University of Wisconsin–Madison

JD Application Requirements

Application Timeline

  • September 1st: Applications Become Available
  • November 15th: Early Decision Application Due
  • April 1st: Regular Decision Application Due

First-year students are admitted for enrollment in the fall semester only. There are two application options: Early Decision and Regular Decision. Both applications become available on September 1st. Graduation from an approved college is a pre-requisite to start classes in the fall, but not for application to the program.

Regular Decision

The Regular Decision application is due on April 1st. Applicants are strongly encouraged to complete their application by November or December. Decisions are released on a rolling basis throughout the admissions cycle. Decision timelines can vary depending on application volume and when in the cycle your application is submitted, but you will be notified of a decision within a maximum of ten to twelve weeks after your application goes into review.

Early Decision

The Early Decision application is due on November 15th, and applicants will receive a decision by December 15th. The Early Decision program is binding – applicants must commit themselves to matriculating at Wisconsin if they are admitted through the Early Decision Program, and may not be an Early Decision candidate at any other school during the same admissions cycle. The Early Decision program provides a way for applicants who know that Wisconsin is their first choice for law school to receive an admission and scholarship decision much earlier than if they were to proceed through the regular application process.

Application Requirements Checklist

First-year applicants must submit the following application requirements. A detailed list of application requirements is also included in the application for admission.

  1. Application fee
  2. Application for admission
  3. Record of Residence form
  4. Law School Admission Test (LSAT) score
  5. Credential Assembly Service (CAS) report, including all college and graduate school transcripts
  6. Resume
  7. Personal statement
  8. Two letters of recommendation
  9. Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) score (international applicants only)
  10. Early Decision Agreement (Early Decision applicants only)

The Admissions Committee carefully considers whatever information we receive in your application when evaluating you for admission. If there is something that you would like to explain or elaborate on that is not showcased elsewhere in your application, feel free to add a separate addendum. Interviews are not typically a part of the admissions process, although international applicants may be asked to participate in a web-conference interview. Even though we do not conduct admissions interviews, we are happy to answer your questions, and we invite you to visit the Law School.

Application Fee

The application fee to apply to the Law School is $60. The application fee is nonrefundable, and should be paid through your LSAC applicant portal. The Law School provides a limited number of need-based application fee waivers. To complete our application fee waiver request form, please contact the Admissions Office at admissions@law.wisc.edu.

Record of Residence Form

All applicants are required to complete the Registrar’s Record of Residence form, regardless of whether you are claiming residency. This form will be sent to you via email after you apply, and is used to determine whether you are eligible for in-state tuition. Residency for tuition purposes can be a complex issue and is governed by Wisconsin state statutes. Residency determinations are made by the UW-Madison Registrar’s Office, and not by the Law School. For more information about residency for tuition, please visit the Registrar's Residence for Tuition Purposes page or contact the Office of the Registrar's Residency Counselors at 608-262-1355.

Credential Assembly Service

All applicants are required to subscribe to the Credential Assembly Service, sponsored by LSAC. You must send an official CAS report to the Law School with your application, which will include transcripts from each undergraduate and graduate institution you have attended. For questions about CAS, please refer to LSAC’s website or contact them directly at 215-968-1001.

Reapplicants

If you are reapplying for admission to the law school, you must indicate this on the application. We strongly encourage you to submit new application materials, including new letters of recommendation. The supporting materials from prior years’ applications will be included in your file when you reapply. You will be required to re-register with CAS, as well as submit a new application and application fee.

International Applicants

International applicants are required to register for the LSAT and Credential Assembly Service. International transcripts should be sent to LSAC through the process detailed on their website.

In addition, a TOEFL score is required for all international applicants whose native language is not English. You should have your score sent to LSAC, and it will be included in your CAS report. Additional information regarding the TOEFL exam may be found at https://www.ets.org/toefl. If you have a minimum of one year of study at a U.S. college or university, we will waive the TOEFL requirement. International applicants may be asked to participate in a web-conference interview.

Application Status

To keep you up to date on the status of your application, we provide an online status checker.  This will allow you to view the most current status of your application, as well as any application components that are missing.  You will receive an email with your User ID and password soon after we have received your application.

The different statuses for the online status checker are as follows:

  • Processing - Your application has been received by the Admissions Office, and a preliminary check for missing items has begun.  If your file is missing any items, we will be in contact with you via email.  Please note that reviewing your file for missing items may take several weeks.
  • Missing Item(s) - Your application is missing one or more items. Please review the Requirements Checklist in your online status checker to see which items are missing. Once all remaining materials are received, we will send you an email to let you know that your application is complete.
  • File Complete - All required documents have been received, and your application is in line for review.
  • In Review - Your application is being reviewed by the Admissions Committee, and you will be notified of a decision within approximately ten to twelve weeks.  If you have not heard back from us within that time, we encourage you to contact us at admissions@law.wisc.edu or 608-262-5914.
  • Decision - A decision on your application has been made. You will receive an email from the Admissions Office notifying you of the decision on your file.  If you do not receive an email within 24 hours of your status changing to "Decision," please contact the Admissions Office at admissions@law.wisc.edu or 608-262-5914.  

Part-Time Program

If you are offered admission to the Law School, you may choose to attend on a part-time basis. There is no separate application procedure, but upon acceptance you will be asked to choose full or part-time enrollment, though you may subsequently change your enrollment status.

Part-time students need to complete the first-year curriculum within two years of entering and must complete the course work required for the J.D. degree within six years. First year courses generally require you to be on campus four or five times per week and some are offered in the late afternoon or early evening. Part-time students wishing to take courses only in the late afternoon or early evening should note that one-half of the first-year program courses are generally offered later in the day in alternate years, thus making it easier to complete the first-year program within the requisite two years.

Contact admissions for more information.

Qualifications for Admissions to the Bar

In addition to a bar examination, there are character, fitness, and other qualifications for admission to the bar in every U.S. jurisdiction. Applicants are encouraged to determine the requirements for any jurisdiction in which they intend to seek admission by contacting the jurisdiction. Addresses for all relevant agencies are available through the National Conference of Bar Examiners.

The state of Wisconsin is unique in that it maintains a special program known as Diploma Privilege, by which graduates of the Law School may be admitted to practice (without taking a bar exam) by meeting a set of course, grade, character, and fitness requirements. For more information on Wisconsin's graduation and bar admissions requirements, click here.

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