Campus Clash: The Most Distinct Differences Between All 13 UW System Schools

Map of UW System schools (photo via University of Wisconsin System).

By Fiona Hatch

August 22, 2023

Each University of Wisconsin school offers a unique college experience. Which school is best at what?

DID YOU KNOW? There are roughly 4,000 4-year colleges and universities in the US, according to US News & World Report.

Today’s students are overwhelmed with options. Even once they’ve narrowed down their search to the University of Wisconsin, they still have 13 different campuses to choose between and dozens of factors to consider: cost, class size, majors, extra-curriculars, residence halls, dining facilities. This isn’t the application process we endured.

We decided to break down all 13 schools and share the most distinct opportunities offered at each. While this list could be helpful for any high school students considering a UW System school, it’s also a fun retrospective for Badger alumni and Wisconsin natives curious about how much the state’s esteemed public universities have grown!

Note: We sourced this information directly from each school’s own database. Information on the top 5 majors is from the US Department of Education.

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Campus Clash: The Most Distinct Differences Between All 13 UW System Schools

UW-Madison campus (photo via UW-Madison).

Number of Undergrads: 35,184 (Fall 2022)

Campus Type: Urban

Top 5 Majors:

  1. Computer Science
  2. Economics
  3. Psychology
  4. Political Science and Government
  5. Biology

Average Class Size: 31 students

In-State Tuition: $10,722 (2022-23)

Out-of-State Tuition: $39,354 (2022-23)

Distinct Features:

  • The 8th-ranked research institution in America, among all public and private universities.
  • Part of the Big Ten–so game days are a pretty big deal.
  • Offers a wide variety of class sizes–from lecture halls with more than 200 students to advanced study groups with less than 20.

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Campus Clash: The Most Distinct Differences Between All 13 UW System Schools

UW-Milwaukee campus (photo via University of Wisconsin System.

Number of Undergrads: 17,360 (Fall 2022)

Campus Type: Urban

Top 5 Majors:

  1. Marketing
  2. Nursing
  3. Psychology
  4. Finance
  5. Information Science

Average Class Size: Less than 30 students

In-State Tuition: $10,020 (2023-24)

Out-of-State Tuition: $22,020 (2023-24)

Distinct Features:

  • Offers the only schools of architecture, freshwater sciences, and public health in Wisconsin.
  • Home to the state’s largest nursing program.
  • The only school in the state to offer a Bachelor’s in ASL/English translation.

University of Wisconsin-Green Bay

Campus Clash: The Most Distinct Differences Between All 13 UW System Schools

UW-Green Bay campus (photo via UW-Green Bay).

Number of Undergrads: 6,823 (Fall 2020)

Campus Type: Suburban

Top 5 Majors:

  1. Business Administration and Management
  2. Psychology
  3. Nursing
  4. Human Biology
  5. Liberal Arts and Sciences

Average Class Size: 25 students

In-State Tuition: $7,190 (2023-24)

Out-of-State Tuition: $15,778 (2023-24)

Distinct Features:

  • Multiple centers on campus dedicated to equity and inclusion, including a Pride Center for LGBTQ+ students, Mesa Center for multi-ethnic students, and Mauthe Center for students of different faiths.
  • Some of the best residence halls in the UW System, including private suites with personal bathrooms and indoor walkways between buildings (perfect for cold Wisconsin winters.)
  • Less than 15 minutes from Lambeau–ideal for Packers fans!

University of Wisconsin-La Crosse

Campus Clash: The Most Distinct Differences Between All 13 UW System Schools

UW-La Crosse campus (photo via The Raquet Press).

Number of Undergrads: 9,379 (Fall 2022)

Campus Type: Urban

Top 5 Majors:

  1. Biology
  2. Psychology
  3. Kinesiology
  4. Finance
  5. Marketing

Average Class Size: 29 students

In-State Tuition: $9,773 (2023-24)

Out-of-State Tuition: $18,813 (2023-24)

Distinct Features:

University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire

Campus Clash: The Most Distinct Differences Between All 13 UW System Schools

Aerial photos of UWEC campus during fall (photo via UW Eau Claire).

Number of Undergrads: 8,924 (Fall 2022)

Campus Type: Urban

Top 5 Majors:

  1. Business Administration and Management
  2. Psychology
  3. Nursing
  4. Marketing
  5. Finance

Average Class Size: 26 students

In-State Tuition: $8,875 (2021-22)

Out-of-State Tuition: $17,150 (2021-22)

Distinct Features:

University of Wisconsin-Whitewater

Campus Clash: The Most Distinct Differences Between All 13 UW System Schools

UW Whitewater campus (photo via UW Whitewater Athletics).

Number of Undergrads: 9,375 (Fall 2022)

Campus Type: Suburban

Top 5 Majors:

  1. Finance
  2. Marketing
  3. Accounting
  4. Elementary Education and Teaching
  5. Communication

Average Class Size: 23 students

In-State Tuition: $8,250 (2023-24)

Out-of-State Tuition: $17,916 (2023-24)

Distinct Features:

  • One of the most affordable campuses in the UW System.
  • Named a “College of Distinction” for its business, education, and career development programs.
  • Also distinguished for its commitment to equity and inclusion.

University of Wisconsin-Platteville

Campus Clash: The Most Distinct Differences Between All 13 UW System Schools

UW-Platteville campus (photo via University of Wisconsin System).

