Save on tuition, launch your career sooner, and earn more right out of college with an accelerated graduate degree from the nation’s only school dedicated to freshwater sciences and water policy. 

This fast-track program enables high-achieving students to begin their graduate degree in their senior year of the freshwater sciences program. Up to 21 credits can be applied toward both a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree. The five-year program consists of 3½ years in undergraduate status and 1½ years in graduate status. 

You can customize your accelerated degree by combining aquatic science and/or water policy. See our Curriculum tab for plans of study.

Program Type

Accelerated Graduate, Major

Program Format

On Campus
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Are you a high-achieving student who is passionate about the environment and protecting our waters? Students accepted to our accelerated graduate degree program quickly gain real experience that employers are looking for through a rigorous aquatic science and water policy curriculum paired with undergraduate research opportunities, internships and a senior project that addresses current freshwater and environmental problems. 

Required career development coursework helps you develop essential leadership skills and build workforce connections through mock interviews, resume-building activities, elevator pitches and mentorships with industry leaders and water-related organizations. 

Our unique science, communication and public engagement course prepares you to make a difference in the world by teaching you how to effectively communicate the science behind critical water issues at different levels of complexity to diverse audiences. 

To be considered for the accelerated graduate degree program, students must meet the minimum criteria for admission established by the MS in Freshwater Sciences and Technology, Professional Science track and the UWM Graduate School. They must also  be in progress to complete 105 undergraduate credits prior to their first term as a graduate student. 

Students who do not satisfactorily meet Graduate School admissions criteria may continue with their BS in Freshwater Sciences.  

Start the process in your junior year and begin graduate courses in your senior year. 

  1. Meet with your undergraduate academic advisor to determine your eligibility. Ideally, you should meet with your advisor before the end of your junior year or your fifth semester of coursework, and start graduate courses in your senior year. 
  2. Write a one to two page personal statement that explains your interest in a particular field of study and reasons for desiring to enter the accelerated program.  
  3. Request one letter of recommendation from a faculty member who can speak to your critical thinking and writing skills, and your ability to manage an increased workload.  
  4. Submit the accelerated program declaration of intent form, personal statement and letter of recommendation to the School of Freshwater Sciences Academics Programs Office. 
  5. Meet with the graduate program coordinator to discuss the accelerated master’s program of study. You must be admitted to the accelerated master’s program prior to the start of your final undergraduate semester. 
  6. If your program of study is approved, register for two graduate-level courses (six credits) in your senior year. If a course has undergraduate/graduate status, you must follow the syllabus and grading scale designated for graduate students. NOTE: To earn graduate credit for these courses, you must receive a grade of “B” or better. 
  7. At the beginning of your last undergraduate semester, you need to formally apply to the Graduate School. If you intend to start the master’s immediately after graduation, we recommend that you apply by Sept. 1 to begin in spring or April 1 to begin in fall. 

To be considered for admission into Graduate School prior to completing their bachelor’s degree, students must meet the minimum criteria for admission established by the MS in Freshwater Sciences and Technology, Professional Science track, and the UWM Graduate School. They must also be in progress to complete 105 bachelor’s credits prior to their first term as a graduate student.  

Once you are admitted to the accelerated master’s program, you are required to meet the academic standards of the Graduate School. See the Graduate School policies and procedures