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Washington State University Graduate School

Scholarship Standards

A student must earn a 3.00 grade point Avg for all course work (including all courses listed on the program and other graduate upper- and lower-division courses). No work of C- grade or less may be dropped from a program, nor can a course be repeated for a higher grade if the final grade is C or higher. Any course listed on the program in which a grade of C-, or below is earned must be repeated.

Any graduate student who fails to maintain a cumulative grade point Avg of 3.00 or higher for all coursework subsequent to admission to the Graduate School will be dropped from the University. A student who is dropped may be permitted to re-enroll if the chair of the major department makes a special recommendation with the concurrence of the Dean of the Graduate School.

 

Description of Degrees

Doctoral Degree

The Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) is a research doctoral degree that is awarded in recognition of mastery of research methods (as evidenced in class grades and a comprehensive examination) and academic research that is ideally publishable in a peer-reviewed academic journal, but that will minimally be assessed by submission and defense of a dissertation.

Professional doctorates such as the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (D.V.M.), Master of Business Administration (MBA), and Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm. D.) degrees are awarded in certain fields where most holders of the degree are not engaged primarily in scholarly research, but rather in a profession, such as veterinary medicine or pharmacy, respectively. The Doctor of Education degree (Ed.D.) is a professional doctorate that prepares the student for academic, administrative, clinical or specialized positions in education. At the same level of academic standards as the Ph.D. program, the Doctor of Nursing Practice degree (D.N.P.) focuses on nursing practice and leadership, and prepares graduates to translate research evidence into practice.

Master’s Degree

The master’s degree is awarded upon completion of one or more years of advanced graduate study beyond the bachelor’s degree, with the length depending on the field of study and type of program. It recognizes heightened expertise in an academic discipline or professional field of study, gained through intensive course work and, in most cases, the preparation of a culminating project, scholarly paper, thesis, or a comprehensive examination.

Some master’s degree programs are research-oriented (e.g. thesis Master of Science degree) but many are considered professional (e.g. Master of Accounting). In the non-thesis and professional oriented degrees, the program should include some mechanism to assess the student’s integrative understanding of the discipline (e.g., special project, internship, examination).

Graduate Certificates

Formal graduate certificates convey that students have developed mastery of course material. Requirements for the Graduate Certificate vary by Department or Program. They typically consist of 9 to 12 credits of graded coursework. Once admitted as a part-time graduate certificate student, the student can take graduate certificate courses and/or graduate courses but must maintain a 3.0 GPA. Students currently enrolled in regular graduate degree programs (master’s or doctoral) may concurrently enroll in graduate certificate programs with the approval of their committee.

To qualify as a formal graduate certificate program, the program must conform to existing Graduate School academic standards and to existing policies outlined for graduate degree programs, including the following:

  • Graduate certificate programs must use approved undergraduate or graduate coursework, with no more than one-third of the coursework being at the undergraduate (400) level.
  • Student may be admitted to the Graduate School as a Graduate Certificate Student and have completed all appropriate prerequisite classes to take graduate coursework.
  • Courses graded S/F cannot be used toward major or supporting work for any degree program.
  • The maximum time allowed for completion of a certificate is 6 years from the beginning date of the earliest course applied toward the certificate. Students may request an extension of this time as described in the Graduate School’s Policies and Procedures Manual Chapter 6, Section F.
  • Requirements regarding WSU tenured/tenure-track status and critical mass for faculty supporting the program are the same as those required for degree programs.
  • A certificate fee is assessed at the time of completion of the certificate. The student must be enrolled the semester in which he/she applies for a graduate certificate.

 

Requirements for a Graduate Degree

The graduation requirements of the Graduate School (as published in the Graduate School Policies and Procedures Manual) in effect at the time of the student’s initial admission as a regular or provisional graduate student must be met for completion of a graduate degree program. Subsequent changes in degree requirements of the Graduate School or departmental may be substituted at the option of the student upon approval by the master’s or doctoral committee, by the department chair, and by the dean of the Graduate School. If a student is dropped from the University for failure to maintain continuous enrollment, the graduation requirements of the Graduate School are those in effect at the time of readmission.

The time limit for the use of graduate credits toward a master’s degree is six years from the beginning date of the earliest course applied toward the degree. Each program for a doctoral degree is considered individually. In all cases, work for the degree must be completed within three years of the date of the satisfactory completion of the preliminary examination. At least four months must elapse between preliminary and final examinations for doctoral degrees.

Transfer Credit and Credit Restrictions


Detailed policies and procedures on transfer credit and credit restrictions are outlined in the Graduate School Policies and Procedures Manual.

Transfer of Graduate Credits

Graded graduate-level course work (with a grade of B or higher) taken toward a master’s degree at an accredited institution may be used toward a doctoral degree at WSU with the approval of the student’s committee and the program director. However, graded graduate-level course work (with a grade of B or higher) taken toward a completed master’s degree at an accredited institution may NOT be used toward another master’s degree at WSU. All other graded graduate-level course work (with a grade of B or higher) taken as a graduate student, but not taken towards a completed graduate degree, may be used toward a master’s degree or a doctoral degree at WSU with the approval of the students committee and program director. In all transfer cases, the number of such credit hours is limited to no more than half of the total graded course credits required by the program that is listed on the Program of Study. None of this credit may be applied toward another advanced degree. Individual departments/programs may choose to limit transfer credits to an amount less than what is specified above. For detailed information, view the Graduate School Policies and Procedures Manual.

