Academic Policies for Graduate Students

Each graduate student is responsible for complying with the regulations for admission, registration, completion of candidacy/program forms, program requirements, graduation requirements, and all other deadlines and stipulations applying to graduate study. The university catalog in effect at the time of approval of the Application for Admission to Candidacy governs student program and degree requirements. Deadlines applying to graduate students are specified in the academic calendar.

Undergraduate Students in Graduate Courses

Undergraduate students who need 12 or fewer semester credits to complete baccalaureate degree requirements may request permission from the Director of School of Graduate Studies to take 500-level courses for graduate credit to complete a regular course load during the semester of graduation.

Undergraduate students may not enroll in courses at the 600-level or 700-level. These 500-level course credits will not apply toward undergraduate degree requirements, but will apply to graduate program requirements if within time limit regulations. Exceptions may be granted for special departmental programs.

Graduate Special Students (Non-Degree Seeking)

A student who has completed a baccalaureate degree from an accredited university and who wishes to enroll in graduate courses, but does not intend to pursue a graduate degree at Winona State, may register as a graduate special student. Prospective graduate special students must complete a Graduate Special application form to be admitted to the university. Admission as a graduate special student does not constitute admission to a graduate degree program.

A graduate special student who later wishes to enter a graduate degree program at Winona State must meet all requirements for admission to graduate study and complete an Application for Admission to Graduate Study and an application for the particular program in which they wish to major. A maximum of 12 semester graduate credits earned as a graduate special student may be accepted into a degree program upon recommendation of the major department.

Time Limitation

All degree requirements including credits to be earned, transfer credits, final examinations, thesis, required research papers, and all other program requirements must be completed within the seven (7) years prior to the awarding of the degree, except for the Specialist degree in Educational Leadership, wherein the limitation is eight (8) years and the Doctor of Nursing Practice is seven (7) years.

Under exceptional extenuating circumstances, a student may submit a petition through their advisor and to the Director of School of Graduate Studies requesting an extension of the time limitation. Such a request is to contain all pertinent facts, justifying rationale, and a plan for degree completion. The Extension Request to Complete Degree form is located on the School of Graduate Studies website under Current Student Forms.

Course Credit

Courses numbered 600 and above are for graduate credit only and no undergraduate may enroll in them. Courses for either graduate or undergraduate credit are 400/500 level, with the 400 level for undergraduate credit and the corresponding 500 number for graduate credit. Compare the graduate and undergraduate catalogs to determine these courses. The 500-level courses will not apply toward an undergraduate degree. Graduate students registered in the 500-numbered courses will be required to do additional work to meet course requirements. Graduate credit will not be given for courses at the 500 level to students who have already received credit for an equivalent undergraduate course.

Courses offered for a letter grade only will be listed as "Grade Only" in the specific course description. Courses offered Pass/No Credit only will be listed as "P/NC" in the course description. If no grading option is listed in the course description, the course may be taken for either a letter grade or a Pass/NC.


Credit Limitations and Overloads

Six (6) credits of enrollment per semester are required for full-time status for students receiving financial aid. No graduate student is permitted to enroll for more than 12 credits per academic semester or six (6) credits during the summer session without approval from the appropriate area dean or Director of School of Graduate Studies. This regulation applies to any combination of courses, workshops, weekend seminars, institutes, and other special offerings.

Transfer of Graduate Credits

The Graduate Council sets the general standard for the transfer of credit. A limited number of graduate course credits acquired at another accredited college or university may be included as part of a student’s program of study, with approval of the student’s advisor, the department chairperson/program director, and the Director of School of Graduate Studies. If credit is transferred, only the credit is transferred, not the grade. Transfer credits will be accepted only after they have been approved as part of the student’s degree program on the Application for Admission to Candidacy Form.

Approval of credit is granted by the graduate program based on the specific program requirements described in the Graduate Catalog, as well as:

  1. Number of credits requested
  2. Appropriateness of credit for inclusion in the degree program
  3. Currency of the credit


These criteria are described below. Any exceptions must be approved by the student’s advisor and the Graduate Council. One (1) official copy of all transcripts must be sent to:

Graduate Office
Winona State University
Somsen 209
P.O. Box 5838
Winona, MN 55987

Number of credits: Master’s, Specialist, and Doctoral degree students are allowed up to ten (10) semester graduate credits of A, B, or Pass grades if earned from regionally accredited graduate institutions and recorded as a graduate course on the official transcript. If graduate credits are being transferred from other Minnesota State Universities (Bemidji, Mankato, Metropolitan, Moorhead, St. Cloud, and Southwest) and/or the University of Minnesota, WSU may accept up to 16 semester hours. Subject to university approval, consortium/cooperative agreements for special degree programs may develop transfer credit regulations that apply only to students in those programs.

Appropriateness of credit: Transfer credit must be approved by the program faculty as appropriate for inclusion as part of the student’s degree requirements. Credit cannot be awarded for:

  1. Courses taken prior to completion of an undergraduate degree program
  2. Courses that would not receive graduate credit if taken at WSU
  3. Courses with a grade lower than B (3.00)
  4. Thesis or dissertation research credits received at another institution
  5. Life experience
  6. Credit by examination,
  7. Non-credit extension courses, workshops, and in-service training credits
  8. Correspondence courses
  9. Thesis supervision


Transfer credit from an accredited online university may be included as part of the student’s program with approval of the student’s advisor, the department chairperson/ program director, and the Director of School of Graduate Studies through the Application for Admission to Candidacy.

