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.

Search for Classes

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

High School Students

Are you a high school student who wants to get ahead by taking a college-level course? There are two options for high schools students to take college level courses at UW-Stout:

1. Early College Credit Program

Enroll in the Early College Credit Program if you attend a public or private high school in Wisconsin. You must receive approval from your school district for desired coursework for high school and college credit, or just college credit. Most of the cost should be covered by your school’s district/state. 

2. High School Special Student

Enroll in the High School Special Program if you are a homeschooled student or attend a public or private high school. The student/family is responsible for covering the cost of courses.

High School Special/ECCP Application Process

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

  • Have the approval of your parents and your high school and submit the UW System ECCP Participation Form (this form also serves as the High School Special Agreement form).
  • 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 equivalent 1030 or higher) OR have a 2.75 GPA or higher.
  • Be on track to meet UW-Stout's general admission requirements in regard to course completion.
  • Submit your transcripts.
  • You do not need to indicate a major or provide an ACT/SAT score (unless it is to meet eligibility criteria above).
Important Notes
  • Students participating in these offerings should understand that these are real college courses for real college credit. The course grades will go on an official college transcript (permanent record). Students should be confident they are ready to take on the challenging work of a college course before enrolling.
  • 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). 
  • ECCP and Special Student course requests are taken into consideration after continuing university students, new first year, and new transfer students have been given the opportunity to register. Spots in courses are not guaranteed.
  • 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 (4cr) *Instructor permission required    ART 213: Ceramics I (3cr)
COMST 100 Fundamentals of Speech (3cr) ECON 210: Principles of Macroeconomics (3cr)
ENGL 101: Composition I (3cr) FN 102: Nutrition for Healthy Living (2cr)
FN 207: Medical Terminology (1cr) HIST 210: Modern World (3cr)
MATH 153: Calculus I (4cr) MATH 275: Linear Algebra (3cr)
PHIL 201: Intro to Philosophy (3cr) POLS 210: American Government (3cr)
PSYC 110: Intro to Psychology (3cr) SPAN 101: Elementary Spanish I (4cr)
STAT 130: Elementary Statistics (3cr) 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.

Current High School Students: Please see High School Special/ECCP Application Process in section above.

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 First Year 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.


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
Fall  March 1 Early August
Spring November 1 Late December
Summer / Winterm Learn more >>  

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