University of Wisconsin Madison College of Engineering

Degree requirements


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Program requirements


Applicants must meet the requirements of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Graduate School. In addition, the Environmental Chemistry and Technology Program requires GRE scores, letters of recommendation (recommendation form), and a statement of interest. For admission, a grade point average of at least 3.0 is required. Most students admitted with support in recent years have had an undergraduate GPA of 3.3 or higher. The program receives approximately 100 applications per year and admits three to six students per year. Admission decisions are based on the applicants past academic performance, letters of recommendation, test scores and the program's ability to match student interests with faculty research efforts and available funding.


Costs and funding


The Graduate School offers information about tuition and cost of living on a costs and funding webpage.


Graduate students in the Environmental Chemistry and Technology Program may be supported through research assistantships or fellowships. Some of our graduate students hold teaching assistantships in the Chemistry Department or other programs. Offers for research assistantships are made on the basis of letters of recommendation, grades, and GRE scores. Matching interests of the applicant (as conveyed in the letter of interest) with the research focus of the project providing funding for the assistantship is also important. Applicants with outstanding undergraduate records may be nominated for university fellowships awarded by the University Fellowships Committee. Competition for these awards is very keen.


General requirements


Students are required to have a background in the fundamental areas of chemistry. This requirement can be satisfied by completing UW-Madison courses or their equivalent:


  • General chemistry — General and Analytical Chemistry (Chem 109 and Chem 110)
  • Organic chemistry, for example, Introductory Organic Chemistry (Chem 341 and Chem 343)
  • Analytical chemistry, for example, Intermediate Analytical Chemistry (Chem 524)
  • Physical chemistry, for example, Physical Chemistry (Chem 561)

Course descriptions can be found in the Undergraduate Course Catalog for the Chemistry Department. These requirements can be satisfied when the student is admitted or before completing the M.S. Degree.


Students are also required to have some background in the natural sciences and/or technology. This requirement can be satisfied by a minimum of 6 credits at or above the intermediate level in areas such as:


  • Botany, for example, Introduction to Plant Physiology (Botany 350)
  • Zoology, for example, Introduction to Entomology (Zoology 302) or Limnology — Conservation of Aquatic Resources (Zoology 350)
  • Earth science, for example, Geomorphology (Geology 320) or Landforms - Topics and Regions (Geology 326)
  • Bacteriology
  • Biochemistry
  • Earth science
  • Engineering
  • Materials science

The courses can be undergraduate-level courses taken prior to admission or during graduate studies.


Requirements for the Master of Science degree


Students working toward the MS Degree in Environmental Chemistry and Technology may elect a thesis or report option. For the thesis option, students are required to complete a minimum of 18 credits of course work, six credits of research and a thesis. The report option requires a minimum of 18 credits of course work, six credits of independent study, and a report. A student's course program is developed under the guidance of a faculty advisory committee comprised of the student's adviser and two additional committee members from the Environmental Chemistry and Technology faculty. Students are required to meet with this committee each year and to schedule the first meeting during the student's first semester of study.


Students may specialize in one of the following focus areas: Aquatic Chemistry, Terrestrial Chemistry, Air Chemistry or Chemical and Biochemical Technologies.


Core course requirements


A student must complete 10 credits from the following courses:

Civil and Environmental Engineering 500 — Water Chemistry (3cr) or Soil Science 621 - Soil Chemistry (3cr),
Soil Science 631 (cross listed as CEE 631) — Toxicants in the Environment (3cr) — Environmental Organic Chemistry (3cr) or Soil Science 523 — Soil Microbiology and Biochemistry or Biochemistry,
Civil and Environmental Engineering 609A — Air Chemistry (2cr) or CEE 620 — Aerosol and Air Pollution Laboratory (2cr),
Civil and Environmental Engineering 909 — Environmental Chemistry and Technology Seminar (1cr). Students should enroll in the seminar each semester and present a seminar or their research once each year.


Focus areas


To provide depth in their area of specialty, students may complete their course requirements by selecting courses in a focus area. For guidance, several courses in each focus area are listed below. The selection and approval of courses is developed in consultation with the student's adviser and advisory committee.


Aquatic Chemistry — Suggested courses include Geology 375 — Introductory Geochemistry, Geology 629 — Contaminant Hydrogeology, Civil and Environmental Engineering 501/ Civil and Environmental Engineering 503 — Intermediate Water Analysis/Laboratory, Civil and Environmental Engineering 700 — Chemistry of Natural Waters and/or Environmental Toxicology 631— Toxicants in the Environment: Sources, Distribution, Fate and Effects.


Terrestrial Chemistry — Suggested courses include Soil Science 625 — Soil Science Mineralogy and Surface Chemistry, Soil Science 875 — Special Topics, Environmental Toxicology 631 — Toxicants in the Environment: Sources, Distribution, Fate and Effect and/or Geology 629 — Contaminant Hydrogeology.


Air ChemistryCivil and Environmental Engineering 423 — Air Pollution Effects, Measurement and Control, and/or Soil Science 532 — Environmental Biophysics.


Chemical and Biochemical TechnologiesCivil and Environmental Engineering 609B — Special Topics, Chemical Engineering 320 — Introductory Transport Phenomena, Chemical and Biological Engineering 426 — Mass Transfer Operations, Chemical and Biological Engineering 430 — Chemical Kinetics and Reactor Design, Chemical Engineering 560Pharmaceutical Sciences 774 — Interfacial and Colloidal Phenomena.


An oral final examination is also required. This examination is conducted by the student's committee and includes general knowledge in the field of environmental chemistry and technology and the material in the student's thesis or report. Students in the thesis option must deposit the thesis in the University of Wisconsin—Madison library before the degree can be awarded.


Requirements for the doctoral degree
in Environmental Chemistry and Technology


Students working toward the Ph.D. degree must complete the core courses as outlined under the Master's Degree Requirements. In addition students must complete a minor in an area that complements the focus of their Ph.D. program. Ph.D. students must also complete two graduate-level courses (500 or above) in chemistry or pass qualify exams, offered by the chemistry department, in two areas of chemistry. Students pursing the doctoral degree should present their research in the Environmental Chemistry and Technology Seminar (CEE 909) once each year.


Students are required to take an oral preliminary examination which covers both general knowledge in the field of environmental chemistry and technology and a thesis prospectus for the doctoral degree. Prior to the oral preliminary examination the student must prepare a prospectus as a formal document following the guidelines for research proposals as required by the National Science Foundation. Upon satisfactory completion of course work and successful completion of the oral preliminary examination students will be admitted to doctoral candidacy. A final oral examination on the thesis must be successfully completed.


Environmental Chemistry and Technology
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Room 2304 Engineering Hall
1415 Engineering Drive
Madison, WI 53706