Taking courses at a different institution

Are you thinking about taking courses through a different institution, and transferring those credits to UW-Madison? This is possible! However, there are many steps and a few caveats. This webpage is designed to connect you with the offices and units that handle things like concurrent enrollment, credit overload requests, credit evaluation, and transfer credit.

This webpage is not an exhaustive checklist, so please be sure to check in with your advisor as you work through this process.

Please also note that many of the linked resources on this page are policies for students in the College of Letters and Science. If you are in a different school/college (like, the School of Education or the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences) please be sure to check with you advisors and academic deans in your respective school/college.

This page was published to the IS Major website in August, 2020. Please always be sure to visit the Registrar webpages, and consult the Academic Dean’s office of your respective school/college for updated information.

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What is concurrent enrollment?

Please visit the Concurrent Enrollment page and carefully review the policies and procedures.

“The College of Letters & Science recognizes that in some circumstances, courses offered by other institutions of higher learning (e.g., MATC-Madison, Edgewood College, etc.) can complement the course of study offered by the residence program at UW-Madison. Permission is required to be enrolled at UW-Madison while also taking a class at another institution. This permission must be obtained before enrolling in the course at the other institution.

If concurrent enrollment sounds like what you’re planning to do, fill out the form and contact your academic advisor to discuss your plans.

How many credits can I take at a community college, or different institution?

From the Concurrent Enrollment policy page:

  • Students who are given permission to be concurrently enrolled are bound by the College of Letters & Science enrollment regulation of 18 credits maximum (which includes the total number of credits taken at both UW-Madison and the non-residence institution). If a student will exceed 18 credits in a semester, the student must fill out a “Credit Overload Request” online form.
  • Students may never receive credit for more than twenty (20) credits in either the fall or spring semester. In addition, a student may never receive more than twelve (thirteen with dean’s permission) during the summer term.

Please fill out the “Credit Overload Request” online form if you will exceed 18 credits in a semester between your UW Madison enrollment and your non-residence institution enrollment.

Please visit and carefully review the information on the Registrar’s webpage for transferring your credit to UW-Madison. 

From the Registrar’s Transfer Credit webpage: “The maximum number of transferable semester credits from a two-year college is 72. There is no credit limit on transferable credits from a four-year university.”

How do I know what my courses from a different institution will count towards for my UW-Madison degree?

Please visit the Registrar’s Transfer Credit webpage, and find the answer to this question in the FAQ section:

Unfortunately, we are not able to pre-equate transfer courses for prospective students or for courses taken during the fall and spring semester for enrolled students.

If you want to take courses within the University of Wisconsin System or the Wisconsin Technical College System you may consult Transferology.


The Course Equivalency Service is available from March 1st to May 15th for Summer and November 1st to December 1st for Winter.  This is an optional service for enrolled students who plan to complete summer or winter course work at another institution. The service provides information on how course work will transfer back to UW-Madison. Our office will equate a maximum of four courses per student for the summer term and one for the winter term.

If you are looking to take a course at a UW System school or Wisconsin Technical School College, you should check the Transfer Information System (TIS) or Transfer Equivalency Database (TED).  If your intended course has a rule, please do not submit a request through the Course Equivalency Service.”

How do I actually transfer my credits?

Please visit and carefully review the information on the Registrar’s webpage about how to transfer your credit to UW-Madison.

“To be awarded credit at UW–Madison, enrolling students must have their official college-level transcript(s) sent to the Office of Admissions and Recruitment.

Electronic transcripts must be sent through a secure document sending service to etranscripts@admissions.wisc.edu. Transcripts sent through email, as an attachment, will not be accepted as official. Paper transcripts sent to the Office of Admissions must bear an official school seal or be printed on the school’s custom watermarked/security paper.

Students taking courses at a UW System school or Wisconsin Technical College may consult Transfer Wisconsin to determine exactly how credit will be awarded.”