Student working on coursework outdoors at the UW–Madison Memorial Union

Online Courses

Earn credit online this summer

This summer, experience UW–Madison academics from anywhere in the world. Taught by prestigious instructors from the university’s face-to-face courses, online Summer Term courses are a convenient way to make progress toward your degree and lighten your load for a future semester. They also pair well with a summer job or internship.

The Online Course Experience

What’s it like to take an online course at UW–Madison? Expect to be an active participant in the learning process. You’ll learn through tools such as podcasts, mini lectures, discussion forums, online journals and multimedia elements. You may connect with your instructor–and your classmates–through collaborative documents such as wikis, videoconferencing apps like Skype, emailing, texting and a host of interactive activities. You’ll submit assignments and exams online, too.

Online courses are conducted through the Canvas learning management system (LMS), which is part of the Learn@UW suite of learning technologies. They often consist of modules that divide the course material into easy-to-digest portions. An eight-week course might be split into four modules lasting two weeks apiece, or eight modules covering different topics. Instructors provide a syllabus listing important assignments, deadlines, virtual office hours and a weekly flow diagram (also known as a weekly rhythm) that illustrates how to structure your week to succeed in the course.

Explore online courses Search all courses

Are you a student from another university?

Whether on campus or online, we’d love to have you spend your summer with us!

Learn how to apply to take a summer course

Speak to an advisor at your school and gain prior approval before enrolling in a course. Most schools have a formal process for transferring credits. If you’re a student at another UW System school, see how UW–Madison credits may apply to requirements at your institution using the Transferology tool. Then talk to your advisor to make sure transfer credits apply to your major or academic program.

Prep for summer success

Summer Term courses are typically three, four, or eight weeks long, but they cover the same amount of material as the 16-week courses offered in fall and spring. Time management skills and a healthy dose of focus are crucial. Here are some tips to help you succeed:

Student working on online coursework from the comforts of home
  • Schedule, schedule, schedule: Set aside time each day for your course, using your syllabus and weekly flow diagram as guides. Participate in class every day, study daily and stay on top of assignments.
  • Get comfortable with learning technologies: Become familiar with Learn@UW and other technology tools used in your course. It’s best to do this first thing during Summer Term, if not before. UW–Madison’s Division of Information Technology (DoIT) can help you with a wide variety of technologies, from online tools like Learn@UW and Blackboard to computer hardware and mobile devices, and UW–Madison’s libraries are fantastic resources for online research.
  • Study with a group: Use videoconferences or a group chat tool to study with classmates on a regular basis.
  • Ask questions: Make sure you understand the finer points of the course material—and your instructor’s expectations—by asking questions early and often. Don’t let them pile up!
  • Know when to say no: An online course is a commitment, especially during Summer Term. If your friends organize a barbecue or road trip, you’ll need the strength to say no if your schoolwork’s not done.
  • Incentivize: Use the aforementioned barbecues—and other social events—as rewards for study sessions. Other summertime goodies (ice cream, anyone?) can be great motivators, too.
  • Work hard, but enjoy the experience: Get excited about learning, connect with your classmates and challenge yourself to accomplish your goals. You’d be surprised what you can accomplish in a few months!