When you begin considering graduate study, first find out as much as you can about the programs that interest you. Start out by learning the admissions process and deadlines, faculty research interests, required and recommended curriculum, the funding landscape, and what the experience of other students in the program has been like. In particular, exploring faculty research interests is key to deciding for yourself if UW–Madison is the right university for you, and it is important as you articulate to the program’s admissions committee why you are a good fit.
Steps to Apply
1. Explore our 160 master's and 108 doctoral degrees
Each graduate program has its own deadlines, admission committee, and recommendation process; direct any questions to the contact person listed on the program-specific information page.
3. Apply online
Choose up to three programs for one $75 application fee. Your materials will first be reviewed by your program’s admission committee and then by Graduate School Administration. Verify that your program offers admission for the intended term.
4. Check your application status
To review the status of your submitted application, log in to your Application Portal. Any requests for information or changes in your status will be noted in the portal.
5. Admission decisions are made
Recommendations are made by programs, and the Graduate School makes final admission decisions. Decisions can be viewed in the Application Portal, where applicants accept or decline admission.
Frequently asked questions
For help with your application, first look through these frequently asked questions. If you have other questions or encounter any problems with your application, contact admissions at email@example.com.
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Application changes and fees
How much is the application fee?
The application fee is $75 U.S. It is non-refundable and can be paid by credit card (MasterCard or Visa), Debit/ATM. In addition, non-U.S. citizens will be charged a $6 international document processing fee.
When is the application deadline?
Application deadlines vary from program to program. Before starting your application, it is very important to check the deadlines on your academic program’s page.
My program will not consider my application because the deadline has passed for that term. Can I get a refund?
The application fee is non-refundable. Applicants should check program deadlines before applying.
How do I add/change a program after submitting my application?
You must fill out a new application and pay a new fee.
How do I make updates or changes to my application after submission?
There are only a few changes you are allowed to make once an application is submitted. In the application portal, you can edit your personal information in the Applicant Center, manage your recommenders, and update or replace documents that you have already uploaded.
How do I update/correct my mailing or email address in the application?
- Log in to your application portal.
- Click your name in the top right corner to reveal a drop-down menu and select Applicant Center.
- Make your edits in the Applicant Center and then select the Save button.
- Contact your program so they are aware of any changes. Contact information for your program can be found in the Graduate Guide.
Can I change the term that I originally applied for?
You can change the term you wish to apply for by submitting a new application and fee.
Can I apply to more than one program with one application and one fee?
Yes, you can apply to three programs on one application with one fee.
When should I send my official transcripts?
The Graduate School will send an instructional email request after the program has recommended admission.
Will my transcripts that I send to the Graduate School be returned to me?
All transcripts become property of the UW–Madison Graduate School and will not be returned to you.
I sent my official transcripts. How do I know if you have received them?
We process transcripts as quickly as possible. Updates about your application can be found in your application portal.
- Log in to your application portal.
- Select Review Status.
- Read through the Review Progress, Grad School Messages, and System Email History for updates.
I am still finishing my undergraduate degree. When should I send my official transcript(s)?
If you are recommended for admission by your program, the Graduate School will send you an email requesting official transcripts. You will need to have your most current official transcript sent from your undergraduate institution to the Graduate School so our office can review your credentials and admit you. Once you have earned your undergraduate degree, you will need to have a final transcript (and degree certificate if needed) sent to the Graduate School, or else an enrollment hold will be put on your account for your second term.
How will my admissions committee take 2020 grades into consideration?
Many institutions introduced new grading schemes such as satisfactory/unsatisfactory, pass/fail, or credit/noncredit during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. Some institutions enforced the new grading schemes while others let students choose between the new grading scheme or traditional letter grades. In either case, we trust that both institutions and their students made efforts to maintain the highest level of rigor and integrity in educational outcomes.