Currency of credit -- Transfer credit must be taken within seven (7) years of completion of the master’s degree and within ten (10) years of completion of the doctoral degree. Students wishing to apply course content after exceeding the time limit must demonstrate currency of knowledge in the field of study to which they are applying. Currency of knowledge must be formally evaluated by the student’s advisor.

Appeal Process -- Students who feel that their requests for transfer credit have been inappropriately denied may appeal as follows:

  1. Denial by the student’s advisor can be appealed to the department chairperson
  2. Denial by the department chairperson or program director can be appealed to the college dean
  3. Denial by the college dean can be appealed to the Director of School of Graduate Studies who will submit it to the Graduate Council for a final decision

Supplement to Candidacy for Transfer of Graduate Credits

After the Application for Admission to Candidacy has been completed, enrollment at another college or university with the expectation of credit transfer must be approved by the advisor, chairperson/program director of the student’s major department, and the Director of School of Graduate Studies on a Supplement to Candidacy. Only grades of A, B, or Pass will be accepted in transfer and will not be used for computation of the required WSU grade point average.

Pass grades may be accepted in transfer and applied to a graduate program, but in no case may the credits exceed the limits set forth in the section entitled "Pass/No Credit" courses.

Grade Point Average (GPA)

Each semester hour of credit attempted receives honor points according to the following: each A credit = 4 honor points; each B credit = 3 honor points; each C credit = 2 honor points; each D credit = 1 honor point; each E credit = 0 honor points. The GPA is computed by dividing the total number of honor points by the total number of credits attempted. Only those courses and credits taken at WSU will count for the computation of grade point averages.

Although courses taken on a pass/no credit basis grant credit applying toward graduation, the credit does not affect the cumulative grade point average. An A = Excellent, B = Good, C = Average, D = Poor, E = Failure, P = Passing, NC = No Credit, W = Official Withdrawal, V = Audit (registration without credit or grade). In addition, temporary grades may be issued as follows: I = Incomplete, IP = In Progress, Z = No Grade Reported, see Instructor.

Graduate students must have a minimum GPA of 3.0 in courses taken at Winona State. No course will be counted if the grade is below C. These are minimum standards and the departments offering graduate programs may require higher standards.

In Progress (IP) Grades (Formerly Incomplete [I] Grade)
An In-Progress (IP) grade is permitted by the instructor for special cases when circumstances prevent the student from completing course requirements by the end of the semester, although the student is passing the course in all other respects.

All IP grades must be removed within one calendar year from the end of the semester in which an incomplete is incurred or the course grade becomes an F. All IP grades for course work must be removed before a graduate degree is granted.

Audited Courses

The course audit procedure permits a student to attend classes but not receive credit. Courses pursued on an audit basis must be declared and processed prior to completing the student’s registration. Regular tuition charges apply. Students may not use audit credits to satisfy graduation, certification, or licensure requirements.

Pass/No Credit Courses

Courses taken on a pass/no credit basis receive credit towards graduation. These credits do not affect the cumulative GPA. Completion of such a course is entered P (pass) or NC (no credit) on the permanent record. Departments designate which courses may be taken on the pass/no credit basis.

A student may be allowed to count nine (9) credits of P/NC regular coursework on the master’s degree. Internships, workshops, clinicals, or practicums, which are only offered on a P/NC basis, may also be applied toward the degree program, if approved as part of the Application for Admission to Candidacy. The P/NC limit for the specialist and doctoral degree is 16 credits. Consult the graduate departments for any additional restrictions. A grade of “pass” means at least B quality work for graduate credit.

Independent Study

Projects beyond the scope or range of regular graduate courses may be pursued on an independent study basis. Arrangement must be made with the instructor and be approved by the advisor, department chairperson, college dean, and the Director of School of Graduate Studies. Application for independent study must be completed according to announced deadlines specified in the class schedules. A maximum of nine (9) credits of independent study (3 credits in one semester or summer session) may be counted toward the approved degree program. Any exceptions will be considered on an individual basis.

Arranged Classes

A student who desires to enroll in a course that is listed in the Winona State catalog, but not offered during a specified term, must complete an Arranged Class Application Form. The application must be approved by the instructor of the arranged course, advisor, chairperson/program director of the student’s major department, college dean, and the Director of School of Graduate Studies. Arranged courses may only be pursued during those semesters when the course is not offered through the regular schedule.

Application for arranged classes must be completed according to announced deadlines specified in the class schedules. Only two required core courses may be taken on an arranged basis following appropriate approvals, and a maximum of nine (9) credits (core and electives) may be counted toward the approved degree program. Any exceptions will be considered on an individual basis.

