The university provides quality graduate programs in selected fields, taught by a faculty committed to excellence in teaching and research. A hallmark of this university is to offer our graduate students:
- Small classes
- Opportunities to work closely with professors
- An excellent learning environment
- Low tuition
- Hands-on research experience
- An attractive setting in a friendly community
Administration and Organization
The School of Graduate Studies and Research (SGSR) welcomes visits and inquiries from graduate students and prospective graduate students. Our staff is here to assist the academic community, both in the area of graduate studies as well as in the sphere of grants and sponsored research.
Gail Mackin, PhD
Interim Associate Dean
Rodrigo Renteria-Valencia, PhD
Director of Research and
Christy Gilchrist, PhD
Program Support Supervisor
Fiscal Specialist / Graduate Assistantship Coordinator
Grant and Contract Specialist, Research and Sponsored Programs
Program Coordinator, Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee
Human Protections Administrator (HPA)
Barge Hall, rooms 102 and 103
Business hours: 8 a.m. through 5 p.m., Monday through Friday (PST), except holidays.
The graduate experience at CWU is challenging, rewarding, and exciting. Like every quality experience, it is subject to certain rules and policies to ensure high academic standards. It is the responsibility of graduate students to familiarize themselves with these and the policies of the programs in which they are enrolled. Central believes in equal educational and employment opportunity for all without regard to race; color; creed; national origin; gender; age; marital status; or any sensory, physical, or mental handicap.
Additional information concerning university policies and guidelines applicable to graduate programs, including accreditation, institutional memberships, grading practices, mission and roles, and tuition and fees, may be found in various sections of this catalog.
Definition of a Graduate Student
A graduate student is anyone duly admitted to graduate study at CWU, and who is officially enrolled in a graduate program here. Graduate programs offered include master’s degree programs, educational specialist degree programs, fifth-year and other certificate programs, and non-degree study as a resident or visiting graduate student.
Definition of a Post-Baccalaureate Student
Post-baccalaureate students are individuals who already have earned a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited four-year institution and are not seeking a graduate degree. Post-baccalaureate students who are not admitted to the school of graduate studies and research are not considered graduate students.
Application and Admission to Graduate Study
Central Washington University offers the following graduate degrees:
Master of Arts
- English: Literary Studies and Teaching
- English: Professional and Creative Writing
- Theatre Arts
Master of Education
- Curriculum and Instruction
- Higher Education
- School Administration
Master of Arts for Teaching
Master of Fine Arts
Master of Music
Master of Professional Accountancy
Master Of Public Health
Master of Science
- Computational Science
- Cultural and Environmental Resource Management
- Experimental Psychology
- Family and Child Life
- Career and Technical Education
- Engineering Technology and Management
Family and Consumer Sciences Education
- Geological Sciences
- Health and Physical Education
- Information Technology and Administrative Management
- Integrative Human Physiology
- Law and Justice
- Mental Health Counseling
- Primate Behavior
- Safety and Health Management
- Sport and Athletic Administration
Graduate certificate programs are limited in scope relative to a graduate degree program but provide an opportunity for advanced study with a particular focus. Subject to the regulations that govern a specific program, a graduate certificate can often serve as an intermediate accomplishment for a student whose ultimate goal is a graduate degree.
A graduate certificate differs from an undergrad or post-baccalaureate certification. Please contact specific program departments concerning if they offer graduate certificates.
Central offers admission to applicants who have high potential for success in their chosen graduate disciplines. We seek to admit people with diverse backgrounds in order to enhance the learning environment for all students.
Admissions decisions are based upon a combination of factors. These include grade point average, letters of recommendation from professors or others able to critically assess an applicant’s ability to succeed in a graduate program, a written statement of educational and professional objectives, standardized test scores (if applicable), academic preparation for work in the proposed field, and the applicant’s interests as matched with those of faculty.
Individual graduate programs may have additional admission criteria.
Online Graduate Degree Admission
Central Washington University has authorization and/or exemption to deliver fully online degree programs to students. Due to federal regulations, CWU must be authorized to deliver instruction to each state. A list of authorized states may be found on the online learning website. If an applicant resides in a state not listed, the applicant is ineligible for admission into a fully online degree program offered at CWU.
Types of Admission
CWU distinguishes three types of admission: regular, probationary, and conditional.
