Group photo of exchange students by UWM Panther statue

If you are an exchange student who attends one of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM) 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.


Sue Conway
Senior Student Services Coordinator
+1 414-229-4846

About UWM

UWM’s Exchange Program is a great way to spend one semester or one year in an exciting location in the United States.

The real result of UWM’s relationships with many of the best universities around the world is evident in our exchange student population. 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!

How to Apply

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.eduDeadlines 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 follow the directions that you received in your exchange nomination email.

To contact our office, please email or Sue Conway directly at

Information for Admitted Exchange Students

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 U.S.
  • 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 States, 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 COVID-19 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 ( 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 2-2:50 p.m.

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 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 U.S.

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

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.

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

If CIE pick-up is not possible on your arrival date, you have a couple of options available for getting to UWM.

If you are arriving in Chicago, you could schedule a door-to-door transportation service through GO Riteway for about $210. There is also a shuttle service called Coach USA that has buses that travel from Chicago O’Hare airport to Milwaukee Mitchell Airport and the Milwaukee Train station downtown. Click here for more information and schedules.

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 ( or Lyft ( (private taxi services) if you have their smartphone 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 northbound – 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 a.m. – 2 a.m. (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 admission. 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 Milwaukee and some fun free-time activities.

Academic Calendar

Please click here and select the term in which you will attend UWM.

Please note: You should plan to stay in Milwaukee through the end of your final examination period for the term.

Frequently Asked Questions

I can’t access my PAWS account. What should I do?

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 The people who will respond are technically trained to help you with PAWS problems.

I can’t register for classes. What should I do?

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 Make sure you include your full name, the course number, title and section information, and your campus ID number in the email if possible.

Third, if you are having any other problems with your enrollment, please email Sue Conway at the email above.

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 this webpage for more information on what these fees are and 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 U.S. cost?

As part of your application, you had to show proof of funding totaling $16,000 for an academic year, and $8,000 for a semester of 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 tab on your Exchange student application for more details.

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 an apartment. We recommend you use UWM’s Neighborhood Housing Office.

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

How much does 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 for more details. 

What are my options if I want to live off-campus?

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 visit this webpage for detailed information. If you still have questions, or problems, please email

Where can my family stay when they visit me?

Kenilworth Square Apartments offers 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 UWM. When searching for hotels, if you have a choice of location, please select near UWM or Milwaukee East Side.