Late Enrollment/Late Course Change/Late Drop

Late Enrollment/Late Course Change/Late Drop policy

Students should consult the Office of the Registrar’s website for essential enrollment information and important deadlines. It is a student’s responsibility to be aware of the deadlines for enrollment each term. All session deadlines are adhered to as detailed on the Enrollment Deadlines page on the Office of the Registrar’s website.

Late Initial Enrollment: Students have through the end of the second week to enroll in courses for fall or spring term. If students enroll after the first week of class, they are subject to late payment fees. Permission to enroll late does not excuse students from paying late initial enrollment and/or late payment penalties. Exceptions to the published deadlines will be granted only in the case of truly mitigating circumstances. Late initial enrollment cannot be completed in MyUW, a Late initial Enrollment Request Form must be submitted along with written approval from the student’s faculty advisor. Refer to the chart below for detailed steps to late initial enrollment.

Late course changes (add a class, change credit, change sections): After deadlines have passed, late course adds can be requested by submitting a completed Late Course Add Request form to the Graduate School. Other courses changes may be requested via the Course Change Request in MyUW. An overview of enrollment and course change information may be found here.  For all changes, the Course Change Request must be printed from MyUW and required signatures must be obtained along with written approval from the student’s faculty advisor. Refer to the chart below for detailed steps to late course changes. The Dean’s signature will be fulfilled once submitted to the Graduate School.

Late Drop: The electronic Course Change Request process via MyUW Student Center is not accessible for late drops. Students must complete the Graduate School Late Course Drop Request Form along with written justification from the student’s faculty advisor. Please note that poor academic performance in a course is not an acceptable reason for a late drop request.  Refer to the chart below for detailed steps to late drops.

How To: Student’s Process:
 Late Initial Enrollment:
After the 2nd week of class (fall/spring terms, different deadlines apply for summer sessions):
  1. Students must fill out the Late Initial Enrollment Request Form and obtain all required signatures.
  2. Students must obtain written approval from their faculty advisor.
  3. Email the Late Initial Enrollment Request From and faculty advisor approval to the Graduate School at Academic Services.
Late Course Change (Add/Change Credit/Change Section):
After the 9th week of classes (fall/spring terms, different deadlines apply for summer sessions):
  1. Students must complete an electronic Course Change Request in MyUW, print the form and obtain required signatures.
  2. Students must obtain written approval from their faculty advisor.
  3. Email the course change request and written approval to the Graduate School at Academic Services.
Late Drop:
After the 9th week of classes (fall/spring terms, different deadlines apply for summer sessions):
  1. Students must fill out the Late Course Drop Form and obtain all required signatures.
  2. Students must obtain written justification from their faculty advisor.
  3. Email the Late Course Drop Form and written justification to the Graduate School at Academic Services.

For more information about late enrollment, late course change or late drop, contact the Graduate School Office of Academic Services.

See Course ChangesDean’s Approval

Language Requirements

Language Requirements policy

Each program sets its own language requirements. Some programs require competence in one or more languages before students can take preliminary examinations. Students must check with their major program’s criteria for satisfactory progress in the program’s student handbook, or in the Graduate Guide.

Joint Degrees

Joint Degrees policy

A joint degree consists of one graduate degree with two programs. A student completing a joint degree writes one thesis or dissertation and receives one diploma. Students can earn a joint master’s or a joint doctoral degree. Such degrees are relatively rare. Students should inquire with each program prior to enrollment to see if additional policies exist that would restrict the ability to complete a joint degree.

To apply for a joint degree a student must submit a proposal for the degree to the Graduate School along with an electronic Add/Change/Discontinue Program Request. A student must be admitted to the second program. An appropriate Associate Dean of the Graduate School reviews all such proposals.

Students must submit the proposal before they complete the coursework and no later than the beginning of their second year of graduate study.

The joint degree proposal must address the following issues:

  • Reasons for seeking a joint degree, rather than following the traditional program/minor curriculum (for doctoral programs that require a minor) or double degrees curriculum (for master’s programs).
  • Coursework necessary to satisfy each program’s requirements; two separate course lists required.
  • The required content of each program’s portion of the degree requirements in the proposal (for example, preliminary exam arrangements for the doctoral degree or a joint thesis required for the master’s degree, etc.).

