Water Science and Policy: Admissions Requirements

Application Deadlines

The official application deadlines are:

For fall, Feb. 1 for priority consideration for assistantship funding; July 1 for any consideration, and for spring, Dec. 1 is the final deadline to apply.

There is no special deadline to request admission with financial support, as it is the department's policy not to accept a graduate applicant unless funding is available or provided by the applicant. However, applying early may increase chances that a desired position is still available.

Admission Requirements

Admission to the Water Science and Policy graduate program is competitive. Those who meet the stated requirements are not guaranteed admission, nor are those who fail to meet all of those requirements necessarily precluded from admission if they offer other appropriate strengths.

Admission to the graduate program is dependent upon the applicant’s success in identifying a potential advisor who conducts research in the applicant’s area of interest and who also has financial resources sufficient to fund a research project. Applications are evaluated only when an advisor specifically requests that the student’s application be reviewed. Ideally, students may contact advisors directly to pursue study in their laboratories. Graduate students may also apply to the department, and advisors will examine the applicant pool to select students whom they are interested in advising. A financial/research arrangement is then made between an advisor and a student contingent upon student acceptance by the Department Graduate Committee. It is recommended that applicants contact faculty and apply well in advance of applicable deadlines, so as to increase the likelihood of obtaining a position in their area(s) of interest.

To officially apply for admission, see the Grad College website for detailed instructions, web-based forms, and contact information. Or click the APPLY NOW button to the left.

Documents required for Departmental review include:

  • Statement of research interest(s), including an identification of the PLSC faculty member(s) from whom the applicant has obtained an informal commitment of support or whom the applicant feels could best serve his/her interests
  • Resume
  • Official transcripts of all undergraduate and graduate studies (minimum 2.5/4.0cumulative and 3.0/4.0 within major; recommended minimum 3.0/4.0 cumulative and3.5/4.0 within major)
  • The program is waiving the GRE requirement for our graduate program.  If you wish to apply without a GRE score, please enter a future GRE exam date into the application.  It need not be a legitimate exam date.  Entering a future exam date causes the system to finish your application and send it on to our review committee where it will receive full consideration.
  • Results of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) taken within the previous five years
    • pre-August 1, 2011 GRE: minimum of 1050 combined verbal and quantitative; recommended minimum combined score of 1150
    • post-August 1, 2011 GRE: minimum 300 combined verbal and quantitative; recommended combined score of 305
  • Three letters of recommendation from individuals knowledgeable of the applicant’s academic preparation and potential ability as a graduate student; and
  • Results of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) (minimum 213 computer test, or 79 IBT) for international students who have not previously received a degree from a college or university within the United States. Alternatively, the Department is provisionally accepting results from the International English Language Testing System(IELTS) (minimum 6.5 overall with no individual sub-score below 6.0).

The values stated above for GPA and GRE are not absolute, provided the applicant can provide evidence of excellence in the other requirements or has desirable qualities that bear directly on the position being considered. Favorable qualifications would include, but are not limited to, undergraduate research experience, exceptional letters of reference, clear evidence of high motivation for the degree, and strong support from the proposed advisor.

The Office of Graduate and Professional Education has additional requirements not listed above. Photocopied scores are not acceptable for admission, but may be used during the initial stages of finding an advisor. Contact the current Graduate Studies Coordinator with questions concerning specific Departmental requirements.


  • Applicants for the Ph.D. degree must have received at least one undergraduate degree withor without a subsequent M.S. degree.
  • Applicants for the M.S. degree (thesis and non-thesis) must have at least one undergraduate degree.

Since the program focal areas are diverse, the degree requirements are tailored to the subject of interest. For example, a strong background in the sciences and possibly math will generally be viewed favorably for applicants interested in one of the Department’s science-oriented disciplines within Soil Science or Plant Science. Students applying to more artistically-oriented programs (e.g., Landscape Design) may benefit from having previously taken art-related courses.