The University of Wisconsin-Madison was established in 1848, when Wisconsin was first designated as a state. It is the first public university in the state and is the largest institution in Wisconsin. The campus is located in an urban setting on 900 acres. University of Wisconsin conducts a significant amount of research, with annual expenditures of more than $1 billion (often placing them at the top of research and development with U.S. public universities).
Wisconsin is also one of 30 sea grant colleges in the country, so it focuses on research, education, and training for the conservation of coastal areas, the Great Lakes, and other marine locations. There are more than 100 research programs on campus, and the University of Wisconsin has made important discoveries in embryonic stem cell research. The school enrolls over 33,000 undergraduate and nearly 12,000 graduate students. Graduate students can earn degrees through well-renowned programs like the School of Education, Robert M. LaFollette School of Public Affairs, and the College of Engineering.
There are 13 schools and colleges. The largest is the College of Letters and Science, which enrolls around half of the undergraduate population. This college covers areas as diverse as economics, geography, linguistics, and zoology. There are 125 undergraduate majors and 9,000 courses. The most popular majors for undergraduates are biological/life sciences, business/marketing, engineering, and social sciences. The student to faculty ratio is around 17.4 to 1, and 44% of classes have fewer than 20 students.
Outside of the classroom, Wisconsin has the reputation for being a party school (most notably being a campus with a high level of alcohol consumption). However, there are many ways to get involved on campus other than partying. With nearly 900 student organizations, students can definitely find activities that interest them. There is a significant Greek scene at UW; about 8% of men and women are affiliated with a fraternity or sorority. Some students choose to participate in public service; school officials have deemed education as a way of influencing people’s lives, calling it the ‘Wisconsin Idea.’ Individuals can also participate in school publications. University of Wisconsin is the only university with two daily newspapers: The Daily Cardinal (founded in 1892) and The Herald. The Journal of Undergraduate International Studies (JUIS) is also one of only two US undergraduate international studies journals in the country.
The University of Wisconsin competes as the Badgers in 22 NCAA Division I sports. The school competes in the B1G, the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, and the Eastern Association of Rowing Colleges. Students interested in this flagship should not mind a large student population, and should be okay with an overly-active social life on campus. University of Wisconsin’s academics are challenging, but students have plenty of opportunities to blow off steam with the many social activities offered to them.