If you are not currently enrolled in a degree program or don't plan to pursue a degree, but want to attend a credit class without earning credits, guest auditing is for you.
Note: This opportunity is only for lecture courses with the instructor's approval and if space is available.
Explore our Schedule of Classes using the Public Class Search.
About auditing a class
Auditing is defined as sitting in on a lecture course and not actively participating. Auditors may not recite, perform, or take examinations, although regular attendance is expected. Courses that by their nature require active participation or performance are NOT available on a University Guest auditor basis, but may be taken as a University Special in a credit-earning classification.
Classes typically NOT available to audit (call 608-263-6960 for clarification) are:
- physical education activity classes
- conversational languages
- studio and performing arts
- writing, math, computer, and lab courses
- Independent Study, Directed Study, and other courses ending from -90 to -99
- seminar, research, and colloquia courses
- online courses
Application process for Guest auditors
At least 3 weeks before the start of the term, apply using the University Special student online application. Once we receive your application, you will get a confirmation email from Adult Career and Special Student Services with additional information. If you are a Wisconsin resident and over 60 years of age, visit our Senior Guest auditor page for application instructions.
Enrollment instructions for Guest auditors
Tuition and fees
Those individuals who apply and are admitted as Guest auditors (UGST classification) pay tuition based on Wisconsin residency status and the number of credits taken. Tuition for Guest auditors is set at approximately 30% of the University Special/Undergraduate student tuition rate (and approximately 50% for non-Wisconsin residents). Please refer to the Office Of the Registrar's Tuition and Fees webpage for current tuition rates (select desired term and "Guest" from the drop down menus). In addition to tuition, a $25 late enrollment fee may be assessed if you do not enroll by the enrollment deadlines (usually end of the second week of classes during a semester).
Guest auditors have access to campus libraries and computer labs but do not pay segregated fees so do not have access to free bus pass, University Health Services, or recreational facilities. It is possible to pay a Recreational Membership Fee to use campus recreational facilities.
Note: Under UW Board of Regents policy, disabled persons receiving SSI and SSDI and who are residents of Wisconsin may qualify to Guest-audit courses with fees waived. If you are receiving SSI or SSDI, please send a copy of your benefits letter to our office with your Guest auditor application. You can obtain a Social Security release of information form here. You can locate your nearest Social Security office here. Please indicate on this form that you want this information released in order to become a cost-free auditor at UW-Madison. After you successfully enroll in your course(s) as an auditor, email email@example.com to have your fees waived. If you do not submit your Social Security benefit letter to Adult Career and Special Student Services and if you do not contact us immediately after your enrollment, you will receive a tuition bill and possible late fees. If you require accommodations for a disability, see Reasonable Accommodations and Guest Auditor/Senior Guest Auditor Students (pdf).
Grading for auditors
Audited courses are listed on a student's official UW-Madison transcript with "AU" in place of number of credits and either "S" (satisfactory) or "NR" (no report) listed for the "grade." Prior to enrolling, Guest auditors discuss with the instructor the standard for earning an "S" in the particular course. For University Guest auditors, course enrollment occurs on the first day of the term with the instructor's permission and after departmental authorization is entered in the enrollment system.