Programs and Partners

Freshwater Studies Program

The Freshwater Studies program is designed to prepare students for emerging career paths and is the only associate level degree with emphasis in water studies in the United States. Students have a choice of four streams or emphasis areas:

Model Schedules:

The Freshwater Studies degree program combines unique courses and opportunities for field experiences available through Northwestern Michigan College, our University partners, and selected sites in Central and South America.

Associate in Science and Arts (ASA)

The Associate in Science and Arts (ASA) is an interdisciplinary degree designed for both students who plan to enter the professional arena as well as those who wish to continue their studies at a four-year school to complete a bachelor’s degree. Students should consult a Freshwater Studies advisor for scheduling guidelines and degree selection.

Associate in Applied Science (AAS)

The Associate in Applied Science (AAS) degree is generally pursued by those students who plan to enter the workforce following graduation from NMC. Students considering the AAS degree who may wish to transfer should see a Freshwater Studies advisor.

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Marine Technology Program

Globally, there is a strong need for highly trained people across multiple sectors in marine technology. Building on water-related expertise already established at NMC, this interdisciplinary degree emphasizes the core and marine-related technical competencies along with the project management skills required for work in the highly complex marine industry. Graduates of this program can expect to find opportunities in the U.S. and abroad in areas of marine mapping and hydrographic surveying, marine data processing and management, marine platforms and instrumentation and marine project management.

Representing the third bachelor's degree opportunity now available at NMC, Marine Technology builds on an already robust set of offerings supporting multiple sectors of the marine industry. Learn more

Program Requirements

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University Partners

Western Michigan University logoWestern Michigan University

NMC and WMU have received formal approval to offer a joint curriculum beginning in Fall 2014 that leads to both an associate degree in freshwater studies from NMC and a bachelor's degree in freshwater science and sustainability from WMU. This program creates a single pipeline where students can complete all of their degree requirements in Traverse City.

Because of the interdisciplinary nature of the degrees, a number of career paths are suitable for graduates: freshwater quality analysts, watershed managers, corporate social responsibility coordinators, environmental advocates, aquatic biologists, limnologists, water treatment system operations, to name just a few.

For more information on the Associate in Science and Arts in Freshwater Studies, contact NMC's Great Lakes Water Studies Institute at (231) 995-3333. For more information on the Bachelor of Science in Freshwater Science and Sustainability, contact Kim Stevens at WMU-Traverse City at (231) 995-1846.

Grand Valley State University logo Grand Valley State University

NMC and GVSU have collaborated to streamline Freshwater Studies students earning a Bachelor's degree in Liberal Studies with an Environmental Leadership emphasis at GVSU's University Center location. More information

  • All courses for both the NMC Associate of Science and Arts degree and the GVSU Bachelor's degree in Liberal Studies will be offered in Traverse City
  • Students can attend part- or full-time
  • Integrated curriculum, scheduling and advising is confirmed between NMC and GVSU
  • Financial aid agreement allows for combined NMC/GVSU courses counting toward aid

Transfer Opportunities

The transfer process, either in or out, can be confusing. To help you navigate the process, visit the NMC Advising Center for transfer guides and information of which schools offer particular programs.

In addition to our existing university partnerships, our freshwater studies students have transferred into the following programs (listed by university).

Davenport University logo Davenport University

Bachelor of General Business (BBA) – prepares students to enter either the business or government sectors as general managers. The substantial number of elective courses allows students to tailor this degree program to individual career objectives.

Grand Valley State University logo Grand Valley State University

Natural Resource Management (BS) – prepares students to care for the land- and water-based ecosystems of Michigan and beyond, as well as to serve the people whose well-being depends on these resources.

Lake Superior State University Lake Superior State University

Michigan State University logo Michigan State University

Michigan Tech logo Michigan Technological University

Industry Partners

Kongsberg KONGSBERG – Kongsberg Maritime – Kongsberg Underwater Technology, Inc. (KUTI), located in Lynwood, Wash., has been a long-time supporter of NMC through equipment donations, technical support and price reduction on equipment purchases. A subsidiary of Kongsberg Maritime, KUTI has provided multibeam sonar systems at no cost to NMC every year for the past 11 years that helped launch the Marine Technology program at NMC. Kongsberg Mesotech, another subsidiary located in Port Coquitlam, Vancouver, British Columbia, has provided scanning sonar systems to NMC at no-cost for the past seven years. This support has been instrumental in providing Marine Technology graduates with the skills required to be successful in the marine industry.

