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Wisconsin Universities Ranked: The Best Colleges and Universities in Wisconsin

Uwidia Emmanuel - June 24, 2022

Wisconsin is an excellent state for prospective students to begin or continue their educational journey. The best universities in Wisconsin provide a solid education and enable students to pursue fulfilling careers. Students have a greater chance of success in both their studies and their careers when attending the best colleges in Wisconsin.

This article features Wisconsin universities ranked according to key factors like the quality of their programs, their graduation rate, and their graduates’ salaries. Our list of the top 10 universities in Wisconsin will guide prospective students interested in attending school in “The Badger State.”

What Are the Best Universities in Wisconsin?

The best universities in Wisconsin include the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Marquette University, Lawrence University, Beloit College, and Carroll University. These universities provide top-quality programs and have the highest graduation rates in Wisconsin.

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Some other high-ranking universities you should have at the top of your school search include Wisconsin include Edgewood College, Carthage College, Concordia University, Mount Mary University, and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

How Many Universities Are in Wisconsin?

There are 54 universities in Wisconsin, out of which 17 are public institutions. Wisconsin also has several private four-year institutions that offer bachelor’s degrees , master’s degrees, graduate certificates, and doctorate programs.

What Are the Biggest Universities in Wisconsin?

The biggest university in Wisconsin is the University of Wisconsin-Madison, located in the state’s capital city of Madison. The next two biggest schools by enrollment are the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. Each of these universities has a student population of between 15,000 and 45,000 students.

Largest Wisconsin Universities by Enrollment

  1. University of Wisconsin-Madison | 44,640
  2. University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee | 24,565
  3. University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh | 15,314
  4. University of Wisconsin-Whitewater | 11,989
  5. Marquette University | 11,550

Wisconsin University Rankings: What Are the Top 10 Universities in Wisconsin?

Ranking School City Graduation Rate
1 University of Wisconsin-Madison Madison 89%
2 Marquette University Milwaukee 81%
3 Lawrence University Appleton 80%
4 Beloit College Beloit 73%
5 Carthage College Kenosha 68%
6 Carroll University Waukesha 67%
7 Edgewood College Madison 62%
8 Concordia University Mequon 59%
9 Mount Mary University Milwaukee 51%
10 University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Milwaukee 47%

How We Defined Wisconsin University Rankings

Our ranking of the 10 best Wisconsin universities is based on the graduation rates of top schools in the state, according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). In coming up with our list of 10 Wisconsin universities, we also consulted rankings conducted by US News & World Report and Times Higher Education, which you can reference in the expanded list below.

The Best Colleges and Universities in Wisconsin, Explained

Here is a closer look at all 10 schools that made our list of the best colleges and universities in Wisconsin. In addition to a comprehensive overview of each school, we’ve also called out some of their best programs of study. All of the information included here comes from official school and government websites.


University of Wisconsin-Madison

Grad Rate: 89%

The University of Wisconsin-Madison is one of 13 universities in the University of Wisconsin System. It is also one of the largest colleges in Wisconsin, with over 44,000 enrolled students. The University of Wisconsin-Madison was founded in 1848.

University of Wisconsin-Madison Overview

  • Campus Location: Madison
  • Student Population: 44,640
  • Acceptance Rate: 60%
  • Graduation Rate: 89%
  • Post-Grad Median Salary: $65,213
  • US News National Ranking: #42
  • Times Higher Education Ranking: #58

Best University of Wisconsin-Madison Programs

  • Certificate in Game Design. This certificate, with a minimum of 18 credits required, prepares students for animation careers and similar game-industry roles. It includes courses in programming and a 3D digital studio for students to gain relevant practical experience.
  • Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering. This four-year undergraduate degree equips students with the knowledge to build intuitive systems. It includes courses in probability and statistics, computer science, and basic science, with a minimum requirement of 120 credits.
  • Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering. The University of Wisconsin-Madison’s BS in Biomedical Engineering is a 128-credit, research-focused program that trains students to apply engineering principles in handling biological problems. This degree program includes intensive classes and laboratory sessions.
  • Master of Science in Design and Innovation. This graduate degree allows students to choose a specialization in design strategy and product, communication, or UI/UX design. All students enrolled in this 30-credit program will learn the principles of design thinking, prototyping, and manufacturing.
  • PhD in Computer Science. This 51-credit doctoral degree enables students to conduct groundbreaking research in human-computer interaction, performance analysis, computer architecture, artificial intelligence, and other popular computer science topics.


Marquette University

Grad Rate: 81%

Marquette University , named after French missionary Jacques Marquette , is a Jesuit university established in 1881. It offers 78 undergraduate majors and over 70 master’s and doctoral degree options in law, nursing, business, health sciences, and other in-demand fields.

