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The following are the general regulations governing master’s degrees. Additional requirements established by specific departments and programs may be found in this catalog under the special headings of these units. Before a decision to enter into a particular graduate degree program is made, the student is urged to communicate directly with the department to determine the most current program requirements. The student is responsible for seeking academic advising in the department or program of the specialization chosen. The department can assist in many of the details necessary to completing program requirements, especially early in the student’s program.
Please note that each graduate department is headed by a chair who is responsible for working with graduate students in developing individual courses of study, establishing graduate committees, and in advising graduate students. Some graduate departments also have a graduate coordinator. In such cases, graduate students are expected to work with this person as the program’s chief officer for graduate affairs. In all matters relating to university regulations, the dean of Graduate Studies and Research is the final arbiter, though he or she consults with departmental officers in carrying out these duties.
Graduate-level credit is given for all courses at CWU numbered at the 500 level and above. However, courses which are specifically numbered “500” are reserved for professional development courses and cannot be counted toward a master’s degree.
Graduate courses numbered 501 and above are typically restricted to students who have earned a bachelor’s degree and who have formally been admitted to a graduate program of the university. Some courses may also require competitive admission to a specific departmental graduate program.
Courses at the 100, 200, and 300 level are not applicable to a master’s degree at CWU. Courses at the 400 level may be accepted for credit toward a graduate degree at CWU provided that they are taken after the student has been admitted to the master’s degree program and are approved as part of the student’s official course of study. In such cases, graduate students are expected to perform at a high level, while completing requirements additional to those expected of undergraduates enrolled in the course.
Transferring Credit To CWU Graduate Degree Programs
Courses taken prior to formal admission to a CWU master’s degree program may be considered for transfer to a CWU master’s degree program provided that the criteria below are met.
A total of 15 graduate quarter credits may be applied to a CWU master’s degree, of which no more than 9 quarter credits (6 semester credits) may be from accredited institutions offering graduate degrees other than CWU.
Credits accepted in transfer are those that are part of an accredited institution’s regular graduate degree programs. In cases where courses sought for transfer generate both undergraduate and graduate credit, students receiving transfer credit are expected to have elected the course(s) at the graduate level and thus have completed more qualitatively and quantitatively than those who have taken the course(s) for undergraduate credit. Credit sought for transfer must be graded “B” or better and must have been completed no more than six years before the date of the student’s master’s degree program completion.
All credits intended for transfer must be recommended for approval by the departmental/program chair or graduate coordinator as a part of the official course of study filed with the Office of Graduate Studies and Research. Before transfer credit can be considered part of a graduate student’s program, an official transcript from the registrar of the institution from which the credit is to be transferred must be received by the graduate office.
Credits used to fulfill requirements for another degree, either at CWU or elsewhere, will not be transferred. Credit for short courses, attendance at conferences, brokered courses, workshops, and pass-fail courses are normally not accepted in transfer. Credit from any non-accredited institution or accredited institution not approved for graduate study will not be accepted for transfer. Credit obtained within the state of Washington from an accredited institution whose main campus is outside of the state will be considered for transfer only by special petition to the dean of Graduate Studies and Research. The university reserves the right to determine the acceptability of transfer credit from any institution.
Course Challenge (Credit by Examination)
Under certain circumstances, the university may award credit or waive requirements based on course challenges or prior learning experience. Graduate students who have been admitted to a graduate program must obtain permission from the Dean of Graduate Studies and Research, their advisor, and the course instructor to challenge a course.
Graduate students may take advantage of the credit/no credit option as a way to explore academic areas in which they are interested. Credit/no credit courses will not be counted toward master’s degrees nor will they be computed in the graduate grade point average. Students are allowed to select one class per quarter for a credit/-no-credit grade. A student electing this option must designate a class as credit/no credit during registration or during change of schedule period. The credit/no credit option is distinct from courses graded on a satisfactory/unsatisfactory (S or U) basis (see S or U grading).
Credits from Extension, Workshops and Correspondence Activity
Not more than a combined maximum of 8 credits of workshop courses (591s) may be applied toward a master’s degree. Courses numbered 491 are not applicable to master’s degree credit.
Credits earned in correspondence courses are not applicable to any master’s degree.
Any graduate student in a master’s program whose cumulative grade point average falls below 3.0 at the end of any quarter will be placed on academic probation for the next academic quarter. While on probation, a student may not hold a graduate assistantship. If, after one quarter of probation, the student fails to raise her or his cumulative grade point average to 3.0 or above, the student will be dropped from the university. Students may not receive a master’s degree from Central if their cumulative grade point average is below 3.0.
