Please note the definition of the following student categories:

VISP first-year students: students who are in the first year of the VISP program;

MA students: first year and second year direct admit masters students, and VISP second-year students.

This is an accordion element with a series of buttons that open and close related content panels.


Minors are only for Ph.D. students. Masters and VISP first-year students can take classes in other departments as long as the required number of math courses are taken each semester.

For VISP first-year students, you are required to take at least 9 credits in Math each semester.

For Masters students, you are required to take at least 5 credits in Math each semester


Masters and VISP students are eligible to enroll in honor programs. When you enroll in courses via Course Search & Enroll , you can add the honor option. Please note that honors require more work compared to students who are in the same class without the honor option. Make sure to check with the course instructor for details.


Masters and VISP students are required to have at least a 3.0 accumulative GPA every year.

For VISP first-year students, if your first-year GPA is lower than 3.0, you might not be eligible to apply for the MA program. If your GPA is lower than 3.0 the first semester, you can have a higher GPA the second semester to bring the accumulative GPA up to at least 3.0.

Also, for VISP students, the VISP year GPA is calculated separately from the MA year.

For Masters students, if your GPA is lower than 3.0, you will not be able to receive your degree. Therefore, you might need to enroll in another semester to improve your GPA to at least 3.0 in order to receive a degree. More details about GPA requirements for Masters students are here.


Students are required to enroll full-time each fall and spring semester.

For VISP first-year students, full-time is 12 credits, and 9 of which have to be Math courses.

For Masters students, full-time is 8 credits, and 5 of which have to be Math courses.

International students are permitted to enroll less than full-time for a limited number of reasons. Please check information about Reduced Course Load on ISS website.


Holds are placed on student accounts for various reasons. You can check to see if you have a hold on your account by logging onto your MyUW Student Center, selecting Tasks and reviewing any Holds listed.  Some holds require you to take action; others are informational only.

More information about holds can be found on the Bursar’s website

If you encounter the “The hold must be removed before you can enroll” error when you try to enroll, you need to remove the hold on your account and then enroll. Please check here on what to do.

Qualifying exams

VISP first-year students and Masters students are eligible to take qualifying exams in the Math department.

Passing these qualifying exams may make your application to the UW-Madison Ph.D. in Math more competitive.

Dates for the upcoming qualifying exams

Materials on past exams are available here.

Guide for Topics for the Qualifying Exams


Independent study

VISP first-year students cannnot use independent study to work on your final project for your undergraduate institution.

For MA students, with the advisor’s approval, up to 3 credits of independent study can be counted toward the degree requirements.


VISP and MA students are eligible to work on campus for up to 108 hours every semester. You are not eligible to accept employment that offers tuition remission or other benefits, such as teaching assistantship.

If you are an international student and would like to work off-campus, please check with ISS on obtaining proper work authorizations.

16 credits in residence

For MA students, you are required to take at least 16 graduate-level courses(300 and above) to meet the minimum graduate residence credits requirements.

More details are here is available here.