Special Students

Bowdoin College allows a very small number of people in the nearby community to take courses at Bowdoin on a part-time basis. These non-degree candidates are known as Special Students.

We will not be offering the Special Students program during the 2021-2022 academic year.

Special Students are those whose education has been interrupted for one reason or another, and who have a serious commitment to resuming their education on a part-time basis in a demanding liberal arts curriculum. In a few cases, Special Student status may be granted to primary and secondary school teachers who must take courses in order to maintain their certification. In all cases, Special Students at Bowdoin are non-matriculated students, normally enrolling in one or two courses. Special students are non-degree candidates.

Special Students are NOT those who already hold a bachelor’s degree from a four-year college or university, nor are they recent high-school graduates who have not attended college at all, nor are they students who were enrolled in college during the previous year.

Inquiries about applying for Special Student status should be directed to the special student coordinator at (207) 725-3192.

Applying as a Special Student


Candidates for admission should submit transcripts of all previous academic work, an essay explaining their reasons for returning to college (including a statement describing their non-academic pursuits); a letter of recommendation from an employer, an academic dean, or a professor; and a non-refundable application fee of $60.

Special Student applicants should normally have academic credentials that are equivalent to those sought from traditional applicants, although non-academic achievements will also be important for most Special Students. An interview is strongly encouraged. Applications must be received in the Admissions Office at least one month prior to the beginning of the semester.

Cost and Availability

For Special Students, the cost of attending Bowdoin is $4,359.00 per course. Financial aid is not available.  Special Students may not live on campus, and they may take courses only as space is available. The work completed by Special Students is graded and they will receive an official Bowdoin College transcript.

Additional Educational Opportunities In Mid-Coast Maine

Additional educational opportunities are available in the greater Brunswick area. Many of these additional options are less expensive and more accessible than Bowdoin College. These include courses available at Southern New Hampshire University and the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University; and in Portland, the University of New England, the University of Southern Maine, and Southern Maine Community College.

  • Students interested in the Twelve College Exchange Program should contact the Twelve College Exchange coordinator at their home college.
  • International students interested in attending Bowdoin for no more than one year as full-time, non-degree students should consult the Office of the Dean of Student Affairs.
  • Bowdoin College employees interested in taking courses at Bowdoin should contact the Office of the Dean of Student Affairs directly.
  • Bowdoin College graduates who require additional coursework at Bowdoin should also contact the Office of the Dean of Student Affairs directly.