Apr 24, 2024  
Undergraduate Catalog 2021-22 
Undergraduate Catalog 2021-22 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Registration, Records, and Academic Regulations


Registration at Western Michigan University is conducted via the schedule and procedures as found on the Registrar’s website, wmich.edu/registrar. This website should be consulted for information on registration dates, the priority registration schedule, drop/add dates, refund dates, final exam schedules, deadlines and methods of payment, and all policies related to registration. Registration by students signifies an agreement to comply with all regulations of the University whenever approved by the University.

To begin registration, the student will log in to GoWMU at gowmu.wmich.edu and follow the script displayed. Students are not permitted to attend a course unless they are officially registered,

Priority Registration

Western Michigan University offers priority registration for each enrollment period as described on the Registrar’s website. Students are encouraged to take advantage of priority registration but are cautioned that any subsequent change in their schedules should be made before the final day of the drop/add period. See the sections below for more information about changing registration schedules.

Forgiveness Policy

WMU undergraduate students who have not earned a degree and have not attended the University for at least four years, and have reapplied to the University, may apply for academic forgiveness through the Office of the Registrar. Students who are granted academic forgiveness may have work still applicable to their program counted toward graduation requirements, but grades will not be calculated in their grade point average. The WMU grade point average will be calculated from a minimum of twelve graded hours of work attempted after the reentry date. All other University regulations apply. As a matter of course, the Registrar will advise students granted forgiveness to meet with a college advisor.

Research Subject Protection and Registration

Students conducting research that involves human or animal subjects, biohazards, genetic materials, or nuclear materials/radiation must have prior approval of the research proposal by the appropriate University board, thus assuring compliance with the regulations for the protection of such subjects or for the use of such materials. There are no exceptions to this requirement. Registration for courses in which research is conducted that requires such prior approval should not be attempted until the approval is granted by the appropriate University board. The department requiring the course is responsible for assuring that the student has complied with federal, state, and WMU requirements. The student completing such regulated research for a course report, paper, project, or thesis must include the written approval or exemption letter from the appropriate board as an addendum to the report, paper, project, or thesis. For more information, call the Office of the Vice President for Research, (269) 387-8298.

University Tuition Scholarship Waiver

Undergraduate students interested in taking advantage of the University Tuition Scholarship Waiver must report to the Registrar’s Office, Seibert Administration Building to pick up the authorization form.

Students who meet the following criteria are eligible to participate in this program:

  1. Must have previously earned thirty hours of credit from WMU.
  2. Must presently be enrolled and have paid for fifteen hours of credit for the semester they are seeking the tuition waiver.
  3. Must have an overall G.P.A. of 3.25 at Western Michigan University.
  4. Must be an undergraduate student in a degree program.
  5. Undergraduate students who meet the qualifications may select one course per semester outside their major, in under-enrolled courses, during the drop/add week only.

Once the students have ascertained that they would like to participate in this program and meet all the criteria, they should go to the Registrar’s office for the authorization form. The student will present the signed authorization card to Cashiering, 1270 Seibert Administration Building as their payment.

Withdrawing from or Adding Classes before the Final Date to Drop

Students may enroll in (add) any course through the first five days of classes of a semester or session. The final date for adding courses is published on the Registrar’s website wmich.edu/registrar.

Only students who have a class that is not officially scheduled to meet during the five-day drop/add period will be given an additional opportunity to drop/add.

Students may withdraw (drop) classes through the fifth (5th) day of the semester or session and the course will not be reflected on the student’s official transcript. All withdrawals received after the drop/add period will be reflected on the student’s academic record as a non-punitive “W” (Official Withdrawal), as long as the withdrawal complies with the policy explained directly below.

Dropping Classes and Withdrawing from All Classes

Students may withdraw from one course, several courses, or all courses, without academic penalty from the day after the last day of the drop/add period for the semester or session, through the Monday of the tenth week (Fall/Spring semesters) and through the Monday of the fifth week (Summer I/II sessions). These withdrawals can be processed by the student online, through Go WMU. A non-punitive “W” will be recorded on the student’s transcript for any classes the student withdraws from after the drop/add period.

Students are encouraged to discuss with their instructor before withdrawing.

Student should also be aware that there may be financial aid implications following a withdrawal. A withdrawal from any course or courses which changes a student’s status from full time to part time may have insurance or other implications.

Withdrawal from a course at any time after the end of the student-initiated withdrawal period is effectively a grade change. As such it will be permitted only through the Grade Appeals Process, as described in the section Students Rights and Responsibilities, “Course Grade and Program Dismissal Appeals.” To change an assigned grade to “W,” documented hardship must be determined to have existed by a GAPDAC Hardship Assessment Panel, as described in the section Students Rights and Responsibilities, “Hardship Status”.

