Policies and Forms

Academic Progress

Graduate students are required to maintain at least a 3.0 GPA in courses included in the program of study. Students must also make satisfactory progress in the graduate program to which they have been admitted, as determined by the academic department.

A maximum of 10 credits of C grades (C+, C, C-) can be counted toward completion of a graduate program. Courses in which a D+ or lower is earned may not be applied towards completion of a graduate program. The accumulation of more than 10 credits of C+ or lower grades (including U and Z) may result in the student being withdrawn from the Graduate School.

Pass/No Pass (P/N) grades are not applicable towards a graduate degree, except as detailed in the interim grading policy above. S grades are applicable.

Incomplete (K) grades may be assigned according to university policy, unless the graduate student is subject to the conditions of provisional admission. After one year, outstanding K grades lapse to Z, which is computed as a failing grade in the GPA. Thesis and certain research courses are assigned K grades until the thesis or research is completed; these K grades will not lapse to Z.

Graduate students may repeat a course in order to earn an acceptable grade. However, the repeat policy is different than the policy for undergraduates and the original grade will not be replaced. All original and repeated courses will be averaged into the cumulative GPA.

Students have five years from the time of initial registration to complete a graduate degree program. Occasionally, extenuating circumstances may justify a short extension to this five year limit. To request an extension:

  • Meet with your advisor to discuss plans and receive approval
  • Draft a detailed timeline for degree completion
  • Write a letter of request that explains the need for an extension
  • Email your timeline, request, and note of approval from advisor to gradschool@wwu.edu

Students who reach the five year time limit and do not have an approved extension will be withdrawn from the Graduate School.

Continuous Enrollment

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 or Research Assistant.
  • Western Washington University employees receiving state waivers in pursuit of their graduate degree are exempt from the Continuous Enrollment requirement.
  • Request an Override for GRAD 699

The Continuous Enrollment requirement will be waived for students who are granted official leave of absence. Official leaves of absence may be requested of the Graduate Dean in instances of incapacitating injury or illness, personal emergency, military orders, or other significant extenuating circumstances. Contact the Graduate School for information.

  • Students who fail to maintain Continuous Enrollment or receive approval for a leave of absence must reapply for admission to their graduate program using the "Returning Grad Student" program option within the application. Readmission is not guaranteed.
  • Decisions for re-enrollment are made by the academic department. Students may be subject to changes in the degree or additional requirements as deemed necessary by the program.

Courses and Credits

Graduate independent study courses (500) enable students to pursue educational experiences that are unavailable through regular graduate courses listed in the catalog.

An Independent Study Contract and Registration Approval (esign form) is required to register for ISP.


  • The content of a Directed Independent Study course, and the reason for requesting it, must be detailed in a Directed Independent Study Contract developed by the student and instructor (graduate faculty member). Before the Contract is submitted to the Graduate School, it must be approved by both the instructor (graduate faculty member) who will direct the study and the graduate program advisor.
  • The scope and rigor of a Directed Independent Study proposal must equal or exceed those of regular graduate courses offered in the department.
  • The intellectual demands of the proposed study must be equivalent to those of graduate courses carrying equal credit in the department.
  • No more than ten credits of Directed Independent Study may be applied toward satisfying degree requirements without additional approval from the Graduate School. Some programs may have further restrictions.
  • Directed Independent Study credit is normally not awarded for work the student is paid to do.

Coursework taken prior to formal admission to a WWU master's degree program, whether at Western or another accredited institution, can be considered for transfer credit if the following criteria listed below are met:

  • A limit of 12 quarter credits
  • Graded B, 3.0 or better
  • Taken no more than three years prior to admission
  • Acceptable to the granting institution for its master's degree
  • Not used toward the completion of any other degree

Graduate Program Advisors may recommend accepting transfer credit on a case by case basis. If transfer credit is approved, the advisor should enter a note in Degree Works with details.