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FAQs for Non-Degree-Seeking (Special) Students

Undergraduate and Graduate Non-Degree-Seeking Student FAQs

Below are some of the most commonly asked questions we hear from incoming non-degree-seeking (special) students.

What is a non-degree-seeking or special student?

A non-degree seeking (special) student is someone seeking to take a course or two without earning a degree. There are two types of non-degree-seeking students: undergraduate and graduate non-degree-seeking students.

Am I an undergraduate or graduate non-degree-seeking (special) student?

You are considered an undergraduate non-degree-seeking student if you graduated from a recognized high school (or have the educational equivalent), are not currently seeking a degree, and want to take undergraduate coursework (100-400 level). You are considered a graduate non-degree-seeking student if you earned a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution, are not currently seeking a degree, and want to take graduate coursework (500-level or higher).

Can I be a non-degree-seeking (special) student if I am currently enrolled in high school?

If you are currently a high school student, then you would apply as a high school special student and follow a slightly different enrollment process. Please follow the steps for high school special students here.

Can I apply as a non-degree-seeking (special) student even if I'm attending a different university?

Yes, UW-Eau Claire has many students that take a class or two while enrolled at another institution.

Do I receive credit for the courses I take as a non-degree-seeking (special) student?

Yes, you will receive credit unless you are auditing the course. (More information on auditing courses can be found here.) If you plan to transfer credits taken at UW-Eau Claire to another institution, confirm with that institution that they will accept the transfer credit.

How do I apply to be a non-degree-seeking (special) student?

Complete the UW System application.

Do I need to submit a transcript?

No, graduate and undergraduate non-degree-seeking (special) students do not have to submit transcripts.

Do I need to pay an application fee?

No, non-degree-seeking (special) students do not have to pay application fees.

What do I do if I applied incorrectly?

Please contact the Admissions Office at admissions@uwec.edu or 715-836-5415 if you need assistance making a correction on your application.

Where can I see what type of courses UW-Eau Claire offers?

Follow these steps to access the class schedule online.

What do I do if there are prerequisites for a course I want to take?

Contact the department directly to see what they need from you to verify your completion of the prerequisite. Please be prepared to provide an unofficial copy of your transcript to be considered.

Will I need to take a placement test? How do I sign up for placement tests?

Depending on prior coursework taken, you may or may not need to take placement tests for Math, English, or World Languages (French, German, or Spanish). Contact Advising, Retention and Career Center at arcc@uwec.edu or 715-836-3487 for more information.

Am I eligible for financial aid?

The only financial aid non-degree-seeking (special) students are eligible to apply for is the Returning Adult Fund. This award is made each spring and fall semester to nontraditional students, age 23 and older, who are returning to school after an interruption in their education and are independent of parental support. Financial need is required. To apply for the Returning Adult Student Fund, complete the "Nontraditional Students and Student Parents Scholarship Application in Gold for Blugolds.

How long after applying am I able to register for classes?

You will receive an email with information about how to register within about 24-48 hours of submitting your application.

I have been notified that I am eligible to register for classes as a non-degree-seeking (special) student. What are my next steps?

View your next steps to register here, including how to activate your student account, sign your Payment Plan Agreement, and search/register for classes.

How many classes/credits can I register for?

Undergraduate non-degree-seeking (special) students can register for up to 12 credits in the spring and fall semesters. Graduate non-degree-seeking (special) students can register for up to 15 credits during the spring and fall semesters.

What if I am eligible to enroll as a non-degree-seeking (special) student but do not get into the courses I want?

Non-degree-seeking (special) students are the last to enroll – usually a couple of days before the term begins, after all degree-seeking students have enrolled. Sometimes there are not many course seats available at that time, so there is a possibility you will not be able to get into the course you want. If this is the case, you can wait to see if there are students who drop out of the course you want to take. If no seats open up in the class, you can try to enroll in the course in a future semester. For questions regarding course and course registration, contact the Advising, Retention and Career Center at arcc@uwec.edu or 715-836-3487. For questions about reapplying for a future semester, contact the Admissions Office at admissions@uwec.edu or 715-836-5415. 

Do I need to reapply each semester to continue taking classes as a non-degree-seeking (special) student?

Provided that there is not a break in enrollment for the major terms (fall term or spring term), a non-degree-seeking (special) student does not need to reapply. If there is a break in enrollment for undergraduate non-degree-seeking students of one year (two major terms) or more, they will need to reapply. If there is a break in enrollment for graduate non-degree-seeking students of three years (six major terms) or more, they will need to reapply.

Can I receive a degree as a non-degree-seeking (special) student?

No, non-degree-seeking students cannot receive degrees.

Can I receive a certificate as a non-degree-seeking (special) student?

Non-degree-seeking students seeking a certificate may consult with the department offering the certificate.

I am a non-degree-seeking (special) student and now want to audit a course. What do I do?

Please contact Blugold Central at blugoldcentral@uwec.edu or 715-836-3000 for assistance with auditing a course. It is at the discretion of the instructor to allow students to audit a class, and their signature is required as part of the process.

I am a senior citizen. Do I have to pay tuition to audit a class?

You do not have to pay tuition as a senior citizen, but you do have to pay for segregated fees and special course fees. You must also be a Wisconsin resident to qualify for senior audit status. Please contact Blugold Central at blugoldcentral@uwec.edu or 715-836-3000 for assistance with auditing a course.

I have a disability. Do I have to pay tuition to audit a class?

You do not have to pay tuition if you have a disability, but you do have to pay for segregated fees and special course fees. You must also be a Wisconsin resident to qualify for audit status. Please contact Blugold Central at blugoldcentral@uwec.edu or 715-836-3000 for assistance with auditing a course and for information regarding any disability documentation needed.

Who can I contact with questions?

For questions about completing the application, contact the Admissions Office at admissions@uwec.edu or 715-836-5415. For questions regarding course and course registration, contact the Advising, Retention and Career Center at arcc@uwec.edu or 715-836-3487.

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