Policies and Standards



Students may be granted regular or provisional admission to graduate programs. Some students may be granted admission with conditions. Students are also classified as full- or part- time depending on their semester hours of enrollment.

Regular Admission: Students who meet or exceed all program requirements for admission are eligible to be considered for admission as regular status students.

Provisional Admission: Students who present credentials below general standards for graduate study, who also exhibit potential for academic success, may be admitted as provisional status students. Students must complete 8 or more semester hours of graduate work, as determined by the program, with a cumulative grade point average of 3.00 or higher to be granted regular status.

Conditional Status: Students who apply for graduate or post- baccalaureate studies before completing undergraduate work or have unmet prerequisites are admitted with conditions. Although admitted to the program, coursework and/or student placements cannot begin until the conditions of acceptance have been met.

Non-matriculated Students: Students holding bachelor degrees who wish to pursue graduate coursework and are not admitted to a graduate program are classified as non- matriculated students. Note that many programs do not allow non-matriculated student enrollment and that non-matriculated students may take a maximum of nine semester hours of 500-level courses. Non-matriculated students may take an unlimited number of continuing education hours. Enrollment in a graduate program as a non-matriculated student requires approval from the program director.


Full-time enrollment: Eight or more semester hours in fall, spring, or summer.

Half-time to three-quarter time enrollment: Four to seven semester hours in fall, spring or summer.


Provisional to Regular: Student status will be changed from provisional to regular after the completion of 8 or more semester hours of graduate work, as determined by the program, with a cumulative grade point average of 3.00 or higher.

Non-matriculated to Regular/Provisional: Student status will be changed from non-matriculated to regular/provisional after the non-matriculated student completes the normal application process and is accepted into a program. Credit earned during non-matriculated classification may count toward a graduate degree, but only as recommended by the program’s director or dean, and approved by the associate dean of graduate studies after the student has been admitted to a degree program. No such credit can be counted that carries a grade lower than B-.


Upon admission each student will be assigned an advisor responsible for assisting the student in determining a program of study. Students are encouraged to meet with their advisors early in their programs.


A minimum of 32 semester hours is required. Individual programs may require more than the minimum number of semester hours, depending upon prior preparation and specific degree requirements. Any prerequisite courses taken during the graduate program shall not count toward fulfillment of graduate degree requirements.


Graduate work from another institution may be accepted for transfer upon petition by the student and approval by the program director. Eight semester hours may be transferable to a 32-semester-hour program. In degree programs requiring work beyond 32 semester hours, more than eight semester hours may be transferred. In any case, the student must complete at least 24 semester hours of the degree program at Pacific Lutheran University.


All candidates for the master’s degree must complete 24 semester hours of PLU courses.


All requirements for the master’s degree, including credit earned before admission, must be completed within seven years. The seven-year limit covers all courses applied to the master’s degree, credit transferred from another institution, comprehensive examinations, research, and final oral examination. The seven-year limit begins with beginning date of the first course applicable to the graduate degree.


All 500-numbered courses described in this catalog are graduate level. A maximum of four semester hours of continuing education credit may be accepted toward a master’s degree. This applies to continuing education credit taken at PLU or transferred from another university. The School of Business does not accept continuing education coursework. All courses accepted for any master’s degree are subject to the approval of the program director and the associate dean of graduate studies.

All required undergraduate level coursework in Nursing (or its equivalent) in the Entry-Level Master of Science in Nursing Program is considered part of the Entry-Level M.S.N. graduate program.


If during the last semester of the senior year a candidate for a baccalaureate degree finds it possible to complete all degree requirements with a registration of fewer than 16 semester hours of undergraduate credit, registration for graduate credit may be permissible. However, the total registration for undergraduate requirements and elective graduate credit shall not exceed 16 semester hours during the semester. A memorandum stating that all baccalaureate requirements are being met during the current semester must be signed by the appropriate department chair or school dean and presented to the associate dean of graduate studies at the time of such registration. This registration does not apply toward a higher degree unless it is later approved by the student’s graduate program advisor and/or advisory committee.


