Winterim Questions and Concerns

L&S undergraduate students may enroll in a course during the four-week period immediately after the fall term commonly known as winterim and earn academic credit at UW-Madison.   The following are FAQs relating to how winterim courses work for L&S students.  Some of these answers apply to all UW students; however, this section is meant primarily for L&S undergraduates.

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What is Winterim?

Winterim is the unofficial name for the four-week period starting in late December after Fall term finals and continuing through the third week of January before the first day of instruction for the Spring term.  Please note that the first day of instruction for Spring 2025 is Tuesday, January 21, 2025.

Does UW-Madison Offer Winterim Courses?

UW-Madison has traditionally had very few winterim courses and many of them have been focused on special groups. An example would be a brief study abroad experience in the winterim period.

Examples of  a winterim term are:

  • WDD session offered December 26, 2023 – January 21, 2023
  • XBB session offered January 2 – January 14, 2024
  • XCB session offered January 2 – January 21, 2024
  • XCC session offered January 2 – January 21, 2024

**Please note that any December/January courses that DO NOT end prior to the first day of instruction for the Spring term ARE NOT considered winterim courses for L&S undergraduate students.   Examples of this would be:

  • WEE session starts December 26, 2023 – January 28, 2024
  • WTT session starts December 26, 2023 – May 12, 2024
  • XDD session starts January 2 – January 28, 2024
  • XED session starts January 2 – February 4, 2024

 

How Can I Identify Winterim Courses?

UW-Madison sessions beginning with W, X, Y, or Z begin in the winterim period. Depending on the length of the sessions, they may be entirely in the winterim period or extend into the regular A1 session. See session codes and curricular weeks for more detailed information.

Examples of  a winterim term are:

  • WDD session offered December 26, 2023 – January 21, 2023
  • XBB session offered January 2 – January 14, 2024
  • XCB session offered January 2 – January 21, 2024
  • XCC session offered January 2 – January 21, 2024

**Please note that any December/January courses that DO NOT end prior to the first day of instruction for the Spring term ARE NOT considered winterim courses for L&S undergraduates.   Examples of this would be:

  • WEE session starts December 26, 2023 – January 28, 2024
  • WTT session starts December 26, 2023 – May 12, 2024
  • XDD session starts January 2 – January 28, 2024
  • XED session starts January 2 – February 4, 2024

 

Why Would Students Want to Take Winterim Courses?

L&S students typically consider winterim courses for one of the following reasons:

1.     They want to use the time between semesters/terms to either “get ahead” or “catch up” on credits.

2.     They plan to graduate in May or August, but will need more credits than they can reasonably take during the regular fall or spring term.

3.     They want to exceed normal credit limit restrictions (see below)

4.     They want to take advantage of special course opportunities at other institutions.

Under What Circumstances Can Students Take Winterim Courses at Other Institutions?

L&S students enrolled for the spring semester can take winterim courses at other accredited institutions without special permission PROVIDED that the course is over before the first day of instruction of the A1 spring term. Note the follow special considerations:

1.     Course equivalencies for UW System schools are available through Transferology.   See transferology for more detailed information on how to create an account to look up transfer equivalents.

2.     If they are seniors, normal residence rules apply. See Senior Residence Requirement (30-Credit Rule) for information about the residence requirement.

For additional information, please refer to is it possible to take a course during the winterim and earn credit at UW-Madison.

How Many Credits Can I Take During Winterim?

In order to create learning environments that permit students optimal time to engage in their studies, UW-Madison has established limits on the number of credits students may take in any given term. In winterim, the general rule is that a student may earn one credit per week of instruction in a winterim course, whether through UW-Madison or elsewhere.

Please consider the questions below to determine whether additional approvals are required for your winterim plans. At UW-Madison, winterim is not technically separate from the spring term, your winterm credits will affect the number of credits students can take in the spring term. There are two things to consider. First, whether you take courses at UW-Madison or not affects credit overload. Second, whether winterim overlaps with the spring term or not affects the total number of credits students can take across winterim and the spring term.

Do you plan to take winterim session at either UW-Madison or at another institution?

    • At UW-Madison: A student may take up to 3 credits without special approval. Students with cumulative GPAs of at least 3.000 may seek permission to enroll in 4 credits.  See credit overload.
    • At Another Institution: A student may take up to 4 credits at another institution without special approval. No minimum GPA requirement will be applied to students who take courses at another institution. Be sure to check course transferability and course equivalency.
Does Winterim Overlap with the UW-Madison Spring Term? Do I Need an Approval for Credit Overload?
Winterim Yes (Overlap Between winterim and Spring Term) No (No Overlap between winterim and spring term)
At UW-Madison No Credit overload Required: Students are allowed to take a combined total of 18 credits in winterim and the spring term. Credit overload Required: Students can take up to 3 credits for winterim and 18 credits for the spring term all at UW-Madison.
Credit Overload Required: Eligible students may seek permission to enroll in either 4 credits for winterim or 20 credits for both winterim and the spring term combined at UW-Madison. Credit Overload Required: Eligible students may seek permission to enroll in either 4 credits for winterim or 24 credits for winterim and the spring term combined at UW-Madison.
At Another institution No Credit Overload Required: Students are limited to taking a combined total of 18 credits in winterim and the spring term No Credit overload Required: Students can take up to 3 credits for winterim and 18 credits for the spring term all at UW-Madison.
No Credit Overload Required: Students can take the combined total of 20 credits in winterim (4 credits) and the spring term (16 credits). Credit Overload Required: In addition to 3-4 credits for winterim, eligible students may seek permission to enroll in up to 20 credits in the spring term at UW-Madison.

The following is a table to help you to decide whether a student needs to obtain approval for a credit overload.

Credits & Institution During Winterim Spring Credits at UW Madison Approval for Credit Overload Required
3 winterim credits at UW-Madison 16 or more at UW-Madison Yes
3 winterim credits at another institution 17 or less at UW-Madison No
4 winterim credits at UW-Madison Yes (Students must have at least a 3.000 UW-Madison cumulative GPA to be eligible)
4 winterim credits at another institution No
3 winterim credits  at UW-Madison 16 (or more) credits at UW-Madison Yes (Students must have at least a 3.000 UW-Madison cumulative GPA to be eligible)
4 winterim credits  at UW Madison 15 or more at UW-Madison Yes (Students must have at least a 3.000 UW-Madison cumulative GPA to be eligible)
3-4 credits for winterim at another institution 18 or less at UW-Madison No

If you have questions about these policies, please consult with your advisor or email lsdeans@saa.ls.wisc.edu.