Common Questions

Do I have to take any tests before I am admitted? Do I have to take a test before I can be admitted as a University Special Student (non-degree)?

Non-degree: Tests scores are not typically required for admission as a non-degree student, however, ACT/SAT, GED/HSED or placement test scores in English or Math may be requested by the Office of Adult and Returning Students in order to determine admissibility to particular programs or courses.

Degree-seeking: UWM typically does not require transfer students to submit official ACT/SAT scores, but occasionally a student may be notified if they are required. However, ACT/SAT scores are required for new freshmen under 21 and anyone applying to the School of Architecture and Urban Planning, regardless of age. In addition, all new incoming freshmen are required to take University of Wisconsin System placement tests for English and Math so that you will be placed in the appropriate level classes. If you do not take placement tests, you will not be invited to the Student Advising and Registration program (New Freshman Orientation), nor will be mailed directions to access your PAWS (Panther Access to Web Services) account to check the status of your application.

What if I am an adult returning to school and think I may not meet the admission requirements?
Please contact the Office of Adult and Returning Student Services (OARSS) at 414-229-6732 to find out more about admission options, such as University Special Student status or the Academic Opportunity Center.

What if I do not meet the minimum admission requirements?
If a review of your application shows that you do not meet the minimum admission requirements, you may appeal your decision with a letter in writing to the academic dean of the school/college to which you applied. If your appeal is denied you will not be allowed to apply through a different program for the same semester at UWM.

What materials do I need to submit with my application?
Non-degree: You need not send transcripts unless requested to do so by the Office of Adult and Returning Student Services. There is no application fee for University Special, Summer or UWinteriM Guest students.

Degree-seeking: A completed application file consists of an application, an official high school transcript, an official transcript from each institution attended beyond high school, and an application processing fee of $44. If you are currently taking courses at another institution, please note the course numbers and titles on your application. Upon submission of your materials, you will be notified by mail if anything is missing.

Do I have to pay the $44 application fee?
Non-degree: You do NOT pay an application fee when you apply as a non-degree University Special Student, a Summer or UWinteriM Guest student.

Degree-seeking: All applicants must pay the applications fee unless they meet one of the following exceptions: 1) previously attended UWM as a degree candidate; OR 2) the institution a student attended immediately prior to UWM was one of the 13 2-year campuses in the UW System.

Is your application on the web?
Yes, applications for University Special, Summer Guest and UWinteriM students and degree-seeking students are available at The "Re-entry to UWM" form can only be printed and mailed at this time.

If I attended another college, can I find out what credits will transfer to UWM?
Non-degree: If you have attended another college or university contact them for an official copy of your transcript in a SEALED envelope. (Do not open the sealed envelope, because your opening it makes an official transcript "unofficial".) Then call OARSS to make an appointment with an advisor to review your prior coursework. The transcript will not only help OARSS make an approximation of which courses may transfer, but will also help us see if you are admissible to a degree program (and, therefore, eligible to apply for grants and loans).

Degree-seeking: If you attended another institution within the University of Wisconsin System or the Wisconsin Technical College System, the Transfer Information System (TIS) can show you how courses transfer to UWM before even applying! For more information on the transfer process, see the Transfer page of this web site. If you wish to find out if any of your credits transfer to UWM that you earned while in the military, e-mail us

What if I am not sure of the exact dates I attended UWM? What do I put on the application?
If you are not sure of the exact dates you attended UWM, please put down approximate dates. Also, please be sure to note any prior names you have used.

When will a decision be made on my application?
Non-degree: For University Special, Summer and UWinteriM Guest students, a decision is usually made within 2-3 days of receipt, if the application is fully completed. A letter confirming your admission is generally mailed to you within a week after the decision is made.
Degree-seeking: Once an application for a degree program is completed, you may expect to hear a decision in 6 to 8 weeks.

Can I defer admission or change the semester for which I would like to enroll?
Non-degree: Yes. If you have not registered yet, you can call 414-229-6732 and tell us that you will not be attending that semester. However, if you have already registered for classes you also need to follow the withdrawal procedures outlined in the Schedule of Classes. Call us if you need assistance, especially if the semester has already begun.

Degree-seeking: Yes. You can call 414-229-2222 and request a "term change" (you are changing your term of entry to UWM from one semester to another).

How will I know when I am admitted and able to register?
You will be notified by mail when you are admitted to UWM, whether in a non-degree or degree status.

How do I use PAWS to register for classes?
Instructions on how to use PAWS can be found on the PAWS HELP For UWM Students page.

When do I have to pay for classes? When will I get a bill?
A $200 down payment is due before classes begin to hold your space in classes. See the front of the Schedule of Classes for the deadline every semester. You will be sent a bill for the Fall semester in early August, Spring in early December, and early May for the Summer Sessions. If you register for the semester after that time, you can print your bill from PAWS under Student Finances. Contact the Bursar's Office for billing questions.

How much is tuition?
The fee-tuition schedule and payment deadlines are found under appropriate headings at Tuition and Fees. The fee-tuition for non-degree and degree students is the same. Fees for auditing classes are assessed at a much lower rate ("60+ auditors" can audit for free, if a resident of Wisconsin.)

