Academic Regulations

Continuance in graduate status is contingent upon the student keeping informed of and abiding by all guidelines, rules, regulations and requirements and complying with all official procedures of the university, the Graduate School, the individual college or school, and the department or program. The student is responsible for fulfilling all course and degree requirements in proper sequence with satisfactory scholarship. In case of doubt regarding any matter affecting their standing as a graduate student, students should consult with their advisor. The primary responsibility of keeping informed of policy and procedures rests with the student. Regulations contained herein should not be construed as exhaustive.

Graduate Courses

Graduate work is classified either as course work, in which students meet as an assembled group, or as research. Generally, courses numbered 5000 and above may be considered graduate level; in some departments, certain 5000 and 6000-level courses are not permitted for graduate credit and are so designated. Courses numbered 7000 and above are open only to graduate students.

Graduate Course Numbering Systems

— For the College of Education

5000-6999 — Undergraduate or graduate credit.
7000-8999 — Open to graduate students exclusively.
9000-9999 — Open to doctoral students exclusively.

— For the Faculty of Pharmacy

6000-6999 — Undergraduate/Graduate Courses.
7000-8999 — Graduate Courses.
9000-9999 — Ph.D. Courses.

— For all other Schools and Colleges

5000-6999 — Junior- and senior-level courses; also may be taken for graduate credit by students admitted to a graduate program, except where expressly prohibited.
7000-8999 — Open to graduate/professional students exclusively.
9000-9999 — Open to doctoral students exclusively.

Mike Ilitch School of Business: All courses numbered 6000-6100 and 7000 or higher are open only to students formally admitted to a Wayne State graduate program, or to qualified guest students. Enrollment in these courses must be approved by a graduate advisor or be consistent with a student's Plan of Work. Students in an undergraduate, post-bachelor, or non-matriculated status are not eligible.

Law School: In addition to the above approvals, graduate students must obtain the written permission of the Law School Dean to elect Law School courses or directed studies.

Directed Study

Independent study may be authorized provided the area of interest is an integral part of the student's graduate program and is not covered by courses scheduled while completing one's course requirements. Before Ph.D. students may register in directed study, they must complete the Ph.D. directed study petition form, Doctor of Philosophy Petition and Authorization for Directed Study, and obtain the written permission of his/her department’s graduate director. The petition must contain information about the nature, scope, and significance of the course, and indicate the major requirements the student must fulfill. Master's students must provide the same information and obtain the written permission of their college/school Graduate Officer.

Definition of Credits 

A credit hour is an amount of work represented in intended learning outcomes and verified by evidence of student achievement that reasonably approximates not less than:

  1. one hour of classroom or direct faculty instruction and a minimum of two hours of out-of-class student work each week for approximately fifteen weeks for one semester hour of credit, or the equivalent amount of work over a different amount of time; or
  2. at least an equivalent amount of work for other activities, including laboratory work, internships, practicums, studio work, and other academic work leading to the award of credit hours.

Major and Minor Graduate Credits

Major Credits: Credits earned in the student's major field are designated as major credits. The dissertation, thesis, or essay must be in the major field.

Minor Credits: Credits earned in departments other than the major are classified as minor or cognate credits. Election of minor credit is encouraged to enable the student to broaden his/her program. In doctoral programs, minor courses should be related to the major and six or more graduate credits approved by the unit graduate director will constitute a minor.

Normal Program Load

A full-time graduate student is one who is enrolled for eight or more credits during academic-year semesters; a graduate student is considered full-time during the spring/summer term if she/he enrolls for at least two credits. The definition of normal course load will vary depending upon the requirements of each program.

Maximum Credit Load

A student with a strong academic record who is devoting full-time to graduate study may register for a maximum of sixteen credits per semester. Graduate Assistants are required to register for at least six credits each semester. The University considers a program of eight graduate credits per academic-year semester and two credits per spring/summer semester to be full-time study. Note that students are not required to enroll over spring/summer to continue their full-time status. For students who have advanced to Ph.D. candidacy, 7.5 credits is considered as full-time study.

Auditing Courses

To audit a course, a student must indicate that they wish to audit the course rather than receive academic credit, at the time of registration. Registration to audit a course is subject to the following regulations:

  1. Students must pay the tuition assessment for the course, which is the same as if it were taken for academic credit;
  2. A student is not permitted to take quizzes and examinations in audited courses;
  3. A student may not normally change from audit status after registering for the course. In some cases, exceptions may be permitted during the term with the written recommendation of the instructor and the written approval of the Dean of the college/school in which the student is enrolled. The instructor's recommendation and Dean's approval must be included with the student's Drop/Add Form indicating the desired change.

