Jul 15, 2024  
2013-2014 Graduate Catalog 
2013-2014 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Academic Regulations

Students are responsible for being aware of and following all applicable university policies, rules, academic requirements and regulations, including those set forth in this Catalog. Students should always consult the Office of the Registrar website at http://seattleu.edu/registrar for the most up-to-date guidelines. In all cases, the official academic policies are considered the overriding authority regarding any rule or regulation listed in this catalog. Failure to meet the requirements or comply with regulations because of lack of knowledge does not excuse students from responsibility for compliance.

Students are responsible for the satisfactory completion of their program of study.  To this end, students must work through their adviser, program director or other authorized individual to document in writing information and understandings pertaining to academic matters and exceptions.  Any deviation from standards must be approved by petition and filed with the Office of the Registrar.

The enrollment and graduation of each student, the awarding of academic credits and the granting of any award or degree are strictly subject to the authority of the university. The university reserves the right to cancel any class that does not meet the required minimum enrollment, as determined by the university. SU also reserves the right to change any academic requirement or policy without notice and to require students to withdraw at any time.

Classification of Students (Policy 82-2)

Graduate Students 

Graduate students are classified as those admitted to Seattle University to pursue a program of study leading to a specific graduate certificate, masters, educational specialist or doctoral degree.

In special circumstances, undergraduate seniors or post-baccalaureate undergraduate students may be allowed to enroll in graduate courses with prior approval from the director of the graduate program in the area of the course in question, or the dean of the college or school in which the course is taught using a Petition for Exception to Policy form. 

Post-baccalaureate Graduates 

A student with an acceptable baccalaureate degree admitted to the university to pursue a specific graduate certificate is eligible to enroll in 500–level courses only. 

Non-Matriculated Graduate Status (Policies 82–2, 92–2)

Non–matriculated status is an admission category that includes: 

1.     Those students admitted to Seattle University by means of a special application form and fee for the purpose of post-secondary or post-baccalaureate study that is not intended to culminate in a Seattle University degree or certificate; or

2.     Those students who are recorded in the student information system via a manual registration process through the Office of the Registrar for particular programs offered by the schools or colleges in which the student is not required to be admitted to the university.

Students in this second category are not eligible for the same access to systems and services as students in the first.

As per Non-Matriculated Class Level, Policy 92–2, approval for petitions of non-matriculated credits (category 1 above) applying toward a graduate degree program at Seattle University is at the discretion of the academic department. In no case, however, will more than 12 credits taken at the graduate non-matriculated level be accepted toward a graduate degree.

There is no limit to the number of quarters a student may attend Seattle University as a non–matriculated student, but not all courses are open to non-matriculants. During fall, winter and spring terms, non–matriculated students will be admitted to courses on a space–available basis after all matriculated students have had the opportunity to register. During summer term, non-matriculated students are assigned registration start times, along with matriculated students, based upon the number of credits earned.

Course Work

Academic Integrity (Policy 2011-3) 

Seattle University is committed to the principle that academic honesty and integrity are important values in the educational process. Academic dishonesty is a serious offense and will be addressed according to this policy. 

Academic Load, Graduate Students (Policies 77–5, 82–1)

Master’s Degree and Educational Specialist candidates:

Full-time - Six or more quarter credits. A minimum of nine quarter credits is required for any graduate student attending on a student visa.

Half-time - Three to five quarter credits.

Doctoral Program in Educational Leadership candidates:

Refer to Policy 82-1 for special exceptions to the above standards.

Credit Load Maximum (Policy 2001–2)

The standard load for full-time graduate students is nine credits per quarter. Some programs place credit limits on registration. Students who plan to register for more than nine credits in a single quarter are advised to check with their department to determine the upper limit before completing their registration

Add/Drop (Policies 75-9, 76-1) 

Students are held accountable to complete every course for which they register. If it is necessary to add or drop a course or change a grading option, the student must do so by the last day of the add/drop period indicated in the academic calendar. Failure to properly drop a course will result in partial or full tuition charge when a withdrawal is processed, or the student will earn a failing grade due to late or no action. 

