Jul 15, 2024  
2020-2021 Catalog 
2020-2021 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Graduate School


E-mail: gradschool@wwu.edu

David Patrick, Dean, Old Main 530, 360-650-3170

WWU is authorized by the State Legislature to award 10 graduate degrees:

  • Master of Arts (MA)
  • Master of Fine Arts (MFA)
  • Master of Science (MS)
  • Master of Education (MEd)
  • Master of Business Administration (MBA)
  • Master of Music (MMus)
  • Master of Professional Accounting (MPAcc)
  • Master in Teaching (MIT)
  • Clinical Doctorate of Audiology (AuD)
  • Doctor of Education (EdD)


The mission of the Graduate School is to advance, promote, and serve graduate faculty, students, and programs through advocacy, leadership, and oversight. The Graduate School supports all graduate programs and students at Western, by expanding graduate and undergraduate student access to engaging education in a supportive, inclusive environment, promoting life-long learning, enhancing scholarly activity, and developing graduates qualified to address the critical needs of the state and nation.


The Graduate School enables quality learning, research, and service that connects with and contributes to local, regional, and international communities. To this end, the Graduate School extends the Western curriculum beyond undergraduate work with rigorous, advanced courses focused on developing scholarly, creative, and professional works that emerge from in-depth disciplinary understanding. The graduate programs under the purview of this college continue to develop, evolve, and administer high-quality degrees that, based on evidence, adapt to student needs and national trends.


WWU’s graduate programs are accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. Graduate programs which result in educator certification are also accredited by the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). The College of Business and Economics is accredited by the AACSB International Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. The Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders is accredited by the American Speech-Language Hearing Association’s Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology (ASHA) and by the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). The mental health, rehabilitation counseling, and school counseling programs are accredited by Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). The University is a member of the Council of Graduate Schools in the United States and adheres to the general policies and criteria established by this national association.

Persons who plan to enter graduate study at WWU should read this section of the General Catalog closely before applying for admission to graduate study or enrolling in any course intended to count toward a master’s degree or advanced certificate of study. Students working toward a residency, continuing, or professional teaching certificate should contact the Certification Office in the Woodring College of Education. Students should consult with the appropriate graduate program advisor and the Graduate School for additional admissions or program-related questions.


Admission is granted by the Graduate School of Western Washington University with the concurrence of the department or program unit in which the student will pursue graduate study. The Graduate School informs applicants of the admissions decision. Online application submission and credit card payment is available from the Graduate School website. A nonrefundable application fee of $100 (subject to change) is charged for each application submitted, whether initial application, or request to defer, change to another quarter of admission, or transfer into another WWU graduate program. Admission to the Graduate School is for a single program, specified on the application for admission. Concurrent admission to two programs may be considered on a case-by-case basis with approval from the Graduate School and the respective departments. Separate applications and fees are required for each program. A non-refundable confirmation deposit will be required to secure admission and enrollment eligibility. Graduate School admission deadline dates are as follows, although many programs have earlier specific deadline dates and do not admit for all quarters.

Initial application with all supporting materials (see below) must be received by the Graduate School by June 1 for fall, October 1 for winter, February 1 for spring and May 1 for summer unless program-specific deadlines exist (see specific program information).

NOTE: The requirements and procedures listed below demand lead time. Applicants are urged to submit all necessary materials as early as possible before the beginning of the term for which admission is requested or by the earlier, program specific deadline dates. Timeliness of complete application materials may impact graduate assistantships and other sources of funding. Faculty review of application materials is unlikely during periods that the University is not in session.

