Student Responsibility for Observing Policies
Students are directed to the Appendices section in this Catalog for information on university policies and administrative rules (Title 516 WAC), academic honesty, academic grievances, and other important policies. Information on university policies is also located on the university policy website: http://www.wwu.edu/depts/policies/. Information on WWU’s administrative code rules (Title 516 WAC) is located at http://apps.leg.wa.gov/wac/default.aspx?cite=516.
The University attempts to make students aware of academic policies through the publication of the Catalog, the online Timetable of Classes, other materials, and in advising sessions. It is the student’s responsibility to become familiar with those policies and to be aware of any policy changes that may occur.
Once application materials have been submitted, they become the property of Western Washington University.
E-Mail as Official Means of Communication
Recognizing the expanding reliance on electronic communication, WWU has determined that e-mail will be one of the University’s official means of communication. See POL-U7100.02 Using E-mail Accounts for Official Correspondence with students at http://www.wwu.edu/policies/s_affairs.shtml. E-mail correspondence will be sent to students’ WWU e-mail addresses. Departments, faculty and staff may use e-mail instead of the U.S. Postal Service to provide students with information relating to official University business. U.S. Postal Service or campus mail can still be used as appropriate. This policy only applies to e-mail messages sent by the University to students that are designated as “WWU Official Notice.”
College Board Advanced Placement Examinations
|3, 4, 5
||A/HI Electives (4 credits) Humanities GUR
|3, 4, 5
||Studio Art: Drawing
||ART Electives (4 credits)
|3, 4, 5
||Studio Art: 2-D or 3D Design
||ART Electives (4 credits)
||3, 4, 5
||BIOL 101, 102 (8 credits) Lab Science GUR
||3, 4, 5
||CHEM 121, 122 (10 credits) Lab Science GUR
||3, 4, 5
||Computer Science A/AB
||CSCI 141 (4 credits) Quantitative & Symbolic Reasoning GUR
|3, 4, 5
||ECON 206 (4 credits) Social Science GUR
|3, 4, 5
||ECON 207 (4 credits) Social Science GUR
||English Lit & Comp.
||ENG Electives (4 credits) Humanities GUR
||English Lit & Comp.
||ENG 101 Communication GUR - Block A waived; ENG Electives (4 credits) Humanities GUR
||English Lang. & Comp.
||ENG Electives (4 credits) Humanities GUR
||English Lang. & Comp.
ENG 101 Communication GUR Block A waived; ENG Electives
(4 credits) Humanities GUR
||3, 4, 5
||ESCI 101 (3 credits) Science GUR
||3, 4, 5
||EGEO 201 (4 credits) Social Sciences GUR
|3, 4, 5
||HIST 103, 104 (10 credits) Humanities GUR
|3, 4, 5
||HIST 113 (5 credits) Humanities GUR
|3, 4, 5
||HIST Electives (5 credits) Humanities GUR
|3, 4, 5
||Calculus AB or BC**
||MATH Electives (5 credits) Quantitative & Symbolic Reasoning GUR
|3, 4, 5
||MATH 240 (4 credits) Quantitative & Symbolic Reasoning GUR
|**Student may receive credit for either AB or BC, but not both unless recommended by Mathematics Department after placement.
||Lang. or Lit. exam in Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Latin, Spanish***
||101 (5 credits)
||Lang. or Lit. exam in Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Latin, Spanish***
||101, 102 (10 credits)
||Italian Language & Culture
||101 (5 credits) plus Electives (5 credits)
|***Student may receive credit for either Lang. or Lit., but not both
||3, 4, 5
||MUS Electives (3 credits)
|3, 4, 5
||PHYS 114 (5 credits) Lab Science GUR
|3, 4, 5
||Physics C: Mechanics
||PHYS 121 (5 credits) Lab Science GUR
|3, 4, 5
||Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism
||PHYS 123 (5 credits) Lab Science GUR
|3, 4, 5
||U.S. Government & Politics
||PLSC 250 (5 credits) Social Science GUR
|3, 4, 5
||Comparative Government and Politics
||PLSC 291 (5 credits) Social Science GUR
||3, 4, 5
||PSY 101 (5 credits) Social Science GUR
Advanced Placement and Course Challenge
The maximum credit granted for Advanced Placement and Course Challenges is 45 total credits. A regularly enrolled full-fee-paying student may apply to challenge any course covering knowledge or materials with which the student has acquired a demonstrable level of familiarity or understanding from prior experience (except conferences, special projects and physical education activities courses). If achievement commensurate with the expectations of a given course is demonstrated, the student receives credit for the course. Such achievement may be demonstrated by:
- One quarter of successful performance in an advanced course in a sequence which is developmental in nature can, upon departmental recommendation, qualify a student for credit in the preceding course; admission to the advanced course is subject to permission of the department.
- Challenge examination or procedures prepared by the department concerned.
The following regulations govern course challenges:
- Students desiring to challenge a course should apply to the Testing Center by the fourth week of the quarter. The time and procedure to be followed in completing the evaluative process will be announced by the Testing Center. A special fee is charged for each challenge examination. See Tuition and Fees .
