Policies and Standards (Graduate)

Classification of Students

Students may be granted regular or provisional admission to graduate programs, which may come with conditions. Some students may be granted admission with conditions. Students are also classified as full-time 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 eight 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 requirements 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 dean or his/her designee (e.g., program director).

Enrollment Status

    • 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.
Change of Student Status
    • Provisional to Regular: Student status will be changed from provisional to regular after the completion of eight 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 dean or his/her designee (e.g., program director), and approved by the associate provost for graduate studies and continuing education after the student has been admitted to a degree program. No such credit can be counted that carries a grade lower than B-.
    • Conditional Status Removed: Once all conditions of admission are met, the conditional status is removed.


Upon admission each student will be assigned an advisor within the academic unit for which they have been admitted. Students are required to meet with their advisors early in their programs.

Hours Required for the Master’s Degree

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.

Hours Required for the Doctor of Nursing Degree

A minimum of 79 semester hours are required for the Family Nurse Practitioner concentration, and a minimum of 90 semester hours are required for the Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner concentration. Post-master’s students may apply previous graduate level nursing coursework toward the requirement, based on approval of the courses by the dean or his/her designee (e.g., program director).

Graduate work from another institution may be accepted for transfer upon petition by the student and approval by the dean or his/her designee (e.g., 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, a master’s student must complete at least 24 semester hours of the degree program at Pacific Lutheran University.

Transfer of credit for the Doctor of Nursing Practice is determined by a gap analysis conducted by the dean or his/her designee (e.g., program director), with a minimum of 30 semester hours of the degree program completed at Pacific Lutheran University.

Residency Requirement

All candidates for the master’s degree must complete 24 semester hours of PLU courses. A Doctor of Nursing Practice student must complete at least 30 semester hours at Pacific Lutheran University.

Time Limit for Completion of Degree

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, and thesis, if applicable. The seven-year limit begins with beginning date of the first course applicable to the graduate degree.

All requirements for the Doctor of Nursing Practice degree must be completed within seven years from date of matriculation. Post-master’s Doctor of Nursing Practice may transfer credit from another institution older than seven years upon the approval of the dean or his/her designee (e.g., program director).

A student who leaves the program and wants to apply for re-entry should contact their respective graduate program director for policy and procedure.

Courses Acceptable for Graduate Credit

All 500- and 600- 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 and the School of Nursing do not accept continuing education coursework. All courses accepted for any master’s degree are subject to the approval of the dean or his/her designee (e.g., program director) and the associate provost for graduate studies and continuing education.

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.

Graduate Credit for PLU Seniors

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 provost for graduate studies and continuing education 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.

Procedure for Transfer of Credits/Petition for Program Changes

It is the student’s responsibility to formally petition the graduate program’s dean or his/her designee (e.g., program director) for transfer credit, change of program or advisor, or any exception to policy.

Standards of Work

The cumulative minimum standard acceptable for the master’s degree or Doctor of Nursing Practice degree is a grade point average of 3.00 in all graduate work. In addition, graduate-level credit will not be given for any class in which the grade earned is lower than a C (2.00). Some programs may require earned grades to be higher than a C (see individual program section or program handbook).

Academic Probation and Dismissal

A student pursuing the master’s degree or Doctor of Nursing Practice degree who fails to maintain a cumulative grade point average of 3.00 will be placed on academic probation. If in a subsequent term the student earns a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.00, academic probation status will be removed. 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 or Doctor of Nursing Practice degree with less than a 3.00 cumulative grade point average in all graduate-level work.

Appeal Process

A student who wants to appeal probation or dismissal decisions should contact their respective graduate program director for policy and procedure.

Academic Integrity

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, staff, 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. Students may be subject to dismissal from a graduate program for violating program-specific professional and academic standards.

Class Attendance and Participation

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 Office of the Registrar in order to drop the student.

Grading System

Students are graded according to the following designations:

Grade Points
Per Hour
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
E 0.00

In most programs, a C (2.00) or better is adequate to meet program requirements. Some programs require minimum grades to be higher than a C (2.00). See individual program sections of the catalog and program handbooks for this requirement. 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 No
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 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 Office of 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 dean or his/her designee (program director). 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 Office of 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 timely completion of the degree. See section on Medical Withdrawal Policy.

No Grade (NG)

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

Registration Procedures

Requirements Prior to Registration

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

    • Submit the non-refundable advance tuition deposit or statement of intent to register form
    • Submit the required medical history form
    • 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 aid if applicable, and online payment contracts) is provided by Student Financial Services. Students are emailed basic registration information by the University prior to each registration period. Students may contact Student Financial Services with registration questions at 253.535.7161 or by email at sfs@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 go online to 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. To add/drop a course after classes have started in any other term, see dean or his/her designee (e.g., program director). 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 published deadline dates.

Auditing Courses

To audit a course requires the permission of the instructor and enrollment is on a non-credit basis. An auditor is not held accountable for examinations or other written work and does not receive a grade. If the instructor approves, the course grade will be entered on the transcript as audit (AU). Auditing a class is the same price as regular tuition.

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.


Official Withdrawal From a Course

A student may withdraw from a class with an instructor’s signature after the add/drop deadline and before the withdrawal deadline of the specific term. Tuition is not refunded 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. In addition, there may be an impact on financial aid, if applicable.

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

Withdrawal from the University
    • Term Withdrawal

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’s Withdrawal” form in Student Financial Services. The student should also notify the graduate program advisor or administrator. Partial tuition refunds may be available depending on when the student withdraws. Refer to the Tuition Information section of this catalog for more information. Grades of W will appear on the student’s transcript for the term.

    • Future Term Withdrawal

Students are required to notify PLU and the dean or his/her designee (e.g., program director) 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 Student Financial Services. Students who do not follow the above policy for withdrawal may not re-enter the program without a petition approved by the program director and dean.

    • 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 qualified health care professional 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 in any given term. If granted, the grade of WM will appear on the student’s transcript. Qualified health care professional clearance is required prior to re-enrollment.

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


Some programs require the completion of a thesis; others may allow a thesis option. 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 the Office of the Provost and Associate Provost for Graduate Studies and Continuing Education, 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 Charges, Fees, & Fines).

Graduation and Commencement

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:

Degree Completion Term Application Deadline
December 2022 October 3, 2022
January 2023 December 1, 2022
May 2023 March 2, 2023
August 2023 June 1, 2023

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 Associate Provost for Graduate Studies and Continuing Education. Graduation Application is done through the student’s Banner Self-Service account.

Immunization Policy

All graduate students are required to submit a Health History and Consent 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 form. Students in compliance 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.

Some International students are required to have a tuberculosis skin test which is administered by Health Services after arrival at the University. Please refer to the following link for a list of exempt countries: www.plu.edu/iss/life-at-plu/insurance-and-medical. 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 and Doctor of Nursing Practice have additional health requirements.

Responsibilities and Deadlines

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 as required. Deadline: The last acceptable registration date in the semester in which the student expects to receive his or her degree.
    • Apply for graduation. File the application for graduation through Banner Web. Students are responsible for ordering their own cap, gown, and hood.
    • Note: If a student fails to complete the necessary requirements for graduation, the application for graduation will not automatically be forwarded to the next graduation date. Rather, a student must reapply for the subsequent graduation date, submitting all fees.
    • Submit thesis in final form to Office of the Provost and Associate Provost for Graduate Studies and Continuing Education 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 https://www.plu.edu/catalog/.