University of Wisconsin–Madison

Nordic Graduate Program

Housed in GNS, the Scandinavian Studies Program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison offers students the opportunity to explore the languages, cultures, societies, and arts of the Scandinavian countries. This interdisciplinary approach helps students to develop a wide range of abilities, from language fluency to critical thinking and analytical skills to effective communication skills. All this while studying a region that is at the forefront of design, environmental action, arts, and business. Our particular strengths lie in Old Norse and Medieval Studies, Folklore and Public Humanities, and Literature and Cultural Studies related to all the Nordic countries. Graduate students and faculty work closely together to craft a program of study that best suits our students’ professional goals. We have an excellent record of supporting our graduate students and are able to provide support for graduate student participation in national and international conferences.

The GNS Nordic Graduate Program offers both an MA and a PhD in Scandinavian Studies. We hope you will consider applying to our program.

We are currently accepting applications for admittance into the Program.

M.A. in Scandinavian Studies:

We offer an MA degree specializing in one of the following three fields:
(1) Literature
(2) Philology
(3) Area Studies

Ph.D. in Scandinavian Studies:

We offer at PhD degree specializing in one of the following three fields:
(1) Literature
(2) Philology
(3) Folklore

Beginning MA and Ph.D. students should work out their program with the graduate advisor, who will assist them in their choice of a major professor.  The basic requirements for all students entering the program correspond to the requirements for the M.A. degree in Scandinavian Studies with concentration in literature, area studies, or philology, as appropriate.

The graduate coordinator, in consultation with the Nordic Program, will advise students applying to our Ph.D. program from outside as to the necessity of taking a qualifying examination. Students will be informed one way or another at the time of their admission. The qualifying exam is normally a one- to two-hour oral exam, and is normally administered during the second semester of the student’s residence; it will test the student broadly on matters of Scandinavian literature and culture.

Students who wish to do Ph.D. work in the fields of Scandinavian linguistics or history should do so in the Departments of Linguistics and History, respectively, and take a Ph.D. minor in Scandinavian Studies. (See information below.)

In addition to the general requirements, there are special course requirements for degree candidates in each of the areas of specialization. Undergraduate work may count in fulfillment of these requirements (and the requirements can sometimes be adjusted to take into consideration the preparation and needs of individual students).

PhD Minor in Scandinavian Studies:

A prospective minor in the Scandinavian Studies Program must have a program approved in advance by the graduate adviser and is urged to discuss the entire doctoral program with this adviser at the earliest possible opportunity.

The following are departmental guidelines for a PhD minor, though ultimately everything must be approved by the graduate advisor:
1. A minimum of 12 credits in Scandinavian Studies on the graduate level (including at least one seminar).
2. A reading proficiency in one Scandinavian language (including Old or Modern Icelandic) or in Finnish.

Deadline for financial funding consideration is January 2nd if you are applying for Fall admission

Applicants for admission to this program are expected to have preparation equivalent to an undergraduate major in Scandinavian Studies at UW-Madison and must either have taken three years of a Scandinavian language or must demonstrate (by examination) equivalent competence in one Scandinavian language (or Finnish). A GPA of 3.25 is required for admission; students with a GPA of 3.0 or above may be considered for admission on probation. Students should make regular appointments with the graduate student advisor for regular progress advice. Currently the graduate student adviser is Susan Brantly.

Deadline for financial funding consideration is January 2nd if you are applying for Fall admission

Step 1: Submit your application online. When specifying “Intended Field Study,” select Scandinavian Studies.

Step 2:  Materials to be sent to the Department include:

1. Upload copies of official transcripts.

2.Three letters of recommendation from recent employers or faculty
Letters of Recommendation are submitted online by your references. Each recommender will receive an electronic invitation to submit a letter on the applicant’s behalf. You can check to see if your recommendations have been submitted in the online application status system.

3.GRE (North American Students Only)
GRE scores are sent electronically from ETS – use institution code 1846.

4.TOEFL or MELAB (Non-Native English Students only)
TOEFL scores are required of all applicants whose native language is not English, or whose undergraduate instruction was not in English. TOEFL scores are sent electronically from ETS – use institution code 1846

Step 3: We will review your application and documents.

