Extension Courses

Extension Courses policy

A student paying full-time tuition and fees at the UW–Madison campus may ask to take courses at UW–Extension for no additional cost (if the total credit load does not exceed the maximum allowable credit load). A student’s faculty advisor must submit a completed UW–Madison Tuition Waiver Request Form, along with a letter of endorsement to the Graduate School. If the Graduate School approves, the student may take the course without paying additional fees. Courses completed at UW–Extension do not fulfill the Graduate School’s minimum graduate residence, degree, or coursework credit requirements and will not appear on the student’s UW–Madison transcript. Dissertators are not allowed to request a tuition waiver while remaining eligible for the dissertator fee status, they would need to request to be removed from dissertator status and enroll full-time and pay fees at the regular graduate student fee rate.

See Dissertator StatusEnrollment RequirementsOverloads

Enrollment Requirements

Enrollment Requirements policy

ALL of the following credit requirements (except F-1 and J-1 visa requirements) must be satisfied by graded courses taken at 300 or above; courses numbered below 300, audit, and pass/fail do not satisfy enrollment requirements.

Full-time enrollment: The Graduate School considers full-time enrollment to be 8-15 graded credits* taken at 300 or above, excluding pass/fail and audit, during the fall and spring semesters, and 4-12 credits* during the summer term. Dissertators are considered full-time at 3 credits. If students elect not to enroll as full-time students as defined by the Graduate School, they are responsible for knowing about possible obligations that may require full-time status. Such obligations may include visa eligibility, fellowships, assistantships, financial aid, external funding agencies, and program satisfactory progress requirements.

Maximum enrollment: Non-dissertator maximum credit load is 15 graded credits* taken at 300 or above during the fall and spring semester and 12 credits during the summer term. Any exceptions to the maximum credit load permitted must be obtained via the Credit Overload Request form.

Minimum enrollment: Non-dissertator minimum credit load is 2 credits* during the fall and spring semesters. Graduate students must be enrolled in their program for at least the minimum requirement in the semester in which they receive a degree; master’s degree students expecting a summer degree must be enrolled in their program for a minimum of 2 graduate credits in any summer session*. Graduate students who do not need to maintain full-time status (including TAs and PAs) have a 2 credit enrollment minimum during fall and spring semesters. Minimum requirements must be fulfilled by courses taken for a grade (not pass/fail or audit) and must be taken at 300 or above.

Underload: During the fall and spring semesters, non-dissertators must enroll for a minimum of 2 credits.* Audit and pass/fail courses do not satisfy this enrollment requirement. Dissertators are required to enroll for 3 graded credits taken at 300 or above and directly related to their dissertation research.

The specific situations listed below have special enrollment requirements.

Dissertators: Dissertators must enroll in exactly 3 credits* directly related to their dissertation (generally research and thesis or required seminars) during fall and spring semesters. Dissertators are considered full-time at 3 credits*. Dissertators who are summer RAs, trainees or fellows, or who expect to graduate in summer, must enroll in the general 8-week summer session (DHH) for 3 credits*. Additional courses for credit, audit, or pass/fail will result in removal of dissertator status and tuition assessment at the regular graduate rate.

Once dissertator status has been achieved, courses other than 990 must be directly related to the dissertation research and approved by the advisor. Dissertators must enroll during the semester or general 8-week summer session (DHH) in which they expect to earn a degree. Students must be enrolled during the semester when they defend the dissertation and when they deposit the dissertation. If defending and depositing in two different semesters, the student is required to be enrolled in both semesters. Students do not have to be dissertators during the semester or summer in which they expect to earn a doctoral degree, but they must be eligible for dissertator status before they complete the doctoral degree, and they must enroll in the semester in which they will graduate.

If a student enrolls before the dissertator status is approved, the enrollment system may indicate they are not eligible for that course. The enrollment system does not care if students are dissertators. If students had problems getting into a course, it is probably because permission has not been entered into the enrollment system. Most individualized study courses, such as research and thesis, require instructor’s permission and online authorization before enrollment is possible.

If dissertator status is not processed by the segregated fee deadline, students should register for 3 credits and pay regular non-dissertator graduate fees. The fee difference will be adjusted for that semester when dissertator status is indicated in the system.

Master’s with thesis required: A master’s degree candidate required to submit a thesis to Memorial Library, as indicated on the degree warrant, must be enrolled in the semester in which they defend their thesis. If a student defends in a window period, they need to have been enrolled in the previous term. A student does not need to be enrolled to deposit their thesis to Memorial Library.

Assistantship appointees: It is against university policy to hold an assistantship without being appropriately enrolled.  Assistantships include those at UW-Madison as well as any UW System institution, including UW–Extension.

