Are you interested in the ecology, health implications, economics and politics of freshwater? Ready to be part of the next generation of water scientists and policymakers?

Then consider the possibilities of an interdisciplinary research-based program to prepare you for careers in research and industry, or a doctoral degree. Thesis track students work closely with faculty and scientists to conduct original research, develop new technologies, inform water policy, and advance our understandings of complex freshwater systems and issues.

Curriculum for students admitted prior to Spring 2018

Minimum degree requirement is 30 graduate credits.

Required core courses – 6 credits
—Aquatic Ecosystem Dynamics (FRSHWTR 502)
—Freshwater Analysis (FRSHWTR 504)

Pick one of the following – 3 credits
—Environmental Health of Freshwater Ecosystems (FRSHWTR 506)
—Aquatic Technologies (FRSHWTR 508)
—Economics, Policy and Management of Water (FRSHWTR 510)

Elective courses – 9-12 credits
—To be selected in consultation with the student’s major professor.

Seminars and Practica – 6 credits
—2 each Seminar in Freshwater Sciences (FRSHWTR 901)
—2 each Freshwater Sciences Practicum (FRSHWTR 512)

–up to 6 credits

View complete list of Freshwater Courses.

See all Freshwater Program requirements.

Curriculum for students admitted Spring 2018 and after

Minimum degree requirement is 31 graduate credits.

Choose three of the following (9 credits)
502 Aquatic Ecosystem Dynamics (3 cr)
504 Freshwater Analysis (3 cr)
506 Environmental Health of Freshwater Ecosystems (3 cr)
508 Freshwater Engineering (3 cr)
510 Economics, Policy & Management of Water (3 cr)

Choose one of the following courses: (3 credits)
Frshwtr 513 Field Experimentation and Analysis in Freshwater Sciences (3 cr)
Frshwtr 514 Analytical Techniques in Freshwater Sciences (3 cr)

Required courses (4 credits)
English 890 Science, Communication and Public Engagement (3 cr)
Frshwtr 900 Colloquium in Freshwater Science (1 credit)

Elective courses (9 credits)
To be selected in consultation with the student’s major professor.

Thesis (up to 6 credits)

View complete list of Freshwater Courses.

See all Freshwater Program requirements.

An undergraduate bachelor’s degree in biology, chemistry, economics, geosciences, mathematics, physics, public policy or other appropriate natural science, social science or engineering discipline is required. Additionally, the following prerequisite courses are strongly recommended.

  • At least one semester of any three of the following topical areas: chemistry, biological sciences, physics, and calculus.
  • One additional semester of chemistry, biological sciences, or physics.

Students lacking prerequisites are often unable to complete courses in the recommended sequence and find it difficult to complete the required courses for graduation within the normal time frame of study.

Major Advisor
We strongly recommend you reach out to faculty members whose interests align with your own early in the application process to discuss potential research and funding opportunities.  Meet our faculty and explore their research. Students in the MS Thesis program must be accepted by a faculty member who will serve as the major professor, and be primarily responsible for matriculation.

Funding your Education

Thesis students are typically funded through faculty research projects.
We strongly recommend you reach out to faculty members whose interests align with your own to discuss potential research and funding opportunities. The School of Freshwater Sciences also offers competitive assistantships and scholarships. For more information about other financial aid options, please visit UWM Financial Aid.

Launching Your Career

Join the Student Water Council, volunteer in the community, help at school events, and participate in conferences and symposiums to enhance your skills and experience and grow your academic and professional networks.

Graduates from the Thesis track work in research, with government agencies, private companies, nonprofits, and advance their education by entering PhD programs. Along with guidance from your faculty advisor, explore resources from the UWM Career Development Center.

Recent graduates work at US Geological Survey, National Association of Clean Water Agencies, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, City of Racine Health Department, and Milwaukee Riverkeeper.