The cumulative grade point average is calculated using all courses taken after admission into a graduate program, whether part of the approved course of study or not. Grades for all courses included on the course of study must average at least 3.0 (B). Credit will not be accepted for courses on the course of study in which a grade lower than “C” is earned.
Student Study Load
The normal course load for graduate students not holding a graduate assistantship is 10-16 credits per quarter, 10-14 for those with assistantships. Graduate assistants taking over 14 credits must have approval from the Office of Graduate Studies and Research. For a graduate student not holding an assistantship, a study load of 17-19 credits may be approved by the chair or graduate coordinator of the department of the student’s specialization. Loads above 19 credits are not normally permitted. Exceptions may be made only by the dean of Graduate Studies and Research.
Maximum Time Limit to Degree Completion
No credit earned more than six years before the date of the master’s degree award may be counted as part of the degree credit requirement except as may be approved by formal action by the dean of Graduate Studies and Research. This includes applicable work transferred from other institutions.
Master’s degree students are expected to complete all requirements for the master’s degree within six years from the date of first enrollment. Students seeking to interrupt their studies may do so with the approval of the chair or graduate coordinator of the home department, but must pay a non-refundable fee for registration as an on-leave student. This fee covers four successive academic quarters beginning with fall quarter. While on leave, graduate students retain library privileges. If a degree program is not completed during the six year period from the quarter for which a student was admitted, the student must reapply to the university. If readmitted, only those credits graded B or better and completed no more than six years from the date of the student’s program completion may be counted toward the degree.
All master’s degree students, including students in attendance only during summer quarter, must satisfy the continuous registration requirement each fall quarter or summer to maintain active status. Students whose master’s program runs throughout the academic year will be assessed this fee every fall quarter. Students whose program meets primarily in the summer months will be assessed the on-leave fee at the beginning of summer quarter. A master’s degree student may register as a full-time, part-time, or as an on-leave student to satisfy the requirement. Students desiring on-leave status are required to pay a $40 fee each fall quarter. Failure to maintain continuous registration will be taken by the university to signify the student’s resignation from the program. Students who resign and later wish to resume study toward a degree must reapply for admission and complete all steps outlined for master’s admission. Readmission cannot be guaranteed.
Every master’s degree candidate must have a graduate committee of at least three members. Interdisciplinary membership is strongly recommended. In some departments, a student may choose her/his committee in consultation with an advisor; in others, the chair or graduate coordinator assigns graduate committees. In either case, the graduate student is expected to work with the department chair or graduate coordinator in forming her/his committee. The student must submit a Graduate Committee and Option Approval Form to the graduate office. If approved, the committee becomes the student’s official advisory committee. The thesis or non-thesis project advisor is the student’s graduate committee chair and generally is a faculty member in the department of specialization.
Only a regular member of the graduate faculty may serve as chair of a graduate committee. Adjunct faculty may serve as committee members with the approval of the dean of Graduate Studies and Research.
Under unusual circumstances, and with the written recommendation of a graduate student’s home department or program and the approval of the dean of Graduate Studies and Research, an associate member of the graduate faculty may serve as co-chair of a student’s graduate committee. The associate member will serve as co-chair along with a regular member of the graduate faculty. The minimum number of members needed for a graduate committee will remain at three.
The Graduate Faculty
At CWU, graduate professors are teachers and mentors, as well as active researchers and artists. They blend instructional and research activities and in so doing afford our graduate students the benefit of state-of-the-art research and creative experience with personalized instruction.
Course of Study
All candidates must complete at least 45 credits (some programs require more credits) as outlined in an official course of study, endorsed by the department chair or graduate coordinator and the committee chair and filed with and approved by the Office of Graduate Studies and Research. The credit on the course of study must be separate and distinct from credit applied toward any other degree. Course of study forms are available in the graduate office, Barge Hall, room 305.
The course of study should be filed before a graduate student has completed 25 quarter credits leading to the master’s degree; however, it may be required prior to that for financial aid purposes. No more than 15 quarter credits completed at CWU before the quarter of formal admission will be accepted on the official course of study for the master’s degree, although the department and the graduate office reserve the right to limit the use of such credit, or not count it at all. Graduate students are urged to discuss the counting of such credit as soon after being admitted as possible. An approved course of study must be on file with the graduate office before the graduate committee and an Option Approval form will be considered for approval.
The official course of study reflects the credit required to meet requirements for the master’s degree. Unless revisions are approved by the department chair or graduate coordinator and the dean of Graduate Studies and Research, the student must complete satisfactorily or be currently enrolled for all credit specified before advancement to candidacy or before the degree award will be processed. Each graduate student, as part of degree requirements must complete a thesis, project and/or comprehensive examination (see below for information about culminating projects).
