University of Wisconsin–Whitewater - Colleges of Distinction - Colleges of Distinction
University of Wisconsin–Whitewater
With its outstanding academic programs, small class sizes, and champion athletics, UW–Whitewater is a...

University of Wisconsin–Whitewater

Whitewater, Wisconsin

Founded in 1868, UW–Whitewater is a premier four-year public university located in southeastern Wisconsin. One of 13 universities in the University of Wisconsin System, it has approximately 1,400 faculty and staff members. Students have the option of 50 undergraduate and 15 master’s degree programs, an education specialist degree, and a doctorate of business administration.


UW–Whitewater is focused on hands-on learning. The most popular undergraduate majors include accounting, marketing, biology, finance, education, psychology, social work, and communication. New and trending majors include criminology, computer science, sports management, occupational and environmental safety and health, and media arts and game development.

Student Profile

Fall 2017 Enrollment
10,522 undergraduate students
92% of undergrad students are full time
51% male — 49% female
16% of students are from out of state

Faculty Profile

2017-2018 Academic Year
502 full-time faculty
134 part-time faculty
20 to 1 student-to-faculty ratio

Residence Life

Fall 2017
98% of first-year students live on campus
40% of all students live on campus

School Location

UW–Whitewater is a residential campus in southeastern Wisconsin, an hour’s drive away from Madison and Milwaukee, and less than three hours from Chicago. Because of its location, UW–Whitewater is able to assist students in obtaining prestigious internships and other professional development opportunities with businesses, research firms, educational organizations, and nonprofits from across the state and the region. With a population of approximately 14,000 citizens, the City of Whitewater offers a historic downtown area, many local eateries, and unique retailers. The university is also close to the Kettle Moraine State Forest—a 22,000-acre outdoor recreation area ideal for hiking, mountain biking, and cross-country skiing.

High-Impact Practices

Read more about the importance of High-Impact Practices

First-Year Seminars and Experiences X
Common Intellectual Experiences  
Learning Communities X
Writing-Intensive Courses X
Collaborative Assignments and Projects X
Undergraduate Research X
Diversity/Global Learning X
Service-Learning, Community-Based Learning X
Internships/Coops/Practicums X
Capstone Courses and Projects/Senior Experience X


78.2% of students began in Fall 2016 and returned in Fall 2017 (full-time, first-time freshmen)


61.7% of students graduated in 6 years


Nonresident aliens 1%
Hispanic/Latino 6%
Black or African American 4%
White 82%
American Indian or Alaska Native 0%
Asian 2%
Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander 0%
Two or more races 5%
Race and/or ethnicity unknown 0%


UW–Whitewater offers students a wide variety of athletic opportunities to complement their academic pursuits. An NCAA Division III school, the university supports 22 intercollegiate athletics teams that compete in the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC). Over the last ten years, the Warhawks have captured national championships in football, gymnastics, baseball, volleyball, and men’s basketball. The university is also very proud of its wheelchair basketball teams, which have won national championships several years in a row.

UW–Whitewater is known for achieving a productive balance between academics and athletics, with student-athletes boasting a higher overall GPA than the general student body. All students are also encouraged to participate in one of the 22 intramural sports and 24 club sports offered at UW–Whitewater.

UW–Whitewater students are often seen on campus wearing the Warhawks’ official colors—purple and white—and many line up to pose for pictures with the university mascot, Willie Warhawk, when they graduate.

Other Information

The University of Wisconsin–Whitewater is a public, four-year, co-educational institution that was founded in 1868. The university houses four colleges as well as a School of Graduate Studies. It maintains institutional accreditation through the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) and holds a variety of specialized accreditations at academic college and program levels.

Online graduate and undergraduate degree programs are offered in some of the most popular subject areas; in some cases, students can even complete an undergraduate degree remotely. Degrees can also be completed in a blended manner.

The institution’s teacher education programs are approved by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, and the College of Business and Economics is AACSB-accredited. For more information, see

More Distinctions

  • UW–Whitewater has a special mission to serve students with disabilities. More than 1,000 students on campus self-identify as having a disability (physical, learning, and/or mental illness).

  • The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching has recognized UW–Whitewater with a Community Engagement Classification designation—bestowed on only 361 colleges and universities in the United States. The Community Engagement Classification designation is intended to honor campuses that are actively improving teaching and learning, engaged in continual research pursuits that make a difference in their communities.

  • UW–Whitewater prides itself in its ability to serve students in a variety of ways. The university’s MBA program is consistently recognized by the Milwaukee Business Journal for its size and scope of offerings.

  • The College of Business and Economics achieved a ‘Best for Vets’ designation from the Military Times in 2016.

  • The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has named UW–Whitewater as one of the top regional workplaces for six consecutive years—a first for a public university or state agency in Wisconsin.


