Campus Leadership

Flashback: Fall 2011

archive photo

UW–Madison Archives

When you enroll at the UW, you’d better be prepared to learn a lot — and to develop your upper body strength. Those were the apparent messages from this 1961 photo, showing a freshman surrounded by four years’ worth of textbooks and supplies.

Much has changed at UW–Madison in the half-century since this picture was taken — few record albums are assigned today, for instance, and contemporary undergrads can generally cut back on the purchase of typewriter ribbon.

But students should still expect to spend lots of money and need lots of space for textbooks. According to the UW’s Office of the Registrar, a freshman who enrolled in 2009 (the most recent year posted) will shell out an average of $1,040 annually on books and supplies, or $4,160 between matriculation and graduation.

Since 2008, the UW has asked instructors to list textbook information for their courses online. At, you can discover just how many volumes various classes require. Some of the longest textbook lists posted belong to courses in literature in a foreign language, such as Nineteenth-Century German Literature (fourteen titles) and German Literature and Culture (fifteen).

Published in the Fall 2011 issue


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