Except for documented and exceptional circumstances, hardship petitions will not be accepted more than on year after the end of the term or session for which the hardship was documented. All petitions filed after the one year timeline must be granted an exception by the Office of the Provost prior to consideration by the Hardship Assessment Panel.

The student is strongly encouraged to consult with the University Ombuds before initiating a hardship-based withdrawal appeal.

After a semester or session has ended, a student wishing to withdraw from a course may file an appeal for a late withdrawal, as described in the Course Grade and Program Dismissal Appeals section, in the Student Rights and Responsibilities section of this catalog.

The Registrar’s Office will record the drop or withdrawal if it has approvals as listed above.

Withdrawal time frame - Summary

1. From the end of drop/add period through Monday of the tenth week (Fall/Spring semesters)
    or Monday of the fifth week (Summer I/Summer II sessions):

  • Student can process the withdrawal online through GoWMU.

2. From the Tuesday of the tenth week (Fall/Spring semesters) through the end of the semester
    or the Tuesday of the fifth week (Summer I/Summer II sessions) through the end of the session:

  • Student must have signed approval of the instructor which requires that the student is passing and has a genuine hardship.

3. After a semester or session has ended:

  • Student may file for a late withdrawal.


Identification Card

The Bronco Card is the student’s photo identification card at WMU. In addition, the Bronco Card is the student’s access card for the library, dining areas, Student Recreation Center, and computer centers and is a security access card for buildings on campus.

The Bronco Card also enables the student to ride for free on the Metro Bus Service on any route around the Kalamazoo area.

The Bronco Card has the size, look, and feel of a credit card. Included on the card are the student’s picture and signature. On the back of the card is a magnetic strip, used for authentication.

The Bronco Card will serve the student as a University ID for as long as the student remains at WMU.

Name Change

Students maintain academic records under the legal name used at the time of admission. However, any active student desiring to make an official name change must report to the Registrar’s Office, third floor Seibert Administration Building to record the change. Legal proof is required.

Preferred Name

Western Michigan University recognizes that some students use first names other than their legal names to identify themselves. As an inclusive and diverse community, WMU allows students to use a preferred first name different than their legal name for certain purposes and records in the course of university business, communication, and education.

The legal name must still be submitted at the time of application and will continue to be used where required by law or university requirements. Appropriate WMU senior administration is authorized to make revisions, develop, manage and enforce guidelines to implement this policy to comply with the law, other university requirements, and collective bargaining agreements.

Students are expected to be respectful and appropriate in the use of preferred name.  The use of the preferred name is not permitted to avoid legal obligations or for misrepresentation purposes. Any misuse can result in discipline as permitted under the Student Code.  The University reserves the right to deny the use of or remove the preferred name if it deems the use is inappropriate.


A student’s transcript from Western Michigan University is a document listing, at minimum, all courses taken and credit hours and grades earned in the courses.

Academic Regulations

Academic Standing

Notwithstanding the Academic Standing policy outlined below, a student admitted with Conditional Admission or Provisional Admission status must meet the specified performance level within the time frame identified in the letter of admission or may not continue to enroll in University courses. Further, the Academic Standing policy inherently presumes the student will first meet satisfactorily any obligations or requirements specified in the letter of admission before the Academic Standing policy shall have any effect on the continuing enrollment of the student.

  1. Good Standing
    A student is in good standing whenever the student’s overall grade point average is at least 2.0.
  2. Warning
    Whenever the grade point average for any enrollment period is less than 2.0, but the overall grade point average is 2.0 or above, the student will be warned.
  3. Probation
    The student will be placed on probation whenever the student’s overall grade point average falls below 2.0.
    A student who is admitted (with Conditional Admission status) to the University on academic probation and receives at least a .01 grade point average, but less than a 2.0 grade point average at the end of the first enrollment period, will be placed on Final Probation. A first semester grade point average of 0.00 will result in Dismissal.
  4. Probation Removed
    Whenever the conditions of Good Standing are restored, Probation will be removed.
  5. Extended Probation
    The student will be placed on Extended Probation when, following a semester on probation, the student’s overall grade point average is below 2.0 and the grade point average for the enrollment period is 2.0 or above.
  6. Final Probation
    The student will be placed on Final Probation when, following a semester on Extended Probation, the student’s overall grade point average is below 2.0 and the student’s grade point average for the enrollment period is 2.0 or above.
  7. Admitted on Probation
    An undergraduate student admitted to the University on academic probation who earns a first semester grade point average below the required 2.0 minimum, but as least 0.01, will be placed on final probation. A first semester GPA of 0.00 will result in academic dismissal. Once placed on final probation an undergraduate student must receive a cumulative GPA of at least 2.0 the next semester. Failure to do so will result in academic dismissal and enrollment in future classes will be prohibited.
  8. Dismissal
    Students on Probation or Extended Probation who fail to achieve at least a 2.0 grade point average for the enrollment period, or students on Final Probation who fail to achieve a 2.0 overall grade point average will be dismissed from the University.

