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Policy 5.2: Conditions of Appointment for TAs who are not Native Speakers of English

As stated in Section 3 of Executive Order 28 and Policy 5.1, the University expects that newly appointed Teaching Assistants (TAs) receive appropriate training, supervision and support. Graduate students who are not native speakers of English as indicated in the applicant profile may be appointed as TAs with teaching duties if the student fulfills the three requirements below.

Teaching duties are defined as direct interactions with students for instructional issues. Examples include: holding office hours; reviewing test or paper scores with students; working with students one-to-one in study centers, such as writing, mathematics, chemistry, etc.; tutoring; conducting labs; leading discussions; helping students solve problem sets; commenting on studio work; lecturingm.

5.2.1     Requirements

The following requirements must be satisfied before receiving the graduate appointment with teaching duties.

1. Meet the English language proficiency (ELP) requirement as stated in Policy 3.2.

2. Meet the additional spoken English language proficiency requirement in one of the five following ways:

  • Hold a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution in the United States, or hold a bachelor’s degree from an institution in Australia, the Bahamas, Canada, Ireland, Jamaica, Kenya, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa, 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. (Note: A master’s degree does not satisfy this requirement).
  • Hold a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) or Juris Doctor (JD) from a regionally accredited institution located in the United States where English is the medium of instruction.
  • Demonstrate spoken English proficiency with a test score on file at the University of Washington of at least:
    • 26 on the speaking section of the TOEFL-iBT
    • 7.0 on the speaking section of the IELTS
  • Pass a one-time appeal interview. If a student has one of the scores below on file with the University of Washington, a graduate program can submit an online request for a one-time appeal interview.
    • 23-25 on the speaking section of the TOEFL-iBT.
    • 6.0-6.5 on the speaking section of the IELTS.
    • Note: students who have not satisfied the recommended English proficiency requirements as stated in Policy 3.2 are not eligible for an appeal interview.
    • An appeal candidate must receive an overall score of 34 (out of a possible 45) points to pass and be immediately eligible to assume TA responsibilities without taking ENGL 105.
  • Pass English 105. This course is designed specifically for International Teaching Assistants (ITAs) and is offered by UW’s Academic English Program (AEP). While a student is completing English language proficiency requirements, that student can be assigned teaching duties that do not include direct interaction with students. Such duties can include, but are not limited to, grading, setting up labs, preparing instructional materials, running equipment in classrooms.

3. TAs who are not native speakers of English as indicated in the applicant profile and do not hold a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution in the United States are required to participate in additional TA-specific training from the Center for Teaching & Learning prior to the TA appointment. See the Center for Teaching and Learning’s Teaching@UW: Strategies for TAs for details.

5.2.2     Exceptions

An academic unit teaching modern spoken languages may apply to the Graduate School for a program-level waiver to #2 under Policy 5.2.1 that may be used for specific graduate students enrolled in a doctoral program when the following two conditions are met:

  • the teaching assistant’s teaching duties are conducted exclusively in a non-English target language of the academic unit
  • the teaching assistant is a native speaker of the language of the assigned courses. Requirements #1 and #3 of the general policy must still be met.

Policy 5.2 revised: December 2021

Policy 5.2.1, section 3 revised: February 2023

Policy 5.2 and 5.2.1 revised: August 2023

Policy 5.2.1 revised February 2024

Policy 3.4: Visiting Graduate Student Status

Visiting Graduate Student status allows certain students to take University of Washington coursework without being admitted to a University of Washington graduate degree program.

All applications for Visiting Graduate Student status are processed by the Graduate School’s Graduate Enrollment Management Services (GEMS) office. All documentation submitted by the applicant must be in English or official translations into English accompanied by the original foreign language document.

If a student with Visiting Graduate Student status later applies for admission to the Graduate School in order to pursue a graduate degree, the student must formally apply and submit complete credentials as outlined in Policy 3.1.

3.4.1     Enrollment for Visiting Graduate Student Status

There are two pathways to enroll with Visiting Graduate Student status, described below.

3.4.1.1     Enrollment by Graduate Students in Good Standing at Another Institution

Graduate students who are actively pursuing a graduate degree (Master’s, Ph.D., Ed.D., etc.) at another college or university may be hosted by the University of Washington as visiting graduate students. Visiting Graduate Student status allows these students to take graduate courses at the University of Washington without pursuing a University of Washington graduate degree. Visiting graduate student status does not confer priority for later admission to a graduate program. The length of enrollment is determined by the number of quarters approved by the home institution and the University of Washington graduate program that hosts the visiting graduate applicant. Visiting graduate students may hold this status in only one graduate program at a time and may not hold any other student status while enrolled as a visiting graduate student.

Admissions criteria for visiting graduate student applicants in good standing at another institution:

  • The student must have been admitted to a recognized domestic or international graduate school, be in good standing, and actively pursuing a graduate degree at that institution.
  • The student must be approved by a University of Washington graduate degree granting department/program and the University of Washington Graduate School.
  • Students who are non-native English speakers must meet Graduate School Policy 3.2.

3.4.1.2     Enrollment by Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistants (FLTA)

Fulbright FLTA (Foreign Language Teaching Assistants) may also be hosted by UW departments in Visiting Graduate Student status at the University of Washington. Visiting Graduate Student status allows these students to take graduate courses at the University of Washington without pursuing a University of Washington graduate degree. It is the department’s and the FLTA student’s responsibility to ensure the student meets enrollment requirements of the FLTA program.

Admissions criteria for Fulbright FLTA applicants:

  • There are no University of Washington Graduate School admissions criteria for native speakers of English who have been accepted into the FLTA program.
  • Students who are non-native English speakers must meet Graduate School policy on English Language Proficiency Requirements and Conditions of Appointment for TAs who are not Native Speakers of English.

