FRESHMAN COURSE PLACEMENT

You are on your way to becoming a UWM Panther – and we couldn’t be more excited to have you join the UWM family!

Being prepared to enroll in your courses is an important step to becoming a Panther! Placement into courses that properly reflect your skills and strengths will give you the greatest opportunity to be successful in your college courses. Regardless of your major, all UWM students need to satisfy general education requirements (GER) in both English and mathematics in order to earn a bachelor’s degree or meet core requirements in writing and math to earn an associate’s degree. All incoming freshmen must fulfill their course placement requirement at least two weeks before attending their mandatory New Student Orientation. As part of your orientation process, you will meet with an academic advisor to enroll in your courses.

To make your transition to UW-Milwaukee and the enrollment process as seamless as possible, UW-Milwaukee has a few options available for you to fulfill your course placement requirement. Reading the information on this page carefully will ensure that you understand all of your course placement options and are ready to enroll in the proper level courses at your academic advising appointment during your orientation.

You must fulfill course placement in the required areas of math and English. For those who are enrolling in foreign language courses, please see the section below on world language to determine how you will place into your courses. Please read the sections on this page about placement information in each subject to ensure you understand how you are placed into courses and to explore any additional placement options you might want to pursue.

You have two options for satisfying your course placement requirement. You must complete one of the these two options.

  1. Submit your ACT or SAT scores to UW Milwaukee.
    OR
  2. Use our free online placement tools in BOTH math and English. You do not need to schedule these online tests in advance. You can take them any time it is convenient for you. These online placement tools are unique to UWM and not applicable at other campuses.

For more information how to complete the online placements or submit your ACT/SAT scores, please review the information in the dropdown for our first FAQ below.

Please note that UW Milwaukee does not accept the results of the UW System Placement tests unless you previously tested prior to the year 2020.

Important Information

How do I take the online course placements or submit my ACT/SAT scores to fulfill my course placement requirement?

You must fulfill course placement in the required areas of math and English. We also have online placement tools for those who will be enrolling in foreign language courses. Please read the sections on this page about placement information in each subject to ensure you understand how you are placed into courses and to explore any additional placement options you might want to pursue.

You have two options for satisfying your course placement in the required areas of math and English.

  1. Submit your ACT or SAT scores to UW Milwaukee. Your ACT/SAT scores will have no affect on your admission status; the scores will be used for placement purposes only.
      • If you have already submitted your ACT/SAT scores with your application, you do not need to submit them again.
      • If you have not submitted your ACT/SAT scores, you can request those scores be sent directly to UWM from ACT or SAT.
      • PLEASE NOTE – Beginning with students admitted for the Fall 2023 term and beyond, only official ACT/SAT scores will be accepted for placement. Self-reported scores will not be accepted.
        If you were admitted for a term prior to Fall 2023, if you have a copy of your ACT/SAT scores, UW Milwaukee also has an online form to report your test scores.

    OR

  2. Use our free online placement tools in BOTH math and English. You do not need to schedule these online tests in advance. You can take them any time it is convenient for you.
    • MathPanther Math Prep is a free online placement tool that allows you to assess your current math skill level and receive a course placement via an online proctored math placement test in a platform called ALEKS. You have the opportunity to utilize the free prep, review, and practice tools within ALEKS to build and refresh your math skills and take a placement test up to five times.
      The test is completed at home on a computer or laptop with a webcam. Chromebooks are not compatible with the testing system. If you do not have access to the required equipment, free walk in testing options are available during designated hours on all three of our campuses – Milwaukee, Waukesha, and Washington County. More information about testing on our campuses is on the Panther Math Prep website.
      For more information or to complete the online math placement test, visit the Panther Math Prep website.
    • English – UWM offers a free online placement option called Guided English Placement (GEP). The GEP is not a standardized test and there are no right or wrong answers. You will be asked a variety of questions about your educational experiences, writing and reading skills, and academic mindset. You will also be given reading and writing samples to reflect upon; no writing is required from you. The GEP takes about 30-60 minutes to complete.
      The GEP can be completed on any computer, laptop, tablet, Chromebook, or phone with internet access; no webcam is required.
      For more information or to complete the online English placement, visit the Guided English Placement website.

Why is course placement required?

Regardless of your major, all UWM students need to satisfy general education requirements (GER) in both English and mathematics in order to earn a bachelor’s degree or meet core requirements in writing and math to earn an associate’s degree. It is important that you are placed into courses that properly reflect your skills and strengths to give you the greatest chance to be successful in your courses.

I do not like my score on the ACT/SAT. Or I never took the ACT/SAT. Is there another placement option?

Yes! You can use our free online placement tools in math and/or English.

