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University of Wisconsin–Madison

New Student Information

The Graduate School maintains a checklist for new graduate students. Most importantly:

Activate your NetID

You will need your NetID and password to access the My UW-Madison portal at To activate your NetID click on the ACTIVATE NETID button from the My UW Madison login screen. Enter your 10 digit student campus ID number and birthdate. The NetID you create and password you enter are keys to your access to the MyUW portal, so make a record of it and keep it private. If you are unsure about your NetID and password, contact the DoIT Help Desk at 608-264-4357.

Tuition Account Refunds

Set up e-Refund for direct deposits of refunds that post to the bank account in 1-3 business days. Students may enroll and manage their eRefund status/bank information on their MyUW Student Center.

Get your UW Photo ID Card (Wiscard)

Get your UW ID card - Wiscard - photo taken at the Wiscard Office in Union South, room 149, M-F 8:30 am - 5:00 pm. You must be enrolled and have valid identification, such as a valid driver’s license, passport, or state ID) to get your photo ID.

Enroll in classes

You will receive notification from the University when you are eligible to enroll. Most graduate courses do not fill up and there is less urgency to immediately sign up for classes. Discuss a course sequence with your advisor. Most AOS students take the AOS core (AOS 610, 611, 630, 640, 650, 660) in their first or second year. Registration for research credits (AOS 990) requires your advisor to first grant permission to the student status coordinator.

Pick up your Madison Metro bus pass

As a UW student, you can acquire a bus pass from the Memorial Union at the beginning of the fall and spring semesters. You must be enrolled. Be sure to bring your UW photo ID card. Visit the ASM website for more information on Madison Metro bus services.

New Graduate Student Welcome

Attend the New Graduate Student Welcome, hosted by the Graduate School. This event provides a great opportunity to mingle with Graduate School deans and staff, hear from a panel of current students about grad student life, learn about the many campus and community resources available to you, and meet other new graduate students from across campus.

Graduate Student Life

Graduate Student Life is published annually by the Graduate School and contains a wealth of essential information for new graduate student. It covers information about the city of Madison, student services, finances, employment, housing, transportation, shopping, local services, recreation, and healthy living.

Attend Program Orientation Events

The department hosts an incoming student orientation in late August, usually followed by a department picnic at a nearby park or home. Details are provided over email.

Orientation Guide for New AOS Students

The primer provides advice on starting out your graduate career in AOS and strategies for success.

Department Resources for Students

The department provides a number of resources that you will be told about at orientation and during the year over email. The office staff is knowledgeable on all these areas and can assist you.

  • Student computers and arrangement of office space are provided at discretion of the advisor.
  • There is a computer lab with dual-boot Linux/Windows computers on the 14th floor that can be used for general purpose computing. Printers are also available in this room.
  • The 14th floor also contains a general purpose meeting room with priority usage for graduate students. The room includes a conference table and large monitors with computers for presenting material or viewing weather forecasts.
  • All students have shared mailboxes on the 8th floor.
  • Photocopying, faxing, and printing services are available. Ask department staff to get you set up and arrange payment for personal transactions.
  • Each year, our department systems programmer will provide you a link to our department listservs including and
  • Our department administrator is your key contact for all human resources related issues (assistantship, salary, benefits).

##Additional Information for International Students##

International Student Services (ISS)

International Student Services (ISS) is your main resource on campus and has advisors who can assist you with visa, social and employment issues. Visit their website for more information or to schedule an appointment.

Mandatory Orientation

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security requires you to register with UW-Madison prior to starting your program of study in the United States. By completing the Immigration Check and attending International Student Orientation (a mandatory orientation program for new students), you will fulfill this obligation. Registration is required for orientation.

Student Visas

Graduate Admissions issues the federal I-20 form for initial F-1 Visa procurement. Initial J-1 Visa document (DS-2019) is handled by ISS. The Graduate Admissions office sometimes must collect financial information for the DS-2019, which is then forwarded to ISS. After the student is enrolled, all Visa matters are handled by ISS. Additional segregated fees are added for international students to handle visa processing.

Documents required of new international students

Many students are admitted with a condition that they submit their final academic documents after arrival on campus. Please submit your documents to the Graduate School admissions office at 228 Bascom Hall. Or departments may collect the documents and send them to the admissions office via campus mail. You should also provide a copy to the AOS Graduate Coordinator for the department’s files. The admissions requirements page has a drop down menu under “degrees” which lists the documents required for each country.

Students with English as a Second Language (ESL) requirements

Any student who was admitted with a TOEFL score below 92, or an IELTS score below 6.5 will be required to take the University of Wisconsin-Madison English as a Second Language Assessment Test (MSN-ESLAT) and any required English course during their first semester. Please consider this extra burden when planning your schedules.

Funding for International Students

International students are eligible for Teaching, Project, and Research Assistantships on campus as well as university fellowships through the Graduate School. They may not be employed more than 20 hours per week on campus while enrolled full-time.

New international students with assistantships should work with International Students Services to obtain a social security number. New students with fellowships and no other appointment types are not considered employees and are not eligible for social security numbers. These students should work with ISS to obtain an International Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN).