May 29, 2024  
2020-2021 Catalog 
2020-2021 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Graduate Regulations

Related Page: University Regulations  

Academic Load (G-1)

The full-time course load for graduate students is nine graduate credits, including coursework portfolio, professional project, field study or thesis. The maximum course load for graduate students is 16 credits with any combination of courses (graduate or undergraduate) during fall, winter or spring term. Nine credit hours is the maximum load for graduate students during the six-week summer term.

Application to Graduate (G-2)

Final evaluation procedures

Apply one term prior to completion of final coursework.

  1. Application for completion of master’s degree must be submitted to the Graduate Office.
  2. Final evaluation procedures must be completed, either written examinations or alternative evaluations by Wednesday of finals week in the final term of course study.

Conferring of degree

Students may participate in Commencement if they meet the following requirements:

  • Are within one to two courses of completing degree requirements
  • Have written approval of their graduate adviser
  • Have a plan on file in the Graduate Office to complete degree requirements the following term

Each graduate student must file an application for completion of the master’s degree with the Graduate Office. This application also serves as the application to complete the final evaluation procedures. This is due one term before completion. Additional general information is available on the website at

Students receiving their specializations, endorsements or certificates only are not eligible to participate in Commencement. Commencement is held for master’s students receiving graduate degrees.

Continuing Registration Student Access Fee (G-3)

WOU does not require a graduate student to be continually registered during each term as he or she progresses through a master’s degree. A special fee is required when engaged in any phase of research such as developing or collecting data, preparing for final examinations or any aspects of a thesis, field study or professional project development in which university facilities or library resources are used and the student is not registered for graduate courses. The non-registered continuing student fee is assessed through the business office.

Credit by Examination (G-4)

Graduate courses cannot be challenged. If a graduate student has extensive background in an academic area, the graduate student’s adviser can determine other graduate courses that can be substituted for the course in question on the plan of study. A substitution form must be submitted to the Graduate Office.

Filing a Program Plan (G-5)

All graduate students must file a program plan within the first 9 credits of coursework. This plan lists all courses needed for a particular graduate program.

  • The proposed program plan must be completed with the assistance of the appropriate adviser and submitted to the Graduate Office for final approval. Financial Aid receives program verification once the program plan is on file.
  • Conditionally admitted students, complete requirements for admission as a regular graduate student, including providing a program plan.
  • Students who have not filed a program plan after completing nine credits of coursework will have a hold placed on registration until the form has been filed with the Graduate Office.

The steps listed above must also be completed by graduate students seeking additional endorsements, preparations, licensure, certificates or specializations.

Final Exit Evaluation (G-6)

All graduate students must complete one or more final exit evaluations. The type of exit evaluation is determined when the graduate program plan is approved. Common exit evaluations consist of written comprehensive examinations, thesis, portfolio, action research projects, field studies and professional projects or combinations of two exit evaluations. The Graduate Office will determine the type of exit evaluation(s) based on the graduate student’s program plan.

Graduate students who elect to write a thesis, professional project or field study must follow the procedures outlined in the guidelines which can be found on the web at A final oral examination will be required of all graduate students who write a thesis, professional project or field study. The oral examination is not limited to the thesis, field study, portfolio or professional project, but may cover any aspect of the student’s program.

Graduate students who prepare a portfolio should contact an adviser for information regarding specific portfolio requirements for that program.

Some divisions at WOU require comprehensive written examinations based on coursework in the student’s content area in addition to the completion of thesis, field study, professional project or portfolio.

Final written comprehensive examination will be based upon areas of study in the approved program. Subject area questions will be based upon the statement of components, objectives and requirements outlined in the statement of program objectives. Graduate students who fail one or more areas of the written comprehensive examination may be given a program of self-study by their adviser(s) and may retake the area(s) failed at another regularly scheduled comprehensive examination.

Students may retake the written comprehensive examinations only once. Graduate students who score unsatisfactorily (below C-) on any component of the comprehensive examination will be required to take a final oral examination on the unsatisfactory section. Final oral examinations will not be required of students who score a pass or above on all areas of the written comprehensive examination.

A graduate student is eligible to complete final evaluations only after all coursework has been completed or the student is in the final term of enrollment. Per policy, they can also participate in comprehensive exams spring term if they have two or fewer courses to finish during the subsequent summer term. All incomplete grades must be changed to a letter grade before a student will be allowed to take his or her comprehensive examination. An exception is made if the outstanding incomplete grade is for a current student teaching grade, exit project or special individual study course. Examinations are offered every term except summer.

Graduate Grading System (G-7)

The following grading scale is employed at the graduate level:

Normal graduate performance:
Below graduate standards:
Unsatisfactory performance:

The following marks are also used. These grades are disregarded in the computation of grade-point averages.

