Freshwater Sciences Dual Degree

A partnership between Alverno College and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM)
Water is one of our most vital resources, and it’s often under threat: municipalities battle over water rights, aquifers get depleted, and pollution taints drinking water and endangers ecosystems. Whether you want to lead cutting-edge water research or develop water policy to ensure safe water resources for all, this dual-degree program can prepare you for a rewarding career in the freshwater sciences field.

This dual-degree program saves you time and money by combining just three years of Environmental Science or Integrated Natural Sciences undergraduate studies at Alverno with UWM’s two-year Master of Science in Freshwater Sciences and Technology. Milwaukee is a global hub for freshwater research and innovation, and there’s no better place to study freshwater than on the shores of Lake Michigan, one of the largest freshwater lakes in the world.

The Alverno edge
Alverno is internationally known for its unique abilities-based curriculum. Instead of competing against classmates, you’ll strive to achieve your best by practicing critical thinking, problem solving, leadership and communication — skills that will help in graduate school and prepare you to tackle the environmental and water challenges facing the planet today Plus, Alverno’s 10-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio and small class sizes will allow you to perform your best. This program offers seminars, personalized advising, peer support and other resources to help prepare you for your graduate studies and beyond.

Admission into graduate school
During your third year at Alverno, you’ll apply to UWM’s School of Freshwater Sciences. To be accepted for admission, you must successfully complete UWM’s admissions requirements (except for completion of the bachelor’s degree), maintaining the equivalent of a 3.0 GPA and a B or better in all major courses, and take the GRE if you plan to enter the thesis track. If you go on to UWM’s School of Freshwater Sciences, you’ll receive a bachelor of science from Alverno after you complete the required 120 credits (your UWM credits will transfer back to Alverno). If you do not go on to UWM, you can complete your fourth year at Alverno to earn a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science or Integrated Natural Sciences, or you can choose to receive an associate’s degree in Integrated Natural Sciences from Alverno with no additional coursework.

Get involved
Join one of Alverno’s student organizations to practice your leadership skills, prepare for graduate school and connect with other students. You might work as a paid lab assistant or a tutor in the Daniel M. Soref Science and Mathematics Resource Center, mentor students through Alverno’s Girls’ Academy of Science & Mathematics or participate in faculty-student research through the Center for Academic Excellence. Students also attend regular seminars at UWM’s School of Freshwater Sciences and are encouraged to attend local meetings of Women in Science and Engineering, Wisconsin Women Environmental Professionals and Environmental Science Exchange.

Internships for the Freshwater Sciences student
Students are NOT required to complete an internship while at Alverno. However, the professional track of the graduate degree does require an internship, and the thesis track requires a substantial amount of independent research. Milwaukee offers many options in freshwater-related internships, including the Water Technology Accelerator at the Global Water Center, Riveredge Nature Center, Urban Ecology Center, Alliance for the Great Lakes, Southeastern Wisconsin Watersheds Trust, Milwaukee Riverkeeper, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and other environmental organizations.

How you can use your degree
Most students will go on to graduate school at UWM’s School of Freshwater Sciences. But if you decide to go straight into the workforce after your time at Alverno, your science degree will prepare you for a variety of roles in government, private industry and nonprofit organizations.


Have questions about the Freshwater Sciences dual-degree program at Alverno? We invite you to connect with faculty to learn more.

Jenny JohansonJenny Johanson, PhD
Program director of Environmental Science