Registration and Schedules - Undergraduate

Registration process

The university has online registration via the WINGS Student Center. Registration for the winter and spring terms begins in November; summer registration begins a week before fall registration in late March. A student's enrollment date and time is located on their WINGS Student Center. The student may register at that assigned time or any time after, through the fifth day of classes (third day for a summer term) unless enrollment limits have been met. From the sixth to the tenth day of the semester, a student may register with approval from the instructor and/or department. The drop/add/change of schedule policy has more details on the deadlines for schedule changes.

The online Schedule of Classes and WINGS Class Search have the published schedule for the upcoming terms. Directions on how to register in WINGS can be found on the WINGS Help site. The registration system will not permit a student to enroll in a class for which a prerequisite is not in progress at UWL or has not been completed, if there is a time conflict, if the class is closed, or if the additional credits will put the student's credit load over 18 credits for undergraduates or 15 credits for graduates. Some graduate programs require graduate students to register through their advisors instead of using the WINGS system. Course-related policies that affect registration, including the course repeat policy and the different modes of instruction, can be found in the course information section of the undergraduate and graduate catalogs.

Continuing students must not have any holds that block registration, including financial holds, on their account in order to register. In addition, all students are charged a non-refundable registration fee each term they register for one or more courses. The Cashier's Terms and Conditions Agreement covers this fee, and the exact amount is listed in the cost to attend UWL. If a student drops all classes before the term begins, the student is still responsible for this fee.

University drop/add/change of schedule policy

The period of time between a student’s initial registration for any term through the first 10 days of classes during an academic semester is considered to be the "drop/add/change of schedule" period. Classes shorter than the traditional full semester length offered during a semester or during an intersession have drop/add schedules that reflect deadlines pro-rated from a full semester based on the length of the class. 

Dropping a class

For schedule changes associated with dropping classes, neither the advisor's permission nor the instructor's permission is required during this period and a student may drop classes without affecting the permanent academic record. After the drop/add/change of schedule period, if a student withdraws from a course, the individual class withdrawal policy applies.

Adding a class

For schedule changes associated with adding courses, if the desired section is not closed, no permissions are needed during the first five days of classes for full semester courses. From the sixth day through the tenth day of classes for full semester courses, permission from the instructor is required and departmental permission may also be required. After the close of the add/drop/change of schedule period, classes cannot be added except in unusual cases and then only with the consent of the instructor, department chair, and the dean's office.


University class drops at an instructor's discretion policy

A student enrolled in any course is expected to be in attendance from the first day or to have notified the instructor or Student Life that attendance is not possible. A student registered in a section who fails to attend the first two class sessions or provide proper notification may be dropped from the course at the discretion of the instructor.

An instructor who wishes to drop a student from a course during the "drop/add/change of schedule" period for the class should complete a drop/add form and submit it to the Office of Records and Registration by the end of the class' drop/add/change of schedule period. A decision by an instructor to drop a student from a class may not be appealed to any other individual or body in the university. A student should not assume that an instructor will use the discretionary drop if the student does not attend class. It is a student’s responsibility to withdraw from a class.

Undergraduate student credit load policy

The standard undergraduate load is 15 credits per semester. Credit loads of 19 or more constitute an "overload" and may be carried only if an application is made in writing and approved by the dean of the school or college in which the applicant is enrolled. Overloads are not approved for first semester first years or for any student with a cumulative grade point average less than a 3.25.

The standard undergraduate load during a 12-week summer term is 12 semester credits. This is the maximum number of credits that can be earned during the summer term. For winter intersession, a student may earn, as a maximum, the number of credits corresponding to the number of weeks in any interim session (i.e., three weeks: three credits).

To be considered full-time, undergraduate students must carry a minimum of 12 semester credits during the semester and six credits during summer term. Half-time is based on six credits for a semester and three credits for summer term. Credits carried on an audit basis do not count as part of a load to establish full-time or half-time status for any type of eligibility - sports, loans, etc. To qualify for federal student financial aid in the summer, students need to carry 12 credits to be full-time and six credits to be part-time.

