Information for New Students

Activating a NetID

Students will need a NetID and password to access the My UW-Madison portal at To activate a NetID, students should click on the ACTIVATE NETID button from the My UW Madison login screen. Students should enter their 10 digit student campus ID number and birthdate. Since the NetID created and the password entered are keys to access to the MyUW portal, students should make a record of this information and keep it private. Questions about NetID and/or password should be directed to the DoIT Help Desk at 608-264-4357.

Getting a UW Photo ID Card

Students may get their UW ID card (Wiscard) photo taken at the Wiscard Office in Union South, room 149, M-F 8:30 am – 5:00 pm. Students must be enrolled and have valid identification—such as a valid driver’s license, passport, or state ID—to get a photo ID. See:

Getting a Department Photo

The department schedules photo sessions every fall (usually several dates in September and October) to take new and updated photos for the department’s web pages. Current and incoming students will be informed of these sessions and are encouraged to sign up for a photo time slot. For those unable to attend, please contact the Graduate Coordinator to inquire about scheduling a make-up session.

Madison Metro Bus Pass

UW students can pick up a free bus pass from the Memorial Union at the beginning of the fall and spring semesters. Students must be enrolled and should bring their UW photo ID card. See:

Orientation Events

The Department hosts orientation events at the beginning of every fall semester. The Graduate School also hosts a new student orientation. This event provides a great opportunity for new students to mingle with Graduate School deans and staff, hear from a panel of current students about grad student life, learn about the many campus and community resources available, and meet other new graduate students from across campus. See:

Teaching assistant and project assistant positions are assigned to new students in late May. All such students are then required by US law to be present on campus by the first day of the faculty contract set by the Secretary of the Faculty. (See Many teaching assignments also have training at this time so students should plan to be available in Madison and should leave their schedules open until they have heard from their faculty supervisor.

Graduate Student Computers

The department provides graduate student lab spaces in Vilas Hall in rooms 2149 and 6183. These labs contain Mac Mini workstations and printers. Graduate students can log into these machines with their Communication Arts Network Accounts. For access or any other support requests, please contact the Computer Media Specialist, Peter Sengstock (

Campus Computing Resources

The campus wireless network, UWNet, is available in all campus buildings. For details on connecting to UWNet or how to set up a personal computer with campus cloud storage, calendars, mail clients, and more, graduate students may search the UW KnowledgeBase at For information about other campus computing resources, see: For information on Campus IT policies, see:

Printing in Vilas Hall

Printers available for use by graduate students are located in the computer labs (2149 and 6183 Vilas) as well as the department mail room (6069 Vilas). Graduate students are issued keys to the labs. The mailroom printer is available for use during weekdays. Any issues with printers should be addressed to Peter Sengstock ( To conserve resources, double-sided printing is encouraged.