Graduate Academics


Graduate Study in the College of Engineering

Graduate students in the College of Engineering are an elite group of people who have chosen to advance their education at one of the premiere engineering colleges in the country. The college is among the nation’s best: Our graduate academic programs are highly ranked and our faculty widely are respected as leaders in their fields. Here you will find a community in which you will excel. You will find faculty, staff and peer students who are supportive and committed to your success. You will find rigorous coursework that will prepare you to achieve your goals. You will experience an environment highly conducive to collaboration—and meet faculty with a broad range of research interests and connections both on campus and around the world.

Academic departments that offer on-campus graduate-level degrees

The graduate program in biomedical engineering (BME) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison offers unique opportunities for students in this emerging field.  Collectively, our faculty has expertise in tissue engineering/biomaterials, imaging, biomechanics, neuro-engineering, and systems biology, where the common thread among these disciplines is the application of new technologies and approaches to solve problems in human health.  In these efforts our faculty members frequently work together and also in collaboration with researchers and clinicians in the UW medical school. Our research programs are enhanced through numerous core facilities, offering a wide range of diverse services, including molecular and biochemical analysis, high throughput computing, small animal and medical imaging, electron and optical microscopy imaging, and flow cytometry.  Our students can tailor their coursework to their research interests, while also acquiring knowledge across several areas in BME. This combination of research opportunities and customizable plan of study well-positions are students for the next stage of their careers.

The department offers both master’s and PhD graduate degrees. Review the Master of Science and PhD in Biomedical Engineering program page for more information on admissions.

The Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering has a tradition of excellence for more than 110 years, which is reflected in its consistent ranking among the best chemical and biological engineering programs in the world.

Department faculty and alumni have helped shape the discipline by making impactful contributions to the literature, writing field-defining textbooks, bringing new technologies to market, and serving as leaders to the community. Our current, award-winning faculty offer a range of cutting-edge research opportunities that encompass both classic subjects such as transport, kinetics, and thermodynamics as well as modern fields such as materials, systems, and biotechnology.

The department offers PhD graduate degrees. Doctoral students can elect to pursue PhD theses dominated by wet experiments, theoretical and computational studies, or combinations of both approaches.

Our research is highly interdisciplinary and collaborative with groups across campus—taking advantage of our world-class colleagues in engineering, chemistry, medicine, physics, math, law, business, and the life sciences—to solve many of society’s grand challenges including energy, health, and sustainability.

The department is home to an NSF Materials Research Science and Engineering Center, and department faculty also are leading members of other campus research centers and graduate training programs. Our work is published in leading scientific journals and is highly-cited by our peers. Doctoral students design their own graduate curriculum to master the fundamentals of chemical and biological engineering and to obtain the fundamental understanding of other fields required to pursue their research goals.

The combination of our award-winning faculty, highly engaged staff, state-of-the-art research facilities, outstanding students, and collegial atmosphere creates an intellectually stimulating environment for pursuing graduate studies. Our graduates are well-prepared for very successful careers in academia, industry, business, and government.

Review the PhD program page for more information on admissions.

The CEE department offers Master of Science (MS) and PhD programs for on-campus students in civil and environmental engineering and geological engineering, as well as the online Master of Engineering in Environmental Engineering. The MS emphasizes professional knowledge and skills, including research techniques. The PhD is a research degree emphasizing extensive and original approaches to problem-solving. Students typically earn an MS first, but may work directly toward the PhD if admitted to the PhD program.

Review the following pages for more information about all of our degree options:

Master’s Programs

PhD Programs

The ECE department offers MS and PhD programs for on-campus students. The MS emphasizes professional knowledge and skills and can be completed with or without a research component. The PhD is a research degree emphasizing original approaches to problem-solving. Students typically earn an MS first but may work directly toward PhD.

The department offers one- and two-year master’s degrees, and PhD graduate degrees, in electrical engineering. Review the following program pages for more information on admissions:

Master of Science in Electrical Engineering

PhD in Electrical Engineering

The Nuclear Engineering and Engineering Physics graduate program offers curricula and research in neutronics, nuclear materials, systems, reactor safety and fuel cycles and in plasma confinement, applications, and fusion technology. Facilities include an operating fission reactor, high-temperature thermal-hydraulics systems, the world’s most compact tokamak plasma experiment, and particle accelerators. Nuclear and plasma theory encompass analytical methods and parallel numerical computation.

The department offers master’s and PhD graduate degrees in engineering mechanics, nuclear engineering and engineering physics. Review the following program pages for more information on admissions:

Master of Science and PhD in Engineering Mechanics

Master of Science and PhD in Nuclear Engineering and Engineering Physics

The Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering offers opportunities for graduate study leading to the master of science and the doctor of philosophy degrees in industrial engineering. The five areas of specialization are: decision science/operations research, health systems, human factors and ergonomics, manufacturing and production systems, and quality engineering.

The department offers master’s and PhD graduate degrees in industrial engineering. Review the following program pages for more information on admissions:

Master of Science in Industrial Engineering

PhD in Industrial Engineering

Materials science and engineering is both a foundational discipline in engineering and a branch of science at the intersection of physics, chemistry, biology, and related disciplines. The University of Wisconsin offers graduate degrees in materials science and engineering, with a primary focus on Ph.D. students, who perform cutting-edge independent research with the support of their advisors and thesis committee members. A Masters degree is also offered.

The department offers master’s and PhD graduate degrees in materials science. Review the Master of Science and PhD in Materials Science and Engineering program page for more information on admissions:

The Mechanical Engineering department is one of the largest in the College of Engineering at UW Madison. Students are part of a stimulating learning community of highly motivated students, energetic educators, and creative researchers. Our internationally renowned faculty conduct cutting-edge in-depth research. On-campus students have access to the resources and specialized facilities of a large Engineering campus.

The department offers one- and two-year master’s programs, and PhD graduate degrees in mechanical engineering. Learn more about graduate studies in mechanical engineering.


The Biological Systems Engineering department is housed in the College of Agricultural & Life Sciences and offers M.S. and Ph.D. degrees for research in the following major areas of specialization: Biomaterials and Bioenergy, Food and Bioprocess Engineering, Machinery Systems Engineering, Natural Resources and Environmental Engineering, and Structural Systems Engineering. A non-thesis M.S. degree option is also available. Students are encouraged to contact faculty members performing research in the area of the student’s interest.

Visit the Biological Systems Engineering program page to learn more.

Interdisciplinary on-campus degree programs that offer graduate-level degrees

The University of Wisconsin–Madison’s Master of Science in Design + Innovation is an interdisciplinary and collaborative program created to teach students to understand multiple perspectives of design to find new and creative solutions to real-life issues.

Offered on campus, our program follows an accelerated 12-month schedule. Students must complete required core courses and then may choose elective courses from four specialized learning tracks. Our core courses provide students with shared foundational knowledge applied to team-based design projects. Our specialized learning tracks provide students with depth in areas of application such as Product Design, UI/UX Design, Communication Design, and Design Strategy.

Upon completion of our Master of Science in Design + Innovation program, students will graduate with cross-disciplinary skills applicable to a range of creative design career opportunities.

Learn more about the Master of Science in Design + Innovation.

The Environmental Chemistry and Technology program offers advanced instruction and research training in environmental chemistry and environmental technology leading to the master of science and the doctor of philosophy. A Ph.D. minor in environmental chemistry and technology is also offered. The program trains candidates for careers in teaching, research, resource management, environmental consulting, and private sector/industrial positions.

Visit the Environmental Chemistry and Technology program page to learn more.

The Freshwater and Marine Sciences Program (FMS) is an interdisciplinary graduate training program that offers M.S. and Ph.D. degrees to students interested in the science of freshwater and marine ecosystems. Our graduate program emphasizes limnological studies and is based on the premise that the freshwater and marine sciences are integrated fields requiring a broad base in the fundamental disciplines.

Visit the Freshwater and Marine Sciences program website (in the College of Letters and Science) to learn more.

A Master of Science in Manufacturing Systems Engineering provides a foundation for managing manufacturing operations in internationally competitive environments. The flexible curriculum includes manufacturing engineering and business classes, allowing graduates to build cross-functional expertise required to drive creative product development, efficient production and timely delivery. Ninety-nine percent of graduates accept permanent positions by graduation.

Visit the On-campus Manufacturing Systems Engineering program page to learn more.

Accelerated master’s degrees

Get a master’s degree or certificate from a top-ranked engineering program that will differentiate you in the job market and increase your earning potential. Explore our 27 online and accelerated programs here.

Professional online master’s degrees and certificates

In addition to our traditional master’s and PhD degree programs, we also offer a robust suite of online degrees designed to advance the careers of working professionals. The Office of Interdisciplinary Professional Programs, which administers these master’s degrees, is world-renowned for the high quality of education it provides. For the sixth straight year, the quality of our programs–and the success of our students–have earned the University of Wisconsin a place among the nation’s top 10 online master of engineering programs by US News and World Report. The office also delivers a variety of educational programs for professionals, including cutting-edge short courses, certificate programs and licensing credits.