The division works in partnership with the 26 UW System campuses – fulfilling the “Wisconsin Idea” of extending university resources to every corner of the state.

We offer an array of degrees, certificates and credentials in fast-growing fields to help close the skills gap in the Wisconsin workforce. Because major employers from across the state help shape our education programs, our direct line to industry enables us to offer education in high-demand fields and ensures our graduates will have the relevant skills that employers need to remain competitive.

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Focused on supporting all types of students – including adult and post-traditional students – the Division of Continuing Education, Outreach & E-Learning promotes access to learning and contributes to student success. Whether you are re-entering the workforce, shifting careers, advancing along your current path – or simply exploring a topic that interests you as a lifelong learner – we have an option for you.



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Collaborative Online Degree Programs

Online programs allow students to earn their bachelor’s or master’s degree from their preferred UW System campus.

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Independent Learning

Independent learning courses allow students to enroll at any time, learn and test at their own pace within one year – without ever setting foot on a campus.

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Explore services that make education more accessible such as lifelong learning opportunities at UW System campuses, UW HELP and the Veterans Portal.

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School for Workers

School for Workers educates workers about issues of concern in the workplace by working with union representatives, officers, members, and employer representatives on a wide range of educational programs.

University Learning Store

The University Learning Store offers a practical and affordable way to earn credentials that hold real value in today’s job market – whether you’re looking to add new skills or technical skills, or simply advancing skills you already have.

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UW Flexible Option

The UW Flexible Option is especially designed for self-motivated, nontraditional students who want to earn a degree or certificate at their own pace.

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Wisconsin Master Naturalists volunteer to support Wisconsin’s natural resources

Wisconsin has abundant natural spaces accessible to visitors, including more than 60 state parks and more than 70 nature preserves. But that much natural space requires a lot of personnel support, which state parks and nature centers cannot always provide. A program led through the University of Wisconsin-Extension and University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Environmental Resources Center is training a network of qualified volunteers to help meet that need. Since 2013, the Environmental Resources Center has worked with state parks, nature preserves and other organizations to offer Wisconsin Master Naturalist trainings around the state. Master Naturalist volunteers provide service to help organizations meet their goals through education, stewardship and citizen science activities. The Wisconsin Master Naturalist program works with 50 host organizations around the state. By the end of 2016, the program will have trained more than 500 volunteers. Nearly $400,000 in volunteer time Wisconsin Master Naturalist volunteers support the organizations they work with by monitoring different animal and plant activity, removing invasive species, maintaining trails and grasslands, and leading educational experiences for visitors. In the first three years of the program, volunteers gave more than 17,000 hours valued at over $385,000 (a value determined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics). Beyond the financial value of their time, volunteers perform an important outreach function. “Volunteers create a stronger community connection to the organization, becoming more invested in the organization’s work,” says Becky Sapper, director of the Wisconsin Master Naturalist Program. “They often find additional ways to support the organization’s mission.” Partnering organizations see the benefit in strong connections with Wisconsin Master Naturalist volunteers. “Volunteers become great cheerleaders and marketers for our programs,” says Cable Natural History Museum naturalist Emily Stone. “They also become more active participants in our programs, which benefits our program numbers and our bottom line.” Matching volunteers with nature organizations At the UW-Stevens Point Schmeeckle Reserve, the Wisconsin Master Naturalist program provides extra support to the reserve’s goals. “This program has served as an excellent outreach tool for attracting passionate, interested volunteers,” says Megan Espe, outreach coordinator at the Schmeeckle Reserve. “By getting to know prospective volunteers through the 40-hour training, we are able to develop an understanding of their interests and skills so we can better match them with our needs, and they also get to know Schmeeckle Reserve, its facilities and programs, and its goals.” Partnering organizations can also feel confident that the Master Naturalist training equips volunteers with the necessary knowledge and skills to take on conservation projects, lead educational programs and provide great experiences to visitors. Benefits for volunteers People trained as Master Naturalist Volunteers give at least 40 hours of volunteer time a year to nature organizations around the state, and complete eight hours of professional development every year. And the training provides volunteers with skills and connections that benefit their personal and professional lives. “This training opens so many doors,” says Sharon Schaver, Wisconsin Master Naturalist volunteer at Riveredge Nature Center, Cable Natural History Museum and other organizations. “People at all levels— not just scientists, but people who spent years observing nature and are interested and passionate—are taking this training. We can go to organizations and point to this training that says we care enough to stay current, and we’re well-prepared to support your mission.” For Master Naturalist volunteer Megan Karth, who works with Hartman Creek State Park, the program has been a gift. “I’ve met other folks with diverse backgrounds and similar interests, and gotten to know more about the state park near my home,” she says. “The possibilities to learn are endless.” UW-Extension Master Naturalist volunteer trainings are offered several times a year throughout the state. Learn more about the program and opportunities around Wisconsin at

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