Shared Process of Graduate Admissions

Graduate admissions at UW-Madison is a shared process in which graduate programs recommend the admission of prospective students to the Graduate School.

The Graduate School offers admission to the prospective students who are recommended by the graduate programs and who meet minimum standards set by the Graduate School. These minimum standards concern GPA, prior degree certification, English proficiency test scores (when the student’s prior degree(s) were granted form a non-English-speaking institution), and F1 VISA requirements if the applicant is international.

Applications completed by prospective students vary in content, but all applicants are requested to provide demographic information and academic history, along with program and term choice, funding responses, recommender information, and statement of purpose.

A program may require applicants to complete a supplementary application, which provides additional information that the program faculty consider important in order to evaluate their applications.

Programs make admissions recommendations based on a variety of processes. Some programs have an admissions committee, other programs use their entire faculty to recommend admissions, and some programs allow individual faculty members to recommend admission (i.e. direct admits).

Factors that are often considered when assessing a prospective student for admissions include:

  • Prior academic record (e.g. GPA)
  • TOEFL/IELTS score(s)
  • Prior institution(s) attended
  • Appropriate fit between the student’s goals and the program focus based on the statement of purpose written by the student
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Prior experience with research/scholarship
  • GRE score(s)
  • Demographic factors (e.g. background about whether the applicant is first generation college, etc.)
  • Citizenship
  • Availability of funding to support the student through their graduate study
  • Other program-specific criteria relevant to the field of study

Although each program and faculty member may place more emphasis on certain combinations of factors, the entire application package is assessed in a holistic, competitive, and selective manner and in comparison to other applicants in the pool prior to making a recommendation for admission.

For more information on particular program requirements, please contact the program to which you are applying.