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Policy 4.2: Supervisory Committee for Graduate Students

This section outlines the policy for the supervisory committee of master’s students and doctoral students.

As a general principle, each student working toward a graduate degree at the University of Washington is guided by a faculty supervisory committee. This committee serves an important evaluative and mentoring function for the student throughout the student’s graduate career.

Questions about the timeline and process for appointing a supervisory committees for master’s or doctoral students should be directed to the Graduate School’s Graduate Enrollment Management Services (GEMS) office. All other questions about supervisory committee appointment or function, as well as concerns about the proceedings of an exam, should be directed to the Graduate School’s Office of Academic Affairs.

4.2.1     The Master’s Supervisory Committee

Appointment of a supervisory committee for students aspiring to the Master’s degree is determined by the Graduate Faculty in the degree-offering unit or program. The Graduate Program Coordinator, in consultation with the student and appropriate faculty members, appoints a committee of two to four members. The Chair and at least one-half of the total membership must be members of the graduate faculty.

For any thesis project that may include human or animal subjects, the GPC or GPA must advise the student of the need to  comply with the University of Washington Human Subjects Division and Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee’s requirements, as appropriate, and the student and committee chair must complete the Use Of Human And Animal Subjects For UW Graduate Student Theses And Dissertations form.

4.2.2     The Doctoral Supervisory Committee other than Practice Doctorates

The appointment of a doctoral supervisory committee indicates that the Graduate Faculty in the student’s field find the student’s background and achievement a sufficient basis for progression to the next stage of a program of doctoral study and research.

Doctoral supervisory committee member responsibilities include the approval of a course of study which will fulfill the general course requirements of the student’s major and supporting fields, conducting the student’s General Examination and, when appropriate, recommending advancement to Candidacy.

The doctoral supervisory committee approves the Candidate’s dissertation proposal and guides the student in carrying out appropriate research for the dissertation. The Graduate School does not stipulate the content of the dissertation; guidance on the dissertation is the responsibility of the supervisory committee.

For doctoral committee responsibilities for the General Exam and Final Exam, see Policy 1.1.4.

4.2.2.1     Timeline and Process

  • In order to allow time to identify a suitable Graduate School Representative (GSR), it is suggested that the doctoral supervisory committee be established at least four months prior to the intended date of the General Examination.
  • The appointment of a committee is initiated by the Graduate Program Coordinator (GPC) after consultation with appropriate Graduate Faculty members in the student’s field and with the student.
  • The GPC recommends members of the supervisory committee to the Dean of The Graduate School by entering this information into MyGradProgram (MGP).
  • For any dissertation project that may include human or animal subjects, the GPC or GPA must advise the student of the need to comply with the University of Washington Human Subjects Division and Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee’s requirements, as appropriate, and the student and committee chair must complete the Use Of Human And Animal Subjects For UW Graduate Student Theses And Dissertations form.

4.2.2.2     Committee Composition

  • The doctoral supervisory committee consists of a minimum of four members, at least three of whom (including one Chair and the GSR) must be members of the Graduate Faculty with an endorsement to chair doctoral committees.
  • A majority of the members must be members of the Graduate Faculty.
  • The GSR must be a productive scholar in the GSR’s own research area that may differ from that of the student’s dissertation project.
  • The members outside the GSR must be identified by the student’s appointing department or program as productive scholars in the student’s major field and/or subfields.

4.2.2.3     The Committee Chair

  • The Chair(s) of a committee must be able and willing to assume principal responsibility for advising the student. In addition, the Chair(s) should have adequate time available for this work and should expect to be accessible to the student.
  • Emeritus/a and affiliate faculty may serve as Chair(s) if the above conditions are met.
  • If a committee has Co-Chairs, both serve with equal importance on a student’s supervisory committee and equally share the responsibility for the student’s progress. In the case of Co-Chairs, the first Co-Chair must have a Graduate Faculty appointment with doctoral endorsement. The second Co-Chair may be appointed without Graduate Faculty status if the individual has a qualified UW faculty appointment. Qualified faculty appointments in this case are those appointments eligible for continuous or five-year graduate faculty roles. A Co-Chair without qualified UW faculty appointment may be appointed only by petition through the Office of Academic Affairs to the Dean of the Graduate School or the Dean’s designee.

4.2.2.4     The Role of the Graduate School Representative (GSR)

The GSR represents the broad interests of the Graduate School with respect to high standards of scholarly performance. The GSR is a voting member of the dissertation supervisory committee, and as such provides an important service function to the Graduate School and the University.

In all cases, the GSR must meet the following Graduate School requirements:

  • attest to the validity of examinations and indicate approval of the process by which examinations are conducted;
  • ensure that the student is treated in an unbiased manner; and
  • represent the Graduate School in ensuring university-wide standards of scholarly performance.

In addition, any graduate program may choose to define the role of the GSR to include one or both of the following:

  • ensure that the student’s mastery of the subject matter is broad and comprehensive;
  • provide additional support for the student as the student navigates the exam and dissertation process.

