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Three-year Bachelors Degrees

Our admissions rules require that an applicant have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university as determined by a regional or general accrediting agency. These accrediting agencies define bachelor’s degrees, in the U.S. custom, as requiring four years to complete. In reality, it may take longer or shorter to complete the degree, but the amount of work involved is typically the same. In the past few years, confusion has arisen as to the equivalence of the three year bachelor’s degrees offered in some countries. Some are treated as equivalent to the U.S. bachelor’s (see below) where others may require outside evaluation.

  1. The Graduate School only accepts three-year bachelors degrees from member institutions within the Bologna Process. If the institution is not part of this organization, the applicant will be asked to provide the Graduate School with an evaluation of their higher education background by an international credential evaluation company. If the evaluation results show that the background is not equivalent to a U.S. bachelor’s degree, admission will be denied. If the academic background includes a master’s degree, that should be evaluated along with the three-year degree to see if the combination is equivalent to a four-year U.S. bachelor’s degree. If any part of the master’s degree is needed for equivalency, the student will not be entitled to the 18 hr allowance toward a PhD program granted to holders of a previous master’s degree. On the other hand, they will be afforded the extra two semesters under the Graduate Student Support Plan for students without a previous master’s.
  2. We accept international credential evaluations from members of NACES (National Association of Credential Evaluation Services) or AICE (Association of International Credential Evaluators). Others may be acceptable as well, but please check with the Graduate School if a question as to the appropriateness of the evaluation arises.
  3. The University of Wisconsin hosts a directory of foreign institutions describing their institutional academic environment and the expectations UW has for applicants from these institutions. This should only be used as a guide.