Portland-State-University 2023-2024 Bulletin


Validation of admission

Students must register for a minimum of 1 credit during their term of admission; failure to do so will result in cancellation of admission.

Graduate grading system

The following grading scale is employed at the graduate level:

= 4.00 B- 
= 2.67 D+ = 1.33
= 3.67 C+ = 2.33 D  
= 1.00
B+ = 3.33 C  
= 2.00 D- 
= 0.67
= 3.00 C- 
= 1.67 F  
= 0.00

The grading system at the graduate level is defined as follows:



C—Below graduate standard



The following grades are also used; these marks do not impact the GPA:

P—Pass (B- or better)

NP—No Pass


IP—In progress


X—Non-attendance/No basis for grade

M—Missing grade/No grade received


Academic Forgiveness

Graduate Academic Forgiveness allows a PSU student, who returns after an extended absence, to begin a new graduate program with the benefit of excluding previously earned low grades from their PSU cumulative graduate GPA calculation. There must be, at minimum, a three-year break in registration at PSU between the terms considered for Graduate Academic Forgiveness and the student’s term of admission to a new graduate program.

If Graduate Academic Forgiveness is approved, courses from the applicable terms will remain on the student’s transcript and will be include in attempted hours, but the courses will be excluded from the earned, passed, and GPA hours. A notation on the transcript will identify the courses as excluded from the graduate GPA calculation. A maximum of three terms can be approved for Graduate Academic Forgiveness. Once Graduate Academic Forgiveness is processed and the courses excluded from the graduate GPA calculation, the action is irreversible.

Graduate Academic Forgiveness is applied to all graduate courses in the approved terms, not just those with low grades. Courses approved for Graduate Academic Forgiveness cannot be used toward any current or future graduate degree or certificate requirements at PSU.

A student who has previously been placed on graduate academic probation or disqualification at PSU is not eligible for Graduate Academic Forgiveness for the same program. Graduate Academic Forgiveness cannot be requested after a student has earned a graduate degree or certificate at PSU. A student may receive Graduate Academic Forgiveness only once during their time as a graduate student at PSU, regardless of how many graduate programs they may have participated in.

If Graduate Academic Forgiveness is approved as part of the graduate admission process, the student will be admitted with University Conditional status. After admission, the student must earn a 3.0 graduate GPA or higher in their first 9 letter-graded graduate credits after admission. If the student earns a 3.0 GPA or higher, and has already been approved for Graduate Academic Forgiveness, the approved terms will be excluded from their graduate GPA calculation.

If the need for Graduate Academic Forgiveness is identified post admission, the student must earn a 3.0 graduate GPA or higher in their first 9 letter-graded graduate credits after admission to their new graduate program before being eligible to apply for Graduate Academic Forgiveness. 


Responsibility for dropping courses

It is the student’s responsibility to drop courses they do not wish to attend. Non-attendance does not cancel the tuition charges nor prevent the course from appearing on the student’s academic record.

Non-completion of course

A student who has participated in a course but has failed to complete essential work or attend examinations, and who has not communicated with the instructor, will be assigned the appropriate grade based on coursework completed.


Students do not have a right to receive/demand an Incomplete grade. The option of assigning an Incomplete grade is at the discretion of the instructor when the following criteria are met.

Eligibility Criteria

  1. Required satisfactory course completion/participation. The quality of work is satisfactory, but some essential work remains. In addition, the student must have successfully completed most of the course work at the time the student requests the Incomplete, with a minimum grade up to that point of a B- for a graduate course.
  2. Reasonable justification for the request. Reasons for assigning the Incomplete must be acceptable to the instructor. A student does not have the right to demand an Incomplete. The circumstances should be unforeseen or beyond the control of the student. The instructor is entitled to request appropriate medical or other documentation to validate the student's request.
  3. Incomplete grade is not a substitute for a poor grade. The Incomplete grade is not meant to create the opportunity for special or additional work for a student to raise a poor grade, or for the opportunity to take the course over by sitting in on the course in a later term without registering or paying for it.
  4. Written agreement. A written or electronic agreement will be endorsed by both the instructor and student. The document will specify a) the remaining work to be completed, b) the highest grade which may be awarded upon submission of remaining items, and c) the date which the missing work is due. The latter may not exceed one year from the end of the term of enrollment for the given course. A template Incomplete Contract is available from the Registrar. 
  5. Resolving the Incomplete. Instructors may not encourage students to "sit in" an entire future course in order to resolve the Incomplete grade. If the student needs to retake the entire course, they should be given the grade presently earned, and must formally register for the future class they will be attending. If the missed portion of the course is no longer available, instructors may offer an alternate assignment. Grading weight of the alternate assignment should not exceed the original assignment. Students are fully responsible for monitoring all due dates. 

Other Rules:

  1. GPA Calculation. Incomplete grades are not included when calculating GPA.
  2. Deadline for Completion. The deadline for completion of an Incomplete is one calendar year. The instructor may set a shorter deadline, which is binding. Any request for a longer deadline must be requested via petition to the Graduate Council.
  3. Failure to make up an Incomplete by the end of one year. The Incomplete will become part of the student's permanent academic record for a graduate course.

Drops and withdrawals

Drops/withdrawals from a course must be initiated by the student. It is the student’s responsibility to drop/withdraw properly by the published deadlines dates.

A student may drop with no record on the transcript up to the end of the second week of the term. As a courtesy, students are advised to notify the instructor concerned of the intended or completed drop.

A student may withdraw for any reason before the end of the seventh week. Withdrawing in the third through seventh week will result in a "W" recorded on the transcript.

A student wishing to withdraw after the seventh week must petition the Deadline Appeals Committee. A "W" is recorded if the petition is approved.

Refunds are automatic and are calculated from the date of official drop/withdrawal. The refund is 100% only if the drop occurs within the first week of the term.

The above deadlines refer to fall, winter and spring terms. For deadlines during summer session, consult the Registrar's Academic Calendar.

No Basis for Grade (X grades)

An X grade indicates No Basis for Grade and is used when there is little or no attendance and there is no work/performance upon which to base an academic evaluation. X grades cannot be changed after initial submission, and other grades cannot be changed to an X.

An auditor may also be assigned an X for insufficient attendance.

Missing Grade (M grades)

If an instructor does not award a grade during the open grading window, an M grade (Missing) is automatically assigned. An M grade will change to a grade of X one term after the M was initially assigned. Once converted to an X, the grade cannot be changed.

A graduate student will not be certified for graduation who has any M grades in PSU graduate courses that could potentially be letter graded, even if the courses are not applied to the student's degree.

Audit (AU)

Graduate students may take any course for which they have the prerequisites and which is open to them on the basis of their admission category on an audit (no-credit) basis. The tuition and fees for auditing courses are the same as for taking the courses for credit, but a student’s load (total credit hours) does not include audit enrollments. Audited courses cannot be used to meet any requirement for degrees or certificates, for required registration for graduate assistants, or for scholarship students. Students cannot receive financial aid for audited courses. During the add-drop period, a student registered for a course for audit may change to credit status or vice versa through the official methods; thereafter, the change cannot be made.

Academic record sealed after degree awarded

PSU academic records are sealed thirty days after the conferral of a degree. After this date, no changes can be made to the academic record, such as removal of Incompletes or grade changes, except via petition to the Graduate Council.

Catalog eligibility

To earn a graduate degree, students must meet the degree requirements published in a single, valid PSU Bulletin (catalog). The requirements in a catalog are valid for seven years; for example, the 2023-24 Bulletin can be used through summer 2030 graduation. Students can only use a catalog year during which they were both admitted and enrolled.

At the time a graduate program has a change to their curriculum approved, they may set more restrictive limits about which set of requirements (catalog year) can be used.

Credit distribution and limitations

Courses applied to any graduate certificate or degree program must be at the 500 or 600 level. Courses at the 700 and 800 level are not acceptable in any graduate certificate or degree programs, with the exception of 800-level courses in the master’s degree programs in the College of Education as well as some M.A.T./M.S.T. programs; these programs may allow a maximum of 6 credits at the 800 level. Student teaching credits cannot be applied to a graduate degree or certificate.

