Redefining the Classroom

The Bachelor of Science degree in Fish Health prepares students for assessment of aquatic animal health in areas of bacterial, viral and parasitic diseases. The degree requirements cover content in fish ecology, physiology and hatchery culture, including diseases caused by environmental stress (e.g. gas bubble disease or issues with low dissolved oxygen), as well as those caused by nutritional and mineral deficiencies. In addition, the program includes background in the microbial, viral and parasitic vectors of disease as well as the ecology of disease transmission. The program satisfies the academic requirements for American Fisheries Society (AFS) Fish Pathologists.

Why Students Choose LSSU

The Fish Health degree combines coursework from our Medical Lab Science and Fisheries and Wildlife Management programs providing a strong foundation in fisheries and fish culture as well as microbiology, pathology, histology, and virology. The coursework satisfies the educational requirements for certification from the American Fisheries Society's Fish Health Section. Students enrolled in the fish health program will complete an internship at LSSU's Aquatic Research Laboratory's Fish Health Lab to gain hands-on experience diagnosing fish pathogens. As a Fish Health major you will have access to research projects and equipment normally available only to faculty and graduate students

Lake Superior State University fish health professor Jun Li (right) oversees the mixing of food pellets laced with enhancements that aim to improve the immune system of Atlantic salmon, a species that LSSU's Aquatic Research Laboratory (ARL) has been introducing to the Great Lakes since 1987. Li is assisted by Dr. Jianzhong Gao (left), guest professor from Shanghai Ocean University, and Hui Zhao, a pre-vet biology student from Qingdao Agriculture University. Thanks to an industrial grant, Li's fish health laboratory is mixing different concentrations of beta-glucan to see if fish can better fight-off bacterial and viral infections that stunt growth. The main study takes place this summer between May and August in a special area of the ARL, located in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.

"A new fish health laboratory will enable Lake Superior State to share that responsibility, giving hands-on experience to candidates for the new degree. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources also supports the new degree program. It will benefit fisheries and wildlife students as well as those planning to attend veterinary school."

- USA Today
February 3, 2009


Career Choices

The average salary for a fish pathologist is $74,800

  • Fish health researcher
  • Veterinarian
  • USDA-ARS Aquatic Animal Health ResearchUSDA-ARS Aquatic Animal Health Research
  • Employment by the National Aquarium or other large city aquaria

“Both my staff and I have reviewed this curriculum. We all agree that this is a very good option that will help make your students more marketable. It is also clear to us as a group that we will need more of this expertise in the future not less…. We encourage you to continue with this concentration area as it will be a benefit to all in fisheries.”

--Gary Whelan
Fish Production Manager
Michigan DNR

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