Full: To be eligible for full admission, an applicant must have earned a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited four-year college or university in the U.S. or the equivalent from an institution abroad. The applicant must demonstrate, in the opinion of the faculty and the dean of the SGSR, the ability to successfully complete a master’s degree. The applicant must also have achieved at least a 3.0 (B) average in all coursework attempted during the last 90 quarter hours (60 semester hours) of study.
Probationary: An applicant who does not meet the minimum GPA admissions requirements, but who shows promise of success in a graduate program, may be considered for admission. And individual may be admitted on probationary status, based on departmental recommendations and a favorable review by the dean of SGSR. If admitted, the applicant is placed on probation for one quarter, during which time the student must complete graduate level coursework approved by the academic program . A grade point average of 3.0 (B) or more is required in this probationary period. Upon meeting this requirement and with the favorable recommendation of the department, the student will be fully admitted and allowed to continue toward candidacy for a degree. If the student is unable to achieve a 3.0 GPA, the student will be removed from the program and dismissed from the SGSR.
Conditional: An applicant may also be conditionally admitted to master’s programs when the individual does not fully meet admission requirements. Typically, such individuals lack certain field-related experiences and/or required background knowledge. An applicant may also be admitted to this category pending receipt of the official transcript(s) indicating completion of the bachelor’s degree. The academic program will notify the student in writing of what conditions must be met or how to obtain the missing experience or knowledge. A conditionally admitted student will achieve regular status when the condition has been satisfied and the admitting department recommends advancement to regular status.
Deferred: If a department and the SGSR wish to admit an applicant to a program that has no space available for a particular quarter, a deferred admission may be offered. The quarter for which admission is deferred will be negotiated between the applicant and the department. If both agree, the applicant will be asked to accept or decline in writing the deferred admission, which will be valid for up to one year from the term in which the person was to have matriculated. If the applicant agrees to defer admission, no new application or application fee will be required. The student will be expected to pay the non-refundable confirmation deposit and to obtain the approval of the academic department and the dean of the SGSR concerning the quarter in which they wish to enroll.
An applicant who has been admitted to graduate study, but who wishes to defer matriculation to a subsequent quarter, may do so with the written authorization of the academic department and the SGSR. Such a deferment will be valid for up to one year from the term in which the student was to have matriculated. If the department is unable or unwilling to provide this authorization, the applicant will be obliged to reapply for admission, pay the admission application fee, and provide additional documents as needed.
Students seeking to interrupt their studies may do so with the approval of the department chair(s), 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. Students whose graduate program runs throughout the academic year will be assessed an on-leave 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. While on leave, graduate students retain library privileges.
Applying to CWU
CWU welcomes applications from all those who meet our minimum requirements for admission. Individuals seeking admission to a graduate program must apply and provide the appropriate application materials to the School of Graduate Studies and Research (SGSR) for review by the academic program. The SGSR coordinates the graduate admissions process for all campuses and academic programs. Academic programs may have higher entrance requirements than the SGSR. The academic program may make a recommendation for an admissions decision to the dean of the SGSR who makes the final decision for admissions to the graduate program.
To apply, visit www.cwu.edu and click on the apply now link or obtain a set of our application materials from:
CWU School of Graduate Studies and Research
400 East University Way
Ellensburg, Washington 98926-7510
A completed application file consists of the following materials received by the School of Graduate Studies and Research:
- A completed application for graduate admission.
- A written statement of educational and professional objectives.
- Three letters of recommendation written by professors or others capable of assessing your potential for success in a graduate program.
- Official transcripts from all universities and colleges attended.
- A non-refundable application fee of $75 payable at the time of filing application.
- Additional admission materials may be required by academic programs
- Additional admission materials may be required for international students.
In addition to the above requirements, all international applicants must complete the following:
1. If the applicant’s native language is not English, they are required to demonstrate proof of English proficiency by one of the following:
A. Submit a standardized test score
a) a minimum Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) iBT, score of 79 (scores should be no more than two years old at the time of application)
b) a minimum International English Language Testing Systems (IELTS) academic score of 6.5 (scores should be no more than two years old at the time of application)
Please note that the Department of English requires a TOEFL iBT score of 88 or an IELTS academic score of 6.5.
Applicants using TOEFL test scores must submit official scores via Educational Testing Service, using Central Washington University’s institution code 4044. An offer of admission cannot be extended prior to the receipt of official scores.