Marquette University Overview

  • Campus Location: Milwaukee
  • Student Population: 11,550
  • Acceptance Rate: 86%
  • Graduation Rate: 81%
  • Post-Grad Median Salary: $72,489
  • US News National Ranking: #83
  • Times Higher Education Ranking: #801-1000

Best Marquette University Programs

  • Bachelor’s Degree in Bioinformatics. This interdisciplinary degree combines mathematics, computer science, and life science subjects. Graduates of this 122-credit program learn how to apply data analytics techniques to understand large biological datasets.
  • Bachelor’s Degree in Business Economics. Marquette University provides a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Economics, with 33 credits required in the major itself, for prospective students to learn about micro and macroeconomic business concepts, monetary policy, and econometrics.
  • Bachelor’s Degree in Data Science. Data scientists are some of the most sought-after professionals in various public and private organizations. This four-year, 121-credit program has a detailed curriculum covering beginner and advanced data science concepts to prepare graduates for the best-paying industry jobs.
  • Master of Science in Applied Economics. This research-intensive, 30-credit-hour graduate program has five specialization tracks that include business economics, applied economic analysis, business and managerial analytics, financial economics, and marketing research. Students can complete this program in 18 months.
  • PhD in Neuroscience with a Specialization in Behavioral and Cognitive Neuroscience. This 45-credit-hour program takes five to six years to complete and includes courses in metaphysics, neuroanatomy, and philosophy.


Lawrence University

Grad Rate: 80%

Lawrence University is one of Wisconsin's leading liberal arts colleges. With a small student population of about 1,400 and an 8:1 student-to-faculty ratio, this private school provides an intimate, immersive learning experience.

Lawrence University Overview

  • Campus Location: Appleton
  • Student Population: 1,430
  • Acceptance Rate: 75%
  • Graduation Rate: 80%
  • Post-Grad Median Salary: $48,848
  • US News National Ranking: N/A
  • Times Higher Education Ranking: #168

Best Lawrence University Programs

  • Bachelor’s Degree in Anthropology. Lawrence University’s undergraduate major in Anthropology includes courses in world history, research preparation, and cultural and biological anthropology. Students enrolled in this four-year, on-campus program will be well-grounded in theoretical and methodical aspects of anthropology.
  • Bachelor’s Degree in Biochemistry. Biochemistry undergraduate students at Lawrence University will gain an in-depth understanding of biological systems on a molecular level. Students will also spend several hours doing wet lab work to gain hands-on experience working with best research practices.
  • Bachelor’s Degree in Economics. This program covers economics and statistics topics. Graduates with a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from Lawrence University can apply mathematical and statistical concepts to make informed economic decisions for their organizations.
  • Bachelor’s Degree in Geosciences. The curriculum for Lawrence University’s undergraduate program in geosciences includes tectonophysics, soil science, climate change, and environmental science courses. Graduates will be well-equipped to work in high-profile roles at public and private organizations.
  • Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. This undergraduate major provides a deep dive into popular programming languages such as Java, R, Python, and C++. Students participate in a six-unit independent senior project to prove that they have achieved a solid understanding of the essential computer science concepts.


Beloit College

Grad Rate: 73%

Founded in 1846, Beloit College offers only undergraduate programs. This private school is well-known for its diversity of students and inclusion, with 17 percent of its student population made up of international students. Beloit College provides over 50 bachelor’s degree programs in various fields, including history, European studies, political science, and geology.

Beloit College Overview

  • Campus Location: Beloit
  • Student Population: 978
  • Acceptance Rate: 67%
  • Graduation Rate: 73%
  • Post-Grad Median Salary: $50,499
  • US News National Ranking: N/A
  • Times Higher Education Ranking: #192

Best Beloit College Programs

  • Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. This 13-unit major includes courses on public law, human rights advocacy, and international politics. Through a series of on-campus classes, research papers, and seminars, students will gain the required knowledge to start political science or international relations careers.
  • Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology. Beloit College’s undergraduate psychology program requires 12 units in the major, covering clinical, biological, developmental, and cognitive psychology concepts to provide students with a proper educational foundation ahead of a potential career as psychologists.
  • Bachelor’s Degree in Comparative Literature. Beloit University’s Bachelor’s Degree in Comparative Literature explores literary themes and literature from various periods. This 9-unit major enables students to evaluate and compose literary works in different styles.
  • Bachelor’s Degree in Cognitive Science. The cognitive science undergraduate degree combines biology, computer science, psychology, and neuroscience courses. Graduates of this 11.5 to 12-unit major can pursue either an advanced degree or industry and academia jobs.
  • Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. This 11.5-unit major provides courses in object-oriented programming, computer architecture, and data structures and algorithms. Graduates will be able to apply their knowledge of programming to solve complex problems in different industries.


Carthage College

Grad Rate: 68%

Carthage College is a private college in Kenosha, Wisconsin, with over 2,700 students. It allows students to receive world-class training via several graduate and undergraduate programs in health and natural sciences, education, and business. Carthage University is also well known for its stellar athletics programs.