Student Attendance Expectation

Instructors are expected to establish and clearly communicate attendance expectations relevant to individual courses in the course syllabus. Course attendance expectations, where articulated, must be consistent with University policy. Students should always consult with the instructor to determine the potential impact of any absence.

It is recognized that occasionally it may be necessary for a student to be absent from a scheduled course activity for reasons beyond their control. Examples of such necessary absence include, but are not limited to religious observance, bereavement, illness, University sanctioned activities, and short-term military obligation. Examples of absence not considered necessary under this policy include but are not limited to work schedules or related events, vacations, trips, interviews, sports practice or optional events, and internship obligations.

The University expects each student to be responsible for class-related work missed as a result of a necessary absence; this work may be made up (or not) in some fashion at the discretion and direction of the instructor.

In all cases of possible accommodation for absence, it is expected that faculty will treat student requests with respect, and students must realize that only the instructor can excuse a student from a course requirement or responsibility, or assign make-up or alternative work.

When necessary absences can be anticipated, the student must inform the instructor of the situation as far in advance as possible and the instructor should strive to accommodate the student consistent with their class absence expectations. (Instructors should note that these expectations are easiest to apply equitably if they have been articulated in a syllabus.) Individual course policies may state expected notification periods. For unanticipated or emergency absences where advance notification to an instructor is not possible, the student should contact the instructor as soon as possible by e-mail, phone, or in person. The student must recognize, however, that simply informing the instructor is not the same as obtaining permission. It remains up to the individual instructor to decide if, and how, any work is to be made up. For this purpose, the student is responsible for initiating and maintaining communication with the instructor.

  1. Religious Observance: Instructors and students are expected to refer to the existing policy on absences related to religious observance. https://wmich.edu/policies/reliqious-observances.
  2. Bereavement: Reasonable absence during times of grief following the death of a close relative or friend is to be expected. Even when these events can be anticipated, the strong emotional consequences can lead to unpredictable behaviors or reactions. Instructors should assume the veracity of a request, especially when first contacted. Although some form of documentation may seem reasonable to request, in times of grief it may not be received or seen as a benign request. It is recommended that instructors perhaps consider reserving the right to request documentation at some future time, but begin by simply assuming a helpful attitude and trying to let the student move through the grieving process. As for duration of absence, instructors are expected to use reasonable judgment. The need to travel and the degree of responsibility may necessitate multiple class periods missed. Such absences are anticipated to be short term, one to three class periods per semester. Similarly, absences in the compressed summer terms may not be readily accommodated. If more time is needed, the students might need to be advised that making up the work may become prohibitive and other options (such as withdrawal or assigning an incomplete grade) might be discussed.
  3. Illness: Clearly, illness can strike anyone and result in a temporary inability to attend classes. Indeed, in the case of infectious illness, it is also in the best interests of all that a student not attend class. Instructors should use reasonable judgment in requesting documentation. Students should expect that documentation might be required, especially if the timing of absence coincides with exams, quizzes, or assignments. Instructors should also remain aware that often one can be quite ill but not seek medical attention and if students assert they could not attend class, one might waive a request for documentation (but this remains the instructors’ prerogative). Such absences are anticipated to be short term, one to three class periods per semester. Similarly, absences in the compressed summer terms may not be readily accommodated. If more time is needed, the students might need to be advised that making up the work may become prohibitive and other options (such as withdrawal or assigning an incomplete grade) might be discussed.
  4. University Sanctioned Activities: Absences for University sanctioned activities, such as, but not limited to, athletic competitions, performances, and other similar organized activities that might conflict with classes are expected to be minimal since students can be aware of schedules during the registration process. One exception that sometimes arises is when travel is involved for formal competitive events. Students are expected to provide instructors, at the start of the term, with advanced, written notice of any and all potential conflicts with attendance and are responsible for making any necessary arrangements with the instructor. Such absences are expected to be minimal, one or two per semester. Similarly, absences in the compressed summer terms may not be readily accommodated. If more time is needed the students might need to be advised that making up the work may become prohibitive and other options (such as withdrawal or assigning an incomplete grade) might be discussed.
  5. Short-Term Military Obligations: The University recognizes that those who are actively serving in the Military Reserves or National Guard of the United States are required by their military contract to attend mandatory training. Any sequential or non-sequential absence may total no more than 15% of scheduled class meeting time. It is the responsibility of the student to inform the instructor at the beginning of the semester of the potential for mandatory military duty obligations. Students should expect that absences from heavier course loads may be more difficult, or not possible to recover from than absences from lighter course loads. Unique or variant exceptions should be dealt with in a negotiated manner between the student and instructor. In certain laboratory-based or intensive short-term courses, students can jeopardize their academic status with a number of absences, particularly in lab courses that cannot be made up later. In courses with extensive laboratory exercises, group projects, group performances, or participation requirements, equivalent exercises or assessments may not be possible, as determined by the instructor. Similarly, absences in the compressed summer terms may not be readily accommodated. Students might need to be advised that making up the work may become prohibitive and other options (such as withdrawal or assigning an incomplete grade) might be discussed.