If a graduate program sets additional expectations for the GSR beyond the Graduate School requirements, the graduate program must clearly articulate these expectations, and the Graduate Program Coordinator (GPC) or designee must communicate them in writing to all parties (student, chair, committee members, GSR) upon appointment of the GSR. The minimum role of the GSR must be defined consistently across all committees in the graduate program.

The GSR’s signature on the committee signature form affirming the decision of the committee communicates to the Dean of the Graduate School that the Graduate School and program-level responsibilities have been met.

4.2.2.5     Graduate School Representative (GSR) Eligibility

  • As with all doctoral supervisory committee members, the GSR is proposed to the Graduate School by the Graduate Program Coordinator in the student’s degree-offering unit and must be a member of the Graduate Faculty with an endorsement to Chair.
  • Faculty members with a primary, joint, or affiliate appointment in the student’s degree-offering unit or the committee chair’s department are not eligible to serve as the GSR.
  • It is vital that a conflict of interest in the selection of the GSR be avoided. Budgetary relationships, personal relationships, or research and/or publication relationships between the GSR and either the student or the committee chair are examples of possible conflicts of interest. (See GSR Eligibility for more information.) The GSR is responsible for ensuring that no such conflicts of interest, or appearance of conflicts of interest, exist, and must attest to this upon request.

4.2.2.6 Reading Committee Timeline and Composition

  • After the General Examination, the Graduate Program Coordinator informs the Dean of The Graduate School of at least three members of the supervisory committee who will serve on the reading committee.
  • At least one of the members of the reading committee must hold an endorsement to chair doctoral committees. The reading committee is appointed to read and approve the dissertation.

4.2.2.7 Function of the Reading Committee

It is the responsibility of the reading committee to:

  • Ensure that the dissertation is a significant contribution to knowledge and is an acceptable piece of scholarly writing.
  • Determine the appropriateness of a candidate’s dissertation as a basis for issuing the Committee Signature Form for a Final Examination.

4.2.3 The Practice Doctorate Supervisory Committee

The appointment of a practice doctoral supervisory committee indicates that the Graduate Faculty in the student’s field finds the student’s background and achievement a sufficient basis for progression in the doctoral program.

Responsibilities of the practice doctoral supervisory committee include: approval of the student’s program of study; criteria for progression, which may include a general examination, certification, or other requirements set by the graduate program; approval and oversight of the student’s project proposal; and approval of the completed project.

4.2.3.1 Timeline and Process

The practice doctoral supervisory committee should be established as soon as possible during the student’s training. The Graduate Program Coordinator initiates the appointment of the committee after consultation with appropriate Graduate Faculty members in the student’s field and with the student. The Graduate Program Coordinator recommends members of the supervisory committee to the Dean of The Graduate School by entering this information into MyGrad Program.

4.2.3.2 Committee Composition

The practice doctoral supervisory committee consists of a minimum of three members. At least two committee members, including the Chair, must be members of the Graduate Faculty with an endorsement to chair doctoral committees, and at least half of the total number must be members of the Graduate Faculty. The following applies to all practice doctoral supervisory committees:

  • Any committee members who are not Graduate Faculty must be identified by the student’s appointing department or program as productive scholars or practitioners in the student’s major field and/or subfields.
  • Co-chairs may be appointed when both serve with equal importance on a student’s supervisory committee and equally share the responsibility for the student’s progress. If co-chairs are appointed, each must be a member of the Graduate Faculty with endorsement to chair.
  • The Chair or Co-chairs of a committee must be able and willing to assume principal responsibility for advising the student. In addition, the Chair or Co-chairs should have adequate time available for this work and should expect to be accessible to the student. Emeritus faculty may serve as a Chair if the above conditions are met.
  • A Graduate School Representative (GSR) is not required.

Policy 4.2 revised: October 2021, March 2022; May 2022; December 2022

Policy 4.2.1 and 4.2.3 revised March 2023

Policy 4.2.3.6 and 4.2.4 revised March 2023

Policy 4.2.3.7 and 4.2.3.9 were deleted March 2023, with content moved to Policy 1.1

Policy 4.2 revised October 2023

Policy 4.1: Membership in the Graduate Faculty and Doctoral Endorsement

The Graduate Faculty consists of those members of the University faculty who have been designated by the Dean of the Graduate School as actively participating in graduate education. Powers and Duties of the Graduate Faculty are given in Chapter 23; section 23-42 and 23-44 of the Faculty Code.

For purposes of Policy 4.1, “academic unit” refers to department, division, program, school, college, or interdisciplinary group offering a graduate degree or a graduate certificate.

A “graduate program” is one that offers a graduate degree or a graduate certificate.

4.1.1     Graduate Faculty Appointment

Graduate Faculty are granted either continuous appointments or 5-year renewable appointments, as described below under “Eligibility for Graduate Faculty Status.” New Graduate Faculty members are nominated to general membership by a quorum majority vote of Graduate Faculty from the academic unit where the faculty hold the primary faculty appointment. The nominated faculty are subsequently appointed by the Dean of the Graduate School (Faculty Code Section 23-42). In cases where the faculty member’s primary academic unit does not offer a graduate degree or graduate certificate, the faculty member may be nominated to the Graduate Faculty by a graduate degree-offering or graduate certificate-offering unit where that faculty member holds an adjunct appointment.