- The result of the challenge is recorded as “Satisfactory” or “Unsatisfactory” on the student’s permanent record and is not used in computing grade point averages
- The challenge application will normally be denied:
- If the student is currently enrolled in the course
- If the student has previously established credit for a similar course at this or another university
- If the student has previously failed the course
- If the student has previously challenged the course and failed
- If the student has previously audited the course
- If, in the judgment of the director of the Testing Center, in consultation with the department concerned, the challenge procedure is inappropriate
- If the student is in his/her final quarter prior to graduating and the course is part of the General University Requirements
- If, in the judgment of the academic department, the student has not demonstrated sufficient familiarity or understanding to have a reasonable chance of passing a challenge examination
- International Baccalaureate (IB). Western Washington University will grant credit for appropriate higher level International Baccalaureate (IB) subject examinations passed with a score of four (4) or above according to the chart. A student may earn up to 15 credits per exam for the maximum of 45 total credits allowed. Higher level subject exams may earn a student General University Requirement (GUR) credit or elective credit, according to the following chart. Not all subject exams earn credit. The departments of Art and Modern and Classical Languages do not grant credit for IB exams, but may use the exam results for purposes of program placement and/or course waivers. Students who have passed higher level exams in subjects not listed on the chart will need to consult with the Office of Admissions. Such exams will be considered on an individual basis to determine eligibility for elective or GUR credit.
- College Board Advanced Placement Examinations in certain subjects. The department concerned has determined the minimum acceptable score and credit as shown on previous page.
- Cambridge International Exams. Western Washington University will grant up to 45 credits for A level examinations and up to half a year of credit for AS Levels. Students should submit official results to the Office of Admissions for determination of transfer credit. Credit is awarded on a case by case basis and not all exams earn credit.
International Baccalaureate (IB) Credit
|Higher Level Subject Exam
||WWU Equivalency, Credits and GUR status if applicable
||4 or higher
||BIOL elective (15 credits) - Satisfies Natural Science GUR
||4 or higher
||CHEM elective (15 credits) - Satisfies Natural Science GUR
||4 or higher
||ECON elective (10 credits) - Social Science GUR and ECON elective (5 credits)
||4 or higher
||ENG 101 (5 credits) - Communication Block A GUR and ENG elective (10 credits) - Humanities GUR
||4 or higher
||EGEO elective (5 credits) - Natural Science non-lab GUR and EGEO elective (10 credits) - Social Science GUR
|History The Americas
||4 or higher
||HIST elective (10 credits) - Humanities GUR and HIST elective (5 credits) - CGM Block B GUR
||4 or higher
||HIST elective (10 credits) - Humanities GUR and HIST elective (5 credits) - CGM Block A GUR
||4 or higher
||HIST elective (10 credits) - Humanities GUR and HIST elective (5 credits) - CGM Block A GUR
||4 or higher
||PHYS elective (15 credits) - Satisfies Natural Science GUR
||4 or higher
||PSY elective (5 credits) - Social Science GUR
Courses numbered from 100 to 299 are classified as lower division; those numbered from 300-499 as upper division. Generally, the first digit of a course number indicates its intended class level:
100-199 — First-year (freshman) courses
200-299 — Second-year (sophomore) courses
300-399 — Third-year (junior) courses
400-499 — Fourth-year (senior) courses
500-699 — Graduate-level courses
Only courses numbered 100 or above appear on the official transcript.
Except in unusual circumstances, students are not permitted to take courses more than one year above their class standing.
The numbers 197, 297, 397, 497 and 597 are used for temporary courses generally offered only once.
The number 117 is reserved for First Year Experience (FYE) courses.
The number 699, continuous enrollment, is reserved for master’s degree students in their final quarter who have registered for all their course work. Contact the Graduate School for further information.
The numbers 137, 237, 337, 437, 537 are reserved for International Studies. These courses are offered through the WWU International Studies program or through colleges. Contact the Office of International Programs and Exchanges, College Hall 111, for information. Repeatable with different subject matter.
Directed Independent Study
The numbers 300, 400, 500 are reserved to designate Directed Independent Study (1-15), enabling students to pursue, on an individual basis, topics not covered by the curriculum.
Details regarding titles, prerequisites, number of credits and grading for specific courses can be found in the online Timetable of Classes, or the Summer Bulletin.
In some cases, a new course may be offered in the Summer Session prior to appearing in the General Catalog. Such a course would be described in the Summer Bulletin on the web. Any undergraduate student wishing to enroll in a course numbered 500 or higher must obtain the written approval of the dean of the Graduate School. (See the Graduate School section of this catalog.)
Courses listed in this General Catalog constitute a record of the total academic program of the University.
Except for unforeseen scheduling and personnel circumstances, it is expected that each course will be offered during the period of this catalog. For an exact scheduling of courses at Western, students should consult the annual online Timetable of Classes or the Summer Session website.
The student is responsible for ensuring that he or she has satisfied all prerequisites, with a grade of C- or better, before registering for a given course. Although some prerequisite enforcement is driven by the Web registration system, students should not assume they are eligible to enter a course without having taken the prerequisite just because the system allows them to register for the course. A student who has registered for a course without satisfying prerequisites or obtaining permission may be required by the instructor to withdraw from the course.
When courses reach capacity during Phase I and Phase II of registration a student may add themselves to an automatically generated Waitlist via Web4U. Students must meet all prerequisites and requirements of the course as defined by the catalog and timetable. Waitlist notifications are sent via the student’s official Western e-mail account when a space becomes available. Notifications are active for a limited period of time and students are responsible for actively registering for the course after notification is received and for ensuring their schedule is accurate.
Individual academic departments may choose to manage student priority on a specific course Waitlist in order to manage enrollment. Details regarding Waitlist management is available in each respective department.
Credits and Credit Loads
Credit hours are assigned to a class based on the amount and type of work expected from a typical student in class. Credit is awarded for courses only in the quarter in which the student is registered for the classes and completing the work.
Classes will be assigned one credit for each hour per week of classroom discussion or lecture, and one credit for every two hours per week of laboratory or practice/rehearsal involving some preparation or reporting.
Classes using different formats for at least part of the course will be assigned credit for amounts and types of work equivalent to those described above. When such a component is proposed, the type and amount of work involved must be described in detail. In particular, the activity for which credit is assigned must be structured and occur at regular or periodic intervals throughout the course, and faculty must supervise and evaluate students’ work in this activity.
Since each hour in a course requires at least two additional hours of study, and since students usually register for several courses, Western has established the following credit load policies for undergraduate students:
- The standard load per quarter for undergraduates is 15 credits. In order to graduate in four years, students must average 15 credits per quarter. NOTE: some majors require more than four years of study.
- During the first quarter of residence, a load must not exceed 17 credits; before registering for more than 15 credits, students should consult with their advisors
- After the first quarter of residence, the maximum allowable load is 20 credits per quarter; students are limited to 17 credits during Phase I of registration
- An employed student is expected to reduce his or her academic program and credit load accordingly
Correspondence credit earned through a fully accredited college or university, including Western’s Independent Learning program, may be accepted toward the bachelor’s degree. Some departments limit the number of correspondence credits that may apply toward the major. Enrollment in only correspondence courses through Western’s Independent Learning program does not qualify as continuing enrollment for Western students. Contact the Registrar’s Office for information regarding student status.
Non-Matriculated Students and Credit Limitations
A program for non-matriculated students allows those not admitted to Western and undergraduate/certificate extension program students to enroll in Bellingham campus courses on a space available basis. Students who have been dismissed from Western due to low academic standing may not enroll as non-matriculants.
A student must be admitted to Western to apply credit to a degree. A maximum of 45 credits earned as a non-matriculant may be accepted toward a bachelor’s degree at Western. Contact the Graduate School for information on applying credit to graduate programs.
Students enrolled as non-matriculants are subject to all University academic policies as enumerated in this section of the catalog. They must maintain good academic standing according to University scholarship standards. Continued low scholarship will result in the loss of registration privileges.
Auditors are persons who desire to attend courses without earning credit. Admission as an auditor requires prior approval of the instructor and the Registrar’s Office.
Since auditors are not active participants, certain courses may not be audited: those include, but are not limited to physical education activities, laboratory courses, studio courses, independent study courses, modern language courses, courses not taught in a group setting, and any other course the Registrar deems ineligible. Auditing a course cannot be used toward successful completion of academic credit.
Auditors are not allowed to register until the first day of the quarter, and the limit of the course must not have reached the maximum. Changes to or from audit cannot be made after the first week of the quarter.
Students enrolled for 10 or more non-audited credits may audit a course without an additional charge. Students enrolled for less than 10 credits should refer to the Tuition and Fees section ‘Auditing a class.’ Students approved to register for an audit are responsible for paying any course fees attached to the course. Students enrolled in off-campus, self-supporting programs, who choose to audit are required to pay the full amount of tuition and fees.
The Registrar’s Office grants course registration privileges on a space-available basis, for one term at a time, to non matriculated applicants, Washington state employees, WWU staff, and residents over 60 years of age who are eligible for tuition reduction. Special students and non matriculated students must submit a Special Student Enrollment Form to the Registrar’s Office each quarter. This form can be found online at: http://www.wwu.edu/depts/registrar/forms.shtml
An undergraduate student is classified as a freshman when his or her total completed credits (including transferred credits) range from 0 to 44, a sophomore with credits of 45 to 89, a junior with credits of 90 to 134, and a senior with credits of 135 or more.
180 credits are the minimum number of credits required to graduate with a bachelor’s degree from Western Washington University. Many majors require more than the minimum of 180 credits. In order to graduate in four years, a student should plan to enroll in an average of 15 credits each quarter. Undergraduate students must be enrolled for a minimum of 12 credits in order to be considered full-time (e.g., eligibility for financial assistance, full-time veterans’ benefits, participation in intercollegiate athletics, etc.) Graduate students, officially admitted to the Graduate School must be enrolled in a minimum of 8 credits for financial aid purposes and veterans’ benefits. Students are advised to check carefully to determine that they meet the definition of “full-time enrollment” for the program in which they are participating.
The following table illustrates the minimum number of credits to be considered full time, three-quarter, or half time each quarter.
|Full time (for financial aid eligibility, veteran’s benefits, athletic eligibility, enrollment verification to outside agencies)
||12 or more credits
||8 or more credits
|Three-quarter time (for financial aid eligibility, veteran’s benefits, enrollment verification to outside agencies)
||9, 10 or 11 credits
||6 or 7 credits
|Half-time (for financial aid eligibility, loan deferments, enrollment verification to outside agencies)
||6, 7 or 8 credits
||4 or 5 credits
Full fees are assessed to all students enrolled in 10 credits or more. Students enrolled in at least 10 credits are eligible to live in on-campus housing, hold Associated Student office and obtain on-campus student employment.
The Student Health Center is available to all students enrolled in 6 or more credits on WWU’s Bellingham campus. Students registered for 3 to 5 credits have the option of paying the Health Services fee to use the services during a quarter. Former students, students on leave, dependents of students, faculty and staff of WWU, and Whatcom Community College students living on WWU’s campus are not eligible for these services.
Graduate students must be enrolled in a minimum of 8 credits to be eligible for graduate teaching assistantships (TAs). If a graduate student has completed all the course work listed on the approved plan of study with the exception of the thesis (690) or research (691), the graduate student may remain eligible for the TA appointment by enrolling for as few as 2 credits (with prior approval from the Graduate School). Other graduate students who have completed all the course work listed on the approved plan of study with the exception of the thesis (690) or research (691) should consult with the Graduate School regarding the minimum credit requirements.
This table applies to fall, winter and spring quarters only. Enrollment status and requirements for summer may differ. Please consult the appropriate program office.
Adding a Course
A student may add a course as late as the fifth day of the quarter. After that time, course additions are allowed only under unusual circumstances and require written permission of the course instructor. A special late-add fee is charged when adding after the second week (see Tuition and Fees section).
Course attendance normally is required by the instructor. Any student who fails to attend the first meeting of a course may be required to drop it if another student, previously unable to register for the course due to enrollment limitations, seeks admission.
A student absent from any exam or class activity through sickness or other cause judged by the instructor to be unavoidable shall be given an opportunity to take a rescheduled exam or make up the class assignment in a timely manner agreed upon by the instructor (see Leaves of Absence). Examples of unavoidable cause may include participation in University-sponsored activities such as debating contests, musical or theatrical performances, or intercollegiate athletic competition.
University policy does not allow a student to attend a class without formally being registered for it. It is the student’s responsibility to ensure that he or she is properly registered for each course.
Withdrawal from a Course
Single course withdrawals that occur prior to 5 p.m. on the fifth day of the quarter are considered to be a change of initial registration and results in no entry on the permanent record (transcript). To withdraw from a course during the first five days of the quarter, a student must complete the transaction on Web4U. If withdrawing from all courses after the first day of class, it is considered a ‘school withdrawal’ and it is recorded on the official transcript as a grade of SW (see Withdrawal from the University).
Course withdrawals that occur from the beginning of the sixth day of the quarter to the end of the second week (prior to 5 p.m. on Friday of the second week) will result in no entry on the permanent record (official transcript), but a mark of XM will appear with the withdrawn course on the unofficial record (academic history). Withdrawals that occur beginning the sixth day of the quarter may affect a student’s tuition charges and may result only in a half-tuition refund. There also may be implications for financial aid recipients’ awards. To withdraw from a course after the first five days of a quarter, a student must present the request in person at the Registrar’s Office. Beginning the third week of the quarter, a mark of “W” is posted for each withdrawn course.
Course withdrawal from the beginning of the third week to the end of the seventh week is permitted only if the student has an unused annual withdrawal privilege. Each student is granted two annual withdrawal privileges at the beginning of the academic year in fall quarter. The annual withdrawal privileges can be used during fall, winter, spring or summer quarter. (See note on summer below.) Unused annual withdrawals cannot be used in subsequent years. To use an annual withdrawal privilege, a student must present the request in person at the Registrar’s Office.
After the seventh week of the quarter, course withdrawal is not permitted. Discontinued attendance without official withdrawal results in a failing grade (Z or F). Course withdrawal deadlines are published in the dates and deadlines section of the Registrar’s Office website and the Summer Session website.
To withdraw from an extension course, a student must file the appropriate form through the extension office. For specific site information, see the Extended Education and Summer Programs section in this catalog.
Students may drop an Independent Learning course at any time by contacting the Independent Learning Office in writing. There is no refund 30 days after registration.
Withdrawal from the University
Formal withdrawal from the University, including a self-supporting program, may be made at any time before the final two weeks of a quarter. Students must initiate the withdrawal process in the Registrar’s Office or at their extension site. A student must contact the appropriate extension office for formal withdrawal from a self-supporting course. Beginning the first day of classes, a grade of SW (school withdrawal) is posted for each course for which the student was registered.
Students who leave the University during a quarter without formal withdrawal receive failing grades.
A withdrawing student who will be away from Western a full quarter or more must apply for readmission prior to the deadline stated in the Undergraduate Admission section of this catalog.
