Filter Graduate Degrees
Explore Graduate School Program Data

Distance or Flexible Programs

The university offers several degree and capstone certificate programs that are fully or partially available at a distance or that are flexible to working schedules with evening and/or weekend courses. To learn more about the graduate-level degrees and certificates offered in flexible and online formats, visit the Wisconsin Professional Degrees & Certificates portal.

Other Professional Degrees

UW–Madison offers a number of post-baccalaureate professional degrees that are not administered by the Graduate School, but instead are solely supported by their home school.

Doctor of Juridical Science—SJD
Doctor of Law—J.D.
Doctor of Medicine—M.D.
Doctor of Physical Therapy—DPT
Doctor of Pharmacy—Pharm.D.
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine—DVM
Master of Genetic Counseling—MGC
Master of Laws—LLM
Master of Laws–Legal Institutions—LLM
Master of Physician Assistant Studies—P.A.
Master of Public Health—MPH

Breadth is a required component of doctoral training at UW–Madison. A student’s doctoral major program determines how breadth is achieved: students either complete an additional program of a doctoral minor or graduate/professional certificate, or breadth is built into the doctoral major program curriculum. Most major programs instruct students to use a doctoral minor or graduate/professional certificate to meet the breadth requirement. If a doctoral minor is not required by the student’s doctoral major program, this is noted on the Requirements tab of the Guide degree or named option page. See Minors in the Graduate School Academic Policies and Procedures for minimum course requirements for the minor. 

Graduate/professional certificates are available to all degree-seeking graduate and professional students (Graduate, Law, Medicine, Pharmacy, Veterinary Medicine careers) and meet the Graduate School breadth requirement. Graduate/professional certificate programs coordinate teaching and research among scholars active in interrelated disciplines.

The Specialist Certificate represents work beyond the master's level. For more information, contact the program.

Capstone certificates allow individuals with a bachelor’s degree to obtain additional professional skills and certification. Capstones do not lead to the conferral of a degree, but do appear on a student’s UW–Madison transcript.

Capstone certificate students are admitted as University Special students through Adult Career and Special Student Services (ACSSS). ACSSS as the academic dean is responsible for issues related to student enrollment and the student's official record.

An ACSSS student services coordinator works with each department's capstone certificate coordinator on advising, admissions, enrollment eligibility, and program completion. Capstone certificates typically follow rules of the Graduate School for tuition, credit limits, and grading. 

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.

Keep in mind:

  • Deadlines for applications, fellowships and other types of funding vary among programs.
  • Requirements for admissions also vary; therefore, it is important to check program websites and the program page in Guide 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.

Council of Graduate Schools Policy Resolution

Acceptance of an offer of financial support* (such as a graduate scholarship, fellowship, traineeship, or assistantship) for the next academic year by a prospective or enrolled graduate student completes an agreement that both student and graduate school expect to honor. In that context, the conditions affecting such offers and their acceptance must be defined carefully and understood by all parties.

Students are under no obligation to respond to offers of financial support prior to April 15; earlier deadlines for acceptance of such offers violate the intent of this Resolution. In those instances in which a student accepts an offer before April 15 and subsequently desires to withdraw that acceptance, the student may submit in writing a resignation of the appointment at any time through April 15. There has been a change in our process for students who want to withdraw from an offer of acceptance of financial support, starting with Fall 2020 admissions.  In this case, the applicant must first inform the program that they are withdrawing or resigning from the offer of financial support that they previously had accepted.  Starting in Fall 2020, applicants are no longer required to obtain a formal release from the program whose offer they accepted, either before or after the April 15 deadline. Once they have informed the program that they are withdrawing their acceptance of the offer, they then can accept any other offers. It is further agreed by the institutions and organizations subscribing to the above Resolution that a copy of this Resolution or a link to the URL should accompany every scholarship, fellowship, traineeship, and assistantship offer.

*Please Note: This Resolution applies to offers of financial support only, not offers of admission.

The Graduate School sets minimum standards that must be met by all graduate students in the university. Continuation in the Graduate School is at the discretion of the major program, the Graduate School, and the major professor.

The requirements of most programs exceed the Graduate School minimum criteria. These additional requirements are described in each major program entry in the Guide on the Requirements tab. Students are responsible for reviewing Guide and obtaining specific degree requirements from the program. Many programs publish a graduate student handbook, which provides more details about graduate study and other policies and processes.