General Requirements

Full Admission to Master’s Degree Study

  • A four-year baccalaureate degree from a U.S. college or university that was regionally accredited at the time the degree was conferred, or an equivalent baccalaureate degree from a foreign university; the degree must be appropriate to the master’s study intended. Unofficial transcripts from every higher education institution attended for academic credit are required with the application. These transcripts will be used for GPA calculation and evaluation purposes. Official transcripts will be required of candidates upon acceptance of an offer of admission.
  • A 3.0 grade point average (on a 4.0 scale) over all post-secondary coursework. Applicants with advanced degrees from accredited institutions are generally, at the discretion of the Graduate School, considered to have met GPA requirements.
  • Three current letters of recommendation from professors in the applicant’s undergraduate major field, or from professors of post-baccalaureate courses, or from others able to make an appropriate assessment of the applicant’s academic or professional competence. The MBA and MPAcc programs require a résumé in lieu of references. The Educational Administration program requires a professional recommendation.
  • Graduate Record Exam (GRE) or other test scores may be required; applicants with advanced degrees from regionally accredited institutions applying to certain programs do not need to submit scores. MPAcc applicants must provide the Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT); MBA applicants may take either the GMAT or the GRE. Some programs accept the Miller Analogies Test (MAT). See program admission requirements for specific test information and requirements. Scores must be received in the Graduate School office by the program specific deadline date; if no program-specific deadline date, then by the Graduate School deadline date.
  • All applicants must demonstrate English language proficiency. At least minimum TOEFL or IELTS test scores (see International Applications section) must be submitted unless English is the native language or the degree is from a regionally accredited U.S. institution, or from Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand or English-speaking provinces of Canada.
  • Favorable review and recommendation of applications by the graduate faculty in the program to which application is made.
  • Special Requirements. Certain programs have additional requirements or procedures; see the program descriptions. If a program requires a statement of purpose and/or writing sample(s), these must accompany the application. See specific program information for clarification.

Materials submitted in support of an application will not be returned, forwarded, or copied at the request of the applicant; materials are used only for the WWU Graduate School admissions and Teaching Assistant selection process. Incomplete or inactive applications are kept on file in the Graduate School for three years. If during this three-year period an applicant reapplies, official documents (test scores, transcripts, current letters of recommendation) may be used for a new admission application.

The MAT is offered Monday through Friday by appointment through the Western Washington University Testing Center, 360-650-3080.

See the Educational Testing Service website at www.gre.org for further information about the GRE testing program. For information about the GMAT, visit www.mba.com.

Current GRE board policy states that scores are reportable for five years. The Graduate School accepts only official test scores from admissions tests sent directly from the testing organization. Students should refer to the specific test website for information on the availability of official test scores.

Provisional Admission

Students who do not meet all the requirements for full admission may be granted provisional admission. The faculty of the applicant’s intended graduate program must submit a statement of support for provisional admission to the graduate dean. If provisional admission is authorized by the Graduate School, the provisions are stated in the letter offering the student special admission to graduate study. No K (incomplete) grades are allowed until provisional status is removed. A provisionally admitted student is not eligible for a teaching assistantship or Graduate School-funded scholarships until the provisional status is removed.


Students in some master’s programs also apply for licensing or certification through professional organizations or state agencies. The certificate or license is separate from the master’s degree. It is the applicant’s responsibility to inquire about licensing or certification requirements prior to enrolling.

International Applicants

All applicants must demonstrate competence in written and spoken English. This can be done by submitting a satisfactory score on the international TOEFL or IELTS, taken within one year of the date of application. Minimum required TOEFL score is 86 for the Internet-based test (IBT) or 567 for the paper-based test (PBT). IELTS minimum score is 7.0. Official test scores must be on file in the Graduate School prior to receipt of the application.

Applicants must upload an unofficial transcript from each institution attended within the Graduate School application. All applicants who have earned their undergraduate degree outside the US/Canada must submit a course-by-course credential evaluation from World Education Services (WES) or through the Certifile Credential Evaluation service integrated within the online application, demonstrating the equivalency of their undergraduate studies to a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited US institution.

Official transcripts are only required if the applicant is admitted and chooses to attend WWU.

Note: Official transcripts are not required if an applicant has provided a WES ICAP evaluation, as this report includes a verified copy of the official documents.

