Join the Group

We are actively recruiting and hiring research group members at all levels! If you are interested in joining the group, please read the relevant information in the expandable tabs below.

We strongly believe that diversity, inclusion, and equity are a prerequisite and catalyst for research and innovation in our group and in the UW-Madison community. Our research group at the University of Wisconsin–Madison occupies ancestral Ho-Chunk land, a place their nation calls Teejop (day-JOPE). To learn more about our commitment to foster DEI in our group and the Department of Geoscience, explore some of our laboratory induction materials and explore our recent Department initiatives.

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Current undergraduate students interested in undergraduate research opportunities

There are a number of undergraduate research opportunities both for students attending the University of Wisconsin-Madison and students attending other undergraduate institutions. These opportunities include both paid research or research for credit. If you are a first or second-year student or transfer student we may be able to set up an opportunity through the Undergraduate Research Scholars Program. Juniors or seniors at UW-Madison should check out the Hilldale Undergraduate Fellowship and the Holstrom Environmental Research Fellowship. If you qualify for the Federal Work-Study we can also set up a flexible hourly position to perform research in the lab.

To inquire about current and upcoming opportunities, send an email to Prof Chris Zahasky ( describing your background and interests, how much time you would like to spend on research, a copy of your unofficial transcripts, and what you hope to get out of your research experience.

Examples of currently available projects:

  • Microplastic transport experiments with fluorescence techniques
  • Column experiments and sample characterization
  • COMSOL modeling projects

Prospective graduate students

There are a range of project and funding options available to pursue a Master’s or Ph.D. in the hydrogeology program in the Department of Geoscience. In addition to research projects available on currently funded projects, there are many opportunities for us to work together to fund graduate research through additional internal (i.e. University) or external funding sources (e.g. NSF Graduate Research Fellowship).

Examples of potential projects:

  • Colloid transport in geologic porous media (applications to microplastic and nanoparticle pollution control),
  • Permeability field inversion method development with geostatistical and machine learning techniques (applications to improved hydrogeologic and reservoir models),
  • Physics of CO2 trapping mechanisms in porous media (applications to carbon capture and storage),
  • Bacteria transport and filtration quantification in the subsurface (applications to drinking water pollution and understanding the impacts of agricultural activities on water resources),
  • Solute transport and channelization characterization in fractured cores (applications to geothermal energy and unconventional reservoir development),
  • Non-Newtonian fluid flow in heterogeneous rocks and fractures (applications to geothermal energy and unconventional reservoir development).

Information on the graduate application and admissions process

Graduate admissions in the Department of Geoscience at the University of Wisconsin-Madison is a multistep process as summarized below. While the process may seem daunting our goal is transparency for all applicants. As questions arise do not hesitate to reach out to Prof Chris Zahasky ( or the Department of Geoscience Graduate Program Coordinator Lisa Theo (

Step 1: Check that you meet the minimum requirements for graduate admission to the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the Department of Geoscience.

Step 2: Send an email to Prof Chris Zahasky ( with the following information

  • A brief description of your research interests
  • A Curriculum Vitae
  • Undergraduate/Master’s program transcripts

Step 3: After receiving a follow up from Prof Chris Zahasky, you will be encouraged or discouraged from completing the official graduate school application. This decision is based on general alignment with group research and verification that you meet the minimum requirements for graduate school.

Step 4: Complete the Graduate School Application by the application deadline listed here. The deadline is typically the first week of January for Fall semester admission. It is very important to list hydrogeology as an area of interest and list Prof Chris Zahasky as a faculty member with whom you would like to work. Before applying, check to see if you are eligible for a Fee Grant Waiver. If you are not eligible but require financial assistance in covering the application fee, do not hesitate to mention this to Prof Chris Zahasky as there additional waivers available upon request.

When writing a statement of purpose, focus your statement on addressing the following questions:

  • Describe how your knowledge and your background contribute to your preparation for graduate study in geoscience.
  • Why are you seeking a graduate degree in the Department of Geoscience at the University of Wisconsin-Madison? What knowledge and skills do you hope to achieve from the graduate program that will be useful to your long-term career goals?
  • The graduate student experience and life can involve a range of challenges. Describe an example of how you have shown resilience and/or perseverance in the pursuit of your academic goals or in your personal life and how you have grown as a result.
  • It is important for researchers to stay curious and be willing to question their own and other’s work in the pursuit of great science. Please describe a time when you worked on something you were excited about, either academic or personal, in which you exhibited these qualities.
  • Please add anything you would like to say in support of your application or anything that puts your application in a broader context that is not addressed by the questions

Step 5: After the application deadline has passed, the application review will begin immediately. This review is completed by faculty listed on the application in Step 4. For admission into the Subsurface Hydrophysics Lab the following aspects of the application are reviewed most closely:

  • A statement of purpose that addresses the questions specified above with evidence that you are passionate about the field and why a research-based graduate degree will help you to achieve your goals.
  • Your coursework/grades in hydrogeology and water-related courses, mathematics, physics, chemistry, and programming (if applicable). Specifically, we look for excellence or a trend of improvement.
  • Satisfactory letters of recommendation. We recognize that conscious and unconscious bias is often present in letters of recommendation so the weighting placed on these letters will vary.

Step 6: After the applications have been reviewed, admissions decisions will be made, and admitted applicants will be invited for an on-campus visit. In some cases, students who have not yet been admitted will also be invited to visit campus. For domestic applicants, travel, hotels, and some food costs for this visit will be covered by the Department of Geoscience. International applicant visits are arranged on a case-by-case basis. The on-campus visit typically occurs in mid to late February.

Step 7: After the on-campus visit, final admissions decisions are made and Prof Chris Zahasky will request research assistantship/teaching assistantship funding from the Department of Geoscience. A panel of faculty and staff on the Department of Geoscience Graduate Studies Committee make decisions on how to allocate funding for all graduate student funding requests in the Department of Geoscience. These requests are then voted on and approved by the full faculty. After approval, funding decisions are sent to the applicants. This entire process typically occurs within two to three weeks after the on-campus visit.

Step 8: Prospective students with funding offers are asked to accept or decline the offer by April 15th.

Prospective postdoctoral researchers

Postdoctoral opportunities are heavily dependent on currently available funding through externally funded research projects. If you are interested in postdoctoral opportunities please provide as much notice as possible prior to Ph.D. completion (typically a minimum of six months).  To inquire about current and upcoming opportunities, send an email to Prof Chris Zahasky ( with the following information

  • A brief description of your research interests and future goals in academia
  • A Curriculum Vitae
  • Two recent publications, preprints, or dissertation chapters that are most relevant to research in the Subsurface Hydrophysics Lab.