Welcome to the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM)
If you are an exchange student who attends one of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee partner universities around the world, this is where you will begin your application! If you are not sure if your university has an active exchange agreement, please verify the existence of such a partnership on the list of partner universities.
If your university is not listed, please visit the International Admissions page.
Welcome to UWM!
The University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee Exchange Program is a great way to spend one semester or one year in a great location in the United States.
The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee is the only urban campus of the 13 University of Wisconsin System campuses and is located several blocks from Lake Michigan in a tree-shaded, residential neighborhood on Milwaukee’s northeast side. Originally founded in 1885 as Milwaukee State Normal School and later devoted to teacher training as the Milwaukee State Teachers College, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee was officially established in 1956.
The real result of UWM’s relationships with many of the best universities around the world is evident in our exchange student population. Exchange students play an important role in the internationalization of our campus. As is the case with all international experiences, the key to a successful exchange will be for you to reach out and connect with your new environment. We’re here to help you with that transition and look forward to seeing you on campus!
With best wishes from everyone at the UWM Center for International Education
To learn more about your study options, please visit the Academic Programs page.
Milwaukee is the last place I thought I’d end up, but having travelled to all kinds of states and cities, it is for sure my favourite place in the USA! The people are great, the atmosphere is friendly, and I’d recommend a year abroad to anyone
“We were both really scared when we first arrived. The idea of living in America seemed pretty daunting, especially without your friends and family, but UWM is a great place for international students, they really help you to settle into the American lifestyle which is so much fun. Milwaukee is definitely a great place to study, with clubs, art galleries and Lake Michigan so close, it really suits everybody. Chicago is also so close which is awesome. We are so glad to have chosen UWM as our place to study abroad…”
– Fiona Chambers and Samantha Smith, UK, 2011-12
The following dates are recommended UWM application deadlines for exchange students. Meeting these deadlines is important in order to ensure that exchange students have sufficient time to process immigration paperwork, obtain housing, and register for courses.
*March 15: Fall Semester for one semester (August-December) or for an academic year (August-May)
*September 1: Spring Semester (January-May)
*if your home university needs more time to nominate students, please contact Sue Conway at firstname.lastname@example.org. Deadlines may be flexible.
You must first be nominated by your home university.
Once your home institution has selected you for an exchange, you may apply to UWM’s exchange program using the following steps:
Step 1: Complete the University of Wisconsin System online admissions application. All students should apply as Undergraduate Students! Use this helpful info sheet as a guide for answering some of the questions asked. PLEASE NOTE: the University of Wisconsin System application is free to undergraduate students, but charges a $15 fee for graduate students. Please follow the application instructions on the info sheet above!!
Step 3: UWM must receive the following items to consider your application:
- Email to email@example.com from your International Office nominating you for the exchange;
- A complete University of Wisconsin System Application (See above instructions)
- A complete UWM Student Exchange Application (See above instructions)
**We must receive your official Proof of TOEFL or IELTS scores (from countries where English is not the first language). UWM does not accept TOEIC or institutional TOEFL (ITP) scores (UWM English proficiency requirements);
- **We must also receive your Official transcript of courses taken and a listing of courses in-progress at the time of application;
- **A copy of your degree certificate, if you have completed your degree (needed to determine graduate admission status)
- Financial Verification form (upload to the exchange application) – Students must prove that they have access to $6,400 for a semester exchange or $12,800 for an academic year exchange. These sums must be available through personal savings or a sponsoring family member or friend. This financial guarantee is required to obtain a student visa. (This can be sent as a scanned document or you can mail the original documents to UWM. For a breakdown of potential costs see “Costs” section below.
- Exchange students are required to purchase a health insurance policy arranged by UWM for international students.
**We prefer that these documents be scanned and emailed to UWM from your Study Abroad Coordinator at your home university.
If you prefer to mail the documents, please send them via courier to the following address:
Sue Conway, Incoming Exchange Student Coordinator
Center for International Education
UW-Milwaukee/ Garland Hall 138
2441 E. Hartford Ave.
Milwaukee, WI 53211
UWM cannot begin the admissions process on your behalf until BOTH of your applications are complete. This could take between four and six weeks for processing. When that is complete you will receive a package containing a welcome letter and your DS-2019 immigration document. Other details will be sent to you via email.
To contact our office please email at firstname.lastname@example.org or Sue Conway directly at email@example.com.
J-1 Exchange Student: Admissions Information
Once you have been accepted to UWM’s exchange program you need to apply for a J-1 visa, make housing arrangements, and register for classes. Each of these tasks MUST be completed before you arrive on campus.