3.4.2     Performance Expectations

In order to continue in Visiting Graduate Student status, students must maintain the standard minimum Graduate School cumulative grade point average of 3.0.


Policy 3.4 created: March 2022

Policy 3.3: Enrollment of Graduate Non-Matriculated Students

Under the conditions given below, departments, schools, or colleges may choose to offer enrollment in their graduate courses to Graduate Non-matriculated (GNM) students. In this context, a Graduate Non-matriculated student is a post-baccalaureate student who wishes access to a limited number of graduate courses, but who has not been admitted by the Graduate School to a degree program. These Graduate Non-matriculated students must not be enrolled in any courses where they would displace admitted degree-seeking graduate students. This status is not appropriate for international students on F-1 visas.

Applicants for GNM status must meet Graduate School minimum admission requirements and must be evaluated for acceptance by the academic unit according to the typical criteria for admitting students to the unit’s graduate programs.

Tuition and fees charged GNM students for graduate level courses cannot be less and may be more than those charged to graduate students.

Acceptance as a GNM student confers no guarantee or priority for later admission to a graduate degree program.

3.3.1     Admissions

Applications for the GNM program are processed by the Graduate School’s Graduate Enrollment Management Services (GEMS) office. Applicants who present at least a 3.0 grade point average in the applicant’s last 90 quarter (60 semester) hours, along with other applicable credentials, may be admissible as Graduate Non-matriculated (GNM) students. Non-native English speakers must also meet the English Language Proficiency (ELP) requirement as outlined in Policy 3.2.

3.3.2     Enrollment

No department is required to open its courses to GNM enrollment; participating departments have the authority to create and monitor standard enrollment limits for all admitted GNM students. GNM students must obtain approval from course instructors before enrolling in graduate level courses. Registration for most Seattle Campus GNM students is handled by UW Continuum College Registration Services; however, students taking advantage of the university employee or state employee tuition benefit register in the same manner as matriculated UW students. GNM students at the UW Bothell and UW Tacoma campuses will receive registration materials and instructions from the appropriate departmental office.

3.3.3     Credit

A student who is later admitted to the Graduate School may apply a maximum of 12 applicable GNM credits (or any combination of GNM and up to six approved transfer credits totaling twelve credits) towards a graduate degree. Six- and ten-year limits for master’s and doctoral degrees commence at the point of enrollment in the first GNM course which is later applied for credit toward degree requirements.

3.3.4     GNM Students at UW Bothell and UW Tacoma

GNM status as the UW Bothell and UW Tacoma campuses is not funded on a self-sustaining basis. Tuition and fees are comparable to those charged to graduate students.

3.3.5     Performance Expectations

In order to continue in the GNM program, students must maintain the standard minimum Graduate School cumulative grade point average of 3.0.


Policy 3.3 revised: November 2021; December 2022

Policy 3.3.1 revised: August 2023

Policy 3.2: Graduate School English Language Proficiency Requirements

English language proficiency (ELP) is required for graduate study at the University of Washington. Therefore, every applicant whose native language is not English must demonstrate English language proficiency. Each prospective graduate student indicates on the graduate application whether or not the student is a native speaker of English.

Students who will receive a Teaching Assistantship will also be required to satisfy additional requirements described in Policy 5.2: Conditions of Appointment for TAs who are not Native Speakers of English.

3.2.1     Demonstration of Proficiency

Proficiency can be demonstrated in one of the following ways. A graduate program may set additional standards or qualifications in any of these categories. Students must confirm specific requirements with the admitting program.

  • A bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degree from a regionally accredited institution located in the United States and where English is the medium of instruction.
  • A bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degree from an institution in Australia, the Bahamas, Canada, Ireland, Jamaica, Kenya, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa, Trinidad and Tobago, or the United Kingdom and 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, graduate, or professional 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 institution is required. Documentation must be presented to the Graduate School; credential service reports are not acceptable. Acceptable documentation must be one of the following:
    • Official or attested letter from the undergraduate college, university Registrar, or Controller of Examinations office.
    • Official transcripts, attested mark sheets or degree statements, are also accepted if English is stated as the medium of instruction.
  • Official English Language Test Score (sent electronically to the University of Washington via testing center). Note: Graduate programs may require a higher minimum scores for admission than the scores listed below.
These specific English Language Test scores are the only versions accepted for admission to the Graduate School. Other tests or versions do not qualify. TOEFL iBT TOEFL MyBest Duolingo Academic IELTS
Minimum Required Score
(ELP Not Satisfied) – effective through Autumn Quarter 2024 admissions
80 80 105 6.5
Minimum Required Score
(ELP Not Satisfied) – effective starting Winter 2025 admissions
80 80 110 6.5
Recommended Score
(ELP Satisfied) – effective through Autumn Quarter 2024 admissions
92 or higher 92 or higher 120 or higher 7.0 or higher
Recommended Score
(ELP Satisfied) – effective starting Winter 2025 admissions
92 or higher 92 or higher 125 or higher 7.0 or higher

3.2.2     Submission of Test Scores

  • The Graduate School also accepts the TOEFL paper-delivered test, which is available only to students in areas without internet testing access. Contact Graduate Enrollment Management Services (GEMS) for special instructions if you have taken this test.
  • Applicants using TOEFL test scores must submit official scores electronically via ETS, using the University of Washington’s institution code 4854.  An offer of admission cannot be extended prior to the receipt of official scores.
  • Applicants using Academic IELTS test scores must submit official scores electronically via the IELTS system (E-TRF), using the University of Washington’s organization ID 365. An offer of admission cannot be extended prior to the receipt of official scores.
  • Applicants using Duolingo test scores must submit official scores via Duolingo to the University of Washington Graduate Admissions (Bothell, Seattle, Tacoma). 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 Graduate School. The Graduate School does not offer conditional admissions to students who have not yet met the minimum English Language Proficiency (ELP) requirement.

