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Expand your skill set – or just have fun!

As UW postdocs, you are eligible to take classes at the UW. This can be a great way to expand your skills or knowledge base, explore a new discipline or research method, or just take a course of personal interest to you. We often talk about “making the most of your postdoc experience” while here at the UW. The rich array of courses offered here is one such way to accomplish this objective. Take a look at your IDP (you review yours regularly, right?). Do you have research goals, career goals or personal goals that would benefit from a class? UW employees are eligible for up to six credits of tuition-free courses per quarter, though some Schools and Colleges do not accept tuition waivers. While you already have an advanced degree and may not even need these courses to be included on your transcript, some course instructors prefer to have you registered in the course so they can expect full participation. Reach out to faculty who are teaching classes you are interested in and ask them if they are open to you auditing, sitting in or registering for the class. 

If you are registering, here are the steps:

  • Apply for non-matriculated student status. Active student status is required for you to register for courses. To apply to be a first-time or returning non-matriculated (not seeking a degree) student under the tuition exemption program, complete the online Non-Matriculated Application For Tuition Exemption. This application requires payment of a $80 non-refundable application fee.
  • Complete a tuition exemption form online.
  • Enroll through MyUW. If you are using tuition exemption, you will not be able to enroll until three days into the quarter. Always communicate with the faculty early if you are interested in a course. 

For J-1 scholars, you need to inquire with the International Scholars Operations (ISO) regarding the possibility of receiving credits for classes. As long as registering for classes doesn’t interfere with your exchange program requirement, it is possible. J-1 postdocs have successfully signed up for one to two credits in the past, but it’s on a case-by-case basis. Since as a J-1 scholar you are working full-time to satisfy your requirements, taking more credits can be difficult. You should also work with your home department HR to determine your tuition waiver benefits. H1-B visa holders do not have such restrictions on taking classes.

You can always track classes you have audited, or trainings you’ve taken at conferences (like pre-courses) in your “Further Education and Training” section in your resume or CV.  The OPA thanks Postdoc Fellow Dr. Shiyun Cao for sharing these steps with us to pass along to other postdocs.