To be considered official, transcripts must be in sealed envelopes prepared by the university or college; attested/certified copies prepared by the institution may be accepted if originals cannot be provided by the institution.


Applicants attending institutions in China must request official transcripts from the Ministry-authorized verification offices listed below; transcripts directly from an institution cannot be considered official.

China Academic Degrees and Graduate Education Development Center (CDGDC)
Website: cqv.chinadegrees.cn/

China Higher Education Student Information & Career Center (CHESICC)
Website: chsi.com.cn

International students must file a satisfactory statement of financial responsibility with the Graduate School. Current expenses are approximately $41,080 for one academic year of study. Please note, however, that some programs have higher tuition rates. An application for an international student cannot be processed unless accompanied by appropriate financial guarantee documentation. International students are not eligible for federal or state governmental financial aid.

International students are encouraged to complete the admission process as soon as possible to obtain a visa and make travel arrangements.

Funding and Support

Graduate Assistantships

Graduate assistantships are available in limited number in most graduate programs and are competitively awarded. Assistantships are not available in self-sustaining (non state-supported) programs. Only students with full admission, not provisional status, may be awarded the TA. To continue as a graduate assistant, the graduate student must meet or exceed all academic criteria pertaining to satisfactory progress toward the degree, and meet or exceed all departmental requirements and criteria for satisfactory service as a graduate teaching assistant. Graduate students are limited to no more than the equivalent of seven full-time quarters of service as graduate teaching assistants. Program advisors may recommend students for additional quarters of service, which requires approval of the Graduate Dean. Graduate assistants must meet the Graduate School definition of full-time enrollment.

Duties vary according to the department and program, the needs of the program faculty and the student’s graduate plan of study. A full-time assistantship does not allow for additional salary or employment from the University. Graduate teaching assistantship applicants whose native language is not English must demonstrate English language proficiency required for classroom or laboratory instruction. Applicants to graduate programs check the TA box on the online application for consideration (go to Graduate School website).

Financial Aid

Graduate students also are eligible for several types of financial aid; information can be obtained from the University’s Financial Aid Office, www.finaid.wwu.edu/.

Program Requirements

Graduate programs at WWU generally require a minimum of 45 credits with thesis and 48 credits without thesis. The minimum basic program requirement generally contains at least 24 credits of approved 500- and 600-level courses other than the thesis (690); and no fewer than 5 credits and no more than 36 credits of thesis (690). For a non-thesis program, the minimum basic program requirement must contain at least 38 credits of approved 500- and 600-level courses. A maximum of 10 credits of approved 400-level courses can be applied to either thesis or non-thesis programs. All 400-level courses must meet the same standards as regular 500-level courses with regard to grading, time frame, et cetera.

For students who have taken a significant number of graduate level accounting, mathematics or computer science courses as undergraduates at WWU, and who as undergraduates were identified for admission to the Graduate School, the graduate programs in accounting, mathematics and computer science require only 36 500- and 600-level credits. Guidelines for this option are available from the departments.

It is recommended that no more than 10 credits of directed independent study be applied toward the degree, although some programs are more restrictive. A graduate student registering for a 500 or 400 independent study course used for the degree develops a contract (online form) with the instructor, which is then reviewed and approved by the graduate program advisor, department chair and the Graduate School. Independent study credit normally will not be given when the student is paid for engaging in the work described on the contract (e.g., internship, work-study projects, graduate assistantships).

Many programs require more than 45 or 48 credits to meet degree requirements. Also, certain undergraduate deficiencies may add additional credits to an individual student’s course of study. (See Plan of Study section that follows.) These deficiencies may affect financial aid awards.

Additional Requirements

Program descriptions in this catalog provide information about special requirements: statistics competency, second language competency, sequence of particular courses, et cetera. Most graduate programs provide information about such special requirements; the student should request this information from the program advisor.

Students whose research involves human subjects or live vertebrate animals must obtain approval prior to conducting research and comply with University policies regarding these types of research. Please refer to www.wwu.edu/depts/rsp.

