Graduate Degrees

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

  • Master of Science in Aquatic and Fishery Sciences
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Aquatic and Fishery Sciences

Faculty Advising

Each entering graduate student is assigned a faculty advisor 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 the 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.


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 Ph.D. 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.

The Future Rivers NSF Research and Training

In partnership with the College of Environment, the College of Engineering, the eScience Institute, EarthLab and the Freshwater Initiative at UW, SAFS is excited to offer a unique training and mentorship program called The Future Rivers NSF Research and Training Program (Future Rivers NRT). Interested graduate applicants should apply to the Future Rivers NRT by Jan. 31, 2020 where they may be selected for financial support. Visit Future Rivers NRT for details on how to apply.

Related Degree Program – Quantitative Ecology and Resource Management (QERM)

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

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