UW Graduate School

Memo 39: Guidelines for Part-Time and/or Self-Sustaining Graduate Programs

Within its enrollment limit, the University’s primary commitment is to full-time state-supported degree programs. Part-time degree programs, often funded on a self-sustaining basis, may be proposed to meet the special needs of certain groups of prospective students, for example those of mid-career professionals. Such programs should observe the following guidelines:

  • Self-sustaining degree programs tailored for a particular audience should be offered only in cases where there is a well-defined need for mid-career graduate education which the University is especially qualified to meet. Self-sustaining programs must be equivalent in quality to state-supported programs.
  • Faculty participating in a self-sustaining program should do so without long-term expansion of their regular instructional load. The average teaching load in a unit, including time spent on thesis advising, should not increase when a self-sustaining program is added.
  • Faculty in a unit should share teaching responsibilities for a part-time self-sustaining program as broadly as for full-time state-supported programs. Faculty should not be separated into groups teaching in the full-time and part-time programs, respectively.
  • Sufficient reserve funds should be set aside to fund any additional faculty positions required for the self-sustaining program should the demand for the program decline. New self-sustaining programs should be kept small relative to state-supported programs until a stable market has been demonstrated.
  • Both prospective students and sponsoring employers should be advised that criteria for acceptance to the part-time program will be equivalent to those for admission to the unit’s full-time state-supported program. Ability rather than employer selection should always be the final criterion for admission.
  • Part-time programs using intensive instructional formats should offer students clear guidelines for using study time between contact sessions productively, in order to avoid prolonged periods with little attention to the subject.

Revised: January, 1984