RA (Research Assistant): RAs are required to carry a full load each semester (8 to 15 credits* including research or thesis credits for non-dissertators, 3 credits* for dissertators) and at least 2 credits* during the general 8-week summer session (DHH) (3 credits* for dissertators). Dissertators who hold assistantships are considered full-time with 3 credits* directly related to their dissertation.

TA (Teaching Assistant) and PA (Project Assistant):

Minimum enrollment for PAs and TAs is 2 credits* (3 credits* for dissertators) during the fall and spring semesters.

  • To be considered full-time by the Registrar for loan deferment and for certification of student immigration status, non-dissertator PAs and TAs who hold an appointment of at least 33.33% must be enrolled for 6 credits*, or those who hold an appointment of at least 50% must be enrolled for 4 credits*.
  • Dissertator PAs and TAs are considered full-time with 3 credits* directly related to their dissertation (generally research and thesis or required seminars).
  • Maximum enrollment for PAs and TAs is 15 credits* during the fall and spring.
  • The Graduate School has no enrollment requirement for the summer session for PAs and TAs, unless the student is receiving a summer degree, but individual programs may.

Fellows: Non-dissertator graduate students holding fellowships that are payrolled through the university must be enrolled full-time: 8 credits* during the fall and spring semester. Fellows who are non-dissertators with 12-month appointments must also enroll in 2 credits* during the general 8-week summer session (DHH). Those who are not payrolled as fellows over the summer are not required to be enrolled. Those who are payrolled as fellows during any part of the summer term must enroll in the general 8-week summer session (DHH). Fellows who are dissertators must enroll in 3 credits* during the fall and spring semesters. Fellows with 12-month appointments who are dissertators must also enroll in 3 credits* during the general 8-week summer session (DHH).

Trainees: Trainees must carry a full load each fall and spring semester of 8 to 15 credits* including research or thesis credits for non-dissertators (3 credits* for dissertators), and at least 2 credits* during the general 8-week summer session (DHH) (3 credits* for dissertators).

International students: Both F-1 and J-1 student visa regulations require students to be enrolled full-time each fall and spring semester (8 credits, not taken as audit). Summer enrollment is not required by the U.S. federal government regulations for F-1/J-1 visa holders. However, summer enrollment may be required due to other circumstances; see summer enrollment requirements for assistantships, fellowships, traineeships, and graduating students. Failure to maintain full-time status can result in loss of F-1/J-1 student benefits, including on-campus employment and practical/academic training options. Any exceptions to full-time enrollment must be authorized by International Student Services (ISS). Visit the ISS webpage to learn more about visa requirements. Permission from ISS to drop below full-time enrollment does NOT exempt an international student from meeting the enrollment requirement determined by a Teaching Assistantship (TA), Project Assistantship (PA), Research Assistantship (RA), fellowship, traineeship, or dissertator status.

International students-online learning credit limit: F-1 and J-1 student visa holders have restrictions regarding the number of online credits that can be taken during the semester as it relates to fulfilling the full-time enrollment requirement.  There are also restrictions regarding online enrollment during the final term of study-especially when the final term for completion is in summer. For more information, visit the ISS Online Course Enrollment webpage.

Summer enrollment requirements: Students must be enrolled at UW–Madison if they are using university facilities, including faculty and staff time.

  • Dissertators defending and/or depositing dissertation (completing their degree) in summer must enroll for 3 credits* in the general 8-week summer session (DHH).
  • Dissertator RAs must enroll for 3 credits* in the general 8-week summer session (DHH).
  • Dissertator fellows with 12-month appointments are required to enroll for 3 credits* in the general 8-week summer session (DHH).
  • Dissertator trainees with 12-month appointments are required to enroll for 3 credits* in the general 8-week summer session (DHH).
  • Master’s candidates, who expect to graduate in summer must enroll for at least 2 credits* in any session, short session or general 8-week summer session (DHH).
  • Non-dissertators completing a summer doctoral degree must enroll for at least 2 credits* in the general 8-week summer session (DHH).
  • Non-dissertator RAs must enroll for 2 credits* in the general 8-week summer session (DHH).
  • Non-dissertator TAs and PAs not receiving a summer degree have no enrollment requirement. However, those who held such an appointment during the previous semester may qualify for summer tuition remission and are advised to consult with their employing department if they wish to enroll.
  • Non-dissertator fellows with 12-month appointments are required to enroll for at least 2 credits* in the general 8-week summer session (DHH).
  • Non-dissertator trainees are required to enroll for at least 2 credits* in the general 8-week summer session (DHH).
  • International students who are completing a summer degree are required to enroll for at least 2 credits* in the general 8-week summer session (DHH).
  • International students who are RAs in the summer are required to enroll for at least 2 credits* in the general 8-week summer session (DHH).
  • International students who are not completing a summer degree and who are not RAs have no summer enrollment requirement mandated by the U.S. federal government regulations for F-1/J-1 visa holders.