Military Reserve is a person who is currently serving in one of the following services:

  • United States Army Reserve
  • United States Navy Reserve
  • United States Marine Corps Reserve
  • United States Air Force Reserve

National Guard is a person who is currently serving in one of the following services:

  • Michigan Army National Guard
  • Michigan Air National Guard
  • Army or Air National Guard of any other state or territory of the United States of America

Department of Homeland Security Reserve is a person who is currently serving in the United States Coast Guard Reserve.

Course Grades and Grading System

The student receives one grade in each course taken. This grade combines the results of course work, tests, and final examinations. Grades are indicated by letters, to each of which is assigned a certain value in honor points per hour of credit, as shown in the table below.

Grade     Significance     Honor
A   Outstanding, Exceptional, Extraordinary   4.0
BA       3.5
B   Very Good, High Pass   3.0
CB       2.5
C   Satisfactory, Acceptable, Adequate   2.0
DC       1.5
D   Poor   1.0
E   Failing   0.0
X   Failure (Unofficial Withdrawal)    
W   Official Withdrawal    
I   Incomplete    
CR   Credit    
NC   No Credit    
AU   Audit (non-credit enrollment)    

Credit/No Credit System

The regulations of a system supplementing the A, B, C, D, and E grading system for undergraduate students but not replacing it, except as the student wishes, are as follows:

  1. The name of the program shall be “Credit/No Credit.”
  2. “Credit” will be posted for each undergraduate student who earns the grade of “C” or better. “No Credit” will be posted for any grade below a “C.” Faculty members will not be notified whether a student is taking a course for a grade or for Credit/No Credit.
  3. A student may elect for “Credit/No Credit” any course approved for WMU Essential Studies or General Physical Education credit, as well as other courses not counting toward his/her major or specified in his/her curriculum as defined in the University Undergraduate Catalog. Intern Teaching, a required course, is, however, taken on a credit/no credit basis.
    Acceptance of “Credit/No Credit” in required courses may be permitted on an individual basis by the head of the department or dean of the college requiring the course.
  4. A student may change only during the drop/add period from “Credit/No Credit” to letter grade or from letter grade to “Credit/No Credit.”
  5. All undergraduate students, regardless of classification or probationary status, will be allowed to enroll “Credit/No Credit.”
  6. “Credit/No Credit” courses, while counting toward a degree, will not be used to determine the overall grade point average (GPA) of the individual student.

Important: Students should be fully aware of the implications of this system for acceptance in graduate schools. It has been ascertained that most graduate schools will accept students who have elected to take courses on a “Credit/No Credit” basis, but that if courses taken on this basis are sufficient in number on the transcript, the Graduate Record Examination may be utilized to determine the student’s acceptability. Graduate schools, in general, do tend to favor those applicants who have good letter grades on their transcripts.

“I” Incomplete

This is a temporary grade, which the instructor may give to an undergraduate student when illness, necessary absence, or other reasons beyond the control of the student prevent completion of course requirements by the end of the semester or session. The grade of “I” (Incomplete) may not be given as a substitute for a failing grade.

A grade of “I” must be removed by the instructor who gave it or, in exceptional circumstances, by the department chairperson. If the unfinished work is not completed and the “I” grade removed within one calendar year of the assignment of the “I,” the grade shall be converted to an “E” (failure). Students who receive an incomplete grade in a course must not re-register for the course in order to remove the “I.”

An instructor who assigns a grade of “I” will submit a Report of Incomplete Grade Form located on the faculty menu in GoWMU indicating the remaining requirement for removal of the incomplete grade and indicating the time allowed, if less than one full year.An e-mail will be automatically generated to the student, the Registrar’s Office as well as an e-mail confirmation sent to the instructor.

“W”—Official Withdrawal

A grade of “W” is given in a course when a student officially withdraws from that course or from the University before the final withdrawal date in the semester or session specified in the Registrar’s website. The “W” is a non-punitive grade.

“X”—(Failure) Unofficial Withdrawal

The symbol “X” is used to indicate that a student has never attended class or has discontinued attendance and does not qualify for the grade of ” I.” The “X” will be computed into the student’s grade point average, as a 0.0, the same as an ‘E’.

