UW-Madison awards credit through a variety of avenues, listed below in the Ways to Earn Credit table. Degree seeking students use credits to fulfill their requirements where the culmination of completing these requirements and minimum number of credits results in conferral of an award (degree, major, certificate, etc.). Consult the Ways to Earn Credit policy for details.
|Table 1. Ways to Earn Credit|
Credit for Prior Learning
(from another institution)
(from the Joint Service Transcript)
|Credit by Department Exam||Retroactive Foreign Language Credit||Third-Party Credit by Exam||Portfolio Review
(not currently available at UW-Madison)
Guide is the official repository of in-residence credit, Credit by Departmental Exam, Retroactive Foreign Language Credit, and Third-Party Credit by Exam ways to earn credit at UW-Madison.
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In-Residence UW-Madison Coursework
Undergraduate Transfer Credit
Students may transfer credit from another institution or as military credit. For limitations on this type of credit, see the Ways to Earn Credit Policy. UW-Madison complies with UW-System’s policy on transfer credit and State Statues 36.31(4). For more information, contact the Credit Evaluation Services office in the Office of the Registrar who administers credit evaluation for transfer and military credit.
- UW System Undergraduate Transfer Policy
- Undergraduate Transfer Information (Policy Library info)
- Wisconsin State Statutes 36.31(4) (Military Credit)
- Transferring Credit at UW-Madison (Office of the Registrar)
Graduate Transfer Credit
The Graduate School allows programs to transfer credits for previous coursework. A student’s program may decide to accept transfer credits toward fulfillment of minimum degree, minimum graduate coursework, graduate/professional certificate, and doctoral minor credit requirements. Refer to the Graduate School: Transfer Credits for Prior Coursework Policy for information related to transfer credit types, limitations, and related policies. All prior coursework counting toward a degree that was earned outside of the Graduate career at UW-Madison must be entered in the Graduate Student Portal (My Grad Portal) by the program to be recorded in the Student Information System (SIS) and on a student’s transcript.
Departmental Placement Exam and Credit by Departmental Exam (Credit for Prior Learning)
Departments can offer students the opportunity to demonstrate their academic background in two separate ways, allowing for a reduced time-to-degree. See the related policies for appropriate uses of each exam.
All Departmental Placement Examinations and Credit by Departmental Exams must proposed in Lumen Exams (requires authentication) and approved through workflow. They must be reviewed and approved by the subject, school or college, and the University Curriculum Committee prior to implementation.
- Procedures for Credit by Exam and Departmental Placement Exams
- Canvas – Online Proctoring of Departmental Placement Exams and Credit by Departmental
- UW System Award of Credit by Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) Procedure
Departmental Placement Exams
Departments can propose placement exams that allow students to demonstrate the academic knowledge, skills or experience required for foundational coursework within their subject array. This allows students to bypass courses where they have already mastered the content freeing up space for students who may need a seat in those courses.
Credit by Departmental Exam
Departments can propose credit by exams that allow students to demonstrate acquired knowledge, skills, and competencies through experiences that are academic in nature but may not necessarily correspond to a setting in which UW–Madison awards traditional credit. The Credit by Department Exam is a way for students to demonstrate this in a way that provides credit to a specific UW-Madison course.
Third-Party Test Credits (Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, Advanced-Level, CLEP) (Credit for Prior Learning)
UW–Madison grants credits related to third-party test credits. These are traditionally completed during high school or other college-level knowledge acquisition outside of the classroom. See the policy for more information about adding or changing equivalencies, and recording credit on a student’s record. All new, change, or discontinuation of equivalencies must be reviewed and approved by the University Curriculum Committee.
- Third-Party Test Credits Policy
- UW System Transfer and Award of Credit for Extra-Institutional Learning Policy
- UW System Awarding of UW System Credit in Wisconsin Schools Policy
- Undergraduate Transfer Credit Policy (Policy Library info)
- UW System College Credit in High School Policy
- CollegeBoard Course and Exams (AP)
- International Baccalaureate (IB)