Internships, Practicums, Clinicals

Internships, practicums, and clinicals are available or required in many departments. The conditions and requirements are determined by the department supervising the experience. Applications, if necessary, must be completed according to announced deadlines specified in the class schedules. For descriptions and limitations, see departmental course descriptions. Application forms for independent study, arranged classes, and internships may be obtained from the department office, Office of School of Graduate Studies, or Student Record Services.

Drop-Add Policy

In the event a student must drop and/or add a course after registration has been completed, the regulations published in the class schedule must be followed. For further information contact Student Record Services, Adult & Continuing Education, or WSU-Rochester (depending on how the course was offered).

Course and University Withdrawal

If a student withdraws either from a class or from the university, they are required to contact Student Record Services, Adult & Continuing Education, or WSU-Rochester to complete the appropriate forms. Withdrawals must be requested before the deadline date published in the class schedule. If a student processes the withdrawal by the deadline date, they will receive a mark of withdrawal (W) on the students transcript. If a student withdraws (W) from a course they are repeating, the original grade is included in the computation of the GPA.

If a student drops a course or withdraws from the university without giving official notification to the Student Record Services, Adult & Continuing Education, or WSU-Rochester, they will be given a grade of F. If a student withdraws from the university during any semester, they must discharge all business obligations and notify Student Record Services.

Transcript Requests

Transcripts are issued by the Student Record Services only upon written request since student records are confidential in nature. Partial transcripts are not issued. Each transcript must include a student’s complete record. As the university cannot certify credit earned at other institutions, copies of such transcripts will not be issued. All Winona State transcript requests will be issued free of charge.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is based on the premise that each student has the responsibility to:

  1. Uphold the highest standards of academic and behavioral integrity in the student's own work
  2. Refuse to tolerate violations of academic and behavioral integrity


The university requires that work produced by students in the course of their studies represents their personal efforts and requires that they properly acknowledge the intellectual contributions of others.

Papers and other work in written or oral format prepared for classes should contain the student’s own words and ideas unless the student identifies the ideas of others as being quoted, summarized or paraphrased. Such ideas must be duly cited by attributing all information that is not readily verifiable and not commonly understood in the discipline. To do otherwise is to plagiarize by using passages or ideas from others while claiming them as one’s own.

Behavioral integrity shall consist of demonstrating behaviors that are consistent with expected professional behaviors in the classroom. The primary responsibility for ensuring adherence to the principle of academic and behavioral integrity rests with students and faculty. Any infraction that comes to the attention of any person should be brought to the attention of the faculty member to whose course it pertains.

Violations of the principle of academic and behavioral integrity include, but are not limited to:

  1. Cheating -- intentionally using or attempting to use unauthorized materials, information, notes, study aids or other devices in any academic exercise. This definition includes unauthorized communication of information during an academic exercise.
  2. Fabrication and falsifications -- intentional and unauthorized alteration or invention of any information or citation in an academic exercise. Falsification is a matter of altering information, while fabrication is a matter of inventing or counterfeiting information for use in an academic exercise or for academic gain.
  3. Multiple submission -- the submission of substantial portions of the same academic work (including oral reports), for credit more than once without authorization.
  4. Plagiarism -- intentionally or knowingly presenting the work of another as one’s own (i.e., without proper acknowledgment of the source). The sole exception to the requirement of acknowledging sources is when the ideas, information, etc., are common knowledge.
  5. Abuse of academic material -- intentionally or knowingly destroying, stealing, or making inaccessible library or other academic resources material.
  6. Complicity in academic dishonesty -- intentionally or knowingly helping, or attempting to help another to commit an act of academic dishonesty.
  7. Violation of student confidentiality -- continued violations after being advised of the violation.

Possible faculty actions in a case of alleged academic and behavioral integrity misconduct include:


  1. For events in which the behavior is determined to be isolated or the result of the student not understanding the specific situation, the student will be advised and/or referred to an appropriate academic resource for remediation or assistance.
  2. For incidents where there is evidence that the student intentionally and knowingly violated the academic integrity policy, the faculty member will refer the charges to the college dean with a recommendation for one of the following: academic advisement and/or reprimand; a grade of F or reduction of grade on the specific piece of work; a grade of E or reduction of grade in the course; probation, suspension, or dismissal from the program.


The final decision regarding action will be made by the department/program’s graduate committee.

Appeals Process

Winona State graduate students have the right to appeal academic decisions. An unfavorable ruling at one level can be appealed to the successive levels. Wherever the student enters the process, the remainder of the communication line must be completed. At each level, the student must write a letter of appeal outlining the conflict and what process has been followed up to that point. Below is the communication flow chart.

  1. Student Advisor
  2. If the problem has not been solved to student satisfaction, appeal to the department chairperson
  3. If the problem has not been solved to student satisfaction, appeal to the dean of the college
  4. If the problem has not been solved to student satisfaction, appeal to the Graduate Council
  5. If the problem has not been solved to student satisfaction, appeal to the Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs


Applications for graduation must be submitted by midterm of previous term prior to graduation. It is the sole responsibility of the student to ensure that all incompletes and program requirements are completed and submitted to the Office of School of Graduate Studies within ten (10) working days following the end of the semester of graduation. Late completion and submission of requirements will result in postponement of graduation to a later semester.