The Graduate School does not encourage students to audit graduate-level courses.

Dual Enrollment

Graduate Election of an Undergraduate Course: Graduate students may register for undergraduate courses, however these courses will be recorded on the undergraduate transcript. All courses elected under this status will be assessed at the graduate rate. These courses cannot be used as graduate credit nor to meet requirements for any graduate degree.

Undergraduate Election of a Graduate Course: Highly qualified undergraduate students may, under special circumstances, take a 7000-level course for undergraduate credit only (these credits may not be transferred in to a graduate program at a later date). A written petition initiated by the student’s advisor must be approved by the graduate officer of the School or College, the professor teaching the course, and the Dean of the Graduate School. The petition, with all required signatures, must be turned in at the time of registration.

Accelerated Graduate Enrollment Program (AGRADE).  AGRADE programs enable highly qualified seniors in the university to enroll simultaneously in undergraduate and graduate programs and to apply a maximum of 16 credits toward both the undergraduate and graduate degrees. They encourage such students to continue to graduate school at Wayne State by reducing the time to the master's degree. To be eligible for AGRADE, students must achieve an undergraduate GPA of at least 3.3 and complete at least 90 credits of undergraduate degree requirements (up to 16 credits can count for both undergraduate and graduate degrees). The availability of the AGRADE program differs depending on programs and departments.

Senior Rule Graduate School Admission: In their last semester, undergraduate students with a 3.0 (or above) upper division grade point average who have completed all general education competencies (mathematics, basic composition, intermediate composition, oral communication, critical thinking, and computer literacy), have the option of taking a limited number of graduate credits. Graduate credit is awarded only for those courses taken in excess of baccalaureate degree requirements. Undergraduate and graduate courses combined may not exceed sixteen credits for the final semester of baccalaureate degree course work. A Senior Rule student must register for at least one credit which is required for the undergraduate degree in order to be eligible for this status. Students who have completed all required courses for the baccalaureate degree may not obtain Senior Rule status. Completion of the Application for Graduate Admission form is required, and students are advised to consult their advisors and the Office of Graduate Enrollment Services. Application deadlines for Senior Rule admission are the same as for regular graduate admission. Students who qualify and are recommended by the Department or College will be admitted for one semester. Graduate admission will be regularized upon evidence that the student has completed all requirements for the bachelor's degree.

The University permits a student to pay undergraduate fees for the graduate courses elected in a Senior Rule status. It is recommended that students elect only courses numbered 5000-6999 in their Senior Rule semester.

Dual Registration at the University of Michigan

A student enrolled at either Wayne State University or the University of Michigan may elect a course or courses in the other institution if the course fits his/her program but is not available in his/her home institution. The student must have written approval of the department chairperson in his/her major area at the home college and the approval of his/her Dean. The election must also be approved by the department which offers the course. Students desiring to participate in Wayne State University - University of Michigan dual registration should obtain the necessary forms from the Office of the Registrar and pay the appropriate tuition at their home institution.

Transfer of Credits — Graduate

Transfer Credits for master’s degree

In work toward the master's degree, credit beyond the twenty-four credits which must be earned in residence may be transferred from accredited graduate schools, provided such credit is ‘B’ or better and certified as graduate-level credit on an official transcript. Up to nine credits may be used from a non-degree program at WSU or another institution. Up to 8 graduate credits from a graduate degree program (at WSU or another institution) may transfer to a student’s WSU master’s degree. Those 8 in addition to a maximum of twenty-four earned in residency will be transferred toward the Ph.D. Departments and schools/colleges may further restrict the number of credits that may be transferred.

Transfer Credits for the Ph.D. Degree

The Graduate School allows a maximum of 32 credits to be transferred to the Ph.D. These 32 credits may include up to eight master’s degree transfer credits as noted above. Departments and schools/colleges may have additional requirements and restrictions. .A student wishing to transfer graduate credit toward the Ph.D. degree must file a petition with the Graduate School via the Transfer of Credit form, approved by his/her advisor and departmental graduate director, requesting such transfers. The petition must be supported by a transcript showing a minimum grade of ‘B’ for the courses to be transferred; ‘B-minus’ and credit earned with ‘S’ and ‘P’ (satisfactory or pass) grades are not acceptable for transfer. When students would like to transfer credits from institutions without course codes, the closest WSU equivalents must be listed. When students would like to transfer credits from institutions without letter grades, a conversion chart must be provided and used. Transfer credits must be appropriate to the student's degree program. Doctoral dissertation credits will not be transferred. Courses accepted for transfer credit from outside or within Wayne State University cannot have provided credit toward a prior degree except when the master's or another pre-doctoral certificate or degree is applied to the doctoral degree. Admission to Wayne State University based upon a previously earned master's degree does not guarantee that those credits are applicable to a graduate degree at Wayne State University.

