Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs

This is the profile of the 2014 class:
Size: 44 students
Number of Master of Public Affairs students: 31
Number of Master of International Public Affairs students: 13
Number of women: 22
Number of men: 22
Wisconsin residents: 47%
States represented: (Minnesota, Ohio, Illinois, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, California, Michigan, and Washington, D.C.)
International students: 6 (China, Korea, and India)
Age range: 21-51
Average age: 25
Average years of work experience: 3
Average Graduate Record Examination (GRE) quantitative: 70th percentile
Average GRE verbal: 65th percentile
Average Analytical Writing Score: 52nd percentile

No, you must submit GRE test scores that are no older than five years; no substitutions are accepted.

No, but it is preferred. We admit students directly from undergraduate programs. Our students have diverse backgrounds and an average of three years of experience all levels of government, nonprofits, and private business.

For the admission process, submit unofficial transcripts from institutions where you obtained a degree. If you are accepted and decide to enroll, the university requires official transcripts, which can be sent to the La Follette School.

Your essay should be one to two pages.

If your first language is not English and you did not attend an undergraduate institution for which courses were taught in English, you must take the TOEFL, IELTS, or MELAB for admission.

The results of the computer-based tests taken by mid-November should arrive prior to January 1.

There are three steps to the application process.

Step 1. Apply online to the University of Wisconsin–Madison Graduate School. Complete the online application, upload résumé and statement of purpose.

Please refer to the following websites for instructions and information.

Graduate School Checklist:

Graduate School Requirements:

Graduate School Online Letters of Recommendation Process

Information about the letters of recommendation can be found here:

Of the three letters, two should be from faculty members who are familiar with the applicant's academic work.

The statement of purpose and the resume can be uploaded to the application or emailed to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Step 2. Send all higher education transcripts directly to:

Admissions Committee, La Follette School of Public Affairs
1225 Observatory Drive, Madison, Wisconsin 53706

One official transcript from each school is required. Students do not need to send transcripts from institutions at which they took unrelated courses and are not from their BA or BS granting institution.

Step 3. Once you have taken the GRE and/or TOEFL be sure that the Educational Testing Service has the code 1846 to electronically submit your scores to the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

The Graduate School application asks for major codes. Master of Public Affairs is 837; Master of International Public Affairs is 577.

Master of Public Affairs is 837; Master of International Public Affairs is 577. Students can apply for up to three programs with one application.

Decision letters, including information about scholarship awards, will be sent in mid to late February.

You can find most of the public affairs course syllabi on the Courses web page.

The Multicultural Student Center is a campuswide center that serves as a meeting place and information center for students of color.

International Student Services and the Multicultural Student Center serve as meeting places and information centers for international students. See also weekly informal Friday meetings for international students held at Union South.

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.

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
United Way
Lutheran Health Alliance
Public Service Commission
Illinois Sentencing Policy Advisory Council
Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health
Madison Area Bus Advocates

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.

The University of Wisconsin–Madison institution code is 1846.

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 non-profit 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.

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 profiles.

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 fours 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

No, fall admission only.

La Follette awards fellowships and scholarships to students based on merit. All students, including international students, are eligible to apply. See Costs and Financial Aid.

International applicants 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 American government and that MPA graduates generally intend to apply their learning in a U.S. setting.

No. All applications will be considered for La Follette School Fellowships and scholarships. Priority consideration is given to applications submitted by January 1.

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.

Applications are carefully reviewed by an admissions committee made up of La Follette School faculty. The committee looks for evidence of strong academic achievement, relevant experience, potential for success in the public affairs graduate programs, and capacity to do well in a public service career.

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.

If you wish to visit the La Follette School please call 60-262-3581 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. We will arrange for you to meet an advisor, a faculty member, and/or set up a time for you to visit a class.

Yes. Applicants accepted for entry in the fall will be encouraged to visit Madison and the La Follette School on a visit day in March or April, prior to the notification deadline. Accepted applicants may visit at any time, although the visit day is when faculty are scheduled to meet and talk to prospective students and when you can meet potential classmates. Students will be notified of the visit day shortly after acceptance.

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.

International Student Services and the Multicultural Student Center serve as meeting places and information centers for international students. See also weekly informal Friday meetings for international students held at Union South.