3.2.3     Meeting English Language Proficiency (ELP) Requirements

  • An applicant who has attained the recommended score has satisfied the Graduate School’s ELP requirement.
  • An admitted applicant below the recommended score will be required to satisfactorily complete 1 to 3 UW Academic English Program (AEP) courses to fulfill the ELP requirement. Students are expected to register for any required AEP classes beginning the student’s first quarter.
  • Admitted applicants who are required to take ENGL 102 and ENGL 104 may choose to fulfill this requirement before the start of the student’s graduate program by successfully completing the Graduate Preparation Program through the International & English Language Programs. Students enrolled in the Graduate Preparation Program pay additional fees.
  • Test scores are valid for two years and must be valid on the date the application is submitted or on the date the program requests a deferral petition.
  • Graduate students whose native language is not English and who wish to be appointed as teaching assistants (TAs) must meet the conditions for appointment specified in Graduate School Policy 5.2.

Policy 3.2 revised: November 2021; March 2022; April 2022; November 2022; December 2022; August 2023 (removal of temporary policy statement)

Policy 3.2.3 revised: February 2023

Policy 3.2.1 revised March 2024

Policy 3.1: Graduate Admissions

Admission to graduate study at the University of Washington provides opportunities for study leading to master’s, educational specialist, and doctoral degrees. The Graduate School is responsible for determining the minimum requirements for admission. These admissions requirements are based on the Washington Student Achievement Council Admissions Standards Policy. Departments may have additional or more stringent requirements. The basic objective of the admission policy of the Graduate School is to admit those students deemed best able to contribute to and benefit from the educational programs and opportunities offered at the University.

Enrollment in a specific graduate degree program is limited to the number of students for whom faculty, staff, and facilities can provide high quality graduate instruction and research guidance. Each graduate student must be admitted into a specific graduate program; the Graduate School does not permit general graduate enrollment.

3.1.1     Qualifications

A prospective graduate student must have one of the following:

  • A baccalaureate degree from a nationally recognized postsecondary institution with institutional accreditation from the following approved accreditation agencies or equivalent for international institutions: Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) Western Association of Schools and Colleges, Higher Learning Commission (HLC), Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE), New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU), Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) or WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC) college or university. The prospective student must have at least a 3.0 grade-point-average on a 4 point scale (or equivalent measures of performance if a graduate of an institution that does not use an alpha-numeric grading or evaluation system) for those credits earned at the institution awarding the bachelor’s degree OR at least a 3.0 grade-point-average (on a 4 point scale) for the last 90 graded quarter credits or 60 graded semester credits.

Note: Students may have earned credits used towards a bachelor’s degree from multiple institutions. The 3.0 grade point average (GPA) requirement only requires that the cumulative GPA be reviewed from the degree granting institution. If a student’s cumulative GPA from the degree granting institution is lower than a 3.0 and the student has credits earned from multiple institutions, the student’s GPA may automatically be recalculated to include additional transcripts. If this recalculation results in a 3.0, the student has met the minimum GPA requirement. If this recalculation does not result in a 3.0, programs can petition the Graduate School for the student to be admitted using Alternate Standards.

  • One of the following: a master’s degree, a graduate doctoral degree, or any of the following professional doctoral degrees: Doctor of Dentistry (D.D.S.), Doctor of Law (J.D.), Doctor of Medicine (M.D.), Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.), Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (D.V.M.). The degree must be from a regionally accredited college or university in the U.S. or its equivalent from a foreign institution, and the prospective student must have at least a 3.0 grade-point-average (on a 4 point scale) calculated from the total cumulative credits.
  • An applied baccalaureate degree earned at a Washington community or technical community college. Applied baccalaureate degrees are evaluated on a case-by-case basis by the graduate degree program or department for admissions. The prospective student must have either: at least a 3.0 grade-point-average (on a 4 point scale) calculated from the total cumulative credits; or at least a 3.0 grade-point-average (on a 4 point scale) for the last 90 graded quarter credits.

Proficiency in English is required for graduate study at the University of Washington. Therefore, every applicant whose native language is not English must demonstrate English proficiency. No exceptions for this English proficiency requirement will be granted. See Policy 3.2.

The Graduate School does not require Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores for admission; however, graduate programs may require GRE scores or any other tests related to the applicant’s field for use in the admission review process.

3.1.2     Alternate Standards

3.1.2.1     Alternates to Grade Point Average (GPA) Requirements

Programs can petition the Graduate School to admit students who do not meet the minimum grade point average (GPA) requirements under alternate admission standards. Programs petitioning under alternate admissions standards must collect, review and provide to the Graduate School evidence that the student meets a minimum two of the following requirements:

  • Satisfactory scores on the GRE, GMAT, or other approved test.
  • An analytical essay written by the student which demonstrates critical thinking skills.
  • A statement of intent written by the student demonstrating a level of knowledge and intellectual maturity appropriate to the proposed field of graduate study.
  • Evidence of successful graduate coursework in the intended field of study or in a closely related field.
  • Evidence of professional success in a field relevant to the proposed area of study.
  • An admissions interview either in-person or via phone or web.

Note: An analytical essay typically is focused on a student’s academic pursuits and interest, while a statement of intent includes information about a student’s personal journey.

