If your educational and/or personal goals are not limited by degree and/or credit requirements, guest auditing may be a good fit for you. Guest auditors enroll in credit courses at UW–Madison at a reduced tuition rate and without earning credits. Auditing is limited to non-participatory courses on a space-available basis and requires the consent of the instructor. Course enrollment occurs on the first day of the term. Apply by following the steps under the Application tab.
Explore classes using the Public Course Search and Enroll tool.
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About auditing a class
Learn at UW–Madison without the obligation of tests or assignments. Auditing is defined as sitting in on a lecture course and not actively participating. Courses that require active participation or performance are NOT available to Guest auditors but may be taken as a University Special student in a credit-earning classification.
Spring 2021: only online courses are available to auditors.
Classes NOT typically available to audit include:
- physical education activity classes
- conversational languages
- studio and performing arts
- writing, math, computer, and lab courses
- independent study, directed study, and other courses ending in -90 to -99
- seminar, research, and colloquia courses
Please contact the Adult Career and Special Student Services office for questions or clarification.
Apply to be a Guest auditor using the University Special student online application. When asked to select your student type on the application, choose ‘Guest Auditor/Guest Auditor/UGST’.
Reference these instructions for additional guidance with the online application process.
Please submit your application at least 3 weeks before the start of the term in which you hope to enroll to allow ample time for processing. Once we receive your application, you will get a confirmation email from Adult Career and Special Student Services containing additional information.
If you require accommodations for a disability, see Reasonable Accommodations and Guest Auditor/Senior Guest Auditor Students (pdf).
Are you a Wisconsin resident and over 60 years of age? Visit our Senior Guest auditor page for application instructions.
- Request permission to enroll
- Email the course instructor. Provide your full name, Campus ID number, course name, the 3-digit course number, and the reason you would like to audit the course. If permission is granted, they will inform department staff so a permission can be entered in the enrollment system.
- Once permission is entered, you will be able to enroll starting the first day of the term.
- Please note, instructors and/or departments have full discretion to decide whether or not a course is conducive to auditing and they may deny your request. We ask that guest auditors please be respectful of permission decisions.
- Enroll via the Course Search and Enroll tool
- Enroll for classes online using the Course Search and Enroll tool found in your MyUW portal. Click HERE to access a guide to walk you through the new enrollment process.
Enroll by the end of the 2nd week of classes to avoid the late enrollment fee.
Tuition and fees
Guest auditors are charged tuition based on their Wisconsin residency status and the number of credits in which they enroll. This comes out to be about 30% of undergraduate tuition rates.
View auditor tuition rates on the website of the Bursar’s Office by selecting “Guest” and your desired term from the drop down menus.
Additionally, a $50 late enrollment fee may be assessed if you do not enroll by the enrollment deadline – typically the end of the second week of classes.
Benefits and limitations
Auditors have access to campus libraries and computer labs but do not pay segregated fees so do not have access to a free bus pass, University Health Services, or recreational facilities. It is possible to purchase a Guest Auditor Student membership to use campus recreational facilities.
Grading for auditors
Courses taken as a Guest auditor do not carry degree credit but will be noted on the permanent transcript as audits (AU). Audited courses are graded Satisfactory (S) if student’s attendance is regular and assigned work, if any, is completed. A grade of No report (NR) is given for nonattendance and failure to complete assigned work. Prior to enrolling, Guest auditors discuss with the instructor the standard for earning an “S” in the course.
Guest auditing for individuals with disabilities
Under a UW Board of Regents’ policy, disabled persons receiving SSI and/or SSDI and who are residents of Wisconsin may qualify to audit courses and have their fees waived. Please send a copy of your benefits letter to our office via email, fax, or mail when you submit a University Special student application for Guest auditing.
If you do not have a benefits letter available, you can obtain a Social Security release of information form here. You can locate your nearest Social Security office here. Please indicate on this form that you want this information released in order to become a cost-free auditor at UW-Madison. If you do not submit your Social Security benefit letter to Adult Career and Special Student Services and if you do not contact us immediately after your enrollment, you will receive a tuition bill and possible late fees. If you require accommodations for a disability, see Reasonable Accommodations and Guest Auditor/Senior Guest Auditor Students (pdf).
Spring 2021 update
In-person classes will not be available to guest auditors this spring. Auditors are welcome to take online classes with permission.
Please refer to our FAQs for more information.