Open Doors Report ranks UW-Madison as #12 for study abroad, #20 for international students

UW–Madison continues to be a top U.S. university for study abroad and international students, according to the 2023 Open Doors Report, which is published annually by the Institute of International Education in partnership with the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

The report listed the UW as #12 among all U.S. universities for total study abroad participation. The 2023 rankings are based on participation in academic year 2021–2022. During that academic year, 1,798 students participated in study abroad programs. Notably, UW student participation in semester-length programs was strong, with the report ranking the university as #3 for students studying for mid-length duration.

“Given study abroad’s impact on academic and professional development, we are gratified to see so many students participating in global experiences,” said Dan Gold, director of International Academic Programs (IAP) at UW–Madison. “We see this as a strong showing, especially considering that during this period, programming was still impacted by travel restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We have since been observing record levels of participation that we anticipate will be reflected in future reports.“

IAP offers more than 260 program options in over 70 countries. The top destinations for study abroad are Spain, Italy, and the United Kingdom. This includes international internship programs and domestic study away programs, both of which are also popular among Badgers.

UW–Madison maintained its ranking as the #20 institution for international students.

Open Doors provides rankings for international students based on the 2022–2023 academic year. During this period, the report lists UW-Madison as home to 8,567 international students. This number includes students participating in OPT (optional practical training) to gain work experience in their field of study while in the United States. The official campus count of 7,330 for fall 2022 does not include OPT participants.

International students at UW–Madison come from 115 countries. Among students studying at UW–Madison in fall 2022, 3,517 were undergraduates, 3,470 were graduate/professional students, and 343 were special (non-degree seeking).

“Inclusion in the list of top 20 host institutions for international students speaks to the strong academic and co-curricular offerings at UW–Madison, as well as the support services dedicated to building a more inclusive learning and living environment for our international student population,” said Samantha McCabe, International Student Services director.

“It is exciting to see the university’s strong numbers in the Open Doors Report, and they reflect the strengths of our global academic programs, our commitment to international students, staff, and faculty, and our longstanding partnerships around the world,” said Frances Vavrus, vice provost and dean, UW–Madison International Division.

The Open Doors Report is released in conjunction with International Education Week, a joint initiative of the Departments of State and Education, which highlights the benefits of international engagement. UW–Madison is celebrating the week from November 13–17. View a full list of events planned for the week at