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Three photos of students in class, students studying in a library, and Bascom Hall on a beautiful sunny day.

Early Start

UW–Madison’s early start programs allow incoming students to take classes in the summer before their first fall semester. Whether you’re interested in art or engineering, early start programs can help you:

  • Complete degree requirements
  • Earn credits
  • Make new friends
  • Start your UW–Madison experience early

All early start programs require that you are admitted to UW–Madison and accept your offer of admission. Some programs are only open to students in certain majors, schools, or colleges, so be sure to read the program descriptions carefully. Program applications are generally open in the spring.

If you have questions about a specific program, please reach out to the contact listed on the program’s webpage. For general questions about early start programs at UW–Madison, please contact summerterm@wisc.edu.

Wisconsin Experience Summer Launch

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This online program allows incoming first-year students to launch their UW–Madison academic careers by choosing from a list of popular courses that fulfill common requirements. Program participants will also establish a network of friends, peers and campus resources they can continue to grow when they arrive on campus in the fall.

Format: Online.

Eligibility: Incoming first-year students who have accepted an offer of admission to UW–Madison for fall 2022.

Length: 8 weeks online.

Coursework: Choose from a list of popular 3-credit courses, and enroll in two 1-credit courses designed to support program participants as they begin their UW–Madison journey.

More about Wisconsin Experience Summer Launch

Electrical and Computer Engineering Summer Launch

Two students working in Electric and Computer Engineering class

Electrical and Computer Engineering Summer Launch is an opportunity for admitted Engineering students to take a course and connect with other students in the College of Engineering before fall courses begin.

Format: Hybrid course with both virtual and in-person instruction (Covid pending).

Eligibility: Students who have accepted an offer of admission to the UW–Madison College of Engineering for fall 2022.

Length: 4 weeks.

Coursework: Electrical and Computer Engineering 210: Introductory Experience in Electrical Engineering (2 credits).

More about ECE Summer Launch

Mechanical Engineering Summer Launch

Mechanical Engineering students in class

Mechanical Engineering Summer Launch is an opportunity for admitted Engineering students to take a course and meet other students in the College of Engineering before fall classes begin.

Format: Hybrid course with both virtual and in-person instruction (Covid pending).

Eligibility: Students who have accepted an offer of admission to the UW–Madison College of Engineering for fall 2022.

Length: 4 weeks.

Coursework: Mechanical Engineering 201: Introduction to Mechanical Engineering (3 credits).

More about ME Summer Launch

International Student Summer Institute (ISSI)

ISSI student working on laptop at home

ISSI helps international students improve their academic English skills and become familiar with the UW–Madison campus and available resources.

Format: Online.

Eligibility: International students who have accepted an offer of admission to UW–Madison for fall 2022.

Length: 4 weeks.

Coursework: English as a Second Language 113: Academic Reading and Writing (3 credits).

More about ISSI

Transfer Early Start Program

Colorful Union Terrace chairs with flowers in the background.

Transfer Early Start Program allows incoming transfer students to enroll in classes during the Summer Term. Students will be connected with an advisor and can enroll in any course that begins on or after the start of the 8-week session (the most popular summer session). The program helps transfer students get connected to campus sooner.

Format: Students can enroll in online/remote or in person courses.

Eligibility: Transfer students who have accepted an offer of admission for the fall term.

Length: Will depend on which course is chosen. Most summer courses are 4 or 8 weeks in length.

Coursework: Students will meet with an advisor prior to enrolling in their summer course to help ensure that their course selection is aligned with their academic goal.

More about the Transfer Early Start Program

College of Agricultural & Life Sciences Quickstart (CALS Quickstart)

Students pouring out of Get directions Agricultural Hall on a beautiful summer day

CALS QuickStart allows incoming College of Agricultural & Life Sciences (CALS) students to complete their first-year seminar online. Participants will connect with peers, gain early exposure to campus opportunities and resources and develop a personal academic and career roadmap. In addition to completing their first-year seminar, students have the opportunity to take an additional online summer course selected from a list of popular classes that fulfill common requirements and may choose to participate in the CALS QuickStart early move-in program.

Format: Online, with optional on-campus component.

Eligibility: Students who have accepted an offer of admission to the UW–Madison College of Agricultural & Life Sciences for fall 2022.

Length: 8 weeks online with optional early move-in.

Coursework: CALS QuickStart: Foundations (1 credit) online, with option to complete a popular high-demand course that fulfills additional requirements (3 credits).

More about CALS Quickstart

UW Study Abroad Summer Launch

Study abroad students making W UW–Madison sigh with their hands

Explore intriguing topics in small, active learning environments, with your Badger peers, before you arrive on campus!! You’ll form lasting relationships with fellow students, learn from a UW–Madison professor and earn in-residence credits during your program that will apply towards graduation.

Format: UW–Madison faculty-led study abroad or away program.

Eligibility: Students who have accepted an offer of admission to UW–Madison as a full-time undergraduate for fall 2022.

Length: 3 weeks.

Coursework:3-credits; course varies by program.

More about UW Study Abroad Summer Launch

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