The University of Wisconsin-Madison (also known as UW Madison, Madison, Wisconsin, University of Wisconsin, or UW) is a public research university located in Madison, Wisconsin. Founded in 1848, it is the largest university in the state with a total enrollment of over 41,000 students, of whom approximately 29,000 are undergraduates.
A public, land-grant institution, UW-Madison offers a wide spectrum of liberal arts studies, professional programs, and student activities. The school is frequently called a "public Ivy," and in 2007 US News and World Report ranked UW as the eighth best public university in the United States. It has also been ranked as the 16th best university in 2006 according to the Academic Ranking of World Universities.The school has a number of specific programs that are ranked among the best in the US (e.g. sociology, education).
From 1848 to 1956, the university was part of the higher education system in Wisconsin that included the current Madison campus, ten freshman-sophomore centers and the state-wide extensions. Between 1956–1971, it was part of the then University of Wisconsin. It became a part of the University of Wisconsin System in 1971.