field samples; and how to interpret and present analytical results in light of current regulations. Open to UW Oshkosh and non-UW Oshkosh students.

For more information about the course, syllabus, field locations, costs or how to enroll as a non-UW Oshkosh student, contact: Dr. Greg Kleinheinz,, 920-424-1100 or Dr. Marcel Dijkstra,, 920-424-7106.

Download Course Flyer

Expedition to Great Lake Michigan

June 19-July 1
Institution: UW-Milwaukee along with UW-River Falls faculty
Open to Any UW Student

Students will get hands-on learning while they explore the physical, chemical, optical, and biological characteristics of Lake Michigan and near-shore environment using the research vessel Neeskay. This is three-credit special topics course 190-002 at UW-Milwaukee.

Students must apply to enroll. Housing, food and $1,000 in tuition is available for up to 10 students through the Freshwater Collaborative of Wisconsin grant. Scholarship applications are due March 27. Students will be notified of acceptance by April 7. Students not enrolled at UW-Milwaukee can contact Mallory Kaul for information about enrolling as a special student. Limited to 12 students.

Students will participate in a week-long deep immersion activity on Lake Michigan with UW-Milwaukee Senior Scientists Russell Cuhel and Carmen Aguilar, with a second week hosted by UW-River Falls Geosciences Professor Kevin Thaisen. The first week of the program will be devoted to immersion learning and expeditionary experience with physical, chemical, optical, and biological aspects in a river-harbor-nearshore-offshore gradient of southwestern Lake Michigan. Students will accumulate web-based and practical hands-on resources for pre-, during-, and post-expedition investigations. Participants will specialize in specific measurement techniques in teamwork with Drs. Cuhel and Aguilar and their research associates and well-experienced, skilled student(s).

Teams will rotate so that each participant actively engages in several techniques but long enough to develop practical skill in their application. Most teams will execute several different activities onboard the research expeditions, some of which will be designed to provide real-time analytical outcomes relevant to the gradients and locations being explored. At the shore base, participants will work up results of their complex specific analyses and present detailed “how-to” and “what happened?” sharing in group workshops

Access Application

Download Course Flyer

Limnology: Conservation of Aquatic Resources (Course Zoology 315)

July 17-Aug. 13, 2023
Institution: Hosted in-person and virtually by UW-Madison
Open to Students at Any UW Campus

Limnology: Conservation of Aquatic Resources (ZOO 315) will be offered as a 2023 summer course in the Department of Integrative Biology at UW-Madison as part of the Freshwater Collaborative of Wisconsin. The course focuses on the physical, chemical, and biological characteristics and processes of freshwater ecosystems, as well as environmental issues and rehabilitation of lakes. The summer course also includes multiple field trips on Lake Mendota, one of Wisconsin’s most famous lakes! Students can take the course completely in-person OR mostly virtual.

The summer course is scheduled for July 17-August 13, Mondays/Tuesdays/Wednesdays from 9:00 a.m. to noon and Fridays from 11:00 a.m. to noon. Please email Dr. Rob Mooney ( for details about the virtual option.

Download Course Flyer