An applicant who does not meet the minimum required score will not be considered admissible by the School of Graduate Studies and Research. The SGSR does not offer conditional admissions to students who have not yet met the minimum English Language Proficiency (ELP) requirement.
An applicant who has attained the minimum required score or higher has satisfied the SGSR’s ELP requirement.
B. Submit U.S. Baccalaureate degree transcripts
Submit transcripts from a baccalaureate degree from an accredited U.S. university or an accredited international university where the main language of instruction is English.
A bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree from an institution in Australia, the Bahamas, Canada, Ireland, Jamaica, Kenya, New Zealand, Singapore, Trinidad and Tobago, or the United Kingdom where English is the medium of instruction. While enrolled at the degree-granting school, the student must be in residence on campus.
Official documentation from the applicant’s undergraduate degree-granting institution (if the institution is in a country other than those listed in #2 above) verifying that all instruction is in English. A minimum of three years of enrollment at the undergraduate institution is required.
Documentation must be presented to the School of Graduate Studies and Research; credential service reports are not acceptable. Acceptable documentation must be one of the following:
a. Official or attested letter from the undergraduate college, university Registrar, or Controller of Examinations office.
b. Official transcripts, attested mark sheets or degree statements, are also accepted if English is stated as the medium of instruction.
Conditionally admitted students must also successfully complete their next quarter within their graduate program receiving a 3.0 or above GPA. Failure to achieve the necessary grade point average, will result in being dropped from the University due to poor scholarship.
Please note: Students who originate from one of the following countries are considered to have met English Proficiency Standards: Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, United Kingdom, and English-speaking provinces of Canada. These students are exempt from furnishing proof of English proficiency documents
2. International applicants are also required to complete a confidential financial statement and submit evidence that sufficient funding is available in U.S. currency through personal resources and/or a sponsor for one academic year’s experience at CWU.
(A) Financial Documentation
All international students must provide adequate financial documentation before an admission decision can be made and an I-20 issued.
1. A Confidential Financial Statement (CFS) signed by the student and by the person who will be sponsoring the student financially.
2. A current bank statement in the name of the student’s sponsor or the student. The statement must be dated and no older than three months, must be original, in English or translated to English. The bank statement must show that the account holder has at least the total cost for one academic year available.
(B) International Academic Transcripts
Foreign university transcripts must be official and accompanied by a degree certificate. Copies will not be accepted. A CWU International Credentials Evaluator reviews and evaluates all transcripts and certificates. If the Evaluator is unable to verify the degree an applicant may be requested to supply an evaluation from a CWU approved agency. There are additional and/or different requirements for Chinese, Indian, Nigerian, and Pakistani applicants. Additional transcript information may be found on the SGSR website.
3. Foreign university transcripts must be official and accompanied by a degree certificate. Copies will not be accepted. A CWU International Credential Evaluator will review and evaluate your transcript and certificate. If they are unable to verify your degree you may be requested to supply an evaluation from a CWU approved agency. Further information regarding the evaluation and agencies that are accepted by CWU at www.cwu.edu/masters/prospective-international-students.
Scholarships may be available to you. Please check out the international scholarship website www.cwu.edu/international-programs/ for details or contact their office via email: email@example.com.
The priority deadlines for submitting all application materials are as follows:
February 1 for fall quarter
April 1 for summer quarter
October 1 for winter quarter
January 1 for spring quarter
Individual programs may request an alternate deadline to be approved by the SGSR dean. The SGSR dean will evaluate requests for specific deadlines with the appropriate college dean(s), program department chair(s), and program director(s)/coordinator(s). Once deadlines are approved and published for the admission quarter, there will be no exceptions for late applications.
Application for Graduate Certificates
Applicants to a certificate program must meet the minimum requirements for admission into the SGSR. Academic certificate programs may have higher entrance requirements than the SGSR.
CWU offers a number of assistantships during the academic year to beginning and continuing graduate students. Graduate assistantships are available in each of our graduate program departments. Typically graduate assistants teach, serve as research assistants, and/or perform university service functions.
- be fully admitted to a master’s degree program and be registered with at least 10 credits (of these, at least 5 credits must be numbered 501 or higher unless on an approved Course of Study form) at the commencement of the contract period
- be recommended to the position by the department where the appointee would be assigned; and
- demonstrate a high level of professional and academic promise.