Students who take 400/500 courses at the 500 level must complete distinct requirements from those in the 400-level section. With the exception of coursework taken as part of a bachelors+masters program or pre-admission credits taken while still an undergraduate, graduate tuition is charged for all graduate-level coursework.

At the master’s level, a minimum of 12 credits in a 45-credit program must be taken in residence in 500, 500/600, or 600 course level categories. The remainder of the required credits may be 400/500 courses taken at the 500 level.

Limitations are placed on the number of 501, 502, 503, 504, 505, 508, and 509 credits that can be applied to master’s degrees. In a 45-credit program, the limits are as follows: a maximum of 12 credits in 501, 502, and 505 combined; a maximum of 9 credits in 504, 508, and 509 combined; a range of 6 to 9 credits in 503. Courses numbered 60x are included in these limitations.

Repeat of graduate courses

If a graduate course is repeated, the grades awarded both times are included in the GPA. Repeating courses with the sole intent of raising the GPA is not acceptable.

A graduate course cannot be repeated and applied to degree requirements twice unless the course has been approved as repeatable for credit.

If a course offered as a 400/500 level course is taken for credit at the 400 level, the same course cannot be taken again for credit at the 500 level.

Correspondence credit

Under no circumstance will credit earned through correspondence study be acceptable toward a graduate degree or certificate.

Academic load

Full-time enrollment for graduate students is 9-16 credits. Graduate students must obtain approval for registration in excess of 16 credits (graduate and undergraduate credits combined) via the Overload Approval form. A student registering for 17 to 19 credits must obtain the approval from their department chair or faculty adviser. A student registering for 20 credits or more must obtain the approval of their department chair and the Graduate School. A graduate assistant registering for more than 16 credits must obtain approval from their department chair and the Graduate School.

Computer Science and Electrical & Computer Engineering graduate students have a lower maximum registration limit of 10 credits. These students must obtain approval to register for 11 or more credits via the Overload Approval form.

Minimum enrollment

PSU requires that graduate students who are involved in activities requiring faculty time or the use of University facilities register every term (excluding summer), including those engaged in any phase of research, such as collecting or developing data, or when engaged in any aspects of a project, thesis, or dissertation.

After advancement to candidacy, doctoral students must be continuously enrolled for a minimum of 1 graduate credit every term (excluding summer) through the term of graduation.

A minimum of 1 graduate credit of registration is required in any term (including summer) when students are completing a major milestone for the degree such as taking any comprehensive or final examination, when holding a thesis/dissertation proposal or defense, and in the term of final thesis/dissertation submission and graduation.

The student’s department can require additional registration in any given term in relation to the amount of time required of faculty or the use of University facilities.

Enrollment for defenses and exams held between terms

Defenses and exams should be held during regular academic terms, i.e., not between terms. However, if it is necessary to hold a thesis/dissertation proposal or final defense, a final project presentation, or comprehensive/preliminary exams in the period between terms, and all faculty involved in the defense or exam have agreed to participate at this time, graduate programs are allowed to schedule defenses and exams between terms provided the following registration requirements are met by the student. Per the Minimum Enrollment policy, required registration for a defense or exam is a minimum of 1 graduate credit applicable to the degree.

• For defenses and exams held between the end of fall term and the beginning of winter term, the student must be registered in the immediately preceding fall term.

• For defenses and exams held between the end of winter term and the beginning of spring term, the student must be registered in the immediately preceding winter term.

• For defenses and exams held between the end of spring term and the beginning of summer term, the student must be registered in the immediately preceding spring term.

• For defenses and exams held between the end of summer term and the beginning of fall term, the student must be registered in the immediately succeeding fall term.

• The Graduate School identifies summer term as the 8-week summer session defined by the university’s Academic Calendar. For defenses/exams held during summer term, the student must be registered in one of the summer term sessions. Students should be aware that most faculty are not on contract over the summer and may not be available for defenses and exams in summer.

Residency requirements

Residence credit is defined as credit taken at PSU after formal admission to a graduate degree program. Residency requirements are intended to ensure that students work in close association with other graduate scholars in the intellectual environment of PSU.

In a master’s program, to meet the residency requirement a student must earn a minimum of two-thirds of the credits required for the degree after formal admission to a master’s degree program at PSU.

