University of Wisconsin–Madison

Frequently Asked Questions

If you have questions about graduate school at UW-Madison broadly, the Grad School FAQ page is easy to read and full of useful information.

  • Where can I go to learn more about the GIS Professional Programs?

    Our website has detailed information for all of our programs, including: curriculum, program requirements, tuition costs, financial aid, and application requirements and process.

  • Are students in the online programs allowed or required to attend courses on campus?

    Students in the online programs will complete their coursework 100% online and are not required or permittedt otake in-person courses in lieu of the online course requirements.

  • What is the course offering schedule for your programs?

    We offer all our online courses every semester, including summer term. The Accelerated Ms program course offerings fall in-line with the face-to-face course schedule. You can find more information on this schedule by visiting the public course search.

  • My GPA falls below your requirement. Is the GPA requirement strict?

    Your question is one of the most common ones we receive. While your GPA is important, it’s but one component of your application that we consider. We encourage you to still apply to our program and explain the circumstances of your GPA to us in your letter of interest.

  • Who should I contact if I am using the post-9/11 GI Bill or the Wisconsin GI Bill?

    Veterans are eligible for financial assistance through the GI Bill for all our programs. Learn more at .

  • Will references be notified?

    Your references will be notified and instructed on how to submit their recommendation after your application has been submitted.

  • Must letters of recommendation come from former professors?

    In addition to former professors, references can come from people who can speak knowledgeably about your ability to succeed in a rigorous professional program. This could include, for example, current or former work or volunteer supervisors.

  • Can I apply for one of your programs with credit hours still remaining toward my current degree?

    Yes, you can still apply, so long as those credits and your bachelor’s degree are completed by the time the fall semester begins.

  • Can you do the programs at your own pace?

    Our programs provide a good amount of flexibility in how students choose to manage their course load each semester. That said, our courses do operate in many ways like a traditional course and they have set deadlines throughout the semester. Assignment deadlines differ and can vary between weekly to monthly.

  • What kind of jobs do graduates from these programs go on to do?

    The primary goal of our programs is to provide our students with the tools they will need to apply their GIS and cartography knowledge to their specific area of interest. Due to the vast range of GIS applications the possibilties are endless. Graduates from the GIS Fundamentals Capstone Certificate can expect to enter the job market at entrylevel GIS positions. Gradutes from our more advanced programs will acuire skills that could be applied to a range of entry level to high level GIS positions. For more information on the GIS job outlook check out this article.

  • Is there a time limit to complete a program?

    Capstone students can choose to complete the program in as little as one 15 week semester or as many as 3 semesters, which is approximately 1.5 years. Graduate students in the Accelerated/Nonthesis MS program can complete the program in as little as 3 semesters (1 year) or as much as 6 semesters (2 years). Graduate students in the Online MS program can complete the program in as little as 3 semesters (1 year) or as much as 12 semesters (4 years). The summer semester (while optional) is included in these estimates.

  • Can I defer my admission?

    Students are permitted to defer their acceptance to a program for one year with some restrictions, including the application fee where applicable.