Carthage College Overview

  • Campus Location: Kenosha
  • Student Population: 2,763
  • Acceptance Rate: 76%
  • Graduation Rate: 68%
  • Post-Grad Median Salary: $54,208
  • US News National Ranking: N/A
  • Times Higher Education Ranking: #501-600

Best Carthage College Programs

  • Bachelor of Arts in Marketing. Carthage College’s BA in Marketing delivers micro and macroeconomics, business analytics, and consumer behavior courses. All classes in this program, requiring 56 credits in the major, are taught on campus.
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Individuals aspiring to work in the clinical setting as nurses can obtain a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing from Carthage College. This 56-credit major includes courses in pathophysiology, pharmacotherapeutics, and other essential healthcare concepts for nurses.
  • Bachelor of Science in Computer Science. Carthage College’s computer science degree requires 48 credits in the major and teaches students to solve contemporary challenges by creating software programs. After completing this undergraduate program, students will be eligible for jobs at leading software engineering companies.
  • Master of Science in Business: Design and Innovation. This degree is designed for high-performing executives and team leads. It lasts for 10 months and includes a 10-day capstone course in Spain. In addition, all classes in the 39-credit design and innovation track are available on campus or online.
  • Master of Education. Carthage College’s Master of Education is a 38 to 44-credit program with eight concentrations, including sports leadership, cross-categorical special education, and education administration.


Carroll University

Grad Rate: 67%

Carroll University is a private college in Waukesha, Wisconsin, founded in 1846. It has more than 3,000 students enrolled in its numerous programs. Carroll University also provides students with opportunities for involvement in sports through its football, lacrosse, volleyball, and basketball teams.

Carroll University Overview

  • Campus Location: Waukesha
  • Student Population: 3,451
  • Acceptance Rate: 70%
  • Graduation Rate: 67%
  • Post-Grad Median Salary: $49,867
  • US News National Ranking: N/A
  • Times Higher Education Ranking: > #600

Best Carroll University Programs

  • Associate Degree in Nursing. Carroll University’s Associate Degre e in Nursing enables interested students to become registered nurses within two years. Classes for this program are delivered at the United Community Center in Milwaukee.
  • Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. Aspiring software engineers and programmers will significantly benefit from Carroll University’s computer science undergraduate major. This program also provides internship opportunities for students to gain real-world experience.
  • Bachelor’s Degree in Applied Physics. Students enrolled in this on-campus program will be taught introductory engineering and physics concepts. They will also learn how to use mathematical models to solve scientific problems. Graduates of this program can pursue advanced degrees or jobs in various industries.
  • Master of Business Administration in Business Management. This 22-month-long, 33-credit-hour graduate degree is excellent for individuals seeking banking, finance, or marketing jobs. It is delivered as a hybrid or fully online program.
  • Graduate Certificate in Healthcare Data Analysis. This four-course graduate certificate program teaches students to draw valuable healthcare insights from large data sets. It covers vital topics such as data visualization, statistics, and modeling.


Edgewood College

Grad Rate: 62%

Edgewood College was founded in 1927 and is sponsored by the Dominican Sisters of Sinsinawa. It is one of the leading Catholic colleges in Wisconsin, with over 2,000 students. Although initially focused on liberal arts, Edgewood College also provides graduate and undergraduate life science, business, and social science programs.

Edgewood College Overview

  • Campus Location: Madison
  • Student Population: 2,007
  • Acceptance Rate: 95%
  • Graduation Rate: 62%
  • Post-Grad Median Salary: $53,000
  • US News National Ranking: #239
  • Times Higher Education Ranking: #401-500

Best Edgewood College Programs

  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Edgewood University is well known for its nursing undergraduate program. This 120-credit degree equips students with foundational liberal arts and life science knowledge. It includes courses in pathophysiology, pharmacology, and professional nursing.
  • Bachelor of Science in Neuroscience. Edgewood University’s BS in Neuroscience degree teaches students to understand the human brain and how it impacts behavior. With 51 credits required in the major, this program provides courses in psychology, cellular biology, and philosophy.
  • Bachelor of Science in Psychology (General Concentration). The BS in Psychology (General Concentration) prepares students for careers in health-related fields by providing internship opportunities and a hands-on learning experience. It includes courses in social science statistics and research methods in psychology.
  • Master of Business Administration. This graduate degree program is available online and can be completed in 18 months. Students enrolled in this program can choose from accounting, organizational leadership and change, healthcare, cross-functional, or a general MBA as their area of emphasis.
  • Master of Science in Accountancy. Individuals working in the finance industry can further their career goals by obtaining an MS in Accountancy degree from Edgewood University. This 30-credit program delivers a comprehensive education, with five required courses including one in strategic management accounting.


