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Admission and Financial Aid


Admission

The University of Wisconsin–Madison has offered graduate study for more than a century. Its advanced instruction actively involves graduate students in research. The faculty of more than 2,000 distinguished scholars and teachers, supported by an academic staff exceeding 6,000 confers graduate degrees in more than 160 fields of study.

As one of the nation's major research institutions, the university maintains extensive research facilities. More than 40 campus libraries, three museums, and numerous research centers support nearly 7,500 active local, national, and international research projects.

The Graduate School website offers links to admission information, including program profiles and contacts, websites and the online application, funding resources, diversity, graduate student life and other resources.

Deadlines for applications, fellowships and other types of funding vary among programs. Requirements also vary; therefore, it is important to check program websites before applying. All transcripts are sent directly to the program. If applying to more than one program transcripts should be sent to each program. All transcripts become part of the university files and will not be returned. The application fee is set by the legislature and is nonrefundable.

When the Graduate School receives the application, the data are entered into a campuswide student administration system. The program performs the initial application review, and if desired, makes a positive admission recommendation to the Graduate School. Admission is based on demonstrated scholastic ability, letters of recommendation, the statement of purpose/reasons for graduate study, and in most programs, scores on standardized tests, such as the GRE, TOEFL or IELTS (for international students) and GMAT for Business School applicants. Program requirements may be more rigorous than Graduate School requirements.

Graduate School Minimum Admission Requirements

Upon receipt of a positive admission recommendation from the department, the Graduate School will review the application and make the final admission decision. All applicants must meet the following requirements:

Grades

  • A minimum undergraduate grade-point average (GPA) of 3.00 (on a 4.00 scale) 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 3.0 (on a 4.00 scale).
  • International applicants must have a strong academic performance comparable to a B or above grade-point average. The Graduate School will use the grading scale from the applicant's institution. Applicants should not convert their grades to a 4-point scale.

Degree

  • 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 an approved U.S. bachelor's degree.
  • An international applicant's undergraduate institution should provide an official translation of the applicant's documents. If a translation is not provided, an applicant can have a translation done by the undergraduate institution, or by an official translator. In some countries, these translators are also notaries. Applicants should not submit an evaluation from a credential-evaluation service in lieu of a translation.

English Proficiency

Every applicant whose native language is not English, or whose undergraduate instruction was not in English, must provide an English-proficiency test score. Puerto Rican residents are not required by the Graduate School to provide an English-proficiency test score, but programs may require one. The required minimum scores are:

  • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL): 80 for Internet (iBT) and 550 for paper test
  • Michigan English Language Assessment (MELAB): 77
  • International English Language Testing Services (IELTS): 6

An applicant whose TOEFL Internet-based test (iBT) score is below 92; TOEFL paper-based test score below 580; IELTS score below 7; or MELAB below 82 must take an English-assessment test upon arrival. Depending on the score, an applicant may need to register for a recommended English as a Second Language (ESL) course in the first semester he or she is enrolled.

International Financial Information

International applicants are required to have adequate financial resources to cover expenses for the duration of their studies at UW–Madison. For more information see International Applicant Financial Information. Do not send financial statements until requested by the Graduate School. This will occur after the program has made a positive admission recommendation.

Admission Categories

Full Standing

Applicants admitted with full graduate standing must have satisfied the minimum Graduate School requirements and the requirements of the program in which they plan to enroll. A program may justify a recommendation of full standing to the Graduate School even though the applicant does not meet the minimum requirements. The Graduate School makes the final admission decision based on the program's recommendation.

Master's Degree Only

The program may decide to recommend an applicant for the master's degree only. The program is responsible for monitoring this decision.

Admission with Deficiencies

An applicant may be admitted with deficiencies on program recommendation. Applicants normally have at least 12 credits of academic work in the field of proposed graduate study or, in special cases, 12 credits of academic work in related fields approved by the department. Students are ordinarily expected to make up deficiencies by the end of the first full semester of enrollment. The Graduate School makes the final admission decision based on the program's recommendation. The program is responsible for monitoring the deficiencies.

Admission on Probation

An applicant who does not meet Graduate School minimum GPA or institution/degree requirements may be admitted on probation, provided other substantial evidence of capacity to do satisfactory graduate work is presented. The Graduate School makes the final admission decision based on the program's recommendation. If the applicant is admitted, the Graduate School will monitor the program review of probation and automatically end probationary status if the student meets the stipulated requirements. Failure to meet the requirements may result in the student being dropped from graduate school. It is the program's responsibility to inform students who have been admitted on probation.

Probation with Deficiencies

An applicant may be admitted on probation with deficiencies. The program is responsible for monitoring the deficiencies, and the Graduate School will monitor the program review of probation.

Probation, No Grade below B

Applicants may be admitted on probation with the stipulation that they receive no grade below B in the first semester as a UW–Madison graduate student. The Graduate School will monitor the program review of probation.

