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Credit options

UW–Madison offers programs for working adults and other nontraditional students to continue their education and advance their career.

If you are a returning adult or other nontraditional student looking to take UW–Madison classes for credit—either as part of a degree or not — Adult Career and Special Student Services is your starting point.

For example, you may want to take a credit class for enjoyment, audit a credit class (with no tests or grades) or begin your degree.

Depending on your needs, UW–Madison has different requirements for participation and different names for your student classification. Most people who take credit courses are admitted as University Special Students.

Explore credit classes


The University of Wisconsin–Madison has long been recognized as one of America’s great universities. A public, land-grant institution, UW–Madison offers a complete spectrum of liberal arts studies, professional programs, and student activities. Whether you want new skills or a new career, on campus or online, UW–Madison is the place to be to advance your career with professional degree programs.

Flexible and Online Learning

If you already have an undergraduate degree and want to move your life ahead with a graduate-level education, Professional Degrees & Certificates is the place to begin your research. These master’s degrees and graduate-level certificates are offered in online, accelerated, or evening and weekend formats tailored for working adults.

In distance education courses, all or the vast majority of the instruction and interaction takes place online or through correspondence. UW–Madison students — whether undergrad, graduate, or non-degree University Special Student — may choose distance education courses for a variety of reasons. Through UW–Madison Course Search & Enroll , you can search specifically for distance education courses. Choose General Public or Students, Faculty, and Staff, then search by Mode of Instruction.