Concordia University

Grad Rate: 59%

Founded in 1881, Concordia University is one of Wisconsin’s leading private institutions. Concordia University’s breathtaking campus is located in the city of Mequon, with almost 5,500 enrolled students. It provides a mixture of world-class academic offerings and competitive-level varsity sports.

Concordia University Overview

  • Campus Location: Mequon
  • Student Population: 5,492
  • Acceptance Rate: 69%
  • Graduation Rate: 59%
  • Post-Grad Median Salary: $48,626
  • US News National Ranking: #277
  • Times Higher Education Ranking: > #600

Best Concordia University Programs

  • Bachelor of Arts in Illustration. This 126-credit undergraduate degree provides digital photography, painting, art history, and graphic design courses. Graduates from this on-campus program will be able to work in several roles within the digital media space.
  • Bachelor of Social Work. Concordia University’s social work bachelor’s degree program is delivered in various formats, including on-campus and online. This 120-credit program covers all the essential subjects for graduates to land social work jobs in federal and non-profit organizations.
  • Master of Science in Computer Science. This 30-credit graduate program allows students to choose from concentrations in software engineering, computer information systems, and business data applications. It has a thorough curriculum with classes delivered online and on campus.
  • Master of Business Administration in Finance. The MBA in Finance is a fully online graduate degree that teaches students critical business and organizational leadership principles. This 36-credit program also provides internship opportunities, where students can obtain real-world professional experiences.
  • Master of Science in Nursing (Healthcare Informatics). This fully online, 31-credit graduate nursing program teaches how to utilize data to provide a better standard of care for patients. It is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education and includes courses on data analytics, healthcare policy, and healthcare systems analysis.


Mount Mary University

Grad Rate: 51%

Mount Mary University’s rich campus life and top-quality programs provide a well-rounded experience for students looking to earn a degree from one of the best regional institutions in the US. Mount Mary University was founded in 1913 and currently has 1,200 students. It offers undergraduate degrees as well as pre-professional and graduate programs.

Mount Mary University Overview

  • Campus Location: Milwaukee
  • Student Population: 1,200
  • Acceptance Rate: 62%
  • Graduation Rate: 51%
  • Post-Grad Median Salary: $45,670
  • US News National Ranking: N/A
  • Times Higher Education Ranking: N/A

Best Mount Mary University Programs

  • Bachelor of Science in Chemistry. This Bachelor of Science degree combines in-depth learning with research and practical lab work to equip students with the skills needed to apply chemistry concepts in diverse real-world scenarios. Students in this on-campus program must complete 59 to 61 credits in the major within four years.
  • Bachelor of Arts in Graphic Design. Mount Mary University’s undergraduate graphic design program is an on-campus, four-year program requiring 57 credits in the major. It teaches students rudimentary art theory and the use of design software such as Adobe Creative Suite.
  • Bachelor of Arts in Communication (Integrated Marketing Specialization). This 44-credit concentration in integrated marketing teaches students the essential communication skills to develop effective advertisements and marketing campaigns. All classes are provided only on-campus.
  • Bachelor of Arts in Public Health. This program provides a dual degree option where students can earn a public health bachelor’s and master’s degree within five years. Graduates from this program can work in various public health roles in federal and non-profit organizations.
  • Master of Science in Food Science. This graduate research degree’s curriculum includes core courses in food processing, food chemistry, and food science statistics. Students participating in this program can take their classes online or on campus.


University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Grad Rate: 47%

The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee has more than 24,500 students and over 200 degree programs. Founded in 1956, this public university has 15 schools and colleges. It is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Overview

  • Campus Locations: Milwaukee, Waukesha, Washington County, Wauwatosa
  • Student Population: 24,565
  • Acceptance Rate: 89%
  • Graduation Rate: 47%
  • Post-Grad Median Salary: $50,707
  • US News National Ranking: #299-391
  • Times Higher Education Ranking: #601-800

Best University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Programs

  • Bachelor of Arts in Animation. The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s animation major is a 120-credit program covering the theoretical and practical aspects of animation. Students enrolled in this course will learn about basic art theory and popular animation software tools.
  • Graduate Certificate in Applied Data Analytics Using SAS Software. This 18-credit graduate certificate program is an excellent fit for people looking to land jobs as SAS programmers or data analysts. It covers all the basics of SAS for data management and predictive analysis.
  • Master of Business Administration/Master of Science in Information Technology Management. The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s MS in Information Technology Management degree is offered as a combined degree with their MBA. Requiring 48 to 51 credits in the combined core courses, this program is helpful for individuals in executive or finance-related jobs.
  • PhD in Biomedical and Health Informatics. This doctoral degree emphasizes using software tools to present medical data. Students of this 58 to 63-credit advanced program can choose one of six available tracks, including translational bioinformatics, health information systems, and medical imaging and instrumentation.
  • Executive Master of Business Administration: Global Strategic Leadership. The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee provides an executive MBA for those currently in or aiming to occupy managerial positions. This program lasts for 16 months and includes courses on leadership, economics, and corporate finance.