  • Math – Panther Math Prep is a free online placement tool that allows you to assess your current math skill level and receive a course placement via an online proctored math placement test in a platform called ALEKS. You have the opportunity to utilize the free prep, review, and practice tools within ALEKS to build and refresh your math skills and take a placement test up to five times. For more information or to complete the online math placement test, visit the Panther Math Prep website.
  • English – UWM offers a free online placement option called Guided English Placement (GEP). The GEP is not a standardized test and there are no right or wrong answers. You will be asked a variety of questions about your educational experiences, writing and reading skills, and academic mindset. You will also be given reading and writing samples to reflect upon; no writing is required from you. The GEP takes about 30-60 minutes to complete. For more information or to complete the online English placement, visit the Guided English Placement website.

What if I have multiple test scores or utilize multiple placement tools? How will I be placed?
If you have multiple sets of scores, for example multiple ACT/SAT scores or ACT/SAT scores plus scores from our Panther Math Prep program and/or our Guided English Placement (GEP), you will be allowed to utilize whichever score places you highest when enrolling in your courses.

I heard that the UW System is offering online placement testing in math, English, and world language. Can I take these placement tests?
UW Milwaukee does not accept the results of the online UW System placement tests in math or English. We only utilize the UW System world placement tests which are offered in French, German, and Spanish.

Math placement information and placement charts.

Regardless of your major, all UWM students need to satisfy general education requirements (GER) in math in order to earn a bachelor’s degree or meet core requirements in math to earn an associate’s degree. You may also have specific math course(s) required by your particular major to attain your degree above and beyond these requirements.

Math placement is determined by the math score on your ACT/SAT plus high school GPA, prior college credit earned in math courses, or by completing an ALEKS placement test via the free online Panther Math Prep program.

It is very important that you assess the math placement chart below and consider the math placement level you have earned along with the recommended math courses required for your major to determine if you would like to utilize our free online Panther Math Prep program to try and attain a higher placement level. Panther Math Prep is a free online placement tool that allows you to assess your current math skill level and receive a course placement via an online proctored math placement test in a platform called ALEKS. You have the opportunity to utilize the free prep, review, and practice tools within ALEKS to build and refresh your math skills and take a placement test up to five times.

2022 Math Test Scores to Placement Level Conversion*

Aleks Placement Test Score ACT-Math ACT-Math PLUS
>= 3.0 HS GPA
SAT-Math SAT-Math PLUS
>= 3.0 HS GPA
Math Placement Level Math Course Eligibility
0–21 17 or below 0-15
+ 3.0 HS GPA
480 or below 0-410
+ 3.0 HS GPA
0 ok for Math 092 or 094
22–45 18–23 16-20
+ 3.0 HS GPA
490–560 420-520
+ 3.0 HS GPA
10 ok for Math 098, 102, 103 & 111
46–60 24–27 21-24
+ 3.0 HS GPA
560–660 530-580
+ 3.0 HS GPA
20 ok for Math 102, 103, 105, 111, 116, 175
61–67 28–31 25-26
+ 3.0 HS GPA
670–710 590-620
+ 3.0 HS GPA
30 ok for Math 115, 116, 117, 175, 205, 208, 211, S215:
QL-A SATISFIED
68–75 –– –– –– –– 35 ok for Math 115, 117, 175, 205, 208, 211, S215:
QL-A & 116 SATISFIED
76–86 32–33 27-28
+ 3.0 HS GPA
720–750 630-670
+ 3.0 HS GPA
40 ok for Math 175, 205, 208, 211, 213, S215, 231, 341;
QL-A & 115 SATISFIED
87–100 34–36 29
+ 3.0 HS GPA
760 or higher 680 or higher
+ 3.0 HS GPA
45 ok for Math 175, 205, 208, 211, 213, S215, 221, 231, 341;
QL-A & 115 SATISFIED

If you have multiple placement scores, you can utilize whichever method gives you the highest placement level.

*Notes:
(1) Chart for incoming students Fall 2022 or later.
(2) Exam must be officially proctored in order to establish placement.
We do not accept any results from the UW System math placement tests taken after February, 2020.
(3) Student math course eligibility is based on their highest test placement.
(4) Students without ACT/SAT scores or wishing to improve their placement may find information about how to take a webcam-proctored Aleks Placement Test here. Consult the UWM course catalog for pre-requisites for individual courses.
(5) 3.0 (or better) HS GPA must be on a 4.0 scale

Math placement is designed to place you into a course(s) that will satisfy the Quantitative Literacy Competency Part A (QLA) of your required GERs for a bachelor’s degree and the core requirements for math for an associate’s degree. Completion of QLA or the core requirement can be demonstrated by satisfying one of the following options:

  • earning at least three credits with a grade of C or higher in Math 103, 105, 116, 175 or equivalent courses (102, 108), or Math/Philos 111
  • achieving a placement level of at least 30 via your ACT, SAT, or ALEKS/Panther Math Prep test scores
Math Course Recommendations by Intended Major/Minor/Area of Study

If you received a placement level of 0

You will need to successfully complete a semester long noncredit math course (Math 92 or 94) during your first year at UWM. After successfully completing the noncredit math course, you will be eligible to enroll in the credit bearing math course(s) required for your degree. Utilizing Panther Math Prep may be very beneficial as using the prep and review materials in the program could allow you to refresh and improve your math skills before attempting to earn a higher placement via an online placement test.