3.1.2.2     Alternates to an Earned Bachelor’s Degree

Programs can petition the Graduate School to admit students who do not have a bachelor’s degree from a nationally recognized postsecondary institution with institutional accreditation, but who have significant professional experience. Programs petitioning under alternate admissions standards must collect, review, and provide to the Graduate School evidence that the student meets the following requirements:

  1. Evidence of professional success in a field relevant to the proposed area of study

And

  1. A minimum of two of the following:
    • A transcript showing 100 level course work or higher with the achievement of a 3.0 grade point average for at least 90 quarter hours or 60 semester hours.
    • Evidence of successful graduate coursework in the intended field of study or in a closely related field.
    • Satisfactory scores on the GRE, GMAT, or other approved test.
    • An analytical essay written by the student which demonstrates critical thinking skills.
    • A statement of intent written by the student demonstrating a level of knowledge and intellectual maturity appropriate to the proposed field of graduate study.
    • An admissions interview either in-person or via phone or web.

3.1.2.3     Alternate Standards for Doctoral Students Accompanying New Faculty

The Graduate School supports new University of Washington (UW) faculty members by allowing accompanying doctoral students who have begun doctoral work at another institution to be admitted through a special process, described below.

General Policies

Qualified doctoral students accompanying a new University of Washington (UW) faculty hire may be admitted to a UW research-based doctoral program under the following provisions. 

  • The graduate student has begun a doctoral program at the faculty member’s previous institution and has an established advising and research relationship with the new faculty hire.
  • The graduate faculty of the UW program recommend the student as qualified for the UW doctoral program using the program’s standard admissions criteria. This includes endorsement of previously completed coursework that may be applied towards the UW degree, as well as confirmation that the student’s program of study while at UW will be substantial enough to warrant the granting of the UW degree.
  • In most circumstances, the student will complete the General Exam at UW.
  • As part of a holistic assessment of the student’s qualifications and academic background, the program determines the content and milestones (e.g., coursework, General Exam) that must be completed at UW.
  • The following Graduate School doctoral degree minimum requirements may be waived or reduced based on the student’s coursework at the prior institution:
    • 18 credits of coursework applied towards degree requirements must be 500-level and above
    • 18 credits of coursework applied towards degree requirements must be numerically graded credits at the 400- and 500-level
    • Total credits required for the doctoral degree may be reduced.

Application Process

Doctoral students accompanying a new faculty hire are admitted through a special application process. After program faculty have approved admitting the student, the program submits a short narrative proposal and accompanying documents to the Graduate School. All admissions quarters prior to Autumn 2024 are submitted via email to the Graduate School Office of Academic Affairs (gsacad@uw.edu). All admissions quarters Autumn 2024 and beyond are submitted through the Doctoral Student Accompanying Faculty Hire Petition in Slate. The submission should include the following information:

  • An overview of the student’s progress towards the doctoral degree at the prior institution and at what stage the student will enter the UW doctoral program. Include information on how the student’s remaining work at the University of Washington will constitute a meaningful curricular experience reflective of a UW degree.
  • A completion plan for the student, including coursework, exams, and other milestones towards the degree.
  • A description of the UW degree requirements that will be waived (coursework, dissertation credits, or other requirements such as graded credits or 500 level credits) and the rationale for waiving the requirements based on work from the prior institution.
  • Confirmation that the graduate faculty of the academic unit have approved admitting the student under these special provisions.
  • A copy of the student’s current transcript.

Upon approval of the proposal by the Office of Academic Affairs, the student can be admitted, and the exceptions outlined in the proposal will be noted in the student’s record for use at the time of graduation from UW.

3.1.3     Admission Procedure

Application for admission is made simultaneously to the Graduate School and to the graduate program. Each department or other unit authorized to offer a graduate degree program maintains a Graduate Admissions Committee that must include at least three graduate faculty members. This Committee is responsible for the fair and complete evaluation of applicants and is expected to maintain files and to be able to demonstrate that full and fair consideration has been given to each applicant. Students meeting the Graduate School admissions requirements are admitted into programs of study by the Graduate Admissions Committee in the department offering the program. It is the responsibility of each department to ensure that students have met the Graduate School admissions requirements prior to offering admissions. Each department shall inform the Graduate School regarding students granted admissions and students denied admissions.

The Graduate School and each Graduate Admission Committee shall be guided by the following:

  • Priority for admission of applicants into a graduate degree program is based upon the applicant’s apparent ability, as determined by the University, to complete the program with a high level of achievement.
  • No practice may discriminate against an individual because of race, color, creed, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, age, marital status, disability, or status as a disabled veteran or Vietnam era veteran.
  • Sustained efforts shall be made to recruit qualified applicants who are members of groups that are underrepresented in certain disciplines.
  • All applicants to a degree-offering unit shall be processed through the same set of procedures to assure that all applicants are evaluated on the applicant’s individual merits.
  • Tests and criteria for admission should relate to the actual requirements of the graduate program. Reasonable accommodation for testing conditions may be made to compensate for relevant disabilities.
  • Additional factors may be used in developing a pool of qualified applicants for admission to the Graduate School. Weights given these and other factors may vary among graduate degree programs. No factor will confer admission on an academically unqualified applicant. These factors include, but are not limited to, the following:
    • Grades earned, especially for subjects in or closely related to the field of the applicant’s proposed graduate work.
    • Scores on the Graduate Record Examination Verbal, Quantitative, and Analytical Tests, on the GRE Advanced Test, on other tests related to the applicant’s field, and on other aptitude tests which may be required.
    • Personal interviews of the applicant by the Department Admissions Committee.
    • The career objectives of the applicant and the extent to which the graduate degree program may be expected to prepare the applicant for those objectives.
    • Written and oral recommendations from persons who are qualified to evaluate the applicant’s academic record and promise.
    • The applicant’s degree objective, i.e. Master’s degree, Doctoral degree, or a Master’s followed by a Doctoral degree.
    • Activities or accomplishments; educational goals; prior employment experience; living experiences, such as growing up in a disadvantaged or unusual environment; special talents.
    • Academic accomplishments in light of the applicant’s life experiences and special circumstances. These experiences and circumstances may include, but are not limited to disabilities; low family income; first generation to attend college; need to work during college; disadvantaged social or educational environment; difficult personal and family situation or circumstances; and refugee status or veteran status.

