University of Wisconsin–Madison

Taking Information School Courses as a Non-degree Student

The iSchool is happy to have students take our courses as non-degree students as space in our courses permits.  If you are not currently enrolled in a UW-Madison degree program but you wish to take UW-Madison credit courses for credit, apply as a University Special Student.

How to apply to take iSchool courses as a University Special Student

    1. Complete the iSchool Special Student Application Form.
      The form will ask you which course/s you are interested in taking. Consult the UW online schedule of classes to determine course availability and prerequisites. You are eligible to take any LIS course for which you meet the prerequisites and for which open seats are available.   Students in the iSchool’s MA programs receive priority for all open course seats.  Permission to take iSchool courses as a University Special Student will depend on the number of open seats available in courses after MA program students have registered.
    2. Once you have submitted the form, a member of the iSchool staff will contact you regarding which courses have open seats. Please do not contact iSchool faculty members directly to request permission to register for their courses. They cannot authorize you to take iSchool courses.  You must submit the form listed above and one of the iSchool administrative staff will follow up to let you know if the course you selected is available.
    3. Apply online to be a University Special Student through the UW-Madison Division of Continuing Studies. Choose the UNRS classification.

    Notes about Taking iSchool Courses as a University Special Student:

    • Students must apply and enroll before classes start for the term.
    • Only iSchool courses numbered 500 and up count as graduate level courses and thus count towards the MA program. Lower numbered LIS courses are undergraduate level courses and should not be taken by post bachelor’s degrees students who are interested in applying to the MA program.
    • If you are admitted to the iSchool master’s program, you may be eligible to apply 6 credits taken as a University Special Student toward the iSchool master’s degree, provided you completed the credits within five years of beginning the degree program, took courses level 500 or higher, earned a grade of B or better and did not use the credits to count toward another university degree.
    • For tuition and fee information, consult the Office of the Registrar. For on-campus classes, University Special students pay tuition based on their residency (Wisconsin, Minnesota or non-resident). For online classes, University Special students also pay tuition based on their residence.

      The screenshot below shows the costs take 1-3 credits as an iSchool Special Student for fall 2019.   Note that it is the student’s responsibility to verify the exact tuition costs for enrolled courses.   More details on tuition rates at:


      • Financial aid is usually not available to University Special students. The Adult Career & Special Student Services office provides information specifically geared toward University Special Students, including scholarship and financial information, workshops, career services.