Admission and Registration

General Information

Admission to Washington State University is granted without regard to age, sex, race, religion, color, creed, disability, national or ethnic origin, sexual orientation, or marital status. Graduates of Washington State University and other colleges and universities whose degrees are recognized by this institution and who meet the requirements for admission to the Graduate School may be admitted. Inquiries and requests for information may be found at, or you may write the Graduate School at: The Graduate School, Washington State University, PO Box 641030, Pullman, WA 99164-1030. You can also contact Graduate School Admissions at 509-335-1446.

Applicants for admission must have or anticipate receiving a bachelor’s degree from an accredited school before the start of the semester for which they have applied to the Graduate School. Previous schools must be accredited by a recognized accreditation association. Applicants must have a 3.0 grade point Avg of graded undergraduate coursework, or from graded graduate coursework where there are 12 or more graded semester hours of graduate coursework taken after the bachelor’s degree.

Applicants must have official equivalent transcripts from colleges or universities from which any degrees have been granted or are expected, and those transcripts which show the last 60 graded semester or 90 graded quarter hours of undergraduate work. Transcripts are also required from colleges or universities showing graded graduate level coursework taken after the bachelor’s degree. Official transcripts are those mailed directly to the Graduate School from the Registrar of the institution attended. Transcripts mailed by the student are not considered official. Complete credentials should be on file at least one month before registration. Transcripts from other institutions cannot be returned. Records of previous work at Washington State University need not be submitted.

The Dean of the Graduate School may approve admission of a student from a foreign university if the student presents a superior academic record, satisfactory evidence of adequate ability in English, and has sufficient financial resources. Such applications should be completed at least six months in advance of the proposed date of enrollment in the Graduate School. International students who have taken graduate courses at other institutions will be accepted only after evaluation of their undergraduate records, and their performance in graduate study and the minimum criteria, described above, is met.

In a graduate program, a student is required to complete appropriate advanced courses to participate in seminars and to make an original contribution of knowledge. At least one academic year of graduate study, or the equivalent, is necessary for the completion of a program leading to a master’s degree.

Most advanced degree programs emphasize the preparation of students for careers as productive scholars with research accomplishments. Those who earn advanced degrees often become teachers in institutions of learning, so many departments provide special attention to preparing students for careers in the teaching profession.

Departmental approval is required for any admission regardless of grade point Avg, and departments may require higher levels of performance than those cited. Because of limitations within certain departments, it may be necessary to deny admission to some qualified applicants. Graduate students are subject to the usual procedures and regulations of the institution and to the Graduate School rules and procedures outlined in the Graduate School Policies and Procedures Manual (

Classification of Students

Regular Student Status

Applicants with at least a B (3.0 on a 4.0 scale) grade point Avg, or the equivalent in the last 60 graded semester (90 quarter) hours, from an accredited college or university; or at least a B grade point Avg in any graduate work from a recognized graduate school are eligible for admission to regular student status. Applicants with at least 12 semester hours of approved coursework from accredited graduate schools with at least a B grade point Avg are eligible for admission to regular student status.

Provisional Student Status

A student not eligible for regular student status may be admitted on provisional student status upon special recommendation of the chair of the major department and with approval of the Associate Dean of the Graduate School.

Full-time Students

Graduate students must register for a minimum of 10 credit hours to maintain full-time enrollment status in the fall and spring semesters. All full-time graduate students must register for at least one (1) 700 (masters), 702 (non-thesis masters), or 800 (doctoral) level research credit each semester. Students should check with their departments for additional information and/or exceptions to this policy.

Part-time Students

Graduate students must register for a minimum of 2 credit hours and no more than 9 credit hours to maintain part-time enrollment status in the fall and spring semesters.

Enrollment Requirements

The normal load for a full-time graduate student is 10-12 credit hours per semester; however, under specific circumstances individuals programs may require more. Graduate students on half-time teaching or research assistantships are expected to carry a minimum of 10 credits per academic semester. See the Graduate School Policies and Procedures Manual for requirements for graduate students on appointment or taking examinations.

Continuous Enrollment

All full- and part-time degree-seeking graduate students at all campus locations must maintain continuous enrollment in the Graduate School by registering for each semester, excluding summer sessions, from the time of first enrollment until all requirements for the degree are completed. Continuous enrollment is maintained by registering for a minimum of 2 graduate credits per semester (excluding the summer). International students who enroll for fewer than 10 credits must be approved by the Office of International Programs in consultation with the Graduate School, prior to part-time enrollment during the academic year. Exceptions to the continuous enrollment policy are noted in Chapter 5 of the Graduate School Policies and Procedures Manual. Continuous doctoral status meets the continuous enrollment requirement.

Exceptions to Continuous Enrollment

Degree-seeking graduate students typically enroll in credits every semester until degree completion. However, sometimes circumstances are such that degree-seeking students are unable to enroll for credits. Such circumstances may include illness, family issues, financial need, work, or other obligations.

The exceptions to continuous enrollment discussed in this section address circumstances in which a degree-seeking student must be away from campus and cannot enroll for credits. These students must complete the appropriate graduate leave or internship leave paperwork, obtain approval from their faculty advisor and program chair, and submit the paperwork to the Graduate School in advance of the semester they will be away. Official leave of absence, internship leave status, and absences not approved under this policy are included in the time limits to complete a degree.

Graduate Leave of Absence

Students who must be away from campus for reasons such as medical issues, family obligations, job obligations, military service, and Peace Corps service, and who cannot maintain continuous enrollment in any given semester, may apply for an official graduate leave of absence. See the Graduate School’s Policies and Procedures Manual, Chapter 5, for additional information and procedures. Only graduate leave for medical reasons, military service, and Peace Corps service is available to doctoral students in continuous doctoral status. Students who are approved for graduate leave while in continuous doctoral status will not be charged the $50 administrative fee.

Internship Leave

Students who wish to go on an internship approved by their program and who do not need to register for credits for the internship may apply for internship leave status. See the Graduate School’s Policies and Procedures Manual, Chapter 5, for information and procedures. Only internship leave required by the student’s program is available to doctoral students in continuous doctoral status. Students who are approved for internship leave while in continuous doctoral status will not be charged the $50 administrative fee.

Short-term Parental Leave

The Short-term Parental Leave plan provides up to four consecutive weeks of leave for the period directly before or after the birth or adoption of a child. During this time, the student continues to be enrolled and, if on an assistantship appointment (during the academic year only), will continue to receive graduate assistant benefits (i.e., tuition waivers will remain in place, health benefits, and salary). For additional information, see the Graduate School’s Policies and Procedures Manual, Chapter 5.

Other Policies and Procedures

Special Projects or Independent Study (600), Master’s Research, Thesis and/or Examination (700), Master’s Special Problems, Directed Study, and/or Examination (702), and Doctoral Research, Dissertation, and/or Examination (800) shall have as a prerequisite regular or provisional student status in the Graduate School.
Graduate students must register for the required amount of 700, 702, or 800 credits during the semester or summer session in which they take their final examination. Fall and spring semesters and summer session officially end on the last day of finals week. Examinations normally are not scheduled between regular terms. However, students who have received special permission from the Graduate School to schedule final master’s or doctoral oral examinations in the interim non-class period after the end of a term will be required to register for the following semester or summer session

Online Resources

Graduate Student Policies and Procedures

Navigating Your Graduate Degree