Jul 22, 2024  
2020-2021 Graduate Catalog 
2020-2021 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Academic and General Regulations/Guidelines

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Currently enrolled students may register for courses by using MyCWU, the web registration system.

Registration for new or readmitted students can register during the open enrollment period.  Students may change their schedule during the designated change of schedule period. Students are encouraged to use the MyCWU web registration system to complete all registration transactions.

Registration, in-person, by telephone, or web, obligates students for payment of all tuition and fees. If tuition is not paid by the due date, students will be liable for late fees and for any other reasonable collection costs and charges.

Consult the university calendar or contact the SGSR to determine exact dates for early registration, open enrollment, tuition deadlines, and the change-of-schedule period.

Academic Credit


CWU operates on a quarter system and grants quarter credit. Some institutions within the state of Washington operate on a semester basis (i.e., divide the academic year into two parts, exclusive of summer) and give semester credits. Quarter credits can be multiplied by two-thirds to determine equivalent semester credits. Semester credits can be multiplied by one-and-one-half to determine equivalent quarter credits.

Student Study Load


The normal course load for graduate students not holding a graduate assistantship is 10-16 credits per quarter, and 10-14 for those with assistantships. Graduate assistants taking over 14 credits must have approval from the SGSR dean. 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 SGSR dean.


The number of credits for which a student is fully registered determines full-time and part-time status. Note that a GPA of 2.8 or higher is recommended for students seeking an overload.

Undergraduate or Post-Baccalaureate
Credits Status
6-8 Half time
9-11 Three-quarter time
12 or more Full time
15 Standard load (this is the maximum credits a student can take while on academic suspension)
19-20 Overload (approval needed from major advisor and major department chair, or in the case of undeclared majors. Academic Advising) Additional tuition and fees may apply.
21 or more

Overload (approval needed from major advisor and major department chair as well as the appropriate school dean, or in the case of undeclared majors, the associate provost)



Credits Status
5-6 Half time
7-9 Three-quarter time
10 or more Full time
15 Standard load
17-19 Overload (approval needed from major department chair or dean)
20 or more Overload (approval needed from college or graduate dean)

Seniors in Graduate Courses


Seniors may enroll in graduate courses with the permission of the instructor and the department chair. Credit earned by seniors may meet either undergraduate or graduate program requirements, but not both. If the credit earned by a senior is to be applied to a graduate program, approval must be obtained from the dean of graduate studies and research.

Auditing a Course


Students eligible to enroll in a course for credit may enroll as an auditor provided space is available and permission is secured from the instructor prior to registration. To receive credit for an audited class, students must enroll for credit in and repeat the same course in a subsequent quarter. Students are assessed full tuition for audited courses. Instructors may not compel auditors to write papers or take examinations, but may insist upon other course requirements. Instructors may request that the college dean withdraw the auditor from the course if these requirements are not met. Students receive neither credit nor grades for audited courses. Course participation requirements are set by the faculty member responsible for the course.

Concurrent Enrollment


Credit for work taken while simultaneously enrolled at CWU and other educational institutions may be transferred to Central. Any student who has obtained an F-1 visa from CWU must obtain permission from the executive director of the Office of International Studies and Programs (or designee) prior to enrolling in any other institution.

University Catalog


The Official Electronic Catalog (OEC) is the university’s compilation for all curriculum. Graduate catalogs are valid for five years, and may be found at www.cwu.edu.

Graduate students admitted to the master’s degree program may use the catalog they are admitted under or the current one depending on the specific program’s and the SGSR’s approval of the student’s Option Approval Form.

Leave of Absence


Graduate students need to contact the Graduate Studies office at 509-963-3101 for leave of absence information.

Withdrawal from a Course


Peremptory (uncontested) withdrawals will not be permitted after the first six weeks of instruction. Students who withdraw after the change of schedule period from 25 percent or more of the coursework for which they have registered for two or more quarters each academic year are subject to dismissal. Students who have been dismissed under this policy may not enroll for courses without submitting an approved plan of study signed by an academic advisor to the Office of the Provost/Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs. To continue enrollment, the student must satisfactorily complete all credits enrolled during the first quarter of readmission. Students who do not meet this requirement will not be allowed to register for one calendar year.

Peremptory withdrawals will be noted on the student’s transcript with “+W.” Class rosters will reflect the +W for students who have used their peremptory withdrawal.

Withdrawals after the sixth week of instruction will be granted only for reasons of hardship and then only upon written petition to and written approval by the registrar. The student must contact the course instructor and obtain the faculty member’s signature on the hardship withdrawal petition. The signature serves merely to acknowledge the petition and implies neither support nor rejection of the request. The registrar may consult with affected faculty when evaluating a petition and will notify the instructor if the hardship withdrawal has been approved. Hardship withdrawals will be noted on the student’s transcript with an “HW” (hardship withdrawal). Hardship withdrawals from individual courses will not be permitted during or after the final examination period.