3.1.4 Enrollment Confirmation on Behalf of a Student

Programs can petition the Graduate School to confirm enrollment on behalf of a student without paying the ECD (enrollment confirmation deposit). This petition cannot be requested for applicants planning to attend on an F1 or J1 visa.

For those whose petition has been approved, an ECD will not be applied toward their tuition and fees assessed for the quarter in which they have been admitted. The student is responsible for all tuition and fees (See the Office of the University Registrar for more information about an ECD).

3.1.4.1 Criteria

The department must:

  • Have extended an offer of admission to the student and informed the Graduate School that the student has been granted admission (see Policy 3.1.3).
  • Submit the petition request by the day prior to the start of the admit term.

A prospective student must meet one of the following criteria:

If a student does not meet at least one of the Graduate School’s criteria, the department may request an exception for enrollment confirmation on behalf of the student based on specific extenuating circumstances. The department should provide as much detail as possible in the petition when requesting an exception.

 3.1.4.2 Veterans Benefits

U.S. military veterans, service members, or their dependents using a VA benefit may be eligible. Admitted students must contact the Veterans Education Benefits Office (veteran@uw.edu) for guidance.  


Policy 3.1 revised: August 2011, March 2019; March 2022; April 2022

Policy 3.1.2.3 revised: February 2023

Policy 3.1.1 revised: July 2023

Policy 3.1.4 added: November 2023

Policy 3.1.4.1 revised February 2024; March 2024

Policy 1.6: Sequential Combined Undergraduate/Graduate (CUG) Degrees

Graduate programs may create a sequential combined undergraduate/graduate (CUG) degree program according to the following guidelines. The program must submit a proposal to the Office of Academic Affairs and Planning in the Graduate School for each degree combination.

View the guidelines for proposals →

The intent of a CUG program is to allow exceptional University of Washington undergraduate students a seamless transition from undergraduate education into graduate education at the University of Washington. The CUG allows students to identify and plan a graduate course of study during junior year as an undergraduate, in consultation with the student’s program advisor(s). In addition, CUG programs may allow a defined amount of graduate-level coursework that was completed as an undergraduate to count toward the graduate degree, as detailed below.

1.6.1     Admissions

The CUG program is responsible for creating a CUG program admissions process. Admission will occur no earlier than when a student has junior standing. The admission processes for students applying to the CUG while still in their undergraduate course of study is managed by the CUG program and does not include a Graduate School application until students are ready to transition into the graduate program. The specific timeline and CUG admissions criteria will be outlined by the specific program the student is applying to, and application to the CUG program will be open to all students meeting the published CUG program admissions criteria. The qualifications for admission to the CUG program must assure that students have the appropriate background to successfully complete the program. The student is responsible for applying to the Graduate School and meeting the minimum Graduate School admissions requirements before being allowed to enroll as a graduate student.

Students will not be registered simultaneously as both an undergraduate and a graduate student. Until the undergraduate degree is awarded, students are considered undergraduates with regard to all policy and tuition considerations. Undergraduate degree and credit requirements must be fully satisfied, at which point the bachelor’s degree will be awarded and the student will officially enter the graduate program. The program will create clear set of minimum requirements for CUG continuation.

The graduate program may design different admissions criteria to the graduate program for CUG students, for example waiving the GRE requirement. No more than one year may elapse between undergraduate degree completion and enrolling in the graduate program. The program may set a shorter limit.

1.6.2     Credit Applied toward the Graduate Degree

The graduate program will define a policy regarding the amount and type of previously approved, 400-level and 500-level coursework taken as an undergraduate that can be applied toward the graduate degree, with a maximum of 12 credits allowed. These credits must be taken as an undergraduate student, but after admission to the CUG program, and must fulfill the specified graduate degree requirements. Courses numbered 600 (Independent Study or Research), 601 (Internship), or 700 (Master’s Thesis) may not be taken before the student is registered as a graduate student.

1.6.3     Time Limits

Students must comply with the regular time limits for completion of the graduate degree, beginning from the time of entry to the Graduate School (6 years for a master’s program; 10 years for a doctoral program).

1.6.4     Graduate Student Appointments

Students may be appointed as an Academic Student Employee (ASE) in a graduate student service appointment as soon as enrolled as a graduate student. The student may hold an undergraduate ASE appointment until that time.

1.6.5     Advising

Upon the student’s acceptance to the CUG program, the unit is responsible for providing coordinated advising and for creating clear documentation about the plan of study. Both student and advisor must sign off on a written plan, to be included in the student’s record (kept on file by the program).


Policy 1.6 created March 2008. Revised: January 2015; October 2021

Policy 1.6.1 revised February 2024

Policy 1.2: Graduate Certificates

A graduate certificate program is a linked series of credit bearing graduate courses that constitutes a coherent body of study and culminates in a capstone or equivalent unifying experience. Graduate certificates are intended to enhance the education of matriculated graduate or professional students beyond their regular course of study, or to provide students access to graduate education as a standalone credential or as a stacked credential that can lead to a graduate degree. Graduate certificates are not open to undergraduate students. See Policy 1.4 for policies on stackable graduate certificates and the stacked graduate degree program.