Grade Change

A student who believes an error has been made in the assignment of a grade must follow the procedures described under “Grade Appeals” on the Ombudsman website http://www.wmich.edu/ombudsman/. The policy describes the appeal procedures, the stages of appeal, and the time deadlines for submitting the appeal at the various stages. Faculty who determine outside of the student course grade appeals process, that an error was made in the assignment of a grade must submit a Change of Grade form (located on the faculty menu in GoWMU) within one calendar year of the original grade assignment and must provide a rationale for the change. Instructors should not provide additional work to student after the semester has ended and after a final grade has been assigned.

Grade Point Average

A grade point average is obtained by dividing the total number of honor points earned by the total number of semester hours of work for which the student is officially enrolled during any period. For example, a total of thirty-two honor points earned in a semester by a student officially enrolled for sixteen hours of work, gives a grade point average of 32 ÷ 16 or 2.0 for the semester.

Honor Points

The number of honor points earned in a course is the number of semester hour credits given by the course multiplied by the honor points assigned to the grade earned in the course. (See the “Grading System” table above.) For example, a grade of B (3 honor points) in a 4 credit hour course gives 4 x 3, or 12 honor points.

Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) Opportunities for Undergraduate Programs

Credit by Prior Learning Assessment (PLA)

Each academic unit responsible for offering an undergraduate program may, with the approval of its dean, establish a procedure for granting credit via PLA, including the use of portfolios or any other methods noted within this policy, for any undergraduate course. All credit by PLA is subject to the following regulations:

  1. The academic unit which offers an undergraduate degree program, major, minor or certificate program shall determine if a PLA process may be used to obtain credit for a particular undergraduate-level course required by a degree program, major or minor in that academic unit.
  2. All PLA applications will be administered, graded and/or reviewed, by no fewer than two faculty members. If the unit offering a given course for which PLA credit is sought, is different than the unit offering the undergraduate major, minor, core curriculum course or certificate program, then faculty from the unit teaching the course should conduct the review of the request for granting prior learning credit for the course. The review of requests for prior learning credit must be completed within one calendar year after the receipt of the request.
  3. All PLAs shall be graded “Credit” or “No Credit.”  “Credit” will be posted on the transcript as “Credit earned by PLA” without letter grade or honor points. Such credits will be listed as completed credits for one or more courses within a given program, but not counted in the grade point average. Students who do not achieve a sufficient score to receive “Credit” will have no entry made on their transcripts.
  4. Any credit awarded via PLA can be used to meet any University graduation requirements.
  5. Credit awarded via PLA will be placed on a student’s transcripts only after the student is admitted to a specific undergraduate degree program, major, minor or certificate program, although PLA request assessments may occur prior to such admission.
  6. PLA credit earned at another university, whether awarded by examination or some other form of PLA, may transfer to WMU in accordance with the current policies governing transfer of credit. 
  7. The maximum number of total credits allowed to be granted via all forms of PLA must be a reasonable proportion of the credits or courses required to complete a student’s program. This amount may vary per program; however, the number of credits awarded via a WMU PLA assessment process may be no more than 45 undergraduate credits. For certificate programs, the maximum number of PLA credits awarded can be no more than one-half of the required credits (as rounded-up to include all credits for a given course). 
  8. The process to create a PLA opportunity, beyond that of solely examinations, for a given undergraduate degree program, major, minor or certificate program must be initiated by faculty from that degree program, major, minor or certificate program. The written procedures for granting credit for prior learning must be approved by the chair, director and college dean of the department and college that offers the degree program, major, minor or certificate program for which prior learning credit is requested. These written procedures must specify:
    1. the specific courses for which PLA credit can be granted for a given degree program, major, minor or certificate program;
    2. detailed learning outcomes for each of these courses; 
    3. rubrics that show how prior learning from previous work experience, training, course products or other learning experiences, as evidenced by an applicant via a portfolio or other means, will be evaluated against the learning outcomes for each specific course;
    4. the overall review process including the number of reviewers and review completion timelines;
    5. the detailed application process
      1. including when a PLA application can be made (e.g., before or after admission to a given degree program, major, minor or certificate program or while already taking classes in a specific degree program, major, minor or certificate program);
      2. how such an application is to be submitted (e.g., portfolio, credentials, demonstrations);
    6. the maximum number of credits, and justification for such number, that an applicant could apply for PLA credit, not to exceed the university maximum amount for undergraduate PLA.
  9. Each department with program faculty engaged in reviewing and approving credits via any type of PLA process, shall provide uniform data on such activities to the appropriate WMU entity for reporting and Higher Learning Commission (HLC) accreditation purposes.

Advanced Placement Program (AP)

Western Michigan University participates in the Advanced Placement Program (AP) of the College Board. Students who earn the required score on an AP exam will receive college credit in the appropriate subject. For information about AP score requirements and equivalent credit awarded at Western, visit wmich.edu/registrar/students/advising/students-advising-ap. Students should have College Grade Reports of their test scores sent to the Office of Admissions at Western Michigan University (college code 1902).

