UW Graduate School

Memo 36: Graduate Courses

I. General Policies

Graduate courses numbered in the 500s through 800s are intended for and ordinarily restricted to either students enrolled in the Graduate School or graduate non-matriculated students who meet the requirements of Memo 37, Enrollment of Non-matriculated Students in Graduate Courses.

Graduate courses should be presented at a level that assumes enrolled students bring to the class a background at least equivalent to a bachelor’s degree in the field or a related interdisciplinary field. Graduate courses must not be used to correct deficiencies in the student’s undergraduate work; courses normally expected to be part of undergraduate preparation for graduate study must be identified by undergraduate course numbers.

Graduate courses normally should be offered only under the sponsorship of academic departments or other units which are authorized to grant graduate degrees. They are reviewed periodically as part of the unit’s degree program according to the procedures described in Memo 7, Periodic Review of Existing Degree Programs. Authorization and review of graduate courses in units which do not offer graduate degree programs are discussed in Memo 41, Graduate Courses in Non-Degree-Granting Units.

In order to maintain as much breadth as possible in the course offerings of a graduate unit, graduate level courses normally will carry the prefix designation of the academic unit authorized to offer the graduate program, e.g., English, Drama, Education, etc. However, in certain fields identification of specializations in graduate courses may be necessary or desirable. To propose special designation, the faculty in that unit may transmit to the Dean of the School or College the request to identify the field of specialization in the prefix. Special designation, if approved by the Dean of the College and the Registrar, may be established.

II. Course Numbers and Titles

The following standardized course numbers and course titles have been established for graduate courses in all disciplines numbered 600, 601, 700, 800. Courses numbered 801 may have alternate course titles. Descriptions for all courses below are at the discretion of the proposing unit.

600 – Independent Study or Research

Used for individual readings or study, including independent study in preparation for doctoral examinations, research, etc. Prerequisite, permission of Supervisory Committee Chair or Graduate Program Coordinator.

601 – Internship

Used for Internships. Prerequisite, permission of Supervisory Committee Chair or Graduate Program Coordinator.

700 – Master’s Thesis

Used for research for the Master’s thesis, including research preparatory and/or related thereto. Limited to graduate students who have not yet completed the master’s degree in their program of enrollment at the University of Washington. Prerequisite, permission of Supervisory Committee Chair or Graduate Program Coordinator.

800 – Doctoral Dissertation

Used for research for the doctoral dissertation, including research preparatory and/or related thereto. Limited to those who have completed the Master’s degree or the equivalent and have been admitted into a doctoral degree program, or candidate-level graduate students. Pre-master students initiating doctoral dissertation research should register for 600. Prerequisite, permission of Supervisory Committee Chair or Graduate Program Coordinator.

801 – Practice Doctorate Project/Capstone

Used for the culminating project/capstone experience for Practice Doctorate degree programs (see Memo 45). Course title may vary to reflect the specific nature of the project/capstone (e.g., project, practicum, portfolio, applied dissertation, clinical work, etc.).

III. Course Delivery Location

Graduate courses are offered on campus except for courses where all of the following conditions are satisfied:

  • The course is equivalent in quality to courses offered in residence at the University, as judged by consideration of course content, assignments, examinations, performance expected from students, grading practices, assignment of graduate faculty, etc.
  • It is designed for and presented mainly to students who have been admitted to and are enrolled in the Graduate School of the University of Washington or who have been enrolled by units as graduate nonmatriculated students.

A graduate degree program may not be offered off campus without review and recommendation of the Graduate School.

IV. Course Enrollment

Under certain conditions, qualified nonmatriculated students may be enrolled in graduate courses and earn credit later applicable towards a graduate degree. These conditions are outlined in Memo 37.

Postbaccalaureate students, undergraduate students, and nonmatriculated students who do not meet Graduate School admission requirements may enroll in 500-level courses provided that permission has been obtained in advance from the faculty member who will teach the class, and from the unit Chair/Director or designated representative. Permission should be granted only when the student appears to be exceptionally well prepared for entrance into the course so that the tempo and quality of the graduate instruction is not adversely affected. Such students should not constitute more than 20% of the total number enrolled in the class.




Revised: December 2009; July 2015; June 2018