Faculty Council on Academic Standards (FCAS) Policies


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Guidelines for Admission Requirements to Undergraduate Programs

Submission of UW Form 1503 is required to create or change admission requirements for an undergraduate program.

  1. Admission course prerequisites should be generally available to freshman or sophomores, and should apply to general education requirements if the student is not subsequently admitted.
  2. Admission course prerequisites should generally be available at community colleges.
  3. Prerequisite courses for admission to the major should be at the 100 or 200 level.

Note: Suspension of admission to an undergraduate program is considered a change in admission requirements. A temporary suspension of admissions, not to exceed one academic year, requires FCAS approval (via Form 1503) at least one quarter prior to implementation and may require an RCEP.

Revised by the Faculty Council on Academic Standards on January 24, 2014. Adopted by the Faculty Council on Academic Standards on May 2, 2003.


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Lists of Approved Electives

How to Add or Remove Program Electives

  1. Programs that want to change specified electives (e.g., "choose two of the following courses...") must submit a 1503 for FCAS approval. If the elective courses being added to the specified list are from another department, a representative from that department must sign the 1503 on the bottom of the form or include an e-mail/memo from the chair of the department authorizing the list of its course(s).
  2. Programs that want to change a list of electives (e.g., "choose two courses from list of electives in advising office...") should send an e-mail to uwcr@uw.edu for review. If the request is approved, the Curriculum Office will notify DARS.
  3. Programs with large lists of specified electives that change annually may change its elective list from specified to "see adviser" by submitting a 1503 to that effect. This will result in the program needing only to send an e-mail with the new list to uwcr@uw.edu instead of submitting annual 1503s with the new list.

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Program-Based Grade Requirements

  1. Cumulative Grade Graduation Requirement:

    (UW requires 2.0 cumulative gpa for graduation)

    1. Programs are permitted to have 2.0 cumulative GPA requirement for courses within the major.
    2. Programs may request cumulative GPA in the range of 2.0 to 2.5 for courses in the major and/or all UW courses. The programs must document and provide justification for the request. Provided adequate academic justification is provided, FCAS will approve such requests.
    3. Programs requesting cumulative GPA requirements greater than 2.5 for courses in the major and/or all UW courses must provide strong justification for the request. In general, except in exceptional cases and with very strong academic justification, FCAS will not approve these requests.
  2. Minimum Grade Graduation Requirement in Individual Courses:

    (UW requires 0.7 in each course)

    1. Programs may request that students achieve a minimum grade in each course of a subset of the courses required for a major, every course for a major, and/or all UW courses in the range of 0.8 to 2.0. The programs must document and provide justification for the request. Provided adequate academic justification is provided, FCAS will approve such requests.
    2. Programs requesting a minimum grade in each course of a subset of the courses required for a major, every course for the major, and/or all UW courses exceeding 2.0 must provide strong documented justification for the request. In general, FCAS will not approve these requests.
  3. Existing Program Graduation Requirements

    All existing program graduation requirements are grandfathered in. Should a program with graduation grade requirements exceeding these policies wish to change its requirements, the new proposal will be considered under these guidelines.

Adopted by the Faculty Council on Academic Standards on June 5, 2009.


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Graduate Courses in Undergraduate Programs

(UW requires 2.0 for all courses)

  1. Programs cannot require graduate courses in undergraduate programs. On a case-by-case basis, departments may allow undergraduate students to substitute graduate courses for required undergraduate courses; however they cannot list graduate course alternatives in the General Catalog.

Adopted by the Faculty Council on Academic Standards on January 29, 2010.

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Minors

The Gateway Undergraduate Advising Center maintains List of Minors.