After AP College Grade Reports of examination scores are received and evaluated, the Office of Admissions will notify students of the specific decisions regarding any credit award. After students’ enrollment at Western, the Office of the Registrar will post course credit to students’ transcripts.

College Level Examination Program (CLEP)

This program provides the opportunity to earn college credit by examination in a variety of areas of study. There are two types of tests offered—general examinations and subject examinations. Western Michigan University’s credit award policies for each type are noted below. Interested students should check with their WMU academic advisors before making testing plans. Official score reports of CLEP testing should be sent to Western (college code 1902) by the College Board. In reference to CLEP credit granted by Western Michigan University and the University’s graduation requirements, CLEP credit is not applicable to the required hours completed at an accredited four-year, degree-granting institution.

General Examinations

1. Students may take the general CLEP examinations only before completing 24 credit hours after entering or re-entering WMU.

2. The following eligibility rules apply to students who wish to take the general CLEP examinations:

  • Students who have already received credit for a college writing class cannot receive credit by passing the College Composition examination.
  • Students who have already received credit in a college mathematics course cannot receive credit by passing the College Mathematics examination.
  • Students who completed a WMU course or transfer equivalent that applies to the General Education Distribution Area of Fine Arts, Social and Behavioral Sciences, or Natural Sciences cannot receive credit for the corresponding CLEP examination.

3. The following guidelines shall apply in the earning of CLEP credit.

  • If a student passes the Humanities examination with a score of 50 or above, three hours of credit will be awarded in Area I (fine arts) of the General Education Program.
  • If a student passes the Social Sciences and History examination with a score of 50 or above, six hours of credit will be awarded to Area V (social and behavioral sciences) of the General Education Program.
  • If a student passes the College Composition examination with a score of 50 or above, three hours of credit for ENGL 1050 will be awarded in Proficiency 1 of the General Education Program.
  • If a student passes the Natural Sciences examination with a score of 50 or above, three hours of elective credit will be awarded in Area VI (natural sciences) of the General Education Program, but will not satisfy the lab course requirement for Area VI.
  • If a student passes the College Mathematics examination with a score of 50 or above, three hours of credit will be awarded in Proficiency 3 (mathematics) of the General Education Program.

Subject Examinations

CLEP subject examinations test specific knowledge areas and, unlike the general examinations, any Western student may take them and receive credit with appropriate scores. The University awards credit for only a limited number of the CLEP subject examinations. Students may not receive CLEP subject credit if they have already received college credit for an equivalent course. Visit the Office of Admissions website at wmich.edu/admissions/transfer-clep for detailed information about Western’s score requirements and CLEP credit policy.

Comprehensive Examinations

Each department shall have the authority, with the approval of its dean, to establish a procedure for granting credit for any course in that department through comprehensive examinations. All comprehensive examinations should be administered by authorized personnel determined by the department. Each department should determine those courses for which the comprehensive examination procedure applies.

All credit by examination is subject to the following requirements:

  1. All credit will be posted as credit only, without grade or honor points. Students who do not achieve a sufficient score for credit will have no entry made.
  2. Credit by comprehensive examination in courses numbered 3000 or higher can be used to meet the requirement that one-half of all academic work must be completed at a four-year degree-granting institution.
  3. Credit by comprehensive examination can be used to meet all other University graduation requirements, except the minimum residence requirements.
  4. Credit by comprehensive examination can be posted only for admitted students who have either previous or current enrollment.
  5. All credit by comprehensive examination is normally considered undergraduate credit.

Final Examinations

The official final exam week is at the end of each fall and spring semesters. Exams for courses are to be given during that week at specific times other than the normal class meeting time. All final exams are held in the normal classroom unless other arrangements have been made with the Registrar’s Office. Use of classrooms for review sessions must be scheduled through the Registrar’s Office. 

Regularly scheduled class meeting times are not held during final exam week. For courses having both lectures and labs, or discussions the time of the exam will be determined from the time of the first lecture period of the week. For courses having labs only the exam will be determined from the time of the first lab period.

Exam times for classes that begin on the half-hour will be the same as for classes which begin on the previous hour. The exam time for a class beginning at 9:30 a.m. would be scheduled with classes that start at 9 a.m., and the exam time for a class beginning at 2:30 p.m. would be with classes that begin at 2 p.m. Where all sections of a given class are given at one time the exam will be given during the mass exam time in the schedule per faculty instructions.

Exams for arranged class times are to be scheduled during final exam week at the convenience of the instructor and the student. The instructor will arrange the exam time for a course not covered by the exam schedule. Please contact the instructor for location and time.

