What is the application deadline? Is it a postmarked deadline?
Applications are accepted for the fall term only. Applications must be postmarked on or before January 1 to have priority consideration for admission, a La Follette School Fellowship, and other scholarships. All other applications are reviewed on a rolling admissions basis; if there is room in the class, applications will continue to be reviewed.
Will the La Follette School of Public Affairs accept COVID disruption grades?
The La Follette School understands that the global pandemic impacted students during the spring 2020 academic semester. We will accept COVID disruption grades during our admissions process. As the La Follette School reviews students holistically, we will look at multiple data points when reviewing student transcripts, including grade trends, grades in similar classes, and grades before and after the semester of disruption.
What is the profile of a typical La Follette entering class?
This is the profile of the 2018 class:
Number of women: 27
Number of men: 25
Wisconsin residents: 47%
States represented: CA, CO, IL, IN, LA, MI, MN, NE, NJ, NY, OH, OR, WA, WI, Washington D.C.
Countries Represented: China, Ethiopia, Germany
Age range: 21-43
Average age: 25
Average Graduate Record Examination (GRE) quantitative score: 62nd percentile
Average GRE verbal score: 82nd percentile
Average GRE analytical writing score: 72nd percentile
Average TOEFL score: 106
Total (First year and Continuing) Students: 112
May I substitute the GMAT or LSAT for the GRE?
No, you must submit GRE test scores that are no older than five years; no substitutions are accepted.
What do I need to know about the application process?
Applications are accpeted for the fall term only. Click here to contact us about admissions and scheduling a visit.
1. Apply here for the fall term: Application found here at the UW-Madison Graduate School website.
4. Three (3) Letters of Recommendation (submitted online): The admissions committee prefers at least two references from previous professors who can speak to your potential as a graudate student. Recommenders should submit letters through the online application.
5. Transcripts: Applicants must submit undergraduate transcripts to the Graduate School via the online application.
6. GRE Scores: All students must submit Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores before they can be considered for admission. It normally takes two to four weeks for the Educational Testing Service to download GRE scores to UW–Madison. Applicants should plan to take the GRE by early November to make the January priority consideration deadline. The UW–Madison institution code is 1846. The LSAT and MCAT cannot be used in place of the GRE. The GRE must have been taken within the past five years.
7. 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), International English Language Testing System (IELTS), or the Michigan English Language Assessment Battery (MELAB). TOEFL information can be found at www.ets.org.
Does La Follette offer graduate assistantships, fellowships, or merit based scholarships?
The La Follette School offers eight fellowships and two to five scholarships each year to students based on merit.
All applicants who apply online before January 1 and have completed admission files are automatically considered for La Follette School Fellowships and scholarships. These fellowships are awarded based on academic performance, GRE scores, recommendation letters, résumé, and personal statement.
Should I submit a FAFSA?
La Follette School students are highly encouraged to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by December 1. Applications may be submitted beginning October 1. UW–Madison’s school code is 003895. Applicants for most types of financial aid must be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident, or other eligible non-citizen. Questions can be directed to UW–Madison’s Office of Student Financial Aid. Admitted students who choose to attend the La Follette School will have their FAFSA processed more quickly once their official transcript has been received by the UW-Madison Graduate School.
Is there a separate fellowship application form?
No. All applications will be considered for La Follette School Fellowships and scholarships. Priority consideration is given to applications submitted by January 1.
Is work experience required for admission?
It is preferred; however, we also admit students directly from undergraduate programs. Our students have diverse backgrounds and an average of three years of experience in government, nonprofit organizations, and private business.The different expertise and backgrounds that La Follette students bring to the school contribute to the unique public affairs curriculum.
Do I have to submit original transcripts to you?
Applicants will have to upload an unofficial copy of their transcripts to the online application. If you are offered admission and choose to attend La Follette, the Graduate School will request an official copy of your transcripts. If you have attended multiple institutions, you only have to submit a transcript from the school from which you received your undergraduate degree.
How long should my statement of purpose be?
Your essay should be one to two pages.
Am I required to take the TOEFL, IELTS, or MELAB to prove English proficiency?
UW–Madison's Graduate School requires English proficiency. If your first language is not English and your undergraduate instruction was not in English, you must provide an English proficiency test score (TOEFL, IELTS, or MELAB). TOEFL scores must be submitted electronically via ETS. IELTS scores can be submitted electronically or by paper. For more information, visit UW–Madison’s Graduate School website.
