November 4, 2022

Policy 2.1: Graduate Course Numbers, Titles, and Audience

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 Policy 3.3.

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.

Some courses at the 300 and 400 levels are open to graduate students; see Policy 1.1 for using these courses for graduate degree requirements. 

2.1.1     Course Numbers and Titles

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.

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, Graduate Program Coordinator, or Graduate Program Coordinator’s designee.
  • 601 – Internship: Used for Internships. Prerequisite: permission of Supervisory Committee Chair, Graduate Program Coordinator, or Graduate Program Coordinator’s designee.
  • 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, Graduate Program Coordinator, or Graduate Program Coordinator’s designee.
  • 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, Graduate Program Coordinator, or Graduate Program Coordinator’s designee.
  • 801 – Practice Doctorate Project/Capstone: Used for the culminating project/capstone experience for practice doctorate degree programs (see Policy 1.1.5). Course title may vary to reflect the specific nature of the project/capstone (e.g., project, practicum, portfolio, applied dissertation, clinical work, etc.).

2.1.2     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 non-matriculated students.

2.1.3     Course Enrollment

Under certain conditions, qualified graduate non-matriculated students may be enrolled in graduate courses and earn credit later applicable towards a graduate degree. These conditions are outlined in Policy 3.3.

Postbaccalaureate students, undergraduate students, and non-matriculated 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.


Policy 2.1 revised: August 2021; December 2022