Do you want a bachelor’s degree, but need to complete your general education requirements first? Here’s your chance to earn the credits you need at your own pace, on your schedule, using knowledge you already have.
The Associate of Arts and Science (AAS) degree is the foundation for more than 200 college majors. All University of Wisconsin four-year institutions, including UW-Madison, consider this AAS degree to satisfy the university-wide general education breadth requirements. An associate degree also signals to employers that you have the advanced skills in communication and critical thinking necessary to succeed in today’s workplaces.
Students Who Need to Complete General Education Requirements
For students with transferable college credit who would like to earn their bachelor’s degrees (whether through a UW Flexible Option program or any other University of Wisconsin program), the competency sets offered by this flexible Associate of Arts and Science degree can be used to fulfill the general education requirements of the degree.
Who Should Apply
The UW Flexible Option is especially designed for self-motivated nontraditional students who want their previous schooling, work skills, and priorknowledge to apply toward degrees or certificates. The competency-based and self-paced format of the UW Flexible Option fits the schedules of students who must balance work and family responsibilities with educational goals. Because most UW Flexible Option competencies and assessments are delivered online, students have the opportunity to learn when and where they choose.
This self-paced program is ideally suited for:
- Motivated, disciplined self-starters who can work independently
- Students who may have completed some college-level work
- Adults with valuable professional work experience
- Those who recognize the value of a University of Wisconsin degree
About the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges & Schools.
Effective July 1, 2018 the 13 two-year campuses formerly known as University of Wisconsin Colleges were integrated as branch campuses with seven of the University of Wisconsin System’s four-year comprehensive or research institutions. As part of this restructure, UW Flexible Option competency sets offered through UW Colleges, including the Associate of Arts and Science (AAS) degree, transitioned to UW-Milwaukee.
During the transition period of the 2018-19 academic year, UW Flexible Option students enrolled in competency sets formerly offered by UW Colleges will continue to follow the academic policies published in the UW Colleges 2017-18 catalog.
To earn an Associate of Arts and Sciences degree, students must complete a total of 60 credits, including core requirements in writing and mathematics, and a minimum number of credits in breadth categories such as fine arts and humanities, plus electives. If you have already completed equivalent courses, those credits may be eligible for transfer. At the UW Flexible Option, you are not locked in to traditional semesters or test dates. If you are able to master the material more quickly, the UW Flexible Option gives you the opportunity to prove your mastery through an assessment and move ahead faster.
Please visit the UW-Milwaukee Academic Catalog to learn more about the AAS requirements.
Core Requirements (English and Math competency sets)
- CGS ENG 102x—Critical Writing, Reading, and Research II – 3 credits
Students will either complete a placement exam or transfer in an appropriate prerequisite to qualify as ready to attempt mastery of competencies for this core course.
- A composition course focusing on researched academic writing that presents information, ideas, and arguments. Emphasis will be on the writing process, critical thinking, and critical reading. Prereq: A grade of C or better in ENG 101 Composition I or exemption through a sufficiently high placement assessment. EL
- CGS MAT 105x—Intro to College Algebra – 3 credits
Students will either complete a placement exam or transfer in an appropriate prerequisite to qualify as ready to attempt mastery of competencies for this core course.
- Definition of function and sequence; linear and nonlinear functions and graphs including logarithmic and exponential functions; systems of linear equations and Gauss-Jordan method; theory of polynomial equations; conic sections and optional topics such as mathematical induction, matrix solution of linear systems and Cramer’s rule. Prereq: A grade of C or better in MAT 092, 098, or placement based on placement test score. MS
Fine Arts and Humanities (minimum of 9 credits)
Students must acquire knowledge of ideas, beliefs, and abiding concerns pertaining to the human condition as represented in literature, philosophy, and cultural history. They must acquire a level of aesthetic appreciation of the human imagination as expressed in the fine arts, and appreciation of the impact of the arts upon the quality and character of human life.
- CGS MUS 173x—Music and Literature and Appreciation – 3 credits
- A guide to the understanding of music through listening experiences in the various styles and historical periods.
