Incoming students

This information will help you start planning your transition to the La Follette School this fall.

Some of the information will become more relevant as you near the start of the semester; nonetheless, we encourage you to review all of it and reach out to Mo O’Connor with questions.

To-do list

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Attend orientation

Attend Fall 2024 orientation

  • Wednesday, June 19 from 12:00-1:00pm Central Standard Time via Zoom
  • Monday, July 22 from 12:00-1:00pm Central Standard Time via Zoom
  • Thursday, August 22 from 10:30am-3:30pm in-person in the Alumni Lounge at the Pyle Center

Additionally, the UW-Madison Graduate School will hold a new student welcome on Wednesday, August 28. You can find more information about the event as well as other information for new students here. They also have a Graduate Student Life webpage with information on housing, transportation, living in Madison, and more.

International students must complete virtual International Student Orientation (ISO) and ISS Check-in within Terra Dotta (Complete them online. You do not need to come to the ISS office). The ISO Canvas Course for the Fall 2024 term will open on 08/02/2024. More information can be found here. 

If there is anything you are wondering about or want to ensure is covered before you start at the La Follette School in the fall, please let us know by emailing so that we can ensure your questions are answered. Please note that the answers to many common questions can be found on this page.

Be sure we have your transcripts

If you received your degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison or if you are an accelerated student, you do not need to send official transcripts.

International applicant’s transcripts or academic documents must include an official English translation done by the bachelor’s degree granting institution or an official translator. See this link for country specific information.

If you are graduating in spring or summer 2024, you may wish wait to send your transcript to the UW-Madison Graduate School until you have graduated and your transcript shows a degree conferral date. The Graduate School can matriculate you if they receive your official transcript before your degree is conferred, but they will eventually need your final official transcript with a degree conferral date. To save yourself the time and money of sending two official transcripts, one before your degree is conferred and one after, we recommend waiting until your degree is conferred. If your degree is not conferred until late May, June, or July, it is possible that you will be matriculated slightly later than other incoming students and therefore enroll slightly later than normal, but that is not an issue. The La Follette School saves spaces in your required courses so you will be able to enroll in the courses you need no matter when you are matriculated and enroll. Reach out to with questions or clarifications.

Directions to send official transcripts to the University of Wisconsin Madison Graduate School:

1) Order your transcript through your institution.
2) If you cannot choose UW-Madison Graduate School, then transcripts can be sent to
3) For US institutions, the Graduate School prefers electronic transcripts if your institution offers that option.
4) For international institutions, and those domestic institutions that do not have an electronic option, they need the official hard copy sent to:
The Graduate School Admissions Office University of Wisconsin-Madison
232 Bascom Hall
500 Lincoln Drive Madison, WI 53706
5) Please do not send both a paper and electronic copy of the same transcript.

Complete the Graduate School Incoming Student Checklist

The Graduate School has an incoming student checklist that you should complete as soon as you are able. Some checklist items may not be possible to complete right away if the university is still processing your application or still matriculating students for fall. We’ve copied the information from that checklist below and it includes things such as activating your netID, accessing your UW-Madison email account called your wiscmail account, paying tuition, getting your student ID, and more.

For all new graduate students:

  • Activate your NetID and set up multi-factor authentication.
  • Use (or forward) your WiscMail account, the university’s official method of correspondence. (Your WiscMail account becomes available through MyUW about a week before your enrollment time. Enrollment for Fall 2024 will begin on June 24.)
  • If you are eligible for new services, they will be listed on the final screen, along with details about those services.
  • Activate any missing services for your NetID. This section allows you activate any services that you are missing. You may be missing services because you changed your status at UW-Madison (for example, but not limited to from an applicant to a full student, a student to an employee, or from a hospital employee to a TA or teaching position). When this happens, the central services for which you are eligible may change.
    • In some cases, you may not need to activate any missing services.
  • Once tuition rates are set and published in early August and you receive your tuition bill, you will need to pay your tuition and segregated fees (even if you have tuition remission, you usually still have to pay segregated fees). Find tuition and fee rates here.
    • Students with graduate assistantships (TAs, PAs, RAs, and LSAs) have until the first Friday in December for the fall term and the first Friday in April for the spring term to pay segregated fees. See the Bursar’s Office policy for more information.
  • If you have a need related to a disability, contact the McBurney Disability Resource Center.
  • Fill out the Immunization and Health History Form in your MyUHS account.
  • Request your Wiscard (campus ID card). You must register for classes before you can get your Wiscard.
  • Update your mailing address and phone number in MyUW if you moved.
  • Starting the week before classes begin, request your free Madison Metro bus pass for the semester.
  • Complete the online sexual violence prevention program. Newly admitted graduate students will receive an email from University Health Services with instructions on accessing the online program, Graduate and Professional Students Preventing and Responding to Sexual and Relationship Violence, closer to the start of the semester. This program is required for all new graduate students.