Best College and University Entry-Test Prep Books

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Wisconsin University Admission Requirements

The admission requirements to attend a university in Wisconsin include filling out and submitting an online application and paying any associated fee. Furthermore, you will need to submit your official school transcripts and standardized test scores, as well as letters of recommendation and an essay or statement of purpose. International applicants may be required to provide proof of English proficiency.

The exact requirements for admission may vary depending on your specific program and school. The university’s catalog, which can usually be found online, will include all the details you need. Or you can call the school and ask for the admissions office.

Admission Requirements for Universities in Wisconsin

  • Online application and fee
  • High school diploma or equivalent (for undergraduate applicants)
  • Official transcripts
  • ACT or SAT scores (for undergraduate applicants)
  • GRE or GMAT scores (for graduate applicants)
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Essay or statement of purpose
  • Proof of English proficiency (for international applicants)

How to Apply to Wisconsin Universities

To apply for any program at a Wisconsin university, you will need to fill out an online application form, pay the application fee, and submit all your required documents. Most schools have an online portal where you can complete the entire application process. Some schools, however, make use of the Common Application.

Wisconsin Universities Admissions Process

  1. Fill out the online application form on the school’s portal or via the Common Application (if applicable)
  2. Pay the stipulated non-refundable application fee
  3. Submit your academic transcripts
  4. Obtain and submit the requested letters of recommendation and your standardized test scores (if applicable)
  5. For applicants from non-native English-speaking countries, submit your English proficiency exam scores

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Why Study in Wisconsin?

There are plenty of good reasons to study in Wisconsin, including its beautiful natural environment and top-quality college programs. Many of the best universities in Wisconsin also offer an intimate learning experience.

Beautiful Environment

Wisconsin is known for its beautiful campuses and vibrant scenery. The state borders two of America’s five Great Lakes, one of which is the magnificent Lake Michigan, and is covered in lush forests and grasslands. There are many options for outdoor recreation, including year-round hiking, camping, biking, and skiing in the winter.

Top-Quality Programs

The best universities in Wisconsin cover just about every field of study imaginable, including the most in-demand graduate and undergraduate academic programs. Enrolling in a Wisconsin college allows you to get the highest-quality education at an affordable cost.

Intimate Learning Experience

Enrolling in a Wisconsin university provides you with the opportunity to join a small, close-knit campus community. Many of the best universities in Wisconsin also have a low student-to-faculty ratio, meaning fewer students per faculty member, to encourage better and faster learning.

More Wisconsin University Rankings: What Other Universities Are the Best in Wisconsin?

Aside from our previous list, there are further Wisconsin university rankings to consider for your college education. The following lists include more specific categories for the best colleges in Wisconsin, such as state, public schools, private institutions, and online universities. All of these schools offer accredited programs via reputable third-party agencies and provide students with an excellent education and strong job prospects.


Best Wisconsin State Universities

  1. University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. Founded in 1916, the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire is a fantastic destination for individuals interested in conducting groundbreaking global research. It is one of the top producers of Fulbright students in the US.
  2. University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. The University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point was founded in 1894. It is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and has three campuses, located at Marshfield, Stevens Point, and Wausau. It offers 80 undergraduate and 17 graduate degrees.
  3. University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. This state university has campuses in Green Bay, Marinette, Manitowoc, and Sheboygan. It has about 9,000 students and more than 200 degree and certificate programs. The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay also offers accelerated online organizational leadership and business administration programs.


Best Public Universities in Wisconsin

  1. University of Wisconsin-Madison. The University of Wisconsin-Madison is one of the largest colleges in Wisconsin, with a large student body of over 44,000. This public institution has a large annual research budget reaching up to $1.3 billion, making it a great choice for research-based graduate and undergraduate degrees.
  2. University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee provides students with a blend of learning and cultural opportunities. It has more than 24,000 students from over 87 countries studying at its 15 colleges.
  3. University of Wisconsin-Platteville. The University of Wisconsin-Platteville provides low-cost education by offering scholarships worth up to $5 million to eligible students. It has 50 undergraduate, 10 graduate, and 30 certificate programs.


Best Private Universities in Wisconsin

  1. Marquette University. Marquette University has a large, diverse campus located in downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It has 11 schools and colleges and delivers world-class education via 80 graduate and undergraduate degree programs. Marquette University boasts a top-ranked job-success rate for its graduates, with a 95.55 percent employment rate 10 years after graduating.
  2. Ripon College. Ripon College was founded in 1851. It has a $23.5 million athletic center with world-class equipment and several conference rooms. Ripon College is a member of the Associated Colleges of the Midwest and offers more than 80 areas of study.
  3. Viterbo University. Viterbo University was founded in 1890. Located in La Crosse, Wisconsin, its campus is home to about 2,500 students. Viterbo University prioritizes an intimate learning experience with an average class size of 19 and an 11:1 student-to-faculty ratio.