Official Welcome and Admission to UWM
Once you have completed the application process and UWM has issued your DS-2019 immigration document you will be sent a package containing a welcome letter with your student identification number, your DS-2019 immigration document, date for arrival and mandatory orientation, and other university information. You will then need to apply for a J-1 Exchange Student visa.
As an exchange student, you must obtain a J-1 Visa in order to enter the United States. The J-1 Visa can be obtained at the U.S. Consulate or Embassy in your country. In order to obtain a J-1 Visa, you will need the following:
- Valid passport
- Passport-sized photos
- Acceptance letter from UWM
- DS-2019 Form (this form is created by UWM and will be sent to you once your application is approved)
- Financial documents showing you can cover the expenses of your stay in the United States (this amount will vary depending on your length of stay).
Note: This is not a comprehensive list. You should check with the consulate or embassy in your country to inquire about any additional requirements or forms you will need in order to apply for a J-1 Student Visa.
To fulfill the requirements of your J-1 Student Visa and UWM’s exchange program, there are several guidelines you must follow.
As an international exchange student, it is expected that you maintain full-time student status.
- Full-time status for undergraduate students is 12 – 18 credits each semester
- Full-time status for graduate students is 8 -12 credits each semester
- Most classes are worth three credits (sometimes called units on the website).
You are required to purchase the health insurance policy that UWM has coordinated for all international students. The insurance plan is negotiated each year and the coverage dates and costs change each term. Students will pay for a semester or year depending on how long they will be studying at UWM. Charges are automatically applied to student’s PAWS account at the beginning of each term.
You do not need specific vaccinations to come to UWM, but Sandburg Hall dormitory recommends that students get a meningitis shot before arriving. You should also plan to bring a copy of your medical records with to the US in case of emergency.
J-1 Exchange students are eligible for part-time on-campus employment (20 hours per week maximum) but are not eligible to work off campus. If interested in on-campus employment , please contact your advisor for more information on the employment process once you arrive on campus. You are not eligible to accept employment until you have received work authorization from UWM’s International Student and Scholar Services office and obtained a Social Security card. If you would like to do an internship please contact an exchange coordinator.
In most cases, travel outside of the United States is possible during your exchange. Contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org) at least one week before you plan to leave the United States. I will sign your DS-2019, and get emergency contact information. If you don’t have a signature on your DS-2019, you will be able to leave the United States but not return.
Change of Address
If you move during your stay in the United States you must contact me with your new address no later than 10 days after moving.
If you are interested in doing an internship before you return home, make sure you contact me as soon as possible. You MUST have permission for the internship before you start it, and there are specific conditions you must meet to maintain your visa status. I am happy to go over the details of the special work permission with anyone who is interested.
Following Your Exchange Program
You have 30 days to leave the United States after the date on your DS-2019. Once that date has passed, you will not be eligible to enter the United States again as a J-1 student.
Use the online UWM Schedule of Classes to find listings of all courses offered in a particular semester. The Schedule of Classes is separated into terms (example, Fall 2016) and alphabetically by departments (example, Anthropology, Business Administration, Chemistry). You may select a term and a department. The courses that will be offered for that term are listed. After the list of courses are the times each course for that department are being offered. For example: term Fall 2015, department Business Administration, course number BUS ADM 311, times offered MW 2:00PM-2:50PM.
Please note that not all classes may be available for you to enroll in. You are therefore advised to choose several “back up” classes in case you are unable to get registered for one of your primary choices. Flexibility and a couple alternate course selections are a must. Certain classes, such as Capstone courses, Professional Theater Training or Freshman Seminars, are not open to exchange students.
If you are not able to enroll in a course due to a pre-requisite course restriction, please contact email@example.com for assistance. You will need to provide the course number, title and preferred section in your email.
I-94 forms are now almost exclusively completed online! We will provide you with instructions on how to print the form when you arrive. You should keep it with all of your immigration paperwork. If you enter the United States at a land or sea border, you will receive a paper I-94 form. Be sure to keep this with your documents.
Duration of Status
On your arrival stamp (usually stamped near your Visa) there should be a notation which reads “D/S”. This stands for Duration of Status. This means that as long as you follow the rules established for the J-1 student, you may remain in the United States legally.
Whether you are traveling here alone or with fellow students, getting to the university is relatively easy. The Milwaukee airport is within twenty minutes driving time of downtown Milwaukee and thirty minutes driving time from the UWM campus. If you are arriving at Chicago O’Hare International airport with no connecting flight to Milwaukee, there is a direct bus service from O’Hare to Milwaukee offered by Coach USA.
In order to welcome you to Milwaukee, UWM tries very hard to have someone meet you on arrival in Milwaukee or Chicago, there may be a charge for this service and it is only offered at specific times. You will receive an email from Sue Conway letting you know when this service is available. All exchange students should fill out the Arrival Form even if they are not receiving our pick up service. Please complete and return this form to the CIE study abroad office by fax (1-414-229-4858) or e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) at least one month before your arrival in Milwaukee. Again, you must return this form whether you are requesting to be met by someone or not.