Completed graduate certificates are recorded on the student’s UW transcript. Note, however, that matriculated graduate and graduate non-matriculated (GNM) students may also pursue approved UW certificates that are not recorded on the UW transcript, for example certificates offered by UW Continuum College. These non-transcripted certificates are distinct from graduate certificates and are not under purview of the Graduate School.

1.2.1     Requirements

Requirements for the certificate must include a minimum of 15 credits, nine of which must be earned in courses numbered 500 and above, and nine of which must be from graded courses. The curriculum must constitute a coherent body of study that culminates in a capstone or equivalent unifying experience.

Graduate certificate requirements normally consist primarily of graduate-level coursework at the 500 level. Courses at the 300 level and 400 level may be part of a student’s course of study and applied toward graduate certificate requirements when acceptable to the student’s graduate program and the Graduate School.

A minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.00 is required for courses applied to a graduate certificate, and a minimum of 2.7 is required in each course that is counted toward a graduate certificate.  Courses at the 300 level are not included in the calculation of grade-point average (GPA).

There are no restrictions on credit sharing between a graduate certificate and a graduate degree program. This is intended to support the structure of stacked degrees (Policy 1.4). For graduate certificates that are not part of a stacked degree, credit sharing is not intended as a mechanism for students enrolled in a graduate degree program to incidentally receive a certificate in addition to the earned degree as part of their regular course of study towards the degree. Thus, a student may earn a graduate certificate that shares coursework with a non-stacked graduate degree only when the student completes a distinct graduate certificate capstone or equivalent unifying experience. Units are responsible for ensuring that each credential earned is representative of a distinct body of academic work.

No credit sharing is allowed between multiple graduate certificates.

1.2.2     Review and Approval of Graduate Certificate Programs

The review of graduate certificate program proposals is similar to that of new graduate program proposals and is coordinated by the Office of Academic Affairs in the Graduate School. This process includes review by Academic Affairs and by the Graduate School Council. The approval of proposed graduate certificates resides with the Board of Regents. For details, see the Graduate School’s Graduate Certificate proposal page. In a proposal for a new graduate certificate, program faculty must clearly define and describe the program’s governance, budget, curriculum, admission standards, admission process, and minimum completion standards.

Similar to new graduate degree programs, new graduate certificate programs are initially authorized by the Board of Regents with provisional status. Such programs are to be reviewed at least every five years until the programs are granted continuing status. Continuing programs are reviewed at least every ten years.


Policy 1.2 created: March 2008. Revised: June 2012, July 2022

Policy 1.2.1 revised November 2023

Policy 1.1: Graduate Degree Requirements

Policy 1.1 describes general policies on minimum degree requirements and allowable credits for graduate degrees. Degree requirements for specific graduate programs are managed by that program and may be in excess of the minimum requirements described here.

A graduate degree program consists of a coherent body of study beyond the baccalaureate degree that includes a meaningful progression of coursework and, for most programs, includes a final culminating experience or an integrated experience across the curriculum. Examples of culminating experiences include a thesis, dissertation or other creative work, capstone project, comprehensive examination, or supervised field experience. Integrated learning experiences connect concepts and experiences across the curriculum to form a meaningful whole. If included as part of the degree requirements, a program may offer multiple culminating experience options, provided that the overall level of achievement for the degree remains the same. See Policies 1.1.2, 1.1.3, 1.1.4, and 1.1.5 for requirements specific to each degree type.

The Graduate School defines minimum degree requirements for all University of Washington graduate programs. Individual graduate programs may have degree requirements that exceed the Graduate School minimum requirements.

The Graduate Faculty with oversight of a graduate program have primary responsibility for assuring that students recommended for graduation have satisfactorily fulfilled the degree requirements for the program in which they are enrolled.

A student must satisfy the requirements for the degree that are in force at the time the degree is to be awarded. Exceptions may be made for programs that have undergone changes to degree requirements.

1.1.1     Requirements Applying to All Graduate Degree Programs

  • Credits applied towards graduate degree requirements must include University of Washington coursework of (1) at least 18 credits at the 500 level and above; and (2) at least 18 numerically graded credits of 400- and 500-level coursework, excluding 499 and transfer credit.
  • For CR/NC courses, submission of a CR grade indicates that the student has met course expectations at a level such that the course may be applied towards graduate degree requirements.
  • For S/NS courses, an S grade indicates that the student has met course expectations at a level such that the course may be applied towards graduate degree requirements. A graduate program may restrict S courses from counting towards program requirements.
  • Graduate degree requirements consist primarily of graduate-level coursework at the 500 level and above. Courses at the 300 level and 400 level may be part of a student’s course of study and applied toward graduate degree requirements when acceptable to the Graduate School and the Graduate Faculty of the student’s graduate program (Faculty Code Section 23-44).
  • Any 300- or 400-level course applied towards graduate degree requirements must be confirmed by the Graduate Faculty of the unit to have a level of rigor and depth appropriate to the graduate program and to have a subject matter closely aligned with the degree program’s outcomes.
  • Coursework at the 300 level may not be applied towards the minimum 18 graded credits and may not be applied towards more than one-third of total degree requirements, except as previously approved by the Graduate School.
  • A student must be registered for credit the quarter in which any required exam or presentation occurs. A student must maintain registration as a full-time or part-time graduate student for the quarter the degree or certificate is conferred.
  • A minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.00 is required to earn a graduate degree, and a minimum of 2.7 is required in each course that is counted toward graduate degree requirements. The GPA for graduate students is calculated entirely on the basis of numeric grades in 400- and 500-level courses, see Scholastic Regulations 110.
  • With the approval of a student’s graduate program and the Graduate School, up to 6 credits of 400-level or 500-level coursework, taken as a senior while an undergraduate at the University of Washington, may be applied towards graduate degree requirements.
  • With the approval of a student’s graduate program, a restricted amount of Graduate Non-Matriculated (GNM) credit may be applied towards degree requirements, as described in Policy 3.3.
  • Credit taken while enrolled as a non-matriculated (NM) student or while matriculated as a post-baccalaureate student at the University of Washington may not be applied towards graduate degree requirements. Credit by independent study or advanced credit examination is not transferable.

