Prospective Ph.D. Students

More information

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Health Insurance

Graduate assistants, including TAs and RAs, and graduate fellows have the option to receive excellent benefits through the university’s state group health insurance plan. This is the same health insurance that covers faculty and staff. For the calendar year 2024, the typical state group health (HMO) insurance rates for graduate assistants are $56/month for an individual or $138/month for a family (including spouses and children).

For individuals and families who need to the flexibility to select specific health care providers, or who need to access health care throughout Wisconsin or nationwide, the Access Plan provides a second option for coverage through the state group health insurance program. For the calendar year 2024, the monthly rates for the Access Plan are $133.50 for individuals and $331.50 for families.

Student Fees

Graduate students are required to pay student fees called University Segregated Fees, which amount to approximately $1,900 for the 2023-24 academic year (depending upon course hours enrolled). These fees are paid fall and spring semester and summer term.  The payment schedule is here.


Graduate students are supported by teaching assistantships, research assistantships, and fellowships. Most first-year chemistry graduate students receive teaching assistantships. Teaching experience helps strengthen the mastery of the subject matter taught and develops poise and maturity in working with individuals and groups. Students with fellowships benefit by doing some teaching, and can usually supplement their stipends. The department does not, however, require that graduate students teach. In later years, graduate students usually serve as research assistants for their thesis advisers. Summer support for Ph.D. candidates is routinely available.

The Graduate School awards fellowships in mid-February. Incoming students who are awarded fellowships may activate their awards in June or in September. A limited number of summer research and teaching positions are also available from the department for exceptional new students who have accepted the department’s offer for the following year. Contact the Graduate Program Office for more information.

Waiver for Prior Graduate Chemistry Courses

An incoming graduate student can receive a waiver from the Department for up to 12 credits toward the UW-Madison Ph.D. course requirements for graduate courses taken at other institutions. These courses will not appear on the UW-Madison transcript nor count toward the Graduate School cumulative GPA or credit requirements, but will fulfill the Department’s requirement toward coursework, if approved. This policy is primarily for graduate students who have completed a MS degree before entering the graduate program at UW-Madison. Occasionally, incoming graduate students have completed 1 or 2 graduate courses at their undergraduate institution and this policy may be applicable. Coursework earned ten or more years prior to admission to a doctoral degree is not allowed to satisfy requirements.

To confer credits, you will need to fill out the Chemistry Course Waiver Form and:

  1. Identify a graduate course at UW-Madison that is similar to the course taken at another institution.
  2. Identify a faculty member who has taught the UW-Madison course.
  3. Email the faculty member asking for credit for the similar course. Include the following:
    • UW-Madison course number and number of credits
    • Course name, instructor, number of credits, grade, a short description, and syllabus of the course taken at the other institution
  4. Ask the UW-Madison faculty to email the Chemistry Graduate Program Office with permission granted and the number of credits.

International Students

The Department of Chemistry encourages international students to apply to the graduate program and believes that the department is enhanced by the diversity and different perspectives that the international students bring. Approximately 20-25 percent of our graduate students are international students.

Incoming Students

First-year graduate students without a fellowship are expected to teach as a teaching assistants (TAs). International students are required to take a SPEAK test to demonstrate their ability to speak clearly and listen effectively, if the language of instruction at their undergraduate or master’s institution was not in English.

The incoming students are required to attend an Orientation organized by the International Student Services (ISS) in August.

International Student Services

UW-Madison has an active International Student Services (ISS) organization that offers workshops, events, and information for international students throughout their academic career. They will answer questions about visas, employment, dependents, and other issues.

Improving English Skills

There are various organizations at UW-Madison and the community for international students to improve their English, PEACE, Conversational English, Madison Friends of International Students (MFIS), in additional to the English as a Second Language (ESL) courses. There are also student-run organizations at the Wisconsin Involvement Network (WIN).

Graduate Student Life

Graduate Student Life is a microsite for new and incoming graduate students. It includes information on housing, transportation, living in Madison, being a student at UW–Madison, thriving in graduate school, and a section for international students.

Please contact the Graduate Program Office at if you have general questions. Contact Marc Willadsen, payroll specialist, at if you have questions about benefits or payroll.