It is the student’s responsibility to formally petition the graduate program’s director or dean for transfer credit, change of program or advisor, or any exception to policy.


The cumulative minimum standard acceptable for the master’s degree is a grade point average of 3.00 in all graduate work. Graduate-level credit will not be given for any class in which the grade earned is lower than a C (2.00).

A student whose grade point average falls below 3.00 is subject to dismissal from the program. In such instances, the recommendation for dismissal or continuance is made by the student’s advisory committee and acted upon by the associate dean of graduate studies.


A student pursuing the master’s degree who fails to maintain a cumulative grade point average of 3.00 may be placed on academic probation. A graduate student on probation who fails to attain a cumulative grade point average of 3.00 in the next term of enrollment may be dismissed from the program. A graduate student cannot earn a master’s degree with less than a 3.00 cumulative grade point average in all graduate-level work.


Both the value and the success of any academic activity, as well as the entire academic enterprise, have depended for centuries on the fundamental principle of absolute honesty. The university expects all its faculty and students to honor this principle scrupulously.

Since academic dishonesty is a serious breach of the universally recognized code of academic ethics, it is every faculty member’s obligation to impose appropriate sanctions for any demonstrable instance of such misconduct on the part of a student.

The university’s policy on academic integrity and its procedures for dealing with academic misconduct are detailed in the PLU Student Handbook at www.plu.edu/student-handbook. Some graduate programs provide program-specific information and processes regarding academic integrity in their program handbooks.


The university assumes that all registered students have freely accepted personal responsibility for regular class attendance. Course grades reflect the quality of students’ academic performance as a whole, which normally includes regular participation in the total class experience and is evaluated accordingly. Absences may lead to a reduction of a student’s final grade. In the event of unavoidable absence, students are expected to inform the instructor. Assignment of make-up work, if any, is at the discretion of the instructor.

Students unable to attend the first class meeting must notify the instructor prior to the first class. Students who miss the first two class meetings may be dropped from the class by the instructor; students who are dropped for non-attendance after the posted drop deadline for any semester or term will be charged the late registration fee. Faculty must notify the Registrar’s Office in order to drop the student.


Students are graded according to the following designations:

Grade Points Per Hour Allowed for Graduate Program
A 4.00 Yes
A- 3.67 Yes
B+ 3.33 Yes
B 3.00 Yes
B- 2.67 Yes
C+ 2.33 Yes
C 2.00 Yes
C- 1.67 No
D+ 1.33 No
D 1.00 No
D- 0.67 No
E 0.00 No

The grades listed below are not used in calculating grade point averages. No grade points are earned under these designations.

Grade Description Credits Awarded
P Pass Yes
F Fail No
I Incomplete Yes
IP In Progress No
AU Audit No
W Withdrawal No
WM Medical Withdrawal No
NG No Grade Submitted No

Pass (P) and Fail (F) grades are awarded to students who are enroll in exclusive pass/fail courses. These grades do not affect a student’s grade point average.

Grade Changes

Faculty may not change a grade once it has been recorded in the registrar’s records unless an error was made in assigning the original grade. The error must be reported to the Registrar by the end of the following semester after which it was entered (by the Spring grade submission deadline for Fall and January, and by the Fall grade deadline for Spring and Summer). Any grade change requested after the designated date must be approved by the respective program director and dean. The Grade Change policy does not apply to I or IP grades, which are subject to separate policies.

Incomplete Grades

Incomplete (I) grades indicate that students did not complete their work because of circumstances beyond their control. To receive credit, all work must be completed and a passing grade recorded. Incompletes from Spring Semester and the Summer Term are due six weeks into the Fall Semester. Fall Semester and J-Term incompletes are due six weeks into the Spring Semester. Faculty may assign an earlier deadline for completion of the work by the student. The earned grade is recorded immediately following the I designation (for example, IB) and remains on the student record. Incomplete grades that are not completed are changed to the default grade assigned by the instructor when the incomplete grade is awarded at the end of the term. If a default grade was not indicated, the incomplete grade will be defaulted to an E or F grade upon expiration of the time limit for submitting grades for an incomplete from that term. An incomplete does not entitle a student to attend the class again without re- enrollment and payment of tuition. An incomplete contract is available and may be required by the faculty member.