Best Online Universities in Wisconsin

  1. Edgewood College. Edgewood College was established in 1927. This private university allows students to enjoy top-quality education via online programs. Edgewood College has fully online graduate programs in education, nursing, and business.
  2. Concordia University. Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, Concordia University provides several fully online programs in social science, science, and art disciplines. It also offers various accelerated online degrees in education.
  3. Mount Mary University. Mount Mary University is a Catholic institution in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, that was founded in 1913. The school provides several hybrid and fully online programs in in-demand fields such as business administration, occupational therapy, and history.


Best Universities in Wisconsin for International Students

  1. Lawrence University. Established in 1847, Lawrence University is located on a beautiful campus in Appleton, Wisconsin. The school encourages diversity, with 15 percent of its student population made up of international students from over 30 countries.
  2. Wisconsin Lutheran College. This Christian private university was established in 1973. It has a small class size of not more than 17 students and a 98 percent acceptance rate. Wisconsin Lutheran College makes education affordable by providing scholarships to most of its first-year students.
  3. Cardinal Stritch University. Cardinal Stritch University is one of Wisconsin's best liberal arts colleges. It has an 89 percent acceptance rate and offers programs in business, leadership, and other popular fields. Students can also gain practical leadership experience by participating in Cardinal Stritch’s vibrant student organizations.

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Top Wisconsin Universities by Major

Below are the top Wisconsin universities for various majors, such as computer science, nursing, engineering, and business. These schools offer an in-depth curriculum to prepare students for top positions in their chosen industries.


Best Computer Science Universities in Wisconsin

  1. Marquette University. Marquette University provides top-rated computer science programs, including an accelerated BS in Computer Science and MS in Computing program. Computer science students learn mathematical and programming concepts to enable them to begin a career in software development.
  2. St. Norbert College. St. Norbert College offers a unique learning experience to its computer science students by providing an experimental robotics lab and a reserved Linux server. Also, students can choose from computer science, business information systems, and graphic design concentrations.
  3. University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. This school’s 64-credit computer science undergraduate major is one of the best programs for aspiring software engineers. It includes courses in database management, artificial intelligence, and advanced object-oriented design.


Best Nursing Universities in Wisconsin

  1. University of Wisconsin-Madison. The University of Wisconsin-Madison provides undergraduate and doctoral degree programs in nursing. Undergraduate students can choose from three paths: traditional, accelerated, or registered nurse.
  2. Marquette University. Marquette University has several program options for nurses, including undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate degrees, as well as graduate certificates. It also has a high first-time success rate for its bachelor’s degree students who take the nursing licensing exam.
  3. University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s College of Nursing was established in 1965. Since then, it has grown to become one of the best schools in Wisconsin for nurses, with 24 programs to choose from.


Best Engineering Universities in Wisconsin

  1. Milwaukee School of Engineering. Milwaukee School of Engineering has several top-rated programs in engineering disciplines, including civil, architectural, and biomedical engineering. It also provides exceptional job outcomes, with graduates earning an average of $66,694 annually.
  2. University of Wisconsin-Platteville. The University of Wisconsin-Platteville’s College of Engineering is the second-largest producer of engineering graduates in the state. In 2020, it secured over $800,000 in research funding, making it a great choice for students seeking research-based engineering degrees.
  3. University of Wisconsin-Stout. The University of Wisconsin-Stout’s engineering programs ensure that graduates are job-ready by emphasizing practical experiences through lab work and research. This public institution provides several engineering degrees, including in plastics, mechanical, and manufacturing engineering.


Best Business Universities in Wisconsin

  1. Marquette University. Marquette University offers several undergraduate degree programs in accounting, business economics, finance, and other business-related fields. It also provides executive, online, or on-campus MBA programs and master’s degrees in finance, management, and accounting.
  2. University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire provides over 20 business-related majors, including marketing, international business, and business finance. Its programs also are accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.
  3. University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse is also accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. It provides degree programs in healthcare analytics management, information systems, accountancy, and marketing.


Best Human Resource Management Universities in Wisconsin

  1. University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. The University of Wisconsin-Whitewater’s 120-credit, on-campus human resource management undergraduate degree is recognized by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). This degree equips students to work in industry jobs through internships and practical classes.
  2. Concordia University. Concordia University provides a highly rated online, 120-credit human resource management undergraduate degree. This program includes courses in change management, communication, and organizational management.
  3. University of Wisconsin-Platteville. The University of Wisconsin-Platteville offers undergraduate, certificate, and minor programs in human resource management that can be taken online or on campus. The school also provides students with internship opportunities.

Tuition Costs for Wisconsin Universities

The average tuition and fees for Wisconsin public universities , and all US public universities, is $9,349 per year, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. The average for private universities is $32,769 per year. However, the exact amount you will spend on tuition and fees will depend on the type of school and the nature of your degree program.