For the Fall 2017 term, we will offer Panther Pick Up Service up at Chicago O’Hare (ORD) airport and Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport (MKE). The dates for pick up services in Chicago is Saturday, August 19 from 10am – 5pm and Monday, August 27 from 10am – 5pm, and extended hours are available at the Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport (MKE). There is a fee for these services. If you want more details, please visit this website for Panther Pickup Service, and complete the survey if you would like to use the service. If you have questions about your arrival, please email Sue Conway at email@example.com.
If CIE pick-up is not possible on your arrival date, you have a couple options available for getting to UWM.
If you are arriving in Chicago, you could schedule a door-to-door transportation service through GO Riteway ( http://www.goriteway.com/ ) for about $210. There is also a shuttle service called Coach USA that has buses that go from Chicago O’Hare airport to Milwaukee Mitchell Airport, and the Milwaukee Train station downtown. The cost is about $30 depending on your destination. Here is a website with information and schedules: http://www.coachusa.com/wisconsincoach/ss.ohareairport.asp
Once you have arrived in Milwaukee, you also have several options. You can take a taxi from the airport which costs about $40 – $45. You can take an Uber (www.uber.com) or Lyft (www.lyft.com) (private taxi services) if you have their smart phone application. The app will show you the promised rate in advance before you use the service, and they will pick you up at the terminal. Uber and Lyft are typically cheaper than regular taxi cabs. You could also ride a Milwaukee County Transit System (MCTS) public bus (Green Line north bound – which you catch at the airport about a 2 minute walk from the terminal). The Green Line goes very close to campus. If you are coming to the main campus (Sandburg Residence halls) you will exit the bus at the corner Oakland and Kenwood Avenues (tell the bus driver that you are going to UWM). It is about a 7 minute walk to campus from this corner. The ride takes about 1 hour, with a lot of stops throughout the city. The one-way fare is $2.25 and you must have exact change. If you change buses, you must pay another $2.25 fee for the next bus. You also have the option of purchasing an MCTS one day pass for $4. The service runs from approximately 4:00 am – 2:00 am (22 hours a day) on weekdays, with slightly shorter hours on the weekends.
If you arrive at the Greyhound bus or Amtrak train station in the city center, you can either walk 2-3 blocks north to Wisconsin Avenue and catch a #30 bus eastbound (same instructions as above), or you can take a taxi cab and pay approximately $25 to get to campus from downtown.
Some taxis require cash payment, while some may accept credit cards.
You are required to attend a mandatory orientation session. Upon acceptance, information will be sent to you about the date, time, and location of the orientation. Orientation is designed to inform you and the other exchange students in attendance about immigration regulations, health insurance, campus employment, health and safety, to acquaint you with UWM, and to introduce you to the culture and life of the Milwaukee and some fun free-time activities.
Our expected Orientation date for the Fall 2017 term is Wednesday, August 30
Time: 9am – 3pm
Location: to be determined
Lunch is included in the orientation.
Please note: You should plan to stay in Milwaukee through the end of your final examination period for the term.
Please click on the links below to find answers to some common questions!
If you are encountering problems accessing the PAWS system due to an error related to your language settings, please follow this link:
If this link does not work, please complete the following steps on your computer:
In your internet browser, click on Tools.
Under Tools, click on Internet Options.
Under Internet Options, click on the Languages button.
Click Add and then add English (United States) [en-us].
Click on English and then use the Move Up button to move it to the top of the list.
Close your internet browser and then open it up again.
Access PAWS again.
(Note: If you are still encountering problems, or are receiving a different error message, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. The people who will respond are technically trained to help you with PAWS problems.)
Second, if you are getting an error message stating you do not meet the prerequisite course requirements, please email Sue Conway at email@example.com. Make sure you include your full name, the course number, title and section information, and your campus ID number in the email if possible.
Please visit UWM University Housing to learn more about the different housing options available.
As a member of a Living Learning Community at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, you get to be part of a “community within a community” by living in the residence halls among students with similar interests. There are multiple Living Learning Communities at each UWM residence hall.
LLC topics vary from year to year. For the most recent set of offerings, check out the “Community Choices” section.
Please visit the Living Learning Community page for options and locations.
The Neighborhood Housing Office is a great resource for people who wish to live off campus.
There are also a variety of hotels in the Milwaukee area. While there are no hotels in the immediate vicinity of campus, there are many in the downtown area, which is only a few miles from the University. When searching for hotels, if you have a choice of location, please select near UWM or Milwaukee East Side.