- Required Text: Kristine Forney, .Andrew Dell’Antonio, and Joseph Machlis. The Enjoyment of Music: Essential Listening Edition, 2nd edition, W.W. Norton & Co., 2013. ISBN-13: 978-0393912555 or
- Kamien, Roger. Music: An Appreciation, 8th brief edition, McGraw Hill, 2015. ISBN-13: 978-0077837310
- Recommended Materials: Oxford Music Online. Accessible through your campus library system with your student account information. This database offers detailed articles on all aspects of music, composers, and major compositions, as well as citations for further resources.
- CGS GSW 102x—Women’s Voices – 3 credits
- An introductory and interdisciplinary humanities course drawing upon diverse texts and methodologies representative of the following humanities disciplines: art, philosophy, religious studies, music, film, history, literature, feminist theory, cultural studies, media studies, and performance art/drama. Students will examine multicultural readings ranging from creative nonfiction, essays, feminist theory, philosophical reflection, fiction, poetry, historical accounts, drama, cultural critique, feminist analysis, memoir, visual arts, letters, diaries, and others to build an understanding of the multiple scholarly approaches in the humanities to the study of women’s lives.
- Recommended Text: Kirk, Gwyn, and Margo Okazawa-Rey. Women’s lives: Multicultural perspectives. McGraw-Hill Humanities, Social Sciences & World Languages, 1998.
- Modleski, Tania. Loving with a Vengeance: Mass-Produced Fantasies for Women. Florence, KY: Routledge, Chapman, and Hall, 2008.
- CGS SPA 101x—First-Semester Spanish – 4 credits
- For students who have had no previous training in the language. Emphasis on reading, writing, listening, and speaking in Spanish. The competency set also may include cultural studies of Spain and Latin America. PLEASE NOTE: This is only ONE of the TWO units required to satisfy the Foreign Language Requirement for the UWM Bachelor’s Degree. The second competency set of the sequence is available through Independent Learning.
- Required Texts: Practice Makes Perfect Spanish Vocabulary, Grammar (Practice Makes Perfect Series), McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., 2nd Edition, 2013. ISBN-10: 0071804129. ISBN-13: 978-0071804127
Practice Makes Perfect Complete Spanish Grammar (Practice Makes Perfect Series), McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., 2nd Edition, 2011. ISBN-10: 0071763430. ISBN-13: 978-0071763431
Mathematical and Natural Sciences (minimum of 11 credits)
Students must know of the nature and workings of the physical universe. They must understand scientific method, the functions of numerical data and the solving of problems through mathematical and statistical computations, as well as the application of the scientific method in laboratory and experimental work. For this, an appropriate level of computer literacy is required. Students must also be aware of environmental conditions and challenges, the interrelationships of lifeforms and ecosystems, and the impact of human activities upon natural environments.
- CGS BIO 141x—Heredity – 3 credits
- Principles of heredity with applications to plant, animal and human inheritance; current advances in genetics and their bearing on the life sciences. Lecture and may also include demonstrations, discussion and field trips. Lecture and may also include demonstrations, discussion and field trips. NS
- Recommended Text: Lewis. Human Genetics: Concepts and Applications. 11th ed. McGraw-Hill. 2015. ISBN-13: 978-0-07-352536-5
- CGS CHE 124x—Applied Chemistry and Society (Laboratory Science) – 4 credits
- A course for non-science majors that covers basic chemistry concepts in a social context. May include explorations of how chemistry impacts the environment, public health, energy policies, and other contemporary social issues. Consists of lectures and laboratories and may also include discussions and demonstrations. Not a suitable prerequisite for higher-level Chemistry courses or pre-professional programs. A student may not earn more than four credits by taking CHE 121, CHE 123 and CHE 124.
- Required Text: David W. Ball, John W. Hill, and Rhonda J. Scott. The Basics of General, Organic, and Biological Chemistry. 2001.
- Recommended Text: David Joachim. The Science of Good Food: The Ultimate Reference on How Cooking Works. 2008, ISBN-10: 0778801896, ISBN-13: 978-0778801894.