In a doctoral program, the residency requirement can be satisfied in one of the following ways:

  • Three terms of full-time enrollment (minimum 9 graduate credits applicable to the degree program each term) during the first two years after admission to the program. This may include one or more summer terms.
  • Six terms of part-time enrollment (minimum 1 graduate credit applicable to the degree program each term) during the first two years after admission to the program. This may include one or more summer terms.
  • A doctoral student who was enrolled in the same major at PSU, and whose matriculation to the doctoral program immediately follows (within one calendar year) the master's degree program, may fulfill the residency requirement during the period in which the student was enrolled in the master's program.

Pre-admission and transfer credit

Courses taken at any institution, including PSU, before the term of formal admission to a PSU graduate degree program are pre-admission credits. Courses taken at any other institution at any time are transfer credits. Transfer credits must be graduate credit taken at a regionally accredited institution and applicable to a graduate degree program without qualification at the originating institution.

A master’s student must earn a minimum of two-thirds of the credits required for the degree after formal admission to the graduate degree program at PSU and must earn a minimum of two-thirds of the credits required for the degree at PSU. Departments may have stricter limitations.

Pre-admission credits taken at PSU and applied to master's degree requirements must be letter-graded B- or higher or graded Pass. Pre-admission or transfer credits taken at another institution and applied to master's degree requirements must be letter-graded B- or higher (Pass or similar grading methods are not acceptable). All pre-admission and transfer credits (whether taken at PSU or elsewhere) and applied to master’s degree requirements must also meet all the following requirements: must not be used for any other degree at any institution (except for dual master's degrees); must be no older than seven years old at the time the master’s degree is awarded; and must total no more than one third of the required credits for a master' degree program. Otherwise eligible PSU credits applied toward a completed graduate certificate can be applied toward a subsequent master's degree without counting toward the pre-admission limits. For master’s degrees, pre-admission credits taken at PSU are requested via a DARS exception submitted to the Graduate School. This request should be made soon after admission to the graduate program. Transfer courses from another regionally accredited institution are requested via the Proposed Transfer Credit form (GO-21M) submitted to the Graduate School. It is strongly suggested that this form be submitted early in the student’s program. (The M.S.W. program has specific transfer credit allowances resulting from accreditation requirements and inter-institutional agreements, but a minimum of 42 credits applied to the M.S.W. must be taken at PSU.)

For graduate certificates, two-thirds of the required credits, or 15 credits minimum, whichever is larger, must be taken at PSU. Individual programs may set higher minimums. Transfer credits for graduate certificates must be letter-graded B- or higher (Pass or similar grading methods are not acceptable) and must be no older than seven years old at the time the graduate certificate is awarded. Transfer credits from other institutions must be approved by the graduate certificate program and the Graduate School using the Proposed Transfer Credit form (GO-21M). Students are encouraged to apply for and be admitted to graduate certificate programs as early as possible.

For doctoral degrees, pre-admission and transfer limits are at the discretion of the individual doctoral programs; however, 603 Dissertation/606 Project credits, or their equivalent, cannot be transferred from another university. Transfer credits are requested via the Proposed Transfer Credit form (GO-21D) submitted to the Graduate School.

Approved graduate transfer courses from other institutions are not entered on PSU transcripts and are not considered in the computation of PSU cumulative graduate GPA. However, transfer courses are included in the approved program of study for all graduate certificate and degree programs and are used to calculate the program GPA, which must be 3.0 or higher in order to graduate.

Pre-admission and transfer credits from international institutions are subject to the same requirements and limitations. Requests for international pre-admission and transfer credits require additional documentation to facilitate verification of eligibility.

Joint campus courses

Admitted graduate students at PSU may take graduate courses offered by the University of Oregon or Oregon Health and Science University through the Joint Campus registration process. Joint Campus (JC) registration allows PSU students to have a graduate course from UO or OHSU included in their current term enrollment and tuition assessment at PSU. For additional details, see the Graduate School website. JC courses will be listed on the student's PSU transcript, however, JC courses are considered transfer credits for which all transfer credit limitations apply. After the course is completed, students will need to submit a GO-21 form to the Graduate School to request that the JC transfer credits be applied to their program of study at PSU.

