Programs (or ‘Majors’)

Programs (or 'Majors') policy

Programs are officially approved courses of study and research leading to a master’s or doctoral degree. They may be administered from within a disciplinary department or across departments by an interdisciplinary or multidisciplinary cluster of faculty. Some programs have official areas of concentration within them (called Named Options or Subplans) at the master’s and/or doctoral levels. Both programs and named options appear on the student’s transcript. Some programs have unofficial tracks, specializations, or concentrations but these are not listed on the transcript. Contact the program’s graduate coordinator for more information.

Students who would like to pursue an individual program different from approved programs should see Special Graduate Committee Degrees.

See Addition/Change of Program, Plan, or Named OptionNamed OptionDegrees (Plans)MinorsSpecial Graduate Committee Degrees

Pass/Fail Courses

Pass/Fail policy

Pass/fail courses do not satisfy any Graduate School credit, coursework, or degree requirements, nor do they fulfill minimum or maximum credits required each term. Tuition is still charged for pass/fail course. For these reasons, very few graduate students choose pass/fail for courses numbered 300 or above. Seminars, independent study, and research may not be taken pass/fail. The pass/fail option is not to be confused with the S/U grading option.

Students requesting to enroll in a course as pass/fail must first enroll or be enrolled in the course.  The request is made via the MyUW Student Center by submitting an online Course Change Request, changing the course to pass/fail. After the student requests this change online via MyUW Student Center, it is reviewed and approved electronically by the Graduate School. Submission of a paper pass/fail form is not required. The deadline to request/cancel pass/fail is the drop deadline, which is the end of the 9th week of class during the fall and spring semester. Requests for late pass/fail will not be considered. Specific deadline dates, including those for summer sessions, are posted prior to each semester by the Office of the Registrar.

The instructor does not know that a student is taking the course on a pass/fail basis and therefore reports a letter grade for the course. The Registrar records a grade of S in place of the instructors’ grades of A, AB, B, BC, or C; and a grade of U in place of D or F grades. Neither the S nor the U are computed in the graduate grade-point average.

The enrollment system counts all credits in determining maximum credit loads. A Credit Overload Request is required if a student’s total credit load exceeds the maximum limit per term.

See Dean’s ApprovalEnrollment RequirementsMinimum Graduate Coursework (50%) RequirementMinimum Graduate Degree Credit RequirementMinimum Graduate Residence Credit RequirementOverloadsSatisfactory/Unsatisfactory (S/U) Grades

Overloads

Overloads policy

Students are allowed to enroll for a maximum of 15 credits during fall and spring. Summer maximum enrollment is 12 credits. Credits included are those courses numbered 300 or above, taken for a grade (not including audits and pass/fail).

Dissertators are not eligible for overloads in the fall or spring terms. However, in the summer, a dissertator who is enrolled in the general 8-week session for 3 credits may request an overload for 1-2 additional credits in a short session and still retain dissertator status.  For such requests to be approved, the course must be related to dissertation research or professional training that is not offered in regular semesters. Faculty advisors can request an overload exception for summer from the Graduate School Degree Coordinator.

The enrollment system counts all credits in determining maximum credit loads. An overload request is required if a student wishes to exceed the maximum number of credits they are allowed as a graduate student. Even though pass/fail courses, audit courses, and 100- or 200-level courses are not considered graduate level credits, they are counted in a total credit load. An overload request is also required if the number of credits exceeds the span of weeks in any short session during the summer (but not for a dissertator).

If a student wishes to enroll for more than the maximum credit load, they must submit a Credit Overload Request form, signed by their advisor, to the Graduate School Office of Academic Services. The Graduate School will look closely at the rationale for the request, the student’s course load, satisfactory progress, and assistantships. If the Graduate School approves the overload, the student will then be allowed to add the course.

See Enrollment RequirementsMaximum Levels of Appointments

Maximum Credits per Term

Maximum Credits per Term policy

Non-dissertator students are allowed to enroll for a maximum of 15 credits. The enrollment system counts all credits in determining maximum credit loads. Even though pass/fail courses, audit courses, and 100- or 200-level courses are considered undergraduate level credits, they are counted in total credit load.

See Enrollment Requirements

Leave of Absence

Leave of Absence policy

The Graduate School does not have a formal policy on leave of absence for pre-dissertators. Students should notify their graduate program of their intention to take a leave of absence.

If students have pre-enrolled for a future term and plan to take a leave of absence, they must be sure to drop all courses before the first day of class.

Previously enrolled students who wish to return to Graduate School should follow the instructions for Readmission to Graduate School. Any student who does not enroll for a fall or spring term is considered to be a reentry and must pay the Graduate School online application fee. Any student granted readmission must adhere to the most current requirements as listed in the Graduate School Academic Policies & Procedures. Master’s degree students who have been absent for five or more consecutive years lose all credits that they have earned before their absence. Doctoral degree students who have been absent for ten or more consecutive years lose all credits that they have earned before their absence. Individual programs may count the coursework students completed prior to their absence for meeting program requirements; however that coursework will not count toward Graduate School credit requirements.

Non-dissertators: The Graduate School has no formal policy regarding a leave of absence at the pre-dissertator level, although some programs do. Therefore, it is critical that students contact their major programs before considering a break in enrollment of one or more terms.

Dissertators: A candidate for a doctoral degree should be aware that failure to take the final oral examination and submit the dissertation within 5 years after passing the preliminary examination may require another preliminary examination and admittance to candidacy a second time. In addition, the Graduate School requires all dissertators to maintain continuous enrollment. In rare circumstances when this is not possible, a degree completion fee is assessed to recognize the inevitable use of university facilities (including faculty and staff time) up to and including the successful defense of the dissertation.

International Students: International students considering a leave of absence should check on their visa status with International Student Services.

Graduate Appointments: Students with Teaching Assistantships (TA), Program Assistantships (PA), or Research Assistantships (RA) should consult with their program, their PI and/or advisor. Students with Fellowships or Traineeships should contact their funding source.

See Degree Completion FeeFamily LeaveInternational Students Maintaining Legal StatusReadmission to Graduate School (for previously enrolled graduate students)Time Limits

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: It is against university policy to participate in classes or hold an RA/TA/PA, fellowship, or traineeship, without being enrolled. 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 Course Change Form must be submitted along with written approval from the student’s faculty advisor and department chair. 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 changes may be requested via the Course Change Request in MyUW. Course Change Request instructions are found here and a demo of the online Course Change Request is available 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. Please note that poor academic performance in a course is not an acceptable reason for a late drop request.  Students must complete the Graduate School Course Change Form along with written approval from the student’s faculty advisor. 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 Enrollment Request portion of the Course Change Form and obtain all required signatures.
  2. Students must obtain appeal letters from their department chair and faculty advisor.
  3. The course change form and appeal letters can be submitted to the Graduate School, 217 Bascom, or emailed to 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 an appeal letter from their faculty advisor.
  3. The course change request and appeal letter can be submitted to the Graduate School, 217 Bascom or emailed to 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 Drop Request portion of the Course Change Form and obtain all required signatures.
  2. Students must obtain an appeal letter from their faculty advisor.
  3. The course change form and appeal letter can be submitted to the Graduate School, 217 Bascom, or emailed to 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

Jury Duty

Jury Duty policy

If a student is called to jury duty and the duty is sustained over a period of three weeks or more, the student should be allowed to withdraw from classes. If extended jury duty should continue after the last day of class, the instructor has the option of assigning an Incomplete (I) as the student’s grade. The I grade will not result in academic probation or the removal of dissertator status. Further information is available at Graduate School’s Office of Academic Services.

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

Holds (Service Indicators)

Holds policy

When using the enrollment system, students may encounter holds on their records, preventing them from enrolling in classes. Holds can also prevent students from obtaining a transcript, a degree completion letter, certification of status, or a diploma. Their enrollment notification will indicate the type of hold and where it must be cleared. Hold information is also available on MyUW. Students should direct questions to the originator of the hold.

See Dean’s ApprovalProbation

Family Leave

Family Leave policy

Although the Graduate School does not have a formal leave of absence policy for pre-dissertators, there are a number of family-friendly practices and resources for students considering taking a leave of absence for birth or adoption. Many departments and programs also have local policies. Students should consult with their program coordinator, advisor, and the Graduate School’s Office Academic Services as early as possible in their planning process.

Please visit the Graduate School’s Family and Parent Resources webpage for additional information.

See Compassionate Tuition AdjustmentLeave of Absence