Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs

The University of Wisconsin–Madison's La Follette School of Public Affairs seeks candidates who demonstrate the ability and experience to engage in a rigorous public affairs graduate program. The faculty Admissions Committee looks for evidence of strong academic achievement, relevant experience, potential for success in the public affairs graduate programs, commitment to promoting diversity and inclusion, and capacity to do well in a public service career, through a holistic review of each student's application, transcripts, references, optional GRE scores, resume, and statement of purpose.

Cohorts start each fall term. Please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with any questions. 


All applications that are received by January 1 will be given priority consideration for admission and funding. Applications will be considered after that date on a rolling admissions basis.

Application Steps and Requirements 

  1. Please read all the admission requirements before proceeding.

  2. Complete the online application for fall admission to the UW-Madison Graduate School.   

  3. Resume
    Please upload a current resume to the online application. 

  4. Statement of Purpose
    The statement of purpose provides you the opportunity to demonstrate your motivation to pursue a Master of Public Affairs (MPA) or Master of International Public Affairs (MIPA) degree and your commitment to a career dedicated to public service. Reflect on the experiences shaping your decision to apply and how a degree from the La Follette School of Public Affairs will help you make progress toward your personal and/or professional goals. You also can use this opportunity to share what or how you will contribute to the diversity of the La Follette School community. The essay, no more than two double-spaced pages, should be uploaded to the online application.

    If you have faced unusual or extenuating circumstances that may impact your application to the La Follette School, you may choose to describe how they have impacted your academic record on a separate page but in the same document as your statement of purpose. This section should not exceed 150 words. It will not negatively impact your application whether you include this section or not. 

  5. Three (3) Letters of Recommendation 
    The admissions committee prefers at least two references from previous professors who can speak to your potential as a graduate student. Recommenders will receive an email from UW-Madison after you enter their name and email address into the online application and they should submit letters electronically by following the directions in the email. Letters must be received by January 1 in order to you to be considered for priority admission and funding. We do not accept personal references. Please do not provide more than 3 letters of recommendation.

  6. Transcripts
    Applicants must submit unofficial undergraduate transcripts in pdf format as part of the graduate school application. If you are accepted to the La Follette School and decide to accept our offer of admission, you will need to have your undergraduate institution send your official transcripts to the UW-Madison Graduate School. However, to be considered for priority admission and funding, you only need to provide unofficial transcripts by January 1. 

  7. Supplemental Application
    The supplemental application is included in the online application linked in step 2. This is where you'll provide information about what prequisite courses you have completed and your affiliations and intentions for graduate study at UW-Madison. Please review your transcripts and provide the information requested in the supplemental application about the prerequisite courses you have completed. Definitions of all prerequisiste courses are linked in the supplemental application to help you determine whether or not your course will fulfill the prerequisite. If you have not complete one or more of the prerequisites please write "None". 

  8. Optional GRE Scores
    Submission of GRE scores is optional. If you believe your GRE scores are a fair representation of your ability and potential, you can choose to share GRE scores as part of your application. Applications with and without GRE scores will be treated equally. If you have questions, please email La Follette School Admissions at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Note that for applicants who do submit GRE scores, we do not utilize a strict GRE cut-off. If you take the computer-delivered GRE General Test, your official scores will be available in your ETS Account and sent to the institutions you designated approximately 10–15 days after your test date. If you take the paper-delivered test, your official scores will be available in your ETS Account and sent to the institutions you designated within five weeks after your test date. The UW–Madison institution code is 1846. If you wish to submit GRE scores, tests should be completed by mid-November to ensure scores are received by January 1. 

  9. English as a Foreign Language Testing
    Every applicant whose native language is not English, or whose entire undergraduate instruction was not in English, must provide official scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). TOEFL information can be found at  The La Follette School requires a TOEFL paper-based test score of 580 or above, TOEFL computer-based test score of 237 or above, TOEFL Internet-based test score of 92 or above, or an IELTS score of 7 or above. The admissions committee may ask a student regardless of their English test results to take a University of Wisconsin–Madison English assessment test upon arrival, and the student must register for any recommended English-as-a-second-language course(s) in the first semester of graduate study.

If you encounter any technical difficulties with the application, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Contact Graduate Admissions

Phone: 608-262-9163



Prospective Student Folder

Prospective Student Canvas Page

The La Follette School will hold several prospective graduate student information sessions this fall 2022 and the dates and times in Central Standard Time are below. Links to RSVP will be posted in mid-August. In-person sessions will be held at the La Follette School of Public Affairs in the Observatory Hill Conference Building room 110. 

Monday, September 19, 2022
12:00-1:00pm, in-person and via Zoom

Tuesday, October 18, 2022
3:00-4:00pm, in-person and via Zoom

Friday, November 11, 2022
12:00-1:00pm via Zoom

Thursday, December 8, 2022
3:00-4:00pm via Zoom

Contact Students and Alumni about their Experience