Up to thirty-two semester credits of 'B' or better graduate credit earned prior to the student's admission as a doctoral applicant may be applied toward the Ph.D., whether the graduate credit was earned at Wayne State University or another institution, degree without regard to lapse of time. Credit earned with ‘B’ minus or ‘S’ or ‘P’ (satisfactory or pass) grades are not acceptable for transfer.

Extension Credits

Credits earned at other than Michigan institutions cannot be applied toward a graduate degree noror an education specialist certificate.

Short-Term and Travel-Study Courses for Graduate Credit

Short-Term, Workshop-Institute-Conference, and Travel-Study courses offered for graduate credit must be proposed, approved and authorized well in advance via the appropriate form (obtainable from the Graduate School). After an initial authorization, courses to be repeated with no substantial change may be petitioned and approved by memorandum on the basis of the original on file.

Short-Term Courses

These are created or adapted to meet for a time period of less than one-half an academic semester— i.e., less than 7-1/2 weeks. Such courses offered for graduate credit will provide for at least fifteen contact hours and the requisite proportion of outside preparation for each hour of credit. It is assumed that short-term courses will not differ from regular fifteen-week courses in terms of objectives, content, contact hours, or academic expectations, unless such a difference is reflected by a proportioning of graduate credits.

Workshop-Institute-Conference Courses (WIC): WIC courses are those specially formulated experiences which, because of their usually ‘applied' nature, lend themselves to an exceptionally brief but intensive time span. They differ from short-term courses in their concentration, usually spanning from a single day to two or three weekends. Offered for graduate credit, these courses provide for a minimum of twenty-five contact hours and an appropriate proportion of additional work for each hour of credit. Since these  experiences vary  greatly in  their purposes  and the degree of participation expected of the student, they are offered for credit only infrequently and enroll only those students for whose academic programs they would be directly relevant. Graduate grading will be on an ‘S’ and ‘U’ basis only.

Travel-Study Courses are courses created or adapted to take special advantage of the opportunity to relate a particular course of study to the cultures, mores, or institutions studied. Such courses may involve either domestic or foreign travel. All are offered through the Educational Outreach Division. Graduate credit for travel-study courses will be graded on an ‘S’ and ‘U’ basis only.

CREDIT RESTRICTIONS: Graduate students may not register for any course or combination of courses in these categories that permit the accumulation of graduate credits at a rate greater than one credit hour per week. Registrations that exceed this rate will be canceled in advance if discovered and, in no case will the excess credit be counted toward the requirements for a Wayne State graduate degree.

Attendance Policy

Whenever attendance forms a basis for a portion or all of a course grade, students must be provided with explicit written information concerning that fact during the first week of classes. Such information shall be specific with regard to the penalty incurred for each absence and the means, if any, to compensate for the absence. It should be recognized that there may be certain situations where the student may not be permitted to make up the absence(s). This policy shall be applicable to all courses within the University, regardless of setting.

Responsible Attendance and Performance

Students must show diligence and are normally expected to complete the courses they elect. Irresponsible attendance is wasteful of both student and University resources. Those students who consistently receive excessive marks of ‘I’ (incomplete), ‘WF’ (Withdrawal Failing), ‘WN’ (Withdrawal No Basis for Letter Grade), or ‘WP’ (Withdrawal Passing) may be refused the privilege of further registration by the dean or the dean's designee of their school or college.

Appeal Procedures

In matters where a College’s signed final decision is based upon the evaluation of a student’s academic performance, and when review procedures available to them within the College have been exhausted, the student may request the Provost to review that decision on the record. A written Request for a Provost Review must be made by the student, with a copy to the Dean of the College, postmarked within thirty (30) calendar days of the postmark of the College’s final decision, which is to be sent to the address provided by the student in the College’s review procedures. The Request for a Provost Review should outline any additional arguments the student wishes to be taken into consideration by the Provost's review. The Provost’s review of the College’s decision will proceed as soon as practicable after notification by the student of his/her wish to seek review.  A decision by the Provost is a final decision and ends the appeal process.

