University of Wisconsin–Madison

UW-Madison Four-Year Graduation Agreement

UW-Madison encourages, supports and expects students to graduate on time. While many students traditionally graduate within four years, some take more or less time. A formal agreement and plan leading to graduation within four years is a path that might appeal to students looking for a more structured collegiate experience. If you make a plan, and follow these guidelines, you should be able to graduate in a timely manner.

The UW-Madison Four-Year Graduation Agreement is available to students wishing to enter into a signed agreement to complete their program (if it qualifies) within four years. The agreement is designed to formalize a plan for students from initial enrollment, assuming full-time continuous registration, until their graduation in four-years time. Students must develop and maintain their academic plan and have regular contact with UW-Madison advisers. To maximize students’ success in this program, the protocol (described in more detail below) provides a prescribed amount of structure during four, consecutive undergraduate years.

Participation in the agreement does not guarantee admission to any specific lecture, discussion section or lab, major or department, nor does it give priority registration to the student. The university agrees to provide the services and remedy described in the agreement.

Agreement Protocol

In order to participate and graduate according to the agreement, students must abide by the following protocol.

  • General Provisions
    1. The student may withdraw from the agreement at any time without penalty, upon written notice to the adviser, through letter or email.
    2. Failure of the student to be admitted to the intended major or program results in cancellation of the agreement unless a change in major is approved by the adviser. If the student elects to change majors or degrees or if a student is not admitted to the intended major or program, the student may change majors or degrees and continue to participate in the agreement only if the change requires no adjustment in the initial time frame of the agreement plan as verified by the adviser in the new major or degree. The university is required to offer courses that allow the student to meet the graduation requirements of the intended and declared majors through both elective and required courses. The university does not guarantee admission to any specific course lecture, discussion section or lab; major or department.
    3. Noncompliance of the student with any of the provisions of the agreement results in cancellation of the agreement upon notice provided by the university. Provision of an opportunity to cure the noncompliance is solely within the discretion of the university.
    4. The ability or inability of the student to obtain financial assistance does not affect the terms of the agreement.
    5. The student expressly waives any and all rights to remedies other than those listed under item 3 of Requirements of the University.
    6. Schools, colleges, and departments may have additional requirements for the agreement protocol. Those requirements are incorporated into the agreement and protocol and a copy will be provided to the student by the adviser at the time the agreement is signed.

    For more information about the Four-Year Graduation Agreement and protocol, contact your UW–Madison academic adviser.

  • Student Requirements

    Students must satisfy the following conditions in order to participate in and fulfill the requirements of the UW-Madison Four-Year Graduation Agreement:

