Course Information

The maximum credit granted for Advanced Placement and Course Challenges is 45 total credits. A regularly enrolled full-fee-paying student may apply to challenge any course covering knowledge or materials with which the student has acquired a demonstrable level of familiarity or understanding from prior experience (except conferences, special projects and physical education activities courses). If achievement commensurate with the expectations of a given course is demonstrated, the student receives credit for the course. See the University Catalog for a complete list of the regulations.

Auditors are persons who desire to attend courses without earning credit. Admission as an auditor requires prior approval of the instructor and the Registrar’s Office. Since auditors are not active participants, certain courses may not be audited: those include, but are not limited to physical education activities, laboratory courses, studio courses, independent study courses, modern language courses, courses not taught in a group setting, and any other course the Registrar deems ineligible. Auditing a course cannot be used toward successful completion of academic credit.

Auditors are not allowed to register until the first day of the quarter, and the limit of the course must not have reached the maximum. Changes to or from audit cannot be made after the first week of the quarter.

Students enrolled for 10 or more non-audited credits may audit a course without an additional charge. Students enrolled for less than 10 credits will be charged $10 per credit to audit a course. Students approved to register for an audit are responsible for paying any course fees attached to the course. Students enrolled in off-campus, self-supporting programs, who choose to audit are required to pay the full amount of tuition and fees.

Students registering in certain courses are charged additional fees for purchase of special laboratory and studio supplies and for special services such as music practice room rentals. These fees are listed with each course in the online Timetable of Classes.

Courses numbered from 100 to 299 are classified as lower division; those numbered from 300-499 as upper division. Generally, the first digit of a course number indicates its intended class level:

  • 100-199 first-year courses
  • 200-299 second-year courses
  • 300-399 third-year courses
  • 400-499 fourth-year courses
  • 500-599 open only to graduate students
  • 600-699 post-master degree courses

Only courses numbered 100 or above appear on the official transcript. Except in unusual circumstances, students are not permitted to take courses more than one year above their class standing.

The numbers 197, 297, 397, 497 and 597 are used for courses generally offered only once. The numbers 137, 237, 337, 437, 537 are reserved for International Studies (2-15). These courses are offered through the WWU International Studies program or through colleges. Contact the Office of International Programs and Exchanges, College Hall 104, for information. Repeatable with different subject matter. The number 117 is reserved for First Year Experience (FYE) courses.

The numbers 217(a-l) and 317(a-l) are reserved for Special Topics (1-6). Topics vary. Repeatable with different subjects. The numbers 217(m-z) and 317(m-z) are reserved for Special Topics (1-6) in extension programs. Topics vary. Repeatable with different subjects. The numbers 417, 517 are reserved for Senior Seminar or Special Topics (1-6). Topics vary. Repeatable with different subjects. The numbers 445, 545 are reserved for Current Trends (1-6). Topics vary. Repeatable with different subjects.

The numbers 300, 400, 500 are reserved to designate Directed Independent Study (1-15), enabling students to pursue, on an individual basis, topics not covered by the curriculum. The number 699, continuous enrollment, is reserved for master’s degree students in their final quarter who have registered for all their course work. Contact the Graduate School for further information. Details regarding titles, prerequisites, number of credits and grading for specific courses can be found in the online Timetable of Classes, or the Summer Bulletin.

In some cases, a new course may be offered in the Summer Session prior to appearing in the University Catalog. Any undergraduate student wishing to enroll in a course numbered 500 or higher must obtain the written approval of the dean of the Graduate School. (See the Graduate School section of the University Catalog.) Courses listed in the University Catalog constitute a record of the total academic program of the University. Except for unforeseen scheduling and personnel circumstances, it is expected that each course will be offered during the period of the catalog.

Indicate CRNs on all registration forms (e.g. 13002). All Fall Quarter CRNs begin with a 4, Winter Quarter CRNs begin with a 1, Spring Quarter CRNs begin with a 2 and Summer Quarter CRNs begin with a 3.

It is recommended that no more than 10 credits of directed independent study be applied toward the degree, although some programs are more restrictive. A graduate student registering for a 500 or 400 independent study course used for the degree develops a contract (online form) with the instructor, which is then reviewed and approved by the graduate program advisor, department chair and the Graduate School. Independent study credit normally will not be given when the student is paid for engaging in the work described on the contract (e.g., internship, work-study projects, graduate assistantships).

Undergraduate students must connect with an instructor to obtain a Directed Independent Study. Student can fill out the following form to initiate the process: Directed Independent Study Form

Fairhaven Students:

  • See Fairhaven College Independent Study Guideline handout.
  • Seek preliminary faculty advisement.
  • Complete proposal form and submit to faculty sponsor.
  • Register for the independent study course online within the first six days of the quarter.

Graduate students requiring an independent study course need to complete the online form, Independent Study Contract and Registration Approval Form, and submit it online to the professor and then to the Graduate Office for approval.

Students may choose the Pass/No Pass grading option in certain elective courses. The minimum level of performance required to receive a grade of P varies from course to course and is determined by each instructor or department. Students should not assume that performance equal to a grade of D or higher will result in a passing mark. Often performance at the level of C or higher is required. Regulations pertaining to Pass/No Pass grading are as follows:

  • Courses graded Pass/No Pass may not be applied to the major and minor, supporting courses, professional education requirements, upper-division writing proficiency requirement and General University Requirements
  • Graduate courses taken for the graduate degree cannot be taken Pass/No Pass. Courses graded Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory cannot be taken Pass/No Pass
  • Courses graded Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory cannot be taken Pass/No Pass
  • To designate a course as Pass/No Pass students must submit a request to the Registrar's Office after registering for the course; they may change this designation by submitting the Grading Mode Change Request form to to the Registrar's Office at any time through the fourth week of a quarter. For extension program courses, Pass/No Pass grading designation may be elected up to the end of the fourth week for regular quarter-long courses, or prior to the second class meeting for shorter courses
  • Prerequisites, work required and credit allowed may be affected by election of the Pass/No Pass option
  • In computing grade averages, neither the P nor NP grade in Pass/No Pass courses is counted
  • Should a student change their major or minor, the academic departments involved are the sole judges of the acceptability of any Pass/No Pass courses already completed in the newly chosen major or minor
  • Once a student has earned NP grades in courses totaling 10 credits, they may no longer register for courses under the Pass/No Pass option

NOTE: Excessive use of the Pass/No Pass grading system may negatively influence admission to some graduate or professional schools.

Upper-division writing proficiency requirement: complete a minimum of three writing proficiency points in approved upper-division writing proficiency courses at WWU with a minimum grade of C-. Students must complete Block B or C of the Communications GUR requirement before enrolling in a writing proficiency course. All Western writing proficiency courses should follow these University-wide guidelines:

  • Students write multiple drafts of assigned papers
  • All students must complete a minimum of three writing proficiency points in approved upper-division writing-proficiency courses at WWU with a minimum grade of C-

Upper-division writing proficiency courses emphasize research and writing. In writing proficiency courses, students learn the writing style and conventions of their disciplines, as well as the techniques for integrating evidence into scholarly papers. Writing proficiency courses are listed in the online Timetable of Classes.