Financial aid, loan deferral & taxes: In most cases, students are eligible for federal loans and federal loan payment deferral when enrolled at least half-time, which is 4 credits* for the fall and spring semesters. However, individual cases may vary, and students are advised to seek individual advice at the UW–Madison Office of Student Financial Aid. Payroll and FICA taxes can be impacted if students are not enrolled at least half-time. More information can be found here.

Full-Time Enrollment Status at a Glance

ALL of the following credit requirements (except F-1 and J-1 visa requirements) must be satisfied by graded courses taken at 300 or above; courses numbered below 300, audit, and pass/fail do not satisfy enrollment requirements.

Categories Minimum enrollment for full-time status: Fall or Spring Minimum enrollment for full-time status: Summer (general 8-week DHH session)
Dissertator Exactly 3 credits directly related to research Not required unless receiving summer degree or if RA, trainee (with 12-month appointment), or fellow (with 12-month appointment), 3 cr. required.
RA, non-dissertator 8 cr. 2 cr.
TA/Lecturer (SA) 33%, non-dissertator 6 cr. Not required unless receiving summer degree, 2 cr. minimum.
TA/Lecturer (SA) 50%, non-dissertator 4 cr. Not required unless receiving summer degree, 2 cr. minimum.
PA 33%, non-dissertator 6 cr. Not required unless receiving summer degree, 2 cr. minimum.
PA 50%, non-dissertator 4 cr. Not required unless receiving summer degree, 2 cr. minimum.
Fellow, non-dissertator 8 cr. 2 cr. for 12-month appointments. Not required for 9-month appointments.
Trainee, non-dissertator 8 cr. 2 cr.
International student (F-1/J-1 visa), non-dissertator, if no other category in this list 8 cr. 4 cr. when summer is admit semester (2 cr. when summer is admit semester and student holds RA appointment or at least 33% TA or PA appointment)
If none of the above, full time enrollment is: 8 cr. 4 cr.

* Credit requirements (except F-1 and J-1 visa requirements) must be satisfied by graded courses taken at 300 or above; courses numbered below 300, audit, and pass/fail do not satisfy enrollment requirements.

See Authorization for CoursesContinuous Enrollment RequirementTaxes

Enrollment Confirmation

Enrollment Confirmation policy

Students can confirm their current enrollment status through MyUW.

Failure to receive a student account invoice does not relieve students of the obligation to meet established fee payment deadlines as displayed in the MyUW Student Center, Class Search. If a student does not receive an invoice by late August (mid-January for spring semester), they can get a copy at the Bursar’s Office.

Enrollment Accountability

Enrollment Accountability policy

Students are responsible for the accuracy of their class schedule and for all tuition, fees, and academic consequences that result from that schedule. Continuing students in good standing may enroll for the next term without special permission from the Graduate School. Before enrolling, students should consult their advisor to approve their class schedule for that term and to determine if they need authorization for any proposed courses.

All students must use the online enrollment system. Instructions on how to enroll using MyUW along with additional enrollment information is available through the Office of the Registrar’s website. The Office of the Registrar also provides enrollment demos and tutorials. All students will receive an email message from the Office of the Registrar about their assigned enrollment appointment time. Students can expect to receive this notification about one week prior to the beginning of the priority enrollment period. There are extra fees for late initial enrollment and late fee payment. These deadlines are available at the Office of the Registrar’s Enrollment Deadlines webpage.

See EnrollmentEnrollment RequirementsHoldsLate Enrollment/Late Course Change/Late DropOverloadsReadmission to Graduate School (for previously enrolled graduate students)Schedule of Classes

Enrollment

Enrollment policy

Course enrollment is available through MyUW Student Center. Once enrolled, students should confirm their enrollment and print their course grid. Students should enroll early to avoid a late initial enrollment fee and class cancellation due to low enrollment. Visit the Office of the Registrar’s website for more information about enrollment deadlines.

See Enrollment Requirements

Effective Date of Program Requirements upon Enrollment

Effective Dates policy

Any student entering or readmitted to a graduate program must adhere to the requirements in the most current Academic Policies & Procedures and Graduate Guide. This includes all new incoming students, those students continuing from a master’s degree to a doctoral degree, add/change program students, degree completion fee students, and any readmitted students. A student who chooses to discontinue their degree program for a semester or more would return under the requirements in the most recent Academic Policies & Procedures.

Students enrolled prior to fall 2014 in a MFA, specialist certificate, or doctoral degree program have the option to complete their degree under the prior policy requirements if they maintain continuous enrollment.