- CGS GEO 125x—Physical Geography – 5 credits
- The geography of Earth’s physical characteristics, including weather and climate, climate types, water, soils, Earth materials, landforms, and Earth resources; study of the processes and interactions creating Earth’s physical geographic patterns. Two or four hours of lab per week depending on the credit. May not be taken for credit by students who have had GEO 120, GEO 123 or GEO 124. NS/LS
- CGS HES 209x—Nutrition and Weight Control – 3 credits
- This competency set will examine the basic principles of nutrition, digestion, and metabolism and the effects of these principles on one’s diet, weight, fitness level, and overall health. The functions, requirements, and applications of nutrients and nutritional needs throughout the life cycle will be studied. The competency set will also include the basic knowledge and application of nutrient recommendations, dietary guidelines, and interrelationships of foods. It will also examine the issues of alternative nutrition, food safety, and eating disorders. The competency set will include personal diet assessment and development of personal health goals.
- Recommended Text: Thompson, J., and Manore, Melinda. Nutrition for Life, 3rd or 4th edition. Benjamin Cummings. ISBN: 0321774353.
- CGS MAT 215x—Elementary Statistic (Math for NON-GER Students) – 3 credits
- The primary aim of the competency set is a basic understanding and use of statistical concepts and methods to facilitate study and research in other disciplines. Includes measures of central tendency, measures of variability, grouped data, the normal distribution, central limit theorem, hypothesis testing, estimation, T-distribution and chi square test. Prereq: A grade of C or better in MAT 103B or MAT 101 or MAT 108 or equivalent.
Social Sciences (minimum of 9 credits)
Students must understand the nature and dynamics of human social systems and how and why people organize their lives and resources. In doing so, students will learn about both their own and diverse cultures to acquire a historical perspective on long-term characteristics and consequences of social change and an informed understanding of the variety of human conditions and the interrelationships of nations, regions, peoples, and individuals.
- CGS ANT 100x—General Anthropology – 3 credits
- A survey of the subfields of anthropology, especially archaeology and physical and cultural anthropology. The course explores human biological evolution and variation, cultural evolution, language, and culture change. SS
- Recommended Texts: Kottak, Conrad. Window on Humanity: A Concise Introduction to Anthropology. 5th edition. ISBN-10: 0078034892, ISBN-13: 978-0078034893
- Raymond Scupin & Christopher R. DeCorse. Anthropology: A Global Perspective. 7th edition, ISBN-10: 0205181023, ISBN-13: 978-0205181025.
- CGS SOC 101x—Introduction to Sociology – 3 credits
- Introduction to the basic concepts, theories and methods of Sociology, emphasizing the significance of the self and culture, social process and organization, and forces of social stability and change. SS
- CGS POL 104x—American Government and Politics – 3 credits
- Analysis of the decision-making structure and processes of American national government, including the role of parties and interest groups, and the value preferences within American society which affect the formation of public policy. SS
- Required Texts: Ginsberg, Benjamin, Theordore Lowi, Margaret Weir, Caroline Tolbert, and Robert Spitzer. We the People: An Introduction to American Politics (Ninth Core Edition). 2012. ISBN-13: 978-393-92109-0.
- Cannon, David T., John J. Coleman, and Kenneth R. Mayer. Faultlines: Debating the Issues in American Politics (Fourth Edition). 2013. W.W. Norton & Company. ISBN-13: 9780393921595
- Stanford, Jim. The Conflicting Personalities of Government, pages 226-238 in Economics for Everyone: A Short Guide to the Economics of Capitalism. 2008. Ann Arbor: Pluto Press. ISBN-13: 9780745327518, ISBN-10: 0745327501
- CGS PSY 202x—Introductory Psychology – 3 credits
- Survey of major content areas in Psychology. Topics include research methodology, learning, memory, cognition, biological psychology, sensation, perception, motivation, emotion, development, personality, psychopathology, and social psychology. Students may not receive credit for both PSY 201 and PSY 202. SS
- Required Text: Myers, David. Exploring Psychology: In Modules. 2014, Worth Publishing. ISBN-13: 978-1464163425, ISBN-10: 1464163421.
- Recommended Text: Weiten, Wayne. Psychology: Themes and Variations, Briefer Version. 2013, Cengage. ISBN-13: 978-1133939061, ISBN-10: 1133939066.
