University of Wisconsin–Madison

Program Requirements

Master of Science (M.S.)

Students must meet minimum Graduate School requirements. The FMS Program has a flexible curriculum, and students are required to develop a plan of courses with their advisor. A minimum of 30 credits is required to complete the M.S. degree. Students must earn a B or above in all courses counting toward degree 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.

Doctor of Philosophy (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 minimum Graduate School requirements. The major, by nature of the program, includes advanced courses in several sub-disciplines in freshwater and marine sciences.

The FMS Program has a flexible curriculum, and students are required to develop a plan of courses with their advisor. A minimum of 51 credits is required to complete the Ph.D. degree. Students must earn a B or above in all courses counting toward degree requirements.

Students are required to pass a preliminary examination prior to writing the dissertation. 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. The committee guides the student in developing study plans, research, and career goals.

Program Information

  • Forms & Links
  • Enrollment Rules

    Students should consult the following document when determining the correct number of credits to enroll in each semester:

    Minimum Credit Requirements

    The Graduate School considers full-time enrollment to be 8-15 graded credits taken at 300 or above, excluding pass/fail and audit, during the fall and spring semesters, and 4-12 credits during the summer term, but it is not possible or advisable for graduate students to take that many actual course credits. To help with this, students have the ability to enroll for Zoology 990: Research. The credits for this course are variable and can be used to help fill the gap between actual course enrollment and full-time status. Students are strongly encouraged to talk to their advisor about the number of 990 credits they should enroll in for any given semester.

    All students in the Department of Integrative Biology must be given permission each semester to enroll in Zoology 990. Please note that the course will appear closed, but because of the permission the “closed course” will be overridden.

    To request permission to enroll in Zoology 990, email the Graduate Student Coordinator, Kayla Pelland (kpelland@wisc.edu), and provide the following information:

    • your name
    • campus ID
    • name of your advisor
    • term in which you want to enroll

    Kayla will send you a confirmation email so you can enroll through your Student Center in MyUW.

    Note: If your advisor is not iBio faculty or a zero-time affiliate of iBio, you will need to request permission for research through the department your advisor is affiliated with.

  • Warrants

    A warrant is a program’s recommendation that a student be admitted to doctoral candidacy (a preliminary examination warrant) or be granted a degree (master’s or doctoral), and is the Graduate School’s notification that a student has met both the Graduate School and the program requirements. Warrants are requested electronically by the Graduate Student Coordinator and must be returned to the Graduate School with faculty signatures upon completion of the degree requirements.

    Please complete and submit the following form at least 3 weeks before your preliminary exam, master’s thesis defense, or doctoral dissertation defense to notify the Graduate Student Coordinator of your intent to request a warrant:

    Zoology/FMS Warrant Request

    Once received from the Graduate School, the Graduate Student Coordinator will notify the student to pick up the warrant in B154 Birge Hall.

    Upon successful completion of the preliminary exam, master’s thesis defense, or doctoral dissertation defense, the student’s advisory committee must complete and sign the warrant. This signed form must be turned in to the Graduate Student Coordinator in B154 Birge Hall.

    Note: Students who have successfully defended their doctoral dissertation must upload their signed warrant to ProQuest before turning in the hard copy to the Graduate Student Coordinator.

  • Scholarships & Awards

    To be eligible, FMS students must have a faculty advisor with at least a 50%-time appointment in iBio.

    Scholarships and awards applications are due annually on April 1.

    Note: The JJD has an additional application deadline of October 1.

    John Jefferson Davis Travel Awards

    Graduate Summer Research Awards

  • Need Help?

    If you have questions or concerns related to credit hours, annual reports, forms, degree and graduation requirements, contact:

    Kayla Pelland, Student Services Coordinator, B154 Birge Hall, kpelland@wisc.edu; 608-262-2742

    If you have questions or concerns about degree progress, mentor-mentee interactions, program requirements and expectations, contact:

    Emily Stanley, Ph.D., Professor, Director of Graduate Studies, ehstanley@wisc.edu; 608-263-2567