A student who advances from the master’s level to the doctoral level fall 2014 or after is subject to the requirements in the most current Academic Policies & Procedures.

Appeals will be considered in exceptional cases. The request for appeal must be made on a student-by-student basis. The appeal should come from the students faculty advisor and/or program chair and be sent to the Graduate School Director of Academic Services. The appeal should include sufficient justification for the request and any supporting documentation.

See Continuous Enrollment Requirement

Course Numbering System

Course Numbering System policy

The number assigned to a course gives an indication of the level of difficulty and indicates for whom the course is intended. Courses numbered under 300 (100-299) are undergraduate-level courses. Courses in the 300-699 range may be taken for credit by both undergraduate and graduate students; courses in the 300-499 range are generally considered intermediate level and courses in the 500-699 range are generally considered advanced level. Graduate students taking courses numbered 300-699 are expected to do graduate-level work, though they are enrolled in an undergraduate level course. The 300-699 range is not intended to include undergraduate-only, elementary level courses. Courses in the 700-999 range are open only to graduate students.

The official University documentation of “graduate level” coursework is identified with the graduate course attribute (G50%) in the University’s Course Guide and Class Search. More information regarding the course attribute can be found on Academic Planning and Institutional Research Graduate Course Attribute webpage.

See Continuous Enrollment RequirementMinimum Graduate Coursework (50%) RequirementMinimum Graduate Degree Credit RequirementMinimum Graduate Residence Credit RequirementPrior Coursework

Course Changes

Course Changes policy

Prior to making changes to courses, be sure to review the Office of the Registrar’s Enrollment Deadlines Page for important dates and deadlines, and the Enrollment Requirements section of this document which contains important information about minimum credits required.

Prior to deadlines, students may make course changes online via MyUW Student Center. See the Late Enrollment/Late Course Change/Late Drop section of the policy for changing enrollment after the deadlines.

If a course change is made after the fee refund deadlines (including audited, modular, and zero-credit courses) students may owe additional money, even if the total number of credits for which they are enrolled does not change. The Bursar’s Office will notify students if they owe additional fees or are entitled to a refund.

Students holding graduate assistantships, fellowships, and traineeships must meet minimum enrollment requirements when making course changes.

International students considering a course change that may drop them to part-time status must first receive authorization from International Student Services (ISS). This will ensure that they remain in compliance with Department of Homeland Security (DHS) visa regulations. International students holding graduate assistantships, fellowships, and traineeships must meet minimum enrollment requirements as well.

For more information and questions, contact the Office of the Registrar or Graduate School Academic Services. Demos & Tutorials for course enrollment are available here. For instructions on how to late add/change/drop a class, visit the Late Enrollment/Late Course Change/Late Drop section.

See Add/DropAuditing CoursesAuthorization for CoursesCredit ChangesEnrollment RequirementsLate Enrollment/Late Course Change/Late DropRefundsSection ChangesTuition and Fee Information

Continuous Enrollment Requirement for Dissertators

Continuous Enrollment Requirement policy

Once students achieve dissertator status they must maintain continuous enrollment until completion of the doctoral degree. In order to maintain continuous enrollment, dissertators must enroll each fall and spring semester for 3 credits (300 or above) directly related to their dissertation research (generally research and thesis and/or required seminars). In some cases, the 3 credits can be a combination of research and a seminar. Fall and spring enrollment are required whether or not they reside in Madison.

Audits and pass/fail do not satisfy this requirement. Additional courses taken audit or pass/fail will result in removal of dissertator fee status.

Students are exempt from the requirement to enroll for the summer term, unless they are defending and/or depositing their dissertation or have a Research Assistantship (RA), fellowship, or traineeship that requires summer enrollment, or are using university facilities (including faculty and staff time).

If dissertators do not maintain continuous enrollment, they will be assessed a degree completion fee equal to 12 times the current per-credit rate in effect at the time that they submit their dissertation to the Graduate School for final review.

See Degree Completion FeeDissertator StatusEnrollment RequirementsReadmission to Graduate School (for previously enrolled graduate students)

Compassionate Tuition Adjustment

Compassionate Tuition Adjustment

The Graduate School supports the principles of a compassionate tuition adjustment to accommodate students  who withdraw in the following circumstance:

  1. The students have experienced an unexpected life circumstance and/or traumatic event for which they have little or no control, and
  2. It appears that the event will impede/prevent the students from successfully completing the semester.

The dean or the dean’s designee will assess the meaning and effect of the event on the student and the request for tuition adjustment. Students requesting a tuition adjustment should submit their request in writing to Academic Services in the Graduate School, along with written support for the request from the student’s faculty advisor and/or graduate program chair. Relevant documentation may be required.

See Dean’s Approval