Watch your application status page through My UW for missing checklist items or additional information.  Activate your NetID in My UW to ensure continued processing of your application. Contact if you do not receive the email with instructions within two days of final submission of your application.

Please contact Mark Mears, the Graduate Coordinator, at or ph: (608)262-6764 if you have any questions about the application process.


The American-Scandinavian Foundation (ASF) offers fellowships up to $23,000 (for a full year) and grants up to $5,000 (for one to three months) for proposed research projects in the Scandinavian countries. This scholarship is available to graduate students.

The Birgit Baldwin Fellowship in Scandinavian Studies is a grant to encourage the research and writing of dissertations for the PhD in topics concerned with Scandinavian (Nordic) literature or film that can most effectively be pursued in the archives and libraries of the Nordic countries. The stipend is $24,000 (payable in two installments) for travel and living expenses in the Nordic region for one academic year. The application deadline is December 1.

The Boren Scholarship is an NSEP grant for study of less commonly taught languages. The scholarship totals $8,000 for summer programs, $10,000 for single semester programs, and $20,000 for a full academic year. Applications are typically due in February. This scholarship is available to both undergraduate and graduate students.

The Brittingham Viking Organization offers three full scholarships to American students studying in Scandinavia: the Madison-Ehrnrooth scholarship to Finland, the Madison Middelboe-Kellner Scholarship to Denmark, and the Madison Oslo Scholarship to Norway.

The Cultural Agreements program, funded by the Danish government, offers tuition (and room & board) scholarships for summer language courses in Danish. The application deadline is typically in March. This scholarship is available to both undergraduate and graduate students.

The Danish Institute for Study Abroad (DIS) offers a number of various scholarships ranging in value from $250 to $10,000. These scholarships are available for the summer, fall, and spring semesters and operate on a rolling deadline.

Diversity Abroad & the Institute of International Education Benjamin both offer the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship for non-traditional study abroad students and projects. This scholarship is available to undergraduate students who are receiving Federal Pell Grant funding.

The Foundation for Global Scholars offers scholarships of approximately $1,000 to $3,000 for general study abroad programs, either summer or academic year programs.

The Department of Education offers Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS)scholarships through UW-Madison. This scholarship is for study of less commonly taught languages. For a full academic year, the scholarship includes $10,000 towards tuition (with an additional $5,000 stipend) for undergraduate students and a $15,000 stipend for graduate students. Participants in summer programs receive $5,000 towards tuition and a $2,500 stipend. Applications are typically due in mid-February.

The Fulbright Foundation offers grants of approximately $25,000 for full-year research projects abroad. The online application is typically open until mid-October. These grants are available to graduate students and recent graduates.

The Fund for Education Abroad (FEA) awards scholarships of up to $10,000 ($5,000 per semester, $1,250 for summer programs) to students from traditionally underrepresented groups. FEA also offers dedicated scholarships for specific demographics. The application deadline is typically in mid-January. These scholarships are available to undergraduate students.

The Gudrun Gytel Fund offers support for students studying in Denmark for the fall or spring semester or for a full academic year. Applications are considered year-round, though applications for spring semester study are due October 1 and applications for fall semester and yearlong study are due April 1.

The Leifur Eríksson Foundation offers a scholarship of up to $25,000 to students who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents who wish to study and/or conduct research in Iceland and to students who are Icelandic citizens or permanent residents who wish to study and/or conduct research in the U.S. Applications are often due in mid-December. This scholarship is available to graduate students.

The ScanDesign Foundation offers scholarships to UW-Madison students studying abroad in Denmark for a semester, academic year, or summer term through any UW-approved study abroad program in Denmark, as well as to Danish student on exchange at UW-Madison. UW-Madison student applicants must be U.S. citizens. Applicants from Denmark must be Danish citizens.

The Nordic Program offers Travel Grants of varying amounts each year to its undergraduate and graduate students.

The Upper Midwest Rebild Scholarship Corporation offers scholarships from $1,000 to $3,000 for students studying in Denmark.