Probation, First-Semester GPA Specified

Applicants may be admitted on probation with the stipulation that they receive a specified first-semester GPA. The Graduate School will monitor the program review of probation.

University Special Student (Nondegree Candidate)

In some cases, strong performance as a University Special student will be considered as evidence leading to favorable action on a request for admission. After admission to a graduate program, the student's program may decide to accept up to 15 credits earned as a University Special student as fulfillment of the minimum graduate residence, graduate degree, or doctoral minor credit requirements on occasion as an exception (on a case-by-case basis).  In all these cases, the student would have to pay the difference in tuition for the terms in question.  UW–Madison course work taken as a University Special student would not be allowed to count toward the 50% graduate course work minimum unless taken at the 700 level or above.  This work will not appear on the graduate career portion of the UW–Madison transcript nor count towards the graduate career GPA. For more information, contact: Adult Career and Special Student Services Center, 21 North Park Street, 7th floor, Madison, WI 53715; 608-263-6960; advising@dcs.wisc.edu; continuingstudies.wisc.edu/advising/.

Double Degrees (2 degrees, 2 majors)

Double degrees are two same-level (master's or doctoral) degrees from two separate graduate programs and can be earned at either the master's or doctoral level. A student completing a double degree earns two degrees (two programs), and receives two diplomas. The student has two advisors and two separate committees, and completes two theses (master’s) or dissertations (Ph.D.). Students may apply for an additional program at the time of original application, add a program at any time during enrollment, or reapply and pursue a second degree after completion of the first. Please review the Graduate School’s Academic Policies and Procedures for the most up-to-date information about double degrees.

Dual Degrees (2 degrees from 2 student careers, such as 1 from the Graduate School and 1 from a Professional School)

A dual degree is two degrees, one of which is granted in a graduate program, and the other in another career (e.g., professional degrees like M.D., J.D., DVM, D.Pharm., MPH. or undergraduate degrees at UW–Madison). To receive a dual degree students must be admitted to both programs and complete the specific degree requirements for each school (including the Graduate School minimum credit requirement for the graduate degree). Please review the Graduate School’s Academic Policies and Procedures for the most up-to-date information about dual degrees.

Joint Degrees (1 degree, 2 majors)

A joint degree consists of one graduate degree with two programs. A student completing a joint degree writes one thesis or dissertation and receives one diploma. Students can earn a joint master's or a joint doctorate. Such degrees are relatively rare. To receive a joint degree students must be admitted to both programs and submit an approved joint degree proposal to the Graduate School for review no later than the beginning of their second year of graduate study. The proposal must outline how the requirements for both programs will be met. Please review the Graduate School’s Academic Policies and Procedures for the most up-to-date information about joint degrees.

Special Graduate Committee Degrees

Special graduate committee degrees are one-of-a-kind master’s or doctoral degrees built around unique needs of individual students that cannot be satisfied by approved programs (i.e., by existing program/minor combinations, joint degrees, distributed minors, etc.) and may permit individual degrees in new and emerging fields or combinations of disciplines. Prospective students who may have an interest in a special graduate committee degree should apply to the degree program that is closest to their program interest and attend classes before a proposal for a special graduate committee degree will be considered by the Graduate School. The student's advisor authors and submits the special graduate committee degree proposal on behalf of the student as early in the student's program as possible. Please review the Graduate School’s Academic Policies and Procedures for the most up-to-date information about special graduate committee degrees.

Faculty Admission

A UW–Madison faculty member may pursue a graduate degree provided arrangements have been made to avoid conflicts of interest and time commitment. Faculty should refer to section 8.03 of Faculty Policies and Procedures for specific regulations.

Previously Enrolled Graduate Students

Previously enrolled graduate students must reapply for admission to the Graduate School if they wish to resume studies after an absence of a semester or more (not including summer session). The readmission procedure assures the Graduate School that a student is in good standing with his/her academic program and activates the student's registration eligibility. Procedures and more information for returning to Graduate School are available at grad.wisc.edu/admissions/previouslyenrolled/.

The Graduate School recommends that students contact the program when they desire a leave; some programs have strict leave-of-absence policies.

Financial Support

Financial support is available to many graduate students on campus and comes in the form of Graduate Assistantships (e.g., Teaching, Project, or Research Assistantships), Fellowships, and Traineeships. The best source of information about these types of financial support is the faculty and staff in academic programs. Decisions about most graduate assistantships, fellowships, and traineeships are made at the program level; however, some cross-campus graduate assistantships are listed at the main Student Job Center. The Graduate School's Office of Fellowships and Funding Resources (OFFR) provides general information and direction to students about funding opportunities on and off campus.

Graduate School Office of Fellowships and Funding Resources
231 Bascom Hall, 500 Lincoln Drive
Madison, WI 53706-1380
608-265-5522; 608-262-9597
grad.wisc.edu/studentfunding/

Assistantships

Student assistants are enrolled graduate students. There are several general categories of student assistant appointments at UW–Madison.