University of Washington minors must meet the following guidelines to be considered for approval:

  1. Unit/Departmental Minors

    1. 25-35 credits
    2. A minimum of 50% or 15 credits, whichever is greater, of 300/400 level courses.
    3. A student cannot receive a minor in their major. * (see Interdisciplinary Minors)
    4. A minimum of 50% or 15 credits, whichever is greater, must be completed in residence at the UW campus granting the minor.
    5. Minors may request a minimum cumulative 2.0 GPA for courses applied to the minor; higher grade and GPA requirements are subject to additional review.
    6. Courses taken Satisfactory/Not Satisfactory will not be counted toward a minor.
    7. Students must declare a major and have completed a minimum of 45 credits before declaring a minor.
    8. Students must have the major advisor sign off on minor declaration paperwork in order to ensure that students meet university satisfactory progress requirements.
    9. Open to all students without admissions requirements.

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  2. Interdiscipliary Minors

    Interdisciplinary minors are minors that are composed of courses and content that come from more than one area of study. The first four interdisciplinary minors offered by the University are in Marine Biology; Education, Learning, and Society; Quantitative Science; and Values and Society.

    Interdisciplinary minors were created because students are not allowed to minor in their major, but at times the content overlap between the major and an Interdisciplinary minor is unavoidable. To ensure that students are satisfying the intention of the rule disallowing a student to minor in their major, FCAS created the following policy.

    1. Interdisciplinary minors must require that 60% of the coursework applied to the minor is take outside of the student's major(s) requirements. This means these classes may not apply both to the satisfying major(s) requirements and interdisciplinary minor requirements. Note: These credits can count towards the 180 credits required for graduation.
    2. The minor should require some type of Capstone/Colloquium/Seminar/Cumulating experience.

    Adopted by the Faculty Council on Academic Standards on December 10, 2010.

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  3. Competitive Minors

    It is strongly encouraged that Minors be open. The University system does not track student progress toward completion of minors, grant class preference because a student is taking a minor, or grant extensions toward degree completion rules because a student is trying to finish a minor.

    Should a department request a competitive minor, the department takes on the following responsibilities for students admitted to the minor:

    1. The department must provide the student with access to the department advisors.
    2. The department must have a continuation policy in place for students in the minor.
    3. The department must provide preferential access to the courses required for the minor to ensure the student can timely complete the minor.

    Adopted by the Faculty Council on Academic Standards on May 11, 2012.


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Faculty Council on Academic Standards (FCAS) Policy on Options

An option is a formal, University-approved concentration within a major that appears on a student's transcript. Informal tracks, concentrations, or pathways in a major that do not appear on student transcripts are not subject to the following policies.

  1. A program may offer a standard major with options that a student may choose. (For example, a student can earn a BA in Anthropology or a BA in Anthropology with an option in Archaeological Sciences.) Alternatively, a program may require every student to choose one of several options. (For example, students in the Applied and Computational Mathematical Sciences program must choose an option when they declare the major.)
  2. Each option within a major, including the standard major, must share at least a 50% common core.
  3. The number of total credits for an option should differ by no more than 10 credits from any other option in the major, including the standard major.
  4. Open and minimum admission requirement majors may have competitive options as long as a non-competitive alternative is available.
  5. Programs offering options may limit the number of options for which a student may enroll within that program.
  6. Each option offered within a degree program must be distinct.
  7. Here is a sample transcript that includes a Degree, Major, Option, and Minor

Revised by the Faculty Council on Academic Standards on February 7, 2014


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Equivalent Course Policy

    Background: As a way to help the Tacoma and Bothell campuses quickly develop courses when they were originally established and again later when they were transitioning from 2-year to 4-year campuses, the University of Washington Curriculum Committee allowed UW Bothell and UW Tacoma to submit memos that requested a course (or courses) that was a 'clone' of an existing Seattle course. This was meant soley as a means of getting courses quickly approved; the 'cloning' process was not intended to carry any further meaning. However, this has raised a number of questions that must now be addressed. The following policy was submitted by the University Curriculum Committee to the Faculty Council on Academic Standards as a means for addressing those questions.

