How to Apply: Non-Degree Students

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Who is a Non-Degree Student?

A "non-degree student" can be many different people and situations. You fall into this group if you are:

  • A working professional seeking a certificate to get a leg up in your field.
  • A community member interested in auditing a class for personal fulfillment.
  • A high school student who wants to get ahead by taking a college-level course.
  • Anyone who wants to benefit from the unique courses we offer at UW-Stout but does not intend to pursue a full degree.
  • Interested in taking a summer or winterm class only? Find more information here.

Searching for Online Courses Only?

The registration process is unique for online students. Let us walk you through the steps.

High School Students: Early College Credit Program Application Process

Are you a high school student who wants to get ahead by taking a college-level course? We offer a Early College Credit program to help you take advantage of the unique, challenging classes we have at UW-Stout that you might not have at your high school.

To take college courses as a high school student, you must:

  • Have the approval of your parents and your high school.
  • Complete the UW System Application.
  • Rank in the top 50% of your high school class OR have an ACT composite score of 22 or higher (SAT equivilant 1030 or higher) OR have a 2.75 GPA or higher.
  • Submit your transcripts.
  • You do not need to indicate a major, pay the application fee, or provide an ACT/SAT score.
Important Notes
  • High school students are not eligible for financial aid.
  • Generally you may be considered for enrollment in freshman- or sophomore-level courses (you'll see these are listed in the "100" or "200" range). 
  • Youth Options course requests are taken into consideration after continuing university students, new freshmen, and new transfer students have been given the opportunity to register.
  • Registration in English and math courses will depend upon your UW System Placement Exam results.
Popular Courses

Curious what are the most popular courses for high school students? Here's a short list, but there are many more to choose from:

APSS 100: Intro to Applied Social Science (1cr) ANTH 220: Cultural Anthropology (3cr)
ART 100: Drawing I (3cr) ARTH 222: Introduction to Art History (3cr)
ENGL 101: Freshman English - Composition (3cr) ART 213: Ceramics I (3cr)
FN 102: Nutrition for Healthy Living (2cr) FN 207: Medical Terminology (1cr)
MATH 153: Calculus I (4cr) HIST 210: Modern World (3cr)
MUSIC 130: Music Appreciation (2cr) MATH 275: Linear Algebra (3cr)
PSYC 110: General Psychology (3cr) PHIL 201: Intro to Philosophy (3cr)
SPAN 103: Elementary Spanish I (4cr) POLS 210: American Government (3cr)
SPCOM 100: Fundamentals of Speech (2cr) TRANS 204: Energy Technology (2cr)
TRDIS 101: Seminar in Career Exploration (1cr) WGS 210: Intro to Women and Gender Studies (3cr)

Undergraduate Special Student Application Process

Good news! As someone interested in taking select undergraduate courses, you have the easiest application process of anyone.

Important Notes
  • Financial aid is not available to special students.
  • Registration in English and math courses will depend upon your UW System Placement Exam results.
  • After you have completed 12 credits as a special student, you may apply to become a full degree-seeking student. At this point you'll need to complete the standard application process required of New Freshmen or Transfer Students, depending on the category you fall into. 
  • You may accumulate a maximum of 29 credits as a special student.

Graduate Special Student Application Process

Within our 22 outstanding advanced degree programs at UW-Stout, we have fascinating individual courses that are perfect for professional development. Or maybe you'd like to dip your toes into a Masters-level education to see if it's the right fit for you. Whatever the case may be, explore the graduate-level options we have for you.

To take graduate-level courses as a non-degree student, you must:

Important Notes
  • Typically, financial aid is not available to non-degree graduate students.
  • If you are pursuing Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) certification options, you are required to submit additional application materials.
  • If you are pursuing a Certificate, an additional application may be required.
  • Special students may enroll in any 500 or 600 level course, as well as most 700 level courses. Certain 700 level courses such as research, practicum and internship, and all 800 level courses are restricted to degree-seeking students. Some courses may also have prerequisites.
  • There is no limit on the number of total credits that can be taken as a non-degree seeking student. However, the number of such credits that can be applied toward a degree program is limited to one-third of the minimum number of credits required for graduation in that program. Individual programs may set a lower limit for such credits, as long as it has been approved through the official curriculum process.
  • While taking individual coursework, you may apply to become a full degree-seeking student. At this point you'll need to complete the standard Graduate Student application process. Similarly, students who are in good standing in a degree program may request a change to non-degree student status.
  • Completion of courses while enrolled as a non-degree student does not guarantee admission into a program. If a special student decides to enter a specific graduate program, the student must meet the specific admission criteria requested by that program.
  • As necessary, non-degree seeking students are advised in pursuing their non-program coursework by the director of the Graduate School.
  • If you have been dropped from a graduate program, you are not eligible to pursue coursework as a non-degree student.

Search for Classes

Browse through our course catalog to find a class you're interested in.


There is no hard-set application deadline for non-degree students. Applications will be accepted through December for our spring semester, or early August for our fall semester. We do encourage you to submit your application by the following recommended deadlines so that everything else can happen in a timely manner.

Entry Term Recommended Deadline Final Deadline
Spring semester November 1 late December
Fall semester March 1 early August