Skip to Content
Skip to Navigation

Memo 36: Graduate Courses

Graduate courses are intended for and ordinarily restricted to either students enrolled in the Graduate School or graduate nonmatriculated students who meet the requirements of Memo 37, Enrollment of Nonmatriculated Students in Graduate Courses.

Graduate courses should be presented at a level that assumes enrolled students bring to the class a background at least equivalent to a bachelor's degree in the field or a related interdisciplinary field. Graduate courses must not be used to correct deficiencies in the student's undergraduate work; courses normally expected to be part of undergraduate preparation for graduate study must be identified by undergraduate course numbers.

Graduate courses normally should be offered only under the sponsorship of academic departments or other units which are authorized to grant graduate degrees. They are reviewed periodically as part of the unit's degree program according to the procedures described in Memo 7, Periodic Review of Existing Degree Programs. Authorization and review of graduate courses in units which do not offer graduate degree programs are discussed in Memo 41, Graduate Courses in Non-Degree-Granting Units.

In order to maintain as much breadth as possible in the course offerings of a graduate unit, graduate level courses normally will carry the prefix designation of the academic unit authorized to offer the graduate program, e.g., English, Drama, Education, etc. However, in certain fields identification of specializations in graduate courses may be necessary or desirable. To propose special designation, the faculty in that unit may transmit to the Dean of the School or College and the Dean of the Graduate School a well-documented request for permission to identify the field of specialization in the prefix. Special designation, if approved by the Dean of the College, the Dean of the Graduate School, and the Curricular Policy Board, may be established on either a temporary or permanent basis.

The following standardized descriptions have been established for courses in all disciplines numbered 600, 700, and 800:

600 - Independent Study or Research

Individual readings or study, including independent study in preparation for doctoral examinations, research, etc. Prerequisite, permission of Supervisory Committee Chairperson or Graduate Program Coordinator. Name of faculty member responsible for supervision of the student should be indicated on Program of Studies.

601 - Internship

Internship required of students in a graduate degree program. Prerequisite, permission of Supervisory Committee Chairperson or Graduate Program Coordinator. Name of faculty member responsible for supervision of the student should be indicated on Program of Studies.

700 - Master's Thesis

Research for the Master's thesis, including research preparatory and/or related thereto. Limited to graduate students who have not yet completed the master's degree in their major field at the University of Washington. Prerequisite, permission of Supervisory Committee Chairperson or Graduate Program Coordinator. Name of faculty member responsible for supervision of the student should be indicated on Program of Studies.

800 - Doctoral Dissertation

Research for the doctoral dissertation, including research preparatory and/or related thereto. Limited to those who have completed the Master's degree or the equivalent and have been admitted into a doctoral degree program, or candidate-level graduate students. Pre-master students initiating doctoral dissertation research should register for 600. Prerequisite, permission of Supervisory Committee Chairperson or Graduate Program Coordinator. Name of faculty member responsible for supervision of the student should be indicated on Program of Studies.


Graduate courses are offered on the Seattle campus of the University except for certain individual courses where all of the following conditions are satisfied:

  • The course is equivalent in quality to courses offered in residence at the University, as judged by consideration of course content, assignments, examinations, performance expected from students, grading practices, assignment of graduate faculty, etc.
  • It is designed for and presented mainly to students who have been admitted to and are enrolled in the Graduate School of the University of Washington or who have been enrolled by units as graduate nonmatriculated students.
  • It is approved at least one full quarter in advance by the Dean of the College, the Dean of the Graduate School, and the Curricular Policy Board.

A set of graduate courses or a graduate degree program may not be offered off campus without review and recommendation of the Graduate School.

Some courses at the 300 and 400 levels are open both to 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. Approved 400-level courses are accepted as part of the major as well as minor or supporting fields. Undergraduate Research (499) is not accepted as part of the graduate program.

Under certain conditions, qualified nonmatriculated students may be enrolled in graduate courses and earn credit later applicable towards a graduate degree. These conditions are outlined in Memo 37.

Postbaccalaureate students, undergraduate students, and nonmatriculated students who do not meet Graduate School admission requirements may enroll in 500-level courses provided that permission has been obtained in advance from the faculty member who will teach the class, and from the departmental Chairperson or designated representative. Permission should be granted only when the student appears to be exceptionally well prepared for entrance into the course so that the tempo and quality of the graduate instruction is not adversely affected. Such students should not constitute more than 20% of the total number enrolled in the class.

Credits earned in 500-level courses by a student who has not been admitted to the Graduate School or to a particular unit as a graduate nonmatriculated student will not be applied later toward completion of requirements for an advanced degree. University of Washington students who are within 6 credits of completing their undergraduate degree and who have met the requirements for admission to the Graduate School may register the quarter immediately preceding admission to the Graduate School for up to 6 credits in 500-level courses in addition to the last 6 credits they require of undergraduate work. The graduate program which has admitted the student must approve registration for the courses and the petition for transfer of credit.

A student working toward a Master's degree at the University may petition the Dean of the Graduate School for permission to transfer to the UW the equivalent of up to 6 graduate level quarter credits taken at another recognized academic institution to apply toward the total credits required for the degree. (See the General Catalog for details and restrictions that may apply.)

 

Revised: December 2009