Individuals who wish to enroll in a credit course, have at least a baccalaureate degree, and are not currently in a degree program at UW–Madison are eligible for admission as a University Special student in one of the two classifications listed below. These students are assessed tuition at the undergraduate student rate (Wisconsin resident or nonresident) unless students are participating in a program that has a nonstandard tuition rate. Note: Grades earned as a University Special student will not change a previous cumulative undergraduate or graduate degree GPA earned at UW–Madison, including if a course is repeated. 

Professional or personal enrichment (UNDS)—This includes:

  • teachers, social workers, and others seeking enrollment for professional development
  • graduate students from other U.S. colleges and universities
  • individuals seeking personal enrichment
  • individuals wishing to explore an interest for further study
  • students graduating and who wish to enroll in a course in the next term

Preparation for admission to graduate or professional school (UNRS)—This includes:

  • individuals needing to complete required courses prior to applying to graduate or professional school
  • individuals who have been advised by the graduate program to begin their studies as a University Special student. (Consult with the graduate coordinator regarding the policy on whether the credits earned may apply eventually toward a graduate degree.)


There is no application fee. Apply by using the University Special student Application at least one month before the start of the term as it can take one to two weeks to review and process an application. An official transcript is typically not needed. 

University Special students admitted in the UNDS and UNRS classifications are eligible to enroll in any course for which they are qualified or receive instructor permission, if there is space available. This includes both undergraduate and graduate level courses. Undergraduate courses at UW–Madison are numbered 100 to 699. Graduate level courses number 300 to 999.