In-Progress Grades

In-Progress (IP) grade signifies progress in a course that normally runs more than one term to completion. In Progress carries no credit until replaced by a permanent grade. A permanent grade must be submitted to the registrar within one year of the original IP grade submission. Any IP grade that is not converted to a permanent grade within one year will automatically convert to an Incomplete (I) and will then be subject to the policy governing Incomplete grades.

Medical Withdrawal

Medical Withdrawal is entered when courses are not completed due to medical cause. A medical withdrawal does not affect a student’s grade point average, but may affect progression in a major or timely completion of the degree. See section on Medical Withdrawal Policy.

No Grade

A temporary grade entered by the Registrar’s Office when no grade has been submitted by the faculty member by the established deadline.


Requirements Prior to Registration

Before a graduate or post-baccalaureate student can register for classes, the student must:

  • Submit the non-refundable advance tuition payment
  • Submit the required medical history form, indicating current immunizations and proof of medical insurance
  • Submit the online payment contract
  • If applicable, remove any holds on the student account

Registration Process

Depending on the graduate program, students will either register themselves or be registered by the program administrator. Information about registration processes (including acceptance of financial if applicable, and payment contracts) is provided by the Student Services Center. Students are also emailed basic registration information by the university prior to each registration period. Students may contact the Student Services Center with registration questions at 253.535.7161 or by email at ssvc@plu.edu.

Adding or Dropping a Course

All add or drop activity must be completed by the listed add/ drop deadline for the specific term or semester. All students are encouraged to consult with their academic advisor prior to making any significant schedule changes. Please refer to the class schedule or go online at www.plu.edu/registrar for the most current information. Students may add a course without an instructor signature only during the first five business days of a full or half semester-length class. A student may drop a course without an instructor’s signature only during the first ten business days of a full semester-length class or of a half semester-length class. In most cases, adding and dropping can be accomplished using Banner Web. See the January Term and summer schedules for the add/drop periods for those terms. Any registration changes may result in additional tuition charges and fees and may also affect the student’s financial aid (if applicable). A $100 late registration fee is charged for any registration changes after the printed deadline dates.


Official Withdrawal

A student may withdraw from a class with an instructor’s signature after the add/drop deadline and before the withdrawal deadline published on the calendar page of the specific term class schedule. Tuition is not refunded, a $100 late registration fee is charged and any additional tuition will be charged for adding any other classes. A grade of W is recorded on the student’s academic transcript.

If a student is enrolled in a class, has never attended and did not drop the course before the published deadline, tuition will be charged to the student’s account, unless the instructor’s signature has been obtained. If the student obtains the instructor’s signature, tuition is not charged, but a $100 late registration fee is assessed.

The add/drop form may be obtained from the Student Services Center, filled in, instructor signature obtained, and returned to the Student Services Center by the appropriate dates that impact fee assessment. The add/drop form may also be found online at www.plu.edu/registrar/documents/.

Repeating a Course

A graduate student may repeat a course only once. Please note that specific programs may prohibit repeating a course. If a course is repeated, the student’s cumulative grade point average is computed using the highest of the grades earned.


Withdrawal from the Term

Students are entitled to withdraw honorably from the university if their record is satisfactory and all financial obligations are satisfied. Students must complete and sign the “Notification of Student Withdrawal” form in the Student Services Center. Partial tuition refunds may be available depending on when the student withdraws. Refer to the Tuition and Fees section of this catalog for more information. Grades of W will appear on the student’s transcript for the term.

Withdrawal from a Future Term

Students are required to notify PLU if they do not plan to return for the following term. Students are entitled to withdraw honorably from the university if their record is satisfactory and all financial obligations are satisfied. Students must complete and sign the “Notification of Student Withdrawal” form in the Student Services Center.