The academic unit is responsible for assessing whether a faculty member meets the following required qualifications for a Graduate Faculty appointment based on the faculty member’s academic background and the nature of scholarship and research in that unit.

  • Active involvement in (or, for an initial appointment, qualification for) graduate student teaching, mentoring, and/or research supervision.
  • Research-based scholarship as demonstrated by peer-reviewed publications, equivalent creative work, or equivalent teaching-based scholarship, as defined by the academic unit.

4.1.2     Doctoral Endorsement

Graduate Faculty members who substantively engage in doctoral education must also have a specific “doctoral endorsement.” A doctoral endorsement is required to chair a doctoral supervisory committee or to serve as a Graduate School Representative (GSR) to doctoral supervisory committees.

The academic unit is responsible for assessing whether a faculty member meets the following required qualifications for doctoral endorsement based on the faculty member’s academic background and the nature of scholarship and research in that unit.

  • Recent evidence of the ability to (or, for an initial appointment, qualification to) chair a doctoral supervisory committee, including supervising doctoral research and overseeing the doctoral dissertation or final project/capstone.
  • The ability to serve as the Graduate School Representative (GSR) for doctoral supervisory committees.

4.1.3     Eligibility for Graduate Faculty status

Graduate Faculty status can either be continuous or for a 5-year renewable term. The requirement for each category of Graduate Faculty status follows. The accompanying document contains a complete list of faculty appointments by eligibility.

4.1.3.1     Continuous status

  • Faculty must hold a title of assistant professor, associate professor, or professor.
  • Continuous Graduate Faculty status does not require tenure, nor do faculty need to be tenure-track.

4.1.3.2     5-year renewable term

  • Faculty with the title of assistant professor, associate professor, or professor who are appointed with emeritus, retired, affiliate, research, or clinical status may be nominated for a 5-year, renewable term and may be endorsed to chair doctoral supervisory committees if deemed appropriate by the academic unit.
  • Faculty with the following titles and ranks (including those with emeritus, retired, affiliate, research, or clinical status) may be nominated for a 5-year, renewable term and may be endorsed to chair doctoral supervisory committees if deemed appropriate by the academic unit and hired through a nationally competitive search for a faculty position:
    • Professor of Practice
    • Artist in Residence
    • Senior Artist in Residence
    • Lecturer
    • Assistant Teaching Professor
    • Associate Teaching Professor
    • Teaching Professor
  • Instructors and those in temporary, acting, or visiting appointments are not eligible for Graduate Faculty status.
  • Graduate Faculty status is automatically continued for the first five years of an otherwise eligible emeritus or retired faculty appointment. After that, retired and emeritus faculty are treated as all other renewable 5-year appointments.

4.1.4     Procedures for Graduate Faculty Membership

It is the responsibility of each graduate program-offering academic unit across all three university of Washington campuses to create a written policy for Graduate Faculty membership and for the doctoral endorsement. This policy and the specific criteria must be articulated to the faculty in the unit.

Faculty are nominated by vote to either general membership or to membership with doctoral endorsement. An individual first appointed as a general member can subsequently receive doctoral endorsement.

4.1.4.1     Voting Requirements:

  • All members of the Graduate Faculty with a primary appointment in the academic unit vote on proposed nominations.
  • Faculty with joint appointments may vote in multiple units.
  • For the doctoral endorsement, voting is restricted to Graduate Faculty members within the academic unit who hold that endorsement.
  • Renewal of a Graduate Faculty 5-year term requires a vote of the academic unit’s Graduate Faculty.

4.1.4.2     Nomination Requirements

Eligible faculty members from all three campuses of the university may be nominated for graduate faculty membership, including membership with doctoral endorsement. Nominations for Graduate Faculty status across all three University of Washington campuses should be made by a faculty member’s primary graduate degree-offering or graduate certificate-offering academic unit.

  • If a faculty member holds a joint appointment either academic unit can make the nomination.
  • If a faculty member holds an adjunct appointment, only the primary academic unit can nominate, unless the primary academic unit does not offer a graduate program.
  • If the faculty member’s primary appointment is in a unit that does not offer a graduate program, the Graduate School will accept a nomination to appoint the faculty member to the Graduate Faculty from (1) a unit where the faculty member holds an adjunct appointment or (2) the faculty of a Graduate School Interdisciplinary Group where the nominated faculty is active in the interdisciplinary field.

4.1.4.3     Process Requirements

  • Authorized administrative personnel in each academic unit will have access to process new Graduate Faculty nominations and renewals through the online MyGradProgram.
  • E-mail notification to the newly nominated or renewed faculty member and the chair/director of the faculty’s academic unit is automatically sent from MyGradProgram.
  • It is suggested that members of the faculty who are not members of the Graduate Faculty be considered annually for possible nomination.

4.1.5     Expectations of Graduate Faculty Members

The academic unit is responsible for assuring members of the Graduate Faculty show ongoing evidence of the following, based on the faculty member’s academic background and the nature of scholarship and research in that unit:

  • Active involvement in graduate student teaching, mentoring, and/or research supervision.
  • Continued research-based scholarship as demonstrated by peer-reviewed publications, equivalent creative work, or equivalent teaching-based scholarship, as defined by the academic unit.