  1. "Cloning" will not be allowed except for programs with shared accreditation, as those programs already have a process in place for managing approvals/changes/etc.
  2. All other new courses will need to submit a complete new-course or course-change application. (Note: the University Curriculum Committee will accept a copy of an existing equivalent course's syllabus.)
  3. The new-course and course-change applications will be modified to include a space to indicate equivalency in the "other departments affected" section.
  4. Those courses considered equivalent by both offering units will be considered equivalent by all university units.
  5. Equivalent courses are considered the same course for determining a student's ability to repeat a course, as well as GPA calculation, meet graduation requirements, prerequisites, etc.
  6. Equivalent courses must have the same title and description. (Slight differences in the description can be approved on an ad hoc basis by the University Curriculum Committee.) It is strongly encouraged that equivalent courses have the same course number.
  7. If an existing equivalent course undergoes a course change, all courses which are equivalent to it must undergo the same change (except for prefix/number changes) in order to maintain equivalency. If not, equivalency is terminated and the unchanged course retains the number/title.
  8. Existing "clones" will undergo an equivalency analysis. Lack of agreement on equivalency will be adjudicated by the University Curriculum Committee.
  9. Statements about equivalency will be added to the catalog as appropriate. Equivalent prerequisites will not be listed in the course description, but will be coded in the SDB prerequisite checking system.

  10. Adopted by the Faculty Council on Academic Standards on April 29, 2011.


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Satisfactory Progress Policy

The University of Washington seeks to allow fair access to as many eligible applicants as possible each year while enabling students, who so choose, to have a four-year college experience beyond high school. Consequently, the University has set limits on the number of quarters and credits allocated for each student. A student may continue to enroll at the University of Washington until reaching both the quarter and credit limits.

Students admitted as freshmen, including those who have earned credit as part of the Running Start Program, may accrue as many credits as they wish, as long as they graduate within 12 quarters of college work while registered at the University. Transfer students are allowed 6 quarters of college work while registered at the University if they have completed two or more years of college work. Transfer students who enter the University after completing one year of college work will be allowed 9 quarters of college work while registered at the University of Washington. Summer quarters do not count in these limits.

Students who do not complete their degree requirements within the time frames specified above may continue to enroll through the quarter in which they reach 30 credits beyond the number of credits required for their degree. Students pursuing more than one degree may enroll through the quarter in which they reach 30 credits beyond the number of credits required for their concurrent degrees. After reaching these limits, students will no longer be permitted to register as continuing University of Washington students in the regular academic year (Autumn-Winter-Spring).

Administration and Logistics

  • Exceptions to the satisfactory progress policy that allow students to continue to enroll at the University of Washington beyond the satisfactory progress limits are rarely granted. Completing a minor, completing requirements for graduate or professional programs, or enrolling in an additional major is not grounds for an exception. However, circumstances beyond a student’s control will be considered in granting exceptions.
  • The timing and process of holds, registration restrictions, current “exception” practices (such as hardship withdrawals) will be evaluated and adjusted as needed by the Registrar and advisors, including revision of the current hold/graduation plan at 180 credits.
  • To ensure that students can complete requirements on time, administrative and academic units will adjust advising and policy as appropriate to ensure timely completion of requirements, including admission to majors.
  • Students will be informed of these policies and implications at the beginning of their UW career so they can plan accordingly.

Adopted by the Faculty Council on Academic Standards on January 27, 2012. Revised by the Faculty Council on Academic Standards on May 25, 2012.


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FCAS Guidelines for New and Online Major and Degree Proposals

Note: During the 2011-2012 Washington state legislative session, the Legislature transferred the roles and responsibilities of the state's Higher Education Coordinating Board (HECB) to a new agency, the Washington Student Achievement Council (WSAC). As part of that change, the Legislature also eliminated the HECB's authority to approve new undergraduate majors and degrees at all the state's public higher education institutions. While the WSAC retains authority over significant changes in location and mission of public higher education institutions, the Council does not have regulatory authority over individual academic programs. The guidelines below are intended to take the place for those previously required by the HECB for all proposals for new and online degrees and majors to be offered by the university. Section 28b.77.020 of the Revised Code of Washington explaines in more detail the responsibilties of the WSAC.

New and Online Major and Degree Proposal Guidelines.

Adopted by the Faculty Council on Academic Standards on February 8, 2013.