A student who is unable to complete the quarter or a class due to a significant hardship may petition to withdraw from the University or a course after the stated deadline. Hardship is considered to be an incapacitating illness or injury requiring extensive recuperation or a significant personal emergency such as a death in the immediate family. Verification of the hardship is required.
Petitions for the withdrawal due to hardship are available in the Dean of Students Office and must be submitted by the last day of the week prior to finals. A complete school withdrawal results in grades of SW for each course for which the student was registered. If the student qualifies for a partial withdrawal, a grade of W is posted for those courses.
Summer withdrawal deadlines and policies are published on the Summer Session website.
Emergency Leaves of Absence
A leave of absence from classes may be granted when psychological or family emergency, illness or injury requires a student to be absent from class. Leaves of absence are issued only upon request from the student and may be granted for two days, but no more than five days during an academic quarter or summer session. If a faculty member requires medical or emergency leaves of absence, the faculty member will inform the students in his/her courses of that fact in the course syllabus. Non-medical leaves of absence are available through the Dean of Students Office and medical leaves through the Student Health Center. All leave of absences require proper verification.
While a leave of absence generally makes it possible for the student to make up work missed, in some instances the amount of time lost makes course completion impractical. In those cases, withdrawal or incomplete grades may be appropriate. A student absent from any exam or class activity through sickness or other cause judged by the instructor to be unavoidable shall be given an opportunity to take a rescheduled exam or make up the class assignment in a timely manner agreed upon by the instructor. Examples of unavoidable cause may include participation in university-sponsored activities such as debating contests, musical or theatrical performances, or intercollegiate athletic competition. The student should consult with the course instructors and/or the Dean of Students Office.
Insufficient Progress Toward Degree and Registration Holds
The University reserves the right to deny access to classes by students who make insufficient progress toward a degree. Students who are declared in a major but make insufficient progress in the major may be removed from the major. Students who fail to make progress toward a degree or who repeatedly withdraw from the University after registering may have their enrollment privileges revoked. Students on probation who repeatedly register for Pass/No Pass or Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory courses may have their registration privileges revoked. Students who fail to declare a major by the time they reach 120 credits will not be permitted to register. Students who reach 210 credits without graduating or submitting a degree application or plan of study will not be permitted to register.
Finals Preparation Week
The week immediately preceding final examination week is known as finals preparation week and provides the following protections which enable students to complete their studies without undue hardships:
- Final examinations must be administered at the date and time specified in the final examination schedule, with the exception of laboratory-section final exams
- During finals preparation week, no examinations shall be administered; exceptions may be made if there is agreement of the instructor, the appropriate department chair and/or dean, and the entire class membership
- No graded assignments shall be introduced during finals preparation week
- Students may consent, on an individual basis, to accept new graded assignments for purposes of extra credit and/or makeup for previous assignments
- Instructors must have notified students in writing, by the end of the course’s fifth week, of any graded assignments whose due dates fall during finals preparation week
The term “graded assignments” refers to written or oral presentations which are a required component of class performance and which are utilized in determining students’ letter grades or evaluations for the quarter. Examples include essays, papers, research projects and class presentations or quizzes.
Final examinations, given in most courses at Western, are administered according to a schedule published in the online Timetable of Classes. The scheduled days and hours for these examinations may not be changed. The final examination is normally held where the course meets.
All final examinations are scheduled during the last week of the quarter, which is known as final examination week. No final examinations except laboratory finals — whether for a whole class or part of a class or an individual — may be given before final examination week. This means that students may not petition faculty for early final examinations and that students should plan their end-of-quarter schedules in the expectation of final examinations in all courses. In the rare cases where final examinations are not given, instructors will notify students at the beginning of the quarter.
A student who fails to take a final examination without making prior arrangements acceptable to the instructor receives a failing grade for the course. Under unusual circumstances, an instructor may allow a student who has been making satisfactory progress in the course to take a late final examination and receive a temporary incomplete (K) grade. This privilege is available only to students who have been making satisfactory progress in the course. The incomplete grade given in this manner should be removed early during the next quarter.
If the final examinations schedule causes a student to take three or more examinations in one day, any of his or her instructors may arrange an examination later during finals week.
There is no final examination week in summer session. Course requirements are determined by each instructor.
Grades and Grade Reporting
At Western, grades describe both a student’s mastery of subject matter and the ability to communicate that mastery in examinations, essays, demonstrations and discussions. The three grading systems are described below. (Fairhaven College is authorized to follow a different system described in the Fairhaven College of Interdisciplinary Studies section of this catalog.)
Most courses at Western are graded on the traditional A-F system. The grades that may be earned under this system, and their values for GPA calculation (see “Grade Averages” below), are as follows:
A (excellent), 4.00; A-, 3.70; B+, 3.30; B (good), 3.00; B-, 2.70; C+, 2.30; C (fair), 2.00; C-, 1.70; D+, 1.30; D (poor), 1.00; D-, 0.70; F (failure), 0.00; Z (failure due to discontinued attendance without withdrawal), 0.00; K (incomplete), X (missing grade); XM (course withdrawal during second week of quarter; mark appears on academic history, but not on official transcript); W (course withdrawal after the second week of the quarter; mark appears on both the academic history and official transcript); SW (school withdrawal; mark appears on each course when school withdrawal occurs on first day of quarter or later).