Attendance Requirement (Policy 2009-1) 

Class attendance is essential to the education process. In any course where attendance is necessary to the achievement of the course objectives, it may be a valid consideration in determining students’ grades. Although there is no university regulation requiring class attendance, each instructor and each program has the discretion to establish attendance standards. The student is responsible for becoming familiar with any attendance requirements applicable to their courses or program of study.  See policy 2009-1 for additional consideration given to student-athletes. 

Auditing a Course (Policy 97–7) 

Graduate courses are generally closed to auditors.  See the program director or dean of the school/college of the course being offered to determine if auditing is a viable option. 

Course Delivery Methods

Seattle University delivers a limited number of course sections online via synchronous and asynchronous delivery. Both credit and non-credit course sections are delivered in a variety of ways utilizing online technology. Course sections delivered for credit are noted as delivered partially or fully online in the published course description on SUOnline.  Partially online courses may require one or more on–campus sessions. Online sessions require that students have access to a computer with reliable high speed internet connection and may require specialized software or equipment.  

Course Numbering System

100 to 499: Undergraduate courses
500 to 599: Graduate courses*
600 to 699: Doctoral courses*
800 to 899: Post secondary professional development courses
900 to 999: Post-baccalaureate professional development courses

*Graduate standing or special permission is required for courses 500 to 699.


All students must register by the dates published. No person may attend any university course unless officially registered.

Late Registration

Registration may be allowed after the add/drop deadline published in the academic calendar by Petition to the Dean for approved extenuating circumstances. A late registration fee is waged in addition to standard tuition rates for late adds. Students registering after the first class day are held responsible for absences predating registration. 

Repeated Courses (Policy 77-2)

A graduate student must repeat a required course graded C- (1.70) or below, but may repeat a graduate course graded C+ (2.30) or C (2.00) only once. The grade earned the second time will be used in computing the cumulative GPA. The original grade will remain on the record but course credits will be counted only once toward a degree.

Substitution of a Course 

In some situations, a sponsoring degree department may approve the substitution of a previously completed graduate course on a Petition for Exception to Policy for an equivalent required graduate course. The substitution does not reduce the total number of credits required for the degree. 

Withdrawal from a Course (Policy 75–22)  

Graduate students must use SUOnline to withdraw from courses. The official date of a student’s withdrawal is the date of the online withdrawal and any refund of tuition is calculated using this date. Failure to properly withdraw from a course by the withdrawal deadline will result in a failing grade. 

Credit, Alternate Sources

Extension Credit/Correspondence Credit (Policy 77-1)

Graduate-level credit for extension courses is not normally allowed. Any exceptions are at the discretion of the dean of the appropriate college or school and must be requested using a Petition for Exception to Policy. Credits earned through correspondence are not accepted under any circumstances

Transfer Credit (Policies 77–1, 79-1)

A maximum of 10 credits towards the master’s degree may be transferred from another institution if these are recent credits earned with a grade of A or B (3.00 minimum on a 4.00 scale) and approved by the department and dean of that department using a Petition for Exception to Policy. A maximum of 15 credits of post-master’s graduate study may be transferred toward a doctoral program. See additional guidelines under specific academic programs in this catalog

Undergraduate Course Work (Policy 87–2)

In certain circumstances and with approval, it may be appropriate for graduate students to take courses at the 300, 400 or 900 level. There is a 15–credit maximum limit for courses that normally include undergraduate, post-baccalaureate and graduate students. Graduate students are expected to perform at a level consistent with receiving graduate credit and, when enrolled in these courses, will be expected to do additional work in the form of projects, papers or other suitable assignments.

Master’s degree programs may, under special circumstances as outlined in the academic program’s section of this catalog, allow candidates to apply not more than six content hours of graduate course work taken as part of their undergraduate degree to meet credit hour requirements for the master’s degree. This policy does not apply to those students in a combined undergraduate/graduate program where six or more undergraduate credits have already been applied toward the graduate degree.


Dual Enrollment at Two Institutions (Policy 75–6) 

Seattle University regulations require students to gain written permission on a Petition for Exception to Policy form before simultaneously enrolling at another institution. Courses completed at a second institution are transferable in limited circumstances when, prior to enrolling elsewhere, a form authorizing dual enrollment and credit transfer is approved by the program chair or director and the dean of the appropriate college or school. 