University of Wisconsin Independent Learning courses taken during a regular term are considered part of an individual’s load for one term only. These courses, if properly approved, may count toward the undergraduate degree but are not averaged into the cumulative grade point average.

Student classifications

First Year 0-29 semester credits
Sophomore 30-59 credits
Junior 60-89 credits
Senior 90 credits or more


  • graduate student
  • special non-degree student
  • student seeking certificate
  • second degree student

In addition to the above classifications, undergraduate students often are classified by the college in which they are enrolled:

  • College of Business Administration
  • College of Arts, Social Sciences, and Humanities
    • School of Visual and Performing Arts
  • College of Science and Health
  • School of Education

Class start policy

The official start of an undergraduate class is the start date as displayed in WINGS. With few exceptions, undergraduate classes at UWL will not start before the official start date of each term. Although instructors may provide class materials and readings to be completed by the first day of class, aside from the expectations below, students cannot be required to complete written assignments, quizzes or tests prior to the official start date of the class. 

Unless waived (by the dean of the college or school), the time commitment for pre-class preparation for students should be explicitly displayed in the document, be carefully designed not to interfere with students' current academic courses, and should not exceed 10% of the overall credit hour time commitment of the class. Occasionally situations exist where either face-to-face or online preparation for a class is necessary prior to the official start of the term (for instance, study abroad courses, research, and independent study). In these situations, a document with all assignments, due dates, and necessary resources must be approved by the appropriate academic dean and provided for each student upon registration. Graduate students are exempt from this policy.

Class attendance policy

Because class participation is an integral component of the development of a successful learning community, all students are expected to attend all class sessions of courses in which they are enrolled. While attendance is expected, it is recognized that absences are at times unavoidable. If an absence is necessary, a student should take responsibility for contacting their instructor(s) as soon as possible to discuss the ramifications of being away from class.

It is important for the student to realize that when classes are missed they may be at a disadvantage as it is often not feasible for the instructor to reconstruct activities that took place in the classroom, laboratory, or field during the absence. Additionally, missing any classes may result in lower grades because the student may miss foundational material needed to succeed in the class. Even under the best of circumstances, extended absences can be problematic, with the real possibility that the student may not be able to complete the course successfully. Students with a documented disability requesting an accommodation related to attendance must request accommodation through the ACCESS Center.

Authorized absences and how they differ from other absences

Absences that fall under one of the following categories are considered authorized:

  1. participation in an approved field trip listed in the catalog as a requirement for a course in which the student is enrolled; or
  2. participation in an authorized extra-curricular activity such as a university athletic event or artistic performance; or
  3. active military service; or
  4. accommodation of students' religious beliefs; or
  5. bereavement (such as the death of a close family member); or
  6. illness, injury, or emergency of such severity as to prevent the student from being able to attend class.

A student should communicate directly with the instructor when an absence falls under one of the approved six categories. Instructors have discretion regarding requests for absences that do not fall under one of the approved six categories.

Course policies and communication

Both students and their instructors have responsibilities related to course policies and communication of absences.

Course policies regarding absences 

Instructors may initiate their own policy regarding attendance. If an instructor teaches more than one section of a course, the same policy should be used for all sections. Attendance policies should be clearly articulated in a course syllabus. Instructors are expected to announce their attendance policy to each class, but it is the responsibility of the student to know the policies of the instructor contained in the syllabus. Instructors may choose to request HIPPA-compliant documentation for authorized absences. Instructors may not require documentation that describes the nature of the student's medical condition. Requests for documentation should be restricted to information that can be readily obtained, is not unacceptably intrusive, and is culturally appropriate.

Communication regarding absences

Notifying instructors and arranging make-up work in cases involving authorized absences of students from class are the responsibility of the student. A student who is absent is responsible for notifying the instructor as soon as possible and may not be penalized for authorized absences if appropriate HIPPA-compliant documentation is provided in a timely fashion to the instructor to verify the reason for the absence. Students may not be required to provide documentation describing the nature of the student's medical condition.