Some courses are graded on the Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory system. For these courses, appropriate curricular agencies have determined that the traditional A-F system is inappropriate. If a course has been approved for S/U grading, the only grades that may be assigned are S, U and K. Neither S nor U is considered in the calculation of grade averages.
All S/U courses are identified in the course descriptions of this catalog and in the online Timetable of Classes.
Pass/No Pass Grading
Students may choose the Pass/No Pass grading option in certain elective courses. The minimum level of performance required to receive a grade of P varies from course to course and is determined by each instructor or department. Students should not assume that performance equal to a grade of D or higher will result in a passing mark. Often performance at the level of C or higher is required. Regulations pertaining to Pass/No Pass grading are as follows:
- Courses graded Pass/No Pass may not be applied to the major and minor, supporting courses, professional education requirements, upper-division writing proficiency requirement and General University Requirements
- Graduate courses taken for the graduate degree cannot be taken Pass/No Pass
- Courses graded Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory cannot be taken Pass/No Pass
- To designate a course as Pass/No Pass students must submit a request at the Registrar’s Office after registering for the course; they may change this designation by submitting the change to the Registrar’s Office at any time through the fourth week of a quarter; for extension program courses, pass/no pass grading designation may be elected up to the end of the fourth week for regular quarter-long courses, or prior to the second class meeting for shorter courses
- Prerequisites, work required and credit allowed may be affected by election of the Pass/No Pass option
- In computing grade averages, neither the P nor NP grade in Pass/No Pass courses is counted
- Should a student change his or her major or minor, the academic departments involved are the sole judges of the acceptability of any Pass/No Pass courses already completed in the newly chosen major or minor
- Once a student has earned NP grades in courses totaling 10 credits, he or she may no longer register for courses under the Pass/No Pass option
NOTE: Excessive use of the Pass/No Pass grading system may negatively influence admission to some graduate or professional schools.
The Incomplete (K) Grade
The grade of K (incomplete) may be assigned under all grading systems. It may be assigned only upon request of the student and agreement of the course instructor. Normally it is given only to a student who has been in attendance and has been doing passing work until the final two weeks of the quarter when extenuating circumstances beyond his or her control make it impossible to complete course requirements on schedule. (Extenuating circumstances do not include mere lateness in completing work, the desire of a student to do extra work to raise a poor grade, et cetera.)
To receive a K grade, a student must print a contract form and negotiate a formal agreement with the course instructor specifying the work done and the remaining work to complete the course and earn a grade. One copy is kept by the student and one by the faculty member.
Normally, the student completes the work agreed upon during the next quarter and a final grade is submitted by the instructor. After one year, however, if a final grade has not been submitted, the K automatically reverts to a failing grade (Z), and the student may establish credit only by registering again for the course. (Grades of K earned in thesis courses numbered 690 do not lapse to failure.) Once a final grade has been submitted, the student’s record will show the K grade as well as the final grade. In no case will a final grade replacing a K affect the student’s academic standing in the quarter in which the final grade is assigned.
Removing a K grade (and replacing it with a final grade) will not affect the student’s faculty action (scholarship standing) for the quarter in which the K was assigned, nor will it affect the faculty action for the quarter in which the final grade is recorded if the grades and faculty action for that quarter have already been submitted. However, it will affect the cumulative grade point average as soon as the final grade is recorded.
A student who receives an incomplete in a required course the final quarter before graduating must complete the course within two weeks of the end of that quarter in order to graduate at that time. If the course is completed after two weeks, the prospective graduate is subject to resubmitting the degree application, payment of another degree application fee, and registration in another course to satisfy the final-quarter-in-residence rule.
Grades and Academic Honesty
Grades are given for the student’s work and achievement. Fair evaluation of students’ work and helpful instruction are possible only when students submit work which genuinely reflects their own reading, computation, research and thoughts and is their own production, whether in writing or other format(s). Academic dishonesty can result in a failing grade and the placement of a note in the student’s permanent record. For the University’s policy on academic honesty, see Appendix D in the Appendices section of this catalog.
Grade Averages (GPA)
To determine a grade average, points are assigned to each grade earned under the A-F grading system (A = 4.00, B = 3.00, et cetera. See A-F Grading). The point value of each grade is multiplied by the number of credits assigned to the course. Total points are then divided by total credits attempted. Thus, a student who earns a five-credit A, five-credit B and a five-credit F has earned a quarterly average of 2.33 (35 points divided by 15 credits attempted).
A grade average of 2.00 (C) represents the minimum acceptable level of performance to remain in good standing at the University. Higher grade averages may be required for admission to or retention in certain major programs.
Only grades earned at Western are calculated in determining a student’s quarterly or cumulative grade average.
Grades of S, U, P, NP, AU, K, X, W, XM, and SW are not included in GPA calculation.