Also see Faculty Code Chapter 23, Sections 23-42, 23-44. Executive Orders IV and VII.

4.1.6     Terminating Graduate Faculty Status

A vote of the Graduate Faculty of a faculty member’s appointing academic unit is required to terminate Graduate Faculty status. The unit informs the Graduate School of the decision and the Graduate School then updates faculty status online through MyGradProgram.


Policy 4.1 revised: October 2021

Policy 3.10: Graduate Student Classifications

The following classifications are assigned to graduate students and postdoctoral appointees on the basis of advancement toward or completion of graduate degrees:

  • Premaster: A Premaster has been admitted to the Graduate School, but has not yet completed a master’s degree or the equivalent.
  • Post-Master: A Post-master has completed the master’s degree or equivalent, but has not yet had a doctoral Supervisory Committee appointed.
  • Precandidate: A Precandidate has had a doctoral Supervisory Committee appointed, which signifies admission into a doctoral program, but has not yet completed the Graduate School General Examinations.
  • Candidacy: A student in candidacy status has completed the General Examination, but has not yet completed the dissertation and final examination.
  • Postdoctoral: A Postdoctoral appointee has completed a doctoral degree and is engaged in research or scholarly work in residence at the University, but is neither an enrolled student nor a member of the faculty.

When a student is first admitted to the Graduate School, the student is placed in the appropriate classification which recognizes the highest academic degree which the admitted student holds in the field of the proposed graduate work at the University of Washington. When a graduate student officially completes the master’s degree, or has a doctoral Supervisory Committee appointed, or completes the General Examination, the classification is changed accordingly.

Every quarter each graduate program advisor reviews the graduate student list and informs the Graduate School of any changes needed.


Policy 3.10 revised: November 1977; July 2015

Policy 3.9: Posthumous Degrees

The University of Washington Graduate School follows the guidelines outlined by the University for awarding posthumous degrees, which can be found on the Procedure for Awarding Posthumous Degrees at the University of Washington (Seattle) page.

The University of Washington Graduate School recognizes the sense of loss that the student’s family and the university community feel when a student dies. One means of expressing gratitude for an advanced student’s life and work and/or sympathy for the surviving family and friends is to support the nomination of that student for a posthumous degree. The following policy is designed to allow such an award.

Please note: the nomination must be accompanied by a request from the deceased student’s family and does not necessarily mean that the degree will be awarded.

A graduate degree may be awarded to a student who is deceased prior to but nearing formal completion of all degree requirements of the program being pursued. 

3.9.1     Requirements for Consideration of a Posthumous Degree

  • Request is made by a family member(s);
  • Faculty from the student’s supervisory committee, or equivalent, support the awarding of the posthumous degree;
  • Student was within two quarters of graduating;
  • The student was in good academic standing at the time of death. Good standing is defined as not being academically deficient (warn, probation, final probation, drop);
  • For graduate students in thesis/dissertation programs, significant coursework should have been completed, and the student must have been admitted to candidacy and made tangible progress toward completion of approved research. For example, the student should have produced a dissertation in at least draft form or some other product that was acceptable to the student’s supervisory committee as indicating the expected mastery of material and independent capability in research.
  • The department chair and the dean of the student’s college/school recommend to the dean of the Graduate School the awarding of the degree.
  • If the recommendation is denied, the dean of the student’s college/school will notify the family and include a letter of explanation.
  • The Dean of the Graduate School approves the awarding of the degree.
  • The Dean of the Graduate School may consider cases that do not meet the above criteria when extraordinary circumstances prevail.

3.9.2     Process

  • The family makes a request to the university (typically through the student’s faculty/department) for a posthumous degree.
  • If the student record is not marked as “deceased” in the student database (SDB), the family should provide documentation of the student’s passing (The department can contact Graduate Enrollment Management Services for confirmation of whether or not the student record is marked as “deceased.”).
  • The student’s department (including the student’s supervisory committee) collects the appropriate documents and reviews the student’s work to make a determination on recommendation of a posthumous degree. The Director of Graduate Enrollment Management Services manages the process for the Graduate School and will create a secure folder for supporting documents to be placed for review by all parties.  Documents submitted by the academic unit include:
    • A copy of the student’s degree audit and/or a copy of the student’s transcript.
    • Letter of support from the student’s faculty/supervisory committee articulating the details of the student’s scholarship and recommending the awarding of the posthumous degree.
  • If the recommendation is supported by the department chair, it is forwarded to the college/school dean. 
  • The dean of the student’s college/school reviews the recommendation and if supported, submits the recommendation and supporting documents to the dean of the Graduate School for formal approval.
  • The Graduate School will forward the approved request and supporting documentation to the Office of the University Registrar per the instructions on the Posthumous Degree Request form for degree posting and issuing of the diploma.

Policy 3.9 created: December 2022

Policy 3.8: Academic Grievance Procedure

3.8.1     Application

Graduate students who believe they have been subjected to unfair treatment in the administration of academic policies may, except as noted below, seek resolution of the student complaint under this Academic Grievance Procedure. Policy 3.8 applies to the application of departmental, college, or Graduate School policies, as well as deviations from stated grading practices (but not individual grade challenges).

