At SAFS, you develop the skills to advance the discipline of fisheries and aquatic sciences. You graduate employment-ready. Specifically, you learn to:

  • develop, articulate and implement novel research that addresses relevant questions or issues in a selected discipline;
  • communicate science effectively to peers and integrate knowledge across disciplines;
  • gain leadership skills by mentoring, advising, and instructing junior colleagues.

Graduate Degrees

The School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences (SAFS) offers two graduate degree programs:

Faculty Advising

Each entering graduate student is assigned a faculty advisor (i.e., major professor), based on their academic and research interests. Faculty track student progress and provide mentorship. The adviser assists the student in planning initial coursework and may aid development of a research program. The faculty adviser usually becomes the chairperson of the student’s supervisory committee or may assist in finding another appropriate faculty member who can supervise the student’s research.

Related Degree Program – QERM

The graduate program offered by the Quantitative Ecology and Resource Management (QERM) interdisciplinary group provides a unique opportunity for students to study the application of statistical, mathematical and decision sciences to a broad array of terrestrial and marine ecology, natural resource management, and biometrical and mathematical biology problems. The QERM program offers Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degrees and is designed to attract mathematically trained students interested in working on contemporary ecological or resource-management problems from a quantitative perspective. For more information contact Timothy Essington at


Our current admissions cycle is for an Autumn Quarter start, and we begin accepting applications each year on September 1. The application submission deadline is December 15 for both domestic and international applicants.

Applicants to the PhD program must hold an earned Master’s degree prior to beginning their doctoral studies. Prospective students who will not have earned a Master’s degree before the start of Autumn Quarter may only apply to the MS program.

The primary criterion for admission to SAFS is the demonstrated ability to pursue the degree program successfully. The applicant’s scholastic record is of primary importance and includes several requirements–please read the Admissions Criteria PDF.

In addition to the criteria listed, applicants must secure sponsorship from a faculty adviser willing to admit and fund them. Some applicants secure external funding, but they still need a faculty adviser to sponsor admission.

Applicants are encouraged to contact potential advisers in the Fall, and definitely no later than February. You can review the online faculty profiles to determine whether your research background, interests and objectives fit with one (or more) of the SAFS faculty and contact them accordingly.

You do not need to have a specific research project in mind when you apply. However, you should have a clear idea of the type of research that you’d like to pursue and which SAFS faculty members are best suited to supervise your prospective research.

View more information about UW admissions policies and procedures. Admissions and enrollment statistics can be found on the UW Graduate School’s website.

Visiting SAFS

We invite you to visit us and sit in on our weekly seminars or meet with a faculty member to learn more about what SAFS does and meet members of the community.

Thursday seminars

On Thursdays at 4:00pm (4:30pm Winter Quarter), there is usually a departmental seminar in FSH 102, after which the attendees gather in our lobby for a social event (called TGIT). This is a great opportunity to meet students, staff, faculty, and other members of the fisheries community. Both the seminar and TGIT are open to visitors. No RSVP needed.

Meeting with faculty

Because of the complexity of faculty schedules and the high number of applicants to our graduate programs, we ask that you arrange individual meetings with potential faculty advisers directly by emailing or calling them.


Back to Top