Graduate students in departments with a foreign language requirement may satisfy the requirement by (a) successfully completing the final course in a second-year language sequence, (b) passing a reading competency exam in the language, or (c) completing another department-approved course or course sequence. Each department sets its own minimum standard to indicate the required level of competency. Graduate students are encouraged to complete the foreign language requirement early in their program.

Academic Load

The Graduate School defines full-time enrollment as 8 or more credits per quarter. The maximum credit load for a graduate student is determined in consultation with the student’s graduate program advisor, within the policies set by the Registrar.

Graduate assistants who have successfully completed all coursework on the approved Plan of Study, except for thesis (690) or research (691 or 692) work, maintain eligibility for funding if enrolled for a minimum of two credit hours of thesis, research, or continuous enrollment. See the Financial Aid section of this catalog for implications of being enrolled less than full time if the student requires financial aid.

Continuous Enrollment Policy

All enrolled students pursuing graduate degrees at Western Washington University must maintain continuous enrollment from matriculation until completion of all degree requirements. Continuous enrollment is defined as registering at least one credit in all academic quarters (excluding summer) until the degree is attained or status as a degree-seeking graduate student is terminated.

Students who have not completed all of the requirements for their degree and are not currently registered for any credits will be required to register for one credit of GRAD 699 Continuous Enrollment  every quarter (excluding summers) until all degree requirements are completed. GRAD 699 meets the registration requirement for graduation. 

GRAD 699 is non-graded. It may not be taken concurrently with any other course. It does not meet registration requirements for student employment or financial aid.

The Continuous Enrollment requirement will be waived for students who are granted official leave of absence. Official leaves of absence must be requested of the Graduate Dean in instances of medical emergency or other extenuating circumstances. Additional information about hardship withdrawals and non-medical emergency leaves of absence can be found in the University Academic Policies section of this catalog.

Western Washington University employees receiving state waivers in pursuit of their graduate degree are exempt from the Continuous Enrollment requirement.

Students who maintain Continuous Enrollment will be allowed to complete their degree under the policies and requirements in place at their date of matriculation. Students who fail to main Continuous Enrollment (i.e., take unofficial leave) must reapply for admission to the program and pay the current admission fees. Readmission is not guaranteed. Decisions for re-enrollment will happen at the department level and students may be subject to changes in the degree or additional requirements as deemed necessary by the program. 

Time Limits

All requirements for the degree must be completed within five years of the initial quarter of matriculation. Active graduate students within this five-year time period maintain access to library and computer resources. Students who have not completed their program after three years of study are required to file a plan for completion of the degree within the five-year limit. Otherwise it is understood that the student has decided to withdraw from the program, and the graduate file is inactivated. Student computer accounts which allow access to computer labs, e-mail, library privileges, and other student technology services are purged at the end of this five-year period. Files of students who are admitted and register for coursework but do not complete their programs are kept for five years after the five-year program requirement. Files of students who complete programs are archived for 35 years.

Plan of Study

During the first quarter of graduate study at WWU, the student and graduate program advisor together develop a “Plan of Study” in accordance with the requirements described in the catalog’s program narrative. Plan of Study forms may be submitted to the Graduate School or completed within Degree Works. Plans of study may be amended as necessary. 

Transfer, Correspondence and Workshop Courses

Coursework taken prior to formal admission to a WWU master’s degree program, whether at Western or another accredited institution, can be considered for transfer credit if the following criteria listed below are met:

  • A limit of 12 quarter credits
  • Graded B, 3.0 or better
  • Taken no more than three years prior to admission
  • Acceptable to the granting institution for its master’s degree
  • Not used toward the completion of any other degree

Credit taken at another accredited institution, concurrent with graduate status in a WWU master’s degree program, can also be considered for transfer credit if the same criteria are met. Such coursework should be approved in advance of registration to prevent any misunderstanding or false expectations.

Credit will not be granted for experiential learning that occurred prior to matriculation into the graduate degree program.