Readmission (Policies 76–10, 92-2) 

Readmission must be requested when a student has not enrolled at Seattle University for four or more consecutive quarters, including summer, or has formally withdrawn or been withdrawn for academic or disciplinary reasons from the university. See the Readmission Requirements policy 76-10 for specific exceptions. 

Students who have not attended the university for more than four consecutive quarters will be held to the degree requirements in effect at the time of readmission. 

Returning students who have attended other post-secondary institutions after leaving Seattle University must submit official transcripts before an application for readmission will be considered

Grading System

The following system of grading is used to indicate the level of individual student achievement. Each letter grade has a quality point value assigned to the grade achieved as follows:

A 4.00 Superior performance
A- 3.70  
B+ 3.30  
B 3.00 Good performance
B- 2.70  
C+ 2.30  
C 2.00 Minimal performance
C- 1.70 Courses graded C- or below will not count toward graduate degree or certificate
D+ 1.30  
D 1.00  
D- 0.70  
F 0.00 Failing

The grades of CR, HW, I, IP, M, N, NC, P, Q, R, W, Y or YW have no quality point value.

CR/F—Mandatory Credit/Fail

Some graduate courses, and other courses so designated by individual departments, are graded only credit (CR) or fail (F). When passed with the minimum acceptable standard of C (2.00 on a 4.00 scale), the course will be graded CR and credit will be granted. There will be no effect on the grade point average. Should the student fail to satisfy the instructor’s minimal expectations, the course will be graded F and will be included in the computation of the grade point average.

Colleges and programs may have a higher-grade standard for what constitutes a credit grade. Consult the appropriate school or college handbook for this information. 

HW—Hardship Withdrawal (Policy 75–22)

Hardship withdrawals may be granted for the death of a family member, catastrophic illness in the family, or an illness or an incapacitating injury to the student. The dean will require the student to provide documentation to support the request. If granted, the student is withdrawn from all requested courses for that term. There is no effect on the grade point average. Any tuition refund follows the regular refund policy

I—Incomplete (Policy 97-3) 

An “I” is a temporary grade indicating that work in the course was acceptable, although a critical portion of it was not completed because of illness or other serious circumstances beyond the student’s control. It may not be used for the convenience of the faculty member or student. The “I” grade is not counted in the credits earned or used in the grade point average computation. When the instructor assigns an “I” grade at the end of a term, a default grade is submitted that will be automatically assigned by the Office of the Registrar if the deadline expires without student completion. This default grade is calculated to include all work completed up to the date of final attendance plus a failing grade for work or examinations the student did not complete. Once a degree has been posted, removal of an “I” grade is not permitted. The deadlines for removing “I” grades are posted for each term in the academic calendar. 

IP—In Progress 

The “IP” grade is used on the academic transcript to indicate the current quarter’s courses. 


The “M” grade is used when the instructor has not submitted a grade to the Office of the Registrar and the grading deadline has passed

N—No Grade (Policy 75-19) 

An “N” is the grade used for courses in which the course work is not scheduled for completion until after the quarter closes, e.g., thesis, research or internship courses. It is the responsibility of each student to arrange with the instructor to remove the “N” grade completion according to the “N” grade removal deadline set by the sponsoring faculty member, and which must allow time for grading and submission by the faculty of record no later than the “N” “grade deadline published in the academic calendar.  

Once the deadline has passed, re-registration and payment of regular tuition is required in order to obtain credit for the work completed. Once a degree has been posted, removal of an “N” grade is not permitted. 

Once the deadline has passed, re-registration and payment of regular tuition is required in order to obtain credit for the work completed. Once a degree has been posted, removal of an N grade is not permitted.

Q—Suspended Grade 

For doctoral project/dissertation work-in-progress at the 600-level only, the “Q” grade must be removed within the six-year limit for all the degree course work. Once the six-year limit has expired, the “Q” becomes permanent and the student must re-register for the course, paying regular tuition to obtain credit for work completed. Once a degree has been posted, removal of a “Q” grade is not permitted. 

R—Doctoral Research or Mandatory Registration 

An “R” grade indicates registration in a required non-credit doctoral research or mandatory registration course. This is a permanent grade that does not affect the grade point average. 

W—Withdrawal (Policy 75–22)

Official withdrawal.