Teaching Assistants (TA)

Teaching assistantships provide financial support to graduate students as well as opportunities for acquiring valuable teaching experience. A teaching assistant is a graduate student enrolled in the University of Wisconsin–Madison who is regularly assigned to teaching under the supervision of a faculty member or academic staff employee.

Teaching assistants who are awarded a minimum appointment of 33.33% receive full tuition remission and are eligible for comprehensive health insurance benefits.  They are, however, still responsible for paying segregated fees.

For more information, visit Types of Funding Available and reference Academic Policies and Procedures.

Program Assistants (PA)

A program assistant or project assistant (PA) is a graduate student enrolled in the University of Wisconsin System who is assigned to conduct research, training, administrative responsibilities, under the supervision of a faculty or academic staff member, primarily for the benefit of the university.

Program/project assistants are included in a labor agreement between the state of Wisconsin and the Teaching Assistants Association.

Program/project assistants who are awarded a minimum appointment of 33.33% receive full tuition remission and are eligible for comprehensive health insurance benefits. They are, however, still responsible for paying segregated fees.

For more information, visit Types of Funding Available and reference Academic Policies and Procedures.

Research Assistants (RA)

A research assistant (RA) must be a graduate student working toward a master's or Ph.D. degree. The main function of a research assistantship is to further the education and training of the student, through the individual's course of study and research directly applicable to his/her thesis or dissertation.

Research assistants who are awarded a minimum appointment of 33.33% receive full tuition remission and are eligible for comprehensive health insurance benefits. They are, however, still responsible for paying segregated fees.

For more information, visit Types of Funding Available and reference Academic Policies and Procedures.

Fellowships Administered by the Graduate School

The Graduate School administers a number of university-funded fellowships for different purposes and in different disciplines. For example, some fellowships are awarded by division, while others are offered by school or college. Applicants do not apply directly to the Graduate School for fellowship support. Academic programs nominate their most competitive students for these university-wide awards.

Fellowships may be awarded for a semester, academic (nine-month), or annual (12-month) tenure. Stipends vary according to the type of award. In 2014-2015, fellowship awards ranged from $6,455 for summer support up to $25,820 for 12 months. These awards provide for payment of tuition and fees and include eligibility for comprehensive health insurance benefits.

Federal or national fellowships currently administered by the Graduate School include: Ford Foundation Predoctoral and Dissertation Fellowships, National Physical Science Consortium (NPSC) Fellowships, National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Fellowships, Charlotte Newcombe Fellowships, Spencer Dissertation Fellowships, CIC–Smithsonian Institution Fellowships, Soil Science Research Council (SSRC) Fellowships, Mellon-Council for European Studies (CES) Fellowships and ACLS/Mellon Dissertation Completion Fellowships. These programs require direct application by the student to the agency and generally have early fall deadlines.

Fellowships for International Travel, Research, and Study

The International Fellowships Office, a unit of the International Institute, serves as a resource center and provides information and support to faculty, students, and staff interested in identifying international research grants, scholarships, and other funding opportunities. The International Fellowships Office also manages and coordinates a number of international fellowship competitions for UW–Madison faculty and students. Contact the International Institute at 328 Ingraham Hall, (608) 262 9632; intl-institute.wisc.edu/funding/students.htm.

College and Program Traineeships and Fellowships

Many colleges and programs have fellowships, scholarships, and traineeship awards for students at all stages of graduate study. Awards are made available from federal training programs, research grants, gifts and trusts, and special program funds. Information on these awards is available from the program.

Office of Student Financial Aid

The Office of Student Financial Aid assists students (U.S. citizens and Permanent Residents) whose personal and family resources are not adequate to cover the expenses involved in attending UW–Madison.  For more information about processing financial aid forms to determine eligibility, part-time employment or information about scholarships and more, see the Office of Student Financial Aid website.

Effective July 1, 2012, graduate students are no longer eligible for Federal Direct Subsidized loans. For more information about changes to federal direct loans for graduate students check here.

Counseling is available to students who would like more information about financial assistance, debt management, or personal budgeting.

Office of Student Financial Aid
333 East Campus Mall, #9701
608/262-3060
finaid@finaid.wisc.edu
www.finaid.wisc.edu

Council of Graduate Schools Policy Resolution

Acceptance of an offer of financial aid (such as graduate scholarship, fellowship, traineeship, or assistantship) for the next academic year by an actual or prospective graduate student completes an agreement (based on a Resolution of the Council of Graduate Schools) which both the student and graduate school expect to honor. In those instances in which the student accepts the offer before April 15 and subsequently desires to withdraw, the student may submit in writing a resignation of the appointment at any time through April 15.

However, an acceptance given or left in force after April 15 commits the student not to accept another offer without first obtaining a written release from the institution to which a commitment has been made. Similarly, an offer by an institution after April 15 is conditional on presentation by the student of the written release from any previously accepted offer. It is further agreed by the institutions and organizations subscribing to the above Resolution that a copy of this Resolution should accompany every scholarship, fellowship, traineeship, and assistantship offer.