Senior Guest Auditors

The History Department welcomes Senior Guest Auditors in our classes! If you are a Wisconsin resident over 60 years of age, you have the opportunity to audit classes at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Senior Guest Auditors are admitted as University special students and enroll in courses (free of charge) without earning credits

Auditor Courses - Ray McCool
Senior auditor Ray McCool has been taking classes in the History Department for over 18 years! Photo credit: Parker Schorr

Senior Guest Auditor Experience

Auditors are guests of a History course, and are able to sit in on a lecture section of a course, but are not active participants. Auditors do not take examinations or complete assignments. Most auditors tell us that they feel privileged to be able to take part in History courses at no cost, and that they enjoy the opportunity to continue a lifelong journey of learning! To read about the experiences of History Department Senior Guest Auditors, click the links below:

Where can I find helpful information on courses that are offered to Senior Guest Auditors?

When it is available, an informational guide to History courses available for audit will be found on this webpage. This guide is a resource to some of the classes our Department offers for audit, but keep in mind that class availability is subject to change based on classroom size, instructor consent, and seats available in the course. Undergraduate students have priority in registering for History courses, so seat availability may fluctuate before the start of the semester. If you are interested in a course that is not on this list, please contact the instructor before attending class, to see if they are open to the possibility of hosting auditors in the course.

Some courses are not open to Senior Guest Auditors:

  • Any discussion section of a course. Auditors who are enrolled in a course with discussion sections will only attend the lecture section of the course.
  • All FIGs (First Year Interest Groups), History 201, and History 600 courses.
  • All graduate-level courses (numbers 700 and above).
  • Any course for which an instructor does not consent to hosting senior guest auditors.

For semester-specific offerings, please see the informational document below:

Enrolling in Classes

Once you have applied and been admitted for the current term, and have a current 10-digit campus ID number, you are all set to start enrolling in classes! Space availability and instructor permission are required to audit. The earliest that auditors are able to enroll in classes is on the first day that the course meets. Auditor seats in History classes are available on a first-come, first-served basis, but auditors are welcome to enroll in a course past the first week, provided that seats are still open. Auditors must be physically present in order to obtain permission from an instructor, via the Auditor Permission Form. You will need to submit one form per each class that you would like to audit. Please be courteous to instructors and students when asking permission to audit a course. Auditors should not disrupt a class by asking the instructor during class time.

Once your permission form has been completely filled out and signed by the instructor, please bring it to the History Department front desk (3211 Mosse Humanities Building). Your permissions will be entered electronically, and Sophie Olson will send you a confirmation email notifying you that you are able to move on to the next step of the enrollment process. Your enrollment in a course is not complete once you submit your authorization form to the History Department office. Submitting the form ensures that you have permission to enroll, but the final step of enrolling in the course must be done by the auditor him/herself.

A helpful step-by-step guide (with pictures) on how to enroll can be found here: Senior Guest Auditors: How to enroll using Course Search and Enroll (pdf). If the History course has a lecture section only, auditors will enroll in the lecture section of the course. If the History course has a lecture section and discussion sections, auditors will need to enroll in discussion section 301, but will not actually attend the discussion section. Auditors who are enrolled in a course with discussion sections will only attend the lecture section of a course.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I become a Senior Guest Auditor?

  • For guidelines and instructions on becoming a Senior Guest Auditor, please go to the Adult Career and Special Student Services website. First-time auditors will need to complete a new application, as will returning auditors who did not enroll in the most recent fall or spring term.

What if I won’t be in Madison during the first week that the course meets?

  • The earliest that auditors are able to enroll is the first week of the semester in which the course occurs. Permission to enroll in a History course cannot be granted prior to the first week of classes, and no seats can be reserved before the semester starts. Seats are available on a first-come, first-served basis, but auditors are welcome to enroll in a course past the first week, provided that seats are still open.

I am interested in auditing a summer course, are these available to me?

  • The History Department does not currently open summer courses to Senior Guest Auditors.

What if the course that I wish to audit is taught online?

  • If the course that you are interested in auditing is an online course, you must still contact the instructor directly to see if they are open to auditor enrollments. Auditors in online courses will have access to course materials only, they do not participate in online discussions.

Helpful links

Contact

  • For questions about History courses, please contact Sophie Olson by email at solson25@wisc.edu, or by phone at (608) 263-1800.
  • For general questions regarding auditor information, registration status, or for help becoming a senior auditor, contact the Adult Career and Special Student Services Office by email at advising@dcs.wisc.edu, or by phone at (608) 263-6960.