Bradley Learning Community residents pose for a photo during a roundtable dinner

Learning & Affinity Communities

Why Join a Learning or Affinity Community?

  • Exclusive special events, for-credit seminars, and activities built around your interests
  • Co-sponsored by UW-Madison Schools and Colleges
  • Open to students of any major — focus on your major or explore subjects to find your path
  • Additional staff to help residents succeed:
    • Faculty Directors: professors that provide leadership, discussion, and networking outside classes and office hours
    • Program Manager: full-time professional staff who oversee communities, plan events, and assist with career advising and academic support
    • Learning Community Program Assistants: students who previously lived in a learning community who provide education, recreation, and support to new residents
    • Peer Mentors: students who previously lived in a learning community who provide education and support to new residents in specific learning community seminars
  • Your level of involvement is completely up to you

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How to Join a Learning Community

  1. Sign your University Residence Halls contract and submit your advance payment in My UW Housing
  2. Prioritize learning communities over residence halls when you submit your hall preferences in My UW Housing
  3. Receive your room assignment

The learning community fee may be waived in cases of exceptional financial need by submitting a request for a fee waiver.

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Elevate Your Wisconsin Experience


Residents of Barnard talking and studying

Designed to enhance and connect your experience both inside and outside the classroom, learning and affinity communities are the best of both worlds — the resources of a top research university combined with the intimate community feel of a small liberal arts college. By living in these communities, you’ll be surrounded by friends who share your interests, making it easier to relate what you learn in classes to your future career and putting you on the fast track to success.


Enrolling in a learning community seminar is a great way to become more involved with your learning community. Every learning community offers a seminar that only residents in that community are able to take. The seminar is related to the topic that the learning community focuses on, so participating in the seminar is a great way to learn more about that topic, while taking a class with friends you’ve made in your learning community. Through their association with learning communities, students easily connect with faculty, the university, and community leaders. Most seminars are 1-credit and easily fit into your course schedule.

Class Sections

To view class sections and courses reserved specifically for your residence hall or learning community, visit our Residence Hall Class Sections page.

Participation Level

Each learning community has different expectations. All encourage you to participate in the seminars that are offered so that you can make the most of your experience of being a member of that learning community. Regardless of which type of participation level is asked of you, learning community seminars are a great way to become more involved with your learning community. They introduce you to your neighbors, facilitate conversations on the topic area, and are an easy and rewarding way to earn academic credit within your residence hall. We strongly encourage you to enroll in the seminar in order to make the most of your experience, but it is not required. If you have more questions, you should talk with your academic advisor.

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If you would like to donate to University Housing Residential Learning Communities through the UW Foundation, click the donation link below. To ensure that your donation is processed correctly, please follow these instructions:

  1. In the Designation drop-down menu select Other – detailed below
  2. In the large text box labeled, “If you would like to further restrict your gift…” you must type the following text:
  • Fund #12906942
  • The name of the Residential Learning Community you wish to donate to

Donate through the UW Foundation

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