The request for transfer credit, including a copy of the course syllabus, is submitted by the graduate program advisor and student for approval by the Graduate School. If the coursework was taken while the student was enrolled in another degree program (undergraduate or graduate level), the student must provide documentation from the granting institution stating that the credits were not counted toward any degree.

At the recommendation of the graduate program advisor and the approval of the Graduate School, some course requirements may be waived, depending on a student’s previous academic experience. However, the total number of credits required for the degree must still be met.

No credit is given for correspondence courses. No credit is allowed by challenge examination or performance.

Courses offered as workshops or in a shortened time frame, even under regular course numbers, do not qualify for graduate credit toward a degree, unless the department obtains prior permission for each specific instance from the Graduate Faculty Governance Council. To ensure that prior approval has been granted, students should obtain written permission from the Graduate School prior to enrolling.

Thesis and Comprehensive Examinations

Master’s degree programs are thesis or non-thesis (additional coursework and, in most programs, a comprehensive exam). See specific program descriptions for information. Minimally, the thesis committee has three members. The chair and a second member must be graduate faculty members from the student’s program or an affiliated program or department. See the Graduate Faculty section below for more details. Guidelines for the thesis are available online at the Graduate School website. Joint manuscripts are not permitted. Only an individually authored manuscript will meet the thesis requirements. Departments that require the thesis customarily provide additional guidance.

Refer to the Graduate School website for current information on Graduate School requirements pertaining to thesis submission.

Prior to registration for thesis, departments and the Graduate School require that a student be advanced to candidacy and have an approved thesis topic on file in the Graduate School office. Students whose research involves human subjects or live vertebrate animals must comply with University policies regarding these types of research. Please refer to www.wwu.edu/depts/rsp. Registering for thesis credits beyond the maximum allowed for the degree may affect a student’s eligibility for certain kinds of financial aid.

Comprehensive exams or assessments vary among programs. Students should consult their respective programs for information.

The comprehensive exam should be scheduled for the final quarter of the student’s enrollment. It may be deferred upon request by the student and agreement by the graduate advisor until all coursework has been completed. Comprehensive exams, if failed, may be repeated, but only if the graduate faculty of the particular program approves the student’s request to repeat the exam.

Scholarship Standards

To remain a candidate for the degree, a student must maintain at least a 3.0 GPA in courses listed on the plan of study. A student also must be making satisfactory progress in the graduate program to which they have been admitted.

A maximum of 10 credits of C grades (C+, C, C-) is allowed towards completion of a graduate program. Courses in which a D+ or lower is earned may not be applied towards completion of a graduate program. The accumulation of more than 10 credits of C+ or lower (including U and Z) grades may result in the student being withdrawn from the Graduate School.

There are certain courses that must be passed with a grade of B or better; program descriptions note such requirements. A graduate student may be required by the department to repeat a course to document attainment of a certain level of competence or knowledge. Grades for repeated courses do not replace the original grade earned. All attempts are averaged into the cumulative GPA.

Pass/No Pass grades are not applicable toward a graduate degree. S grades are applicable, but not computed in the GPA. An incomplete (K) grade may be assigned in accordance with the regulations outlined in the Academic Policies section of this catalog. If, after a calendar year, the course requirements have not been met, the K grade lapses to a Z. These Z grades are computed as failing grades in a student’s grade point average and may affect retention in the master’s program. Exceptions to the K grade rule are K grades which are received for thesis and certain research courses. In these cases, the K grades are allowed to stand until the thesis or research is completed, whereupon the grade is changed to the earned grade.

Degree Candidacy

Advancement to degree candidacy is formal recognition that the student has completed all admission requirements and has demonstrated satisfactory performance in at least 12 credits of graduate study as listed on an approved plan of study. Advancement to candidacy is a prerequisite to earning the master’s degree and should be accomplished as early as the student is eligible. Advancement is granted by the student’s program upon completion of minimum requirements. A student must be advanced to candidacy before submitting the application for degree. Confer with your advisor if you have questions about your status or eligibility for advancement to candidacy.

