Graduate study policies

On this page:

Graduate program coordinator

The graduate student’s initial work at the University is guided by the graduate program coordinator in his or her field. The coordinator must be a senior tenured member of the graduate faculty and is the official representative of the academic unit that offers the graduate degree program. The graduate program coordinator maintains familiarity with policies and procedures of the Graduate School and provides overall coordination of graduate activities within the unit.

↑ Back to top

Graduate courses

Graduate courses are intended for, and ordinarily restricted to, either students enrolled in the Graduate School or graduate non-matriculated students, and are given numbers from 500 to 800. Some courses at the 300 and 400 levels are open to both graduates and upper-division undergraduates. Such courses, when acceptable to the supervisory committee and the Graduate School, may be part of the graduate program. The Graduate School accepts credit in approved 300-level courses for the minor or supporting fields only. Courses at the 300 level are not included in the calculation of grade-point average (GPA) and will not apply toward the minimum Graduate School requirement of 18 graded credits for the master’s or doctoral degree. Approved 400-level courses are accepted as part of the major as well as minor or supporting fields. Courses numbered 498, and entitled Special Topics and Special Projects, normally are not applicable to a graduate degree program if addressed primarily to introductory content and undergraduate students. Undergraduate research (499) is not accepted as part of the graduate program. Graduate School Memorandum No. 36 offers additional information on graduate courses. With the exception of Summer, students are limited to a maximum ten credits per quarter of any combination of courses numbered 600, 700, or 800.

↑ Back to top


The residence requirement for a master’s degree is one year (three full quarters). Students registered for fewer than ten credits per quarter may add part-time quarters together to achieve the equivalent of one full-time quarter (ten or more credits) to be applied toward fulfilling residence requirements. However, excess credits beyond ten may not be subtracted from one quarter and added to another. Once a student is admitted to a graduate degree program, a full quarter of residence is granted for any quarter in which at least ten credits in graduate course, research, thesis, internship, or dissertation work are satisfactorily completed.

Only courses numbered 400, 500, 600, 700, and 800 can be applied to residence or course credit in the major field for advanced degrees (please see Graduate Courses earlier in this section regarding courses numbered 498 and 499). Courses numbered 300 are not applicable to residence or course credit toward advanced degrees, except when applied by permission of the graduate program coordinator or supervisory committee toward the graduate minor or supporting courses. Courses numbered below 300 are not applicable to residence or course credit for advanced degrees.

Enrollment status

Final quarter registration

A student must maintain registration as a full- or part-time graduate student at the University for the quarter in which the master’s degree is conferred. A student who does not complete all degree requirements by the last day of the quarter must be registered for the following quarter.

↑ Back to top

Continuous enrollment & official on-leave requirement

To maintain graduate status, a student must be enrolled at least on a part-time or on-leave basis from the time of first enrollment in the Graduate School until completion of all requirements for the graduate degree. This includes applying for the master’s degree, the passing of the master’s final examination, or final examinations, the filing of the thesis or dissertation, and the receiving of the degree. Summer Quarter on-leave enrollment is automatic for all graduate students who were either registered or on-leave the prior Spring Quarter. Failure to maintain continuous enrollment constitutes evidence that the student has resigned from the Graduate School.

A student’s petition for on-leave status must be approved by the department graduate program coordinator or alternate no later than the fifth day of the quarter. To be eligible for on-leave status, the student must have registered for and completed at least one quarter in the UW Graduate School and have been registered or on-leave for the immediate previous quarter (excepting Summer). An on-leave student is entitled to use the University Libraries and to sit for foreign language competence examinations, but is not entitled to any other University privileges of a regularly enrolled and registered full- or part-time student. The student pays a nonrefundable fee to obtain on-leave student status and can only go on leave for one quarter at a time. Please note: Periods spent on-leave are included as part of the maximum time periods allowed for completion of a graduate degree.

↑ Back to top


A student previously registered in the Graduate School who has failed to maintain graduate student status, but who wishes to resume studies, must file an application online by the published closing dates, for admission to the Graduate School. If the student is readmitted, registration will occur during the registration period II. If the student has attended any other institution during the period when not registered at the University of Washington, official transcripts of the student’s work (in duplicate) must be submitted. An application for readmission carries no preference and is treated in the same manner as an application for initial admission. Payment of the application fee is also required.

↑ Back to top