Is there any financial aid (grants and loans) or scholarships for non-traditional students?
Non-degree: University Special Students are not eligible for grants or loans, but are encouraged to apply for scholarships. "Tips" on the multitude of scholarships, as well as free searches for scholarships are available.

Degree-seeking: Adult students (whether in single or dual-income families) may be eligible for financial aid for all or part of the cost of tuition, supplies, childcare, and other living expenses. Non-traditional students can also check into the possibility of tuition reimbursement programs offered by their employer, in addition to free searches for scholarships through UWM's financial aid website.

What if I have more financial aid questions?
First, please view the FAFSA website for information on applying for financial aid. If you have more specific questions, please contact UWM's Financial Aid Department or call 414-229-4541.

In the past I've struggled with trying to earn good grades. Is there a program or specific office that could help me do better than the last time I attended?
You may wish to apply through UWM's Academic Opportunity Center if you meet their eligibility requirements. Also, if you suspect you may have a learning disability or another condition, which may affect your abilities, contact the Student Accessibility Center.

What if I am interested in teacher certification? Whom should I contact?
Please view the teacher certification website for more information. Contact the School of Education Advising office at 414-229-4721 if you have more questions after viewing the website.

What if I am interested in a certificate program?
Certificate programs are offered by the College of Health Sciences, the College of Letters and Science, and the Helen Bader School of Social Welfare. Most certificate programs require that you have already completed an undergraduate degree from an accredited institution or are currently working on a degree at UWM. Several certificate programs that do NOT require the completion of a degree are offered by the College of Health Sciences (nutrition, older adult fitness, strength and conditioning, molecular diagnostics, and the study of complementary and alternative medicine). Forensic science certificates in Death Investigation, Forensic Toxicology, and Forensic Science have been jointly established by the College of Health Sciences, the Helen Bader School of Social Welfare, and the College of Letters and Science. The College of Letters and Science also offers a number of other certificate programs. Please contact the certificate program coordinator for more information on the individual certificate program and how to obtain the Declaration of Certificate form.

What is the difference between a Second Undergraduate Degree and a New Major?
Most major programs at UWM are available as a second undergraduate degree. New majors can be earned in majors only from the College of Letters and Science, Peck School of the Arts, and Criminal Justice in the Helen Bader School of Social Welfare by those already holding a degree in that school/college. In addition, any major in the Sheldon B. Lubar School of Business can be a new major if your first undergraduate degree was in business.

Note that a student is awarded 90 credits toward a second undergraduate degree when applying. This means that one can earn a second degree with as few as 30 credits, provided appropriate prerequisites are met.

What is the Guaranteed Transfer Program?
The Guaranteed Transfer Program allows you to begin your college career at a UW College and then transfer to UWM to finish your major requirements and earn your undergraduate degree. When specific program requirements such as GPA and minimum credit requirements are fulfilled, you are guaranteed admission to UWM. Please contact the Student Services Office at your local UW College campus for more information.

What is the College Connection Program?
The College Connection Program pairs UWM with two-year UW College campuses (Washington County, Waukesha, Sheboygan, Manitowoc, Rock County, Baraboo, Marinette, Marshfield/Wood County, Marathon County, Fox Valley, Fond du Lac, Barron, and Richland Center) and with MATC-Madison Nicolet Area Technical College. You can complete a four-year bachelor's degree from UWM without leaving your local campus! Currently, this program offers degrees in Psychology, Sociology, Political Science, Art History, Communication, History, and Information Resources.

I've heard that UWM offers "non-credit" classes, sometimes off-campus. How can I find out about these?
Yes, the UWM School of Continuing Education offers professional development and personal growth opportunities through seminars, workshops, and certificate programs taught by UWM faculty. Educational travel and tours round out their schedule of programming.

What programs or classes are offered to adult students?
All programs and classes are available to adult students, but UWM has done a number of things to make it easier for adults to return to school and earn a degree. We offer all the requirements needed for a degree in the evening hours. We currently have about 25 undergraduate Evening Degree Programs. The Office of Adult and Returning Students (OARSS) offers a number of services and resources to adults, including pre-admission advising and a mentoring program.

Are there any on-line or evening degree programs offered by UWM?
Yes, course listings can be found by referring to the Evening/Weekend/Off-Campus/Distance-Education Section of the Schedule of Classes. There is also a special section on Evening Degree Programs.

Where do I get a Schedule of Classes (Schedule of Classes)?
The Schedule of Classes is available at We also send a supply to most public libraries in the greater Milwaukee area for your convenience.

How do I get to campus? Where can I park?
A number of maps of the area showing highways, streets, etc. can be seen by viewing the Campus Maps page. If you would like more specific directions or information on where to park for a campus visit, call OARSS at 414-229-6732, and we'll be happy to assist you.

How can I get a tour of campus?
Evening campus tours (5:30-6:30 p.m.) are held on the 2nd and 4th Monday of the month, excluding holidays and semester breaks. Contact OARSS at 414-229-6732 to reserve a spot for one of these tours geared to adults returning to school, and led by a returning student!
Tours can also be arranged throughout the year by calling the Department of Recruitment and Outreach at 414-229-2222.