Graduate Schools in Wisconsin with Degree Program Overviews

There are nearly 40 public and private nonprofit colleges and universities with graduate schools in Wisconsin. See how four of these schools stack up against each other to find the school for you.

School Ranking Overview

While there are many public and private nonprofit schools in Wisconsin offering graduate education, this article looks at four universities with some of the highest student populations. The top three of the four schools were ranked in each of the following categories:

  • Program Variety
  • Tuition
  • Graduation Rate
  • Student-to-Faculty Ratio

Program Variety

In searching for schools, it could be helpful to consider institutions with the greatest number of program offerings. Though not always the case, such institutions may have a wider variety of on-campus resources, scholarly institutes or research laboratories. Read on to see which schools ranked the highest in program variety.

1. University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee

There are a total of about 285 programs available at this public university in Milwaukee and more than 120 programs at the graduate level, some of which are offered online. Master's degrees, graduate certificates and doctoral degrees are available, including those in research as well as professional practice. In addition, the graduate school at this university confers millions of dollars each year in graduate scholarship and fellowship awards. Some degrees available include:

  • Master of Science in Architecture
  • Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy in Freshwater Sciences
  • Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy in Geosciences
  • Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy in Kinesiology
  • Master of Urban Planning
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice

2. University of Wisconsin - Madison

This 4-year public institution in Madison offers more than 200 different programs of study. The graduate school boasts numerous research centers, including those focused on aging, molecular virology, space science and engineering, stem cell and regenerative medicine, biotechnology and aquatic sciences. At the graduate level, students can pursue master's degrees, doctoral degrees or graduate certificates. Some unique programs available here include:

  • Master of Science in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences
  • Master of Science in Agroecology
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Cancer Biology
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Endocrinology-Reproductive Physiology
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Limnology and Marine Science

3. Marquette University

Marquette University is a nonprofit private university located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. This Catholic, Jesuit institution places a strong emphasis on spirituality and faith in all of its academic and collegiate endeavors. In total, there are nearly 120 different educational paths from which to choose. Students can pursue master's or doctoral degrees, graduate certificates or professional degrees. Dual graduate degrees, such as a Juris Doctor/Master of Business Administration, are also available. Some of the other graduate offerings include the following:

  • Master of Science in Healthcare Technologies Management
  • Master of Science in Human Resources
  • Master in Leadership Studies
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Theology
  • Doctor of Physical Therapy


The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) offered data on the average graduate tuition and fees for the 2013-2014 year. For residents of Wisconsin, the following schools provide the most affordable graduate school tuition rates.

1. University of Wisconsin - Oshkosh

At this Oshkosh-based university, graduate students classified as state residents spent an average of $7,640 in tuition, while those categorized as out-of-state residents spent an average of $16,771. Additional fees of $979 were required from both types of students.

2. University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee

The in-state tuition rate at this graduate school was on average $10,387 in the 2013-2014 year. Out-of-state tuition costs were $22,852. All students were also responsible for fees of $1,209.

3. University of Wisconsin - Madison

Not far behind was this University of Wisconsin branch, with an average resident tuition of $10,728 for graduate students and non-resident tuition of $24,054. Fees of $1,130 were also required.

Graduation Rate

The NCES also provides school-specific information regarding graduation rate among undergrads. While no information is available for graduate students, this data could provide insight into a school's overall focus on timely completion.

1. University of Wisconsin - Madison

For full-time students who began working toward their bachelor's degree in 2007, 83% graduated within what the NCES considers a normal time frame, which is six years. The retention rate was even more impressive. Specifically, among bachelor's degree seekers who started in 2012, 95% returned for their second year of study in 2013.

2. Marquette University

Seventy-eight percent of all bachelor's degree students who began attending full time in 2007 earned their degree within six years. Out of those students who started in 2012, 91% returned in 2013.

3. University of Wisconsin - Oshkosh

About half of all full-time undergraduates who started their education here in 2007 completed their training within six years' time. While the graduation rate was 54%, the undergraduate retention rate was significantly higher at 75%.

Student-to-Faculty Ratio

Knowing the average number of students per faculty member can shed light on the accessibility of instructors and the average class size at a particular school. The following rankings were based on data compiled by the NCES for the fall 2013 semester.

1. Marquette University

On average, there was one faculty member for every 14 students at this school. This was out of a total student population of 11,782, which included 8,365 undergrads and 3,417 graduate students.

2. University of Wisconsin - Madison

This school tied with University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee for student-to-faculty ratio, specifically 18:1. However, it slides into the second-place spot because of its larger student population, which was 42,677 in 2013.

3. University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee

As noted above, there were an average of 18 students for every faculty member at this school. This was based on a total student population of 27,416, including 22,648 undergraduates and 4,768 graduate students.

Wisconsin Schools: At a Glance

School NameLocationSchool TypeGraduate Programs OfferedArea Ranking
Marquette UniversityMilwaukee, WI4-year, private not-for-profitMaster's Degrees, Post-Master's Certificates, Doctoral Degrees (research/scholarship and professional practice) #3 Program Variety,
#2 Graduation Rate,
#1 Student-to-Faculty Ratio
University of Wisconsin - MadisonMadison, WI4-year, publicMaster's Degrees, Graduate Certificates, Doctoral Degrees (research/scholarship and professional practice)#2 Program Variety,
#3 Tuition,
#1 Graduation Rate,
#2 Student-to-Faculty Ratio
University of Wisconsin - MilwaukeeMilwaukee, WI4-year, publicMaster's Degrees, Post-Master's Certificates, Doctoral Degrees (research/scholarship and professional practice)#1 Program Variety,
#2 Tuition,
#3 Student-to-Faculty Ratio
University of Wisconsin - OshkoshOshkosh, WI4-year, publicMaster's Degrees, Post-Master's Certificates, Doctoral Degrees (professional practice)#1 Tuition,
#3 Graduation Rate

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