Jul 22, 2024  
2010-2011 Graduate Catalog 
2010-2011 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Academic Regulations

Students are responsible for informing themselves of the academic regulations, requirements and policies set forth in this Catalog and of other applicable university policies, rules and regulations. (References to applicable policy statements are noted parenthetically.) Students should always consult the Office of the Registrar website at seattleu.edu/registrar for the most up-to-date version of policies, rules and regulations. In all cases, the official academic policies are considered to be the overriding authority of any rule or regulation listed in this Catalog.

Students are responsible for the satisfactory completion of their program of study. Students should not rely on verbal representations of degree requirements or waivers thereof. Students should ensure through their advisor, program director, or other authorized individual that information and understandings pertaining to academic issues are accurate and that all agreements are entered in their official academic file in the Office of the Registrar.

Failure to meet the requirements or comply with regulations because of lack of knowledge does not excuse students from responsibility for compliance.

A faculty or professional advisor must approve students’ programs of study. Such approval does not, however, excuse a student from any failure to meet university requirements.

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, and 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 computer 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 Policy 92-2, approval of non-matriculated credits (category 1 above) 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 may register when registration opens for the term.

Course Work

Academic Honesty (Policy 2004-01)

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 quarter credits.
  • Doctoral Program Students—Educational Leadership
    refer to Policy 82-1 for special exceptions.

Academic Overload (Policy 2001-02)

The normal load for full-time graduate students is nine credits per quarter. Some programs have credit limits for registration. Students who plan to register for more than nine credits in one quarter should check with their department to determine the upper limit before completing their registration.


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. Failure to properly drop a course could result in a failing grade.

Attendance Requirement

Attendance is an essential and intrinsic element of 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.

Auditing a Course (Policy 97-7)

Graduate courses cannot be audited.

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 registration is permitted after the last day to add/drop as published in the university academic calendar. Students registering after the first class day are held responsible for absences predating registration. No person may attend any university course unless officially registered.

Repeating a Course (Policy 77-2)

A graduate student must repeat a required course graded C- or below, but may repeat a graduate course graded C+ or C 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 for an equivalent required graduate course. The substitution, however, in no way reduces the total number of credits required for the degree.

Withdrawal from a Course (Policy 75-22)

Students must officially notify the Office of the Registrar when they withdraw from any course. Graduate students may withdraw via SUOnline. The official date of a student’s withdrawal is the date of the online withdrawal. Failure to properly withdraw from a course by the withdrawal deadline will result in a failing grade.

Credit, Alternate Sources

Extension Credit/Correspondence Credit

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. Credits earned through correspondence are not accepted under any circumstances.

Transfer Credit (Policies 77-1, 79-1)

At the masters- or educational specialist-level, a maximum of 10 credits may be transferred from another accredited institution if they are earned with a grade of 3.00 or better on a 4.00 American grading scale, were taken for graduate credit, fall within the six-year limitation, and are approved by the academic department. 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 Colleges (Policy 75-6)

Seattle University regulations require students to seek written permission on a Petition for Exception to Policy form to be enrolled simultaneously 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 75-3, 76-10, 81-3)

Readmission must be requested when a student has not enrolled at Seattle University for four consecutive quarters, including summer, or has otherwise withdrawn from the university.

Students will continue to receive registration materials and be eligible to register for the four consecutive quarters, including summer, after the last quarter of attendance if they do not formally withdraw. See the policy for specific exceptions.

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

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. 


Grades are available for viewing on SUOnline the day following the final grade submission deadline.

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, 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. 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 injury to the student that incapacitates. 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. Financial aid recipients are advised to check with the Office of Student Financial Services before requesting a hardship withdrawal because this action may negatively affect financial aid.

I—Incomplete (Policy 97-3)

An incomplete 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 action. 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. If no default grade is submitted, the Office of the Registrar will assign a grade of F once the I deadline expires. Once a degree has been posted, removal of an I grade is not permitted. The deadlines for removing I grades are:

Term I earned in

Date final grade is due

Spring, summer or Intersession Oct. 22, 2010
Fall 2010 Jan. 28, 2011
Winter 2011 April 22, 2011

IP—In Progress

Symbol used on the academic transcript to indicate current quarter’s courses.


Symbol used when the instructor has not submitted a grade to the Office of the Registrar.

N—No Grade (Policy 75-19)

A grade used for courses where 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 no later than the following deadlines:

Term N earned in

Date final grade is due

Summer Aug. 1 of the following calendar year
Fall Nov. 15 of the following calendar year
Winter March 1 of the following calendar year
Spring May 1 of the following calendar year

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—A 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.

R—Doctoral Research or Mandatory Registration

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, which is equivalent to a cumulative 3.00 GPA on a 4.00 scale, and must have a minimum 3.00 cumulative GPA in order to earn a master’s or doctoral degree.

Probation and Dismissal for Academic Deficiencies (Policy 75-14)

A student will be placed on probation if their cumulative GPA falls below 3.00, 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 university policy on probation and dismissal for academic deficiencies and the policies of the various schools, colleges and programs.

Grade Changes

Changing an end-quarter 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 grade reports. In the event that a student disputes an end-quarter grade, the grading grievance procedure should be followed.

Grading Grievance—Challenging Course Grades (Policy 2004-07)

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 accessing SUOnline or 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.

No official transcript will be released to students with an unsatisfied financial or other obligation to the university. Unofficial transcripts are available via SUOnline.

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 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 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, elect to graduate under degree requirements specified in subsequent Catalogs; however, under no circumstances will the requirements from earlier Catalogs be applied.

Credits Required to Graduate (Policy 75-1)

To earn a master’s degree, candidates must complete a minimum of 45 graduate-level credits as well as all program requirements. Of these credits, 36 must be taken at SU.

For those candidates who have already earned an acceptable master’s degree in a related area, requirements for a second master’s degree may be reduced by up to 10 credits upon recommendation of the program chair. Some programs may require additional course work.

Up to 15 credits may be earned at SU 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.

Comprehensive Testing

Candidates may be required to pass a comprehensive examination in the 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 request to complete theses on topics approved by their program departments and the dean of the appropriate college or school. For this work, no more than 10 credits are granted. 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 advisors 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 academic program section of this Catalog.

Change of Program

To transfer from one college or school to another or 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. The approved form is returned to the Office of the Registrar and the student’s record will be adjusted to reflect the new program.


Official commencement ceremonies are held annually in June. All responsibility for fulfilling the requirements and applying for graduation rests with the student.

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

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. After the department completes its part, the form is submitted to the Office of the Registrar.

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:

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

Students with deficiencies who plan to participate in the June commencement must apply for graduation no later than Nov. 1, prior to the ceremony.

Doctor of Education/Education Leadership (EDLR) students who have not completed their dissertation and have more than six-quarter credits remaining in their program requirements are not eligible to participate in commencement.

Other Academic Policies

Fair Process Policies (Policies 2001-01, 2005-01)

The Fair Process Policies apply to students enrolled in clinical, field or contextual education experiences at Seattle University and set out the process in which a student may seek review of certain types of decisions affecting their status, standing or continued participation in a program. Policy 2005-01 applies to students in the colleges of Arts and Sciences, Education and Nursing. Policy 2001-01 applies to students in the Albers School of Business and Economics, College of Science and Engineering and the School of Theology and Ministry. Students are referred to the most current online versions of the Fair Process Policies for a description of decisions that may and may not be reviewed under these policies.

Privacy of Student Records

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 announced 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 (76-09) and the annual FERPA notification to students are available at seattleu.edu/registrar under Academic Policies, or the Student Handbook.