Marine Technology Society logo Marine Technology Society – Founded in 1963 to fill the need for an organization dedicated to ocean technology, today the Marine Technology Society (MTS) is the leading international community of ocean engineers, technologists, policy makers and educators. The Great Lakes Water Studies Institute director currently serves as the Great Lakes section chair and NMC has partnered with MTS to deliver a series of marine technology camps to students across the country.

HYPACK HYPACK A leading hydrographic surveying data collection and processing software package. HYPACK has worked with NMC for the past 10 years in support of our programming. NMC purchased 18 software licenses at a substantial discount that has become the benchmark of data processing for the Marine Technology program at NMC.

QPS Quality Positioning Services BV (QPS) – For more than 25 years, Quality Positioning Services (QPS) have been experts in maritime geomatics software and services. They are unique in that their solutions encompass the entire workflow, from the surveyor all the way to the pilot. Industries supported include hydrographic surveying, offshore construction, oil and gas, chart production and piloting. QPS has supported NMC Marine Technology for the past eight years providing software licenses and technical training.

R2Sonic logo R2Sonic - R2Sonic’s unique innovation in multibeam echosounder technology provides valuable survey tools that not only provide exceptionally clean, raw, data but also ultra-high resolution (UHR) capabilities. R2Sonic has supported NMC’s Marine Technology program for the past three years with no cost loans of equipment and training personnel.

The Hydrographic Society of America The Hydrographic Society of America (THSOA) – The mission of the THSOA is to promote education in hydrography. NMC has been a corporate member of this society for the past 10 years. Over this time, NMC Marine Technology students have received 15 conference scholarships to attend the biennial national conference and five students have received academic scholarships ranging from $1000 to $4500 in support of their education expenses.

EdgeTech logo EdgeTech – EdgeTech is a leading manufacturer of underwater technology solutions. The company is known worldwide for its high quality products which include side scan sonars, sub-bottom profilers, bathymetry systems, AUV and ROV-based sonar systems, combined and customized solutions. EdgeTech has supported NMC for the past seven years providing discounted equipment and also no-cost demonstrations of equipment to NMC Marine Technology students.

MATE logo Marine Advanced Technology Education Center – The Great Lakes Water Studies Institute is a member of the Marine Advanced Technology Education Center (MATE). Headquartered at Monterey Peninsula College in Monterey, California, MATE’s mission is to improve technological education through applied experiences and increase the number of skilled professionals who enter technology-related careers. Numerous NMC Marine Technology students have been supported through internship opportunities aboard research vessels across the globe.

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Course spotlight

GEO 115, Introduction to GIS

Scott Swan, GIS coordinator and instructor"Geographic Information Systems, or GIS, enables people to visualize and analyze spatial data, distributions, and patterns in a meaningful way. GIS extends beyond making maps, giving users the tools to measure and predict where things are, and where they are going. As access to more powerful computers grows, GIS functionality also expands. For maritime measurements, such as water depth or quality, GIS provides the power to store, display, and analyze data across multiple sites simultaneously. This is the foundation of our new course coming soon: WSI 215: Marine GIS and Data Processing. The current career track for GIS users is very diverse and touches on many different fields. In 2010, CNN Money ranked 'GIS Analyst' as 'one of the 100 Best Jobs in America.'"

Scott Swan, GISP

GIS Coordinator & Instructor
NMC Water Studies Institute

Military Services

NMC is committed to assisting military applicants achieve their educational and career goals. If you are eligible for Department of Veteran Affairs (DVA) educational benefits, NMC's Military & Veteran Services staff will gladly advise you how to apply and receive these benefits.

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The Freshwater Studies Program is a water-focused, interdisciplinary program with three emphasis area: Global Freshwater Policy and Sustainability, Economy and Society, and Science and Technology. Unique courses and field experiences prepare students for careers in both the private and public sectors.

If this sounds like the program for you, please contact us to set up an advising appointment.

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