Guest Auditors

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.

This is an accordion element with a series of buttons that open and close related content panels.

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.

Please take a moment to review our Established Rules and Requirements for auditors.

Classes NOT typically available to audit include:

  • conversational languages, including American Sign Language (ALS)
  • studio and performing arts
  • writing, math, computer, and lab courses
  • independent study, directed study
  • seminar, research, and colloquium 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’.

Please submit your application at least 3 weeks before the start of the term 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.

Are you a Wisconsin resident and over 60 years of age? Visit our Senior Guest auditor page for application instructions.


  1. 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 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.
  2. Enroll via the Course Search and Enroll tool

Enroll by the end of the 2nd week of classes to avoid the late enrollment fee.

eTextbook Fee
eTextbook fees are charged to students who register for courses participating in the eText program. Students can opt-out of eTexts.

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:

  • From the first menu (Select Academic Year and Semester Type), select the correct term
  • From the fourth menu (Select Specific Tuition Rate), select “Guest auditor”

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 Community 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 Consent for Release of Information form from the Social Security Administration. Please indicate on this form that you want this information released in order to become a cost-free auditor at UW–Madison. Both online and in-office services are available from Social Security.

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.

Aerial view from Lake Monona