Medical Withdrawal

Students may petition to withdraw completely from the university for a term for medical reasons. The student must complete a Medical Withdrawal Petition, provide written evidence from a physician and a personal explanation to the Vice President for Student Life. This must be completed in a timely manner and in no case later than the last day of a class in any given term. If granted, the grade of WM will appear on the student’s transcript. Physician clearance is required prior to re-enrollment.

For more information contact Student Life, 105 Hauge Administration Building, 253.535.7191 or slif@plu.edu.


Students are required to present evidence of ability to do independent research. This can be demonstrated in three ways. See each program section for explanation of research options within each graduate program.

The first method is a thesis. Those students writing theses must submit their original theses for binding and microfilming by ProQuest of Ann Arbor, Michigan. In addition, a Dissertation Services publishing form and an abstract of 150 words or fewer must be submitted with the publishing fee, to Office of the Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies, no later than three weeks before graduation. Fees for microfilming, publishing abstracts, and binding original theses for the permanent PLU library collection are paid by students (see Tuition and Fees section).

The second method is a research paper. If a program requires or students elect research paper options, program guidelines must be followed.

The third method of fulfilling research requirements used in some programs is paper presentations or culminating projects in specific courses designed to comprehensively integrate a program’s material while promoting independent research and study.


All courses must be completed, final grades recorded, examinations passed, and thesis/research requirements fulfilled in order for a degree to be awarded. Graduate students must apply for graduation by the following dates:

Graduation Date Graduation Application Due Approved Thesis Due
December 2012 or January 2013 May 2, 2012 December 3, 2012
May 2013 or August 2013 December 3, 2012 May 1, 2013

Note: The thesis/research paper(s) must be signed by the thesis advisor and have been read by the entire committee before submission to the Office of the Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies.

Graduation Application forms are available in Student Services and on the Registrar’s Office Web site.


All graduate students are required to submit a PLU Medical Record form including documented record of two measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) immunizations after their first birthday. Documentation consists of official records signed by a health care professional. Those born before January 1, 1957, are exempt from immunization information, but still must complete the Medical Record form. Students with a PLU Medical History Record and immunizations in compliance with the PLU Immunization Policy on file with Health Services are considered cleared. Those students not in compliance are placed on medical hold and will not be allowed to register, drop or change classes after their initial (entry) registration.

International students are required to submit the International Student Medical Record form. International students are also required to have a tuberculosis skin test which is administered by Health Services after arrival at the university. International students are required to purchase the PLU International Student Health Insurance policy unless they have submitted a waiver form to their insurance company and the completed form is received by the PLU Health Center by the 10th day of the first class.

The Master of Science in Nursing has additional health requirements.


It is the responsibility of each graduate or post-baccalaureate student to know and follow the procedures outlined in this catalog and to abide by established deadlines.

Students must read and abide by:

  • Graduate Programs; Policies and Standards as stated in the PLU Catalog
  • University Guidelines as stated in the PLU Catalog
  • Guidelines and procedures as set forth by the individual program

Students must:

  • Upon acceptance, meet with the assigned advisor as soon as possible to establish the program of study.
  • Register for thesis or research paper as required. Deadline: The last acceptable registration date is the semester in which the student expects to receive his or her degree.
  • Apply for graduation. File the application for graduation with the Registrar’s Office. Students are responsible for ordering their own cap and gown.
  • Note: If a student fails to complete the necessary requirements for graduation, the application for graduation will not automatically be forwarded to the next commencement date.
  • Take written and/or oral examination under the direction of the major advisor or advisory committee. Deadline: No later than four weeks before commencement.
  • Submit theses and research papers in final form to Office of the Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies three weeks prior to graduation. At this time the binding/microfilming fee must be paid.
  • The information contained herein regarding Pacific Lutheran University is accurate at the time of the publication. However, the university reserves the right to make necessary changes in procedures, policies, calendar, curriculum and costs at its discretion. Not all courses are offered each academic year, and faculty assignments may change. Any changes will be reflected on the university Web site at www.plu.edu/catalog/