All About Course Auditing: Expectations and Member Responsibilities

Making the Decision to Audit
Responsibilities and Expectations of Course Auditors
Audit Course Registration Procedures
After You are Enrolled in an Audit Course
Conduct Expectations

Download PDF Document: All About Course Auditing


One membership benefit of the Osher Lifelong Learning at the University of Pittsburgh is the ability to audit preapproved undergraduate courses. To “audit” a course means that the student does not receive a grade nor credits and generally does not participate in exams or homework.   Those who audit courses do so for the purpose of self-enrichment and exploration.  They enroll as an observer or listener only.  The instructor of the course will indicate if s/he wants to include an audit student in the classroom interaction.  Each term OLLI arranges for undergraduate Pitt courses to be preapproved for members to audit.  

Auditing is ONLY allowed when there is space available in “lecture-type” undergraduate classes. “Lecture type” classes are those in which students can observe the delivered lecture of material by the professor.

Auditing is NOT permitted in: computer science, film production, physical education, studio arts, laboratory courses, creative writing, honors courses, or performance courses. Auditing is also NOT permitted in Law or Medical School classes.

Auditors are guests in the course for which they register and participation can be limited or restricted by the professor or department.


Making the Decision to Audit Courses

Auditing courses can be quite rewarding if one knows what to expect. OLLI members who are considering whether or not to audit a course should include the following in their decision making:

  • Time commitment? – While OLLI courses are generally once a week for an hour and fifty minutes for 5 weeks, a regular undergraduate course will meet one or more times per week for 15 weeks.  Can you make that commitment?
  • Expenses?– Text books, should the member decide to purchase them, can be very expensive, even if they are purchased used.
  • Technologically inclined?  Most undergraduate courses use an online portal called Canvas.  Members who audit courses are responsible for remembering how to use their Pitt userID/password and to independently log in on a regular basis, download information or read online, etc.


Responsibilities and Expectations for Course Auditors

Course auditing by OLLI members is a membership privilege granted by the University of Pittsburgh. It is crucial that members using this privilege understand and follow the expectations and procedures in order to preserve this benefit for the entire membership. All members must follow program expectations and understand their responsibilities as a course auditor.

  • A member must be confirmed as registered in an audit course before attending the course.  Plan to register for your audit course before the term starts so you are able to attend the first class. If you are not officially registered for the audit course do not attend. Your registration is confirmed when the OLLI program sends you a confirmation of enrollment.
  • You are expected to verify the location, dates, and times of your audit course(s). You can do this by going to:
    and then click the “Pitt Class Search” to locate your course.  Courses are subject to change at any time by official action of the University of Pittsburgh.  If the course is not listed, it has been cancelled. OLLI is not responsible for notifying you if a course has been cancelled or changes have been made to class meeting times, days, and location.
  • An instructor or department can deny or limit admission to any audit course, even if pre-approved, without cause or recourse for the member.


Audit Course Registration Procedures

View Upcoming Classes - Members interested in auditing a preapproved audit course can view full course descriptions online only at:   

Register to Audit Preapproved Courses - A complete listing of preapproved audit courses are located on our website. No member may attend and/or audit a course for which they are not registered.  Attending a course without being registered is grounds to receive disciplinary action or could precipitate removal from the OLLI program.

Online Registration Process

  1. Sign in at
  2. If you need to pay your membership, chose which membership option and add to cart.
  3. From the home page locate: "Audit Courses” and click on it.
  4. Click the department to see its list of preapproved courses
  5. Select your course of interest; review it; and if desired click “Add to Cart”
  6. If you wish to add more audit courses, repeat the above instructions
  7. When finished, click “View Cart”. And complete your membership purchase and registration.


Registering to Audit Non-preapproved Courses

Auditing is ONLY allowed when there is space available in “lecture-type” undergraduate classes. “Lecture type” classes are those in which students can observe the delivered lecture of material by the professor. Auditing is NOT permitted in: computer science, film production, physical education, studio arts, laboratory courses, creative writing, honors college courses, or performance courses. Auditing also is NOT permitted in law or medical school classes or online hybrid courses. The rule that audit requests for non-preapproved courses must be submitted in hard copy form has been suspended due to OLLI Administration working remotely. 

  1. You may audit an undergraduate course not listed on the approved list by securing special email permission of the instructor PRIOR to attending the beginning of the course.
  2. Contact the professor by email prior to the start of the course. (locate contact information here:
  3. After obtaining email permission from the course’s instructor or head of the department, forward it to It must include the following information so that we can register you for the correct course:
    • Course title and department
    • Course Number (5 digits)
    • Catalog number (4 digits)
    • Instructor name and email address

This information can be found on Pitt’s registrar course listing search: classSearch



After You Are Enrolled In an Audit Course

Accessing Canvas and Zoom

You will need your Pitt username and Password. If you are new to the program, you should receive it within a week of registering for your audit course. If you do not, contact Program Coordinator, Pat Szczepanski at It may take a few days to process.

After you receive your Pitt username and password, contact your instructor. Give him/her your Pitt username and ask him/her to add you to Canvas as a student and not as a guest.  Be aware that emails from the instructor through Canvas will not go to you so you have to log into Canvas to check and see if announcements are there.

To find Canvas, go to and log in using your Pitt username and Password. Search for Canvas. Click on the Canvas tab and you should see the class listed. If you do not, you are not in the class properly. If you have difficulties or if the instructor has difficulties adding you, please have them contact Pat Szczepanski at .

(Note: DO NOT attend classes prior to receiving confirmation of your registration and submitting the evidence of written permission from the instructor.)


Add/Drop and Refunds

Courses may be added only until the end of the add/drop period. There are no exceptions. You can change or drop courses and register for additional courses during add/drop period only. If you decide to drop your course selection during this period, and you paid a fee for your course, the fee will be refunded. No refunds will be issued after add/drop period.


Conduct Expectations for Course Auditors

  1. Introduce yourself as an OLLI student to the instructor. Seek permission from the course instructor if you wish to verbally participate in the course, do written assignments, or exams.  Respect the response provided by the instructor. Instructors are under no obligation to have you verbally participate in the course. It is entirely at the discretion of the instructor because you are not a registered Pitt student, you are a guest in the class.
  2. Arrive on time to class and stay for the entire class.  Arriving late or leaving early can be disruptive to the class. 
  3. If your verbal participation is permitted by the instructor, be respectful of both the instructor and other students. Do not monopolize discussion.
  4. If issues arise, please notify the OLLI office immediately.
  5. Pay attention to dates and deadlines pertaining to undergraduate courses and the University academic calendar. Take note of dates such as: courses begin and end, add/drop period ends, university closures; official breaks.
  6. Formally drop the course if you find out it is no longer of interest.