Application and Performance (minimum of 3 credits)
Students must demonstrate an understanding of concepts, theory, and knowledge through the application of their skills and understanding to specific problems and activities.
- CGS ART 161x—Introduction to Photography – 3 credits
- Black and white still photography: the camera, the negative, the print. Lecture-lab. AP
- Recommended Texts: London, B., Stone, J., and Upton, J. (2008). Photography. Pearson Education (any edition, 9 or newer)
- Hart, R., and Horenstein, H. (2007). Photography. Prentice-Hall (2007 or newer)
- Barnbaum, B. (2010). The Art of Photography: An Approach to Personal Expression. Rocky Nook. ISBN-13: 9781933952680
- CGS BUS 201x—Introductory Accounting – 4 credits
- Fundamental principles, terminology, techniques, and applications; books, accounts and financial statements for retailing and wholesaling concerns; treatment and presentation of proprietorship, partnership and corporate accounts. Prereq: Open to second semester freshmen or cons. instr. AP
- CGS CPS 139x—Web Page Development – 2 credits
- Development of web pages using HTML and Cascading Style Sheets. Introduction to XML documents and XHTML standards. This course involves extensive hands-on experience. AP
- CGS CTA 103x—Introductory Public Speaking – 3 credits
- Study of the principles and techniques of effective speaking and listening in a variety of selected communication experiences. AP
- CGS EGR 110x—Engineering Graphics – 3 credits
- An introductory course in engineering graphics focusing on graphical communication. Topics include descriptive geometry elements, visualization, engineering drawing techniques, orthographic projection, pictorial representation, auxiliary views, section views, and basic dimensioning. The course incorporates computer aided drafting (CAD) with engineering applications using 2-D drawing and 3-D modeling techniques. AP
- Recommended Texts: Shih, R. H. (2017). Tools for design: Using AutoCAD 2018 and autodesk inventor 2018. Mission, KS: SDC Publications. ISBN 13: 978-1-63057-127-6 | ISBN 10: 163057127X
Ethnic Studies (minimum of 3 credits)
Students must become aware of and sensitive to diversity issues and problems. Courses fulfilling this requirement will have a substantial emphasis on cultural diversity within the United States and examine these issues from at least one of the following perspectives: African American, Hispanic/Latino, Asian American, and American Indian topics.
- CGS HIS 102x—History of the United States: From the Era of the Civil War to the Present – 3 credits
- A survey of American political, economic, social, and intellectual history from the era of the Civil War to the Present. As an Ethnic Studies (ES) course, this course thoroughly integrates the experiences of African Americans, Native Americans, Hispanics, and/or Asian Americans into US history in a manner that fosters understanding and appreciation of the perspectives and experiences of at least two of these groups as well as their contributions to, and interactions within, American society. SS/ES
- Recommended Text: Paul S. Boyer et al. The Enduring Vision: A History of the American People, Volume II: Since 1865. 7th Edition. ISBN-10: 049579998X, ISBN-13: 978-0495799986
- Foner, Eric. Give Me Liberty! An American History, Volume 2. 2nd Edition. ISBN-10: 0393932567 ISBN-13: 978-0393932560
- Mary Beth Norton et al. A People and a Nation: A History of the United States, Volume 2: since 1865. 7th edition ISBN-10: 0618391770, ISBN-13: 978-0618391776; or the 8th edition ISBN-10: 0618947779, ISBN-13: 978-0618947775
- CGS MUS 273x—Jazz History and Appreciation – 3 credits
- An introduction to the styles and forms of jazz through a study of its history, literature, cultural influences, musical structure, and prominent performers. Includes recorded listening experiences. FA/ES
- Required Materials: Essential Jazz: The First 100 Years, 3rd ed., Martin, Henry, and Waters Keith, ISBN: 978-1-133-96440-7, Cengage Learning, with download card for 2-CD set.
- Burns, Ken. Jazz: A Film by Ken Burns. PBS. 10-DVD set of the movie produced for PBS.
Interdisciplinary Studies (minimum of 3 credits)
Students must acquire an appreciation for the multiple dimensions of any given subject by applying the content, methods, and assumptions of two or more disciplines. Students will learn to integrate knowledge from across the curriculum. A course is an interdisciplinary studies course if instructors from two or more disciplines teach the course.
