Jun 16, 2024  
2018-2019 Graduate Academic Catalog 
2018-2019 Graduate Academic Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Academic Policies and Procedures

Grade Quality of Performance

Grade Explanation Grade Points  
A   4.0  
  Superior performance in all aspects of the course with work exemplifying the highest quality-Unquestionably prepared for subsequent courses in field.  
 A-   3.7  
  Superior performance in most aspects of the course; high quality work in the remainder-Unquestionably prepared for subsequent courses in field.  
  B+   3.3  
  High quality performance in all or most aspects of the course-Very good chance of success in subsequent courses in field.  
B   3.0  
  High quality performance in some of the course; satisfactory performance in the remainder-Good chance of success in subsequent courses in field.  
 B-   2.7  
  Satisfactory performance in the course-Evidence of sufficient learning to succeed in subsequent courses in field.  
  C+   2.3  
  Satisfactory performance in most of the course, with the remainder being somewhat substandard-Evidence of sufficient learning to succeed in subsequent courses in field with effort.  
C   2.0  
  Evidence of some learning but generally marginal performance-Marginal chance of success in subsequent courses in field.  
 C-   1.7  
  Minimal learning and substandard performance throughout the course-Doubtful chance of success in subsequent courses.  
   D+   1.3  
  Minimal learning and low quality performance throughout the course-Doubtful chance of success in subsequent courses.  
 D   1.0  
  Very minimal learning and very low quality performance in all aspects of the course-Highly doubtful chance of success in subsequent courses in field.  
   D-   0.7  
  Little evidence of learning-Poor performance in all aspects of the course-Almost totally unprepared for subsequent courses in field.  
  F   0.0  
  Failure to meet requirements of the course-Unprepared for subsequent courses in field.  
I/*(grade default)   N/A  
  Incomplete coursework/*grade default, if the incomplete coursework is not resolved the approved timeframe, the Incomplete will revert to the recorded grade default  
    NC   N/A  
  No Credit, C- or lower grade  
  P   N/A  
  Pass C or better grade  
  R   N/A  
  Repeated Course  
  S   N/A  
   W   N/A  
  Withdrawal from course  
     WZ   N/A  
  Administrative Withdrawal for non-attendance  
   Z   N/A  
  Grade Unavailable (temporary grade assigned while the actual grade is being clarified)  

Grading and Grade Point Averages

Grade Points

Northwest University desires to provide students with an honest evaluation of their performance, not only in relation to other students in a particular course, but also in relation to the academic standards generally expected at institutions of higher education. To that end, and especially as a Christian university, we approach grading with a focus on the values of integrity, truth-telling, and respect. In the assigning of grades, these values apply not only to the relationship of the faculty member to the individual student, but also to the relationship of Northwest University to larger communities – social, regulatory, business, religious, and academic. Consequently, Northwest University seeks to uphold a grading system that carefully differentiates and provides an honest assessment of student performance, recognizes truly exceptional achievement, and maintains University credibility.

Grade Point Average

A student’s grade point average (GPA) is determined by dividing the total number of grade points earned during a given period by the number of credits for which the student was enrolled and received a regular grade during the same period. Students’ semester grade point average (SGPA) and cumulative grade point average (CGPA) are calculated and reported each semester. For example:

1st Semester:

15 credits attempted
47 grade points earned
SGPA = 3.133 (47/15 = 3.133)
CGPA = 3.133 (47/15 = 3.133)

2nd Semester:

17 credits attempted
50 grade points earned
SGPA = 2.941 (50/17 = 2.941)
CGPA = 3.031 (97/32 = 3.031)

3rd Semester:

17 credits attempted
65 grade points earned
SGPA = 3.824 (65 / 17 = 3.824)
CGPA = 3.306 (162 / 49 = 3.306)

Academic Progress towards Graduation

Each graduate program establishes its own guidelines and requirements to insure students demonstrate sufficient mastery of course material. Although overall end-of-program requirements always exist, most programs also have incremental course-by-course limits. These might specify minimum course grades, which if not met means the course must be repeated. The program might require an overall cumulative average for program courses. Consult the respective graduate program section for details.

Academic Probation

Students who fail to maintain a satisfactory academic progress towards graduation are placed on Academic Probation. Probation is a temporary status intended to help focus the student’s effort while concentrating the program’s resources to address and remedy the causes of insufficient academic progress. Probation is not intended as a punitive measure but as a warning and a time for necessary improvement. Probation, however, could lead to further academic penalties and financial aid restrictions as deemed necessary by the program. Consult the respective graduate program section for details.

Course Repeat

Should a student desire to repeat a course for the purpose of raising his or her grade, the student must obtain prior permission from their program. Re-registration for the course is required, depending on the respective program, and there is a re-registration cost. The latest completed course grade is considered the grade of record as it pertains to credit toward graduation and to the official transcript. (A grade of “W” is not considered a completed course grade.) Graduate programs may have a higher GPA graduation requirement that must be met, but in no case will a student graduate with a CGPA below 2.0.