Course overlap between degrees and certificates

In specific circumstances, coursework only (not a project, thesis/dissertation, comprehensive exam, or other culminating activity) can be shared between programs. There are limits on the use of eligible graduate courses between graduate programs.

  • A graduate course that has been used to meet the requirements for a bachelor’s degree or any undergraduate program cannot be applied to any graduate program (degree or certificate) unless the courses are part of a bachelors+masters program approved by the University, and the student has been admitted to that program.
  • Graduate courses can be applied to two master’s degrees only under the dual master's degrees allowance.
  • Graduate courses can be applied to a master’s degree and a doctoral degree provided the master's degree is awarded prior to or concurrent with the doctoral degree.
  • Graduate courses can be applied to a master’s degree and a graduate certificate.
  • Graduate courses can be applied to a master's degree and a post-bac certificate.
  • Graduate courses can be applied to a doctoral degree and a graduate certificate.
  • Graduate courses can be applied to two graduate certificates unless both graduate certificates are included in a stackable degree program.
  • Graduate courses can be applied to more than one doctoral program (at the discretion of both doctoral programs), but the following items must be completed at PSU for each doctoral degree: comprehensive exams, residency, proposal, advancement to candidacy, and dissertation research.

Departments can set more restrictive limits.

Bachelors+masters programs

Bachelors+masters degree programs allow students to complete a bachelor’s and master’s degree at an accelerated pace. Students with upper-division standing may apply to an approved bachelors+masters degree program. The minimum institutional undergraduate GPA for admission to a bachelors+masters program cannot be less than 3.30; beyond the GPA minimum, individual programs will set their own admissions criteria. Students admitted to an approved bachelors+masters program can share a maximum of 20 graduate credits between a bachelor’s and master’s degree. Programs may choose to allow fewer shared credits. Shared credits will be considered pre-admission credits when applied to the master’s degree.

After admission to a bachelors+masters degree program, students must maintain an institutional undergraduate GPA of 3.30 and earn a B or higher in graduate courses taken for shared credit. Students in a bachelors+masters program who are pursuing their first bachelor's degree will be assessed undergraduate tuition for the graduate credits earned while working toward the bachelor's degree. Upon completion of the bachelor’s degree, students who meet those requirements will be guaranteed admission to the master’s program with shared credits. Students who do not meet those requirements would need to apply for admission to the master’s degree program without the benefits of bachelors+masters shared coursework.

Dual master's degrees

A student may work toward the completion of the requirements for two PSU master’s degrees in complementary disciplines or toward a master's degree at PSU and a partner university when there is a formal agreement between the two institutions. Dual master's degrees allow for sharing of credits between the two degrees. The credits to be shared between both master's degrees cannot exceed one-third of the required credits for a degree. If the two degrees have different total credit requirements, the one-third limit is determined by the smaller total credit requirement. Only coursework can be shared between two master's degrees; comprehensive exam, internship, practicum, project, thesis, or other culminating activity cannot be shared. Students are limited to one use of one dual master's degree allowance at PSU. Dual degree credits must be approved by the student's departments and the Graduate School with a Dual Degree Form (GO-14).

Leave of absence

An admitted graduate student in good academic standing may request a leave of absence. A leave of absence (LoA) is a hiatus of a student's studies during which they are not registered and are not engaged in any phase of research or aspects of an exam, project, thesis, or dissertation. A leave of absence provides a guarantee that the student will be allowed to return to their graduate program at the agreed-upon time and exempts the student from the continuous enrollment requirement (applicable only to advanced Ph.D. students). However, a leave of absence does not constitute a waiver of the time limit for completion of a graduate program nor the one-year limit for completion of a course. 

A leave of absence is granted for a specific time period, up to a maximum of three terms (excluding summer). Students may request more than one leave of absence but all leaves combined cannot exceed six terms. A student with an approved leave of absence cannot: register for any coursework; engage in any phase of research or aspects of an exam, project, thesis, or dissertation; or engage in any activities that require faculty time or use of University resources. It is the student's responsibility to drop or withdraw from all courses as well as notify other appropriate offices on campus of their leave status (e.g. Financial Aid).

