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Academic Policies & Procedures

The requirements and regulations of the Graduate School as described on this Web site have been approved by the Graduate Faculty Committee and govern all graduate students.

Add/Drop policy

You may add or drop courses after the stated deadline only under extraordinary circumstances not related to academic performance. You must complete a Graduate School Request for Exception Form. If you request a drop for medical reasons, you must supply documentation from a physician. Such add/drops require approval of your instructor, your graduate program unit, and the Graduate School.

Courses dropped after the fourth week of classes remain on your record and are noted on transcripts with the W (Withdrawal) symbol.

Refer to the Registrar's Office Web site for Add/Drop (Change of Registration) instructions and deadlines. Add/Drop forms are available online.

Appealing Academic Decisions

See Appeals, Grievances, and Exception Requests.

Audit courses

You do not receive a grade or earn graduate credit for audited courses. Auditors usually attend a course for the information available, generally without the commitment to carry out the assignments required for a grade. During the first week of classes, check with your instructor for the attendance and course work standards expected of auditors. Some courses cannot be audited; those marked with a # in the Schedule of Classes are closed to auditors.

Auditing a course has additional consequences for financial aid, maximum credit load and fellowship purposes. Please see specific sections regarding these items.

Change of Degree Program

If you decide to change from one degree program to another, you must submit a new Degree Application to the Graduate School. If you apply for the change more than one year after your original admission date, another $56 application fee (non-refundable) is required.

Pursuing two programs at one time

Unless you are enrolled in a formally approved coordinated degree program, you may not work toward two UWM graduate degrees at the same time. If you are admitted to a second degree program before receiving a graduate degree in the first program, you are considered to have formally withdrawn from the first program and are no longer eligible for the degree in the first program.




The courses listed for each graduate program in the Bulletin have been approved for graduate credit. Some 300-699 courses carry a U/G credit designation, meaning they have been approved to be offered for both undergraduate and graduate credit. To receive graduate credit, you must have graduate status and meet the special graduate student requirements indicated by the instructor on the syllabus. However, in any given semester a U/G course might be offered for undergraduate credit only. Consult the credit-level column in the Schedule of Classes to determine whether a U/G course is currently being offered for graduate credit. You will not receive graduate credit for any course that is not offered for graduate credit or for any U/G course for which you did not register as a graduate student.


All 700-999 courses carry a G credit designation, meaning they have been approved to be offered for graduate credit only. You must have current graduate status to be eligible to earn graduate credit in these courses. Students in other classifications must obtain the instructor's approval to enroll in G courses. In a graduate student's program the majority of courses are expected to be in the 700-999 group.

Credit Requirements

Credit requirement information can be found in the following sections of this handbook: The Master's Degree; Doctor of Philosophy Degree; and Financial Assistance, for requirements for recipients of Graduate School-administered awards or assistantships.


Your dean is Marija Gajdardziska-Josifovska. Her official title is Dean of the Graduate School.

Exceptions to Graduate Faculty Policy

See Appeals, Grievances, and Exception Requests.

Full-Time Enrollment

Graduate students enrolled for a minimum of 8 credits per semester or 6 credits during a summer session are considered full time, with the exceptions described below. (Fellowship recipients see Fellowship Compliance.)

UWM teaching and project assistants who are employed for one-third (33%) time or more must enroll for a minimum of 6 credits per semester. They are considered full-time with this minimum enrollment. The Graduate School and/or graduate program unit reserves the option to require a higher credit minimum for those who hold Graduate School awards (see Financial Assistance).

During the semester that you are preparing for doctoral prelims, you may enroll for a minimum of 1 graduate credit and still be considered full time for financial aid or grant purposes. This status is available for one semester only, and does not fulfill residence requirements. To request this option, you must have already submitted your Application for the Doctoral Preliminary Examination.

Doctoral students (including teaching, research, and project assistants) who have reached dissertator status are required to carry 3 dissertator credits.

Grade Definitions and Requirements

Grades with associated grade points
Grade Grade Points
A 4.00
A- 3.67
B+ 3.33
B 3.00
B- 2.67
C+ 2.33
C 2.00
C- 1.67
D+ 1.33
D 1.00
D- 0.67
F+,F 0.00
Grade Definitions
  • A: Superior work
  • B: Satisfactory, but undistinguished work
  • C: Work below the standard expected of graduate students
  • D/F: Unsatisfactory work
Grades without associated grade points
  • K: Pass
  • E: Fail
  • S: Satisfactory
  • U: Unsatisfactory
Other course status designations
  • I: Incomplete
  • PI: Permanent Incomplete
  • Credit: C- or above in credit/no credit course
  • No Credit: Below C- in a credit/no credit course
  • NC: Not Completed (audit courses only)
  • P: Progress
  • W: Withdrawal

Grades or course status outcomes of D+, D, D-, F+, F, E, I, PI, NC, U, W, and WR may not be used toward meeting degree requirements. The P course status designation must be converted to a grade upon the completion of the course requirements.