Academic Standing

Good Standing

Graduate students must maintain a B average each term, which is equivalent to a cumulative 3.00 GPA on a 4.00 scale, and must complete with a minimum 3.00 cumulative GPA in order to earn a master’s or doctoral degree

Academic Probation, Dismissal and Appeal Policy (Policy 2005-3) 

A student will be placed on academic probation if their cumulative GPA falls below 3.00 on a 4.00 scale, or for other reasons as determined by the university or the college or school in which the student’s program is located. Additional bases for academic probation or dismissal are detailed in the program standards outlined in the program of study section of the catalog and in the student handbook outlining discipline specific professional standards. 

Grade Changes

Changing a final course grade is permitted only on the basis of an actual error in computation or transcription whether discovered by the student or the instructor. Changing a grade is not permitted by reason of revision of judgment on the part of the instructor or by submitting new or revised work. Errors in grades must be reported within six months of the date of issue of final grade. In the event that a student disputes a final grade, the student has a right to follow the grading grievance process

Grading Grievance—Challenging Course Grades (Policy 2004-7)

The ultimate responsibility for the integrity of the academic grading process belongs to the university as an institution. Individual faculty members routinely act as agents for the institution in evaluating a student’s academic performance and in assigning final course grades. If a student challenges a final course grade, the burden of proof lies with the student. The faculty member has an obligation to award course grades on the basis of standards set at the beginning of the course.

This policy guides the university’s response to allegations that a faculty member acted arbitrarily and capriciously in assigning course grades. The grading grievance policy does not apply to mathematical errors in calculating the grade, academic dismissals from the university or a program, or questions of professional judgment concerning course content, instructional methods, or appropriateness of performance standards. Additionally, this policy does not apply to the School of Law.

Grade Point Average (Policy 75–2)

The grade point average is computed by dividing the total number of quality points achieved by the total number of credit hours attempted in which the student earns a letter grade of A through F for a course included in the graduate record

Transcripts (Policies 76–3, 97–6) 

Current students may obtain official transcripts of their academic record by making a request through SUOnline or by submitting a written request to the Office of the Registrar. Former students may obtain official transcripts by accessing the National Student Clearinghouse website or submitting a written request to the Office of the Registrar. Unofficial transcripts are available via SUOnline as well. 

No official transcript will be released to students with an unsatisfied financial or other obligation to the university. The university is not responsible for any error on a transcript that is not brought to the attention of the Office of the Registrar within six months of the closing date of the quarter in which the error occurred. 

Earning a Degree

All responsibility for fulfilling requirements and for applying for graduation rests with the student.

Academic Progress (Policy 75-1) 

Seattle University recognizes that students progress at different rates and their time to complete a degree is often dictated by individual circumstances. However, all requirements for the master’s, educational specialist or doctoral degree, including transfer courses, must be completed within six years after course work has begun. 

Degree Requirements


Students in selected programs must file the candidacy form pursuant to the regulations of the individual colleges/schools. Doctoral students should consult the doctoral program section of this Catalog on doctoral candidacy. Approval of candidacy eligibility is at the discretion of the dean of the college or school where the student belongs.

Catalog Year (Policy 75–1) 

The academic year begins with summer term. Students are held to the degree program requirements in effect at the time of first matriculated enrollment. Students who are readmitted after an absence of more than four consecutive quarters are required to meet the degree requirements in effect at the time of readmission. 

Students may, by Petition to Exception to Policy, elect to graduate under degree requirements specified in subsequent Catalogs; however, following requirements under a previous catalog is not allowed.

Credits Required to Graduate (Policy 75–1) 

Master degree candidates must complete a minimum of 45 graduate–level credits, 36 of which must be taken at Seattle University, as well as fulfill all program requirements, to be considered for graduation. 

For those candidates who have already earned an acceptable master’s degree, requirements for a second master’s degree may be reduced by up to 10 credits upon recommendation of the program chair and submitted via a Petition to Exception to Policy. 

Up to 15 credits may be earned at Seattle University in courses at the 300 to 499 or 900 level, if the subjects are suitable to the program. However, all work must be of distinctly advanced character, and requires the approval of the department and the dean of the appropriate college or school via Petition to Exception to Policy. 