1.1.2     The Master’s Degree

In addition to the requirements listed under Policy 1.1.1 that apply to all graduate degree programs:

  • Master’s degree requirements must include a minimum of 36 credits. A master’s program may require more than this minimum.
  • A student must complete all work for the master’s degree within six years from the time of first enrollment. Periods spent on leave or out of status are included in these limits. Exceptions to time to degree will be made at the program level.
  • A master’s program generally should require a final culminating or integrated experience, with the exception of applied professional programs where a coursework-only program can be thoroughly justified in the program proposal (e.g., a coursework-only program is the standard in the field).

1.1.2.1     Coursework that may be applied towards master’s degree requirements

A maximum of 6 quarter credits of graduate-level coursework taken at another recognized academic institution may be transferred and apply to UW master’s degree requirements, when acceptable to the graduate program and the Graduate School.

No more than 12 credits derived from any combination of GNM credits and transfer credits may be applied towards the total degree requirements. Transfer credits may not be applied towards the thesis or culminating experience requirement.

1.1.2.2     Thesis Programs

The master’s thesis provides evidence of the graduate student’s ability to carry out independent investigation and to present the results in clear and systemic form.

The thesis must be written in the English language. If there are circumstances that warrant a dissertation in another language, the program may petition the Graduate School.

A thesis program must include a minimum of 9 thesis credits (700).

Thesis credits (700) will not apply to requirements for a non-thesis master’s degree.

See Policy 4.2.1 for any thesis that will include human or animal subjects.

1.1.2.3     Final Examination

If a master’s program requires a final examination, it may be either oral or written. A majority of the supervisory committee must approve for satisfactory completion, and all members of the supervisory committee must certify examination results. If the examination is not satisfactory, the committee may recommend to the Dean of the Graduate School that the student be allowed to take another examination after a period of further study.

1.1.3     The Educational Specialist Degree

In addition to the requirements listed under Policy 1.1.1 that apply to all graduate degree programs:

  • Educational specialist degree requirements must include a minimum of 54 credits. An educational specialist program may require more than this minimum.
  • Degree requirements must include at least 6 credits of capstone experience (course number 750).
  • A student must complete all work for the educational specialist degree within six years from the time of first enrollment. Periods spent on leave or out of status are included in these limits. Exceptions to time to degree will be made at the program level.

1.1.3.1     Coursework that may be applied towards educational specialist degree requirements

A maximum of 6 quarter credits of graduate-level coursework taken at another recognized academic institution may be transferred and apply to UW degree requirements, when acceptable to the graduate program and the Graduate School.

No more than 12 credits derived from any combination of GNM credits and transfer credits may be applied towards the total degree requirements. Transfer credits may not be applied towards the capstone experience requirement.

1.1.4     The Doctoral Degree other than Practice Doctorates

In addition to the requirements listed under Policy 1.1.1 that apply to all graduate degree programs, the following requirements apply to all doctoral degrees other than practice doctorates. For practice doctorate requirements, see Policy 1.1.5. For the composition and responsibility of the doctoral supervisory committee, see Policy 4.2.

  • Doctoral degree requirements must include a minimum of 90 credits beyond the baccalaureate. A doctoral degree program may require more than this minimum.
  • Doctoral programs require a culminating experience, with PhD programs requiring original research reflected in the dissertation.
  • All work applied to the doctoral degree must be completed within ten years, including credits counted from a master’s degree at UW. Periods spent on leave or out of status are included in these limits. Exceptions to time to degree will be made at the program level.

1.1.4.1     General Examination

The student must successfully pass a general examination.

Prior to the General Examination:

  • At least 18 credits of coursework at the 500 level and above must be completed prior to scheduling the general examination.
  • At least 18 graded credits of 400- and 500-level coursework, excluding 499, must be completed prior to scheduling the general examination.
  • At least 60 credits must be completed before taking the general exam. Some of these credits may be taken the same quarter of the exam.
  • All members of the supervisory committee must approve that the student’s background of study and preparation is sufficient to schedule the General Examination.

The General Examination:

  • Registration as a graduate student is required the quarter that the General Examination is taken.
  • At least four members of the committee (including the Chair(s), GSR, and one additional Graduate Faculty member) must be physically or virtually present at the General Examination.
  • If the General Examination is satisfactory, the supervisory committee members who participate at the examination sign the committee signature form.
  • If an examination is unsatisfactory, a supervisory committee may recommend that the Dean of the Graduate School permit up to a maximum of two additional reexaminations after a period of additional study.
  • Any members of a supervisory committee who do not agree with the majority opinion are encouraged to submit a minority report to the Dean of the Graduate School.

1.1.4.2     Advancement to Candidacy

Advancement to Candidacy indicates successful completion of the general examination and all other requirements for the doctoral degree except satisfactory completion of the dissertation and the final examination. This is recognized for the Doctor of Philosophy, Doctor of Musical Arts, and Doctor of Education degrees that are not practice doctorates. See also Scholastic Regulations Chapter 114.7.