3.8.1.1     Exceptions

  • Students contesting individual grades or academic evaluations should refer to the Change of Grade Procedure contained in the University Handbook, Vol. Four, Part III, Chapter 11, Section 2.
  • Students who believe they have been discriminated against on the basis of race, religion, color, creed, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, age, marital status, disability, or status as a disabled veteran or Vietnam-era veteran should refer to the Resolution of Complaints Against University Employees Procedure contained in University of Washington Administrative Policy Statement 46.3.
  • Student disciplinary proceedings for misconduct, including plagiarism and cheating, fall under the provisions of the Student Conduct Code contained in the University Handbook, Vol. Three, Part III, Chapter 1 and Chapter 478-120 WAC.

3.8.1.2     Timing

Students seeking resolution of the student complaint under this policy must initiate either an informal conciliation or file a formal complaint within three months of the complained of incident. Former students may also utilize this procedure, subject to this same time limit.

Specified time limitations within Academic Grievance Procedure policy refer to the academic year, September through June. If a student presents a grievance in June or the complained of incident allegedly occurred during the summer months, the time calculation may be suspended between the end of the academic year and the opening of the following academic year in September. Such suspension may be required if it is impossible to constitute a committee. In addition, time limitations do not include official University holidays or other closures during the regular academic year. The term “days” refers to days when the University is open for business.

3.8.2     Informal Conciliation

The student is encouraged to attempt to resolve a grievance initially with the faculty or staff member(s) most directly concerned. If the student attempts informal conciliation, the student must initiate this process within three months of the complained of incident by requesting one of the following persons to conciliate the grievance: director/ chair of the unit or the appropriate college dean.

If discussion with the faculty or staff member(s) concerned, facilitated by the director/chair of the unit or the appropriate college dean, does not resolve the grievance, the student may request The Graduate School to assist in an informal resolution. In such a case, the dean of The Graduate School shall designate an associate dean as the informal conciliator for The Graduate School. The associate dean may either facilitate conciliation directly or involve the Office of the Ombudsman.  If the associate dean attempts informal conciliation directly, the associate dean may not be involved in a subsequent formal complaint.

If the informal conciliation process has not adequately addressed unfair treatment in the administration of academic policies, the student may submit a formal complaint with the dean of The Graduate School as described below.

3.8.3     Formal Complaint

3.8.3.1     Filing

Within three months of the complained of incident or, if informal conciliation was attempted, within 10 days of the conclusion of the attempted informal process, a student may file a formal complaint with the dean of The Graduate School. The complaint must be initiated by a written statement that indicates the action(s) being appealed and the date(s) the action(s) occurred; the academic policies upon which the appeal is based, and the relief requested. The statement should also include a description of the results of any unit level process or informal conciliation, as well as any background information that the student deems pertinent to the complaint.

Graduate School Associate Deans will review the complaint and recommend to the Dean whether the formal complaint process is warranted. If a formal grievance process is initiated, any Associate Dean involved in this preliminary review and recommendation will not be part of the formal grievance. Evaluation criteria will be whether the complaint centers on unfair treatment in the application of academic policies. This includes departmental, college, or Graduate School policies, as well as deviations from stated grading practices (but not individual grade challenges). The question of whether the grievance has been addressed at the unit level will also be considered and, if appropriate, the grievance may be referred back to the department or college for further review. The Dean will notify the student whether the formal complaint will proceed within 10 days of submission of the formal complaint by the student.

If the decision is made by the Dean of the Graduate School to move forward with the formal complaint, the following processes will be followed.

3.8.3.2     Chair of the Academic Grievance Committee

The dean of The Graduate School shall designate an associate dean of The Graduate School as Chair of the Graduate School Academic Grievance Committee (‘Committee’). If the associate dean attempted to facilitate informal conciliation directly in a particular case, then the dean of The Graduate School shall appoint another associate dean or a graduate faculty member as Chair of the Committee in that case.

3.8.3.3     Graduate School Academic Grievance Committee Pool

Prior to the first day of the autumn quarter, the dean of The Graduate School shall create a pool of at least 20 members of the graduate faculty. At the time the formal complaint is filed, all registered graduate students shall constitute a pool from which at least 20 full-time graduate students who are in good academic standing shall be randomly selected by computer. From these pools, the Committee chair shall appoint a Committee to provide a fair and impartial hearing on the formal complaint filed with the dean of The Graduate School.

3.8.3.4     The Graduate School Academic Grievance

A formal grievance is referred to the chair of the Committee who shall, in a timely manner, designate two faculty and two student members from the pool to serve as Committee members for a hearing. The Committee chair or chair’s designee shall act as chair. The student and the faculty or staff concerned shall each have the right to exercise one preemptory challenge against the Committee members, other than the Committee chair, within five days after notification of the names of the members. If a challenge is made, the Committee chair shall designate another faculty or student member to replace the member challenged. All members of the Committee shall be present for the hearing and shall have the right to vote upon any matter that may come before the Committee. No member of the Committee shall be from the department of any of the parties to the grievance. There shall be no ex parte communications between any of the parties and any member of the Committee.

