The mission of the Division of Continuing Studies (DCS) is to advocate for and to engage lifelong learners through high-quality and innovative programs and services. Through its units, it provides direct services to adult students and admission to the university, offers noncredit classes and programs, supports the development of online courses and programs, and coordinates the UW–Madison Summer Term.

Adult Career and Special Student Services

Adult Career and Special Student Services (ACSSS) serves adults returning to formal education and/or considering a career change. ACSSS provides career counseling, academic advising, and university information to adults. People do not need to be current students or graduates of the University of Wisconsin to use these services. Through  appointments, assessment tools, and workshops, individuals may discover a path to a more meaningful and satisfying career or identify a future educational goal.

ACSSS is also the admissions office and the academic dean's office for University Special students, which includes fifteen different categories of students who wish to enroll at UW–Madison but are not degree status students. This includes visiting undergraduates from both domestic and international colleges, and students with bachelors’ degrees who wish to take courses to extend their education or to fulfill specific graduate or professional school prerequisites. There are other categories. Further detail is found at the Nondegree tab of the Guide.

Summer term at uw–madison

The Division of Continuing Studies provides central coordination for the summer term. Each summer, more than 13,000 students enroll in online and on-campus courses. This includes over 1,000 University Special students. Sessions vary from one to eight weeks in length. Students find summer enrollment may allow them to graduate earlier,  experience innovative courses, or fulfill professional licensure requirements. Starting in late March, current UW–Madison students enroll the same way as they do for fall and spring via the enrollment module in their Student Center/MyUW.  Students graduating in May or not in degree status must first seek admission as a University Special student following the steps outlined at the Nondegree tab of the Guide. For more information on course offerings, sessions, housing, and summer term, see Summer Term or send an email to

Continuing Education Program

Students interested in supplementing their university credit coursework will find hundreds of classes, programs, certificates, and conferences through the division’s Department of Liberal Arts and Applied Studies (LAAS). The department serves lifelong learners who want to enrich their lives through classes and conferences in an array of areas including languages, music, writing, art, history, and more, and professionals who need to hone their skills, earn professional credits, and stay current on the latest research and best practices in their field. Classes are taught by Continuing Studies instructors and professionals. The Continuing Studies Catalog is published three times a year and may be viewed online or requested from the Division of Continuing Studies, 21 North Park Street, Madison, WI 3715-1218; 608-262-1156; fax 608-265-4555;

FLexible learning

The division serves a leadership role in the design and delivery of courses and programs available in accessible formats, which include evening, weekend, and online programs. Students will find a listing of  learning opportunities at the Advance Your Career website, which includes noncredit certificates, post-baccalaureate certificates, and graduate-level degrees.

For online undergraduate courses outside of the UW–Madison curriculum, UW–Extension offers UW Independent Learning. The credit courses are taught by Continuing Studies faculty and staff. They are self-paced and may be started at any time. College credits may transfer to UW–Madison and apply toward a bachelor’s degree. The UW System Transfer Information System (TIS) provides a chart of course transferability. However, before enrolling in Independent Learning courses, students should check with their advisor and gain academic dean's approval to make sure the chosen course is applicable to the specific degree program.

Division of Continuing Studies—faculty and staff directory

The full faculty and staff consists of professors and instructors, advisors, administration, marketing, and support staff.  They live the Wisconsin Idea every day, providing lifelong learning, professional development, and personal enrichment to students across Wisconsin and around the world.