S and U grades

S and U are the only valid grades for master's capstone courses, master's theses, doctoral dissertation courses, and courses for which students register on an audit basis.

Credit/No Credit basis

You may not register for a course on a credit/no credit basis, except when a course is offered only for credit/no credit. (By definition, a grade of C- or above is required to receive credit under this type of registration.)

You can check your grades and other academic information on the PAWS Web site.

Holds (Service Indicators)

A hold may be placed on your record for the following reasons:

  • An unpaid debt to the University.
  • Failure to maintain continuous registration (dissertators only).
  • Failure to show proof of insurance (international students only).
  • Official transcript required for admission not received.
  • Administrative obligation.

A hold on your record prohibits you from registering for classes, obtaining transcripts, or receiving your diploma. In addition, international students with holds cannot have non-immigrant papers processed by the Center for International Education (CIE).

You can check for holds on your record using the PAWS Web site.

Incomplete Policy

An Incomplete is appropriate only when the following conditions are present:

  1. You have done satisfactory work in a substantial fraction of the course requirements prior to grading time and provide the instructor with evidence of potential success in completing the remaining work.
  2. Extraordinary circumstances, not related to class performance, such as illness or family emergency, have prevented you from finishing the course requirements on time.

An Incomplete will not be given to enable you to do additional work to improve a grade.

It is your responsibility to initiate a request for an Incomplete. If approved, the instructor will indicate the conditions for the removal of the Incomplete, including the dates for submitting all remaining work. The instructor may deny a request for an Incomplete and assign a letter grade based on the work completed at that point.

You are responsible for seeing that the Incomplete is removed before the agreed deadline and that the instructor has reported the grade to the Graduate School. The instructor may change the I to a letter grade (including an F) or to a PI (Permanent Incomplete) if you fail to meet the deadline for completion.

Permanent Incomplete

If the instructor does not change the Incomplete to a regular letter grade within one year from assigning the Incomplete grade, the Incomplete will lapse to a Permanent Incomplete (PI), whether or not you are enrolled (A PI is not computed into the grade point average). The PI symbol subsequently cannot be changed to a regular letter grade. Except in cases where the work was completed, but the instructor neglected or was unable to file a grade change in time, the "PI" will remain on your record. If you have received a PI and want credit for that course, you must register again and complete the designated requirements. You may not register for a course for which an I remains on the transcript.

You may graduate with a PI provided all degree requirements have been met. All Incompletes must be removed or changed to a PI before you may graduate.

Major Professor as Advisor

You must have a major professor from your chosen graduate program unit. Many graduate program units assign a temporary advisor to direct the entering student's work.

The major professor advises on courses and graduate faculty requirements and supervises research. For the master's candidate, the major professor is chair of the master's thesis committee, if a thesis is required. For the doctoral candidate, the major professor serves as the chair of the dissertation committee and of the committee hearing the dissertation defense. All major professors must be members of the UWM Graduate Faculty. Doctoral advisors require approval by the doctoral program unit and the Graduate School.

Maximum/Minimum Credit Load

You may not register for more than 12 credits in a semester or 9 credits in the eight-week summer session or a total of 12 credits in all sessions between the end of Semester II and the beginning of Semester I. Audit, sport/recreation, and colloquium seminar credits are not counted when determining a graduate student's credit load; undergraduate credits are counted.


Requests to exceed the maximum credit load are considered under the following circumstances:

  • You are taking undergraduate certification coursework.
  • You are making up deficiencies.
  • You have exceptional circumstances resulting in special hardship.

You must have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 and no outstanding incompletes to be considered for overload approval. You must submit a Request for Exception Form along with recommendations from your major professor and your graduate program representative explaining the reasons and justification for the exception.

To be considered, your exception request must be submitted to Graduate Student Services before the enrollment period of the semester in question.

If you enroll for more than the maximum credit load without permission, courses will be dropped to reduce your course load to the maximum allowed.

Only individual student requests are reviewed. Overload requests for groups of students are not considered.

