I figured I'd post this because it isn't clear anywhere--even to the advisors themselves--and I've spent several hours over the last few weeks tracking this information down between several UW offices.
If you've ever considered switching to the Evening Degree Program (EDP), give it some extra consideration. It's almost impossible to take day classes as an evening student--even the ones that start at 4:30 or 5:30pm--and while it's easy to switch to the EDP, it's nearly impossible to switch back.
Distance Learning: Even if you take it through the UW's online learning program, this doesn't count as "in residence". Now, if you try to find out what the "in residence" requirement is, you're likely to get confused, as there are three separate rules:
- UW students are required to take 45 credits in residence.
- UW students are required to take their last 45 credits in residence.
- Colleges and departments are able to override the previous statement. The College of Arts and Sciences, for example, requires you to take 45 of your last 60 credits in residence--meaning three classes in your senior year can be distance learning.
Why all the confusion? Well, most of these rules are new, as both of these units have become self-sustaining relatively recently. It used to be easy to become an EDP major and to switch back--it just required a quick change of major form--before the EDP became its own thing. As such, many people--even the advisors, and the websites they create--don't have the most up to date information.
So, before you do anything regarding EDP or Distance Learning, make sure to speak with your departmental advisor. If your department has a head of advising, go to him/her. I was given several incorrect answers to questions such as the above by one of the other advisors, which almost caused me a large amount of grief; protect yourself from the same mistakes by asking as many people as possible before jumping into something like this.