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Apply as a Transfer Student

How Can We Best Assist You?

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Are you looking for more general information about transferring to UW–Madison?

Do you have specific questions about the transfer admissions process or application?

Do you have questions beyond the application process, such as degree requirements and course selection as you prepare to transfer?

  • Interested in learning more about requirements for a specific major or one of our Schools and Colleges? The Undergraduate Guide contains information about the many academic programs available here at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.
  • Cross-College Advising Service works with undecided students on our campus and may be able to answer questions about degree programs you are interested in. You can reach out to them via phone at 608-265-5460.
  • Some School and College advising offices have the capacity to work with prospective students. A link to each of their websites is located on the Transfer Transition Program website, or contact information may be provided in the Guide.

Are you wondering how, or if, your courses will transfer?

Are you a Madison College student?

Transfer Application and Materials Deadlines

Decision Plan Application Opens Application Deadline Materials Deadline Decision Release
Spring Regular Decision August 1 October 1 October 15 On or before December 31
Fall Priority Decision December 1 February 1 February 17 On or before March 31
Fall Regular Decision December 1 March 1 March 17 On or before April 30

Applications and all required application materials must arrive in our office by 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time on the noted deadline dates.

Please note that it may take up to 72 hours for our system to reflect that you have submitted an application; you will receive an email the next business day acknowledging its receipt.

Students who submit their application within 5 days of the deadline will not receive a reminder of materials that are missing from their application.

Required Transfer Application Materials

We cannot begin to review your application until all required materials are received. These deadlines and requirements pertain to both domestic and international applicants.

Application requirements for admission to the university are the same for all students, regardless of the academic major/area of interest.*

*Students who wish to be considered for direct entry to a program in the areas of dance or music, will also need to complete an additional application and an audition. Learn more about our Direct Entry process.

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1. Admissions Application

Transfer students can apply using the Universities of Wisconsin Application.

You will be asked to identify both a first and second choice major when completing the application for admission. If selecting a major in the School of Business or College of Engineering as your first choice major, you must select a second choice major outside of the School of Business or the College of Engineering. If we are unable to offer you admission to your first choice major, your second choice will be considered in our application review. Due to the competitive nature of some of our programs, admission expectations may be different for students pursuing majors in business, engineering, dance, and music. We encourage you to visit our direct entry page to learn more.

2. Application Fee

The application fee is $70.00 US and is non-refundable.

Electronic payment is preferred. If you apply using the Universities of Wisconsin Application, the fee can be paid by check or money order, drawn on a bank located in the United States and payable to the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Send the check or money order to the Office of Admissions and Recruitment. Please include the applicant’s name with payment. Do not send cash.

Application fee waivers are available for applicants with financial hardship. Eligible students can request a fee waiver as part of their application. If you did not request an application fee waiver at the time of application, but are eligible to have your fee waived, you may print the Application Fee Waiver Request Form and have your counselor/advisor submit it to the Office of Admissions and Recruitment.

The application fee is not required if your last school attended is a Universities of Wisconsin institution and it is within one year of enrollment as a degree seeking student at that institution.

3. Two Essays

As part of our holistic review, we refer to the essays you submit to understand more about you. What you choose to share gives us an idea of who you are and what you want to accomplish as part of our community. Tell us about you and your unique story to help us know you beyond your GPA and test scores. Your essays might also be used for campus program and scholarship review.

You will need to answer the following prompts:

  • Each student is unique. Please tell us about the particular life experiences, talents, commitments, and/or interests you will bring to our campus.
  • Tell us why you would like to attend the University of Wisconsin–Madison. In addition, please include why you are interested in studying the major(s) you have selected. If you selected undecided, please describe your areas of possible academic interest.

If you are applying to transfer from another Universities of Wisconsin institution, you will only be required to submit the second essay.

Keep these tips in mind as you work on your writing:

  • Develop your thoughts before you begin the writing process, and create an outline.
  • The maximum word count for each essay is 650, but we recommend planning for 300–500 words.
  • Do not type directly into the web form. Instead, work on your draft in word processing software.
  • Allow time to develop and revisit your writing.
  • Check for spelling mistakes and ask someone to proofread your final version.
  • Be genuine and honest in your writing.

4. Course and Grade Information

College Transcripts:

We require course and grade information from your enrollment in any and all colleges and universities. This should include all college-level coursework completed to date, including your current term in progress, and (if applicable) college classes taken while in high school.

You must submit an official transcript from all institutions(s) in which you were enrolled to meet the course and grade information requirement to complete your application for admission.

Official transcripts should be sent directly from each school attended.

How to Send Official Transcripts

Applicants that are currently or were previously enrolled at Universities of Wisconsin institution or branch campus, or UW Colleges Online must submit their transcripts according to the Universities of Wisconsin guidelines.

Students applying from outside the United States can find country-specific official transcript requirements here.

High School Transcripts:

We require official high school transcript(s), sent to us by your school. We review your high school record to check for proof of graduation, the completion of core preparation requirements, and to learn more about your educational background. High school grades will play a more important role in the admission review for applicants who have completed fewer transferable college credits. If you earned your General Educational Development (GED) certificate or a High School Equivalency Diploma (HSED), submit your official score report in addition to all high school or home school transcripts. If you were or are homeschooled, we will need additional documentation to complete a full, holistic review of your application. Learn more about specific application policies and requirements.

5. One Required Letter of Recommendation

We require you to submit one letter of recommendation written by someone who can attest to your academic ability, such as a teacher, school counselor, or faculty member. Students with an interest in engineering are encouraged to obtain a letter of recommendation from a math or science teacher. Remember to have a discussion with your chosen recommender first to see if they are willing and able to provide a letter.