P Satisfactory completion (B- or better, special conditions apply)
NC No Credit, unsatisfactory
I Incomplete (see Incomplete Grades (W-2c)  and Special Regulations Concerning Incomplete Grades (G-11))
RP Regular Progress (see Regular Progress Grades (W-2d)  )
W Withdrawn
X No grade received/no basis for grade (see X Grades (W-2e)  )

Graduate Level Courses (G-8)

All graduate courses will be designed to help students achieve well-defined objectives or student learning outcomes. Student learning outcomes encompass the range of student attributes and abilities that students should be able to demonstrate after successful completion of the course.

400/500 courses

Courses bearing dual-listed numbers (400/500) must provide students who are enrolled for 500-level credit with graduate-level learning. Expectations for learning outcomes in the graduate component of dual listed (400/500 level) courses are the same as for stand-alone 500-level courses. A distinction must be made between learning outcomes for students taking the course for undergraduate credit (400 level) and those taking the course for graduate credit (500 level). In most cases this distinction should include emphasis on developing skills in analysis, synthesis, and/or evaluation for the 500-level credit. The differences in student learning outcomes should be accompanied by appropriate differences in learning opportunities and evaluation procedures.

500-level courses

These courses are graduate courses in support of graduate certificate/endorsement/specialization or master’s degree programs.

Undergraduates of exceptional scholastic achievements may, outside of an Accelerated Undergraduate to Master’s Pathway (AUMP), program be admitted to these courses on the approval of the instructor and they may, if admitted, under some conditions, use a limited number of these courses toward a graduate certificate/endorsement/specialization or a master’s degree program. These courses have one or more of the following characteristics:

  • They require upper division prerequisites in the discipline.
  • They require an extensive theoretical base in the discipline.
  • They increase or re-examine the existing knowledge or database of the discipline.
  • They present core components or important peripheral components of the discipline at an advanced level.

Accelerated Undergraduate to Masters Pathway (AUMP)


To allow qualified WOU undergraduates that wish to pursue a graduate program at WOU immediately after completing their undergraduate degree to utilize up to 15 credits of graduate courses towards their undergraduate and graduate degree.

Use towards the undergraduate degree will vary by program

Criteria for acceptance and continuation in the AUMP:

  • Fully admitted undergraduates of senior standing
  • Cumulative WOU GPA of 3.2 or above
  • Pursuing an undergraduate major identified as participating in an approved AUMP
  • Meets any requirements set by the graduate program that is in excess of the above-stated minimum requirements


  • Authorizes enrollment in 500 level courses only
  • Maximum of 15 credits can be accrued through AUMP
  • Minimum grade of B (3.0) or better is required for a course to apply in the graduate level program
  • Courses graded on a Pass/No Credit or Satisfactory/No Credit basis are not eligible for use in AUMP programs.
  • Graduate courses taken at WOU prior to acceptance into a graduate program are considered transfer courses under academic regulation G-18.


Undergraduates accepted into AUMP will pay at the undergraduate rate for the approved 500 level AUMP courses they take while still an undergraduate.

Upon full admission as a graduate student applicable graduate tuition rates apply.

600-level courses

These are graduate courses available for use by graduate students, for graduate certificate/endorsement/specialization or master’s degree programs. In addition to exhibiting the characteristics of 500-level courses, these courses typically have increased level of sophistication on developing skills in analysis, synthesis, and/or evaluation.

At least 50 percent of coursework in a graduate degree program must be 600 level.

Graduate Student Expectations (G-9)

Although grades of C+, C and C- are below the graduate standard, up to eight hours may be counted as credit toward a master’s degree if the course(s) was/were taken through Western Oregon University. Grades below a B- cannot be transferred into a WOU graduate program from another accredited university or college. A maximum of 15 credits of non-admit graduate coursework can be applied to an endorsement or degree program.

The graduate student must always maintain a B (3.00 GPA) average on the courses fulfilling the degree requirements (courses listed on the student’s graduate program plan of study). A department/program can establish more rigorous policies concerning the use of C grades in a degree program and/or overall minimum GPA requirements. Grades of D or F indicate unacceptable work and carry no graduate credit. A graduate student whose overall GPA falls below 3.00 or receives a grade of D or F must submit a petition with a plan of remediation to the Graduate Studies Committee. The petition and plan of remediation must be approved by the student’s adviser or program coordinator.

A grade of P/NC can be used by only a limited number of degree programs that have received special authorization and that can be counted as credit toward a graduate degree.

Graduation and Commencement (G-10)

A graduate student graduates from WOU when the Office of the Registrar determines that all university requirements have been met. Graduation occurs at the close of any academic term. Upon graduation, a student’s academic record is closed.