If you received a placement level of 10
You may need to successfully complete a semester long noncredit math course (Math 98) during your first year at UWM.

Math 98 is the appropriate course for those in the STEM and Professional pathways in the chart above. After successfully completing the noncredit math course, you will be eligible to enroll in the credit bearing math course(s) required for your degree. Utilizing Panther Math Prep may be very beneficial as using the prep and review materials in the program could allow you to refresh and improve your math skills before attempting to earn a higher placement via an online placement test.

You also qualify for a credit bearing math course (Math 103) that is appropriate for some majors (Education, Arts, & Humanities pathways in the chart above). If your major does not require math coursework beyond Math 103 then you will not need to take the noncredit math class, you will be able to enroll in Math 103. Please see the list of majors below whose math requirement is satisfied by successfully completing Math 103.

Majors whose math requirement is satisfied by Math 103

    • Africology
    • Anthropology
    • Art
    • Art Education
    • Art History
    • Classics
    • Communication
    • Comparative Literature
    • Criminal Justice
    • Dance
    • English
    • Film
    • Film Studies
    • French
    • German
    • Global Studies (tracks other than Global Management)
    • History
    • Inter Arts
    • International Studies
    • Italian
    • Jewish Studies
    • Journalism, Advertising, and Media Studies
    • Latin American, Caribbean, and Latino Studies
    • Linguistics
    • Music
    • Music Education
    • Philosophy
    • Political Science
    • Psychology (BA)
    • Religious Studies
    • Russian
    • Social Work
    • Sociology
    • Spanish
    • Theatre
    • Women’s Studies


English placement information and placement charts.

English placement is determined by the English or ERWS score on your ACT/SAT, prior college credit earned in math courses, or by completing the online Guided English Placement. The scores on these tests place you into courses that will satisfy your General Education Requirement (GER) known as the Oral and Written Communication (OWC) Competency Part A for those seeking a bachelor’s degree or your core requirement in writing for those seeking an associate’s degree. To satisfy this requirement, a student must earn credit with a grade of C or higher in English 102 or achieve an appropriate test score to satisfy the requirement.

  • Bachelor’s Degree/Main Milwaukee Campus – Students placed into English 100 or 101 will need to complete that course with a grade of C or higher (you only need to complete either English 100 or 101, not both courses) then complete English 102 with a grade of C or higher. Students placed into English 102 will need to complete that course with a grade of C or higher. Students with a sufficient score may satisfy their General Education Requirement and test out of having to complete English 100, 101, or 102.
  • Associate’s Degree/Branch Campuses at Waukesha & Washington County – Students placed into English 98 will need to complete 98 then 101 then 102 with a grade of C or higher. Students placed into English 101 will need to complete that course and 102 with a grade of C or higher. Students placed into English 102 will need to complete that course with a grade of C or higher. Students with a sufficient score may opt to submit a portfolio to the English staff to satisfy their core requirement in writing and test out of having to complete English 98, 101, or 102.

If you have never taken the ACT/SAT or are not satisfied with your placement via your ACT/SAT scores, you can utilize our free online Guided English Placement (GEP) to attain an English course placement. The GEP is not a standardized test and there are no right or wrong answers. You will be asked a variety of questions about your educational experiences, writing and reading skills, and academic mindset. You will also be given reading and writing samples to reflect upon; no writing is required from you. The GEP takes about 30-60 minutes to complete. For more information or to complete the online English placement, visit the Guided English Placement website.

English Placement Chart – Main Campus

Course Placement
Main Campus
ACT English Score SAT ERWS
English 100 1-16 200-460
English 101 17-24 461-590
English 102 25-28 591-650
Test Out/GER OWC Part A satisfied 29-36 651-800

English Placement Chart – Branch Campuses

Course Placement
Branch Campuses
ACT English Score SAT ERWS
CGS ENG 98 1-16 200-460
CGS ENG 101 + CGS ENG 99 17-18 461-500
CGS ENG 101 19-24 501-590
CGS ENG 102 25-28 591-650
CGS can inquire about portfolio to satisfy core requirement or enroll in CGS ENG 102 29-36 651-800

What if my native language is not English?

We have a great option for you! As a non-native speaker and/or writer of English, you can complete your English general education requirement (GER) by taking English for Academic Purposes (EAP) writing courses instead of the English writing courses designed for native speakers of English. Our EAP courses offer smaller class sizes, and instructors that specialize in working with students from various language backgrounds. The support provided in the EAP writing courses can also help you do better in all of your university courses.