Most Affordable Universities in Wisconsin

  1. University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point | Tuition: $279.09/Credit. The University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point is a well-known public university that provides an excellent academic experience at a very affordable tuition rates.
  2. University of Wisconsin-Parkside | Tuition: $310.16/Credit. The University of Wisconsin-Parkside is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Students enrolled in this university have access to plentiful financial aid benefits and low-cost tuition.
  3. University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh | Tuition: $323.92/Credit. First-time students can enroll in any of the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh’s 200+ majors and land high-paying jobs in the US without paying exorbitant tuition.
  4. University of Wisconsin-Green Bay | Tuition: $328/Credit. Since its inception in 1965, the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay has delivered premium quality programs at an affordable cost to resident and non-resident students.
  5. University of Wisconsin-Stout | Tuition: $636.87/Credit. The University of Wisconsin-Stout makes education easy by providing low-cost tuition and financial aid opportunities for prospective students seeking to pursue any of its degree programs.

How to Pay for Chosen School Path

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Financial Aid Options for the Best Universities in Wisconsin

Universities in Wisconsin provide financial aid options to assist students with tuition costs and living expenses. The most common forms of financial aid include scholarships, state grants, student loans, and work-study programs. These options are explained in detail below.

Financial Aid for Wisconsin Universities: A Summary

  • State grants. State grants are non-repayable, state-sponsored financial rewards. The Wisconsin state Higher Education Aids Board (HAEB) offers several grants to eligible residents who have filled out the FAFSA form and are enrolled in an undergraduate or certificate program at a university in Wisconsin.
  • Student loans. Students seeking financial assistance can also take advantage of federal loan programs. The William D Ford Federal Direct Loan Program offers students direct subsidized, unsubsidized, PLUS, and consolidation loans.
  • Scholarships. Several federal, private, and college-sponsored scholarship programs are available to students. These scholarships could provide full or partial funding to enable students to obtain their degrees at little or no cost.
  • Work-study programs. The United States’ Federal Work-Study program enables students to work part-time while enrolled in their degree program. Students can use their per-hour pay or salaries to pay for their tuition or essential living expenses.

Wisconsin University Eligibility Requirements: Who Qualifies for Financial Aid at Wisconsin Universities?

  • Students who are enrolled in an eligible program at a US university
  • Individuals who have completed a high school diploma or its equivalent and are qualified to receive college education
  • Students with a valid social security number
  • US citizens or eligible non-citizens
  • Students with a consistent record of strong academic performance

Private Wisconsin Universities With Good Financial Aid

  1. Maranatha Baptist University. Maranatha Baptist University provides up to $1.3 million in scholarships annually, including an academic merit scholarship for students with strong ACT or SAT scores. It also participates in the Federal Direct Loan program.
  2. Ripon College. Ripon College offers financial assistance to all students accepted into one of its programs. This private university has several merit and need-based scholarships, as well as grants and work-study programs.
  3. Viterbo University. Viterbo University provides financial aid to 99 percent of its undergraduate students, making it one of the best private schools for students seeking affordable university education.

Universities in Wisconsin That Provide Financial Aid to Out-of-State Students

  1. University of Wisconsin-Madison. Many departments at the University of Wisconsin-Madison provide financial aid as scholarships to qualified out-of-state students. By applying via the Wisconsin Scholarship Hub, you can find all the available financial aid opportunities.
  2. Wisconsin Lutheran College. Wisconsin Lutheran has several merit-based scholarships for out-of-state students. Eligibility for these scholarships is primarily dependent on your cumulative GPA and ACT or SAT scores.
  3. Beloit College. The vast majority, or 98 percent, of Beloit College students receive some form of scholarship or grant during their program. Beloit College also provides merit-based scholarships for eligible students.

How to Apply for Financial Aid and Scholarships for Wisconsin State Universities

  1. Select a university in Wisconsin and apply for admission.
  2. Fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form.
  3. For male students applying for financial aid from the state of Wisconsin, you will need to register with the United States Selective Service System.
  4. If applicable, fill out your specific school’s financial aid application form.
  5. Though it’s rare, some universities do require that you fill out and submit a federal tax form.

Demographics of Universities in Wisconsin

The demographics of universities in Wisconsin show a diverse learning environment with students from every race enrolled. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, most students in Wisconsin universities are white , followed by Hispanic students, Black students, and Asian students.

Diversity Statistics for Universities in Wisconsin

  • White: 77.6%
  • Hispanic: 8.4%
  • Black: 5.6%
  • Asian: 4.4%
  • Two or More Races: 3.2%
  • American Indian: 0.7%
  • Pacific Islander: 0.1%

Wisconsin Employment Outlook for University Students

The state of Wisconsin continues to create job opportunities for its residents, making it a good state for university students seeking work after graduation. Wisconsin has experienced an increase in its employment-to-population ratio , from 63.7 percent in March 2021 to 64.6 percent in March 2022, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

5 In-Demand Wisconsin Jobs

The most popular jobs in Wisconsin are operations research analysts, actuaries, economists, web developers, and registered nurses. The best universities in Wisconsin offer programs that enable students to get these in-demand, high-paying jobs.


