We are offering six new classes in Spring 2024. Registration opens January 15.

4 retired friends sitting outside on a porch smiling at the camera

Learning for a Lifetime at WSU

Lifelong Learning courses cater specifically to individuals aged 60 and above, offering both in-person and online options. The courses, taught by qualified university faculty, consist of four classes held once a week for four weeks, with each class lasting approximately two hours. These courses operate on an audit basis, allowing students to participate without paying tuition fees, and scholarships are available to cover application and course fees for those who enroll before a specified deadline. There are no textbooks to purchase as all required materials are provided by WSU, and there are no tests or grades. The coursework encourages cohort-based learning, offering seniors the opportunity to engage in genuine college-level learning experiences.


All course work will be offered in-person and online.

In person classes will be held from 1:00 – 3:00 p.m. at the Wichita State University Metropolitan Complex located at 5015 E. 29th St. North. 

Online classes will be available. Students who select this option will receive a link via email each week to view the class on their own device. Students can watch the the recording at their convenience.

The schedule of courses can be found below. Live in-person classes will meet from 1:00 – 3:00 p.m. Students who enroll in the online option can access the classes online anytime.


The Storytelling Beneath the Screen: Film Composers

Mondays, February 26, March 18, 25 & April 1 | 1-3p | THEA 150D (CRN 26695)
Imagine your favorite movie without music underneath. Would you know when the shark was approaching in Jaws or when something terrible was happening to Janet Lee in the shower in Psycho? This course is designed to explore the storytelling aspect of film scoring and its importance in making movies memorable. As filmmaking was developing in Hollywood, “silent films” were never really silent—there was no spoken dialogue, but it was expected that music would be added in the theaters. After the technology for “talking pictures” became possible in 1929, studios capitalized by cranking out popular movie musicals and then realized that hiring composers for their non-musicals might be beneficial as well. The use of music as a storytelling device has been around since the beginning of time and it didn’t take long for studio heads to realize that adding music to enhance dialogue, dramatic action and visual imagery could be popular and profitable. A new profession was created: the film composer. 

At the end of the course, students will be able to:
• Discover the importance of music in supporting storytelling on the screen.
• Discover how the specialization of the film composer developed.
• Explore how different styles of music help establish time, place and character.
• Explore how the job of a film composer has been expanded with new technologies.

Instructor: Linda Starkey, Retired Faculty, Lecturer, School of Performing Arts, Wichita State University


The Border War: Conflict in Kansas and Missouri during the Civil War ***In-Person option full as of January 17***

Tuesdays, February 27, March 19, 26 & April 2 | 1-3p | HIST 150BC (CRN 26815)
This course examines the story of the conflict along the Kansas and Missouri border from 1854-1865. We will examine the primary sources, images and collections related to the individuals and events of that period. Attention will be given to the issues of slavery, sectionalism, settlement and political viability during this period and its lasting legacy for the region and the nation.

At the end of the course, students will be able to:
• Identify the political elements that led to conflict in the nation in the nineteenth century.
• Identify the decisions made by the people and the governments that composed the Union and the Confederacy with regard to the Kansas-Missouri theater of the war.
• Examine the primary sources and people involved directly in the conflict.

Instructor: Ken Spurgeon, Lecturer, Department of History, Wichita State University


African Americans’ Impact on US History ***In-Person option full as of February 7***

Wednesdays, February 28, March 6, 20 & 27 | 1-3p | HIST 150CJ (CRN 26722) 
This course seeks to examine ideas, attitudes, movements and governmental policies that shaped the African American experience of the U.S. through the 20th Century. We will use primary sources, books, letters and images as well as short video clips to learn about this history that some Americans do not want to have their children learn. We will learn about men, women and organizations that shaped the Black experience of America and about the records they kept of their experience.

At the end of the course, students will be able to:
• Identify ideas, behaviors, and policies of African Americans and EuroAmericans during this time.
• Identify the history that produced these ideas, behaviors, and attitudes.
• Learn through primary source documents, snippets of documentary footage, photographs, and lecture the history within which this recycling recurs.

Instructor: Dr. Gretchen Eick, Lecturer, Department of History, Wichita State University


Jesus: Traditions and Images ***In-Person option full as of January 22***

Tuesdays, April 9, 16, 23 & 30 | 1-3p | REL 150B (CRN 26693) 
Jesus is a foundational figure of Christianity. This course examines traditions about Jesus in the New Testament and other early Christian literature, particularly the Gospels. Next, the course will investigate what scholars know about Jesus as an historical figure. The course then charts the development of doctrines about Christ and controversies in emerging Christianity over the person of Jesus. Finally, the course will also explore depictions of Jesus in visual art, poetry and music, in various religious traditions, both in the past and in contemporary cultures.