- CGS REL 101x—Introduction to the Study of Religion – 3 credits
- This course introduces students to various methods employed in the academic study of religion and will provide opportunity for students to apply these methods to diverse expressions of the religious life. HU/IS
- CGS GSW 101x—Introduction to Women’s Studies – 3 credits
- An introduction to the major issues addressed by women’s studies with an emphasis on interdisciplinary social science theories and methodologies involved in gaining accurate knowledge about women’s lives and contributions to society, both within the United States and around the world. Perspectives, texts, and methodologies from across the social science disciplines ranging from history, economics, sociology, political science, public health, criminal justice, psychology, and others will be used to understand the experience of women and the cultural construction of gender. SS/IS
- CGS BUS 101x—Introduction to Business – 3 credits
- Introduction to the role of business in the modern political, social and economic environments; describes career opportunities. EL
- Required Text: Nickels, McHugh, McHugh. Understanding Business. 10th ed. McGraw-Hill/Irwin. 2012. ISBN-10: 007352459X; ISBN-13: 978-0073524597
- Recommended Texts: Ferrell, Hirt, Ferrell. Business: A Changing World. 10th Edition. McGraw-Hill Higher Education. 2015. ISBN-10: 1259179397; ISBN-13: 9781259179396
- Ferrell, Hirt, Ferrell. M Business. 4th Edition. 2014. ISBN-10: 0078023157; ISBN-13: 9780078023156
- Gitman, McDaniel. Future of Business. 6th ed. Cengage Learning. 2011. ISBN-10: 0324537441; ISBN-13: 978-0324537444
- Pride, Hughes, Kapoor. Business. 11th ed. Cengage Learning. 2011. ISBN-10: 053847808X; ISBN-13: 978-0538478083
- CGS ENG 101x—College Writing and Critical Reading – 3 credits
- A composition course focusing on academic writing, the writing process, and critical reading. Emphasis will be on essays that incorporate readings. Prerq: A grade of C or better in a basic writing course (ENG 097, ENG 098, or LEA 106 when taken as a three-credit course) or exemption through a sufficiently high placement assessment. EL
- Recommended Texts: Hacker, Diana, and Nancy Sommers. A Pocket Style Manual. Bedford/St. Martin’s. 6th edition or later. (Also see other Hacker handbooks from Bedford/St. Martin’s.) or
- Lunsford, Andrea. St. Martin’s Handbook. or
- Maimon, Elaine, Janice Peritz, and Kathleen Blake Yancey. A Writer’s Resource.
- Graff, Gerald, and Cathy Birkenstein. They Say, I Say. W. W. Norton & Company: 2014. ISBN-13: 860-1401247128
- Palmquist, Mike. Joining the Conversation: Writing in College and Beyond. Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2010. ISBN-13: 978-0312412159
- Spatt, Brenda. Writing from Sources. Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2010. ISBN-13: 978-0312602901
- CGS MAT 116x—College Algebra – 3 credits
- Emphasizes algebraic techniques with polynomials, fractional expressions, exponents and radicals, linear and quadratic equations, and inequalities. Introduction to functions, their graphs, and analytic geometry. Prereq: Math Placement Level 20, which is earned by any of the following: (a) Level 20 or 26 on Math Placement Test; (b) Grade of C or better in MATH 94, MATH 95, or MATH 98; (c) ACT math subscore of 24 or higher. EL
At the UW-Milwaukee, a minimum of 60 credits is required to earn this degree. When completing these 60 credits, students must satisfy one of the following: At least 36 of the 60 credits must be earned through UW-Milwaukee, or at least 12 of the final 24 credits must be earned through UW-Milwaukee. Coursework previously offered by UW Colleges will count towards this residency requirement. Residency in this case does not mean a student has to attend in-person or live in Wisconsin, just complete the required number of credits at UW-Milwaukee.
The UW Flexible Option offers working adults a more affordable way to earn a UW degree. Instead of paying by course or by credit, you pay a flat rate for a three-month subscription period. If you already know the material, you may be able to pass assessments more quickly, and potentially accelerate your time to graduation.