Conversions of incompletes to withdrawals must be petitioned as if they were hardship withdrawals. They may be changed only upon petition to the registrar. Withdrawals will not be included in calculating grade point averages. There are no tuition refunds in cases of withdrawal from individual courses.


Withdrawal from the University


A student may withdraw from the university for reasons of illness or other extenuating circumstances at any time prior to finals week. An official withdrawal form is available at Registrar Services or university center offices. A student may not withdraw from the university during finals week except with approval of the registrar. A complete withdrawal from the university will be noted on the student’s transcript with a “W.” The registrar will notify affected faculty members when a student has withdrawn from the university. Students who plan to leave the university must complete the official withdrawal form, and may need to have an exit interview. Failure to do so may result in failing grades. There is no refund of tuition and fees if total withdrawal occurs after the 30th calendar day of the beginning of the quarter. See refund policy for specific details.

Military Exigency Withdrawal


Students who have been called into military service of the United States due to a national emergency will be eligible for withdrawal from the university or the granting of credit. The policy does not apply to regular National Guard or Reserve duty or to annual active-duty requirements.

  • Students who must withdraw from the University during the first third of the quarter will be granted a total University withdrawal (W).
  • Students who must withdraw from the university during the second third of the quarter may request either an uncontested withdrawal (+W) or an incomplete (I) in each course with specified deadline for completion to be determined by the dean in consultation with the instructor or a total university withdrawal from all courses (W).
  • Students who must withdraw from the university during the last third of the quarter may request an uncontested withdrawal (+W) or an incomplete (I) or credit if the coursework is satisfactory, to be determined by the dean in consultation with the instructor or a total university withdrawal from all courses (W). If credit is awarded, the instructors must report either a letter grade or a satisfactory (S) for each course depending upon the quality of the student’s work. If credit is received and the course(s) complete(s) all requirements for the baccalaureate degree, the degree will be awarded.
  • Students being called to active duty will be placed on a leave of absence until their return, at which time they will be reactivated, so they will not need to re-apply to the university or pay the application fee. Students should contact Registrar Services when they are ready to return to Central to ensure a smooth transition.
  • In all circumstances, students will be expected to attend classes up to fifteen (15) calendar days prior to induction.
  • Students need to contact Registrar Services or their university center office as soon as possible to complete the appropriate paperwork, and to submit a copy of the Federal Activation Orders.

Grading Policies and Regulations


“Grade Points” are assigned to each grade as follows:

  Letter    Grade

GPA Credit

Transcript Explanation

Definition of letter grade/Policy statement




Meets all objectives of the course and fulfills all requirements; performs at a level that reflects excellence




Meets all objectives of the course and fulfills all requirements; performs at a high level




Meets all objectives of the course and fulfills all requirements; performs at a satisfactory level



Marginal Pass

Makes progress toward meeting the course objectives; fulfills course requirements at a substandard level




Fails to meet the course objectives; does not fulfill course requirements

The following symbols are also used. No “grade points” are assigned.

CR   Credit
NC   No Credit
S   Satisfactory
U   Unsatisfactory
AU   Audit
W   Complete withdrawal from the university
+W   Uncontested withdrawal from a course
HW   Hardship withdrawal from a course
I   Incomplete
IP   In Progress
NR   No grade reported
NS   No show

All grades are frozen upon award of degree.

Financial aid may be affected by certain grades and/or grading symbols. It is incumbent upon students to be aware of the impact of all grades on their financial aid. Financial aid information policies are available from the Financial Aid office.

Incomplete Grade


 The “I” grade is used when the student was not able to complete the course by the end of the term, but has satisfactorily completed a sufficient portion of it and can be expected to finish without having to re-enroll in it. The instructor will designate what a student must do to complete the course and set a specific date up to one calendar year for the completion of the coursework.

If the work is not completed within one (1) calendar year from the last day of the quarter in which the “I” was received, the registrar will automatically convert the “I” to an “F.” However, instructors may require the work to be completed prior to the end of the calendar year. In these cases the registrar will convert the grade according to the date indicated by the instructor. It is the student’s responsibility to contact the professor and make arrangements to complete the course. To earn a grade, a student must complete the work for the course as prescribed by the instructor by the indicated date on the incomplete. Students may not re-register for a course in which they receive a grade of incomplete.

All incomplete changes exceeding the one calendar year limit, including extensions, must be submitted by the instructor to Registrar Services for approval.


In-progress Grade


For graduate students, “IP” is used for thesis, and project study, that normally extend beyond a single term.
All uses of the “IP” grade must be submitted to and approved by the registrar. A letter grade is issued when the appropriate course is completed.

Grade Point Average


Grade point averages will be calculated by dividing grade points earned by the credit hours attempted. In computing cumulative grade point averages, only work attempted at Central will be included in the computation, with the following exception: cumulative grade point average for students in the Teacher Certification Program will include all coursework from all colleges attended.

Credit/No Credit Option


Students are urged to use the credit/no credit option as a way to explore academic areas of interest.