A Graduate Leave of Absence Request must be submitted to the Graduate School no later than the Friday of the second week of the term for which the leave of absence should take effect. A leave of absence will not be approved retroactively.


Admitted graduate students who fail to enroll for credits for three consecutive terms (excluding summer) must submit a Graduate Re-Enrollment Request to their department. If this request is supported by their department, the form is signed and forwarded to the Graduate School for processing.

To ensure timely registration, the completed Graduate Re-Enrollment Request should be received by the Graduate School no later than three weeks prior to the start of the term the student wishes to re-enroll.

Per Executive Order 13607, students who are re-enrolling after an interruption due to military service can re-enroll in the same program, with the same enrollment status and the same academic standing, which they had when the military service began if they wish. The period of military service and an additional period of up to three years (limited to five years total), may be excluded from standard University time limits. Students must notify the Graduate School that they are returning from military services (and present appropriate documentation) so that the possible impact on time limits can be identified.

Cancellation of admission to graduate program

If a student does not validate admission by registering and paying for at least 1 credit at PSU in the term of admission, that admission will be canceled unless the student contacts Graduate Admissions and requests that the admission be updated to another term within a one-year period. If the student does not validate admission within a one-year period, the admission will be canceled and the student must submit a new application and a new application fee.

A student with validated admission to a graduate certificate or degree program who during a one-year period (1) does not have an approved leave of absence and (2) does not successfully complete a graduate course in the approved program of study for the degree OR does not make satisfactory progress toward the degree (as determined by the department) may have admission to the degree program canceled. Additionally, a doctoral student who has not been registered for three years will have admission to the degree program canceled. For further information, students are urged to contact individual departments for departmental policies and practices. 

Faculty as student policy

PSU faculty members are encouraged to pursue additional advanced degrees at other institutions. Faculty members above the rank of instructor are not eligible to receive an advanced degree in their own department or school at the University; however, in special circumstances, they may earn a degree in a department or school in which they do not hold an appointment.

Academic Standing

All admitted graduate certificate and degree students at PSU must maintain good academic standing during the course of their graduate program. Good academic standing is defined as maintaining a cumulative graduate GPA of 3.00 or higher in all graduate credits earned at PSU. All graduate students, especially those in a conditional admission status, are expected to keep in close communication with their departments and to avail themselves of departmental advising.

Academic probation

An admitted graduate student is placed on probation if their cumulative graduate GPA at PSU, based on the completion of 9 or more letter-graded graduate credits after admission to the graduate level at PSU, falls below 3.00.

While on academic probation a student will not be permitted to graduate, to be admitted to a new or different graduate certificate or degree program, to be advanced to doctoral candidacy, to have a thesis or dissertation committee appointed, to receive or continue to hold a graduate assistantship, or to register for more than a total of 9 credit hours in any term. A student is removed from academic probation if their cumulative graduate GPA is brought up to 3.00 or higher once they have completed the next 9 letter-graded graduate credits after beginning probation status.

Academic disqualification

Disqualification occurs if:

  1. A student on academic probation fails to achieve a cumulative graduate GPA of 3.00 or higher once they have completed the next 9 letter-graded graduate credits after beginning probation status; or
  2. A student becomes subject to academic probation for a second time.

A student who is disqualified may not register for any graduate courses at PSU.

Readmission after disqualification

Readmission after disqualification is not automatic. A disqualified student may petition for readmission as a student in a graduate certificate or degree program after one calendar year. Readmission after the mandatory one-year period is initiated by the student's filing of a petition for readmission to the Graduate Council through the Graduate School. Such a petition would need to address the circumstances that led to disqualification and provide evidence of preparedness to resume graduate study.

If a student's graduate program recommends readmission, the Graduate Council may grant readmission, with or without additional academic requirements, or may recommend continued disqualification. A readmitted student must raise the cumulative graduate GPA to 3.00 or higher within the first 12 letter-graded credits after readmission or the student will be disqualified.

Graduate courses completed at other institutions while a student is under disqualification at PSU will not be applied toward a graduate program at PSU.