JIM-CS: Frequently Asked Questions
Some of these answers are from the perspective of students entering the
program at the University of Wisconsin - Platteville. Students who are
entering the program from another institution and plan to spend their second
(abroad) semester in Platteville should read below.
Questions of interest to all students
- What's this about "home" and "abroad"
- What schools are involved?
- What are the entrance requirements?
- What if my undergraduate degree is
in something besides computer science or software engineering?
- Do I have to know German?
- Is there a possibility that the
international requirement will be dropped?
- What degree will I earn?
- When do classes start?
- Are any of the classes available online?
- How much does the program cost?
- Are assistantships available?
- How do I apply?
- What is the application deadline?
- Are GRE scores required?
- How do I register for classes?
- How do I arrange housing?
- Can I take graduate courses as an
- Do you have other questions?
Questions of interest to students coming to Platteville
That is, questions for students for whom their home institution is at one
of the partner institutions.
- How do I apply?
- How much is tuition?
- How much is room, board, and other expenses?
- What else do I need to pay for?
- How do I pay?
- How do I fill out the health insurance
- Can I arrive early?
- How do I get around?
- Where can I get more information?
- Who do I contact?
What's this about "home" and "abroad" institutions?
The "home" institution is the school through which the student enters the
program. The student must meet all entrance requirements for that
institution. The "abroad" institution is the school at which the student
spends the second semester. Once admitted to the home institution, the
student is automatically eligible for taking classes at the abroad
What schools are involved?
Three institutions are currently accepting students for this program:
What are the entrance requirements?
Students must have a Bachelor's degree, generally with a major in computer
science or related field (such as software engineering, informatics,
computer information systems, etc.). In particular, it is assumed that
students would have had a number of courses in the discipline including
introductory programming, data structures, and at least four of the
following: computer architecture, database design, discrete mathematics,
programming languages, operating systems, networking, or software
engineering. Each institution has further requirements. For the
requirements (and how to apply) at UW-Platteville, see
below for information if your
undergraduate major was in another field.
You enter the program by applying to the institution that will be your
"home" institution. For example, students entering through Germany would
apply directly to h_da, and students entering through the United States
would apply directly to UW-Platteville. Each institution has additional entrance
requirements beyond the Bachelor's degree.
What if my undergraduate degree is
in something besides computer science or software engineering?
Students with a Bachelor's degree in other fields can be admitted
provisionally. At UW-Platteville, they would need to complete the necessary
undergraduate courses towards the degree. If a student has already taken a
course equivalent to
1430 and has an appropriate math background, it is feasible to complete
these requirements at UW-Platteville in a year. To be specific, one path
would be to take CS 2430 (Object-Oriented Programming and Data Structures
II), Math 2730 (Discrete Mathematics), and SE 2730 (Introduction to
Software Engineering) in one semester, and then (depending on the semester)
take two of CS 3230 (Computer Architecture and Operating Systems), CS 3630
(Database Design and Implementation), CS 3830 (Data Communications and
Computer Networks), and SE 3430 (Object-Oriented Analysis and
Design). Additional courses can be selected to bring the load up to
full-time status. Undergraduate courses serve only to gain full admission
to the program; they do not count towards the graduate program
requirements. In some cases the student would be able to take a limited
number of graduate courses before full admission. Substantial industry
experience will also be considered in lieu of specific courses when that
experience is directly related to the topic of one of these undergraduate
The above sequence assumes the student has already taken an introductory
course equivalent to CS 1430, Programming in C++. It is not necessary that
the course cover C++: other programming languages (especially Java) would
be sufficient. If such a course has not been taken, a minimum of three
semesters will be needed before the student can fully enter the graduate
program. Since that first semester will consist of taking just CS 1430
(with perhaps a mathematics course), it is strongly recommended that such
students take a course equivalent to CS 1430 in their local area before
moving to Platteville. However, it is important to communicate your
interests and the course you plan to take with UW-Platteville faculty to
make sure of a smooth transition into the master's program.
Do I have to know German?
Students who start out in Platteville do not. All of the classroom
instruction is in English both here in Platteville and in the JIM classes
at our partner institutions. In addition, a "culture and language" course
for students going to Germany gives the basics that you need to get around
without having to rely on people knowing English. All faculty involved in
the program speak excellent English, and you will find that most German
students are very fluent in English.
However, if you plan to enter through one of the partner institutions (in
particular, h_da), you will need to be proficient at the native language
for that institution. Thus if you are proficient at English but not
German, you would need to enter the program through UW-Platteville or Australia.
Is there a possibility that the international requirement will be
No: the international experience is an integral part of the program.
What degree will I earn?
You will receive a "Master of Science in Computer Science".
When do classes start?
Students can start their coursework in Platteville in either the fall or
spring semesters. They then go abroad to either Germany or Australia for
the following semester and return to Platteville to finish. The following
table summarizes the typical semester start times at all three locations.
|Platteville, WI||Sept. to Dec.
||mid-Jan. to mid-May|
||Aug. to Nov.
||March to July|
||late Oct. to mid-Jan.
||Mar. to July
("Fall" and "Spring" are the names used at UW-Platteville - the other
institutions use different names for their terms.)
