Programs and other education options

There are many ways for the nontraditional student and lifelong learner to continuing their education. This list provides an overview of the broad range of programs offered by UW-Madison Continuing Studies. Use this as a starting point to explore our website. If you are unsure what kind of education is best for you Adult Career and Special Student Services can help.

Noncredit classes
Almost any adult can take a noncredit course though UW-Madison Continuing Studies. Admission to the university is not required because you are not earning university-level credit. Most noncredit courses offer continuing education units (CEUs) or professional licensure credit and many can apply towards a certificate in specific fields.

Credit Classes
Prior to enrolling in a credit course, whether you are working on a degree or not, you must be admitted to UW-Madison.  Adult Career and Special Student Services admits nondegree students to take credit on the UW-Madison campus. See Becoming a Student for more information about student classifications and enrolling.

Distance Learning/Online classes
Many credit and noncredit distance education programs are offered online by UW-Madison and other campuses in the UW System. If you want to enroll in credit classes, admission to the campus that offers the classes first must be completed.

Flexible Learning
For both traditional and nontraditional students, online and evening/weekend course delivery formats provide greater flexibility and more options for completing a degree, furthering your career, or pursuing an interest. UW-Madison offers several degree and capstone certificate programs that are fully or partially available at a distance or in a flexible format to accommodate working schedules. For more information, contact the specific program.

UW-Madison offers many one- and multi-day conferences, mostly for the purpose of professional development. Experts from around the country share research and knowledge about specific career fields or current topics. Participants have the opportunity to network with peers.

Certificate Programs (noncredit)
We offer professional noncredit certificates including programs for (public) managers, online teachers, and mental health care providers. Available in both classroom and online formats, certificate programs help professionals enhance their resumes and build a specific expertise.

Capstone Certificate Programs (for university credit)
Capstone Certificate programs serve returning adult students who wish to acquire specialized training to meet current and future job requirements; the programs include completion of a focused collection of graduate-level credit courses. 

Educational Travel
Popular domestic and international group tours focus on performing arts, visual arts, culture and history. Designed by UW-Madison Continuing Studies faculty and academic staff, these tours provide unique learning experiences through lectures, expert local guides and stimulating discussions.

Guest Auditing
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.

The Odyssey Project
The UW-Odyssey Project changes lives for adults near the poverty level. Now in its tenth year, this inspirational project has empowered more than 250 low-income adults to find their voices and get a jumpstart at earning college degrees they never thought possible. Graduates of the program have journeyed from homelessness to UW-Madison degrees, from incarceration to meaningful work in the community.