For international graduate students:

For graduate students with funding:

Introduce yourself

By August 1, we ask that you send a short paragraph and photo introducing yourself and your policy interests. The paragraphs and photos will be compiled and sent to all new students, faculty and staff and may also be posted to the La Follette School website in the fall. We will share last year’s incoming class as examples and as an opportunity for you to get to know the second-year students at La Follette. You can email this information to

You can join the La Follette School Students group on Facebook. After our incoming class is finalized in early summer, a Google Sheet will be shared with all incoming students where you can add your contact information if you like. That sheet can be used by incoming students to form your own groups on platforms of your choosing.

Review Campus Data Trainings

The Social Science Computing Cooperative offers trainings in STATA and R in late summer that are available to incoming students. The Department of Information Technology also offers trainings across a number of software platforms.

Stay connected

To stay up-to-date with La Follette events and news over the summer, you can follow us on social media:

Campus resources and living in Madison

Living in Madison

The La Follette School Students group on Facebook is a good place to post to ask current students about advice on where to live or to find roommates. Here are some other resources.

An aerial view of Lake Mendota and Lake Monona, along with downtown Madison.

International students

ISS provides information and programs to international students about the campus and community and provides support and assistance concerning visas and related immigration issues.

International students in a game of cricket.

Diversity and inclusion

We are committed to diversity and inclusion. You can read more about our goals on our About page. Campus has many resources for supporting diverse students, and here are a few of the more used resources.

Buttons with pronouns and gender and sexuality supportive statements.

Tuition, student jobs, and financial aid

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Funding and financial aid

Graduate students fund their education in several ways including fellowships, on-campus appointments such as teaching assistantships and project assistantships, off-campus jobs, personal savings, and loans. La Follette’s Funding & Financial Information webpage has several funding resources. If you are interested in applying for an assistantship, this document on finding graduate assistantships may be helpful in guiding your search. The best place to find on-campus positions for graduate students is the Graduate Assistantships openings page. The Office of Student Financial Aid is also a great resource. Tuition and fees information can be found here. Be sure you select the correct term and program to ensure correct information. Finally, all of this information and more can be found in the Admitted Students Canvas page under the module titled “Funding and Financial Support at La Follette and UW-Madison.”

Tuition payment

BadgerPay is a payment plan that provides a convenient option for paying the student account balance through regularly scheduled payments. The BadgerPay payment plan is available to all students for Fall and Spring semesters (not available for Summer). A nonrefundable $50 plan enrollment fee will be due at the time of enrollment into BadgerPay. This $50 fee is charged each semester you choose to enroll in the BadgerPay payment plan. Sign-up and enrollment in BadgerPay typically opens in mid to late August.

Courses and how to enroll

Classes will begin on Wednesday, September 4. You can find the university’s academic calendar here.

In your first semester, MPA and MIPA students take three courses together as a cohort: PA 800, PA 818, and 880. Additionally, MPA students take PA 874: Policy Making Process. Students in their first semester typically enroll in about 10 credits.

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When and how to enroll for classes

New graduate student enrollment will begin on June 24, according to your enrollment appointment times assigned by the Office of the Registrar. Enrollment appointment times will be assigned about one week before before enrollment begins.

All new students have a space saved in their core courses, so if you cannot register until later in the summer, you will still have a spot. Please note that for some courses we use the waitlist to save La Follette students spaces in their core courses. When you go to enroll, a La Follette School course may show that there is a waitlist. That is normal and to enroll you should get on the waitlist and we will give La Follette students permission to enroll off the waitlist and into the course.

You will receive enrollment reminders with more information from UW-Madison and from La Follette Student Services staff on how to register for courses. On the Advising section of the La Follette School website you can find our Fall 2024 course grid in the sidebar on the right side of the page under “Enrollment Information.” This grid shows when our courses will be offered so you can start planning your class and work schedules. You can contact Mo O’Connor at with advising questions and with technical enrollment questions.

You will enroll in courses through Course Search & Enroll. Tutorials with step-by-step instructions on how to enroll in classes can be found here.

Previous course syllabi

If you would like to look at last year’s syllabi, you can find them on our courses page. New syllabi for the Fall 2024 semester will be available starting the first week of Fall 2024 classes.

Academic and Career Advisors

A student talking to an advisor

The Graduate Program Manager, Mo O’Connor, serves as the academic advisor to all students.

All students are assigned a faculty advisor according to their policy interests in their first semester. Students are encouraged to meet with La Follette School faculty at any time during their program of study to discuss particular career interests or course options. Faculty advisors may help students make strategic decisions about career specialization, including decisions about course selection in their area of interest. Faculty are not expected to certify whether students are making satisfactory progress toward their degree or to monitor whether courses meet program requirements. The Graduate Program Manager oversees student progress toward degrees.

Students are also welcomed and encouraged to work with the Director of Career and Employer Services, Marie Koko on their professional development throughout their time at La Follette including internship and job searches, reviewing cover letters and resumes, how to negotiate salary, and more.