To receive a joint degree, students must:

  • Be admitted to both programs, with approval of their proposal from both programs;
  • Complete the degree requirements in each program as outlined in the proposal;
  • Fulfill the Graduate School’s minimum graduate residence, degree, and coursework (50%) credit requirements.
  • Be recommended for the degree by the faculty co-chairs/advisors from each program and the program director from each program, approval signatures required.

Once a joint degree proposal has been reviewed and approved, any and all changes must be submitted to the Graduate School for further review.

For further details about joint degrees, contact the Graduate School Office of Academic Services.

See Double DegreesDual Degrees: Graduate and Professional CombinationMinimum Graduate Coursework (50%) RequirementMinimum Graduate Degree Credit RequirementMinimum Graduate Residence Credit RequirementSpecial Graduate Committee DegreesAppendix 5 – Double, Joint, and Dual Degrees at a Glance

Individual Development Plan

Individual Development Plan policy

UW–Madison recommends all graduate students and postdoctoral researchers utilize Individual Development Plans to set academic and career goals and facilitate conversations with their mentor(s). All graduate students and postdoctoral researchers supported by NIH funding are required to have an Individual Development Plan (IDP). Other funding agencies may have additional requirements related to the IDP.

IDPs are written plans that give mentees ownership and structure to assess their skills, interests, and values, define clear and actionable goals, explore career options, and facilitate conversations with their mentor(s). IDP forms vary greatly, although many are structured around core competencies or learning outcomes. The onus for writing, maintaining, and implementing the plan is on the mentee, and conversations with and feedback from the mentor(s) are essential.

The Graduate School will identify individuals who must complete an IDP and will notify them of tools and resources available. The Graduate School will offer graduate students, postdocs, and PIs tools to track IDP progress. The IDP tracking tool will log activity related to the IDP, but the actual contents of the IDP will not be captured by the tracking tool. The contents of the IDP are private to the mentee, who chooses which parts of the IDP to share with his or her selected mentor(s). Find the IDP template for graduate students and postdoc mentees, guidelines and other supporting resources for mentors and mentees, resources for PIs and grants administrators, including the IDP tracking tool.


Incompletes policy

Students who are unable to complete coursework by the end of the semester may request from the instructor the assignment of the temporary grade of “I” (Incomplete).  Students making a request for an I grade must have been carrying passing grade until near the end of the term.  If the Incomplete grade is granted the student should complete the missing work as soon as possible.  Students who receive an Incomplete grade will receive a warning message from the Graduate School, reminding them that students are not permitted to graduate with an Incomplete grade on their transcripts. Graduate students are allowed the subsequent semester of enrollment to complete the coursework before the Graduate School will place the student on academic probation. Programs may impose more stringent rules for satisfactory progress.

In consultation with the program, students may be dismissed from the Graduate School for failing to complete coursework and receive a final grade in a timely fashion.

Students with outstanding Incomplete grades may not receive  dissertator status or be granted a degree.

If the work is no longer relevant, the instructor of a course is no longer at the university, or a change of program makes completion of the work unnecessary, students may be allowed to receive a Permanent Incomplete (PI) for the course. The instructor of the course or their advisor submits a grade change request with an explanation or reason, changing the grade from I to PI. The Office of the Registrar also converts any incomplete grade over 5 years old to PI. Students may graduate with PI’s on their transcript.

Unresolved Incomplete grades lapse to a grade of Permanent Incomplete (PI) after five years.

See Permanent Incomplete (PI) GradeProbationSatisfactory Progress


Graduation policy

To receive a master’s degree, students contact their program coordinator at the beginning of the term in which they intend to graduate. The program coordinator will check that they have met program requirements and will request a warrant from the Graduate School on the student’s behalf. Students need to be enrolled in their program and taking a minimum of 2 credits (graded courses taken at 300 or above; audits and pass/fails do not satisfy this requirement) during the term in which they intend to graduate. For more information and deadlines visit the Graduate School’s Expecting Your Masters Degree webpage.