Awarding of the Master’s Degree

The master’s degree is earned at the end of the quarter in which the student has completed all degree requirements and has filed the application for degree. Recommendation for the degree is made to the Graduate Faculty Governance Council by the student’s program advisor and thesis committee (if in a thesis program). Application for the degree must be made by the last day of classes of the quarter prior to the quarter the student intends to graduate. A student must be enrolled for at least two regular credits or GRAD 699 during the quarter in which the degree is awarded. Auditing a course for this purpose is not permitted. A commencement ceremony is held at the end of each quarter. Students participate in the commencement ceremony for the quarter in which degree requirements are met, including filing the application for degree and paying the diploma fee by the stated deadline.

Teacher Certification

The Woodring College of Education, not the Graduate School, administers the certification of P-12 teachers. Students interested in certification at the P-12 or secondary level, contact the Secondary Education Department, MH 400 360-650-3327. Students interested in Special Education P-12 certification, contact the Special Education Department, MH 201A, 360-650-3330. Other certification questions can be directed to the Office of Certification & Accreditation, MH, 150, 360-650-4930 or wce.wwu.edu/cert/certification-accreditation.

Undergraduate and Post-Baccalaureate Enrollment in 500/600 Level Courses

Undergraduates at WWU who are in their senior year and have at least a 3.0 grade point average can take a single graduate course during any quarter, but under certain provisions. There must not be an appropriate undergraduate course in their field that is equally available; permission must be obtained in advance from the department chair and graduate program advisor of the department offering the graduate course; and the Graduate School must approve the enrollment. A senior who later enters a master’s program at WWU may transfer up to twelve credits of coursework into the master’s program. The credit must not have been used for the baccalaureate degree and must meet all criteria for transfer credit. To register, contact the Graduate School for a registration system override. Post-baccalaureate students may enroll for 500- level courses. All prerequisites must be met and permission obtained from the department.

Neither undergraduate nor post-baccalaureate students may enroll in 600-level courses.

 The Graduate Faculty Governance Council

The Graduate Faculty Governance Council, comprised of representatives from the Graduate Faculty, colleges with graduate programs, Western Libraries, and graduate students, supports and advances graduate education at Western Washington University through shared graduate faculty governance. The Graduate Faculty Governance

Council powers and duties include:

  • Providing leadership in the areas of Graduate School strategic planning, policy and standards, and resource allocation in collaboration with the Dean of the Graduate School
  • Promoting the interests of the Graduate Faculty and graduate students  
  • Enhancing the visibility of graduate education throughout the University, including the promotion and celebration of academic accomplishments by graduate students 
  • Approving and monitoring standards for graduate admission, retention, and graduation 
  • Advising on the development and creation of new graduate programs
  • Reviewing graduate curriculum proposals from all academic departments and 
  • programs
  • Conducting graduate program reviews to ensure ongoing program effectiveness
  • Participating in the Graduate School NWCCU accreditation process
  • Selecting Western Association of Graduate Schools outstanding thesis nominees
  • Adopting and amending its rules of operation as the “Bylaws of the Graduate Faculty Governance Council”

 The Graduate Faculty

Members of the Western Washington University Graduate Faculty are those faculty members who are engaged in graduate education, are in tenured or tenure-track positions, and are active in scholarship or professional or creative activities in the disciplines in which they teach and supervise graduate students. Graduate Faculty are responsible for the development, execution, and review of graduate programs, and through representation on the Graduate Faculty Governance Council, the recommendation of policy on all graduate matters at Western.


Graduate Faculty members must meet the following requirements:

  • Appointment in a tenured or tenure-track position at the rank of Assistant Professor or above

  • Terminal degree in faculty member’s particular field of study


Graduate Faculty members are approved to perform the following duties provided that they are consistent with terms and conditions of the faculty member’s Letter of Offer.