Commencement exercises at WOU take place once a year in June. Graduate students who are within one to two courses of completing degree requirements at Western Oregon University may participate in the Commencement ceremony if they have a plan on file in the Graduate Office indicating that those courses will be completed during the subsequent summer term and have approval of their adviser. Students must also have completed comprehensive exams

Limitations on Special Arrangement “0” Courses (G-11)

A maximum of 15 credit hours of workshops, special arrangement and practicum courses may be applied to a master’s degree program. These courses must be pre-approved by the appropriate adviser. Fifteen credit hours of 506, 606, 507, 607, 508, 608, 509 and 609 courses may be included in a program. Additionally, there is a limit of nine credit hours of any one number.

Non-Admit Policy (G-12)

Students who are working toward a planned program of graduate study, on or off campus, must file for admission as outlined above if they expect to complete licensure requirements or become candidates for a degree. Effective Fall 2014, allows a maximum number of 15 credits of non-admit graduate coursework to be applied to an endorsement, certificate, specialization, and/or degree program.

Petition Process (G-13)

Students that receive more than 8 total credits of C’s, more than 9 credits of incompletes, a GPA lower than 3.0 or a D/F grade will be removed from their program and required to petition for re-enrollment. This process is conducted at the end of each term and students will be notified immediately of their academic standing via email to their student account. Students are required to submit a petition via the General Graduate Student Petition form to the Graduate Office by the deadline given. Students that fail to meet the deadline can petition afterwards for reinstatement in the following term pending approval by the committee which is composed of three members of the graduate studies committee.

Re-enrollment (G-14)

Students who have not enrolled in courses for more than three terms will have their student status inactivated. They will be required to submit a re-enrollment application along with adviser approval and a $15 fee in order to enroll in courses or have their degree, endorsement, specialization or certificate recorded with the Graduate Office.

Residency Credit Requirement (G-15)

All graduate programs will include at least 30 graduate credits from WOU.

Special Regulations Concerning Incomplete Grades (G-16)

See university regulation Incomplete Grades (W-2c)  

  • The instructor of a course has the final decision regarding the appropriateness and willingness to award a grade of incomplete.
  • A graduate student with more than nine (9) hours of uncleared incomplete coursework (except for student teaching, internship, thesis, field study and/or professional project) will have a hold placed on registration until a petition has been submitted to the dean of graduate studies and research and a remediation plan approved.
  • A student requesting a grade of incomplete and the course instructor issuing a grade of incomplete must both sign a contract that specifies:
  1. The course assignments still needing to be submitted to remove the incomplete grade.
  2. A timeline for completion of course requirements:
    • A student who has a grade of incomplete in a course that is a prerequisite for a subsequent course may not enroll in the subsequent course until the grade of incomplete is removed or must receive the permission of the instructor to be allowed to enroll into the subsequent course.
    • Any graduate program can decide to not allow a student to register for their final professional field experience (student teaching, internship, etc.) on the basis that incomplete grades have not been cleared before the beginning of the final professional field experience.
    • The Graduate Office will not allow students to sit for their final comprehensive examination until past incomplete grades have been cleared.

Time Limit to Complete Masters (G-17)

Coursework and requirements for a master’s degree program must be completed within a period of five years. This includes all residence credit, all applicable transfer credit and required final evaluation. The five-year limit also applies to a thesis, field study, professional project or portfolio.

Students may petition the dean of graduate studies and research for a one-time, two-year extension for a maximum of seven years to complete their master’s degree. Students can obtain the General Graduate Student Petition via the graduate website.

Transfer Credits (G-18)

Any transfer credit used in a master’s degree program must be documented with an official sealed transcript from an accredited university. All transfer coursework must be approved by the student’s adviser and should be submitted and approved early in the student’s program to the Office of Graduate Programs. Students must use the change of program request: course substitution form. This form must be approved by the dean of graduate studies and research.

Only graduate-level coursework acceptable to the granting institution for master’s degree programs with grades of A or B can be transferred. The maximum transfer credit accepted toward a master’s degree program is 15.

Credits from non-accredited colleges and universities cannot be used in a master’s program.

A maximum of 15 credits of non-admit graduate coursework can be applied to an endorsement or degree program with adviser approval.

Withdrawals (G-19)

See university regulation, Withdrawal (W-7)  

Withdrawals from a course must be initiated by the graduate student. It is the student’s responsibility to withdraw properly by the deadlines as established by the Office of the Registrar.

There are two types of withdrawal:

Withdrawal from a course:

  • The student must complete an add-drop form, obtain the necessary signatures and return the form to the Office of the Registrar before the end of the seventh week of the term. The student may withdraw from any course without responsibility for a grade and no entry will be made on the student’s permanent scholastic record.
  • After the seventh week of the term, students can no longer withdraw from a class. A medical emergency or other catastrophic event are the only exceptions permitting withdrawal after the seventh week.

Withdrawal from the university:

  • The student must complete an application for withdrawal from the university, obtain the necessary signatures and return the form to the Office of the Registrar before the end of the sixth week of the term.
  • In situations of emergency (accident, prolonged illness, etc.), a student may be permitted by the Registrar to withdraw without penalty from the university at any time. Written verification may be required.