Are any of the classes available online?
Because the program is focused on direct contact between students from
different countries, there are few online courses. Students can take a
business courses as part of the program, and many of these are offered
online. But for the most part students will be in traditional classrooms,
interacting directly with instructors and other students.
How much does the program cost?
The student pays tuition and fees established by the home institution. At
UW-Platteville, the fees are the same as those for other on-campus
master's programs. Click on the appropriate link below "Fee Schedules"
in the menu bar to the left.
Room, board, and travel expenses will be covered by the student, including
housing overseas and expenses for such things as passports and visas. A
grant is available for helping to defray travel expenses; see the International
Grants and Scholarships and look for "Study Abroad Grant". This grant
is available to American citizens or permanent resident aliens who are
enrolled in the program. Other grants may be available to you, so check
See the academic
costs site for information on room and board at UW-Platteville (ignore the
information there on tuition and fees). As of 2009, living and eating on
campus costs approximately $2750 per semester.
Living expenses in Platteville and Darmstadt are similar in that about 1
€ buys about as much as $US 1 to 1.50. For the current exchange rate,
see sites such as the
European Central Bank and
Likewise, living expenses in Townsville are similar to expenses in
Platteville - see ExchangeRate.com for the exchange
rate. There is an additional visa fee for students attending classes in
Australia, approximately $300 Australian.
International students entering the program through Platteville
(that is, international students who treat Platteville as their home
institution) would pay the same tuition and fees as a nonresident. This is
because UW-Platteville is largely supported by Wisconsin state tax dollars.
Assistantships can reduce this expense - see the next item.
Students entering the program through the sister institutions (that is,
treating Platteville as their "abroad" institution) pay the same tuition
and fees as their home institution; such students need to see below for information on costs.
Are assistantships available?
A very limited number of assistantships are available; they are awarded
on a competitive basis with consideration for need. Students must be
enrolled full-time and taking classes on the Platteville campus to be
eligible for an assistantship. Students may also be eligible for financial aid and scholarships.
Assistantships are not enough to live on - on the order of a few thousand a
semester - but being on an assistantship does mean the differential between
resident and non-resident fees are waived. That is, while you're on an
assistantship, non-resident students pay fees as if they were residents.
Most WI residents find it easier and more profitable to work locally
instead; there are good opportunities in the area for students with
software development and computer skills.
Once you have been admitted you may apply for an assistantship by filling
out an application
and contacting the program coordinator.
Assistantship duties range from constructing software to further
departmental goals to being a lab assistant. UW-Platteville does not support teaching
assistantships, so the assistantships are typically research-oriented.
How do I apply?
All students can apply online at
the UW System online
application site. Details
about the application process are also on the graduate
What is the application deadline?
Applications are accepted year-around. For full consideration, American
students (or student who already have a visa) should apply by December 1 to
start the program in January, and by Aug. 1 to start in September.
Applying earlier (for both American and international
students) may also be important for receiving financial aid and scholarships.
International students - that is, those who will require a visa - need to
apply earlier. The specific date depends on where the student is from, but
May 1 is the general deadline for a September admission and Sept. 10 for a
January admission. Later applications will certainly be considered, but
may not provide sufficient time to obtain the visa.
Are GRE scores required?
No, taking the GRE (either the general or the subject exam) is currently
not required for entry into the program. However, we certainly will take
GRE scores into consideration if they are supplied.
How do I register for classes?
Once admitted, register for classes at UW-Platteville by talking to your academic
advisor and filling out the graduate
registration form. Directions for submitting the form are given at the
same place. See the registrar's
graduate school site for more registration information. Students
typically register for 9 to 12 credits of coursework each semester.
How do I arrange housing?
Students at UW-Platteville have the choice of living on or off campus. See the housing web site for
information about on-campus housing. To sign up for housing, visit the
housing office or call 1-866-864-7647 (toll-free).
Students from the international partner institutions are currently being
housed in the residence halls. International students have the option of
arranging for off-campus housing, but they would need to make their own
arrangements. One challenge is that most house rentals require a 12 month
contract. But most international students find living on campus gives more
opportunities to mix with American students.
Can I take graduate courses as an undergrad?
UW-Platteville has a policy allowing undergrads to take courses numbered between 5000
and 6990 for graduate credit during their last semester as an undergraduate
student. See the graduate
registration page for details, noting that your current GPA must be at
least 2.75 or 2.90 over your last 60 credits. Courses numbered 7000 and
higher are open to graduate students only.
Do you have other questions?
Contact the program coordinator at UW-Platteville if you have
any questions that aren't answered above!
Students coming to Platteville for their abroad
Students planning their second semester at Platteville (that is, starting
in Germany or Australia) should read the above notes as well, but this section
is specifically geared towards those students.
How do I apply?