3.8.3.5     Hearing Preparation

The Committee chair shall distribute a copy of the formal complaint to the faculty and staff concerned, the dean of the college or school, the chair/director of the department/program and the graduate program coordinator of the department/program, and members of the Committee. The Committee chair shall establish a time and place for a hearing to be held no later than 20 days from the date of final determination of the Committee membership, unless for good reason stated in writing to the complainant and other concerned parties the Committee chair schedules the hearing for a later specified date. The Committee chair shall announce the time and place of the hearing to the student, the faculty and staff concerned the dean of the college or school, the chair/director of the department/program, the graduate program coordinator of the department/program and include a list of persons so notified, who shall comprise the ‘mailing list.’

At least seven days before the Hearing, the parties must submit to the Committee chair any documentary or any other physical evidence to be presented at the Hearing and a list of witnesses to be called. Additional evidence from witnesses will not be accepted after this time or at the hearing.

3.8.3.6     Hearing

Hearings are conducted, with the Committee chair presiding, in closed session except when and to the extent mutually agreed upon by the student and faculty or staff concerned. All parties may present evidence and testimony. Only evidence timely submitted to the Committee chair is considered in determining the validity of the complaint. Hearings are conducted with reasonable dispatch and terminated as soon as fairness to all parties involved permits.

While the student may be accompanied by an associate or companion, the presence of an attorney is neither necessary nor recommended. The Graduate School Academic Grievance Committee described herein operates as part of an academic hearing, not a judicial proceeding. However, if the student elects to have counsel present, the University’s attorney must also be afforded an opportunity to attend. Accordingly, the student must notify The Graduate School, in writing, at least seven days prior to the Hearing if the student intends to have an attorney present. The attorney(ies) presence at the Hearing does not change the proceeding. Examination of witnesses, questioning of parties or direct participation in the proceeding by the attorney(ies) is not permitted. An attorney may speak in an unobtrusive manner with the attorney’s client in an advisory capacity.

Within 15 days after the Hearing adjourns, the Committee shall present to the dean of The Graduate School its report, including findings, conclusions, and recommendations for action. The report is simultaneously transmitted to the student and to the faculty and staff member(s) concerned. A written summary of the proceedings and an audio recording of testimony are retained for at least one year.

The dean of The Graduate School, within 10 days after receipt of the Committee report, shall issue the dean’s decision as to the action to be taken on the grievance. The decision shall include an evaluation of the validity of the grievance and a statement of the action to be taken. Copies of the decision shall be transmitted to the student, the faculty and staff member(s) involved, the dean of the college or school, the chair/director of the department/program, and the graduate program coordinator of the department/program.

The decision of the dean of The Graduate School shall become final at the close of the seventh day after issuance, unless the student or any other party directly involved files a written request for consideration of the findings by the Provost, whose review will be limited to the hearing record.

3.8.3.7     Disability Accommodations

The University of Washington is committed to providing access and reasonable accommodation in its services, programs, activities, education, and employment for individuals with disabilities. To request disability accommodation in the grievance process students should contact the Office of Academic Affairs at gsacad@uw.edu at the same time as the formal grievance is filed. Faculty and staff participating in the hearing may also request disability accommodation upon receipt of the grievance.


Policy 3.8 revised November 2000; May 2007; February 2023

Policy 3.8.3.7 revised August 2023

Policy 3.7: Academic Performance and Progress

This section articulates policies for the academic performance and progress of graduate students, including guidance on appropriate process for cases where student academic performance does not meet program expectations.

3.7.1     Communicating Performance and Progress Requirements

A student admitted to the Graduate School may continue graduate study and research at the University of Washington as long as the student maintains satisfactory performance and progress toward completion of the student’s graduate degree. The definition of satisfactory academic and professional performance and progress may differ among graduate programs. Each graduate program is required to document and distribute performance and progress requirements to each of its graduate faculty and graduate students upon student enrollment. Documentation shall include the following information:

  • General expectations for graduate student performance and progress within the program that includes, but is not limited to, required coursework, research, scholarship, professional behavior relevant to the program, fieldwork, practicum requirements, and length of time allowed for completion of various phases of the program.
  • Performance and progress measures including:
    • key academic and professional milestones, as defined by the program.
    • expected timelines
    • evaluation of progress and milestones by faculty
  • Performance issues that would lead to warn, probationary, or drop status, as outlined below.
  • Consequences of not meeting a milestone or expectations, including process and timing for managing repeated attempts at a milestone if graduate program policy permits.
  • Procedures for appealing program decisions.

3.7.2     Reviewing Performance and Progress

Faculty should assess student progress using a variety of professional behavior and academic metrics to determine if a student has completed sufficient work at reasonable performance levels. It is acceptable to compare a student’s performance and progress relative to that of other students in the program or to individually negotiated schedules if consistently used. The following elements may be considered when evaluating a student’s performances and progress:

  • Performance and progress in the fulfillment of degree program requirements as outlined in the graduate program’s documentation distributed to students upon enrollment.
  • Maintenance of a minimum cumulative and quarterly 3.0 grade point average (GPA) while the student is enrolled in the UW Graduate School. A program may petition the Graduate School to consider exceptions to the 3.0 GPA minimum requirement for graduation if the student demonstrates steady and consistent progress.

