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Concurrent Enrollment & Independent Learning

Students are strongly encouraged to share with their advisor if they plan to enroll in course work off-campus at any time once they are a UW-Madison student. Advisors assist students in making decisions regarding enrollment in off-campus course work and share resources with students to ensure that courses will transfer to UW-Madison for degree credit and satisfy the requirement(s) they expect. While students are always encouraged to share this information with their advisor, students are required to gain permission to take courses off-campus in certain circumstances. The concurrent enrollment policy outlines these circumstances and the extenuating circumstances that may warrant an appeal.

Concurrent enrollment is when a student is enrolled at UW-Madison during the fall or spring term and simultaneously enrolls at another accredited institution. Students are prohibited from enrolling concurrently; however, permission may be granted by an academic dean for extenuating circumstances only. Students are required to obtain permission to enroll concurrently at another institution in order to verify that the student has a valid reason for completing the course off-campus and that the course will transfer to UW-Madison as degree credit to assist the student in making progress towards degree completion. Courses that begin at another institution during the summer or winter and continue through the fall or spring semester will fall into this category of concurrent enrollment, regardless of when the course began.

Students are permitted to enroll at more than one institution during summer sessions only.

To ensure full credit will be awarded upon transfer, it is the responsibility of the student to verify with their academic advisor or CALS Academic Affairs that they are not in violation of this policy.


Completing course work at another institution detracts from a student’s ability to remain focused on his or her UW-Madison course work. UW-Madison offers a wide array of courses to meet students’ needs, so it is typically not necessary for a student to take a course off-campus. Moreover, UW-Madison offers a single tuition rate for 12 – 18 credits, which allows a student to be cost-effective as a full-time student and avoid additional tuition charges at another institution. UW-Madison degrees are designed to be an educational package; for example, a separate policy (final 30 credits in residence) ensures that students complete their most advanced course work on-campus as a coherent whole. It is to a student’s benefit (and maintains the integrity of a UW-Madison academic credential) to complete the majority of his or her course work at UW-Madison.

If a student believes that he or she has an extenuating circumstance that warrants an exception to the concurrent enrollment policy, the student may request permission to concurrently enroll at another institution via the process below.


In order to request permission to enroll concurrently at another institution, please complete the Concurrent Enrollment Request. Permission for concurrent enrollment should be obtained before enrolling in the outside institution’s course and prior to the UW-Madison add/drop deadline. A dean will contact you regarding the status of your request. Students who receive permission to enroll concurrently are bound by the 18 credit maximum per semester rule (see Credit Overload for more information) and the requirement for 30 credits in residence after 86 credits have been earned. Refer to the Residency Requirement policy including the process for appeals.

Upon completion of the course, the student is responsible for requesting to have an official transcript sent to the UW-Madison Office of Admissions. The student must take the course for a grade and pass the class in order to earn credit on their UW-Madison record.

Independent Learning

UW Independent Learning (UW IL) is a branch of UW Extension that offers online and print-based courses. Courses taken through UW IL are considered concurrent enrollment and require special permission to enroll in the fall, spring or summer.

If a student believes that taking a course through UW IL would assist in their degree progress, the student may request permission to enroll concurrently by completing the Concurrent Enrollment Request. Note that UW IL allows up to one year for course completion; however, approved requests for concurrent enrollment require completion of the UW IL course within the requested UW-Madison fall or spring term. When applicable, students may also request a tuition waiver (see below).

Tuition Waiver

Students with full-time status (minimum of 12 credits) at UW–Madison may request a tuition waiver for UW Independent Learning courses provided that the following conditions are met:

  1. the student requests the waiver and enrolls in the course by the UW-Madison add/drop deadline (second Friday of the semester); waivers will be accepted for the following semester up to one week before the start of the fall or spring semester

  2. the course is taken during the regular academic session

  3. the course is completed during the term for which the tuition waiver is requested*

*The minimum length of time to complete a UW IL course is typically three months. Foreign language courses often require more time. Students should take this into consideration as they are planning the completion of their degree.

If the tuition waiver is approved, UW-Madison pays UW IL for the credits the student is taking as part of the student’s full-time course load (12-18 credits) that term. Therefore, if a student exceeds 18 credits total between the two campuses, he or she will be responsible for paying for the additional credit(s) and must have received prior approval to complete more than 18 credits in a semester (see Credit Overload). Students are responsible for the $75.00 administrative fee for enrolling in a UW IL course.

The tuition waiver form can be found here: Registrar Tuition Waiver Form

KeywordsConcurrent Enrollment, Independent Learning   Doc ID59093
OwnerDiana A.GroupCALS Academic Affairs
Created2015-12-21 12:02:51Updated2023-05-09 09:08:08
SitesCALS Academic Affairs
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