International Students

International Students

Whether your career goal is to do research that will advance global knowledge or to hold a leadership position in your field with government or industry, UW–Madison is a great place to start. Our graduate programs attract students of diverse cultural backgrounds and more than 2,500 of our current graduate students hail from around the globe – China, India, Korea, Turkey, Taiwan, Germany, Iran and a host of other countries.

UW–Madison ranks 13th among public institutions in the U.S. News & World Report’s 2021 edition of America’s Best Colleges. According to the National Research Council’s survey released in 2010, UW–Madison had 40 programs ranked in the top ten in their field. And the National Research Council found that UW–Madison has more highly rated doctoral programs than any other U.S. university.

Explore our programs to find the best fit for you. You’ll find UW–Madison to be an excellent choice for graduate study.

Additional admission requirements for international students

Official transcript is approved and admission is finalized

The formal admission letter is issued.

Proof of funding (only when requested)

  • Proof of funding will be requested and verified by the Graduate School. Funding sources may be the program, applicant, government, employer, individual, or a combination of these.
  • Additional information will be requested through your online status check page.

Documents for visa appointment

  • USPS delivery takes four to five weeks. We encourage students to use for express delivery. This allows for a quicker delivery as well as added security and tracking.
  • Refer to your individual status check page for details on your visa documents.

Follow online status check page

International applicant financial information

The following information is valid through Fall 2021.

International applicants are required to have sufficient funds to cover expenses completely while attending the University of Wisconsin–Madison. You must certify that you have a minimum of $43,265 (U.S. dollars) in a checking or savings account at the time of admission. This amount will be greater if you bring dependents (see International Applicant Financial Information below).

The university’s Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP) is mandatory for international students and their dependents living in the U.S. Summer school tuition is in addition to the student expenses listed below.

Do not plan on working unless you have been granted a University of Wisconsin–Madison assistantship. U.S. law limits work opportunities for international students while they are in the U.S.

Employment regulations for international students can be found on the International Student Services (ISS) site.

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International student expenses 2021 (Tuition rates may vary by program)

wdt_ID Student Expenses Age 25 and younger Age 26 and older
1 Tuition and segregated fees for academic year (fall and spring) $25,524 $25,524
2 Living Expenses* $15,333 $15,333
4 International Student Fee $200 $200
5 Health Insurance - SHIP (mandatory 12 months) $1,476 $2,208
6 Total Student Expenses $42,533 $43,265
*Living expenses include room, board, books, and incidentals such as transportation, clothing, and personal items.

Dependent expenses, in addition to student expenses above

wdt_ID Dependent Expenses Age 25 and younger Age 26 and older
1 Spouse/Partner living expenses, not including insurance $5,750 $5,750
2 Each child's living expenses, not including insurance or childcare $7,850 $7,850
3 Additional mandatory insurance for spouse/partner $3,120 $3,720
4 Additional mandatory insurance for one child $2,736 $3,276
5 Additional mandatory insurance for more than one child (family coverage) $5,784 $6,912

Funding opportunities for international students

Though citizenship requirements restrict international students from holding some fellowships, there are other fellowships for which international students are eligible to be nominated, including University Fellowships and some departmental fellowships. Graduate Assistantships are also available to international students. To find out about these options, contact your program.


  • International students will find numerous resources for funding on the International Student Services (ISS) site.
  • The Grants Information Collection at UW–Madison lists resources for international students seeking funding.
  • Loans: International students may be eligible for private loans from lenders. One such resource is The Global Loan.
  • Fellowships: The Graduate School’s External Fellowship Database allows international students to browse fellowships for which they are able to apply.

International students maintaining legal status

All international students studying in the United States are subject to the requirements of the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). SEVIS is an Internet-based, electronic data collection system that allows schools and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to exchange data on the visa status of international students. It is a student’s responsibility to know and comply with all visa regulations regarding international students. Upon arrival at UW–Madison, all international students attend a mandatory orientation from International Student Services (ISS) that educates new international students regarding these regulations. It is imperative students understand and comply with these regulations. Consequences of non-compliance are serious and may result in loss of status and inability to remain in the U.S. International students are encouraged to seek advice from ISS whenever they are in doubt about their status.

International students should contact ISS if they are a currently enrolled UW–Madison graduate student and wish to add a second master’s program, continue from a master’s to a doctoral degree, or are planning to complete a degree in the current term; if they or their dependent have a change of formal name or address; or if they wish to drop below full-time enrollment (8 credits, no audits). Permission from ISS to drop below full-time enrollment does NOT exempt an international student from meeting the enrollment requirement determined by a Teaching Assistantship (TA), Project Assistantship (PA), Research Assistantship (RA), fellowship, traineeship, or dissertator status. If international students plan to transfer from UW–Madison to another institution within the U.S., they should contact the new institution first for transfer procedures.

Certain visa regulations may allow students to be employed part-time. Students holding an F or J visa are permitted to engage in no more than 20 hours of compensated employment per week during the academic year. TA, PA, and RA appointments are restricted to no more than 50% for international students. Fellowship and Traineeship appointments are not considered to be compensated employment for visa purposes. Any off-campus employment should only be undertaken after consultation with ISS.

For further information, contact International Student Services.