Minimum Credit Load

Every student who uses University resources must be enrolled at UWM. Minimum registration is 1 credit per semester or summer. If you are a doctoral student with dissertator status, see the Continuous Registration section on the Doctor of Philosophy Degree page. A student undertaking research and/or working on a project, paper, or thesis enrolls at UWM according to the amount of time required for the investigation as determined by the instructor and the major professor. You must be registered during the semester in which your degree is awarded.

Minnesota/Wisconsin Reciprocity Agreement

If you're a Minnesota resident, the tuition reciprocity agreement allows you to avoid non-resident tuition at UWM. Under the program, graduate students pay whichever state's resident tuition rate is higher.

Applicants are asked to apply electronically. You can also contact the Minnesota Office of Higher Education at 800-657-3866 or write to Reciprocity, Office of Higher Education, 1450 Energy Park Drive, Suite 350, St. Paul, MN 55108.

You may also contact the UWM Office of the Registrar at (414) 229-3796. A certification year runs from July 1 through June 30.

If you are not certified by the date fees are due, you must pay non-resident tuition and fees; the appropriate amount will be refunded upon certification by the Minnesota Office of Higher Education.

Re-entering the Graduate School

If you plan to return to your graduate program after an absence of two or more semesters (excluding summer and UWinteriM sessions), you must apply to re-enter. Following are requirements for re-entering students:

  • Completion of a semester's work within the past five years.
  • A cumulative graduate GPA of 3.0.
  • Clearance of academic and administrative holds.
  • Being within the time limit for degree completion.
  • You may also need the approval of your graduate program unit. Check with your unit about its re-entry requirements.

Beginning September 1, 2013, the processing fee for re-entry will be $20.

You can download a re-entry form from this site. A $15 processing fee is required for re-entry.

Repeating Courses

You are allowed to repeat a course once in which a grade of B- or lower was earned. Both attempts appear on your transcript and both grades are calculated in the graduate grade point average. Only one attempt may be counted toward meeting degree requirements.

Time Limit — Master's

If your master's program requires 30 credits or fewer, you must complete all degree requirements within five years of your first enrollment in the program. If your program requires over 30 credits, you must complete all requirements within seven years. Some programs may have shorter time limits.

Time Limit — Ph.D.

All requirements for the doctoral degree must be completed within 10 years of the date you first enrolled in a doctoral program at UWM. This includes all coursework, the dissertation, and examinations required for the degree. Some programs may have shorter time limits. If you entered your doctoral program in the fall semester of 2000 or after, you have five years from your semester of entry to pass the preliminary examination.


Official graduate transcripts and unofficial copies can be obtained in Mitchell 261 or by completing and submitting an official Transcript Request form. Official graduate transcripts are $10.00 per copy. Make checks payable to "UWM." UWM does not accept credit card information by fax. Call 229-6569 for more information about graduate transcripts.

Transcript Request Form

Winter Session

UWinteriM is a three-week session held during winter break. A schedule of classes is available during the fall semester. The following rules apply to graduate students:

  • UWinteriM enrollment does not affect time-to-degree calculations.
  • Graduation deadlines for fall, spring, and summer semesters are unaffected by UWinteriM enrollment. If you complete your degree requirements (e.g., thesis/dissertation defense, master's comprehensive exam, final course) during UWinteriM, you will graduate in May, but will not have to register during the spring semester.
  • UWinteriM classes cannot satisfy enrollment requirements for graduate assistants (RA, TA, PA) or graduate school fellows. Students with teaching assistantships during UWinteriM are not required to register for UWinteriM classes.
  • You may not register for more than three credits during UWinteriM.


Withdrawal is the formal termination of a student's complete registration in all courses for the semester. To simply stop attending classes does not constitute a withdrawal. Withdrawals are not accepted by telephone. You must fill out a withdrawal form or send a letter by certified mail to give notice to the Graduate School of the withdrawal. The postmark date or the date the withdrawal form is received by the Graduate School becomes the effective date. This date determines the amount of fee/tuition that will be assessed. Check the UWM Web site for withdrawal deadlines and to determine the effect of withdrawal on your fees.

You may withdraw after the deadline only for reasons other than academic difficulty. You must first submit a Request for Exception to Graduate Student Services. If you request withdrawal for medical reasons, you must supply documentation from a physician.

Withdrawals will be noted on your transcript. Withdrawals after the fourth week of classes remain on your academic record with the course number and title followed by a W symbol.

Page last updated on: 05/20/2015