Graduate Interim Grading Policy
With input from the Graduate School, Graduate Faculty Governance Council Executive Council and with the approval of the Provost, the University will – with the modifications described below – continue for Winter Quarter 2021 with the standard and published graduate grading policy posted below. This temporary policy has no bearing on 690 Thesis and 691 Field Project credits, courses graded S/U, noncredit bearing program-specific graduation requirements, or on grading in the Fairhaven College, which has its own grading policy.
Requesting P/NP Grades
Graduate students may designate a course as Pass/No Pass by submitting a Grade Mode Change Form with the Registrar’s Office after registering for the course; they may change this designation by submitting the change to the Registrar’s Office at any time through the seventh week of the quarter. For Spring Quarter 2021, the deadline to submit the form is May 10, 2021. After that date, in case of hardship, a student may request a late change to Pass/No Pass grading by contacting their instructor. To record a late change to Pass/No Pass grading, the instructor will contact the Registrar's Office. Students may be advised to stay with a letter grade if required for accreditation, veteran status and benefits, or other purposes.
Graduate students opting for P/NP (EP/NP*) grading in Spring Quarter 2021 will receive an EP for grades of C- and above. A grade of D+ or lower will be recorded as a NP, which will not earn credits or be reflected in the GPA. A grade of F will be recorded as NP on the transcript, will not receive degree credit, and will not be reflected in the GPA. By choosing not to opt for EP/NP grading, a student may have a D+, D or D- reported to their transcript, which will earn credits and be reflected in the GPA. Programs requesting a different minimum grade for credit may petition their Dean and will announce the course grade rubric before the start of classes. This policy has no bearing on courses graded S/U.
Limits to EP/NP*-Graded Credit
For graduate students, a grade of EP will count towards continuation requirements, but the total number of EP credits received beginning summer 2020 and thereafter that will count toward the degree is limited to a maximum of 6. EP grades received during spring 2020 do not count toward the 6 credit limit. Under special circumstances, a student can petition the Graduate School to count additional EP graded credits towards the degree.
In Spring Quarter of 2020, the coronavirus pandemic led the university to shift to remote learning, a modality that was new for many faculty and students. These uncharted teaching/learning conditions made it necessary to adopt a temporary grading policy that would accommodate student acclimation to the new learning environment and that would afford students a certain flexibility in how their work in courses would be formally registered. While the challenges brought on by the pandemic have by no means disappeared, the return to some face-to-face instruction, as well as more familiarity with remote and online teaching/learning, supports returning to the standard rank (letter grade) system. The later date by which students must opt for a P/NP grade (Week 7, as opposed to the standard Week 4 reporting deadline to the Registrar), recognizes a continued need for flexibility and the fact that the decision might be better informed after mid-term. As other universities make the same decision, it is also in the best interests of our students to revert to rank grading, retaining some aspects of the flexibility present in the temporary policy (more time to decide on requesting P/NP, etc.).
*EP (Pass – Exceptional Circumstance) is to be used as the P grade in grade submission. It is necessary in order to facilitate the appropriate qualification of the P grade in Banner and DegreeWorks during the period of the temporary grading policy.
Appendix: COVID-19 Graduate Faculty Governance Council (GFGC) Interim Graduate Grading Policy for Graduate Courses
In effect starting Summer 2020
Pass/No Pass grades are not applicable toward a graduate degree.
Superseded by this Interim Policy.
To remain a candidate for the degree, a student must maintain at least a 3.0 GPA in courses listed on the plan of study.
No change to current policy. EP/NP* grades will not be calculated in the GPA.
A maximum of 10 credits of C grades (C+, C, C-) is allowed towards completion of a graduate program.
No change to current policy; however, EP grades will not be calculated into the maximum number of C grades allowed in current policy.
Courses in which a D+ or lower is earned may not be applied towards completion of a graduate program.
No change to current policy; however, credits from a course where an NP* grade was received will not be applied towards completion of a graduate program.
There are certain courses that must be passed with a grade of B or better; program descriptions note such requirements.
No change to current policy; however, programs can decide to revise or waive this program-specific requirement while this policy is in effect and communicate this to students no later than one week before the start of the term.
An incomplete (K) grade may be assigned in accordance with the regulations outlined in the Academic Policies section of this catalog.
No change to current policy.
Awarding of the Master’s Degree
A student must be enrolled for at least two regular credits or GRAD 699 during the quarter in which the degree is awarded.
No change to current policy.
Continuous Enrollment Policy
Current Policy: Graduate students must maintain continuous enrollment from their first quarter of registration until completion of all degree requirements. Continuous enrollment is defined as registering for at least one credit in all academic quarters (excluding summer) until the degree is attained or status as a degree-seeking graduate student is terminated.
- Students who have not completed all degree requirements and are not currently registered for any credits will be required to register for GRAD 699, Continuous Enrollment, every quarter (excluding summers) until all degree requirements are completed. GRAD 699 is non-graded.
- Students who maintain Continuous Enrollment will be allowed to complete their degree under the policies and requirements in place at their date of matriculation.
- Registration for GRAD 699 maintains many privileges associated with full or part time university enrollment, such as access to Western Libraries, technology, and research facilities.
- Registration for GRAD 699 does not meet minimum enrollment requirements for Financial Aid, student employment, or status as a Teaching Assistant.
- Western Washington University employees receiving state waivers in pursuit of their graduate degree are exempt from the Continuous Enrollment requirement.
No change to current policy.