1.1.4.3     Dissertation

Requirements must include preparation of and acceptance by the Dean of the Graduate School of a dissertation that is a significant contribution to knowledge and clearly indicates training in research.

The dissertation must be written in the English language. If there are circumstances that warrant a dissertation in another language, the program may petition the Graduate School.

The student must satisfactorily complete a minimum of 27 credits of dissertation (800) over a period of at least three quarters, with at least one quarter occurring after the general examination.

With the exception of summer quarter, students are limited to a maximum of 10 credits per quarter of dissertation (800).

See Policy 4.2.3 for any dissertation that will include human or animal subjects.

1.1.4.4     Final Examination

The student must pass a final examination usually devoted to the dissertation and the field with which it is concerned.

  • When the reading committee has read a draft of the entire dissertation and the members of the doctoral supervisory committee agree that the Candidate is prepared to take the Final Examination, all members of the doctoral supervisory committee must give the student approval to schedule the Final Examination.
  • The General Examination and Final Examination cannot occur during the same quarter.
  • At least four members of the committee (including the Chair(s), GSR, and one additional Graduate Faculty member) must be physically or virtually present at the Final Examination.
  • At the Final Examination the dissertation is evaluated and, if a majority of the supervisory committee members in attendance agree that the evaluation is positive, the recommendation is made to the Dean of the Graduate School (via the committee signature form) that the degree be awarded.
  • If members of the doctoral supervisory committee do not agree with the majority recommendation concerning the examination, the minority report portion of the committee signature form must be used.

1.1.4.5     Coursework that may be applied towards doctoral degree requirements

With the approval of the graduate program and the Graduate School, a master’s degree in a relevant field of study from an accredited institution may substitute for up to 30 of the required 90 credits. No other transfer credits are allowed for doctoral programs. Transfer credits may not be applied towards the dissertation or culminating experience requirement.

With the approval of the graduate program, any number of credits applied to a UW master’s degree in the same program may be counted towards doctoral degree requirements. These credits may not be applied towards the dissertation or culminating experience requirement.

In addition to the other credits indicated in this section, up to 12 GNM credits may be applied towards doctoral degree requirements as indicated in Policy 1.1.1 and Policy 3.3.3.

1.1.5     The Practice Doctoral Degree

A practice doctorate is intended as preparation for professional practice at the frontiers of existing knowledge (see Policy 1.7.2). A practice doctorate involves extensive coursework and a culminating project/capstone that is in lieu of a traditional PhD dissertation. The nature of this project/capstone may be specific to each program (e.g., project, practicum, portfolio, applied dissertation, clinical work, etc.). The project/capstone is not filed with the Graduate School.

In addition to the requirements listed under Policy 1.1.1 that apply to all graduate degree programs, the following requirements apply to all practice doctorates. For the composition and responsibility of the practice doctoral supervisory committee, see Policy 4.2.

  • Practice doctoral degree requirements must include a minimum of 90 credits beyond the baccalaureate.
  • The practice doctorate requires successful completion of 12 credits of project or capstone credit (801 Practice Doctorate Project/Capstone).

It is the responsibility of the program to establish appropriate milestones towards the degree. Two milestones are formally recognized by the Graduate School:

  • admission to the program
  • approval of the final project/capstone (through the committee signature form)

There is no formally recognized candidacy status for practice doctoral students. Requiring a general exam or other milestones is at the discretion of the program and is not reported to the Graduate School.

After the practice doctoral supervisory committee has evaluated the final project/capstone, if a majority of the supervisory committee members agree that the evaluation is positive, the recommendation is made to the Dean of The Graduate School (via the committee signature form) that the degree be awarded. If members of the practice doctoral supervisory committee do not agree with the majority recommendation, the minority report portion of the committee signature form must be used.

1.1.5.1     Coursework that may be applied towards practice doctoral degree requirements

With the approval of the graduate program and the Graduate School, a Ph.D. or a master’s degree in a relevant field of study from an accredited institution may substitute for up to 30 of the required 90 credits.

With the approval of the graduate program, any number of credits applied to a UW master’s degree in the same program may be counted towards doctoral degree requirements.

A maximum of 10 quarter credits of graduate-level coursework taken at another recognized academic institution may be transferred and apply to UW practice doctorate degree requirements, when acceptable to the graduate program and the Graduate School.

No more than 12 credits derived from any combination of GNM credits and transfer credits may be applied towards the total degree requirements.

No more than 30 credits derived from any combination of GNM, transfer, and substituted credits may be applied towards the total degree requirements.

No GNM, transfer, or substituted credits may be applied towards the capstone requirement.

When a Ph.D. and practice doctorate are earned concurrently, departments may petition the Graduate School to count 30 specified credits toward the total minimum credit count of each degree, for a total minimum of 150 credits. Core credits for either degree, as (defined as part of the core curriculum by the graduate program) may not be included in these 30 credits applied to both degrees, and this option may not be used on top of previously waived credits for either degree. It is the responsibility of each unit to assure that the credits applied toward its degree are relevant to that degree. The student must meet Graduate School minimum requirements (18 credits 500 level and above, 18 numerically graded 400/500 level credits) for each degree.


Policy 1.1 revised: October 2021; October 2022; November 2022

Policy 1.1.2.2 and 1.1.4.3 revised March 2023

Policy 1.1.4, 1.1.4.1, and 1.1.4.4 revised March 2023

Policy 1.1.1 revised April 2023

Policy 1.1.1 revised July 2023

Policy 1.1.5 revised October 2023

Policy 1.1.1 revised November 2023

Policy 1.1.4.5 revised March 2024

Policy 1.1.2.2 revised March 2024