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

Please click here to view our Exchange Info Fact Sheet.

To learn more about your study options, please visit the Academic Programs page.

Past Student Comments


“I had a great time with my roommates even though it was not easy to live with foreigners at first. It’s been one of the precious experiences and memories in my life in u.s…”

Yumeno, Japan, 2018


“Despite sharing a room and having no privacy. My time at UWM was fantastic. I had a great experience! Some of the people I met were so nice and friendly. Some people really have lovely warm hearts. I was blessed to have this experience :D”

Gloria, UK, 2018


“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 and Samantha, UK, 2012



Application Deadlines

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 1 Nomination Deadline – March 15 Application Deadline: Fall Semester for one semester (August-December) or for an academic year (August-May)
*October 1 Nomination Deadline – October 15 Application Deadline: Spring Semester (January-May)

*if your home university needs more time to nominate students, please contact Sue Conway at conways@uwm.edu. Deadlines may be flexible.

Application Process

Step 1: You must first be nominated by your home university. This is typically done by email. Once your home institution has nominated you for an exchange, you may apply to UWM’s exchange program.

Step 2: Please use these instructions to complete the UWM Student Exchange Application.

Step 3: UWM must receive a complete application to consider you for admission.

  • The application allows scans of unofficial transcripts for the admission process.
  • We may also need a listing of courses in-progress at the time of application;
  • For Graduate students  – Please scan a copy of your bachelor’s degree certificate.
  • Financial Verification form (upload to the exchange application) – Students must prove that they have access to $8,000 for a semester exchange or $16,000 for an academic year exchange. . These sums must be shown with a bank statement or letter from a banking institution. If the funds are not in the student’s name – they must also have an affidavit of support from the sponsoring family member or friend. This financial guarantee is required to obtain a student visa. This can be uploaded to the application as a scanned document. PLEASE NOTE: You may need more than this amount to live comfortably.  Please ask your home university for the cost sheets, or email conways@uwm.edu
  • Exchange students are required to purchase a health insurance policy arranged by UWM for international students.

If you have questions please contact:
E-mail: conways@uwm.edu
Phone: +1 414-229-4846

UWM cannot begin the admissions process on your behalf until your application is complete. Once it is complete the admission and immigration documents can take between three to five weeks for processing. Once everything is done, you will receive a package containing a welcome letter and your DS-2019 immigration document according to your home university’s delivery plan. Other details will be sent to you via email.

To contact our office please email at cie-studyabroad@uwm.edu or Sue Conway directly at conways@uwm.edu.



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.

Obtaining a J-1 Visa to Enter the United States

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.

Other Important Immigration Issues

To fulfill the requirements of your J-1 Student Visa and UWM’s exchange program, there are several guidelines you must follow.

Full-Time Status
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).

Health Insurance
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 will need an accepted COVID-19 vaccination to enter the United State, but UWM does not require any other vaccinations. For a list of recommended vaccinations, please contact Sue Conway. You should also plan to bring a copy of your medical records with to the US in case of emergency.

COVID-19 vaccination boosters may be available for free to all students.  Check the UWM Coronavirus page for more details.

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.

International Travel
In most cases, travel outside of the United States is possible during your exchange. Contact me (conways@uwm.edu) 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.

Registering for Classes

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 2022) 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 2022, department Business Administration, course number BUS ADM 311, Lec 101, Course 12542 may correspond with 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 conways@uwm.edu for assistance.  You will need to provide the course number, title and preferred section in your email.

Activating your PAWS account
After being formally admitted to the UWM, course registration is done by accessing an on-line, web-based system called PAWS (Panther Access to Web Services). To access PAWS you will need to first activate your account and establish your password. To do this you will need your 9-digit Campus ID Number beginning with 991- and your date of birth..
Entering the United States

On Arrival

The non-immigrant visa stamp in your passport allows you to apply to enter the United States in a specific immigration category (status). Your J-1 visa stamp notifies immigration officials at your point of entry into the U.S. that you wish to enter the U.S. in the J-1 Student category. If granted permission to come into the U.S. for the purpose of being a student, your DS-2019 will be returned to you, and may or may not be stamped by immigration.