Program faculty, the Graduate Program Coordinator (GPC), Graduate Program Advisor (GPA), or an advisory/supervisory committee designated by the graduate program, are responsible for regular reviews of student performance. At doctoral candidate level, the doctoral supervisory committee reviews student progress and does so, in consultation with the GPC as needed.

  • The graduate program faculty should review a student’s performance and progress at least annually.
  • The GPC and GPA should provide ongoing advising of students.
  • For accelerated or shorter term graduate programs that are six quarters or fewer, student performance and progress should be reviewed quarterly. Unsatisfactory performance may require mid-quarter reviews and interventions.
  • Students not meeting milestones, including those whose cumulative or quarterly grade point average (GPA) falls below a 3.0, should be reviewed quarterly.
  • Students not meeting milestones should be provided with a written explanation of performance expectations, clear descriptions of performance benchmarks and outcomes that would demonstrate improvements, and a timetable for demonstrating progress or achievement of these benchmarks.
  • For students in the research or fieldwork phase of a graduate program, program faculty should review student progress at least annually, with greater frequency as determined by program expectations and student performance.

3.7.3     Unsatisfactory Performance and Progress

The following three status levels are used to indicate unsatisfactory performance, to communicate clear expectations to the student, and consequences should those expectations not be met in the time indicated. The goal of each step is to establish clear expectations and outline a path to return to satisfactory progress.

  • Warn: This is an early status for a student who has failed to meet expectations for performance or progress. Warnings are optional in the probation process and are managed internally by the program with a goal of resolving problems before escalating to probation. The program may issue multiple warning letters to the student and the Graduate School is not notified. The Graduate School recommends that programs use the warning status prior to a probation status.
  • Probation: This status is used for a student who has failed to resolve problems with student performance or progress that the program has previously documented and communicated to the student. Programs send a probation recommendation to the student with a copy to the Graduate School no later than the 10th business day of the probation quarter. The Graduate School does a post review of probation letters sent to students by the department.  At least one quarter of probation must be issued prior to final probation. Two additional quarters of probation may be issued at the program’s discretion and the Graduate School must receive documents supporting a probation recommendation each quarter. All probation letters must cite:
    • the reason for the probation
    • steps the student must take to remove the probation
    • the consequences the student will face if steps were not taken to remove the probation
  • Final Probation: This status is used for a student who has failed to resolve the documented problems in the student’s probation status as submitted to the Graduate School. Programs send a final probation recommendation to the student with a copy to the Graduate School no later than the 10th business day of the final probation quarter. The Graduate School will review the final probation letter and, if accepted, the Graduate School will send an additional letter from the Dean of the Graduate School to the student informing the student of final probation status. The graduate program must issue one quarter of final probation prior to a drop from the program, except in clearly documented situations as discussed below. A program may request an additional quarter of final probation in extenuating circumstances. The Graduate School must receive documents supporting this recommendation and will send letters to the student informing the student of final probation status. All final probation letters must cite:
    • the reason for the final probation
    • steps the student must take to remove the final probation
    • the consequences the student will face if steps were not taken to remove the final probation

A graduate program may recommend a student be placed on probation status while the student is on leave. The program may not change a student’s probationary status while the student remains on leave. The student must apply for leave status each quarter which is then approved by the department (see Policy 3.5).

Additional considerations as described in the graduate program policy provided to students may result in an immediate recommendation to drop a student without progressing through Probation and Final Probation. The most common examples of this are unsatisfactory performance in the following:

  • Qualifying or Preliminary Examinations: As defined in a graduate program policy.
  • Doctoral General Exam or Final Exam performance: if graduate faculty determine the student did not pass the general or final exam, the graduate faculty may indicate on the committee signature form that the student is recommended to be dropped from the program. See Policy 1.1 for general exam and final exam requirements.
  • Fieldwork or professional performance: As defined in a graduate program policy.

To request a change to student status, the GPC must send a letter to the Graduate School with supporting documentation. A status change is recorded in the student record but does not appear on the student transcript.

A student in a probation status who is not on an approved On-Leave status may submit a request
for reinstatement. If reinstated, the department will determine if the student will be reinstated
with the probation status in place when the student left the university based on the program’s
internal academic performance and progress policy. See Policy 3.5 for leave policy to maintain graduate student status.

3.7.4     Drop

Drop is an official action that terminates a student’s enrollment from a graduate program because either the student has failed to resolve documented problems in the student’s final probation status, or the student has one of the performance issues as outlined above. Graduate programs should submit drop recommendations to the Graduate School prior to the start of the quarter but no later than the fifth business day of the drop quarter. The Graduate School approves the drop, and drop status will appear on the student’s official transcript. Drop letters are sent to the student from the department and from the Dean of the Graduate School. When dropped, a student is not eligible to complete the program or return later to complete the degree. A student dropped from one graduate program may apply to and enroll in a different graduate program if accepted.

3.7.5     Appeals

Appeals must follow the process outlined in Policy 3.8 for the Academic Grievance Procedure.