Graduate School Minimum Degree Requirements and Satisfactory Progress

Schools/colleges, departments and programs may set more rigorous expectations and requirements than the Graduate School.

Master's Degrees

M.A., M.S., M.Acc., MBA, M.M., M.Eng., MFS, MIPA, MPA, MSW

Minimum Graduate Degree Credit Requirement

30 credits

Minimum Graduate Residence Credit Requirement

16 credits

Minimum Graduate Coursework (50%) Requirement

At least 50% of credits applied toward the graduate degree credit requirement must be in graduate-level coursework; courses with the Graduate Level Coursework attribute are identified and searchable in the university's Course Guide.

Prior Coursework Requirements: Graduate Work from Other Institutions

For well-prepared advanced students, a student’s program may decide to accept prior graduate coursework from other institutions. This coursework does not appear on a UW–Madison transcript nor count toward graduate career GPA. The Graduate School’s minimum graduate residence requirement can be satisfied only with courses taken as a graduate student at UW–Madison. The only exception is graduate-level coursework taken as a CIC Traveling Scholar.

Prior Coursework Requirements: UW–Madison Undergraduate

For well-prepared advanced students, a student’s program may decide to accept up to 7 credits numbered 300 or above of required or elective courses from the undergraduate work completed at UW–Madison toward fulfillment of minimum degree and minor credit requirements. However, this work would not be allowed to count toward the 50% graduate coursework minimum unless taken at the 700 level or above. This work will not appear on the graduate career portion of UW–Madison transcript nor count toward the graduate career GPA.

The Graduate School’s minimum graduate residence credit requirement can be satisfied only with courses taken as a graduate student at UW–Madison.

Prior Coursework Requirements: UW–Madison University Special

After admission to a graduate program, the student’s program may decide to accept up to fifteen University Special student credits as fulfillment of the minimum graduate residence, graduate degree, or minor credit requirements on occasion as an exception (on a case-by-case basis).  UW–Madison coursework taken as a University Special student would not be allowed to count toward the 50% graduate coursework minimum unless taken at the 700 level or above. This work will not appear on the graduate career portion of UW–Madison transcript nor count toward the graduate career GPA.

For more information, please consult the Graduate School Academic Policies and Procedures.

Credits per Term Allowed

Up to 15 credits

Overall Graduate GPA Requirement

3.00

Other Grade Requirements

The Graduate School requires that students maintain a graduate grade-point average (GPA) of 3.00 (on a 4.00 scale) for all graduate courses (excluding research) to receive a degree. Many programs impose higher standards. Students should check with their program. Grades of Incomplete are considered to be unsatisfactory if they are not removed during the next enrolled semester.

For more information, please consult the Graduate School Academic Policies and Procedures.

Probation Policy

The Graduate School regularly reviews the record of any student who earned grades of BC, C, D, F, or Incomplete in a graduate course (300 or above), or grade of U in research credits. This review could result in academic probation with a hold on future enrollment or in being suspended from the Graduate School.

For more information, please consult the Graduate School Academic Policies and Procedures.

Advisor / Committee

Every graduate student is required to have an advisor. To ensure that students are making satisfactory progress toward a degree, the Graduate School expects them to meet with their advisor on a regular basis.

An advisor generally serves as the thesis advisor. In many cases, an advisor is assigned to incoming students. Students can be suspended from the Graduate School if they do not have an advisor. An advisor is a faculty member, or sometimes a committee, from the major department responsible for providing advice regarding graduate studies.

A committee often accomplishes advising for the students in the early stages of their studies.
For more information, please consult the Graduate School Academic Policies and Procedures.

Assessment and Examinations

Requirements determined by the program.

Time Constraints

Master’s degree students who have been absent for five or more consecutive years lose all credits that they have earned before their absence. Individual programs may count the coursework students completed prior to their absence for meeting program requirements; that coursework may not count toward Graduate School credit requirements.

For more information, please consult the Graduate School Academic Policies and Procedures.

Language Requirements

Each program sets its own language requirements. Some programs require competence in one or more languages before students can take preliminary examinations.

For more information, please consult the Graduate School Academic Policies and Procedures.

Master of Fine Arts Degree, Educational Specialist Degree, or Specialist Certificate

MFA, Ed.S., Specialist Certificate

Minimum Graduate Degree Credit Requirement

42 credits

Minimum Graduate Residence Credit Requirement

24 credits

Minimum Graduate Coursework (50%) Requirement

At least 50% of credits applied toward the graduate degree credit requirement must be in graduate-level coursework; courses with the Graduate Level Coursework attribute are identified and searchable in the university's Course Guide.

