Funding and Tuition

Graduate Appointments

Graduate students who hold an appointment as a teaching, research, or project assistant at UW-Madison will be entitled to remission of tuition in any semester in which their appointment equals at least 33% of a full-time appointment for the semester. The student must pay segregated fees and any special fees adopted by the legislature. Other types of university employment do not qualify an individual for remission of tuition.

Financial Aid

For the promotion of scholarship and research UW-Madison administers several different forms of financial aid for graduate students, including:

  • Fellowships
  • Teaching assistantships
  • Scholarships
  • Research or project assistantships
  • Loans

Most Communication Arts departmental awards are made in the form of teaching assistantships. These awards are made on the basis of grades, GRE scores, and the applicant’s background and preparation. TA compensation is currently $20,500 per year, and includes tuition remission and benefits.

The Department of Communication Arts, unless otherwise indicated, does not require a separate application for financial aid — only the complete application form for admission with supporting documents. The complete application must be submitted by December 15th in order to be considered for financial aid.


Fellows are selected in a campus-wide fellowship competition which is open to students in all fields at any stage of graduate study. Fellowship awards are announced by offer letters in early March. Incoming applicants will automatically be considered for Graduate School Fellowships. These fellowships may be for terms from one semester to two years, with stipends in the $10,000 range per semester that include tuition remission and benefits.

There are special application forms and deadlines, often in the fall, for the fellowship programs (such as National Science Foundation, Foreign Language and Area Studies Program, Fulbright-Hays, Churchill) administered by different federal and non-federal agencies. For more information, check Graduate School student funding or your current undergraduate institution.

Department Awards

The Communication Arts Department is pleased to be able to grant yearly monetary awards to graduate students based on scholastic performance. The amount and number of awards vary from year to year depending on funds available.

General Criteria

  • Students must be resident scholars and continuing in the program
  • Students must be in good standing in the department at the time of consideration for each award

Wackman Award

Awarded to residents of the State of Wisconsin for outstanding scholarly work.

Helen K. Herman Award

Based on academic ability, need, and extra-curricular activities.

Risser Award

For outstanding female graduate student(s).

Frankenburger Award

For scholarship in speech and in teaching public speaking.

Pearce Award

For the purpose of funding student research or encouraging and improving performance skills.

Wickhem Award

For excellence in broadcasting, usually given to students teaching production courses.

Kepley Excellence in Communication Award

For excellence in teaching and service to the department.

Elliott Dissertation Scholarship

For funding dissertation research. Students must be in residence at the time of the application and continue to be in residence for the duration of the award, and must have an officially accepted dissertation proposal on file. To receive consideration, applications must be received by the Graduate Coordinator no later than one year after a student has passed their preliminary examinations. This scholarship can be used for such expenses as:

  • Travel to collections or archives
  • Photocopies
  • Film and DVD rentals/purchase
  • Software
  • Costs related to social scientific research experiments


The following tuition information is subject to change by the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents. Current approximate figures for full-time graduate students (10 or more credits) in the fall of 2021 are:

  • Residents of Wisconsin: $6,087.24/semester
  • Residents of Minnesota: $9,645.48/semester
  • Nonresidents/International: $12,750.68/semester

Students who are jointly classified as graduate/professional students may be subject to a combined fee/tuition schedule. Graduate students must register for at least 10 graduate-level credits each semester they are enrolled until they reach dissertator status at which point they must register for exactly three credits. Minnesota residents who are certified by the Minnesota Higher Education Coordinating Board to attend UW-Madison under the Minnesota-Wisconsin Reciprocity Agreement will be assessed instructional fees comparable to those in effect at the University of Minnesota (Twin Cities), plus the segregated fees assessed to all UW-Madison students. For details on the Minnesota agreement or for summer fees, consult the Bursar’s Office or call 608-262-3611.