Doctoral candidates’ major programs should request a final doctoral warrant at least 3 weeks before the anticipated date of their final dissertation defense. Doctoral candidates must be enrolled during the term in which they intend to defend or graduate. For more information and deadlines visit the Graduate School’s Guide to Preparing Your Doctoral Dissertation.

See Certification of Graduation (or ‘Degree Completion Letter’)CommencementDeadlinesDegree Completion FeeDegree Conferral/Payroll End DatesDiplomaDissertationFinal Oral Examination (Defense)

Graduate/Professional Certificates

Graduate/Professional Certificates policy

Graduate/professional certificates are available to all degree-seeking graduate and professional students (GRAD, LAW, MED, PHARM, VMED careers) and may be used by doctoral students in meeting their breadth requirement (see policy on Breadth Requirement in Doctoral Training here: . Graduate/professional certificate programs coordinate teaching and research among scholars active in interrelated disciplines. Consult the certificate program regarding recognition of program completion. Certificate programs monitor their own course and satisfactory progress requirements.

Before enrolling in courses for a certificate, students must declare their intent to pursue the certificate credential through the Add/Change/Discontinue application process in the MyGradPortal.

Academic Planning and Institutional Research (APIR) has further information on Certificate Programs.

See Capstone Certificates

Grade Point Average (GPA) Requirement

Grade Point Average (GPA) Requirement policy

The Graduate School requires that students maintain a graduate grade-point average (GPA) of 3.00 (on a 4.00 scale) for all graduate courses (excluding research) to receive a degree. Many programs impose higher standards. Students should check with their program.

When a graduate student’s cumulative GPA drops below a 3.0 for one semester, they are notified via email (copy to grad coordinator) that they are placed on academic probation, and an enrollment hold is placed on the following semester. Students on academic probation cannot continue enrolling until the probationary semester’s grades are reported and their cumulative GPA is above a 3.0.

Courses taken for audit (S/NR), credit/no credit (CR/N), or pass/fail do not affect the GPA. Research courses graded on a Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory (S/U) basis do not impact GPA. However, U grades are monitored by the Graduate School for satisfactory progress. A Permanent Incomplete (PI) grade does not impact the GPA. A No Report (NR) or Incomplete (I) grade does not impact the GPA, but in a graded course this is a temporary grade, indicating the instructor has not yet submitted a final grade.

See Auditing CoursesCredit/No Credit GradesNo Report (NR) GradesPass/FailPermanent Incomplete (PI) GradeSatisfactory/Unsatisfactory (S/U) GradesAppendix 3 – Grading SystemAppendix 4 – Grade-Point Average Calculation

Final Oral Examination (Dissertation Defense)

Final Oral Examination (Defense) policy

The final oral examination (often called “defense”) normally covers a student’s dissertation and areas of study. Students may not take the final oral examination until they have satisfied all other requirements for their degree. Students’ records must be cleared of incomplete grades and progress grades (other than research) before they can take the final oral exam.

Doctoral students have five years from the date of passing their preliminary examinations to take their final oral examination and submit their dissertation. Arrangements for the final oral examination and the oral examination committee’s approval of the dissertation are the responsibilities of the student and the program. The graduate program coordinator must submit the final doctoral warrant request to the Graduate School at least three weeks before the final oral examination.

After the graduate program coordinator submits the doctoral degree warrant request, the Graduate School will review this request and send the approved doctoral degree warrant to the graduate program coordinator. The final warrant should be printed out and committee member signatures should be obtained the defense. To pass the examination, students must receive no more than one dissenting vote from their final oral examination committee. A missing signature is considered a dissent. Once the final warrant has been signed, an electronic copy should be uploaded in the administrative documents section of the ProQuest/UMI ETD Administrator website. The original signed hard copy of the final warrant should be kept with the student or the graduate program coordinator. For further information, visit the Graduate School’s Guide to Preparing Your Doctoral Dissertation.

See Preliminary ExaminationsTime Limits