The student’s graduate advisor or committee chair, in consultation with the department chair and/or graduate coordinator, works with the student in designing a program of study. Once agreed upon, the student prepares an official course of study form obtained from the graduate office, which is then endorsed by the department chair or graduate coordinator, along with the student’s committee chair. Upon receipt in the graduate office, each course of study is reviewed to ensure that it meets the minimum requirements of the institution.
Individual Studies Programs
Individual studies degree programs are intended to allow highly motivated students to pursue an interdisciplinary course of study combining coursework from more than one discipline, where no such formal master’s degree program is in place. Individual studies program proposals must show academic rigor, be programmatically coherent, and intellectually sound. Final approval of such programs resides with the dean of Graduate Studies and Research.
Prospective applicants seeking to pursue an individual studies degree must contact the dean of Graduate Studies and Research to discuss the feasibilities of the desired program.
A graduate student must complete at least 45 quarter credits (some programs require more credits) in the 400, 500, and above credit level groups. At least 25 credits of the total required for the degree must be numbered 501 or above.
Some departments restrict the number of credits below the 500 level. Please consult the departmental listings in this catalog for specific additional credit level requirements.
At least 30 credits appearing on the course of study for the master’s degree must be on a graded scale (not S or U). Credit/no credit courses will not be counted toward a master’s degree at CWU.
All students pursuing the master’s degree must demonstrate their ability to communicate effectively in writing by satisfactorily completing one or more of the following: (a) a thesis; (b) a written report of a field study, internship, or creative project; and/or (c) a comprehensive written examination. In programs allowing the option, the student’s graduate committee in the area of specialization will decide with the student whether to carry out (a), (b), and/or (c) above. A prospectus of the thesis, field study, internship, or creative project must be approved by the student’s committee before work begins. The report on the thesis, field study, internship, or creative project must conform to standards described in thesis regulations which are available in the Office of Graduate Studies and Research.
A thesis is a written study prepared by the student that demonstrates her or his ability to conduct original, independent research. The thesis topic must be approved in its preliminary stages by the student’s graduate committee, the chair of the department of specialization or graduate coordinator, and the dean of Graduate Studies and Research. A form for certifying thesis completion is available in the Office of Graduate Studies and Research.
The thesis must be prepared according to standards of format, style, typeface, and paper quality, as outlined in thesis regulations available at the Office of Graduate Studies and Research. The graduate student is expected to work closely with the thesis advisor and thesis committee in the conception, design, and execution of the thesis. Working with the thesis committee chair, a graduate student will submit copies of the thesis to the committee at least two full weeks in advance of the final examination. Draft copy must be provided with sufficient lead-time to allow faculty to review and critique it. It is very important that the student maintain close contact with committee members during thesis preparation. At the appointed time, the student will defend her or his work before the committee. The thesis defense grade will be assigned as either satisfactory or unsatisfactory. Jointly written theses are not permitted.
Approval of a thesis is a two-stage process. First, if successfully defended, it must receive the written approval of all committee members. Second, it must be reviewed and approved by the graduate office. If approved by the thesis committee, a thesis approval page and the thesis grade report should be signed by all members of the committee after required corrections, if any, are made. Once the graduate student has prepared the thesis in the format required by the graduate office, and has double checked to ensure that all style and format rules have been observed, he or she should submit the thesis for review to the office.
The thesis must include an abstract (150 words or less) described in thesis regulations available in the Office of Graduate Studies and Research. The original and two copies of the completed approved thesis, with pages in proper order, must be submitted to the graduate office and accepted for binding before the student will be cleared for graduation.
The graduate office and the student share in the cost of binding the thesis. Each student pays a binding fee that helps defray the cost of binding the original and two copies of the thesis. Thesis binding fees are $75 for three copies. Two copies are deposited in the library and one copy is given to the student. Students not wishing to retain a copy for themselves should submit the original copy plus one other in accordance with the above instructions. He or she will be assessed $50 in binding fees.
Graduate students whose research involves human subjects or vertebrate animals may not commence research without first obtaining clearance to do so from the appropriate institutional review board. (See Institutional Review Board or Animal Care and Use Committee below.)
Institutional Review Board Approval
Central is concerned that no research conducted at this institution by its faculty or its students expose people who participate as subjects to unreasonable risk to their health, general well-being, or privacy. Therefore, all CWU-affiliated research, including student research projects which involve human subjects, must be reviewed by the university’s Human Subjects Review Committee (HSRC), CWU’s institutional review board for the protection of human subjects. Students apply for HSRC review by filling out an application form, which can be obtained online at www.cwu.edu/~hsrc or from the HSRC office. Early contact with the human protections administrator is recommended. No research can be initiated prior to formal approval.