  • Teach graduate courses

  • Serve as a mentor for a graduate degree-seeking student (e.g., thesis chair or member of comprehensive examination committee)

  • Serve as a member of a graduate thesis committee in the home or related department

  • Serve as Graduate Program Advisor

  • Serve on Graduate Faculty of WWU standing and ad-hoc committees


Eligible faculty are automatically appointed. Appointments are continuing as long as Graduate Faculty members meet department standards for reappointment on their annual probationary review or meet departmental standards for successful post tenure review. Those who do not meet department standards for probationary or post tenure review may have their Graduate Faculty status revoked by the Graduate Dean as recommended by the department chair or Graduate Program Director during the time of remediation, and in such instances must satisfy the terms and conditions set forth by the department and the Collective Bargaining Agreement before they can be reinstated as Graduate Faculty.

Associate Graduate Faculty Membership

Individual graduate programs may identify associate faculty who bring a special expertise to the graduate program or a specific thesis project.


Associate Graduate Faculty members must meet the following requirements:

  • Hold a faculty or professional position with the university, such as non-tenure track faculty and research associates.
  • Hold a graduate degree appropriate to the field of specialization (a terminal degree is not necessarily required)
  • Exhibit recent professional work, research, or creative activity in the area of specialization


Associate Graduate Faculty members are approved to perform the following duties provided that they are consistent with the terms and conditions of Associate’s appointment Contract:

  • Teach a specific graduate course
  • Serve as member of comprehensive examination committee
  • Serve as second or third member of a thesis or graduate project committee
  • Serve as a chair of a thesis committee on the condition that the Associate Gradate Faculty Member has a terminal degree and at least two committee members are Graduate Faculty Members.

Nomination and Renewal

If the candidate meets the Eligibility requirements outlined above, the Department Chair will submit a nomination form and vita to the Graduate Dean. Appointments are continuing as long as the duties performed comply with the terms and conditions of the faculty member’s contract.

Affiliate Graduate Faculty Membership

Affiliate Graduate Faculty membership may be granted to volunteers who are not members of the Western Washington University faculty. Affiliate Graduate Faculty may be appointed to offer expertise and may serve as third reader on a thesis committee, graduate project, or comprehensive examination committee. Emeritus faculty members in a department are eligible to apply for Affiliate status. 


Affiliate Graduate Faculty members must meet the following requirements:

  • Hold a graduate degree appropriate to the field of assignment (a terminal degree is not necessarily required)
  • Be locally or regionally recognized as having exceptional expertise relating to the specific thesis project
  • Meet the definition of a volunteer as described by law (RCW 52.12.035) and complying with the WWU Volunteer Registration Program. 


Affiliate Graduate Faculty members are approved to perform the following duties:

  • Participate as a third committee member on a thesis or graduate project
  • Serve as third member of comprehensive examination committee

Nomination and Appointment

If the candidate meets the Eligibility requirements outlined above, the Department Chair will submit a nomination form, vita, and a completed WWU volunteer application to the Graduate Dean.

  • Candidates must be appointed separately to serve on an additional thesis or comprehensive examination committee 
  • Appointments expire after graduation or termination of the graduate student for committee members

Faculty/Student-Designed Programs


At times students and faculty develop programs that are more interdisciplinary than the master’s programs described in this catalog. In each instance this requires a complete Graduate School application and a proposed plan of study that has been approved by the graduate faculty and departments the student intends to work with and by the University’s Graduate Faculty Governance Council. At least two or more graduate disciplines must be involved.

Programs of this type are restricted by several factors: current offerings which can provide a basis for the individual program; availability of appropriate faculty; the applicant’s academic preparation and ability; and the internal logic, or relationship of the elements of the proposed program. Each case is considered on its merits.

For candidates who are currently enrolled as graduate students no more than 15 credits of course work (completed by the end of the quarter the petition is approved) can apply toward the designated program.

Detailed information can be obtained by contacting the Graduate School. Ask for Fact Sheet: Faculty/Student-Designed Programs. Procedures for applying are contained in the Fact Sheet.