The Collegian
Monday, July 06, 2020

SPCS offers free non-credit courses to students

The staff of the School of Professional and Continuing Studies at University of Richmond is offering one free, non-credit course per semester to Richmond students.

These classes offer a wide range of subjects including: Introduction to Interior Design, Business Writers' Bootcamp and Introduction to Microsoft Office.

Directors at SPCS frequently receive inquiries from undergraduate students who are interested in taking non-credit courses to further enhance their education in a particular topic or to acquire a skill in an area that is outside their major course of study, said Stephanie Bowlin, program manager.

SPCS student Michelle Edgell said she was looking for a refresher course on Excel when she started working in the Parking and Transportation Office. Her daughter enrolled in the babysitters' basics course being offered, as well.

SPCS student Steven Costly took the Microsoft Office Excel course to stay familiar with Microsoft Office products that he frequently uses, he said.

About 20 students use their free course waiver each semester, Bowlin said. If students wish to take more than the allocated one free non-credit course per semester, there is a small fee per additional class.

Although these classes offer opportunities to further a student's education, many undergraduate students said they did not know these classes existed.

"I knew that some students audit courses, but I never knew I had the option to take a course for free each semester," said Celia Landesber, an undergraduate student.

This semester, SPCS is offering 85 non-credit courses. The program directors choose the courses based on several factors, such as expressed interest in the course, length or time commitment for the course and additional costs that may be associated with the course, such as certification fees, Bowlin said.

SPCS directors try to design courses that are different than those offered by Career Services at Richmond, she said.

Additional courses may be added each semester, based on student interest and topic relevance. Even if a course is not on the list of eligible free courses, undergraduate students are permitted to enroll in the course and pay the regular class tuition.

Contact reporter Olivia Simons at

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