Number of Undergrads: 6,200 (Fall 2022)

Campus Type: Rural

Top 5 Majors:

  1. Mechanical Engineering
  2. Business Administration and Management
  3. Criminal Justice
  4. Civil Engineering
  5. Manufacturing Engineering Technology

Average Class Size: 25 students

In-State Tuition: $8,385 (2023-24)

Out-of-State Tuition: $17,344 (2023-24)

Distinct Features:

  • Wisconsin’s #1 school for return on investment–meaning Platteville grads quickly earn back more than they spent on tuition.
  • Offers unique specialty programs like Nanotechnology, Forensic Investigation, and Renewable Energy.
  • One of the UW System’s most natural campuses.

University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh

Campus Clash: The Most Distinct Differences Between All 13 UW System Schools

UW-Oshkosh campus (photo via Wisconsin Small Business Development Center).

Number of Undergrads: 11,773 (Fall 2022)

Campus Type: Suburban

Top 5 Majors:

  1. Nursing
  2. Elementary Education and Teaching
  3. Biology
  4. Psychology
  5. Finance

Average Class Size: 25 students

In-State Tuition: $7,774 (2022-23)

Out-of-State Tuition: $15,348 (2022-23)

Distinct Features:

  • Strong focus on research.
  • Nationally ranked for its sustainability efforts.
  • Just a 15 minute walk from one side of campus to the other!

University of Wisconsin-Superior

Campus Clash: The Most Distinct Differences Between All 13 UW System Schools

UW-Superior campus (photo via UW-Superior).

Number of Undergrads: 2,206 (Fall 2022)

Campus Type: Suburban

Top 5 Majors:

  1. Elementary Education and Teaching
  2. Business Administration and Management
  3. Interdisciplinary Studies
  4. Physical Education
  5. Biology

Average Class Size: 16 students

In-State Tuition: $8,486 (2023-24)

Out-of-State Tuition: $16,400 (2023-24)

Distinct Features:

  • Home to 4 world-class research centers.
  • Less than 2 miles from Lake Superior, the largest Great Lake.
  • Offers unique programs in Art Therapy and Transportation & Logistics Management.

University of Wisconsin-River Falls

Campus Clash: The Most Distinct Differences Between All 13 UW System Schools

UW-River Falls campus (photo via Niche).

Number of Undergrads: 5,410 (Fall 2021)

Campus Type: Suburban

Top 5 Majors:

  1. Business Administration and Management
  2. Animal Sciences
  3. Elementary Education and Teaching
  4. Psychology
  5. Biology

Average Class Size: 22 students

In-State Tuition: $8,606 (2023-24)

Out-of-State Tuition: $16,888 (2023-24)

Distinct Features:

  • Ranked #1 in the UW System for percent of students who study abroad (2019-20).
  • Named a “Best College” for intramural sports by BestColleges.com.
  • A proud affiliate with Bee Campus USA, a program dedicated to pollinator conservation.

University of Wisconsin-Stout

Campus Clash: The Most Distinct Differences Between All 13 UW System Schools

UW-Stout campus (photo via University of Wisconsin System).

Number of Undergrads: 6,246 (Fall 2022)

Campus Type: Rural

Top 5 Majors:

  1. Business Administration
  2. Operations Management and Supervision
  3. Mechanical Engineering
  4. Human Development and Family Studies
  5. Hospitality Administration/Management

Average Class Size: 22 students

In-State Tuition: $7,014 (2022-23)

Out-of-State Tuition: $15,281 (2022-23)

Distinct Features:

  • Known as Wisconsin’s “polytechnic” university that specializes in hands-on learning opportunities.
  • Great for STEM students.
  • Offers several degree programs that are 100% online.

University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point

Campus Clash: The Most Distinct Differences Between All 13 UW System Schools

UW-Stevens Point campus (photo via UW-Stevens Point).

Number of Undergrads: 7,278 (Fall 2021)

Campus Type: Rural

Top 5 Majors:

  1. Business Administration and Management
  2. Biology
  3. Sociology
  4. Communication
  5. Psychology

Average Class Size: 25 students

In-State Tuition: $8,368 (2021-22)

Out-of-State Tuition: $17,035 (2021-22)

Distinct Features:

  • Most grads begin careers in K-12 education, healthcare, and government.
  • Ranked by US News and World as one of the top public universities in the Midwest.
  • Three separate campuses: Stevens Point, Marshfield, and Wausau.

University of Wisconsin-Parkside

Campus Clash: The Most Distinct Differences Between All 13 UW System Schools

UW-Parkside campus (University of Wisconsin System).

Number of Undergrads: 2,394 (Fall 2022)

Campus Type: Suburban

Top 5 Majors:

  1. Business Administration and Management
  2. Psychology
  3. Criminal Justice
  4. Biology
  5. Accounting

Average Class Size: 19 students

In-State Tuition: $7,854 (2023-24)

Out-of-State Tuition: $16,496 (2023-24)

Distinct Features:

  • The #1 criminal justice program in Wisconsin.
  • Halfway between two major cities–Milwaukee and Chicago–and two train lines for easy transportation.
  • Offers an award-winning theater program.

CURRENT RANKINGS: US News & World Report’s Best Colleges in America

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