Prior Coursework Requirements: Graduate Work from Other Institutions

For well-prepared advanced students, a student’s program may decide to accept prior graduate coursework from other institutions. This coursework does not appear on a UW–Madison transcript nor count toward graduate career GPA. The Graduate School’s minimum graduate residence requirement can be satisfied only with courses taken as a graduate student at UW–Madison. The only exception is graduate-level coursework take as a CIC Traveling Scholar.

Prior Coursework Requirements: UW–Madison Undergraduate

For well-prepared advanced students, a student’s program may decide to accept up to 7 credits numbered 300 or above of required or elective courses from the undergraduate work completed at UW–Madison toward fulfillment of minimum degree and minor credit requirements. However, this work would not be allowed to count toward the 50% graduate coursework minimum unless taken at the 700 level or above. This work will not appear on the graduate career portion of UW–Madison transcript nor count toward the graduate career GPA.

The Graduate School’s minimum graduate residence credit requirement can be satisfied only with courses taken as a graduate student at UW–Madison.

Prior Coursework Requirements: UW–Madison University Special

After admission to a graduate program, the student’s program may decide to accept up to fifteen University Special student credits as fulfillment of the minimum graduate residence, graduate degree, or minor credit requirements on occasion as an exception (on a case-by-case basis). UW–Madison coursework taken as a University Special student would not be allowed to count toward the 50% graduate coursework minimum unless taken at the 700 level or above. This work will not appear on the graduate career portion of UW–Madison transcript nor count toward the graduate career GPA.

For more information, please consult the Graduate School Academic Policies and Procedures.

Credits per Term Allowed

Up to 15 credits

Overall Graduate GPA Requirement

3.00

Other Grade Requirements

The Graduate School requires that students maintain a graduate grade-point average (GPA) of 3.00 (on a 4.00 scale) for all graduate courses (excluding research) to receive a degree. Many programs impose higher standards. Students should check with their program. Grades of Incomplete are considered to be unsatisfactory if they are not removed during the next enrolled semester.

For more information, please consult the Graduate School Academic Policies and Procedures.

Probation Policy

The Graduate School regularly reviews the record of any student who earned grades of BC, C, D, F, or Incomplete in a graduate course (300 or above), or grade of U in research credits. This review could result in academic probation with a hold on future enrollment or in being suspended from the Graduate School.

For more information, please consult the Graduate School Academic Policies and Procedures.

Advisor

Every graduate student is required to have an advisor. An advisor is a faculty member, or sometimes a committee, from the major department responsible for providing advice regarding graduate studies. An advisor generally serves as the thesis advisor. In many cases, an advisor is assigned to incoming students. Students can be suspended from the Graduate School if they do not have an advisor

To ensure that students are making satisfactory progress toward a degree, the Graduate School expects them to meet with their advisor on a regular basis.

A committee often accomplishes advising for the students in the early stages of their studies.

For more information, please consult the Graduate School Academic Policies and Procedures.

Assessment and Examinations

Requirements determined by the program.

Time Constraints

Master’s degree students who have been absent for five or more consecutive years lose all credits that they have earned before their absence. Individual programs may count the coursework students completed prior to their absence for meeting program requirements; that coursework may not count toward Graduate School credit requirements.

For more information, please consult the Graduate School Academic Policies and Procedures.

Language Requirements

Each program sets its own language requirements. Some programs require competence in one or more languages before students can take preliminary examinations.

For more information, please consult the Graduate School Academic Policies and Procedures.

Doctoral Degrees

Au.D., DMA, DNP, OTD, Ph.D.

Minimum Graduate Degree Credit Requirement

51 credits

Minimum Graduate Residence Credit Requirement

32 credits

Minimum Graduate Coursework (50%) Requirement

At least 50% of credits applied toward the graduate degree credit requirement must be in graduate-level coursework; courses with the Graduate Level Coursework attribute are identified and searchable in the university's Course Guide.

Prior Coursework Requirements: Graduate Work from Other Institutions

For well-prepared advanced students, a student’s program may decide to accept prior graduate coursework from other institutions. This coursework does not appear on a UW–Madison transcript nor count toward graduate career GPA. The Graduate School’s minimum graduate residence requirement can be satisfied only with courses taken as a graduate student at UW–Madison. The only exception is graduate-level coursework take as a CIC Traveling Scholar.

Prior Coursework Requirements: UW–Madison Undergraduate

For well-prepared advanced students, a student’s program may decide to accept up to 7 credits numbered 300 or above of required or elective courses from the undergraduate work completed at UW–Madison toward fulfillment of minimum degree and minor credit requirements. However, this work would not be allowed to count toward the 50% graduate coursework minimum unless taken at the 700 level or above. This work will not appear on the graduate career portion of UW–Madison transcript nor count toward the graduate career GPA. The Graduate School’s minimum graduate residence credit requirement can be satisfied only with courses taken as a graduate student at UW–Madison.

Prior Coursework Requirements: UW–Madison University Special

After admission to a graduate program, the student’s program may decide to accept up to fifteen University Special student credits as fulfillment of the minimum graduate residence, graduate degree, or minor credit requirements on occasion as an exception (on a case-by-case basis). UW–Madison coursework taken as a University Special student would not be allowed to count toward the 50% graduate coursework minimum unless taken at the 700 level or above. This work will not appear on the graduate career portion of UW–Madison transcript nor count toward the graduate career GPA.

For more information, please consult the Graduate School Academic Policies and Procedures.

Credits per Term Allowed

Up to 15 credits

Doctoral Minor/Breadth Requirements

The Graduate School requires doctoral programs to have a doctoral minor requirement to achieve breadth. Only those doctoral programs which have an accepted minor opt-out request on file may excuse their students from the doctoral minor requirement with alternate paths to breadth.

For more information, please consult the Graduate School Academic Policies and Procedures.

Overall Graduate GPA Requirement

3.00

Other Grade Requirements

The Graduate School requires that students maintain a graduate grade-point average (GPA) of 3.00 (on a 4.00 scale) for all graduate courses (excluding research) to receive a degree. Many programs impose higher standards. Students should check with their program. Grades of Incomplete are considered to be unsatisfactory if they are not removed during the next enrolled semester.

For more information, please consult the Graduate School Academic Policies and Procedures.

Probation Policy

The Graduate School regularly reviews the record of any student who earned grades of BC, C, D, F, or Incomplete in a graduate course (300 or above), or grade of U in research credits. This review could result in academic probation with a hold on future enrollment or in being suspended from the Graduate School.

For more information, please consult the Graduate School Academic Policies and Procedures.

Advisor

Every graduate student is required to have an advisor. An advisor is a faculty member, or sometimes a committee, from the major department responsible for providing advice regarding graduate studies. An advisor generally serves as the thesis advisor. In many cases, an advisor is assigned to incoming students. Students can be suspended from the Graduate School if they do not have an advisor.

To ensure that students are making satisfactory progress toward a degree, the Graduate School expects them to meet with their advisor on a regular basis.

A committee often accomplishes advising for the students in the early stages of their studies.

For more information, please consult the Graduate School Academic Policies and Procedures.

Assessment and Examinations

Doctoral students are required to take a comprehensive preliminary/oral examination after they have cleared their record of all Incomplete and Progress grades (other than research and thesis). Deposit of the doctoral dissertation in the Graduate School is required. Additional requirements are determined by the program.1

For more information, please consult the Graduate School Academic Policies and Procedures.

Time Constraints

Doctoral degree students who have been absent for ten or more consecutive years lose all credits that they have earned before their absence. Individual programs may count the coursework students completed prior to their absence for meeting program requirements; that coursework may not count toward Graduate School credit requirements.

A candidate for a doctoral degree who fails to take the final oral examination and deposit the dissertation within five years after passing the preliminary examination may by require to take another preliminary examination and to be admitted to candidacy a second time.

For more information, please consult the Graduate School Academic Policies and Procedures.

Language Requirements

Each program sets its own language requirements. Some programs require competence in one or more languages before students can take preliminary examinations.

For more information, please consult the Graduate School Academic Policies and Procedures.

Academic Calendar

Establishment of the academic calendar for the University of Wisconsin–Madison falls within the authority of the faculty as set forth in Faculty Policies and Procedures. Construction of the academic calendar is subject to various rules and guidelines prescribed by the Board of Regents, the Faculty Senate and State of Wisconsin legislation. Approximately every five years, the Faculty Senate approves a new academic calendar which spans a future five-year period.
The current calendar was adopted by the Faculty Senate in September 2016.