Master’s and PhD in Environmental Chemistry and Technology

Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy Degree Requirements

General Degree Requirements

Applicants must meet the requirements of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Graduate School.

In addition, the Environmental Chemistry and Technology Program requires the following:

  1. GRE scores
  2. Letters of recommendation (recommendation form)
  3. 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.

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 high.

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

  • General chemistry – General and Analytical Chemistry (Chem 109 and Chem 110)
  • Organic chemistry, for example, Introductory Organic Chemistry (Chem 341 or 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 course list 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 six credits at or above the intermediate level in areas such as:

  • Botany, for example, Introduction to Plan 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

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

Master of Science Degree Requirements

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.

Doctoral Degree Requirements

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.