Madison consistently ranks among the country’s best places to live, and with good reason. The city offers a wealth of arts, entertainment, cultural, and recreational options—combined with a relaxed attitude that makes the city easy to navigate and enjoy.

There is plenty to do in the greater Madison area year-round, both in the city and on campus. The active cultural and entertainment scene bring innovative thinkers, visual artists, and performers to the city. Big Ten sports energize the community, and residents enjoy outdoor recreation in all four seasons.

Wisconsin PhD students have access to the same University of Wisconsin–Madison resources as any other student, including use of the recreation center, free bus passes, tickets to sporting events at student prices, and much more.

An Accessible Mid-Sized City

While the quality of life in and around Madison is exceptional, the cost of living is moderate, making the Wisconsin PhD Program in business a financially sound decision.

As a state capital, vibrant center for business and industry, and home to a flagship state university, Madison offers abundant employment opportunities for spouses or partners of domestic PhD students. The health of the economy is also reflected in the number of thriving communities surrounding Madison.

Major metropolitan areas are easily accessible by bus or car. From Madison, it is 122 miles to Chicago and 234 miles to Minneapolis. Milwaukee is just 73 miles away. While students typically find everything they need right here in Madison, some do take advantage of our proximity to these larger cities.

Madison is also a great place for families, with a highly rated children’s museum, a free zoo, children’s theater companies, abundant parks, and much more. The greater Madison area is known for its excellent school systems and family-friendly neighborhoods.

Relocation Resources

  • University Housing: Provides information on apartment housing communities for graduate students, students with families, faculty, and staff
  • Campus Area Housing: UW–Madison's official source for off-campus apartments
  • Campus and Visitor Relations: Serves as a central access point for answering questions, locating information, and navigating the UW–Madison campus, the city of Madison, and the surrounding communities
  • Living in Madison, Greater Madison Convention & Visitors Bureau: Includes resources to find housing, employment, and health care, as well as other useful information for those relocating to Madison
  • Get Around, City of Madison: Offers information about commuting options, parking, public transportation, bicycling, and more, including transportation maps


Best Place to Live
U.S. News & World Report, 2018


Best Capital City to Live In
Wallethub, 2018


Top 100 Places to Live, 2019


Fittest City
American College of Sports Medicine Fitness Index, 2018