    1. Begin at the University as an entering freshman and participate in the summer or winter Student Orientation, Advising and Registration (SOAR) program.
    2. Contact the Office of the Provost about your intent to enter a Four-Year Graduation Agreement (email: provost@provost.wisc.edu; put “Four-Year Graduation Agreement” in the subject line).
    3. Meet with an adviser in the first three weeks of your first term to develop a four-year graduation plan and to obtain the adviser’s verification that the intended course of study can be completed within the four-year time frame, given course placements (e.g. mathematics and foreign language) and current schedule of courses, and to establish the appropriate time to declare or apply for admission to a major. The intended major must be a major which is included in the agreement program. Majors which cannot be completed within four years do not qualify for the agreement. More than one major may be selected as an “intended major” provided that the adviser verifies in the four-year agreement plan that the prerequisites for and requirements of the majors can be completed within the four calendar years.
    4. The adviser and student will develop and sign an agreed four-year graduation course plan that will enable the student to complete an intended course of study in four calendar years of full time enrollment. This agreed upon course plan may be developed and signed for each semester separately, or may be developed and signed for one or more years. Regardless of the time period for the individual course plan, the student will consult with an adviser at least once each semester or more if requested by the adviser.
    5. Consult with an adviser at least once each semester to verify continued satisfaction of the conditions of participation in the agreement and the four-year graduation plan.
    6. Register during the first 48 hours of the student’s assigned registration period provided for each semester or summer session for courses that fulfill the agreement course plan established with an adviser, as described below.
    7. Within three business days following the first 48 hours of the student’s assigned registration period for a semester, notify the chair of the major department (or dean, where applicable) and the adviser by letter or by e-mail if the student is unable to enroll in a course required for graduation, provided that the student has otherwise satisfied the other conditions of the agreement. The student will accept enrollment in an alternative course and/or scheduling time approved by the major department and adviser, should either propose an alternative.
    8. Obtain at least one quarter of the credits required for graduation in each 12 months of enrollment following the student’s initial registration, including summer sessions.
    9. Formally declare a major or apply for admission to programs with special admission requirements in the time frame established in writing with an agreement adviser in the student’s agreement plan.
    10. If the student elects to change majors or degrees or if a student is not admitted to the intended major or program, the student may change majors or degrees and continue to participate in the agreement only if the change requires no adjustment in the initial time frame of the agreement plan as verified by the adviser in the new major or degree.
    11. Meet the grade point average (GPA) requirements within the major and maintain a GPA of at least 2.0 overall or the required GPA for the intended major or program, whichever is higher. In addition, the student must perform according to the standards of the department or intended major in each required sequence of courses so that the student does not have to repeat any course and does not experience any delay in advancing in required sequences. The student must take courses in the sequence or timing required by the department or intended major.
    12. Promptly notify the adviser by letter or by email of potential problems with academic progress that might have an impact on the status of the agreement, including but not limited to failure to meet course requirements.
    13. Noncompliance with any of the provisions of the agreement may result in cancellation of the agreement, upon notice provided by the university, as described below. Providing an option to cure the noncompliance is solely within the discretion of the university.
  • University Requirements

    The university agrees to the following responsibilities under the Four-Year Graduation Agreement:

    1. Provide the student with an adviser who is knowledgeable about university, school, college, and major requirements, and ensure that the student is able to consult an adviser at least once each semester for advice on how to meet the conditions of the agreement and to develop the four-year agreement course plan. The adviser may request additional meetings as necessary.
    2. Offer courses that allow the student to meet the graduation requirements of the intended and declared majors through both elective and required courses. The university does not guarantee admission to any specific course lecture, discussion section or lab; major or department.
    3. In the event the student is unable to enroll in a course required for graduation as identified in the four-year agreement course plan, the university will provide one of the following remedies, at its sole discretion, upon the agreement of the student’s major department and adviser:
      • identify an alternative means to satisfy the applicable course requirement within the semester in question;
      • identify an alternative means to satisfy the applicable course requirement prior to the expiration of the four calendar years covered by the agreement;
      • provide the opportunity to take the required course or an alternative means to satisfy the applicable course requirement at no tuition cost to the student after the expiration of the four calendar years covered by the agreement.
      • These are the sole remedies available to the student. The university does not agree to provide and expressly denies liability to provide any other remedies, including but not limited to, the cost of living expenses, books or course materials; travel; lost wages; lost future earnings; damage to reputation.
    4. Provide the student with notice in writing if the student’s performance, course enrollment or other failure to meet requirements results in noncompliance with and cancellation of the provisions of the agreement. Provision of an opportunity to cure the non-compliance is solely within the discretion of the university and must be communicated by the adviser and accepted by the student in writing. The opportunity to cure the noncompliance will be included in an amended four-year agreement plan.
  • Non-Participating Majors

    For the 2016-17 academic year, the following majors do not qualify for the Four-Year Graduate Agreement:

    School of Business

    • International Business

    School of Education

    • Teacher Certification Programs in the following areas:
      • Art Education
      • Elementary Education: Middle Childhood-Early Adolescence/English as a Second Language
      • Elementary Education: Middle Childhood-Early Adolescence/Content-Focused

    College of Letters and Science

    • Applied Mathematics, Engineering, and Physics
    • Individual Majors
    • Music

Four-Year Graduation Agreement Forms

Please complete the following form to either initiate or terminate a four-year graduation agreement: