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 complete a rigorous public affairs graduate program. The faculty admissions committee looks for evidence that a candidate will successfully complete the program by carefully considering information from the application, transcripts, GRE, references, resume and the statement of purpose.

Cohorts start each fall term. Under special circumstances a student can apply for the spring term. Please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information.

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 Requirements

  • Online graduate application found on the UW-Madison Graduate School web site 

  • Resume
    Please upload a current résumé to the graduate school application. If you cannot upload your résumé to the application, email it to Jennifer Donahoe at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. 

  • Statement of Purpose
    The statement of purpose provides you the opportunity to demonstrate your motivation to pursue the Master of Public Affairs (MPA) or Master of International Public Affairs (MIPA) and your commitment to a public service career. You can use this opportunity to explain how you might contribute to the diversity of the La Follette community. The essay, no more than two pages, double-spaced, can be sent as an upload to the online application or emailed directly to Jennifer Donahoe at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

  • 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 graduate student. Recommenders should submit letters through the electronic application. 

  • Transcripts
    Applicants must submit undergraduate transcripts in pdf format as part of the graduate school application.

  • 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. 

  • 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.

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, IELTS score of 7 or above, or MELAB of 82 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.

Deadlines

Priority consideration will be given to applications for admission and fellowships submitted by January 1. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling admissions basis after that date.

Application Fee (submitted with online application)

A $75.00 non-refundable application fee is required when you apply. The La Follette School does not offer fee waivers.

MPA Prerequisite Courses

(A strong MPA applicant has taken these courses and earned a B or above.)
Introduction to microeconomics
Introduction to statistics or calculus
Introduction to American government

MIPA Prerequisite Courses

(A strong MIPA applicant has taken these courses and earned a B or above.)
Introduction to microeconomics
Introduction to macroeconomics
Introduction to statistics or calculus
Comparative politics or international relations
Three semesters of language study (or a year or more experience of living abroad)

Accelerated Program Applicants

Application for admission to the accelerated program for MPA or MIPA must be made directly to the La Follette School after five semesters of undergraduate study. Applications received by January 1 will have priority consideration; later applications will be considered on a rolling admissions basis.

Students enrolling in the accelerated program also must formally apply for regular Graduate School admission during their final year of undergraduate study by filling out the Graduate School online application and submitting an updated résumé.

The following items are required for consideration for the accelerated degree. Applicants do not need to resubmit them when seeking formal Graduate School admission:

Application Requirements for Reapplicants

Students who began the program and take a semester or more off (not including summer terms) must resubmit the online application and email the admissions office with notification of reentry, a résumé, and an update on any new areas of interest or goals and objectives.

Application Requirements for Deferred Applicants

If you were offered admission for the previous year and deferred your enrollment for the allowed one year, you must contact the Office of Admissions and Student Services directly to inform us of your intent to enroll. To be considered for funding, you must do so before the application priority deadline of January 1. Please submit an updated résumé to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Contact Information

Office of Admissions and Student Services
Phone: 608-262-9163
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.