Operations Research Analyst

Average Salary: $90,900

Operations research analysts help businesses improve their organizational workflow and revenue by analyzing and drawing valuable insights from available data. They typically work as consultants. Universities in Wisconsin offer degrees in mathematics, business, and other similar areas that can lead to a career as an operations research analyst.

  • Average Salary in Wisconsin: $90,900
  • Employment in Wisconsin: 1,670
  • Overall Job Growth: 25%
  • Best Wisconsin University Program: Master of Science in Applied Economics (Marquette University)



Average Salary: $114,290

Actuaries are commonly found at insurance companies. They work with a core team to analyze data, measure financial risk, and determine the best course of action. By studying mathematics, finance, or economics at an accredited university in Wisconsin, you can begin a rewarding career as an actuary.

  • Average Salary in Wisconsin: $114,290
  • Employment in Wisconsin: 630
  • Overall Job Growth: 24 %
  • Best Wisconsin University Program: Bachelor’s Degree in Economics (Lawrence University)



Average Salary: $80,650

Economists conduct research and analyze the production, usage, and distribution of goods. They also work with public and private businesses to help them make well-thought-out decisions. Wisconsin universities offer undergraduate, graduate, and certificate programs covering different areas of specialization in economics.

  • Average Salary in Wisconsin: $80,650
  • Employment in Wisconsin: 320
  • Overall Job Growth: 13%
  • Best Wisconsin University Program: Master of Business Administration in Business Management (Carroll University)


Web Developer

Average Salary: $58,030

Web developers typically work at software companies where they build digital solutions using programming languages. Web developers are in high demand across several industries. A degree in computer science from a Wisconsin university provides students with the essential knowledge to be eligible for web development roles.

  • Average Salary in Wisconsin: $58,030
  • Employment in Wisconsin: 3,940
  • Overall Job Growth: 13%
  • Best Wisconsin University Program: Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science (Beloit University)


Registered Nurse

Average Salary: $76,850

Nursing is one of the most common jobs in Wisconsin. Nurses are typically found in the clinical setting, where they provide care to patients. With a nursing degree from a Wisconsin university, you could work at an outpatient facility or with non-profit organizations such as Aurora Health Care, one of the largest companies in Wisconsin .

  • Average Salary in Wisconsin: $76,850
  • Employment in Wisconsin: 62,860
  • Overall Job Growth: 9%
  • Best Wisconsin University Program: Bachelor of Science in Nursing (Edgewood University)

Is a University in Wisconsin Right for You?

Attending a university in Wisconsin is right for you if you are looking for small class sizes that encourage an intimate learning experience. Furthermore, Wisconsin universities also have strong athletics programs for individuals interested in extracurricular activities and sports.

However, if you don’t want to opt for a university degree, you could consider alternatives such as bootcamps and online certificate courses, depending on your exact area of interest. For instance, computer science enthusiasts can enroll in the University of Wisconsin’s Extension Coding Bootcamp and still get a high-paying industry job.

How to Get Into the Best Colleges and Universities

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Best Universities in Wisconsin FAQ

Can I fill out my FAFSA form anytime?

You can fill out your FAFSA form anytime before the deadline but you should always aim to fill it out as early as possible. Schools have different deadlines for students to submit their FAFSA form. Your chances of receiving substantial financial aid are higher when you complete your FAFSA form before these deadlines, but not before you’ve selected your school and program.

What is the required TOEFL or IELTS score for international students to be admitted to a Wisconsin university?

TOEFL and IELTS score requirements for international students at Wisconsin universities vary depending on the institution. You can check with your prospective school’s admissions department or visit their website to see their exact English proficiency test score requirements.

Is Wisconsin a great place to live?

Yes, Wisconsin is a fantastic place to live. The state is renowned for its rich cultural experiences, natural beauty, and varied entertainment options. Students living in Wisconsin will enjoy a solid academic experience and a vibrant city life.

Is living in Wisconsin expensive?

Living in Wisconsin is slightly less expensive than living elsewhere in the United States, but not by much, according to Keep in mind that many Wisconsin universities provide financial aid and low-cost university housing options.

About us: Career Karma is a platform designed to help job seekers find, research, and connect with job training programs to advance their careers. Learn about the CK publication.

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Uwidia Emmanuel

About the author: Uwidia is a freelance writer and science expert. Other than writing, Uwidia’s goal is to continue his career in public health as an epidemiologist and improve the standard of preventative healthcare. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Medical Biochemistry from the University of Benin.

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