Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs

We hope you may find this information helpful as you start to plan for next year.

Math and Statistics Preparation

La Follette’s free, online, self-paced Math Preparation course provides instruction and practice problems covering underlying algebra and other math concepts that will be used in PA 818 and PA 880. All students are encouraged to look at the problems and be sure you are familiar with the material, but it is a particularly helpful refresher for students who have not studied math in a few years. The course is not mandatory for all students, but all students are expected to have mastered the skills covered before starting at La Follette.

In order to access the course you should:

  • Visit the Learn@UW site: http://learnuw.wisc.edu
  • Click the “UW NetID Login” button.
  • Type in your UW NetID and password.
  • In your Course Dashboard, click the link to La Follette Math Prep under “Current”, “Ongoing”.

Please contact the following La Follette staff/faculty if you have any questions in these areas:

Curriculum in the Math Preparation course: Professor Geoffrey Wallace, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Technical aspects of the course: IT Specialist Andy Lambert, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Whether you are required to or should take the math preparation course: Student Services Associate, David Wright-Racette, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

In addition, we recommend the following resources that cover some of the statistical concepts that will be covered in PA 818. There will be course time devoted to these concepts, so you are not expected to master this material by the end of summer. However, we cannot stress strongly enough how important it is for those of you who have never studied these concepts, or have not studied them in the past couple years, to put in time this summer so that you are set up for success when you arrive at La Follette:

  1. Modern Business Statistics: Chapters 4- 5.3
    Modern Business Statistics (Anderson, Sweeney, & Williams, 2012) is the text for PA 818. You can purchase it ahead of time (e.g., from Amazon) or wait until the beginning of the semester and purchase the book from the La Follette School Student Association. Familiarizing yourself with the concepts in chapters 4 and 5 will be particularly helpful.
  2. Khan Academy: https://www.khanacademy.org/math/statistics-probability
    Khan Academy has a great collection of “how to” videos that cover the kinds of probability and statistical concepts that will be discussed in PA 818. Most of the topics here are relevant expect for the last three (inference for categorical data, advanced regression, analysis of variance).
  3. Supplementary readings
    We also recommend the following supplementary statistics texts:
    The Cartoon Guide to Statistics, by Larry Gonick & Woollcott Smith (1993)
    Statistics for People Who (Think They) Hate Statistics, by Neil J. Salkind (6th edition, 2017)

La Follette School Orientation

Orientation for new students will be on Thursday, August 31st, a few days before the first day of classes which this year will be Tuesday, September 6th. This will be an opportunity for you to meet some faculty members, students, and staff. The orientation agenda will be sent to you in June.

Course registration

The new graduate student fall course registration date is July 5th. All new students will be able get into their core courses so if you cannot register until later in the summer you will still get into the classes. You will receive enrollment information emails with more information from the University and reminders to register for courses from the La Follette Student Services Office. Dual degree and accelerated students should contact Mo O'Connor at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with any course advising questions.


Enrollment Instructions and Information:
http://www.registrar.wisc.edu/enrollment_information.htm

Fall courses for first-year, first semester:
All new students get a spot in the public affairs core courses, so there is no need to worry about getting into a class. MPA students generally will enroll for PA 818, PA 880, PA 878 and PA 800; MIPA students will generally register for PA 818, PA 880, PA 850 and PA 800. You can choose the discussion section that works best for you. If you would like to take more than 10 credits you may choose an elective, please contact Mo O'Connor at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information.

Faculty Advisors: All students will be assigned to a faculty advisor in August.

If you are finishing your undergraduate degree at the end of this May:
Your account at the UW will be placed on hold until you finish the admissions process which means sending your final official transcript to the La Follette School. Please send official transcripts to Mo O'Connor, La Follette School Admissions, 1225 Observatory Hill Drive, Madison, WI 53706.

If you are a UW-Madison student finishing your degree in May:
You do not have to send an official transcript; please DO email or send an unofficial transcript to our office. That can be emailed to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Course syllabi
If you would like to look at last year’s syllabi, you can go to the student resource page: http://www.lafollette.wisc.edu/students/.
New syllabi for fall 2016 will be available at the end of August 2016. Textbook information will be available in the course guide when you enroll. Please do not make text purchases based on last fall’s syllabus.

International Students

Please look at the International Student Services website: www.iss.wisc.edu. If you have questions about getting your student visa, changes to your visa, travel questions, or others, please contact their very helpful office.

Financial Information

Most graduate students fund their first year of education through personal savings and subsidized and unsubsidized loans. A few first year students find jobs on campus that begin in the fall. The best place to find opportunities is this website: www.finaid.wisc.edu/student-jobs.htm.

More information on cost and tuition can be found here: http://www.grad.wisc.edu/education/admissions/costs.html

Housing

UW-Madison Housing website: http://www.housing.wisc.edu/

Off campus Housing website: https://campusareahousing.wisc.edu/

Academic Calendar

If you need to make plans during breaks, the academic calendar for next year is here: www.secfac.wisc.edu/acadcal 

WISC Email

To activate your WISC.EDU email address go to www.registrar.wisc.edu/email_address_requirements_student.htm. This will be the email address that all official communication will be sent to beginning in the fall from La Follette and other University offices. If you prefer to get your email at another address you will have to have your WISC email forwarded to your alternate email address.

Please send us a short paragraph about yourself

The second task we ask of you this summer (in addition to reviewing microeconomics, macroeconomics and statistics) is that you send a short paragraph introducing yourself and your policy and/or public affairs interests. We pair this information with the photo that we will take of you during orientation. The paragraphs and photos will be compiled and sent to all new students, faculty and staff. You can email this information to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Other resources/recommendations for UW-Madison Graduate Students

-The Graduate School provides student services as well. If you have questions about graduate school in general you can take advantage of their information and opportunities: UW Madison Graduate School website: www.grad.wisc.edu

-Join the new student Facebook group: Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you have not yet been invited.

-LIKE the La Follette School of Public Affairs on facebook!

For more information/questions please contact us:
Student Services Associate: 
Academic and Admissions Information: Mo O'Connor, Sr. Student Services Coordinator, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Resource List: