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University of Wisconsin–Madison is a large public school located in the middle of Wisconsin's state capital. Its academic reputation is stellar, and it is thus considered one of the best values for a college education. In fact, in 2018, UW was ranked 28th in the world. With over 200 undergraduate majors, 250+ graduate programs, and an average class size of 31, UW–Madison is able to accommodate nearly every academic interest. Outside of the classroom, UW also shines.

Overview of University of Wisconsin–Madison

The town has been ranked #1 for football towns and the university is home to more clubs and activities than you could count. There are 900+ student organizations, and there's bound to be a few that cater to your interests. For instance, one of the school's oldest organizations, The Hoofers, has been organizing student trips to the great outdoors for years. As a hoofer, you'll develop leadership skills while having a great time. On top of this, you'll also find that the campus hosts top notch arts entertainment and Madison likewise has a thriving music scene.

General Information

School Type Public
Campus Setting City: Large
Campus Housing Yes
Student Faculty Ratio 17:1
Graduation Rate 87%
Year Founded 1848

Student Enrollment

Total Students43,463


Undergraduate Student

Male 15,535
Female 16,170

Graduate Student

Male 5,761
Female 5,997

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WISC Acceptance Rate and Admissions


Female 21,433


Male 19,165
Female 12,645

Acceptance Rate52%

Male 49%
Female 55%

Enrollment 6,888

Male 2,135
Female 2,135
Application Fee $60
High School GPA Required
High School Rank Recommended
High School Transcripts Required
College Prep Program Required
Recommendations Required
SAT/ACT Required
TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) Required
Application Deadline February 1
Common Application Accepted Yes

WISC Tuition Cost & Financial Aid

WISC is considered a very good value in higher education. In-state students pay $10,725 in tuition and out-of-state students pay $37,785. When books, supplies, and living expenses are tallied, in-state students pay approximately $26,553 per year. Their out-of-state classmates pay $53,613. Keep in mind that off-campus living expenses can vary widely so these numbers are based on estimates for living in Madison.

To help pay for all of this wonderful education, many UW students seek financial aid. A full 33% receive federal loans to help with college. Those 9,927 students borrow a total of $69,481,453, which averages out to $6,999. Another way to cover costs is with a scholarship or grant. 13,300 UW students receive scholarships or grants which works out to an average award of $9,987.

Average net price 2017-2018
Net Price $14,169
Average Total Aid $8,063
Students Receiving Financial Aid 62%
Room & Board $11,114

Sticker Price

  • Tuition In-State - $10,555
  • Tuition Out-of-State - $36,805
  • Books and Supplies - $1,200
  • Room & Board - $11,114
  • Other - $3,156


UW boasts excellent academics. While assessing the quality of an academic experience is subjective, there are a few key numbers that stick out. The first of these is the retention rate. UW retains a full 95% of its incoming full-time, first-year students into their second year. Seventy-five percent of all part-time, first-year students remain in their second year. This indicates that the first-year students are finding a quality education that is worth pursuing for another year.

Then, the graduation rate is 87%. This means your experience will be as consistent as possible, with little turnover in the student body. Once you declare your major and delve into your department, you'll likely find the same faces under mortarboards at graduation.

These great numbers are surely built on several factors, including the student-faculty ratio. Since the average class size is 31, you won't ever feel lost at sea, especially as a first-year student. Add to this fact that UW boasts some of the very best graduate schools, even your teaching assistants will exemplify the very best in academia.

Student Population Total

Student Population 43,463

Evening Classes : -
Distance Learning : Yes

Most Popular Programs & Majors

(# of Diplomas Awarded by Subject)

All Business Majors 1,020 Total Graduates / 14%
Finance, General 226 Graduates
Marketing/Marketing Management, General 162 Graduates
Accounting 124 Graduates
Retailing and Retail Operations 115 Graduates
Financial Planning and Services 89 Graduates
All Engineering Majors 1,013 Total Graduates / 14%
Mechanical Engineering 178 Graduates
Industrial Engineering 129 Graduates
Chemical Engineering 104 Graduates
Bioengineering and Biomedical Engineering 102 Graduates
Electrical and Electronics Engineering 97 Graduates
All Biological & Biomedical Majors 966 Total Graduates / 13%
Biology/Biological Sciences, General 376 Graduates
Neuroscience 154 Graduates
Biochemistry 145 Graduates
Genetics, General 79 Graduates
Microbiology, General 64 Graduates
All Social Science Majors 757 Total Graduates / 11%
Economics, General 426 Graduates
Political Science and Government, General 191 Graduates
Sociology 50 Graduates
Anthropology 31 Graduates
Rural Sociology 25 Graduates
Health Professions and Related Programs 409 Total Graduates / 6%
Registered Nursing/Registered Nurse 209 Graduates
Vocational Rehabilitation Counseling/Counselor 75 Graduates
Audiology/Audiologist and Speech-Language Pathology/Pathologist 63 Graduates
Pharmaceutical Sciences 42 Graduates
Athletic Training/Trainer 20 Graduates
All Other Diplomas 42%

Outcome & Salary

The financial outcome for UW students is quite rosy. Over 20 years, their return on investment (ROI) was found to be $423,000 which is broken out at a yearly rate of an 8.3% return. Considering that the initial expenditure is around $98,000, UW students are doing quite well. In fact, starting salaries are an average of $57,300 and Badgers earn $104,000 by the time they reach mid-career.

A UW education is so strong that if you wish to pursue a graduate degree you are sure to find acceptance at some of the nation's top graduate schools. However, don't forget that UW is also home of terrific schools that span over 250 professional fields.

Graduates Salary
College Grads Early Career Salary $57,300
College Grads Average Salary $72,000
College Grads Mid Career Salary $104,400
Return on Investment (ROI)
10 Year Salary Earnings Potential $720,000
20 Year Salary Earnings Potential $1,764,000
Cost of Education (Net Price) 4 Year $56,676
10 Year Projected ROI $663,324
20 Year Projected ROI $1,707,324
No College Education Salary Comparison
National Average Salary $38,792
10 Year Projected Income $387,920
20 Year Projected Income $775,840

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