Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs

The information below should help you start planning your academic transition to La Follette 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 let us know if you have questions by reaching out to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

1. Will there be an orientation for incoming students?

Yes, orientation for new students will be on Thursday, August 30th, a few days before the first day of classes which this year will be Wednesday, September 5th. Orientation will be an opportunity for you to meet some faculty members, students, and staff. Expect the orientation agenda to be emailed to you in June.

2. When can I register for classes?

New graduate students can start registering for classes on Monday, July 9th. 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. You will receive enrollment reminders with more information from UW-Madison and from the La Follette Student Services Office to register for courses. On the Students section of the La Follette School website you will can find a grid with courses that will be offered by La Follette this fall so you can start planning your class and work schedules. You can contact Admissions & Advising Coordinator, Mo O’Connor at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with advising questions.

3. What courses should I take?

In your first semester, MPA and MIPA students take three courses together as a cohort: PA 800, 818, and 880 and take one course specific to their program, as shown below. You can choose the discussion section that works best for you. Students in their first semester typically enroll in 10 credits, but if you would like to take more you may choose an elective.




PA 800: Professional Development Workshop

PA 800: Professional Development Workshop

PA 818: Intro to Statistical Methods for Public Policy Analysis

PA 818: Intro to Statistical Methods for Public Policy Analysis

PA 874: Policy-Making Process

PA 850: International Governance

PA 880: Microeconomic Policy Analysis

PA 880: Microeconomic Policy Analysis

4. How do I enroll in classes?

Tutorials with step by step instructions on how to enroll in classes can be found here.

5. Who are my advisors?

All students are assigned two faculty advisors according to their policy interests in the beginning of their first semester. The Admissions and Advising Coordinator, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., serves as the academic advisor to all students.

Students are encouraged to meet with other 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 Admissions and Advising Coordinator oversees student progress toward degrees.

6. Can I look at previous course syllabi?

If you would like to look at last year’s syllabi, you can find them here. New syllabi for the fall 2018 semester will be available at the end of August 2018. Textbook information will be available in the Course Guide when you enroll.

Please do not make text purchases based on last fall’s syllabus.

7. Do I need to send official transcripts to the UW-Madison Graduate School?

Yes; however, 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 May, please wait to send your transcript to the UW-Madison Graduate School until you have graduated and your transcript shows a degree conferral date.

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 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
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.

8. Do I need to complete any trainings over the summer?

Complete the online sexual violence prevention program, required for all new graduate students. A hold will be placed on your enrollment if you do not complete the program.

9. How do I get my student ID?

Your student ID, called your Wiscard, can be obtained in the Wiscard Office in Union South after you have enrolled in classes. Your first Wiscard is issued to you at no cost and is valid for 5 years from the date of issue. You will need to present a valid, government issued ID before you receive your Wiscard. A list of qualifying IDs and more information on how to get your Wiscard can be found here.


10. How do I get my student bus pass?

You will need to present your Wiscard in order to receive your free bus pass provided to you by the Associated Students of Madison. Dates and locations of fall 2018 student bus pass distribution have not yet been announced but once they are you will be able to find out where you can get your bus pass here.

11. What resources are available for incoming international students?

Please look at the International Student Services website.  ISS provides information and programs to international students about the campus and community and provides support and assistance concerning visas and related immigration issues. If you have questions about anything related to these topics, please contact their very helpful office.

There will be a mandatory orientation for all incoming international students. The dates are still being finalized but please follow this link to find out more.

12. What resources are available on campus that support diversity and inclusion?

La Follette is committed to diversity and inclusion, and you can find our diversity webpage here which includes links to many resources available on campus including the LGBT Campus Center, the McBurney Disability Resources Center, the Multicultural Student Center, the Veterans Services and Military Assistance Center, the Office for Equity and Diversity, Learning Communities for Institutional Change & Excellence, and more. If you are interested in joining the La Follette School Diversity Working Group, please contact the La Follette School Student Association (LSSA) Diversity and Inclusion Chair, Nathaniel Haack at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

13. Where can I find information about 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. If you are interested in applying for an assistantship, this document may be helpful in guiding your search. The best place to find on-campus positions for graduate students is the Student Job Center, particularly under the Graduate Assistant link. 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.

14. Where should I live?

Most La Follette students live off campus, but you can find more information about on-campus housing at the UW-Madison Housing website. If you wish to live off-campus, this website can help you find a place that matches your criteria. The La Follette School Students page on Facebook is also a good place to post to ask current students about advice on where to live or to find roommates. The UW-Madison Sublet and Roommate Board Facebook group is another place to look.

15. What does the academic calendar look like for 2018-2019?

If you need to make plans during breaks the academic calendar for the 2018-2019 school year can be found here.

16. How do I access my new UW-Madison email address through UW-Madison?

You will be able to activate your UW-Madison email address after you register for classes. Each student is issued a UW-Madison NetID and email account for use throughout the time the student is enrolled for classes at the UW-Madison. New users are responsible for activating their account from which you can do here. 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 new wiscmail address forwarded to your alternate email address.

17. Is there specific information I need to send to La Follette over the summer?

We ask 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. We have attached 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 David at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

18. Is there an opportunity for me to brush up on my math and statistics skills before starting classes at La Follette?

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:
  • 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:
    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)

19. Does the UW-Madison Graduate School have an orientation?

Yes, they will hold an orientation on Wednesday, August, 29th, which is the day before La Follette’s new student orientation. You can find more information about the UW Grad School and their orientation as well as information for new students here.

20. How can I stay up to date with La Follette events and news over the summer?

You can like our page on Facebook or follow us on Twitter!