The BSE Department requires that students have a strong engineering background for admission to its graduate program. Most applicants have a bachelor of science degree from an ABET/EAC–accredited engineering program or an engineering undergraduate degree from an international institution. Applicants who do not have a bachelor of science degree from an ABET/EAC–accredited engineering program may be admitted with a stipulation that they complete supplemental work. Applicants are evaluated based on their academic record and educational objectives and letters of reference.
Graduate admissions is a two-step process between BSE and the UW Graduate School. Applicants must meet requirements of both our program and the Graduate School. These requirements may be found below and at the Graduate School website. Applications to BSE graduate programs are submitted online to the Graduate School.
The M.S. and Ph.D. pages at the UW Graduate Guide are excellent sources of additional information on our programs.
How much is the application fee?
The application fee is $75. It is non-refundable and can be paid by credit card (MasterCard or Visa), Debit/ATM paid to the Graduate School. In addition, non-US citizens will be charged a $6 international document processing fee.
Application and Requirements
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Statement of Purpose
A personal statement of intent is required, which identifies your specific area(s) of interest and the reasons why they are of interest to you. It should explain how and why you aspire to advance knowledge in the field of Biological Systems Engineering. A guide to writing this statement can be found here.
You must submit transcripts from all previous institutions you have attended. Admission to the graduate program normally requires a bachelors degree in engineering with a minimum grade-point average of 3.0 on the last 60 hours of work toward the bachelor degree. Students holding bachelor degree in other programs may be admitted to the graduate program in the department, but will be expected to complete certain courses in the basic sciences and engineering without graduate credit.
Transcripts should read: “Official Transcripts” or “Academic Records.” These are to be collected from each institution attended and must be issued by the school with the official seal/stamp and any official signatures. Those sent in the initial application may be scans, although upon admission recommendation official hard copies are required.
International academic records must be in the original language accompanied by an official English translation.
Three Letters of Recommendation
Letters of recommendation from three (3) persons acquainted with your professional capabilities must be submitted. If possible, one of these should be from the chairperson of the department where your undergraduate degree was obtained.
International Student Requirements
Every applicant whose native language is not English, or whose undergraduate instruction was not in English, must provide official scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Information on minimum scores and exemptions may be found in the Graduate School Requirements. You can visit the TOEFL Web site to see sample exam questions, get free test preparation materials, and find where the test will be given in your area.
Information about the cost of attending for International Students may be found here.
The Graduate School does not request financial documents from international applicants until a recommendation for admission has been received.
Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores are not required except for students who wish to compete for fellowship or scholarship awards, but may still be submitted by others.
You may submit research-based papers or other documents supporting your credentials, as well as additional awards, honors, and publications you feel may impact your evaluation process.
Graduate admissions open one year before the beginning of the semester being applied for. The first round of evaluations for applications occurs the January before Fall semester, so applications must be completed in their entirety by December 31 to be included and be given funding priority. Applications are accepted after this date, but there will be fewer spaces and less funding available.
- Fall semester applications will be accepted until February 1.
- Spring semester applications will be accepted until September 1.
- Summer semester applications will be accepted until November 1.
Each applicant’s credentials are evaluated by the Graduate Instruction and Research Committee of the Department with special attention being given to undergraduate achievement, previous graduate work, apparent research ability and compatibility of student objectives with the research objectives of the department.
Not being accepted into our program can be based upon any or all of the criteria above. It does not necessarily reflect an applicant’s merits. Many factors must be weighed and an appropriate advisor must be available. Due to limited space, not all applicants, even those with excellent records, can be accepted.
- General Information
- Cost of Attendance
- International Cost of Attendance
- Graduate assistantships
- Assistantships are often available for both Masters and Doctoral students on a competitive basis on specific research projects. These assistantships waive tuition, however segregated fees apply to all students. The request for assistantship should be included with the application. Research assistantships for Master’s degree candidates are limited to four semesters plus two summer sessions; for Ph.D. candidates, six semesters plus three summer sessions.
For any questions about BSE's graduate program and admissions, please contact:
Julie Garvin, Student Services Coordinator
125 Agricultural Engineering Building
460 Henry Mall
Madison, WI 53706
Phone: (608) 262-2239