The priority deadline for assistantship application is February 1.
Full-time assistantships require an average of 20 hours of service per week and enrollment in at least 10, but not more than 14, credit hours per quarter, and a minimum grade point average of 3.0 each quarter. All graduate assistantship appointments are made with a formal written contract letter from the dean of SGSR. Assistantship award announcements are not made until after April 15. Specific information concerning waiver authority for assistantships is located at CWUP 2-20-090.11.B.
Waiver of Tuition and Fees for Graduate Students
Per CWUR 2-20-090 the university is authorized to award tuition and state mandated fee waivers within fiscal and legislative limitations. Waivers are given in accordance with either: (1) standards established by the university, or (2) directives of the state legislature. This policy is established for the purpose of directing the actions of university officials in awarding waivers.
CWUR 2-20-090 provides specifics of tuition waivers and fees relevant to graduate students under the categories including but not limited to:
1. Need-based tuition waivers
2. New graduate student merit awards
3. College/departmental awards
4. Non-resident graduate waivers
5. International student waivers
Grants and Awards for Graduate Students
The graduate school provides competitive award programs to help graduate students with research and creative activities. Items funded include but are not limited to supplies, equipment, and non-retroactive travel designed to assist students with completing their culminating experience. Awards also provide a stipend paid during the summer to assist students in their research for their culminating experience.
Graduate Student Travel Award Program
Funding for reimbursement of travel expenses is available for graduate students who are presenting research or creative work from September 1 through June 30 each academic year. Students who are co-presenting the same research or creative work at the same venue with another CWU graduate student(s) must split the award equally between all co-presenters who apply for funding.
Additional Financial Aid
Financial aid, including scholarships specific to graduate students, is available through the university from federal and state funds for students demonstrating financial need. Applications for financial aid are obtained from the Office of Financial Aid.
Nonresident 50% Tuition Waiver Graduate Fellowships
SGSR offers a limited number of Nonresident 50% Tuition Waiver Graduate Fellowships each academic year. Applicants must be a U.S citizen or permanent resident who is admitted to Central Washington University graduate program but who is not a WA State resident. These waivers are awarded to exceptional graduate students who show promise in scholarship, academics, leadership or meritorious service. Fellowships are also available for students with diversity experiences that contribute significantly to the quality of CWU’s graduate programs. The fellowships typically include a 50% non-resident tuition waiver for the 9-month academic term. There is no stipend provided. Fellowships are only awarded to full-time students who have been admitted into a CWU graduate program. Preference is given to newly admitted candidates; however, fellowships are renewable for an additional year at the level and type originally funded. Students must remain at full-time status to continue receiving the waiver and maintain a 3.0 GPA, 3.25 GPA for Academic Merit fellowships. Awards are withdrawn if a student attains WA state resident status during the award period. A student must be nominated by the degree program’s head before consideration by the SGSR.
The Graduate Student Summer Fellowship provides a $3,500 stipend for students to conduct research or creative activity over ten weeks during the summer, usually between the student’s first and second year of graduate study. The student must be registered for either summer or fall quarter.
The Graduate Student Research Support Award provides up to $1,000 for expenses for students to conduct research related to their thesis or creative activity.
The Travel Award program makes available to graduate students up to $400 to travel to a conference or meeting at which they are presenting research or a creative activity.
A student must apply for each fellowship in conjunction with their committee chair. Find more info on the SGSR website.
Scholarships exclusive to graduate students:
CWURA Graduate Student Scholarship- This competitive scholarship is offered to provide $1,500 to one student per year who holds an earned bachelor’s degree from Central Washington University and who is admitted to or currently enrolled in a master’s degree program as a full-time student at Central Washington University for the purpose of defraying all or part of the student’s unmet financial need as determined by the Office of Financial Aid.
The CWU Scholarship Office maintains an extensive list of general and CWU-only scholarships, as well as pointers to databases of scholarship opportunities.
For further information and application forms for funding assistance, interested persons should visit the SGSR webpage at www.cwu.edu/masters.
Additional Financial Aid
Financial aid is available through the university from federal and state funds for students demonstrating financial need. Applications for financial aid may be obtained from the Office of Financial Aid and should be submitted no later than March 15. Employment opportunities, both on and off campus, are typically available.