UW–Whitewater is a national leader in promoting the Liberal Education & America’s Promise (LEAP) initiative. Established by the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U), the LEAP initiative emphasizes the value of a broad-based liberal education in the development of a variety of skills that students need for 21st-century careers and engaged citizenship. In order to achieve the goals set out by the LEAP initiative, UW–Whitewater faculty and staff actively integrate the identified Essential Learning Outcomes and High Impact Practices into academic and student life at the university.

Undergraduate Research

UW–Whitewater’s Undergraduate Research Program has a national reputation, with more than 260 students participating from all four colleges. Undergraduate research grants support faculty-student collaborative research and scholarly activities. Every year, UW–Whitewater undergraduate research students present their research in various disciplines at state and national conferences. Student researchers are even regularly included as co-authors with faculty in scholarly journals.

The university’s Fiscal and Economic Research Center welcomes students from all the colleges who wish to collaborate on research projects throughout the region. The Research Apprenticeship Program received the UW System Board of Regents Diversity Award in 2015.

The Group Grant Program Within the Undergraduate Research Program, the Group Grant Program supports student teams in their scholarly and creative activities. Collaborative work is also embedded in a curriculum that crosses departments and disciplines and, in some cases, even global boundaries.

Campus Diversity

UW–Whitewater strives to enhance students’ global learning and understanding of the diverse world in which they live. One of the most notable ways in which this is achieved is through the annual, two-day UW–Whitewater Campus Diversity Forum, which promotes a sense of belonging for all community members. In order to integrate diversity into the fabric of the institution, UW–Whitewater has also developed an Inclusive Excellence Fellowship Program; this program brings four postdoctoral scholars to campus each year (one for each college) to teach on issues related to diversity as well as to facilitate dialogue and awareness of how such issues impact their lives.

Students are also encouraged to dive deeply into issues pertaining to diversity. Numerous UW–Whitewater student organizations provide opportunities for diverse intellectual, cultural, creative, and service opportunities related to diversity (see more information here). UW–Whitewater hosts an Multicultural Heritage Lecture Series, which is aimed at promoting stronger self-identification among UW–Whitewater multicultural students, faculty, and staff, all while enabling a more sophisticated understanding of cultural diversity among the entire university community. The series offers four different lectures each year on such issues as Native Pride as well as Asian, African American, and Latino Heritage.

For students interested in a longer-term learning experience, the College of Letters and Sciences offers a Diversity Leadership Certificate, which is designed to assist students across disciplines to engage in conversations around issues of race, gender, class, ethnicity, sexuality, and ability.

Study Abroad

In terms of global learning, the Center for Global Education helps student access the wide variety of study abroad and travel-study experiences available to UW–Whitewater students. The center’s mission is to facilitate experiences that help students become successful leaders; to that end, UW–Whitewater offers dozens of programs in more than 50 different countries. The university also offers qualified students financial aid for study abroad experiences. For example, College of Business and Economics students who participate receive a grant of up to $1,000 toward their experience, and the the College of Education and Professional Studies offers scholarship opportunities to students who wish to student teach abroad. The undergraduate and graduate programs host hundreds of international students on campus, aiding their sense of community through such events as a popular international dinner every year.

Activities Offered

Campus Ministries X
Choral groups X
Concert band X
Dance X
Drama/theatre X
International Student Organization X
Jazz band X
Literary magazine X
Marching band X
Model UN  
Music ensembles X
Musical theatre X
Opera X
Pep band X
Radio station X
Student government X
Student newspaper X
Student-run film society X
Symphony orchestra X
Television station X

The First-Year Experience

The First-Year Experience at UW–Whitewater is comprised over several different components. It begins with Plan-It Purple, the day-long summer registration program. At Plan-It Purple, new students not only register for class, but also have the opportunity to meet other new Warhawks and connect with an academic advisor. Next, students participate in Club U-Dub-Dub—the two-day fall orientation for new freshmen and transfer students. Club U-Dub-Dub helps new student settle into life at UW–Whitewater by providing opportunities for social acclimatization as well as assistance with the academic transition to college. Orientation ends with a free on-campus concert.

More than 90 percent of new students at UW–Whitewater start their undergraduate careers by taking the New Student Seminar. Designed to help students make a positive adjustment to college, New Student Seminar provides incoming students with a supportive environment for them to think about a variety of relevant topics, engage with fellow students and faculty, and attend related university events and programs. The course focuses on orienting students to the resources and opportunities available at UW–Whitewater. Through the course, students are invited to explore what it means to be a ‘Warhawk’ through exposure to the university’s mission, history, and traditions. Students are also encouraged to reflect on what their educational experience means to them as well as to articulate the purposes of higher education and the value of LEAP (Liberal Education America’s Promise). Importantly, the New Student Seminar helps students explore how background, identity, experiences, and social context influence their own perspectives and those of their classmates.

