enroll in themed interdisciplinary clusters of UW-Madison classes • small class sizes • dedicated instructors

Choose your FIG

Spring 2021 students:

  1. Look through the catalog of FIGs and explore the ones of interest to you.
  2. Request a spot in a FIG with the “Choose your FIG” form.
    • If you are in a country that does not allow access to Google Forms, or otherwise not able to access the form through a web browser, please contact Kari Fernholz at kari.fernholz@wisc.edu.
  3. Since FIGs are in high demand, you can request a spot in only one FIG (exception: read about “waitlist” FIGs below).
    • Did you change your mind after submitting the form? You can submit again, and it will replace your earlier request.
  4. You will receive an email a few minutes after submitting the form, just for your records. The form asks for your new official “@wisc.edu” address, and this is where we will send important information to you.
  5. You will receive another email, closer to your enrollment appointment day, when permissions have been set up for you to enroll.
  6. When you’re ready to enroll, follow the process described on the Enroll in your FIG page.

The FIG I want says “WAITLIST” on the form

If the “Choose your FIG” form shows that your choice is waitlisted, it means that all the available seats have been reserved or filled.

You can add your name to our waitlist by submitting the form with that FIG as your choice. Please also find another open FIG and request a spot there, too. That way you can get registered for a FIG.

Spots may open up in waitlisted FIGs if other students decide to enroll in different classes or more capacity becomes available. We cannot predict when or if this will happen. If you are next on the waitlist when a spot is open, Kari Fernholz will contact you at your @wisc.edu email address.

The FIG I want isn’t listed on the form

When enough students fill the waitlist for a FIG, it will become CLOSED. Closed FIGs won’t appear on the form, so that students don’t mistakenly request a seat in one. You can confirm that the FIG is closed by checking its page on this website.

Who can enroll in a FIG?

In the spring, FIGs are open to any interested student, including returning students, transfers, and new freshmen.

A few FIGs are designed only for students who are advised by specific programs or colleges such as Art or Engineering. When you browse the catalog of current FIGs, look for the yellow tags that identify these unique cases. Other than these few restricted FIGs, all others are open to any student for whom it is a good fit. Please talk with your advisor about your interests and which FIGs might be right for you.

Some FIG classes require certain minimum scores on your placement tests. For example, a FIG that that requires a specific math competency to enroll. These are issues your advisor can help address.

When do I enroll?

You enroll on or after your enrollment appointment day, along with your other spring classes.

How do FIG classes fit into my semester?

FIGs generally have three classes. Most students will also enroll for at least one other class of their choosing.

Undergraduates are usually full-time students, which means enrolling for 12 to 18 credits each semester. Each class is assigned a certain number of credits, depending on how many hours a week the class meets and other factors.

The credits of all the classes in a FIG are added together, and you can find that total number listed for each current FIG. If you enroll in a 9-credit FIG, you will also choose additional classes with at least 3 credits to meet the 12-credit minimum credit load.

The three classes in a FIG are separate courses with different instructors and they  count toward graduation. The only thing unique about them is that they are linked together so that everyone in the FIG cohort is enrolled in the same sections of all three classes. Your advisor will help you select the non-FIG class(es) that will work with your FIG schedule and make sense for you.

Do FIGs cost extra?

Nope, there is no cost beyond your usual tuition and fee expenses.

Can I take just one class in a three-class FIG?

No. First-Year Interest Groups are a whole package: when you enroll, you commit to taking the full set of specific classes in the FIG. Each FIG class section will meet at a specific time (unless they are taught asynchronously), which you can see on the FIG’s page and at enroll.wisc.edu. You must enroll in these specific classes/sections.

If you want to take only the linked class in a FIG, then you (with your advisor’s help) may be able to enroll in that class separate from the FIG Program, if there are seats available in non-FIG sections. The main FIG seminar is only for students in the FIG.

Can I drop a class in a FIG?

Just as you must enroll in all of the classes in the FIG, dropping a class within a FIG means dropping all classes in the FIG. This is because we reserve equal numbers of seats in all of the FIG classes and we want everyone in the FIG to have the whole experience. Part of what makes a FIG special is the ability to think about the relationship between all of the classes—which is only possible if everyone is enrolled in the whole package.

However, after the semester begins, if you have concerns about one of your FIG classes, please contact us so we can help (figs@ls.wisc.edu).