Grades Yielding Credit
Credit is granted for courses completed with grades of D- or higher on the A-F grading system and for grades of P and S. The grades of D+, D and D-, however, represent a level of work that is unacceptable in a student’s major or minor, supporting courses for majors and minors, ENG 101, and the courses that satisfy a student’s upper-division writing proficiency requirement. Professional education courses, the educational psychology courses required for teacher education programs and courses required for state teaching endorsements must be completed with a grade of C (2.0) or better.
A few courses are approved to be repeated for credit. Such approval is included with the course descriptions in this catalog. If a course not designated as repeatable for credit is retaken, the following will apply:
- Credit will be awarded only once for a repeated course
- All grades earned for a given course will be considered in calculation of the student’s cumulative grade average and all grades remain on the record; a failing grade assigned subsequent to earning a passing grade in a repeated course will nullify the credit earned initially with the passing grade
- Students wishing to repeat a class in which they already received a P, S, or C- or better grade may not register for the class until Phase III of registration, except in the case of students needing to retake English composition for admission to teacher education. The repeat registration for English composition prior to Phase III requires the written permission of the chair of the department.
The student who registers to repeat a course should file a “Course Repeat Card” with the Registrar’s Office. Unless this card is filed, the repeat may not be detected until the senior evaluation, at which time cumulative credits will be reduced.
Master’s degree students are not permitted to repeat courses.
Final grades are assigned at the end of each quarter and are available to students on Web4U.
Once a grade has been filed with the registrar, it is regarded as final. Except for the conversion of incomplete (K) marks, grade changes are accepted only under the following circumstances:
It is discovered that the grade resulted from clerical error in transcription or recording. Requests for change to correct these errors may be made only by the course instructor and only during the quarter immediately following original issuance of the grade.
The registrar may be instructed to change a grade as the result of the academic grievance procedure.
The registrar may be instructed to change a grade if it is determined that the grade resulted from academic dishonesty.
A former Western undergraduate student who returns to the University after an absence of five years or more may be given permission to start a new cumulative grade average. To be eligible, the student must be returning to Western as an undergraduate and cannot have taken any Western courses (including extension, correspondence, and cyber) during the five-year absence. The absence begins from the last day of the quarter of previous enrollment.
The Fresh Start application deadline is the end of the first week of the quarter in which the student returns. The application should be submitted to the Registrar’s Office. Students who have been dropped for low scholarship, even if absent for five years or more, must pursue reinstatement. See Reinstatement section below.
Undergraduates who might be considering applying for the master’s degree at WWU should contact the Graduate School office for information about the implications of having been given an undergraduate Fresh Start.
Post-baccalaureate students and students in graduate programs are not eligible for Fresh Start. An undergraduate student can be granted only one Fresh Start.
The following scholarship standards apply to each academic division of Western Washington University, except Fairhaven College. Students should note that transfer between academic divisions is restricted in cases of low scholarship.
Low- and high-scholarship standings are not changed as a result of the removal of incomplete (K) grades and late grades received in correspondence courses.
Good Academic Standing
A student is in good academic standing if he or she has a cumulative grade point average that is not below 2.00.
Graduation cum laude or magna cum laude is possible from those divisions of Western Washington University which employ the A-F grading system: College of Business and Economics, College of Fine and Performing Arts, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Huxley College of the Environment, College of Sciences and Technology, and Woodring College of Education, and University Interdisciplinary Programs. Fairhaven College of Interdisciplinary Studies, which employs a different grading system, may develop alternate ways to honor outstanding graduates, subject to approval of the Academic Coordinating Commission.
The Graduate School does not confer graduation honors on graduate students although some graduate programs recognize meritorious graduate students.
To be eligible for cum laude or magna cum laude status upon graduation, the student must have earned at least 90 credits from Western Washington University, at least 65 of which must be for courses completed under the A-F grading system while in junior or senior standing. Only students who earn a first bachelor’s degree are eligible for graduation honors.
Within each division which awards cum laude or magna cum laude status upon graduation, the determining factor in granting such distinction shall be based on the honors grade average. The honors grade average is computed using only the grades earned at Western Washington University after the quarter in which the student attains junior standing, but excluding grades in courses subsequently repeated and excluding all grades earned prior to approval of a “fresh start” grading average.
Magna cum laude shall be awarded to each student whose honors grade average places him or her at the 97th percentile or higher among graduating seniors during the previous academic year. Cum laude shall be awarded to each student whose honors grade average places him or her from the 92nd through 96th percentiles among graduating seniors during the previous academic year.
To receive honors recognition at Western’s commencement exercises, it is necessary for a student to have qualified for honors by the end of the quarter prior to graduation.
Quarterly President’s List
Each undergraduate student whose quarterly grade average places him or her at the 90th percentile or higher among students of the same class (freshman, sophomore, et cetera) shall be placed on the President’s List. The term “honor roll” shall be affixed to the student’s permanent academic record for that quarter. To be eligible for the quarterly President’s List, a student must be enrolled officially in a division of Western Washington University which employs the A-F grading system and must complete at least 14 credits that quarter on the A-F grading system.