The courses must be selected from free electives; they must not be courses in general education, major or minor concentrations, or the professional education sequence. Students may designate the course as credit/no credit until the end of the change of schedule period. Courses may not be repeated on a credit/no credit option.

Credits earned under the credit/no credit options are not included in computing the grade point average. The grade recorded on the student’s transcript will be “CR” if the course grade is C- or above; if below C-, the entry will be “NC.”

Statute of Limitation on Grade Changes


Grade changes may be filed until the end of the quarter following the one in which they were recorded. Spring quarter grades may be changed until the end of the fall quarter.

Grade Reports


A report of the final grades assigned in courses will be available at https://www.cwu.edu/registrar/request-transcripts on MyCWU at the end of each quarter. Students may request a hard copy at https://www.cwu.edu/registrar/request-transcripts.

Grade Appeal Procedure


Students who believe they have been improperly graded should first attempt to resolve the matter with the instructor. If resolution is not achieved, the student may appeal the grievance to the department chair. Failing resolution at that level, the grievance may be submitted to the college dean. Finally, if the grievance is not resolved at the dean level, the student may petition for a hearing with the board of academic appeals. For details, contact the Office of Student Success in Bouillon Hall, room 204 or by calling 509-963-1515.

Repetition of Courses


Repeat Approval Form

Some CWU courses are approved for repetition with credit awarded each time the course is taken and passed. Such approval is indicated in the course description in the university catalog. Full tuition is assessed for all repeated courses. Other courses may be repeated under the following conditions:

  • Students are allowed to take a course a second time. Students attempting to take the same course a third time may do so only with permission of the course instructor and the department chair. Unless otherwise designated as repeatable, courses may not be taken more than three times without permission of the dean of the college and department chair.
  • Credit will be awarded only once, including credit for transfer courses that are repeated at Central.
  • When a course is repeated, only the last grade earned will be used in the computation of the cumulative and major grade point averages. All grades will remain in the student’s official record.

Any CWU course repeated at another institution is subject to the following requirements:

  • May be transferred in for CWU credit.
  • Will be used in calculating both the CWU and the transfer GPA.

Class Attendance and Participation


Instructors may require regular class attendance. The first day of the quarter is the first day of instruction listed in the university calendar. An instructor may drop a student from the class by notifying the registrar if the student has failed to attend the class by the end of the third day of the quarter or the first class meeting if the class does not meet during the first three days of the quarter. Students enrolled in web courses should make a post on Canvas within the first three days of classes to endure they are not dropped for non-attendance. Students are responsible for checking their schedules by the fifth day of class to ensure their class schedule is correct.

A student who does not meet course prerequisites may be required to drop the course. Instructors are not required to offer makeup work for missed classes, including those missed during the change of class schedule period, regardless of student course enrollment status.

Sponsors of university-approved activities requiring absence from campus will prepare and sign an official list of the names of those students who plan to be absent. It is each student’s responsibility to present a copy of the official list to the appropriate instructors and make arrangements prior to the absence(s). Instructors are encouraged to make accommodations.

Members of the university community directing or arranging such activities must adhere to the following guidelines:

  1. Scheduling of such activities shall not overlap with official final examination periods.
  2. Scheduling of such activities shall not require an absence of more than three (3) consecutive class days.
  3. Scheduling of such activities shall be announced to the students’ far enough in advance for them to plan to fulfill course requirements.
  4. Seeking permission for an exception lies with the sponsor and not with the student(s).

Course Challenge (Credit by Examination)


Under certain circumstances, the university may award credit or waive requirements based on course challenges or prior learning experience. Matriculated students enrolled on a full-time basis may challenge any course which appears on the current course challenge list. 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 it. The following rules apply:


A course challenge application form, available in Registrar Services, must be completed.

A fee of $15 per credit, with a minimum of $30 per course, must be paid.

The challenge is conducted according to procedures established by the appropriate department.

The result of the course challenge is recorded as “S” or “U” on the transcript and is not used in computing GPA.

The application to challenge a course will be denied if credit for the course has been received previously at this or another college, the course was previously failed, the student previously withdrew from the course, the course was previously unsatisfactorily challenged, audited or if registration was canceled.

Credit by examination will not be allowed toward meeting the residence study requirements by the university (see Graduation Requirements section).

Please refer to the Undergraduate Catalog for the Course Challenge List

Course Substitutions


Students may petition the appropriate department chair and graduate program head if they wish to substitute courses within degree requirements. The course used for substitution must be similar in content to the required course. The substituted course(s) credits may not reduce the total required credits.

Academic Appeal


The student should be aware that procedures have been established to hear complaints regarding academic matters. The board of academic appeals exists to guarantee due process for academic grievances involving students, faculty, staff, and administrators. The academic appeals policy is established by the faculty senate and is administered by the dean of student success.

English Proficiency


Unless otherwise stated, all courses at CWU are taught in English.

Once accepted into the SGSR, international students may be evaluated by the ESL staff to determine whether additional English-as-a-Second-Language coursework will be required during attendance at CWU.