AQUA Degree Options

Interdisciplinary Studies in Aquatic Resources (AQUA) is a four-year dual-major program, leading to a BA or a BSc degree.

The Aquatic Resources degree option offers students an integrated approach to better understand water - groundwater, watersheds, wetlands, lakes, rivers, oceans - and how it is managed by people through diverse social, economic and political structures.

Many of the most urgent challenges we face today, and into the future, involve water! Some of these are climate change, sustainable energy development, water privatization and accessibility, decline of coastal communities, invasive species, conservation, sustainability of food systems (fisheries, agriculture, aquaculture), etc.

Aquatic Resources prepares students for careers in water management, policy development, and scientific research; conservation and stewardship; planning and sustainable development positions within the private sector, at all levels of government, and with non-governmental organizations and agencies.  Depending on their program of study, students will also be positioned favorably for graduate or professional study in such areas as environmental law, public policy and administration, marine biology, oceanography, environmental sciences, geography, human ecology, resource economics, fisheries science, planning, social science research, geographic information systems (GIS), and more....

Degree Major Field (1) Major Field (2) Advanced

Bachelor of ARTS


Aquatic Resources Public Policy and Social Research  N/A available
Aquatic Resources Economics available available

Bachelor of SCIENCE


Aquatic Resources Earth Sciences available available
Aquatic Resources Biology available available
Aquatic Resources Math, Statistics & Computer Science available available



All ISAR students, whether in a BSc or a BA degree program, enroll in a common core of introductory courses during their first year of study:

Aquatic Resources 100 (6 credits, 1st and 2nd terms)

Earth Sciences 171 (3 credits, 1st term)

Economics 101 (3 credits, 1st term)

Economics 102 (3 credits, 2nd term)

Biology 112 (3 credits, 2nd term)

The balance of first year courses - to a total of 30 academic credits - will vary by the students' degree program. For example:

BACHELOR OF ARTS students will enroll in the ISAR core courses (as indicated above) and:

  • one or two of: Anthropology 111 & 112; Political Science 101 & 102; Sociology 101 & 102


  • one of Anthropology 111 & 112, or Political Science 101 & 102, or Sociology 101 & 102 AND 6 credits from (examples only):  Philosophy 100; English111 & 112; History 101,102, 111, 112, 113, 115; Religious Studies 111, 112, 120; a language - French, Spanish, German or Gaelic; etc.

BACHELOR OF SCIENCE students will enroll in the ISAR core courses (as indicated above) and 'Science core' classes:

  • Calculus  [MATH 106 & 107 or MATH 126 & 127]
  • Chemistry 100 or 120


In the SECOND YEAR, ISAR students enroll in Aquatic Resources 201 & 202, BSAD 101, and a selection of ISAR-designated courses from some of the seven departments participating in the ISAR Program. Students also build their second area of concentration in one of the following major fields: Biology, Earth Sciences, Math/Stats, Economics or Public Policy and Social Research (combination of Political Science and Anthropology or Political Science and Sociology).

At the end of the second academic year, in late April, ISAR students will complete Aquatic Resources 325 or an approved equivalent (i.e., BIOL 307 or ESCI 376) that year or the following year. The week-long AQUA 325 field camp focuses on integrated watershed management and provides students with access to experts in the field, opportunities to visit locations in nearby watersheds, and tangible skills related to working in the field.


In the THIRD YEAR, students continue to expand their horizons by selecting ISAR-designated courses and continuing to build on their second area of concentration.  In addition, students well begin preparation for their required work term.

During the summer between the third and fourth years, all ISAR major students complete Aquatic Resources 400, a work term that is characterized by hands-on, career-related experience in an aquatics-related setting. Work term and/or volunteer positions can be with private industry/businesses, government agencies or departments, non-governmental organizations, academic investigators, consulting companies, etc.


In the FOURTH YEAR, ISAR students work on their senior research papers, they present the results of their senior research projects as part of the Aquatic Resources 450 seminar, and they develop a poster that is displayed and evaluated at the annual StFX "Student Research Day" (usually in March).

ISAR Major candidates are required to complete:

i) the core ISAR program of AQUA 100, 201, 202, 325, 400 and 450; ESCI 171; BIOL 112; ECON 101 and 102; and BSAD 101;
ii) 36 to 48 credits in the second major discipline or combination of disciplines, including 9 to 18 credits of AR-designated courses from that discipline or disciplines;
iii) at least 6 credits of AR-designated courses in each of two of the participating academic departments other than the major.


AQUA / AR / ISAR (Interdisciplinary Studies in Aquatic Resources)
ANTH (Anthropology)
BIOL (Biology)
BSAD (Business Administration)
CHEM (Chemistry)
CSCI (Computer Science)
DEVS (Development Studies)
ECON (Economics)
ESCI (Earth Sciences)
MATH (Mathematics)
PHIL (Philosophy)
PSCI (Political Science)
SOCI (Sociology)
STAT (Statistics)

Progression Requirements

All full-time ISAR majors students completing the first-year required core courses (AQUA 100; ECON 101 and 102; BIOL 112; ESCI 171) must achieve a minimum of 65% in AQUA 100 and a minimum average of 65% in all of the core courses in order to maintain their ISAR major and proceed to the second year of study in the ISAR program.

All ISAR major students should seek academic advising from the ISAR Program Coordinator or Program Assistant.