Introducing a Smart New Way to Earn a University of Wisconsin Degree or Certificate
You had always meant to earn a degree. But somehow, life had other ideas. Before you knew it, you were working full time—maybe even supporting a family. By then, traditional college courses were no longer an option. That’s why we created the UW Flexible Option. Made for busy adults, the UW Flexible Option lets you start when you want. Advance at your pace. Test when you’re ready. And earn credit for what you already know. It’s more than flexible—it’s focused on you.
Led by partnerships throughout the UW System and UW-Extension, the UW Flexible Option draws upon the expertise of UW faculty to offer a more personalized, convenient, and affordable way for adults and other nontraditional students to earn a University of Wisconsin degree or certificate.
The UW Flexible Option’s self-directed, competency-based degree and certificate programs let you start any month, work at your own pace, and earn credit using knowledge you already have—whether that knowledge was gained through prior coursework, military training, on-the-job training, or other learning experiences.
The focus is on learning, not class time
Unlike traditional semester-based classroom and online programs, the UW Flexible Option awards credit based on competency, not class time. You make progress by passing a series of assessments—tests, papers, and other projects—that prove you have mastered competencies—the skills and knowledge identified by UW faculty as essential to your chosen degree or certificate. As soon as you demonstrate mastery of an area, you earn credit and move on to the next competency and assessment.
You’re in charge, but your coach is always there
You work on your own, but receive support from an Academic Success Coach who serves as your link to the program. This dedicated coach will personalize your lesson plans, help you prepare for assessments, and help you select the learning resources—such as textbooks, websites, and open online courses—you need to succeed.
A respected University of Wisconsin degree or certificate
Because UW Flexible Option programs are created by the same expert faculty as traditional UW programs, using the same rigorous content and standards, you can look forward to graduating with the same recognized and respected UW credential as students who attend classes on campus.
UW-Milwaukee, UW-Parkside, and UW Colleges are the first UW institutions to offer competency-based learning programs in the Flex format. Several other UW System institutions are working to offer competency-based learning options for their degree programs in the future.
To find out more about how the UW Flexible Option works, visit our FAQs page.
Institutions offering UW Flexible Option credit-bearing programs—University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, UW-Parkside, and UW-Colleges—are accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges & Schools.