The UW-Madison Department of Soil Science is one of the oldest, largest, and most prominent soil science departments in the United States. It is globally renowned for its excellence in soil research and education. The department’s mission is to provide instruction, research, and extension leadership in soil chemistry, physics, biology, and pedology to economic and sustainable land use. Programs are designed to improve basic understanding and practical management of soil resources in natural, agricultural, and urban ecosystems, and to serve local, state, national, and global interests. The department implements the Wisconsin Idea to the extended community and provides all generations with an appreciation of soil as a key natural resource and thorough understanding of the scientific basis of the environment and agriculture.
Topics of Interest
Applications to graduate studies act as the application for financial support. Offers of financial support accompany most offers of admissions for student admitted to Soil Science. Most students hold research assistantships (RAs), but some may hold fellowships or teaching assistantships (TAs). The availability of these appointments are limited. They carry a stipend, a remission of tuition, and the option to participate in a health-care plan comparable to that available to faculty. A posting of open assistantship positions with the department may also be located on the department’s Employment & Funding Opportunities page.
International students should refer to the International Applicant Financial Information website when preparing the applications. International students should submit their financial information only after a favorable admission decision has been made.
Employment regulations for international students can be found on the International Student Services (ISS) website.
Although paid teaching assistant (TA) appointments are rare within Soil Science, there are many opportunities on campus to secure such a position. Students supported by TA positions should contact their advisor for a list of potential departments to contact.
Research Assistant (RA) Graduate Students
Most students who join the soil science PhD program are offered financial support through an RA appointment. Soil science RA appointments are offered at the maximum allowable 50% rate, unless specified differently in the appointment letter. An RA appointment is granted for the fiscal year (July 1 to June 30). We expect appointments to continue for the duration of a student’s studies with satisfactory progress toward degree. All RA appointments include tuition remission and fringe benefits.
|Fiscal Year 2023 – 50% RA covered expenses||Soil Science Graduate Students|
|Annual Stipend – Paid to student||$26,309|
|Fringe Benefits – Employer’s contribution of social security and health insurance (estimated)||$5,220|
|Tuition – Paid by RA appointment (estimated)||$12,000|
Teaching Assistant (TA) Graduate Students
On occasion, a soil science PhD student may take on a TA appointment in our department or another department on campus. The length of appointment (one semester, academic year, or annual) and the percentage of appointment can vary greatly depending on the specific needs of the hiring department. TA appointments, at or above 34%, include tuition remission and fringe benefits.
|Fiscal Year 2023 – 50% TA covered expenses||Soil Science Graduate Students|
|Academic Stipend – Paid to student||$21,115|
|Fringe Benefits – Employer’s contribution of social security and health insurance (estimated)||$4,200|
|Tuition – Paid by TA appointment (estimated)||$12,000|
Wisconsin Distinguished Graduate Fellowship (WDGF) Graduate Students
The Department of Soil Science has two WDGF opportunities tied to specific research programs in the department. The department’s WDGF opportunities are offered only when fund earnings have reached the level of support necessary. The College of Agricultural and Life Sciences also offers WDGF opportunities. Please see the Financial Support & Appointment Types tab for those details.
|Fiscal Year 2023 WDGF covered expenses||Non-dissertator||Dissertator|
|Annual Stipend – Paid to student||$29,000||$29,000|
|Fringe Benefits – Employer’s contribution of social security and health insurance (estimated)||$5,220||$5,220|
|Tuition – Paid by WDGF appointment (estimated)||$15,600||$5,800|
|Segregated Fees – Paid by WDGF appointment (estimated)||$1,800||$880|
Health Benefits: Graduate assistantships appointed at 33.3% or higher provide eligibility for health insurance (health insurance options for a reasonable premium are among the country’s best group health insurance plans).
Other Types of Fees
In addition to tuition, there are other fees that may be assessed on a student’s account. Some of these fees are one-time fees; others may be assessed each semester depending on the student’s status, enrollment date, courses taken and if the student is living in University Housing.
- Segregated Fees are charges, in addition to tuition, assessed to all students. Segregated fees pay for student services, activities, programs, and facilities that support the mission of University of Wisconsin System institutions, including UW-Madison.
- Housing and Dining charges are assessed to students living in the Residence Halls and participating in the dining meal plan.
- eTextbook Fee is charged to students who register for courses participating in the e-text program
- Registrar Office Document Fee is a mandatory one-time fee that covers the cost of official university documents (such as transcripts).
- International Student Fee is applicable to students who are at UW-Madison on F1 or J1 visas and supports the International Student Services office.
- Late Registration Fee is assessed to students who begin enrolling in courses after a specific date each term.
The program guide with complete details about our Soil Science PhD degree can be found here.
International students at UW-Madison have additional requirements imposed by the U.S. Federal Government. Our International Student Services Office staff are the experts to address all questions regarding these matters.
Graduate Program Manager, Julie Garvin is happy to meet with you to answer further questions you may have. Also, we have several MS and PhD graduate students who are willing to meet with new students to answer the questions only they can. Contact Julie at firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a meeting according to your needs.