Subscription periods begin on the second day of every month. You can choose from two subscription options, each with a different tuition, depending on the number of courses you wish to attempt during the subscription period.
- All-You-Can-Learn Option: Choosing this option allows you to enroll in two or more courses. You may enroll in as many courses as you have time for within a three-month period for a flat tuition rate of $2,250. You can add additional courses in your 3 month term if you finish others early. This option is ideal for learners who would like to earn their degrees or certificates more quickly.
- Single Course Option: If you would like to study at a slower pace during a three-month subscription period, you may enroll in a single course. The tuition for this option $900 through June, 2020. Starting in July 2020, it will be $1,125. Students who are enrolled in the Single Course Option are not eligible to add additional courses during their subscription period. In this case, you must wait until your next subscription period to add additional courses.
|Subscription Option||Courses You Can Take||Tuition|
|All-You-Can-Learn||2 or more||$2,250|
|Single Option||1||$900 (through June, 2020)|
|Single Option||1||$1,125 (starting July, 2020)|
Additional Fees: Tuition does not include the cost of books and other special materials that may be required for your program.
Finishing your associate’s degree is closer than you think!
Schedule an advising call at 877-895-3276 or contact us at email@example.com.
Candidates for the Associate of Arts and Sciences degree must have a high school diploma, GED or High School Equivalency Diploma (HSED).
How to Apply
You may apply up to five months in advance of your desired start date. All application materials must be received at least one month in advance of your start date.
You will be considered for admission after completing the following action items:
- Submit the e-application and the $50 application fee* apply.wisconsin.edu
- Send official college transcripts from all institutions attended
- Send high school transcript or GED/HSED scores
- Complete Holistic Student Profile & Orientation Part 1 (sent after e-application is received)
*Application fee is not required if you were previously enrolled in a degree program at UW-Milwaukee, UW Colleges, UW Colleges Online.
During the application process, you may be asked to take a math placement test if you have not completed a transferable algebra course. If required, an Enrollment Adviser will explain the process and provide you with instructions to arrange for testing options.
Send official transcripts electronically or mail to:
University of Wisconsin Flexible Option
5602 Research Park Blvd., Suite 303
Madison, WI 53719
If you were previously enrolled in Flex and now wish to return, discover your next steps.
Holistic Admissions Review
Our admission process considers many factors when assessing your application for admission to a UW Flexible Option program. Your high school records, strength of prior college coursework, rigor of curriculum and academic readiness, test scores, grade point average, academic goals, relevant work experience, and your potential for success will all be considered.
The UW Flexible Option is only admitting domestic students at this time. A domestic student is someone who is either a U.S. Citizen, a U.S. Permanent Resident, or holds Refugee, Asylee, or Jay Treaty status. All applicants whose native language is not English are required to submit Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) scores or similar proof of English proficiency.
Transfer credit is awarded for college-level coursework completed at regionally and nationally accredited institutions. The Transfer Equivalency Database (TED) is designed to show how the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee will award credit for transferable courses both within and outside of the UW System. If you completed college coursework at a foreign institution, it may be eligible for transfer credit. You will be asked to send your transcripts through an evaluation process with a foreign credential service, such as Educational Credential Evaluators or World Education Services, to determine U.S. credit equivalents. You may use certain exams to transfer credit towards your degree. These include College Level Examination Program (CLEP), Advance Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), or others. Learn more about how exam and military coursework might apply towards your your degree plan.
Credit by Exam and Military Credit
Transfer credit is awarded for college-level coursework completed at regionally and nationally accredited institutions. The Transfer Equivalency Database (TED) is designed to show how the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee will award credit for transferable courses both within and outside of the UW System.
If you completed college coursework at a foreign institution, it may be eligible for transfer credit. You will be asked to send your transcripts through an evaluation process with a foreign credential service, such as Educational Credential Evaluators or World Education Services, to determine U.S. credit equivalents.
You may use certain exams to transfer credit towards your degree. These include College Level Examination Program (CLEP), Advance Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), or others. Learn more about how exam and military coursework might apply towards your your degree plan.
Still have questions? Check out our Admission FAQ page.