Course enrollment

Just like degree-seeking UW-Madison students, international exchange students can enroll in courses during the semester directly preceding their stay in Madison. Assuming the application process has gone according to schedule, this means that exchange students planning to study at the University of Wisconsin in the fall will be able to enroll in early April, and students coming for the spring semester will enroll in November.

To learn more about UW-Madison courses before enrollment, please visit the individual department websites and click on "courses," which is usually found under the "academics" tab on the department pages. From there, you will have access to a list of all courses offered in each department and will be able to find official course descriptions (this is true for all departments except for the Biological Systems Engineering department). If you need any assistance or additional documents from specific courses, please contact IESP. You can find all of the engineering courses listed at the College of Engineering's courses webpage.

Enrolling for UW Engineering courses is a relatively simple procedure that you can do on the internet from anywhere in the world. All you need is your MyUW student internet account and your enrollment date and you are ready to enroll in courses.

Instructions for activating your MyUW account, selecting courses and enrolling online are listed below.

Activating your MyUW account

Course Enrollment

Activate your MyUW internet account

Student Identification Number

You have been assigned a 10-digit UW student identification number (also called student ID or Campus ID) that you should have received when you submitted your electronic application to UW-Madison. This number is required to perform a variety of important procedures before and during your stay in Madison, starting now! Write it down and save it. If you do not have it, contact IESP.

Activating MyUW

You will use UW identification number to activate your MyUW account. Your MyUW account is an all-purpose e-mail, registration, class enrollment, and academic reporting tool that you will be required to use increasingly as you prepare for and finally attend UW Madison next semester. It is also the tool that you use to register for courses at the University of Wisconsin Madison.

Step-by-step directions for activating your MyUW account are available, and you will activate your account online as well.

You need only to enter your UW student ID number and date of birth. After entering this information, you will receive a Net ID which will be your "key" to the account. After activating your MyUW, you can use it from anywhere in the world.

Please activate your MyUW account right away, as it will be helpful to have some familiarity with the account before you start the registration process.

Your official UW e-mail account, also accessible through MyUW, will be the e-mail account through which you receive all official University correspondence from here to the end of your time in Madison, so check it at least once a day after you activate it to make sure you do not miss important information.

Course Enrollment

After you activate your MyUW, you should start planning your courses well in advance of your enrollment time, of which you will be notified. You will need to select courses you want to take using a tool called "Class Search" and make sure they all fit your schedule. You will place these courses on a "Wish List" prior to the enrollment time and perform a check to make sure that you are able to get into those courses once your enrollment time arrives. After the above date and time, you will then need to register for these courses online. As exchange students coming through the College of Engineering, at least 50% must be engineering courses selected from the College of Engineering (not including courses from Engineering Professional Development or InterEGR). You can find more detailed course information on the College of Engineering's course webpage.

You will receive notification of your online course enrollment time, which is the first opportunity you will have to register for courses. You can continuously register for courses from that date until the first week of classes. You can change your courses anytime between these dates, so this date is not a final deadline.

Please plan to register for courses on this date and time, and consider the time difference in your plans. The sooner you register for courses the better, as courses fill up very rapidly! You will register through "Student Center," a tool available through a web link on the home page of your MyUW.

Specific steps for course registration

1) Learn about the UW course numbering system

Every course at UW-Madison is assigned a department abbreviation and a three-digit course number. For example, "ME 306" is Mechanical Engineering, course number 306, "Mechanics of Materials."

  • Courses numbered 100-299 are open to undergraduate students only.
    100-level courses are first-year undergraduate courses
    200-level courses are second-year undergraduate courses
  • Courses numbered 300-699 are open to all students.
    300-level courses are third-year undergraduate courses
    400-level courses are fourth-year undergraduate courses
    500- and 600-level courses are advanced courses open to both undergraduates and graduate students
  • Courses numbered 700 and higher are open only to graduate students.

Please choose courses at a level (graduate or undergraduate) appropriate for your academic career at your home institution. If you have questions about this, please ask us!

Now that you are familiar with the course numbering system, you can begin to select courses.

2) Look at the schedule of courses offered next semester using "Class Search"

You can search for your courses using the tool "Class Search" in "Student Center," accessed through your MyUW account.

Courses listed are those offered for the semester. If a course is not listed, it is not offered that semester, and you must choose a different course.

The online listings at "Class Search" are continuously updated and show the meeting time for a course, how many spaces are available, the professor's name, what prerequisites are needed, and whether or not the course is full and therefore closed to enrollment.

Search for courses using the "Class Search" feature in the "Student Center" or by looking at department offerings, and pick the courses in which you would like to register. Visit the engineering courses web site for more specific information.

Review the course description carefully, and make sure to ask these questions before you select a course:

  1. Is the course open to graduate students only or to undergraduate students only?
  2. Do I have the required background or prerequisites to take that course?
  3. Does it match my degree requirements (if any)?
  4. Is there a waiting list to get into the course?
  5. Do I need to obtain permission from the professor to enroll in the course?
  6. Will this course benefit me professionally, educationally and personally?

Please note you cannot register for more than 18 credits if your status is undergraduate student, and that you are limited to 12 credits if your status is graduate student. Most UW courses count as 3 credits.

3)Familiarize yourself with the course registration process

Enrolling through your MyUW internet account is an easy online process explained on the registrar's web site. Demonstrations are available there as well.

Each course that you have chosen is assigned a five-digit "enrollment number" that designates a specific course's session and time. When you have reviewed the timetable in Class Search and chosen your courses based on their content and their number, you should:

  • Write down this five-digit number for each course/section, and
  • Make sure that the courses do not have conflicting meeting times or final exams.

Not thoroughly checking all this information could result in problems when you try to register.

4)Use the Wish List to check your courses

Before your registration time and date, you must use the Wish List tool to make sure you can get into the courses you need!

Add your selected courses to your "Wish List" in the Student Center. When the courses are included in your Wish List/Shopping Cart, click on "Validate Selected," so that you can confirm if you will be able to add the courses at enrollment time or if you will need to have permission or to meet other requirements.

The benefit of using the "Validate Selected" tool to check your classes is that you are able to make sure that you have all the requirements and permissions you need and that you will be able to register promptly once your enrollment time arrives. Some classes fill up rapidly, so doing this step ahead of time will help you avoid problems once your enrollment time comes.

If you do not see a green "OK to add" message, contact the department of the course in which you are interested and get permission to register for the class. For example, if you needed permission for an Engineering Physics course, you would contact the Engineering Physics department.

You will need to explain carefully to the department or the professor of the class that you are an international exchange student here for a limited time (a semester or a year) and make a polite request that you be given permission to enroll in it. In addition, if you were unable to validate the class and the error message indicated that you lacked prerequisites, you will have to show the department or the professor that you have taken the equivalent of the required prerequisites at your home institution.

You will also need to provide your student ID number to get permission from the department.

For information or contacts, consult the online listing of engineering departments.

5) Enroll in courses

When your enrollment time and date comes, you will be able to enroll in the courses you placed on your Wish List in the Student Center. You will simply go to your Wish List and use the button "Begin Enrolling" to start the process. On the next screen, you will confirm your classes and use the button "Finish Enrolling" to enroll.

When you are finished registering for classes, confirm that the courses are correct, and that you did not enter the wrong number or wrong information.