Policy 3.7 revised: October 2021

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 with no grading 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 2.2: Graduate Courses in Non-Degree-Offering Units

Graduate courses normally should be offered only under the sponsorship of academic departments or other units which are authorized to grant graduate degrees. However, in certain cases faculty members of an academic unit not authorized to offer a graduate degree or graduate certificate program may be granted permission to offer courses numbered 500 to 599 and create a new course prefix, if required.

Courses proposed under this provision should not be intended as part of a graduate degree program being developed by the sponsoring unit. Such courses should be offered under the approved prefixes of existing graduate degree programs until the new degree has been established by the Board of Regents. Procedures for authorization of new graduate degrees are described in Policy 1.7.

2.2.1 Review and Approval Process

Graduate courses to be offered by non-graduate-program-offering units must follow the regular UW course and course prefix approval process. This includes curricular review by the appropriate school, college, or campus and final approval by the UW Curriculum Committee. The Graduate School will review and endorse proposed courses and prefixes as part of the course approval workflow. The course proposers must indicate all affected units and the Graduate School in the “Potentially Affected Departments, Schools, or Colleges” section of the course proposal. These units will be asked to review and acknowledge the course proposal.

In requesting approval of courses under this policy the unit must provide a written statement, included with the course application materials, showing that each course meets the following criteria:

  • The academic and budgetary impact of the course has been assessed and approved by the leadership of the academic unit and the school/college/campus.
  • Instructors should be members of the graduate faculty or meet equivalent standards for scholarship and teaching experience. Provide a list of expected instructors and academic titles, including indication of graduate faculty status.
  • Classes should have majority graduate or postdoctoral (as opposed to professional or undergraduate) enrollment. Provide an estimate of the total enrollment for each.
  • The course should have clear interdisciplinary value in the following ways. Provide an explanation of the following criteria:
  1. It should extend and integrate knowledge from more than one discipline to the extent that it is not appropriately offered by a graduate-degree-offering unit.
  2. Its enrollment is drawn from more than one graduate-degree-offering unit.

Policy 2.2 created: March, 1987. Revised: April, 2007; February 2020

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 the student’s 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

Policy 1.9: Suspension of Admissions

The Graduate School approves suspension of admissions for graduate degree programs, graduate certificates, and graduate degree options that offer direct admissions. Policies for suspension of admissions are contained in this Policy 1.9; process details are available at Guidelines for Suspending Admissions

Suspension of admissions may be used to address short-term or long-term program needs. Any suspension must be designed to fully accommodate the curriculum, advising, and support for currently enrolled and admitted students. Programs offering regular admission every other year do not need to suspend admissions for non-admission years. 

In all cases, suspension of admissions must be limited in duration and must not be used as a substitute for formal program termination.

1.9.1     Duration of Suspension of Admissions

Admissions may be suspended for one or two years to allow for planning and to ensure long-term success of the program. Examples of reasons to suspend admissions include the following (not an exhaustive list):

  • over-enrollment or under-enrollment
  • curricular re-design
  • temporary financial pressures
  • faculty hiring/staffing issues
  • re-assessment of the purpose and goals of the program
  • long-term structural issues

Programs not intending to reopen admissions should proceed with program termination in coordination with their dean’s office or chancellor’s office.

1.9.2     Mechanisms for Suspension of Admissions

In most cases, suspension of admissions is initiated when the graduate faculty of the academic unit offering the graduate program vote to suspend admissions to a graduate program or program option. After vote of the faculty, the unit must communicate outcomes with the college/school dean or chancellor and must follow any process required by the college/school or campus. 

In exceptional cases, one of the following mechanisms may be used to suspend admissions to a graduate program or program option. Examples of appropriate use of these two mechanisms are: the fundamental violation of a program’s obligations to its students; the inability of a program to maintain essential institutional standards; a loss of program accreditation; or a critical lack of alignment between the delivery of a program and its approved academic structure. These apply only to a temporary suspension of admissions. Any consideration of permanent program termination must adhere to the Guidelines for Terminating a Graduate Program or Program Option

  • The dean or chancellor of the school, college, or campus where a program is located may petition the Dean of the Graduate School to suspend admissions to a graduate program or program option. The Dean of the Graduate School will consider this request in consultation with the Graduate School Council. Program suspension in this case requires a supporting quorum majority vote of the Graduate School Council.
  • The Dean of the Graduate School may suspend admissions to a graduate program or program option after consultation with the college/school dean or chancellor and following a supporting quorum majority vote by the Graduate School Council.

1.9.3     Timeline

A suspension of admissions should be initiated far enough in advance for the Graduate School and other administrative units to take action early in the application cycle. This includes opportunity for review and approval of the request by the Graduate School, including possible consultation with the Graduate School Council, and ample time for implementation. Admissions will not be suspended after students have been admitted to the program. 

Once approved, the graduate program is responsible for placing a notice of suspended admissions on its website and in any other program materials. Towards the end of the suspension, the program must notify the Graduate School of its intent to reopen admissions and describe changes that have been implemented to allow for sustained delivery of a quality graduate program. If the program is not ready to open admissions, the program should initiate program termination. 


Policy 1.9 created: May 2022