We encourage applicants who have been away from formal classroom teaching for an extended period to request a letter of recommendation from someone who can speak to their academic potential, such as an employer (preferably a supervisor or manager), a program or departmental trainer, or some other individual in an official instructional capacity.

Recommendations that are mailed to our office Letters of recommendation must be sent directly from the school and/or recommender, in a sealed envelope. Recommendations must include the applicant’s full name, birth date, and campus ID number (if known). Additionally, letters of recommendation from a school staff member may also be sent through Naviance. Please note that letters of recommendation expire after one year from the date it is written.

6. TOEFL, IELTS, and DET Scores (English Language Proficiency)

Transfer applicants educated in non-English speaking countries must submit an official TOEFL, IELTS, or Duolingo English Test (DET) score, unless English was the primary language of instruction in all four years of secondary school or a college level English composition course was successfully completed at an accredited US institution. This requirement will not be waived for English composition taken at U.S. branch campuses abroad.

All English proficiency exams should be sent electronically, directly from the testing service.

Please note: Sending official test scores from the testing agency does have an additional costs and will add 3-6 weeks to the application completion process. Plan to send your test scores early to ensure your scores arrive before the the materials deadline.

How to Send Official Test Scores

We do not superscore any English Proficiency exam and score reports cannot be older than 2 years from the time you apply.

Duolingo English Test (DET)

  • Minimum accepted score: 115+.
  • When submitting your score(s): Search category should be “Undergraduate,” then select “University of Wisconsin–Madison.”
  • Please do not send to offices listed under “Other,” as we are unable to retrieve those scores.
  • The DET should be sent with sub-scores.


  • Minimum accepted score: 6.5+.
  • To submit scores electronically, students need to request an “ETRF” request from their testing center. When requesting electronic scores, please note:
    • IELTS does not require a code.
    • Select our account name, “University of Wisconsin, Madison Undergraduate”
  • Please do not send paper copies of your IELTS scores.
  • We do accept the IELTS Indicator.


  • Minimum accepted score: 80+.
  • When submitting your score(s): TOEFL test code is 1846.
  • We do not accept “MyBest” score from TOEFL nor any English Proficiency exam.
  • For each TOEFL you submit, we will require the full score report. Wisconsin does not accept the TOEFL iTP Plus for China but we will accept the iBT Special Home Edition.

If you feel that you qualify for an English Proficiency Exam waiver based upon the requirements above, please submit all required transcripts to our office. Other test scores such as ACT, SAT, or AP (Advanced Placement) scores do not meet the requirements for a waiver. Once your transcripts are received in our office (are no longer displayed on your to-do list in your Student Center), we will determine your waiver eligibility. Waivers will not be processed prior to receipt of both the admissions application and transcripts.

Optional Transfer Application Materials

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ACT and SAT Scores

Scores from either the ACT or the SAT are not required of transfer applicants. However, you are welcome to provide us your scores. Your results will be considered as supplemental academic information and may help strengthen your application. Test scores must be sent directly from the testing service. Our test code is 4656 for the ACT and 1846 for the SAT. Do not send your results rush (SAT) or priority (ACT); we receive all scores electronically on a daily basis so there is not an advantage to rush or priority delivery.

How to Send Official Test Scores

Academic Course Preparation

Prior to applying for transfer admission, students must have completed (or be completing) at least 24 semester hours of transferable course work. This essentially equates to one year of college-level study. We do not accept transfer students at the freshman level.

When reviewing applications, we pay particular attention to the college-level course work you have completed, and specifically:

  • Cumulative grade point average (GPA). Competitive not only for admission to the university, but for your intended major as well. Please note: GPA calculations will include all grades received for repeated courses; the initial grade, as well as grades received in second and subsequent attempts will be included in the GPA calculation.
  • Rigor of course work. Appropriate for continued study at UW–Madison and increasing in difficulty.
  • Course breadth. Showing a combination of English, math, science, literature, social science, and world language.
  • Grade trends and patterns. Steady or improving trends and patterns that show consistency across all academic areas.
  • Required courses. Applicants must have completed one year each of high school algebra, plane geometry, and college-preparatory math, and two high school years or two college semesters of a single world language*.

High School Record

Your academic performance in high school will be more or less important to us depending on how many college credits you have earned. Generally speaking, students who are in their first two years of college-level coursework will have their high school records more carefully analyzed. The more college-level work you have completed, the less we will rely on high school performance criteria such as rigor of coursework, academic GPA, grade trends, and class rank.

Regardless of the number of college credits earned, your high school transcript (supplemented in some cases by your college transcript) must show that you completed the following required course work:

  • Algebra: One year in high school
  • Plane Geometry: One year in high school (cannot be modified, basic, or informal)
  • College-Preparatory Math: One year in high school, or one college course at the level of Algebra 2 or beyond
  • Single World Language: Two years of the same language in high school or two semesters of the same language in college*

*Students who are not native English language speakers can satisfy the world language application requirement with an official transcript verifying their education in that language. If they were educated in their native language through grade seven, they will receive two units of world language. Those who were educated in their native language through grade eight, will be awarded four units.

Students who have studied a world language using only Rosetta Stone have not fulfilled the world language requirement.

American Sign Language (ASL) may be accepted to meet the world language requirement for admission if it is taken through the student’s school and is reflected on an official transcript.

In rare circumstances, students may be admitted without two units of a single world language. These students will be required to complete two sequential units of the same world language as a UW–Madison student. 

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is valued in our community and in the admission process. By signing your application, you certify that it is complete and accurate. We hold you accountable to ensure the authenticity and honesty of your application; essays; self-reported grades, courses, and test scores; and additional materials subsequently submitted.