Grade Appeal Procedure

Students should first seek to settle grade disputes informally with the instructor. The dean's office of each school/college has established formal grade appeal procedures. Links to these procedures are also available on the Office of the Provost website. In most instances, formal grade appeals must be filed within thirty (30) calendar days of the time the student has or should have received their final grade. Note that the college of record for Ph.D. students is the Graduate School. For all other students, the college of record is the college or school in which the degree program is housed.

Academic Appeal Procedure

Ph.D. program dismissals should begin in the program or department and should be made on the basis of evidence, existing policy, and must follow due process procedures. Graduate directors must communicate with students in writing about the dismissal including a description of the evidence used to justify the dismissal.  Students begin the appeal process in writing, following their unit’s grade appeal procedures. If the student is dissatisfied with the outcome of the response, the student may then appeal in writing to the Dean of the Graduate School within thirty (30) calendar days of receiving the program’s decision.  A decision by the Dean of the Graduate School is final and ends the appeal process.

Academic Misbehavior Appeal Procedure

Where the Ph.D. program dismissal is based upon academic misbehavior as defined in Section 2.1 of the Student Code of Conduct, as opposed to poor academic performance, the procedures outlined in the Student Code of Conduct under Section 10.1 (a) and (b) must be followed.  Students begin the appeal process for academic misbehavior in writing as defined in Section 10.1 (a), within ten (10) school days of oral or written notice of action taken by a faculty member under 10.1(a).

In addition to any action taken under Section 10.1(a), if a charge is also filed for academic misbehavior under Section 10.1(b), the procedures set forth in section 13.0 of the Student Code of Conduct are followed.  The student may initiate an appeal under Section 18.1 of the Student Code of Conduct within twenty (20) school days of the school or college’s final decision.  The appeal is before the Provost, who is the President’s designee for all purposes under the Student Code of Conduct.   A decision by the Provost is a final decision and ends the appeal process. 

In individual cases involving appeals of decisions rendered pursuant to the Student Code of Conduct, the student may also file with the Provost a Request for a Postponement of the effect of the College’s final decision. Such a Request must be postmarked within seven (7) calendar days of the postmark of the College’s final decision, and a copy must be sent to the Dean of the College. Upon receiving a Request for Postponement, the Provost will immediately contact the Dean. Unless the College demonstrates clearly and convincingly that the injury to the College or to third persons that would result from such a postponement would outweigh the injury to the student from denying the postponement, the effect of the decision rendered by the College must be postponed until the date that the Provost issues a decision regarding the underlying Request for Provost Review. The Provost will inform the student and the Dean of her/his decision regarding the Request for Postponement within three (3) school days after receiving the request. Exceptions to this procedure may be granted by the Provost upon a showing of good and sufficient cause.

Disputes Regarding Graduate Student Contractual Employment

Disputes concerning contractual employment including GTA/GSA assignments should be resolved in accordance with the Graduate Employees Organizing Committee (GEOC) contract in effect. Note that for non-Ph.D. students, academic appeals move from the department/program to the college or school in which the degree program is housed.

Student Ethics 

Academic Records: The submission of fraudulent academic records for admission or transfer of credit by a student may be cause for the student’s dismissal.

Academic Work: Academic work submitted by a student for credit is assumed to be of his/her own creation, and if found not to be, will constitute cause for the student’s dismissal.

Student Code of Conduct

High standards of student conduct play a major role in creating an environment of excellence and the Student Code of Conduct is used to maintain these standards. The code:

  1. establishes the expectations that students are accountable for their behavior;
  2. describes acceptable student conduct, both academic and non-academic;
  3. describes disciplinary policies and procedures;
  4. specifies the rights of students and other parties; and
  5. specifies prohibited conduct and sanctions to be imposed if such conduct occurs.

Examples of prohibited conduct subject to the Student Code of Conduct include, but are not limited to, academic misbehavior, knowingly furnishing false information to the University, disorderly behavior, theft, damage of property, illegal drugs, weapons on campus, physical assault, unauthorized entry, violation of criminal law, etc.

The University Student Conduct Officer, housed in the Dean of Students Office, monitors the student disciplinary process and is responsible for coordinating matters involving student discipline; describing the disciplinary procedures; and informing students and other parties of their rights. Copies of the Student Code of Conduct can be found online at or in the Dean of Students Office, 351 Student Center.