Animal Care and Use Committee
Graduate students whose research involves vertebrate animal subjects may not commence research without first obtaining clearance from the Animal Care and Use Committee. Forms for applying for review may be obtained in the Office of Graduate Studies and Research or online at www.cwu.edu/~masters.
Several departments allow a student to complete a project rather than a thesis. This is done in instances where the faculty and student determine that a special project, rather than a master’s thesis, will strengthen the student’s learning experience. Typically, projects are completed in professional programs.
Some departments allow a student to complete a written exam rather than a thesis or project. Please see individual program information.
Completing Degree Requirements
Final Folder Evaluation
All graduate students must contact the Office of Graduate Studies and Research for a final review of their file no later than the first week of their anticipated final quarter as soon as they have registered. At this evaluation, candidacy requirements, grade point average, course of study completion, and examination scheduling will be processed. Advancement to candidacy and final examination scheduling will not be permitted except during the final quarter.
After the student has registered and been cleared to proceed toward completion through a folder check by the graduate office, he or she must pass oral and/or written examinations covering courses, seminars and thesis, or such other examination as necessary to complete degree requirements. A permission form authorizing the final examination will be issued by the graduate office after a final evaluation of the student’s course of study has been completed and once the student has met the final quarter enrollment requirements.
At least two weeks prior to the final examination, four (4) copies of a “brief” must be submitted to the Office of Graduate Studies and Research. A sample brief is included in the thesis/non-thesis guidelines available at the graduate office or online at the graduate studies webpage, www.cwu.edu/~masters. Copies will be distributed to the student’s graduate faculty committee prior to the examination. One copy will remain in the student’s file.
For the final examination, an outside representative of the graduate faculty will routinely be assigned by the Office of Graduate Studies and Research.
Final Quarter Enrollment Requirement
A student admitted to a master’s degree program must be registered for a minimum of two (2) credits at the university during the quarter the master’s degree is conferred. Enrollment for this purpose should be completed during the usual early registration or regular registration periods to ensure degree conferral if requirements are met.
The permit for scheduling the final examination, approved by the committee, must be filed in the Office of Graduate Studies and Research at least three weeks in advance of the examination. The final examination must be scheduled between the hours of 7 a.m. and 6 p.m., Monday through Friday, when the university is in session (not between quarters). Final examinations are conducted by the candidate’s committee and are open to the faculty. The committee alone shall decide upon the merit of the candidate’s performance. Final assessment of the examination will be reported on a satisfactory/unsatisfactory basis. The candidate shall pass the examination if two-thirds of the official graduate faculty committee members so indicate. In the event of an unsatisfactory final examination, a second examination may be scheduled upon the endorsement of the major department chair and with the approval of the dean of Graduate Studies and Research for the subsequent quarter with at least two months intervening.
All degree requirements must be completed within the same or next quarter from the exam date. Failure to complete remaining requirements by the end of the next quarter will result in requiring the final examination to be retaken.
A student whose name has been placed on the degree list for a particular quarter but who does not complete the requirements for degree conferral by the published deadline (two weeks before the last day of finals) and who does complete all the requirements by the last day of that quarter, will receive the degree the following quarter without further registration.
Advancement to Candidacy
A student becomes eligible for advancement to candidacy for a master’s degree upon fulfillment of the following requirements:
- Completion of the course requirements as set forth in the course of study;
- Completion of the thesis, project or exam where appropriate;
- Attainment of a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 (B) or better for all courses taken since admission to the graduate program and all work included in the course of study;
- Completion of additional departmental requirements, e.g., proficiency in a foreign language;
- Fulfillment of the statute of time limitation (six years) requirement; and
- Passing of an oral and/or written examination covering courses, seminars, and thesis, or other examinations deemed necessary by the major department.
Application for a master’s degree must be submitted to the Office of Graduate Studies and Research by the stated quarterly deadline. (The application is generated by the graduate office.) The application will not be completed without payment of binding and degree fees. The fee for the master’s degree is $14 plus a $1 student benefit fee. The application is for a specific quarter of degree conferral. If requirements are not met, the student must reapply and pay the fees for degree conferral in a subsequent quarter.
Candidates for the master’s degree are encouraged to participate in the commencement exercises following the completion of degree requirements. See the academic calendar in the front of this catalog for deadline dates to arrange for regalia.