In order to gain the most from their first-year experience, students are encouraged to participate in a Learning Community. These communities provide new students with an opportunity to live and study with other new students who share similar interests. In addition to living in the same residence hall, students in a Learning Community share many of the same courses with their community members, including New Student Seminar.


Whether they are teaching, counseling, or coaching, UW–Whitewater faculty and staff view mentorship as a major component of their role on campus. With a student-to-teacher ratio of 21:1 and fewer than 40 students in over 85% of courses, faculty have the opportunity to get to know their students and develop long-term relationships. In order to facilitate a culture of mentoring on campus, the university supports:

  • a scholar/mentor program that pairs junior faculty with experienced professors on campus.
  • a peer mentor program, which connects first-year students with an experienced student leader.
  • an alumni mentor program, which brings alumni and current students together in order to build informative friendships.

Student Success

The Mary Poppe Chrisman Success Center houses the UW–Whitewater Academic Support Center. This center serves thousands of students with free tutorial and supplemental instruction and offers employment opportunities to hundreds of qualified learning assistants.

The College of Arts and Communication

The College of Arts and Communication, which spans several academic buildings, houses a wide variety of diverse majors that range from media arts and game development to theatre and journalism majors. In many ways, the Greenhill Center of the Arts is the heart of the college; this space is used for instruction, exhibitions, and performances at Barnett Theatre. However, media arts and game development majors also have their own dedicated space in the McGraw Hall lab, and student broadcasters prepare newscasts at the UWW-TV station, located in the Andersen Library.

College of Business and Economics

The College of Business and Economics consists of the largest number of undergraduate majors, many of which are the most popular at UW–Whitewater. The college focuses on innovation and hands-on training in state-of-the-art facilities. Its faculty are particularly active in facilitating real-world experiences (including off-campus internships) for undergraduate students. The extensive number of graduate programs ensures that undergraduate students are well informed about their options for after they graduate.

College of Education and Professional Studies

The College of Education and Professional Studies has a long and proud history of preparing students to be professional educators. It offers several specialized majors at both the undergraduate and graduate level in the field of education and works actively with other colleges on campus to ensure that its graduates are prepared to share their passion for knowledge with future generations. The college’s licensure program ensures that graduates are ready to begin their professional careers upon graduation. In addition, it facilitates many different types of professional development experiences for its students, including community initiatives and teaching abroad opportunities.

College of Letters and Sciences

The College of Letters and Sciences offers many of the foundational courses taken by all undergraduate students, providing students from across campus the basis for their liberal arts education through challenging courses in the humanities and natural and social sciences. Faculty are encouraged to develop innovative pedagogy and connect academic knowledge with experience through undergraduate research, internships, and international study.

Class Size Breakdown

Size 2-9 10-19 20-29 30-39 40-49 50-99 100+ Total
Number of Classes 122 348 531 373 116 73 12 1575

Campus Diversity Forum

The Division of Student Affairs hosts an annual UW–Whitewater Diversity Forum, which usually takes place in the middle of the fall semester. Workshops and lectures that address a specific theme, open to all campus and community members, are offered over a two-day period. The Forum is associated with guest speakers, artists, posts, and a variety of art installations and special events.

Warhawk Traditions

New students are welcomed to campus with Club U-Dub-Dub, a two-day orientation program designed to help students ease into college, make new friends, and gain a sense of belonging. Events include a special itinerary for transfer students called TRANSFERmation. The RU Purple rally introduces students to high-energy campus traditions, including a welcome tunnel made up of staff, faculty, and older students, and culminates with the annual painting of Warhawk Drive. Club 1868 and a Welcome Concert are popular Welcome Week activities as well.

With a championship football team, students pack Perkins Stadium for home football games. Touchdowns are heralded with the blast from a Civil War-replica cannon, a longstanding tradition.

Peer Mentor Program

As part of the first-year experience, new students are assigned a student leader, known as a Peer Mentor, during their first semester on campus. Peer mentors lead their new students through the two-day fall orientation, Club U-Dub Dub. They also act as assistant instructors in their students’ New Student Seminar courses. Peer Mentors act as points of contact for new students throughout the fall semester, encouraging deep connections to their peers and the university through fun activities and informal gatherings.

Learning Communities

New students are encouraged to participate in one of UW–Whitewater’s many Learning Communities (LC)—an opportunity to live and study with other new students who share similar interests. Consisting of around 25 students, each LC is centered on an academic or goal-oriented theme. Students in each LC live in the same residence hall and enroll in several courses together (including the same New Student Seminar). LCs are also led by a faculty or staff member who share similar interests with these students, facilitating students’ contacts with faculty outside the classroom setting. Approximately 30% of each incoming class participates in LCs at UW–Whitewater.