If a student is assigned three or more exams on any single day of final exam week, University policy allows the student to arrange with their instructor(s) to reschedule one or more exams so the student will have no more than two exams scheduled on any single day of final exam week. Students should receive early notification from their instructors as to the dates, times and places of their exams. Students must make their requests to reschedule a final exam no later than 14 calendar days before the Monday of the final exam week, as designated by the final exam schedule.

A mass exam may be scheduled when multiple sections of the same course take the same exam at the same time. Permission to offer a mass exam may be granted by the chairperson of the department if certain criteria are met and if space is available as determined by the Office of the Registrar. Only the fall and spring semesters have a final examination week.

Full-Time/Part-Time Student Status

Full-time undergraduate students are defined by credit hours enrolled in a given semester or session as follows:

Fall/Spring Semester
Undergraduate          12 hours
Summer I/Summer II Session
Undergraduate   6 hours

Part-time undergraduate students are defined as taking fewer than twelve hours during a semester or fewer than six hours during a session.

Three-quarter time undergraduate students are defined as taking nine to eleven hours during a semester and five hours during a session.

University Housing has its own regulations on the definition of hours needed to be eligible for housing contracts. Students should contact the University Housing Office for this information wmich.edu/housing.The above definitions are Western Michigan University regulations and may or may not be accepted by other agencies.

Credit Hour Cap

All undergraduate student enrollments will not exceed 19 hours for the fall or spring semesters and will not exceed 10 hours for the summer I or summer II sessions.

These enrollment caps can only be increased for a given semester or session by prior permission from a student’s college advisor.


Dean’s List

To gain a place on the Dean’s List for a semester, a student must:

  1. Have completed at least twelve semester hours of work during the fall or spring semester for letter grade.
  2. Have a grade point average of at least 3.50 for the semester.

To gain a place on the Dean’s list for a Summer I or II session, a student must:

  1. Have completed at least six semester hours of work during the Summer I or Summer II for letter grade.
  2. Have a grade point average of at least 3.50 for the session.

Honors Upon Graduation

Honors are conferred upon graduating students who have displayed a high level of performance during their University career.

Recipients of honors receive their degrees:

  • Cum laude: when their grade point average is 3.50 to 3.69, inclusive
  • Magna cum laude: when their grade point average is 3.70 to 3.89, inclusive
  • Summa cum laude: when their grade point average is 3.90 to 4.00, inclusive

In computing the grade point average for honors, the following rules will apply:

  1. All credits and honor points earned at Western Michigan University will be counted.
  2. All students must have earned at least thirty semester hours of course work at Western Michigan University which was graded by a letter grade and computed into the final cumulative grade point average.

The commencement program will list as candidates for honors, all students who have earned a grade point-hour average of 3.50 and have registered for 30 hours of graded WMU credit by the end of the first week of their final semester. Final determination of honors and level of awards will be based upon all work and will appear on the final transcript and diploma.

Independent Study

Independent Study refers to enrollment in an appropriately designated, variable-credit course for a specific plan of study, authorized and supervised by a designated, consenting faculty member.

Independent Study is not a substitute for regular courses, but an enrichment opportunity. Normally, it is a project designed to allow students to investigate an area of interest not within the scope of a regular course, to probe in more depth than is possible in a regular course, or to obtain an educational experience outside that normally offered by a regular course.

Since individual Independent Study projects are not normally reviewed through the usual departmental and University processes, it is essential that the academic adequacy of such projects be assured by some other means applied consistently throughout the University.

The following policy guidelines are intended to serve that function.

Proposals for Independent Study

Independent Study requires an adequate description of the work to be undertaken, requiring planning in advance of the registration period. Sufficient time, therefore, must be allowed for such planning and for obtaining the necessary faculty and administrative approvals.

While the Independent Study project is normally student-initiated, early interaction with faculty is essential in the development of a mutually acceptable project description. At a minimum, such a description should contain an outline of the study topic, specification of the work to be done and the materials to be read, the credit to be given, the type and frequency of faculty-student contacts, and a statement of the evaluative criteria to be used by the faculty member.

Approval Process

The faculty member must accept and approve the student and the project, and then submit the agreed-upon proposal on the appropriate University form to the department chairperson for approval. If the chairperson approves, information copies of the form must be submitted to the dean and the Registrar.

The granting of approval by the department chairperson may involve considerations, such as faculty workload, which go beyond the merits of the project.

Faculty Responsibility

Independent Study is basically a tutorial process, necessarily involving substantial faculty participation. In that respect, it should be distinguished from “credit by examination,” a different option in which the role of the faculty member is primarily evaluative.

A student is on his/her own in Independent Study in that it involves no class meetings or formal lectures, but the faculty member is the responsible custodian of the project, obliged to provide guidance, assistance, criticism, suggestion, and evaluation, and shall be the instructor of record who is responsible for turning in a grade to the Registrar’s Office.