Second Master’s Degrees
Students seeking a second master’s degree must be admitted to the second program in accordance with admission regulations and must complete an approved course of study (of at least 45 credits) distinct from the courses offered for the first master’s degree.
Graduate Certificate Programs
In addition to the degree programs outlined above, the following graduate certificate programs are offered at the university.
Renewal of Residency Certificate
Fifth Year of Study for Continuing or Professional Certificate
Continuing Principal’s Certificate
Residency Program Administrator
Continuing Program Administrator
Educational Staff Associate Certificate:
Application forms and further information can be obtained from the office of the associate dean of the College of Education and Professional Studies located in Black Hall, room 228. The Certification Office is open daily, Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. General inquiries and information regarding the fifth-year program and teacher certification should be addressed to the certification director. The telephone number is 509-963-2661.
Renewal of the Residency Teaching Certificate
The residency teaching certificate is valid for five years from the date of issuance and may be renewed once for a two-year period when the following requirements are met:
- The individual completes a residency certificate renewal application, which may be secured from the office of the associate dean of the College of Education and Professional Studies.
- The individual has completed all coursework requirements for the continuing certificate or has completed at least 15 quarter hours of coursework since last certificate was issued.
Candidates for the continuing certificate must meet the following requirements:
- Have a valid residency teaching certificate
- Verify at least one year of full time teaching experience
- Complete 45 credits of upper-division (300 level or higher) coursework, including courses in abuse, staff development and supervision, research and evaluation, and referral agencies.
To maintain the continuing certificate, each person must complete 150 clock hours of approved in-service education and/or 15 college or university credits every five years.
In addition to meeting requirements for the residency teaching certificate, candidates for the professional certificate must meet the following:
- Completion of provisional status employment in a public or an approved private school defined as two years contracted teaching in the same district
- Completion of an approved performance-based college/university professional certificate program. Please contact the office of the associate dean, College of Education and Professional Studies for application and information
- Completion of coursework in issues of abuse.
To maintain the professional teaching certificate, an individual must complete 150 clock hours of in-service training every five years. Some of the clock hours must relate to one of the six state salary criteria and some must relate to one of the three standards for the professional teaching certificate.
CWU’s Endorsement-only Program is available to certified teachers who hold the Washington State residency, or continuing teaching certificate and who wish to add a teaching endorsement to their certificate. Teachers interested in obtaining an endorsement from CWU should submit an application (available online at www.cwu.edu/~cert) and official transcripts. A credit evaluation of the applicant’s records will be completed by the Certification Office, routed to the endorsing department for approval, and then forwarded to the applicant.
School Administration Certificates
Central has been authorized by the State Board of Education to recommend issuance of residency and continuing principal’s certificates valid for service as vice principal, assistant principal, or principal of elementary, middle, junior high, and/or high schools. The university is also authorized to recommend issuance of the program administrator certificate as director of instructional leadership or special education. These programs of preparation include formal study and internship experiences. (See Master of Education, Administration, Special Education, or Instructional Leadership.)
Requirements for the residency certificate include:
- Possession of a valid teacher or educational staff associate (whichever is appropriate) certificate
- Completion of the master’s degree
- If the master’s degree is already earned from an accredited institution, please check with the school administration program director regarding program requirements
- Three years of successful, contracted teaching experience in a state-approved K-12 setting is required
- One academic year as an administrative intern at the level for which certification is being sought.
Requirements for the continuing certificate include:
- Three years of full-time experience as a practicing administrator (for continuing principal certificate, experience must be as principal, vice principal or assistant principal)
- Completed of all requirements for residency certificate.
Persons seeking further information are invited to correspond with the school administration program director in the education department.
Preparation for special certificates, authorized by the State Board of Education, is available at Central. Programs leading to the educational staff associate certificate are available in school counseling and school psychology.
Programs leading to certification in specific vocational areas are available in business education, marketing education, diversified occupation, family and consumer sciences, and trade and industrial (including health occupations and technical education.) For information regarding these programs, please contact the specific departments.
Applications for the school counselor or school psychologist ESA certificate can be obtained from the psychology department and are processed through the office of the associate dean of the College of Education and Professional Studies.
Those interested in other special certificates should contact the Washington State Director of Certification, Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, Old Capital Building, P.O. Box 47200, Olympia, WA 98504-7200.
Master’s Degree and Certification
Please note that a graduate student enrolled in a master’s degree program does not necessarily satisfy all certification requirements by completing the master’s degree. Students pursuing master’s degrees in combination with certificate programs should maintain contact with the department of their specialization and with the office of the director of certification to ensure that all requirements are met.