Ties to the Community

The relationship between the university and the surrounding community is strong. Student organizations and the Greek community regularly participate in service learning events downtown and within the area schools. A vibrant city market, held on Tuesday evenings, involves the campus community in many ways, providing a source of locally grown, nutritious food. A strong relationship with Downtown Whitewater and the Whitewater Area Chamber of Commerce facilitate internship opportunities, as does the Innovation Center at the Whitewater University Technology Park, a university-city collaboration.


Coed dorms X
Men’s dorms  
Women’s dorms  
Apartments for married students X
Apartments for single students X
Special housing for disabled students X
Special housing for international students X
Fraternity/sorority housing  
Cooperative housing  
Theme housing X
Wellness housing X
Other housing options X


Other: men- and women-only floors in dorms

Career and Leadership Development

UW–Whitewater views student employment as a High Impact Practice that can provide students with opportunities for professional growth. More than 3,000 undergraduate students (approximately 30%) have an on-campus job sometime during their academic career.

Career and Leadership Development offers a wide variety of programming—as well as one-on-one consultations—to students throughout their undergraduate career. On average, almost 30% of all undergraduates complete career courses or meet with career counselors each year. The campus works with local and regional businesses to host several career fairs throughout the academic year. With almost 7,000 employers registered, more than 350 employers actively recruit students on the UW–Whitewater campus. Career and Leadership Development also coordinates the many internship opportunities (both on and off campus) available to students as well as service learning and community-based learning programs. As a result of these opportunities for professional development and personal growth, many students receive job offers before graduation.


UW–Whitewater supports community-based and service learning through a variety of initiatives. Learning Communities participate in a day of service to the community each fall. The Program for Community-Based Learning coordinates partnership opportunities between the university and the community. It also oversees the funding of several Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships in Community Based Research. In addition, the university sponsors a year-long faculty development program, known as the Community-Based Learning Fellows Program. This program provides faculty the opportunity and support to explore best practices in community based learning and to revise an existing course to develop a service-learning or community-based research component.

Alumni Mentor Program

Alumni are encouraged to give back to their alma mater through the university’s Alumni Mentor Program. This program connects current students with alumni who can provide the kind of guidance and friendship that helps foster professional success. This program allows UW–Whitewater students to gain access to valuable advice and the professional networks maintained by alumni; it also provides alumni with the opportunity to contribute positively to the mission of UW–Whitewater.



 5,706 total applicants
4,745 total admissions
2,014 total freshman enrollment

83.16% of applicants admitted

Admissions Deadlines for 2018-19 Admission

Rolling admission? No

Closing date: May 1

admissions factors

Very Important
Rigor of secondary school record
Class rank
Academic GPA
Standardized test scores

Application Essay

Extracurricular activities
Character/personal qualities
First generation
Alumni/ae relation
Racial/ethnic status
Volunteer work
Work experience
Level of applicant’s interest

Freshman Profile Fall 2017

  25th Percentile 75th Percentile
SAT Evidence-Based Reading and Writing    
SAT Math    
SAT Essay    
ACT Composite 20 24
ACT Math 18 25
ACT English 19 25
ACT Writing    

Admissions Review

As a University of Wisconsin System school, UW–Whitewater accepts the University of Wisconsin Online Application. The UW–Whitewater Admissions Office completes a comprehensive review of all applications it receives. Admissions decisions are made based on a variety of factors, including standardized testing results and the academic rigor of high school courses completed. Admissions officers are also looking for students who demonstrate an upward trend in their high school grades over time as well as extracurricular involvement, service and leadership, and work experience—much of which is highlighted in an applicant’s personal statement. While not required for admission, prospective students are always welcome to visit campus. For more information about the admissions process, please visit:



Expenses In-State Out-of-State
Tuition $6,519 $15,092
Fees $1,173 $1,173
Total $7,692 $16,265
Room and Board (on campus) $6,786 $6,786
Room Only $4,206 $4,206
Board Only $2,580 $2,580
Estimated Total On Campus $14,478 $23,051

Scholarships and Aid

UW–Whitewater offers need-based financial aid to all qualifying new students who complete the FAFSA form. Need and non-need based scholarships are also available to new students; those who have submitted applications by January 1st of their senior year of high school are automatically considered for both need and non-need-based scholarships. However, new students who apply after this deadline are also considered for scholarship upon request (and if funds are still available). Merit-based scholarships are competitive and awarded to applicants with the strongest academic credentials. Importantly, the UW–Whitewater Foundation offers more than 200 scholarships available to current UW–Whitewater students to further support their educational progress. While some scholarships are restricted to in-state residents, many are also available to students from outside Wisconsin.

Textbook Rental

In order to minimize costs and streamline access to educational materials, UW–Whitewater participates in a textbook rental system. As a result, many textbooks are available electronically, and most are covered by the textbook rental fee incorporated into students’ overall fees.

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