I-94 Form

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.

Arrival and Getting to UWM

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.

Arrival/Pick-up Option
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 can find out more information about our Panther Pick Up Service here. If you have questions about your arrival, please email Sue Conway at conways@uwm.edu.

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.

Mandatory Orientation

You are required to attend a mandatory orientation session, details will be in your admission letter or sent by email after your admision. 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.

Academic Calendar
Please click on the link and select the term in which you will attend UWM: http://www4.uwm.edu/secu/calendars/

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!

I can't access my PAWS account.

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.
Click Ok.
Click Apply.
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 help@uwm.edu. The people who will respond are technically trained to help you with PAWS problems.)

I can't register for classes.
First, have you completed your Credit Agreement on your PAWS account?  If not, please read and electronically sign the credit agreement!

Second, if you are getting an error message stating you do not meet the prerequisite course requirements, please email Sue Conway at conways@uwm.edu.  Make sure you include your full name, the course number, title and section information, and your campus ID number in the email if possible.

What are Mandatory/Segregated fees?
 All students who take classes on campus are required to pay these fees. The fees support a variety of campus activities, and provide you access to services like the fitness center, the health center, public transportation, and a variety of other services. Please visit the University’s Bursar’s Office page for more information on what these fees are, and also what they cover.
What are additional tuition fees?
Some departments on campus charge additional tuition for their courses.  If the additional tuition is for course materials, you ARE required to pay them.  If the additional tuition is extra course fees based on the academic department, you typically do not have to pay them.
Can I take online classes?
Online courses are NOT covered with your exchange agreement.  You are required to pay all online tuition fees.  In addition, you must take full time courses (12 credits for undergraduate students, 8 credits for graduate students and 6 credits for graduate students who have a Teaching Assistantship) in addition to your online course. If the course is partially online, and partially in person, and does NOT have additional course fees, you can take the course as part of your exchange agreement credits.
I am not a native English Speaker, what classes are recommended for me?
*EAP 120 – Grammar and Editing in English for Multilingual Students
*EAP 145 – Practice in Academic Listening and Speaking
EAP 420 – Advanced Reading, Writing and Grammar Tune-up for Internationals
EAP 435 – Advanced Listening, Speaking and Notetaking Skills for Internationals

*If you scored below 79 on the TOEFL IBT or below 6.5 on the IELTS, we recommend you take EAP 120 and EAP 145 during your first semester at UWM.

How much will my time in the US cost?
As part of your application, you had to show proof of funding totalling $16,000 for an academic year, and $8,000 for a semester study. Your actual expenses, particularly if you want to live in a single room without a roommate will likely be much higher.  Please refer to the Expected Costs information on your Exchange student application.
What are the housing options?
UWM offers on-campus housing in residence halls and manages some apartment style housing at other locations. Many UWM students live in apartments around the university and exchange students are free to arrange their own housing. If you decide to live off-campus, please note that the Center for International Education does not have the resources to help you find a room in an apartment.

Please visit UWM University Housing to learn more about the different housing options available.

How much will University Housing cost?
 Rates vary based on your room type, and which options you choose.  Some rooms also require that you purchase a meal plan.  Please visit the University Housing website to get more details. 
Should I choose a Living Learning Community?

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.

Living off-campus, what are the options?
UWM does not require exchange students to live on campus.  You can choose to find your own room, home share, apartment or apartment share.  Please know, most apartments in Milwaukee are not furnished, so be sure to ask what furniture is provided if you choose to find your own place to live.

The Neighborhood Housing Office is a great resource for people who wish to live off campus.

How do I make a payment on PAWS?
There are many options for making a payment on PAWS.  Please click this link to the Bursar’s Office to learn more information.  If you still have questions, or problems, please email bursar@uwm.edu.
Where can my family stay when they visit me?
Kenilworth Square Apartments has Guest Housing!  More information can be found at Kenilworth Guest Housing.

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.