Recommendations for EAP course enrollment can be made based off of scores on the ACT, SAT, IETLS, TOEFL, and/or Guided English Placement (GEP). During your academic advising appointment at your New Student Orientation, you can let your advisor know that you are interested in our EAP courses.

For more information on EAP courses, you can contact Brooke Haley at HaleyB@uwm.edu.

What should I do if I want to continue my study of a world language?

Foreign Language Requirements
UW-Milwaukee has a General Education Requirement (GER) for foreign language for those seeking a bachelor’s degree. The minimum requirement to meet the foreign language GER is completing at least two years of a single foreign language in high school. If you have met this requirement then completing additional foreign language coursework is optional. Students planning to pursue a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree through the College of Letters and Science may be required to complete foreign language coursework beyond the University’s General Education Requirement.  Please check the list of majors that fall under the B.A. requirements to determine the foreign language requirement you will need to meet to graduate. Click here for more information on the Bachelor of Arts degree requirements.

There is no general foreign language requirement for those seeking an associate’s degree.

Placement
Foreign language course enrollment recommendations are based on either previous college credit earned or recommendations from the online options listed below.

  • If you plan to continue your studies in study French, German, or Spanish, you will need to complete the UW System Placement Test in World Languages. Please follow the link to the UW System Placement website to complete your test(s). Please note that UW Milwaukee ONLY accepts results from the UW System Placement Tests in French, German, and Spanish. We do NOT accept results from the UW System placement tests for English or math. You do not need to schedule a time to complete the test; you can complete it online whenever it is convenient for you. It takes 1-2 weeks for UW Milwaukee to receive the results of your UW System Placement Test.Retest policy for the UW System placement tests in French, German, and Spanish: Students must wait one calendar year in between test attempts. Students who violate this policy will have their placement scores invalidated.
  • If you plan to continue your study of a world language other than French, German, or Spanish, UW Milwaukee offers a free, online UWM World Languages Self-Assessment Tool for you. You and your academic advisor will use a combination of the results from this self-assessment and your previous coursework to determine the appropriate semester of a world language at UWM for you to begin your language studies at UWM. In addition to questions about your language abilities, it asks about your language learning experiences, whether in the classroom or beyond. The UWM World Languages Self-Assessment Tool is NOT for those wishing to study French, German, and Spanish. You will be able to complete the UWM World Languages Self-Assessment Tool on a computer or mobile device. It takes about 5 minutes to complete. You do not need to schedule a time to complete the self-assessment; you can complete it online whenever it is convenient for you. You will see your placement recommendation immediately at the end of the self-assessment and will receive a copy at your UWM email address.
  • If you are seeking to satisfy your Foreign Language General Education Requirement by demonstrating your proficiency in a language other than English, you will need to gain approval through independent testing. The UW System Placement test and UWM World Languages Self-Assessment Tool do NOT satisfy GER; they only earn placement into courses for enrollment. If you wish to prove GER level proficiency through independent testing, please email the Registrar’s Office at regoff@uwm.edu for instructions on that process.

The UWM World Languages Self-Assessment Tool can be used to help determine a placement recommendation in the following languages:

  • Ancient Greek
  • Anishinaabe
  • Arabic
  • Chinese
  • Hebrew
  • Hmong
  • Irish Gaelic
  • Italian
  • Japanese
  • Korean
  • Latin
  • Portuguese
  • Russian

Retro Credits
If you enroll in a foreign language course higher than the level one/introductory course and earn a grade of B or better in that course, you can earn retroactive credits for the courses leading up to it without taking them. For example, if you enroll in the level three Spanish 203 course and earn a B or better, you can fill out paperwork with your academic advisor to request retroactive credit for Spanish I (103) and Spanish II (104).

What if I have taken AP or IB courses in math, English, and/or a world language?

You can use the credit earned from your AP/IB test scores to fulfill your course placement requirement if your scores are high enough. Please review our policies on awarding credit for AP scores and IB scores. If you have earned non-elective credit in both math and English via your AP and/or IB scores, then you have fulfilled your course placement requirement. If this applies to you, please be sure to email us at NFTest@uwm.edu so we can update your PAWS account accordingly. If you have earned non-elective one subject area (math or English) but not both, you will still receive credit in that area but you will need to submit your ACT/SAT scores or fulfill your course placement requirement with one of our free online math or English placement options outlined above.

Chemistry Placement

Chemistry placement is based on a combination of math placement level and performance in high school chemistry. Academic advisors will assess student records and use course permission to enroll students.
Please note that during the first week of class, students in Chemistry 102 are required to take a chemistry placement test during their chemistry class to determine if their current enrollment is the best fit. Students in Chemistry 102 may need to switch their chemistry course depending on their placement test results.

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