Consequently, our admissions committees and our program faculty will be empathetic to COVID-19 challenges and allow flexibility in the evaluation of applicants, especially in the use of 2020 grades.
Fee waivers (fee grants)
Am I eligible for a fee waiver?
The Graduate School offers a limited number of application fee grants to make sure that the application fee is not a barrier for students from our key recruiting initiatives. Fee grants are currently available to U.S. citizens, permanent resident applicants and students with DACA status who can document that they:
- participated in selected pipeline programs designed to prepare students for graduate studies (see eligible pipeline programs), or
- grew up in a low-income family.
If any of the above criteria apply, please visit the Graduate School’s Application Fee Grant webpage for additional information and to request a fee grant.
We are unable to offer fee grants to applicants for any other reason at this time. Occasionally, individual graduate programs offer fee waivers to particular applicants who do not meet the Graduate School’s criteria; interested applicants may contact their graduate program(s) of interest directly regarding this possibility.
Students eligible for a Graduate School fee grant are encouraged to request a coupon code as early as possible. If you request a fee grant less than 7 business days before your application deadline, it may not be reviewed in time for you to apply. Requests made on the day of your deadline will not be processed.
Please note: the Wisconsin School of Business has its own criteria for granting fee waivers. For more information on those waivers, contact the admissions team for the program to which you are applying. Please visit the Business School’s contact page.
Checking your application status
How do I check the status of my application after I have submitted my application?
You can check the status of your application by logging in to your application portal and selecting Review Status.
Why doesn’t the status page list the application materials that I sent to my program?
The program receives all of your materials and updates your status page. Contact your program directly. You can find the specific program contact information on the Graduate Guide page.
How will I know you have received my test scores?
Scores are typically sent to UW–Madison electronically within two weeks. Please allow two weeks for processing once scores are received from the vendor.
You can check if official test scores have been received in the Applicant Center of your application portal:
- Log into your application portal.
- Click your name in the top right-hand corner for a drop-down menu and select Applicant Center.
- In the left menu, select Test Scores.
- You will see any official and unofficial test scores we have received.
Why aren’t my test scores showing up in my Applicant Center?
If you did not use the same demographic information for both the application and the test, they will not match up. It is possible that you listed your name differently or the birthdate is incorrect. Contact your program for assistance. Contact information for your program can be found in the Graduate Guide.
International students and English proficiency
Do you accept Duolingo?
No, we do not accept Duolingo.
I am an international applicant. Do I need to send my financial documents with my application materials?
No. Do not send any financial documentation until requested to do so by International Student Services after you have been admitted.
Do you accept “MyBest” or combined scores?
We will not accept scores compiled from multiple tests to meet English proficiency requirements.
Did I score high enough on my English proficiency test?
You can find our minimum requirements for English proficiency scores on the Requirements for Admission page.
Does the UW–Madison Graduate School offer “conditional admission”?
UW–Madison does not offer conditional admission. All students must apply through the Graduate School website.
International students and visa process
I haven’t completed my degree yet but need to apply for my I-20 right away. How can I get the immigration process started?
If you are recommended for admission by your program, the Graduate School will send you an email requesting official transcripts. You will need to have your most current official transcript sent to the Graduate School so our office can review your credentials and admit you. When we have processed your official transcript and admitted you, you will receive an email on the I-20 application process.
Once you have earned your undergraduate degree, you will need to send a final transcript and degree certificate to the Graduate School, or an enrollment hold will be put on your account for your second term.
Why can’t I access Terra Dotta?
Access to Terra Dotta is granted after an international applicant has been both recommended by the program and admitted to the Graduate School. Admitted applicants will be emailed specific instructions explaining how to log in to Terra Dotta.
I updated my address in my Student Center. Why is the information still wrong in Terra Dotta?
Uploading the information into Terra Dotta takes at least 48 hours; please check the system again for the update. If it has not been updated within 48 hours, email the Admissions Office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Financial aid and tuition
How do I apply for financial assistance?
