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University of Wisconsin - Madison

Program Overview 

Location: Madison, Wisconsin
Culture: All-American with an international flair, civic-minded
Neighborhood: College town, lakeside
Housing: On-campus dormitory
English level: Intermediate - advanced 

University of Wisconsin - Madison (UW-Madison) ranks among the top 25 U.S. universities and hosts one of the nation’s largest international student populations. Boasting an active student body, UW-Madison embraces ‘the Wisconsin Idea’, a principle that education should influence people’s lives beyond the classroom. Therefore, SAF Scholars attending UW-Madison will not only have access to unparalleled academics, but also to volunteer opportunities to continue the university’s legacy of public service and improve people’s lives.

Situated in a beautiful mid-sized American city of 243,000, the campus is nestled on the shores of Lake Mendota. Many students are outdoor enthusiasts who enjoy recreational activities on the lake, as well as running through wooded areas. One of the nation’s most bike-friendly cities, Madison abounds with biking trails and offers plentiful skiing, sailing and hiking opportunities, too.

Madison also hosts one of the most educated populations in the United States, with almost 50 percent of adults holding a college degree. It has been voted one of the best places to live in America, and consistently rates high for its quality of life, health and fitness of its residents. What’s more, Madison is even known as one of America’s friendliest cities.

Student Profile

SAF Scholars seeking a supportive learning environment would feel at home at UW-Madison, where they can expect to receive personalized advising and resources. The right-fit students are also flexible in their academic studies and encouraged to enroll in various schools and colleges, from the Arts Institute to the Wisconsin School of Business, during their study abroad experience. SAF Scholars who are eager to make local friends and engage in American experiences would enjoy studying here in the American Midwest, known for its familial and friendly culture.

Other Programs at University

Other programs are not currently available at UW-Madison.

Other Comparable Programs

Program Details

Program Dates by Term Availability

Fall (Early September - Mid December)
Spring (Mid January - Mid May)

Progression or Concurrent Notes

Progression: Currently there are not progression options available at UW-Madison.

Concurrent: There is no official concurrent program at UW-Madison; however, SAF Scholars who wish to enhance their English language skills alongside their academic studies, have access to ESL courses. ESL course offerings are through the Program in English as a Second Language. Availability for these courses vary per semester.

Program Strengths

UW-Madison’s strengths include the depth and breadth of classes offered, as well as its highly ranked social sciences, engineering and business programs.

# of Credits (per term)

SAF Scholars must enroll and maintain a minimum 12 – 18 credit hours per semester. 12 credit hours is the common credit load for visiting students.

Course Registration Policies & Procedures

SAF Scholars enroll in courses online at a designated date and time provided prior to their arrival.

Course/Departmental Restrictions

Some courses and departments have limited access. Therefore, SAF Scholars cannot enroll in the following courses prior to their arrival. However, if they choose, they can attend the course on their first day and check if there are any open seats and then obtain permission from the professor.
  • Anthropology 104
  • Biology/Botany/Zoology 151,152,153
  • Chemistry, General through Organic
  • Computer Science
  • Mathematics 95 to 234/Calculus
  • Physics 103 to 208
  • Spanish
  • Statistics 224, 301, 371
  • Zoology 102
The following courses are impacted and are given priority to degree-seeking majors:
  • All Wisconsin School of Business courses
  • All College of Engineering courses

Graduate Courses

Policies differ by department, but non-degree seeking international students generally do not enroll in graduate courses. However, for more specific information or clarification on the availability of a specific course on the graduate level, an international student advisor will be able to answer questions.


Housing Type

On-campus dormitory


UW-Madison does not offer prepaid meal plans. Instead, all food purchases in University Housing are flexible. This means SAF Scholars can eat what they want and when they want, without any restrictions or minimum purchases. They have the option to decide how much they spend and can choose meals that fit their needs or budget. A student ID card would be used to pay for food in the dining markets, coffee shops and convenience stores on campus.

Type of Room

Single, double, triple
Student Life

Co-/Extra-Curricular Opportunities or Programs

There are hundreds of student organizations that SAF Scholars can join while studying at Madison. Some popular organizations include club sports, Hoofers and Building Relationship in Diverse Global Environments (BRIDGE).

SAF Scholars will have the opportunity to use the workout facilities–the pools, performance training center, ice hockey rink and more. Additionally, they can join sports clubs or take non-credit group fitness courses such as Zumba or Cardio.

SAF Scholars have the unique opportunity to engage in the local community by becoming ‘Badger Volunteers,’ who devote 1 to 4 hours weekly to benefit schools, non- profits and municipalities.

Last Updated: 1/9/19