When is the latest I can take the GRE to make the priority application date?
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.
What are the major codes for La Follette School programs?
Master of Public Affairs is 837; Master of International Public Affairs is 577. Students can apply for up to three programs with one application.
When can I expect to receive an admission decision?
Decision letters, including information about scholarship awards, will be sent in mid to late February.
Are your syllabi on your website? Where?
You can find most of the public affairs course syllabi on the Courses web page.
I am a student of color. What are the campus resources that may address my needs and interests?
The Multicultural Student Center is a campuswide center that serves as a meeting place and information center for students of color. The La Follette School's Diversity & Inclusion webpage has additional resources for students of color and students of other diverse backgrounds.
I am not a U.S. citizen. Are there any campus or departmental resources that may address my needs and interests?
International Student Services and the Multicultural Student Center serve as meeting places and information centers for international students. Links to resources for international students also are on the La Follette School's Diversity & Inclusion webpage.
Additionally, resources for undocumented students are available from UW-Madison's Multicultural Student Center and on the La Follette School's Diversity & Inclusion webpage.
Can I transfer credits that I've taken in other graduate programs?
Yes, up to nine credits can transfer from other graduate programs. The associate director reviews the course syllabi and determines how many elective credits will be applied toward the program's 42 credits. Transfer credits do not show up on the University of Wisconsin–Madison graduate transcript.
Do students have the opportunity to work with real clients and projects in the MPA and MIPA programs?
Yes, there are several courses in which students work with public policy professionals in state and federal departments and nonprofit and private organizations. Course projects were recently conducted with these organizations:
Millennium Challenge Corporation
Department of Children and Families
Wisconsin Department of Revenue
City of Milwaukee
Department of Public Instruction
Wisconsin Legislative Council
Global Livingston Institute
City of Madison
The Financial Clinic
U.S. Accountability Office
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
Center for Strategic and International Studies
Lutheran Health Alliance
Public Service Commission
Illinois Sentencing Policy Advisory Council
Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health
Madison Area Bus Advocates
The Aspen Institute
Department of Natural Resources
Legal Aid to Institutionalized Persons
What are the institution and department codes for GRE scores?
The University of Wisconsin–Madison institution code is 1846. You do not need to enter a department code.
Where do your alumni get jobs?
Some examples of where alumni have recently been employed are below. You can find out more about our alumni and their careers by following the alumni profiles link at the bottom of this question.
State Sector: Wisconsin Legislative Fiscal Bureau, Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau, Wisconsin Department of Transportation, Wisconsin State Assembly, Wisconsin Department of Health Services.
Federal Sector: US Department of Transportation, Government Accountability Office, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Congressional Research Service, US Department of Agriculture. International Sector: Ministry of Justice of Ukraine, Ecuador Ministry of Foreign Relations, Thai Ministry of Interior, Education International Corporation.
Private Sector: Grant Thornton LLP, Spectrum Health, Epic Systems, Deloitte, Accumen LLC.
Local Sector: City of Madison, WI, Dakota County, MN, City of Amery, WI.
Nonprofit/Education Sector: Duke Margolis Health Policy Center, United Way of Tucson, National Council on Crime and Delinquency, Clean Wisconsin, University of Wisconsin-Madison Carbone Cancer Center
What is your career placement rate?
2017: 94% 2016: 97% 2015: 98% 2014: 93% 2013: 82%
*Numbers are based on surveys conducted 6 months after the graduation of La Follette students.
Does a student have to take both policy analysis and public administration courses?
La Follette School faculty believe that students need skills in public management and policy analysis to be effective administrators and policy analysts. After students take the core courses, they can choose to specialize more in management or in policy analysis depending on which electives they choose. A student who prefers to work in nonprofit or management might take electives such as Advanced Management, Performance Management, and Personnel Management. A student who plans to become an analyst can choose to take electives such as Program Evaluation, Advanced Statistical Methods for Public Policy, and Benefit-Cost Analysis.
What jobs do students get after graduation?
Students are hired for positions in various departments of local, state, and federal government, higher education, non-profits organizations, and private consulting firms. They work as policy analysts, department managers, non-profit directors, budget analysts, and in many other capacities. See Alumni News & Profiles.
What is the average starting salary of a La Follette graduate?
Salaries vary widely based on employment sector and job location. Typically, entry-level jobs in the non-profit sector tend to pay at the lower end of the salary range, followed by local government, county and state government, federal government, and finally, private sector. A typical entry-level Policy or Budget Analyst at a Wisconsin State Agency, which is a popular job among La Follette graduates, can expect to earn between $50,000 to $70,000 annually. This starting salary also depends on work experience prior to attending graduate school.
What are the prerequisite courses for admission?
For the MPA, recommended preparatory courses are introductory microeconomics, upper level algebra OR calculus and an American government course. For the MIPA recommended preparation courses are introductory microeconomics and macroeconomics, upper level algebra or calculus, equivelent of three semesters of a of a second language or study/work abroad experience, and a course in comparative politics or international relations. For both programs, students who have not taken a microeconomics course but have strong quantitative skills, may be able to waive the microeconomics prerequisite course. See Admissions.
Can I apply without having completed the prerequisite coursework?
A student can apply without completing prerequisites coursework. If the application is strong in other ways (for example, strong GRE scores, relevant experience), the admissions committee may decide to admit the student based on other evidence of ability to do well in the program.
Why does a student who wants to be an administrator or work in the nonprofit sector need to study statistical methods and microeconomic analysis?
Leaders in government agencies and nonprofit organizations are called upon to report on the performance of the programs that they manage. They have to be able to showcase the advantages and disadvantages of programs with regard to cost and social value. To make a compelling case for the relative effect of a particular program requires an understanding of basic statistical concepts. Such professional skills are badly needed in the nonprofit area, and La Follette School graduates have an advantage when competing for higher level administrative positions.
Can I study a specific type of policy like education policy or environmental policy?
Students take the core required courses and acquire skills that will allow them to work in a variety of types of administration and policy. Students can tailor their studies to develop a focus on one or two types of policy such as health, education, social and poverty, environmental, trade and finance, security, and international development policy. They do this by carefully selecting electives offered by public affairs faculty and by other departments on campus.
Do you have dual-degree programs?
At the University of Wisconsin–Madison, a dual-degree means a program is the combination of one professional degree and a graduate degree such as law and public affairs or public health and public affairs. Students may also choose to pursue the double degree of the Master of Public Affairs and a Master of Science in urban and regional planning.
Do you have spring admission?
No, fall admission only.
Do you provide financial assistance?
The La Follette School awards fellowships and scholarships to students based on merit. All students, including international students, are eligible to apply. The school also receives a limited number of fellowships for under-represented students. See Funding & Financial Information.
What is the cost of attendance?
Please see the graduate student rates found on UW–Madison's website.
For which degree programs are international applicants eligible?
International students may apply for admission into the Master of International Public Affairs (MIPA) or the Master of Public Affairs (MPA) program. However, international applicants should be aware that their background will be an asset when applying to the MIPA program. Those applicants interested in the MPA program are advised that the MPA program assumes a good knowledge of U.S. government and that MPA graduates generally intend to apply their learning in a U.S. setting. International students are encouraged to apply to the MPA program if they so choose. Students also may apply to both the MIPA and the MPA programs.
How can I check the status of my application?
You can check the status of your application through your UW student center. Your student center information will be emailed to you as soon as you submit an application to the graduate school.
How will my application be evaluated?
The 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.
When will I receive notification of my admission?
The admissions office will begin sending admission emails and fellowship/scholarship letters in late February. If a letter does not mention a fellowship offer, the applicant should look to outside sources for funding.
How do I arrange a visit to the La Follette School?
Does the La Follette School have a visit day for accepted students?
Yes. The La Follette School will provide prospective students with information about Visit Day shortly after they are accepted. Visit Day is in March, and all accepted students are encouraged to attend. Accepted applicants may visit at any time; however, Visit Day provides more opportunities for meeting with faculty members and speaking with current students. In the past, the La Follette School Student Association has helped ensure that interested students are not precluded from visiting due to financial limitations. Limited funds will be available to assist with travel costs, and current students have hosted prospective visitors in the past.
Are there additional resources on the University of Wisconsin–Madison campus that would be helpful to a prospective graduate student?
The University of Wisconsin–Madison Graduate School website has information and resources that are helpful for prospective students. The student life page includes a link to the Guide to Graduate Student Life and information about living in Madison and how to get involved on campus.
What if I have a question that isn't addressed here?