Programs are the main source of funding. Fill out the funding section of the online application. If you are interested in a fellowship, project assistantship, research assistantship, or teaching assistantship, contact your academic program.
Financial Aid: Loans and Work Study are available to U.S. citizens or permanent residents. Check the loans/work study box in the application information section to receive information from the UW–Madison Office of Student Financial Aid.
How much is tuition for the UW–Madison Graduate School?
Tuition rates for the current term are located on the Bursar’s website. Tuition costs for future terms may not be available.
Letters of recommendation
How do I submit letters of recommendation?
All letters of recommendation are submitted electronically through the admission application.
Can I request recommendations before I submit my application?
You may send the request to your recommenders at any time during the application process. The recommendation section of the application remains accessible after you submit your application.
What happens to the recommendations if they are completed before I submit my application?
All recommendations are attached to your application.
My recommender has not responded. Can I send them another request?
Yes. To send another request to your recommender, you should go back into the recommendation section of your application and click the “Send Reminder” button. An email should be sent within 24 hours. You should contact your recommender to let them know to watch for the new message to arrive.
What if my letters of recommendation are stored at a file service (such as Interfolio) and are sent out by request?
These services cannot be used with our online recommendation system. You may contact your academic program to inquire if this method is acceptable.
Can the recommendations be sent by paper or PDF file?
Recommendations are done through our online application.
Am I eligible for consideration if my GPA is less than 3.0?
Your program may choose to consider your application if you have less than a 3.0 GPA on the last 60 credit hours of your bachelor’s degree. Contact your program directly.
Does my program require the GRE?
Search for your program in the Graduate Guide and select the Admissions tab to see if the program requires the GRE or any other tests. If you have questions about test requirements, reach out to the program directly using the contacts listed on the program’s Graduate Guide page.
Accept or decline offer and enrollment
How do I accept or decline the admission offer from my program?
You can choose to accept or decline admission through the Online Status Check. If you decline, there are a few simple questions to answer.
When do I enroll for classes?
Newly admitted graduate students will receive an invitation to enroll through MyUW from Enrollment Services approximately six weeks prior to the start of classes.
When do classes begin?
Check the Registrar’s Dates and Deadlines page.
There are resources available to help you fund your education. You may be offered a teaching, project, or research assistantship; fellowship; or traineeship that will help defray some or all of your expenses. Assistantships or fellowships may provide tuition remission in addition to a monthly stipend and health insurance. Assistantships are offered by programs only, not through the Graduate School. Be sure to ask about the funding landscape in your intended program. Program data available through the Graduate School will tell you the percent of students in the program that are supported and the types of support they receive.
Tuition cost and segregated fee information is available at the Bursar’s Office website.
UW–Madison values all individuals and commits to a shared responsibility towards designing inclusively and accessibly for people with disabilities. Visit Accessibility@UW–Madison to learn about disability rights, ableism, accessibility resources, and information faculty, students, and staff need to do their part in creating accessible events and content.
Information for newly admitted graduate students
The Graduate School offers support and resources to help you transition to life as a graduate student, including:
- New Graduate Student Welcome, the orientation day for all new graduate students;
- Welcome Week programming ranging from productivity tips to networking opportunities and national speakers;
- checklists of important tasks to complete before and when you arrive on campus; and
- onboarding messages and publications to help you get settled in to your new role as a UW–Madison graduate student.
Graduate Student Life
This helpful site covers campus area housing, transportation around the city, what to do on your occasional night out, resources for graduate students with children, tips for staying healthy while you’re on campus, and much more.
Note: The 2022 Annual Security & Fire Safety Report contains current campus safety and disciplinary policies, crime statistics for the previous three calendar years, and on-campus student housing fire safety policies and fire statistics for the previous three calendar years. UW–Madison will provide a paper copy upon request; please contact the University of Wisconsin Police Department at email@example.com or 1429 Monroe St., Madison, WI.