Graduate Study by Seniors

Seniors who have at least a 3.00 grade point Avg in the last half of their undergraduate work at Washington State University may register for up to six semester hours of work in the Graduate School in excess of the number of hours required to complete the bachelor’s degree. Graduate School approval is required at the time of registration. Only grades of “B” or higher may be applied toward an advanced degree. Seniors who wish to enroll in 500-level courses for undergraduate credit must obtain approval of the major advisor and the chair of the department of program in which the course is offered.

Requirements for Doctoral Degree

The core of the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) program must include a minimum of 15 semester hours of graded course work (at the 500-level) beyond the bachelor’s degree. It should include the most advanced courses appropriate to the field of study listed in the Graduate Catalog or approved for graduate credit since publication of the last Catalog. Of the minimum number of hours of core graded course work required on the Program of Study (15), none may be from non-graduate credit graded course work. No more than 9 credits of non-graduate (300- or 400-level) credit graded course work may be used for the total credits for the Program of Study. Many doctoral programs have minimum requirements that exceed those described above; in all cases, students must comply with the minimum standards of their doctoral programs as outlined in the Program of Study for that student.

Seminars numbered 500 or above that are graded other than P/F or S/F may be part of the core program. Courses graded S/F may not be used in the core program. Only those master’s degree and transfer courses at a level equivalent to 500-level courses, and applicable to the doctoral core program, should be listed in this category.

In addition to the core requirements, the program shall show research and additional course work. Credit in this category, plus that in the core program, must total at least 72 hours. A minimum of 20 hours of 800-level credits are required. Unless otherwise specified, special projects and problems and seminars may be included in this category if they are taken at Washington State University. The doctoral program may not include courses graded P/F or courses taken as audit. For more information on general requirements and transfer credit, see the Graduate School’s Policies and Procedures Manual Chapter 6, Section G.

Programs of Study

Program of Study for Ph.D.
  • 72 hours minimum total credits
  • 15 hours minimum from graded graduate-level (500-level) courses
  • 20 hours minimum 800-level research credits
  • 9 hours maximum of non-graduate (300- or 400-level) courses
  • courses for audit may not be used for the program of study
Program of Study for Ed.D.
  • 72 hours minimum total credits
  • 42 hours minimum from graduate approved graded courses
  • 20 hours minimum 800-level research credits
  • 9 hours maximum of non-graduate (300- or 400-level) courses
  • courses for audit may not be used for the program of study
Program of Study for DNP

Program of Study for Post-baccalaureate’s DNP with Nurse Practitioner (NP) Specialty Track: Minimum of 72 total hours of 500-level coursework and 1,000 practicum hours required.

  • 39 hours minimum of 500-level NURS courses for core DNP program
  • 9 hours minimum of 500-level NURS courses for the DNP Project (NURS 557, 558, 559)
  • 24 hours minimum of 500-level NURS courses from one post-baccalaureate DNP specialty track
Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) courses
  • Psychiatric Mental Health
  • Advanced Population Health (APH) courses
  • Completion of a minimum of 1,000 post-baccalaureate practicum hours
Program of Study for Post-master’s DNP General Program

Minimum of 32 total hours of 500-level coursework and 1,000 practicum hours required:

  • 23 hours minimum of 500-level NURS courses for core DNP program
  • 9 hours minimum of 500-level NURS courses for the DNP Project (NURS 557, 558, 559)
Program of Study for Post-master’s DNP Program with Nurse Practitioner (NP) Specialty Track

Minimum of 56 total hours of 500-level coursework and 1,000 practicum hours required

  • 23 hours minimum of 500-level NURS courses for core DNP program
  • 9 hours minimum of 500-level NURS courses for the DNP Project
  • 24 hours minimum of 500-level NURS courses from one post-baccalaureate DNP Specialty Track
  • Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) Courses
  • Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) Courses;  Advanced Population Health (APH) Courses
  • Completion of a minimum of 1,000 post-baccalaureate practicum hours
Program of Study for Non-thesis Master’s Degree
  • 30 hours minimum of total credits are required for the non-thesis master’s degree.
  • 26 hours minimum of graded course work
  • 17 hours minimum of graded course work at the 500-level
  • 9 hours maximum of non-graduate (300-400 level) graded course work
  • 4 hours minimum of 702 credit in major, 2 of which must be taken in the semester of project completion; and/or graded course work at the 500-level if officially approved via the curricular change process. If the non-thesis curriculum is officially approved with a capstone (500-level) course in place of 702 credits, a ballot meeting is still required in the final semester in which the capstone course is taken to determine if the student has successfully met all of the program requirements.
Program of Study for Thesis Master’s Degree
  • 30 hours minimum of total credits are required for the thesis master’s degree
  • 21 hours minimum of graded course work
  • 15 hours of graded course work at the 500 level
  • 6 hours maximum of non-graduate (300-400) graded course work
  • 4 hours minimum of 700-level credit in major, 2 of which must be taken in the semester of the final exam and/or thesis completion.

Note: all full-time thesis and non-thesis degree students must register for one research credit of 700 or 702 each semester (excluding summers)