In serious situations where the student is incapacitated and temporarily unable to perform the aforementioned responsibilities, family members may contact the Student Life Office for assistance with these matters. The Student Life Office will then provide notification (not verification) of the absence to the instructors. Arrangements for make-up work, make-up exams, or possible assignment adjustments are the responsibility of the student. Students should read their syllabi carefully and direct any attendance-related questions to the instructor of that course.

In the case of severe illness, injury, or emergency, instructors should be kept apprised of the student’s absence timeline through direct communication with the student and/or via the Student Life Office, which will assist students and communicate with instructors as needed.

When absences are authorized, instructors are obligated to work with students to determine the best way for students to resume participation in the class without a direct penalty. The instructor is responsible for providing reasonable accommodation or opportunities to make up course obligations that have an impact on the course grade. It is expected that reasonable requests to make up exams and assignments will be accommodated. However, if the absences are lengthy, the student, instructor, and the Student Life Office should work together to determine if it will be possible for the student to successfully complete the course.

In all cases of absence, authorized or otherwise, the student is responsible for completing missed work. The instructor is not required to do extra teaching.

Changing major, minor, program, college or school

Based on their chosen major, undergraduate students are assigned to a college or school within the university for advisement, registration, and record-keeping purposes. Admission and other requirements vary among the schools and colleges and their programs. A student may change their major, minor, or program if the student meets the prescribed admission, curriculum, or other requirements of the new program, college, or school. Changes are initiated at the dean’s office of the college or school to which a student wishes to change. Students may change a program at any time; however, students are encouraged to make changes early in a term for advising purposes. Frequently, additional credits and time are needed to complete graduation requirements after a change of program, college, or school. Students who decide to make such changes are responsible for familiarizing themselves with the requirements.

University undergraduate enrollment in graduate courses policy

Undergraduate students enrolled in a dual degree or minor-to-master's program, or who have senior status (at least 90 credits) and at least a 3.00 cumulative grade point average, may enroll in a maximum of nine graduate credits. Approval must be granted by the graduate program, since some graduate classes are limited to students admitted to the program and are not available for undergraduate enrollment.

Graduate level credits may be used to satisfy requirements for a bachelor's degree if the student is enrolled in a dual degree or minor-to-master's program, or if approved by the chair of the student's major department. The chair's approval should be communicated to the student's college office to apply graduate credits towards the bachelor's degree outside of a dual degree or minor-to-master's program. 

Maximum student credit load for dual enrollment (graduate/undergraduate) is 15 credit hours for a semester and eight credit hours for a summer term (standard university overload approval process applies). 

Students must submit a graduate special non-degree application using the Universities of Wisconsin online application prior to registering for a graduate course. Undergraduate tuition and fees are charged. Students in dual degree programs must complete the regular graduate program application process and pay graduate tuition fees after completing nine graduate credits. Students are expected to purchase texts for graduate courses.

Exceptions to these requirements must be approved by the Graduate Council.


University audit policy

Students may audit courses under the following arrangements:

  1. Students must receive consent of the department chair and the instructor offering the course.
  2. No change from audit to credit will be permitted after the first week of classes. No change from credit to audit will be permitted after the official last day to drop a class. (See the individual class withdrawal policy for deadline details.)
  3. No credit will be granted for any course that is audited. "Audit" will appear on the student's permanent academic record. The "AS/AU" grading system is used for auditors. The grade will not affect a student's GPA.
  4. An audited course may be repeated for credit in another semester or term.
  5. Appropriate tuition and fees are to be paid for the course.
  6. Courses being audited are not usable to establish full-time or part-time status for any type of eligibility, such as for athletic participation, student grants/loans, or loan deferment.
  7. Courses being audited may not be taken in excess of student load limits for credit generating courses without special "overload" permission from the student's academic dean.
  8. A course previously completed for credit may be audited in another term.