Academic Credit

Each course is assigned a number of credit hours. Credit is usually expressed in semester hours. A credit of one semester hour usually represents one hour of classroom instruction per week or an equivalent amount of work. A student should expect to spend approximately two to three hours per week outside of class in preparation and study for each credit.

The classroom instruction requirement applies to lecture/discussion courses offered in a face-to-face setting. For other types of courses, studetns can fulfill credit hour requirements through learning activities and coursework that replace the required one hour of weekly classroom instruction per credit.

  1. Laboratory and studio courses normally require two to three hours per credit with additional outside work.
  2. Experiential learning and fieldwork courses normally require 48 hours of student learning activities per credit.
  3. Online and independent study courses typically require learning activities that are equivalent to the time spent attending class and completing homework for a face-to-face classroom course.
  4. Hybrid/blended courses replace some face-to-face class time with equivalent online learning activities.

Student Classification

Classification for Associate Degree Students

Freshman Standing: 0-29 degree credits

Sophomore Standing: 30 or more degree credits

Classification for BAAS Degree Students

Junior Standing: 60-89 degree credits

Senior Standing: 90 or more degree credits

Credit Load

The maximum credit load each semester is 18 credits.

High school special students will be limited to six credits per semester. Credit restrictions may also be imposed on students designated as high risk and/or enrolled in remedial course work. The maximum credit load is nine credits for any and all work taken during the summer, whether in an eight-week session and/or any combination of shorter sessions. For a four-week session, the maximum credit load is four credits. Students who wish to exceed these limits must have approval of a designated campus Student Affairs representative.

Non-Degree Credit

Basic Skills courses are offered for non-degree credit, including developmental math, devolopmental English, learning resources, and English language learning courses. Such courses will not be counted toward the Associate's degree and are not used in determining a grade point average (GPA) for any purpose. However, non-degree credits will count in determining whether a student has completed sufficient course work to maintain satisfactory academic progress, and as part of load for financial aid purposes.

Zero-Credit Courses

Some courses are offered for zero degree credit. In zero-credit courses, students are expected to do all assigned work in the course; and a grade will be recorded. For fee purposes, zero-credit courses count as one credit.

30-Credit Rule

University of Wisconsin policy requires that students needing remedial coursework in English or Mathematics based on placement test scores must successfully complete the remedial course(s) before they earn a total of 30 credits. In addition, they may be required to limit the number of credits carried while they are enrolled in remedial courses.

Pass / Fail

Students may enroll in elective courses on a pass/fail basis. This option allows a student to explore a field of study or subject without concern for the letter grade earned. However, courses to be applied to the Associate of Arts and Science core and breadth requirements may not be taken on a pass/fail basis. Students who are undecided about a major should not take courses on a pass/fail basis because these courses might later become part of the requirements for the major. Many universities do not permit pass/fail courses to count toward meeting major or general studies requirements. Instructors assign final grades of S (satisfactory/pass) and U (unsatisfactory/fail) for courses taken on a pass/fail basis. The results of any pass/fail course will not affect a student's grade point average (GPA).

A student may take only one pass/fail course in any semester, including Summer session. Students may elect to take two such courses as a freshman and two such courses as a sophomore. The decision to take a pass/fail course must be made during the time period for adding a course. Students may not change a course either to or from pass/fail after the deadline for adding a course.
Instructors in non-degree credit courses listed in the catalog and instructors in lecture forum (LEC) courses in the catalog may grade an entire class on a pass/fail basis. If that is the case, it will be indicated in the campus course schedule.


A student may wish to audit a course to enhance their learning by participating in a class without enrolling for credit. A student who wishes to audit a course must have the consent of the instructor concerned. Auditors will not be required to take examinations nor to have any course work evaluated by an instructor.

Audited courses carry no degree credit and are not counted in the student's grade point average. Audited courses do not count toward full-time attendance for financial aid purposes such as certification of full-time attendance for Social Security or Veterans Administration or other benefits.

Students may change from audit to credit status during the same time period as that allowed for adding a course and may change from credit to audit status during the period allowed for dropping  a course.

A course which has been audited may be repeated for credit at a later time.

When the presence of an auditor will result in additional classroom space requirements or in increased instructional costs, a student may not be allowed to audit a course (Michigan Compact students are not eligible for auditing.)

Repeating Courses

Students may repeat courses to improve either their grade point average (GPA) or their foundation of knowledge before taking succeeding courses in a discipline. A student may not repeat a course after having completed a succeeding course in the discipline. A "succeeding course" is one that lists the course the student wishes to repeat as a prerequisite. Exemptions to the policy may be granted by the assistant campus dean for student services. There is no limit to the number of times a student may repeat a course, but all attempts and the resulting grades earned will appear on the student's transcript. Only the most recent credits attempted and the grade earned is used to compute the student's GPA.

Courses repeated at institutions other than the UW Colleges will not affect a student's UW Colleges GPA. However, students should be aware that some institutions will average the grades of all courses attempted when computing a GPA for transfer admission purposes. Ordinarily, courses that are repeated will not be counted twice toward the credits necessary to earn an Associate's degree. For example, a student who takes HIS 101 twice for three credits each time will earn only three credits toward the Associate's degree. Orchestra and Chorus are examples of courses that can be taken for degree credit more than one time.

Students are encouraged to consult the campus Student Services Office if they plan to repeat a course, especially if they are receiving Veterans Administration or Social Security benefits.

Degree-seeking freshman or sophomore students may earn advanced standing credit for specific UW Colleges courses. The courses to which this applies are determined by the academic departments and are described in the three sections that follow (Advanced Placement, College Level Examination Program, and Academic Discipline Additional Offerings). In some cases, standard examinations such as the College Level Examination Program (CLEP) or the College Board Advanced Placement (AP) Examination are used. Advanced standing credits will be recorded on the student's transcript as such and grades will not be assigned to those courses. Additional information on earning advanced standing credits is available in the campus Student Services Office.