University of Wisconsin–Madison

Program Information

Home Photo FLAMe back
Luke Loken and other researchers adapted the FLAMe acronym (short for Fast Limnological Automated Measurements) to nickname the activiy “to flame” or “flaming” the lake.

Admissions Process

The FMS Program offers both M.S. and Ph.D. degrees, and many of our students complete an M.S. before embarking on their Ph.D. As part of the admissions process, we strongly encourage prospective students to contact prospective faculty advisors to ensure that your interests are compatible with work currently being undertaken by the faculty, and that the faculty member has opportunities in her/his group for new students. Successful applicants typically have an excellent undergraduate GPA, competitive GRE scores, outstanding letters of recommendation, and undergraduate or graduate research experience. More information and an overview of the FMS Program is available on the Graduate School website.

Students must apply online through the Graduate School. Letters of recommendations should be submitted through the online application as well. The target date for fall admission is January 1.

FMS Degree Requirements

M.S. – Students must meet minimum Graduate School requirements. Students must write and defend a master’s thesis. Students’ thesis committees are composed of three faculty members including the major professor. The committee guides the student in developing study plans, research, and career goals.

Ph.D. – All Ph.D. candidates are expected to obtain a broad background in aquatic sciences and depth in their research area. Students must meet the minimum Graduate School requirements. The major, by nature of the program, includes advanced courses in several sub-disciplines in freshwater and marine sciences. Students are required to pass a preliminary examination prior to writing the thesis. Students must complete a minor which may be used to obtain tools of research, focus in greater depth on a single discipline within freshwater and marine sciences, or open additional areas related to the field, such as the social sciences. The Ph.D. committee is composed of five faculty members including the major professor.

Financial Support – Graduate students in the FMS Program may be supported through research assistantships, teaching assistantships, fellowships, and special grants. Support during graduate study should be discussed with your prospective advisor during the admissions process.

If you would like to learn more about the FMS Program at UW-Madison, we invite you to browse our website where you will find a complete list of our faculty, graduate students, and application/admissions information. In addition, please consult the UW-Madison Guide for detailed information about the admissions process.

If you have questions, please contact Kayla Pelland at