Winterim Questions and Concerns

There is increasing interest among students in taking “winterim” courses but a lack of information about them.  L&S undergraduate students may enroll in a course over the UW-Madison “winterim” (special spring term session) 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 an unofficial name for the period between the fall and spring academic semesters. At UW-Madison, it is not technically separate from the Spring term, but occurs prior to the regular A1 session, which begins on the faculty-designated “first day of instruction.”

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.

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.

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.

What Are the Credit Limits Related to Winterim Courses?

The general rule is that a student may earn one credit per week of instruction in a winterim course. This is true for both transfer and UW-Madison courses.

Academic policy allows this credit to increase the total number of credits allowed during the semester/term, but this does not happen automatically for UW-Madison winterim courses.  Student whose total combined credit for UW-Madison winterim and spring courses exceeds 18 credits, should contact so that their maximum credit total can be adjusted.

Winterim Terms: Concurrent Enrollment and Credit Overloads

Winterim regular maximum credit load: 4 credits.

Spring term regular maximum credit load: 18 credits (up to 20 credits if students has CUM GPA of 3.000.  See credit overload for more detailed information).

1) Student wants to enroll for courses over the UW-Madison “winterim” (special spring term sessions):

  • No concurrent enrollment
  • Credit overload required if total winterim and spring term credit load exceeds 18 credits. Maximum with overload in winterim is 4 credits and 20 credits for spring.
  • If winterim session does not overlap with UW-Madison spring term, it is possible to take up to 24 credits (winterim maximum with credit overload of 4 credits  plus 20 credit maximum with credit overload for spring term).  If the UW-Madison winterim session overlaps, then it is part of the spring term and the maximum credit load for both terms is 20 credits.   A minimum GPA eligibility applies for each term overload (3.000).

2) Student wants to enroll for courses at another institution over their winterim term which does not overlap with UW-Madison’s spring term

  • No concurrent enrollment
  • Student may request overload for winterim to allow transfer; may also request overload for UW-Madison spring term. Maximum total credit limit of 24 credits for both terms (4 credits for winterim plus a 20-credit overload for spring.  A minimum GPA eligibility of 3.000 applies for each term).

3) Student wants to enroll for courses at another institution over their winterim term which does overlap with UW-Madison spring term.

  • No concurrent enrollment.  See concurrent enrollment for more details.
  • Overlap means that winterim term is considered part of spring term. Student may request credit overload, but limited to total for both terms of 20 credit. A minimum GPA eligibility of 3.000 applies.