Repeated Course

The following is the general University policy regulating repeated courses. Some academic Colleges, however, have a somewhat different policy regulating students in academic programs within those Colleges. You are advised to seek the counsel of the academic advisors in the College advising offices regarding the specific repeated course policy for that College.

Any course in which a student may have been enrolled more than once is considered a repeated course. A grade must be presented for each course, and any course first elected for a letter grade must be elected for a letter grade when repeated. If a student wishes to repeat a course taught by an overseas institution during WMU sponsored study abroad, the pre-approved WMU equivalent course may be repeated for credit if the student’s department approves.

Only the most recent grade for a repeated course is used in calculating a student’s grade point average. However, if a student receives a letter grade in the first enrollment and then enrolls again in the course and receives a grade of “W,” “Cr,” or “NC,” the previous grade will remain in the grade point average.

The number of times a course can be taken is limited to three, although courses in which grades of “W,” “Cr,” or “NC” are received will not count as attempts in limiting the maximum number of times a student can register for a course. Appeals may be addressed to the department chairperson.

There is no limit on the number of different courses that can be repeated.

A repeated course is not removed from the student’s record. All grades earned are shown on the transcript.

Many graduate and professional schools recalculate the grade point average using grades from all classes taken, including repeats, in determining eligibility for admission. This fact should be carefully considered by students who are attempting to increase their grade point average by repeating courses in which they have received a passing grade.

Repeated Courses in the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences

Students in the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences may enroll in a course that is required in their curriculum only three times. Any additional enrollments require prior written approval of their department chair.

GPA Revision for Change of Major

Undergraduate students may apply one time for a GPA Revision when changing a major. GPA Revision allows the students to request that up to three courses may be removed from the GPA Calculation. The courses must be from a declared major, prerequisite, or cognate in that major where the grade of E or X was earned. The courses also must be taken in the student’s first three semesters at WMU. No other courses or grades may be considered for GPA Revision.

Undergraduate students seeking a GPA revision for a changed of Major must meet the following additional criteria:

  • Have not earned a bachelor’s degree from Western Michigan University
  • Have not previously received GPA revision for a change of major
  • The new major must be in a different department or academic unit

Additional specific requirements for a GPA Revision are:

  • A maximum of three courses may be removed from the student’s GPA calculation, including repeats of the same course.
  • Courses where there is a finding of responsibility for an academic integrity violation may not be removed from the GPA calculation.
  • The credits earned for these classes will also be removed from the student’s academic record.
  • There will be no refund of tuition or fees for courses removed from the GPA Revision.
  • All grades will remain on the official transcript and will not be calculated in the GPA or credits earned. However, the course work will still count towards the maximum time-frame for Satisfactory Academic Progress.
  • The office of Financial Aid will determine how the proposed GPA revision impacts Satisfactory Academic Progress.

Students requesting a GPA Revision must contact the director of advising for the college in which the new major resides and obtain approval for the transfer.

Service-learning, Co-curricular Learning and Volunteerism

Service-learning, co-curricular learning and volunteerism are all forms of experiential learning that do not include financial remuneration. Experiential learning is an important aspect of a student’s academic career and includes pedagogies that incorporate practical application and hands-on experiences into learning.

Service-Learning: Service-learning, while enrolled at Western Michigan University, is a mutually beneficial endeavor in which course learning objectives are met by addressing community-identified needs–putting academics into practice. The criteria for the service-learning course designation are as follows:

  • Service project must enhance understanding of course learning objectives
  • Students provide at least 15 hours of service during the semester. Project-based learning is determined by completion of project goals rather than number of hours. Hours must be logged
  • Must include critical reflection of student’s experiences
  • Projects must serve a community-identified need
  • Must be a reciprocal partnership among community partners, students, and professors/instructors/staff
  • Projects must be arranged by university faculty or staff
  • Only courses in which service-learning is required for all students will receive the service learning designation
  • To receive the designation, the course must include the service-learning requirement every time it is taught

Co-Curricular Learning: Co-curricular learning, while enrolled at Western Michigan University, takes place outside formal academic studies. The criteria for co-curricular learning include:

  • Learning objectives are determined by the organizing body, and are not associated with course content and objectives
  • Number of hours is set by the organizing body-Registered Student Organizations (RSO’s), Resident Assistants (RA’s), other student groups, etc.
  • Includes structured reflection
  • Service enhances student learning and meets community needs

Volunteerism: Volunteerism refers to work done to give back to the community and may be completed by individual students or by organized group activities. It may be done on a voluntary basis or as required for an academic course, program or other campus organization while enrolled at Western Michigan University. Volunteerism:

  • Is usually not related to an academic course
  • Has no minimum or maximum number of hours; hours should be logged in GoRSO
  • Does not necessarily include reflection