two people at table with computers

Program options

What degree or certificate is right for you?

Bachelor’s degrees

A bachelor’s degree is awarded upon the completion of an academic program that requires four to five years of full-time equivalent preparation. Depending on the field, graduates are qualified to work in entry or management-level positions. A bachelor’s degree is typically required for acceptance into a graduate program.

Doctoral degrees

A doctoral degree is awarded upon the completion of a PhD program and is the highest level of academic degree which, on average, takes four to seven years to complete. Graduates generally qualify to work in top-tier careers and may notice advancement in their current profession. A doctorate degree is typically a basic threshold for certain professional roles, including the licensed practice of medical care, professorship, or professional research.

Graduate-level Certificate

Graduate-level certificates, called capstone certificates at UW–Madison, generally focus on professional skills and certification in a particular discipline, and typically take a year to complete. This type of certificate helps individuals advance in their current field or obtain an advanced position in another field. Students typically need a bachelor’s degree to pursue a graduate-level certificate.

Master’s degrees

A master’s degree is awarded upon the completion of a graduate program where students specialize in an area of study and typically takes 1 to 2 years to complete. Depending on the field, graduates may qualify for work in an advanced or executive-level position. A bachelor’s degree is typically required for admission, along with a minimum GPA and an acceptable score on an entrance exam.

Personal & professional development

Certificates for personal and professional development allow students to specialize in topics and build skills related to their workplace, career, or personal interests.

Undergraduate-level Certificate

Undergraduate programs generally focus on a specific topic or theme, and are designed to be completed in conjunction with an undergraduate degree. Certificates give students the opportunity to pursue a subject of interest and have the completion of the course of study recognized.

How will you learn at UW–Madison?

We offer a variety of master’s and certificate programs in each of these formats. Research your program of interest to discover your options.


Programs offered at a fast pace and in an abbreviated amount of time compared to regular courses. Complete your education with minimal disruption to your life.


Courses meet on the UW–Madison campus only in the evenings and/or on weekends to accommodate typical business schedules. Take advantage of in-person classwork, while keeping your day job.


Courses meet during weekdays on the UW–Madison campus. Experience the beauty of life in downtown Madison.


The majority of courses meet on campus, with one partial or completely online semester. Participate and thrive in both kinds of learning.


Over 50% of courses are taught via the internet, though some programs have an on-campus component. Build skills, no matter where you are.