The University has set the standards described below to ensure that students who are earning poor grades will examine their objectives carefully before continuing enrollment. In some cases, students will be dropped from the University. The standards are designed to ensure that a student will examine their objectives and seek assistance before grades deteriorate to the point that continued enrollment or admission to another college or university becomes impossible. In all cases involving poor scholarship, students are encouraged to consult with the Academic Advising Center, their instructors, or major advisor.
The low scholarship categories below apply to all divisions of Western Washington University except Fairhaven. (See the Fairhaven College section for that division’s scholarship standards.) Students dropped from one college division may not transfer to another college division without reinstatement by the Scholastic Standing Committee. These standards also apply to students enrolled in self-supporting courses.
A warning is issued to a first-quarter freshman or a first-quarter transfer student (who has not previously attended Western) whose grade average is below 2.00 and to any continuing student whose quarterly grade average is below 2.00 but whose cumulative grade average is 2.00 or higher.
Any student except a first-quarter freshman or first-quarter transfer student (who has not previously attended Western) whose cumulative grade average falls below a 2.00 is placed on academic probation. A student who begins the quarter on probation must earn at least a quarterly grade average of 2.00 to avoid academic dismissal (see below).
A student who begins a quarter on probation and, during that quarter, earns a grade average of 2.00 or higher without raising his or her cumulative grade average to at least 2.00 is placed on continuing probation. The student must then improve his or her cumulative grade average to at least 2.00 or attain at least a 2.30 quarterly average during the next quarter of enrollment.
Students on probation or continuing probation who repeatedly withdraw or register for Pass/No Pass or Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory courses may have their registration privileges revoked.
A student will be dropped from the University if he or she a) begins a quarter on probation and earns a quarterly grade average below 2.00 and fails to raise his or her cumulative grade average to at least 2.00 or b) begins a quarter on continuing probation and earns a quarterly grade average below 2.30 and fails to raise his or her cumulative grade average to at least a 2.00.
Under unusual circumstances involving consistent patterns of course withdrawal or course repeats, a student whose cumulative grade average is 2.00 or higher may be dismissed from the University. The provost may authorize dismissal in these unusual cases after reviewing records presented by the registrar.
A student who has been dismissed for low scholarship may not petition for immediate reinstatement and may not enroll in Western courses except through Summer Session and the Independent Learning Office. Course work through these programs does not guarantee future reinstatement as a degree candidate.
Removal from probation occurs at the end of a quarter during which a student has improved his or her cumulative grade average to 2.00 or higher.
Students who have been dismissed for low scholarship can seek reinstatement (but not for the quarter immediately following the quarter of dismissal). Responsibility for reinstatement to the University rests with the Scholastic Standing Committee. Petitions for reinstatement and information on the procedure are available in the Academic Advising Center, Old Main 380.
Factors considered in determining reinstatement may include student awareness of academic and personal factors leading to dismissal or extenuating circumstances, measures of academic aptitude, lapse of time since dismissal, and a realistic academic plan.
There are two options for seeking reinstatement. One is a review and decision by the Scholastic Standing Committee. The other is guaranteed reinstatement through the Scholastic Standing Committee by achieving all of the following: 1) since dismissal, earning 3.3 cumulative GPA in all course work taken, and 2) completing four classes (A-F graded) toward a bachelor’s degree, and 3) completing a minimum of 15 credits.
See the Academic Advising Center website (http://www.wwu.edu/advising/) for details on the reinstatement process.
Academic Honesty Policy
Academic dishonesty is not tolerated at Western Washington University. Someone commits an act of academic dishonesty when he or she participates in representing something as the work of a student that is not in fact the work of that student. A Western student who is caught committing such an act at Western typically fails the course in which it occurred, and repeated such acts can lead to dismissal from the University. For a full description of the academic honesty policy and procedures at Western, see Appendix D in the Appendices section of this catalog.
Academic Grievance Policy
The text and procedures of Western’s Academic Grievance Policy are contained in Appendix F in the Appendices section of this catalog.
Satisfactory Academic Progress for Financial Aid
The text of Western’s policy on Satisfactory Academic Progress for Financial Aid is contained in Appendix J in the Appendices section of this catalog.
Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), passed by Congress in 1974, protects the confidentiality of student records against disclosure to third parties and guarantees access to those records by the student. FERPA allows the university to release certain “directory information”, which includes the student’s name, local address and phone number, whether the student is enrolled, dates of attendance, degrees earned, and most recent previous institutions attended. However, Western Washington University is more restrictive, releasing to third parties only whether the student is currently enrolled, dates of attendance, and degrees awarded. For students who have requested a confidential block, no information is disclosed, not even whether the student is enrolled.
When a student enrolls in a postsecondary institution, rights of access are transferred from the parents to the student. Thus parents who wish to have access to their students’ educational information must present the written consent of the student for each request.
Individuals whose work requires access, such as university faculty and staff and government officials who work to improve instruction, also are allowed by FERPA to view student records.
For more complete information about FERPA and Western’s Student Records Policy, see Appendix E in the Appendices section of this catalog.
Student Records Policy
For the complete text of this policy, see Appendix E in the Appendices section of this catalog.
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