Established as a land-grant institution in 1866, the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee (also known as UW-Milwaukee, UWM, or simply “Milwaukee”) is a public research university located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin close to Lake Michigan.
With a total student enrollment of over 30,000 and more than 1,500 faculty members, UWM is the largest university in the Milwaukee metropolitan area. It’s also the second-largest university in Wisconsin (second only to UW-Madison) and one of only two doctoral degree-granting public universities in the state.
Characterized as a high research activity university by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Learning, UWM is a member of the University of Wisconsin System.
UWM offers 180 degree programs, which include 94 undergraduate, 53 masters, and 32 doctoral programs in addition to many interdisciplinary certificate programs. Popular majors include architecture and related support services; ethnic, cultural, and gender studies; English language and literature; health professions and related clinical sciences; and the visual and performing arts.
The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee is comprised of 14 schools and colleges:
- School of Architecture and Urban Planning
- School of Continuing Education
- School of Education
- College of Engineering and Applied Science
- School of Freshwater Sciences
- Graduate School
- College of Health Sciences
- Helen Bader School of Social Welfare
- School of Information Studies
- School of Joseph J. Zilber Public Health
- College of Letters and Science
- College of Nursing
- Peck School of the Arts
- Sheldon B. Lubar School of Business
UW Milwaukee’s Honors College is open to talented and motivated students in all majors and disciplines. It offers the personal touch of a small liberal arts college as well as the unique opportunities available at a major university. Honors students receive individual attention, opportunities to engage in undergraduate research, and extensive academic advising services which include a writing specialist to assist with planning, writing, and revising essays.
Certificate and Non-Degree Programs
The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee offers several certificate and non-degree programs for students wishing to learn for the sake of learning or update their professional credentials. These programs cover a wide variety of subjects and topics, from Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages and Death Investigation to Celtic Studies and State and Local Taxation.
Most Popular Fields of Study
Students that are interested in attending the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee are encouraged to plan a campus visit. Guided and group tours led by trained UWM student guides, which include informational presentations, are available throughout the year, but space is limited and reservations are required. Guests also have the opportunity to schedule an advising appointment before or after their campus tour to learn more about their intended field of study.
Applications for the fall semester are accepted beginning on September 15. For most programs, applications are accepted until July 1 for the fall term and December 1 for the spring term or until enrollment capacity has been reached, whichever comes first. Prospective students are encouraged to apply early, before the application deadline.
Incoming freshmen are encouraged to apply early by completing the online application, although paper applications are accepted. Please note that an application processing fee is required. Official high school transcripts are also required of all incoming University of Wisconsin freshmen. Current high school seniors must submit transcripts which have their junior year grades posted along with a list of senior year courses. Prospective UWM students that have already graduated from high school must supply official transcripts showing all four years of high school along with grades and a graduation date. GED or HSED test scores are required in applicable cases. New freshmen must also submit ACT or SAT scores to the Department of Enrollment Services.
The application process varies for international, graduate, and transfer students as well as continuing education, re-entry, special/guest students and adult students. These students are encouraged to contact the University of Wisconsin Admissions Office for full details.
UW Milwaukee’s financial aid office provides assistance to students and their families in meeting the financial costs of higher education. All students are strongly encouraged to apply for financial aid each year by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The university’s priority filing date for enrollment that begins the following fall is March 1 but many funds are dispersed on a “first come, first served” basis which is why it’s best to file the FAFSA as soon as possible after it becomes available on January 1.
Types of financial aid offered by the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee include scholarships, grants, loans, student employment, military benefits, and the Life Impact Program, which assists disadvantaged parents attaining a higher education.
Financial Aid Eligibility
Please note that all students must meet certain eligibility requirements to receive federal, state, or institutional funds issued by UWM’s financial aid office. These requirements are available on the university’s website or from the financial aid office itself.
Student Financial Aid Details
Clubs and Organizations
Student life at UW-Milwaukee is never boring! Student groups and organizations include Adult Student Alliance, Animation Club, Black Student Union, Campus Crusade for Christ, Jewish Student Organization, Nonprofit Leadership Student Association, Paintball Club, and the Stunt Kite Club, just to name a few! UWM is also home to several Greek organizations, including Alpha Kappa Psi, Gamma Phi Beta, and Kappa Tau.
Research shows that students who live in on-campus residence halls are more likely to return to UWM the next year than students who decide to live off-campus. University housing includes Cambridge Commons, a LEED Gold certified building featuring a green recreation area; Kenilworth Square, comprised of 1-, 2-, and 3-bedroom apartments; Purin Hall, which also offers apartment-style housing; RiverView Residence Hall, which is made up of double occupancy rooms; and Sandburg Halls, a four-tower complex that gives students the opportunity to live in 3- and 4-room suites.
Student Enrollment Demographics
Student Graduation Demographics
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s athletic teams were known as the Cardinals from 1956 through 1964, but the school’s current mascot is the Panthers. Fifteen UWM Panthers teams compete at the NCAA Division I level and the school is a member of the Horizon League. The Panthers received national media attention when their men’s basketball team made it to the Sweet Sixteen of the 2005 Basketball NCAA Tournament. Panther men’s baseball and women’s volleyball teams have also been successful in recent years.
Like most established universities, UWM has several school traditions. These include “Pantherfest,” which celebrates the start of each academic year with music, fun activities and fireworks; and the “Panther Prowl,” an annual running race sponsored by the UWM Alumni Association.
The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee has a plethora of well-known alumni, including:
- Michael Dhuey, electrical and computer engineer, co-inventor of the Macintosh II and the iPod
- Terry Zahn, television reporter and anchorman
- Willem Dafoe, actor
- Alan Kulwicki, 1992 NASCAR Winston Cup champion; named one of NASCAR’s 50 Greatest Drivers and was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame
- Paul Meyers, professional football player
- Patricia Wells, cookbook author
Notable University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee faculty members have included Cecelia Condit, renowned filmmaker and Professor of Film and David Backes, author, professor in the Journalism and Mass Communication.
Additional School Information
Party School Reputation
The university has a reputation for widespread consumption of alcohol. In 2010, UW-Madison was named the nation’s number three “party school” by Playboy magazine and number 12 party school by The Princeton Review.
Pop Culture References
In 2009, MTV premiered its now-defunct reality series College Life, which was created by Madison alumnus David Wexler. The series chronicled the lives of eight University of Wisconsin-Madison freshmen. The university pulled its support for the show during production and a disclaimer stating that UW-Madison did not endorse the program aired at the beginning of each episode.
The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee has been featured in other popular media. Several main characters on the 1970s—80s television show Happy Days were students at UWM, and UWM banners were on display inside the characters’ favorite hangout, Arnold’s Drive-In. More recently, a framed UWM credential was seen on the office wall of Dr. Lisa Cuddy on the Fox show House, MD.
- GoMilwaukee. City of Milwaukee. Web. 28 August 2011.
- Grath, Anne, ed. U.S. News & World Report: Ultimate College Guide. Sourcebooks, Inc., 2010. Print.
- Oram, Fern A., ed. Peterson’s Four-Year Colleges 2008. Peterson’s: A Nelnet Company, 2007. Print.
- University of Wisconsin. UW Milwaukee. Web. 27 August 2011.
Melissa Rhone earned her Bachelor of Music in Education from the University of Tampa. She resides in the Tampa Bay area and enjoys writing about college, pop culture, and epilepsy awareness.