Requirements for Admission

The Graduate School sets only the minimum requirements. Academic program admission requirements are often more rigorous than those set by the Graduate School. Please check your program’s website for details.


A bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution or a comparable degree from an international institution is required. International applicants must have a degree comparable to a regionally accredited U.S. bachelor’s degree. You must have completed your undergraduate degree, or similar, before starting graduate school.

For specific information about comparable degrees in your institution’s country, and which academic documents are required, refer to this list:  


Academic Requirements:

Academic Documents Required:

English Proficiency Requirements:

Your school should provide an official translation of your documents, or you must have a translation done by your school or an official translator. Do not submit an evaluation from a credential evaluation service, such as WES, in lieu of a translation.


No official transcripts are required as part of the application. The Graduate School will send an instructional email request after the program has recommended admission.

*Note: All transcripts become property of the UW–Madison Graduate School, and will not be returned.


A minimum undergraduate grade-point average (GPA) of 3.00 on the equivalent of the last 60 semester hours (approximately two years of work) or a master’s degree with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 is required. Applicants from an international institution must demonstrate strong academic achievement comparable to a 3.00 for an undergraduate or master’s degree. The Graduate School will use your institution’s grading scale. Do not convert your grades to a 4.00 scale.


The Graduate School does not require the GRE. Your academic program may or may not require it. Please check your program’s website for details. If your intended program of study requires the GRE, you should submit official GRE scores electronically via ETS (institution code 1846).

English proficiency

To demonstrate English proficiency, all international degree-seeking applicants must meet at least one of the following criteria:

  • Earned a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited United States college or university.
  • Earned a Masters or PhD degree from a regionally accredited United States college or university not more than 5 years prior to the anticipated start of enrollment.
  • Earned an undergraduate degree equivalent to a bachelor’s degree from an international institution where English is the exclusive language of instruction. The language of instruction must be stated on the official transcript or verified as the only language of instruction.
  • Completed at least two full-time semesters of graded coursework from an accredited institution where English is the exclusive language of instruction not more than 5 years prior to the anticipated start of enrollment. This coursework cannot include English language learning classes.
  • Provided official and admissible results of an English proficiency exam to the Graduate School. Scores must be within two years from the anticipated start of enrollment.

Choose your institution’s country from this drop-down list for specific information about English proficiency:


Academic Requirements:

Academic Documents Required:

English Proficiency Requirements:

Accepted English proficiency tests

The Graduate School currently accepts test results from TOEFL iBT, IELTS, and IELTS Indicator to fulfill the English proficiency requirement. Beginning with spring 2025 admit term applicants, the Graduate School will accept English proficiency test scores from the Duolingo English Test.

The required proficiency scores are: are listed below. We do not accept scores compiled from multiple tests to meet English proficiency requirements (i.e. TOEFL MyBest, IELTS One Skill Retake). Scores are valid if they are less than two years from the first day of the anticipated enrollment term.

Minimum TOEFL requirement: 92 internet (iBT); 580 paper-based test (PBT)
Minimum IELTS requirement: 7.0
Minimum IELTS Indicator requirement: 7.0
Minimum Duolingo English Test requirement (starting spring 2025 admit term): 125

For applicants to programs held in-person, admission may be granted with the following scores under certain circumstances and with program approval. However, in order to be admitted, an English assessment test (ESLAT) will be required upon arrival, and any recommended English as a Second Language (ESL) course must be completed successfully in your first semester. Below are the ranges in which an ESLAT will be required:

TOEFL (iBT): 80-91
TOEFL paper based: 550-579
IELTS: 6.5
IELTS Indicator: 6.5
Duolingo English Test (starting spring 2025 admit term): 115-124

How to submit English proficiency test scores

You must submit your scores following the directions below:

  • TOEFL scores must be submitted electronically via ETS. Our institution code is 1846.
  • IELTS scores can be submitted electronically or by mail via IELTS. To send electronically, select our account name UW-Madison Graduate School. To send by mail, use the following address:
    UW-Madison Graduate School, Office of Admissions
    232 Bascom Hall
    500 Lincoln Drive
    Madison, WI 53706
  • Duolingo English Test (starting spring 2025 admit term) scores must be submitted electronically via Duolingo to University of Wisconsin – Madison – Graduate Admissions.

Previously enrolled graduate students

If you were previously enrolled as a graduate student at UW–Madison but have had a break in enrollment for at least one fall or spring semester, you will need to apply to resume your studies.

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To apply

  1. You must complete an online application to be considered for reentry. If you are applying for readmission to your previous program you should select “Reentry” in the dropdown menu. You may not need new recommendations or statement of purpose, but you should confirm this with your program. If you are applying for a new degree program or were last enrolled longer than five years ago, you will need to fill out a new application.
  2. All reentry applicants must pay the $75.00 application fee, plus the $6.00 processing fee if you are an international applicant. This is regardless of the last time you were enrolled, and is non-refundable.
  3. Submit the online application at least six weeks prior to the start of your intended semester.
  4. After you submit your application, the program will review your records including your application.
  5. See your status in MyUW. If you have attended any other colleges or universities since your last enrollment, you must list those institutions and submit official transcripts to your program.
  6. Contact your intended program regarding deadlines and additional admission requirements.
  7. The program will approve or deny your request for reentry by making a recommendation to the Graduate School. The Graduate School makes the official offer of admission; read more information on the shared admission process page.
  8. To reapply click here.

Time limits

If you have not maintained continuous enrollment, you must submit an online application and pay the application fee.

Master’s degree students

If you are applying to resume your studies after five years to complete a degree that was in progress, you must fulfill the Graduate School’s minimum credit requirement. Credits earned while previously enrolled are not counted toward this requirement.

PhD students

If you did not take the final oral examination within five years after passing the preliminary examination, you must take another preliminary examination to be awarded dissertator status.

Appeals to time limit policy (after five years)

Your program may submit a written request to the Graduate School’s Office of Admissions and Academic Services if they believe an appeal is appropriate. An appeal provides information demonstrating that you have remained current in your field of study, e.g. a resume showing applicable work experience in your field of study and/or official transcripts from other schools attended. At the time of admission, your program should recommend to the Graduate School which credits, if any, should be counted toward the Graduate School Minimum Credit Requirement for work done more than five years ago.

All Incompletes must be completed during the first semester of enrollment upon your return to graduate studies.

If your native language is not English, you may need to provide a new TOEFL or IELTS score.

International students

If you are an international student applying for readmission, you must contact the Office of International Student Services (ISS) for immigration questions.

Office of International Student Services (ISS)

217 Armory and Gymnasium (Red Gym)
716 Langdon Street
Madison, WI 53706, USA