Comprehensive Testing

Candidates may be required to pass a comprehensive examination in their major field of study. This examination shall be written and/or oral at the judgment of the department and the approval of the dean of the appropriate college or school


Graduate students may elect to complete a thesis as a part of their master’s degree program of study.  No more than 10 credits shall be granted for completion of a thesis.  A thesis is not necessarily a work of original research, but it must demonstrate the candidate’s ability to develop material and ideas in an original, lucid way. Additionally:

  • Thesis topics are to be approved by students’ mentors, graduate program advisers and the dean of the appropriate college or school, and filed with the department;
  • All thesis work must be done under the direct supervision of an assigned advisor;
  • Four unbound copies of an approved thesis are to be submitted to the dean four weeks before the graduation date. Two of these copies will be bound and placed on file in the university library; one copy will go to the department chair and one to the student;
  • An oral examination on the content of each thesis, cognate literature and available source material may be held before a board appointed by the departmental chair and approved by the dean of the appropriate college or school; and
  • Doctoral theses are required.

For more information, consult the individual academic program within this Catalog.

Change of Program

To transfer from one program to another, a student must obtain a change of program form from SUOnline, present the form to the new program director for approval, and then notify the former department by obtaining the chair’s signature. Students must meet the minimum entry requirements of the new program, and must also satisfy any additional requirements of the new college or school in order to earn the degree.

Application for a Degree

Application for a degree must be made with the Office of the Registrar via SUOnline according to these deadlines:

Graduation term

Application deadline

Winter Oct. 1
Spring Nov. 1
Summer or Fall Feb. 1



Official commencement ceremonies are held annually in June. Students who have completed their degree requirements since the last commencement ceremony and who have not previously commenced are eligible to walk at commencement

Commencement with Deficiencies (Policy 83–1)

Students who have not completed their degree requirements by the time of the official commencement exercises may, under the following conditions, participate in commencement:

  • Master or Doctoral level students who have six or fewer credits of degree requirements remaining to be satisfied after spring quarter and who meet the grade point standards for their degree programs by the end of winter quarter; or
  • If completing two degrees simultaneously, these students must also have six or fewer credits remaining to be completed for both degrees after spring quarter.

 Note:  Doctor of Education/Education Leadership (EDLR) students who have not completed their dissertation are not eligible to participate in commencement.

Application for a Certificate (Policy 76–11)  

Application for a certificate must be made during the first week of the term in which the certificate course work is to be completed. 

Other Academic Policies

Professional Conduct: Appeal Procedures (Policy 2011-2)  

Students must adhere to guidelines set forth by the student’s school, college and/or program’s professional standards of conduct.  If a student is penalized for a breach of professional conduct, they may file an appeal according to the process outlined in the Professional Conduct:  Appeal Procedures policy 2011-2. 

Privacy of Student Records (Policy 76-9)

Seattle University’s practices regarding the privacy of student records are in compliance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). The university maintains as confidential all personally identifiable information in education records except information considered to be directory information. Students have the right to request that directory information not be disclosed to third parties and may do so by submitting their request in writing to the Office of the Registrar by the last day to register each term, as published in the university academic calendar. For a definition of directory information see the FERPA annual notification on the Office of the Registrar website.

In addition, FERPA affords students certain rights with respect to their education records. They are:

1.   The right to inspect and review the student’s education records within 45 days of the day the university receives a request for access;

2.   The right to request the amendment of the student’s education records that the student believes are inaccurate, misleading or otherwise in violation of privacy rights; and

3.   The right to consent to disclosure of personally identifiable information contained in the student’s education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent.

FERPA permits disclosure without consent to school officials with legitimate educational interests. A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibility. The university may also disclose personally identifiable information from a student’s education records without the student’s consent if the disclosure is to parents of dependent children as defined by the Internal Revenue Code, Section 152; or to officials of another school in which a student seeks or intends to enroll. Furthermore, the university is required by law to provide the name and address of all students to any legitimate military recruiter who makes such a request in writing to the Office of the Registrar. Other exceptions exist that allow disclosure without a student’s consent.

4.   The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by Seattle University to comply with the requirements of FERPA. The office that administers FERPA is:

Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Ave. SW
Washington, D.C. 20202-4605

Complete copies of Seattle University’s guidelines on the privacy of student records (76-9) and the annual FERPA notification to students are available at http://seattleu.edu/registrar, and are published in the Student Handbook.