Obligations to the Instructional Process

Since education is a cooperative effort between teacher and student, both parties must fulfill obligations if the integrity and efficacy of the instructional process are to be preserved.

Responsibilities of Faculty Members

  1. To contribute to and remain abreast of the latest developments in their fields;
  2. To continually pursue teaching excellence;
  3. To treat all students with respect and fairness without regard to ancestry, race, color, religion, political belief, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, marital status, disability, or veteran status;
  4. To encourage differing viewpoints and demonstrate integrity in evaluating their merit;
  5. To attend regularly and punctually, adhere to the scheduled class and final examination times, and arrange for notification of absence and coverage of classes;
  6. To establish and maintain appropriate office hours;
  7. To present, early in the semester, the following course information:
    1. course objectives and general outline;
    2. classroom procedures to be followed, expectations concerning class attendance, and proposed dates of major evaluations (including examinations, papers, and other projects);
    3. grading policy;
    4. where appropriate, a schedule of class-related activities, including class meetings and laboratory sessions;
    5. lists of texts and/or other materials needed for the course;
    6. late enrollment, withdrawal, and other special policies.
  8. To provide and adhere, within reasonable limits, to the written syllabus of the course;
  9. To know course matter thoroughly and prepare and present the material conscientiously;
  10. To be informed of University services and recommend their use to students when advisable;
  11. To follow these policies concerning written work and grades:
    1. grade and return written work promptly;
    2. submit final grades by the scheduled time;
    3. retain written materials not returned within the semester (e.g., final examinations, major term papers) for one academic semester in accordance with unit policy and allow students to examine such materials;
  12. To implement unit procedures for student evaluation of faculty teaching, with attention to preserving student anonymity;
  13. To behave appropriately in dealing with students so as to maintain a scholarly atmosphere

Responsibilities of Students

  1. To inform themselves of and to fulfill all requirements of the University and those of the College and Department from which they expect to receive their degree;
  2. To fulfill conscientiously all assignments and requirements of their courses;
  3. To attend classes regularly and punctually;
  4. To maintain a scholarly, courteous demeanor in class;
  5. To uphold academic honesty in all activities;
  6. To notify the instructor as early as possible if prevented from keeping an appointment or carrying out an assignment;
  7. To discuss with the instructor any class-related problem and follow established procedures in the resolution of these problems;
  8. To adhere to the instructor’s and general University policies on attendance, withdrawal, or other special procedures.

It is expected that faculty and students will fulfill their obligations to the instructional process. If, however, a complaint does arise, the parties should meet in an effort to resolve the matter. When such a discussion fails to resolve the problem or is inappropriate given the circumstances, the head of the academic unit should be contacted. If this contact fails to satisfy the complaint, the College’s published procedures should be followed. Although the University Ombudsperson is not a direct part of the appeal process, students and faculty may consult the Ombudsperson at any point during such proceedings.

Academic Nepotism

Faculty members are not to place themselves, or allow themselves to be placed, in situations amounting to ‘academic nepotism,’ i.e., teaching or otherwise directing the credit study or research of a student who is also a close relative. Concomitantly, students are not to take courses from close relatives or engage in research for academic credit under the direction of close relatives. All such credit will be disallowed.

Fraud and Misuse of Documents

Intentionally furnishing false information to the University is explicitly prohibited, as is forgery, alteration, unauthorized possession, or misuse of University documents, records and identification cards. The University reserves the right to rescind degrees if the award of the degree was based in whole or in part on deception, fraud, other unacceptable academic conduct, or misuse of University documents.

Data Access, Retention, and Ownership Guidelines

The Graduate School developed guidelines regarding the responsibilities and rights with respect to research data collected or produced by WSU graduate students, postdoctoral scholars, faculty, staff, and volunteers. These guidelines are of particular importance for collaborative work involving multiple stakeholders or investigators. Doctoral and Master’s theses are important publications associated with the scholarly work of the University's students. Research Data that is included in these publications are expected to be predominantly the result of work by the primary author. A thesis may use Research Data from other Stakeholders in a research project only if the Principal Investigator or research supervisor provides a signed statement explicitly acknowledging the use as appropriate and setting forth any applicable limitations on use of the other Stakeholders' Research Data as necessary to protect those Stakeholders' interest in the research project. Additional guidelines are provided on the Graduate School website.