At the end of the course, students will be able to:
• Describe different ways Jesus is portrayed in early Christian literature.  
• Trace the major developments in doctrines about Christ. 
• Appreciate the distinction between Jesus as a historical person and traditions and beliefs about Christ.
• Have an understanding of the myriad of ways Jesus has been portrayed in art and culture.
• Have explored Jesus in different parts of the world and in different religious traditions.

Instructor: Dr. Rannfrid Thelle, Associate Professor, Department of History, Wichita State University


Ring of Fire: The Geology of Volcanoes

Wednesdays, April 10, 17, 24 & May 1 | 1-3p  | GEOL 150P (CRN 26764) 
Volcanoes have built our continents, released gases that helped form the oceans and atmosphere, heated and cooled the earth, sometimes to extremes and contributed to mass extinction events throughout our geologic past. They have destroyed historic civilizations such as Santorini and Pompeii and continue to be a modern threat to human safety with 1 in 20 people living in the danger range of an active volcano. Yet without them, the earth would be uninhabitable. Join us as we learn how volcanoes form, the classification of volcanoes and their eruptions, the ways in which they affect the earth, how eruptions are monitored, what we can do to be prepared for an eruption and what risk super volcanoes, such as Yellowstone, hold for the future. Along the way, we’ll examine the geology and devastation of some of the world’s most famous eruptions!

At the end of the course, students will be able to:
• Relate volcanic activity to plate tectonics.
• Describe the connection between volcanoes and earthquakes.
• Name the three types of volcanoes and describe their eruptions.
• Discuss how volcanoes allow life to flourish on earth.
• List major volcanic events throughout geologic history and why they occurred.

Instructor: Heather Merchant, Lecturer, Department of Geology, Wichita State University


Ethics of Big Data and AI

Fridays, April 19, 26 & May 3, 10 | 1-3p | PHIL 150AI (CRN 26694)
In this era of ChatGPT, Alexa and algorithmically controlled social media, how can we develop informed opinions and make responsible decisions? This course presents a framework for ethical evaluation and explores its implications for current and emerging technologies that use big datasets to train machine learning and deep learning algorithms for predictive and generative AI. Since AI development is astonishingly rapid right now, some of the specific examples and ethical considerations we’ll highlight will be determined on the fly. 

Upon completion of this course, students will gain
• familiarity with ethical theories and their applications to new and emerging AI technology, 
• an appreciation for the ways that data and AI can empower and disempower us, and   
• a better understanding of how our choices and decisions factor into the complex systems we’re constructing.

Instructor: Dr. Susan Castro, Associate Professor/Chair, Department of Philosophy, Wichita State University



The information on this page applies only to the courses offered at the designated locations. For information on senior citizen audits of credit courses located on the main campus or satellite locations, please visit their registration page.

Back to Top


How do I register?

There are four ways to register.

  1. Fill out the form you received with the catalog in the mail and mail the form back to us.
  2. Download and print the PDF form, fill it out, and mail the form to us.
  3. Download the fillable PDF form, fill it out, and email the form to us.
  4. Call 316-978-3264 to register over the phone. 
Where are the classes?

In person classes will be held at the Wichita State University Metropolitan Complex located at 5015 E. 29th St. North, Wichita, KS 67220.

Can I register if I am not over 60?

Students who are younger than 60 years of age can enroll in these courses, but will pay regular tuition and fees. If you're younger than 60 and have NOT previously been admitted to WSU, you can apply here. If you've already been admitted as a student at WSU, you can register for these classes through the myWSU portal. You will need the CRN number for the courses in which you would like to register. The CRN number and additional details for each course can be found in the course brochure. Once you are registered, all you need to do is show up at the first day of class and present a Medicare card or driver's license to validate age. In addition, you will be required to pay all fees (via check or cash only) at your first class (if applicable).

How do the online classes work?

Students who choose the online class will receive a link each week by email. Click the link view the class on your own device at your convenience. You can choose to watch the class at the scheduled live time or you can watch the recording at a later date or time that is more convenient for you. 

Are the same courses offered each semester?

We do not typically repeat classes semester to semester. Each fall and spring brings new options for our learners. Several of our instructors teach classes each semester, so if you like a particular instructor, make sure to check back in because they might be teaching another class the next semester. 

What types of courses are offered?

All Lifelong learning courses are lecture-based. Topics include arts, art history, history, science, literature, political science, philosophy, music and many more! 

Please be aware that you will be receiving a 1098-T tax form from WSU. Even though you are auditing the classes and some of the fees could be scholarshipped by the University, we are required by the IRS (Internal Revenue Service) to provide you with a 1098-T form. For more information regarding the 1098-T, please visit www.wichita.edu/1098t.

Stay Updated

Please enter your contact information below to be added to our Lifelong Learning email list.  We will inform you of new classes as they become available.



Contact Us

WSU Lifelong Learning


lifelonglearning@wichita.edu | 316-978-3264

1845 Fairmount Street, Box 136, Wichita, KS 67260-0136