Apply to the institution that will be your home institution; you
do not apply directly to UW-Platteville. Among other things, this means
that minimum TOEFL scores and entrance criteria are set by that
institution, and there are no additional entrance requirements to satisfy
before being able to take classes in Platteville (though there may be other
requirements such as purchasing insurance - see below).
How much is tuition?
You pay tuition to your home institution during your abroad semester, so
tuition and fees (if any) are the same as for the first semester.
How much is room, board, and other expenses?
A residence hall room is approximately $1,760 (per semester, as of 2013).
There are a number of different meal plans available, but the most popular
ones are about the same as a residence hall room: around $1,500 per semester.
For more detailed and accurate information, see the detailed costs and
costs websites. For these latter two sites, you'll need to factor out
the costs of tuition and fees since they don't apply to JIM-CS students
from abroad. Also note the website may present information for the an
entire academic year, not just one semester; and note that while tuition
and fees are higher for non-residents, room and board is (currently) the
same for all.
As an alternative, you can live off-campus. If you desired to do this, you
would need to make your own arrangements. Many upper-level UW-Platteville
live off-campus, but since most leases in Platteville are for 12 months it
may be very difficult to find a place for just one semester. Generally,
the expectation is that students will live on campus for their semester in
Platteville. In our experience, JIM-CS students visiting Platteville
report that living in the residence halls works well because it encourages
mixing with American and other students.
If you do live off-campus, you can choose whether to sign up for a campus
meal plan or not. Students generally find a meal plan a bit more expensive
than cooking for themselves, but it also has the advantage of not having to
spend a lot of time buying food at the grocery store, cooking, and
cleaning. In addition, the meal plan provides more variety and quantity
than most students can get on their own.
Living expenses are pretty similar between Darmstadt, Townsville, and
Platteville. More discussion on living expenses can be found
in Ch. 2
What else do I need to pay for?
Outside of daily living expenses, the most critical thing is to purchase
University of Wisconsin-approved health insurance. This is a requirement
for all international students, no exceptions. For
information on health insurance, visit the incoming student application
site and search for "Health Insurance". You will be billed for the
insurance when you arrive. The insurance does not cover
dental work (as of Fall, 2008), so students who are concerned about this
may wish to purchase dental insurance from another source.
International students are required to make a deposit of about $200. About
half of this deposit will be applied towards your housing bill when you
arrive; the other half pays for transportation from the airport to
Platteville and for a few supplies. Students also need to pay a fee for
their visa; this was $180 in Fall of 2008.
There are a number of additional expenses regular students pay that
international JIM-CS students do not need to pay. These include
tuition, the "SUFAC" fee, and the book rental fee. If you are billed for
these items, talk to the program coordinator to get the issue resolved.
How do I pay?
The University has contracts that allow payment by Discover, American
Express, and Mastercard. As of Fall of 2009, VISA was not
accepted by the University, though of course you can use VISA at local
businesses. Other forms of payment are also accepted such as money orders,
checks, and of course cash.
How do I fill out the health insurance form?
There are two items that typically confuse international students the
most on the health insurance form. For the address, enter the generic
University of Wisconsin-Platteville
1 University Plaza
Platteville, WI 53818
For the time period, enter the date you leave your country for the start
date and the date you will return as the end date.
Can I arrive early?
Yes: up to 30 days prior to the start of classes. However, if you arrive
early then it is critical that you notify UW-Platteville upon arriving in the US and
that you keep UW-Platteville notified of your location as you travel. This is
required for your visa.
UW-Platteville will send a bus to O'Hare International Airport (in Chicago) on a
preset date to transport students from O'Hare to Platteville. The bus will
travel to O'Hare just once; if you arrive early you will need to
either get to O'Hare so you can travel with the other students or you will
need to provide your own transportation from wherever you are to
Platteville. In any case, if you are going to arrive before the pickup
date, you must
The student visa that you will receive requires that people at UW-Platteville know
where you are at all times while you are in the country on the visa.
It's possible to get sent back home if you do not satisfy these
- Send an itinerary of travel plans and flight schedule to us
- Call Jean Olson at 608-342-1686 on arrival and let her know
where you are and the time you arrived. This must be done as soon as you
- Keep either Jean Olson or the CSSE department notified of any changes
to your travel plans.
How do I get around?
Like most towns of a similar size in the United States (about 10,000
residents, 15,000 when the students are in town), Platteville does not have
an extensive public transportation system. There is a good variety of
stores within easy walking distance of campus, and there is a small taxicab
company that can be used to get to the bigger stores at the edge of town.
Student organizations often sponsor van rides to the closest cities, Dubuque and Madison. From these
cities it is possible to take bus trips to larger metropolitan areas such
Where can I get more information?
See the international
exchange program site for more details about coming to Platteville.
This site contains a link to to the application form as well as links to
information sites on academic calendars, visas, housing, meal plans,
Wisconsin, and other frequently asked questions.
Who do I contact?
The coordinator at UW-Platteville is Qi
Yang. If you have questions about our international partners, check
out the web sites for h_da (Germany) and
JCU (Australia) for more information.