Graduate Degrees

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

  • Master of Science in Aquatic and Fishery Sciences (MS)
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Aquatic and Fishery Sciences (PhD)

Research-Focussed Program

Students often begin their research project in the first quarter. Required coursework is minimal to allow for a self-designed plan of study tailored to support the research project. Most MS students complete the program with at least one publication and most PhD students graduate with multiple publications. 

Faculty Adviser

Faculty review all applicants to the graduate program and offer admission to work in their lab. On occasion, an applicant might receive an offer of admission to two different labs and would therefore get to choose. 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 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.

Please learn more about the admission process.

View more information about the Graduate School’s admissions policies and procedures at UW Office of Graduate Admissions. Admission and enrollment statistics can be found at Graduate School Statistics and Reports.


Funding is a critical aspect of admission. All of our graduate students are funded through four possible avenues: 1. research or teaching assistantships, 2. employer support, 3. other forms of aid (e.g., governmental sponsorship) or 4. SAFS fellowships. Please learn more about how graduate students are funded in our program.

Degree Options

We hold MS and PhD students to the same standards – both are valuable; therefore, we have a unique structure allowing students that do not already hold a masters to seamlessly expand their thesis to a PhD with committee support. If you do not already hold a master’s by the time you begin the program, we ask that you apply through the UW Graduate School’s MS application portal but note on your application your intent to complete a PhD. 


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