Grade Reports

Grade reports are made available to all students following the close of each term via the online web site.

Incomplete Grades

A student may request an Incomplete Grade for reasons of illness or emergency. A written request for an Incomplete must be submitted to and approved by the professor of the course before the end of the course. The Incomplete must be completed by the end of the fourth week of the following course session. In the interim time period, the grade of “I/default grade” will be posted on the student’s transcript. At the conclusion of the four week time period, the incomplete grade will be updated by the professor or convert to the current grade reported by the professor.

Enrollment Certifications

The Registrar’s Office certifies official enrollment verifications after the Last Day to Add/Drop Courses.

Full-Time/Part-Time Enrollment Status

Enrollment status is an important issue and is based on the amount of assigned and expected work contained in the program classes. Accrediting agencies stipulate that a full-time enrollment status equates to a student working on course-related assignments between 40-45 hours each week, hence the term “full-time.” Because each graduate program is unique and has established expected student research and assignment workloads, the number of credits involved in determining enrollment status varies between programs. Financial Aid is awarded based on the enrollment status of students following the information below for each program. By Department of Education regulations, no financial aid is available for students who are registered for less than half-time. Consult Student Financial Services for specific questions regarding the program of interest.

Center of Leadership Studies:

Full-Time = 9 credits;
Three-Quarter Time = 7-8 credits;
Half-Time = 6* credits

College of Business:

Full-Time = 6 credits;
Three-Quarter Time = 5 credits;
Half-Time = 4 credits

College of Education – MIT; MA-TESOL:

Full-Time = 9 credits;
Three-Quarter Time = 7-8 credits;
Half-Time = 6* credits

College of Education – Master of Education:

Full-Time = 9 credits;
Three-Quarter Time = 6-8 credits;
Half-Time = 5* credits

College of Ministry:

Full-Time = 9 credits;
Three-Quarter Time = 7 or 8 credits;
Half-Time = 6* credits

School of Nursing:

Full-Time = 9 credits;
Three-Quarter Time = 7-8 credits;
Half-Time = 6* credits

College of Social and Behavioral Sciences – MA-Counseling Psychology; MA-Clinical Mental Health Counseling; Psy.D.-Counseling Psychology:

Full-Time = 9 credits;
Three-Quarter Time = 7-8 credits;
Half-Time = 6* credits

College of Social and Behavioral Sciences – MA-International Community Development:

Full-Time = 8 credits;
Three-Quarter Time = 6-7 credits;
Half-Time = 5 credits

*Exception: graduate students enrolled in their respective graduate program’s thesis, dissertation, or internship course will be considered as registered as a half-time student.

Most graduate programs are based on a cohort system, and attending part time usually is not a readily available option. (Consult the applicable portion of this catalog for specific program enrollment options.) For this reason, a student is responsible for all complications (concerning the availability of required courses or the ability to meet graduation requirements, for example) that may occur should, for emergency reasons, he or she need to attend less than full time.

A student must have the permission of their program in order to enroll for fewer than the required credits in any given term during the course of the program, and that option may not be available. Should a student take less than a full-time academic load in any semester, either due to transferring credits or emergency reasons, his or her financial aid may be affected.

Course Sequence and Program Progression

For some graduate programs, the sequence of courses is critical to the complete educational and professional experience. Additionally, many graduate programs are designed to rely heavily on the student cohort model. Thus, students are expected to enroll in every predetermined course scheduled each term. Electives are extra, optional, and made available only with a sufficient number of requests. In an emergency situation, a student may be allowed to postpone, drop, or withdraw from one or more courses. In some programs, in order to preserve all cohorts, the student may be required to make up all missed mandatory courses in an independent study format and to pay the associated independent study fee in addition to the cost of tuition. A student will very seldom be integrated into another cohort. In every situation the format in which the student will make up the course(s) is up to the determination of the respective graduate program office. In addition, should a student decide in conjunction with the graduate program office to take fewer courses per semester than the required course sequence entails, the student must complete the entire program within four years from the program start date for master’s students and within seven years for doctoral students, or he or she may no longer be allowed to continue in the program. Graduate students are completely responsible to complete their program within the allotted timeframe.

Another consideration when deferring courses is that complications arise when the deferred class is a prerequisite for a subsequent course. Courses cannot be taken unless all prerequisites are fulfilled, and it is the student’s complete responsibility to verify that all prerequisites are met before enrolling in any course. Also, any complications that may occur should he or she postpone, drop, or withdraw from a mandatory course are the student’s complete responsibility. The student must confer with their graduate program office when deciding to postpone, drop, or withdraw from a mandatory course.

Should a student defer enough courses to put him or her below the number of credits required to meet full-time or half-time equivalency, financial aid eligibility may be affected. See the section on Full-Time/Part-Time Status.

Class Attendance

Classes are conducted to help students develop their skills and knowledge. Students’ attendance is assumed. If absences occur, the student is responsible for missed work. Because classes differ, individual instructors state their specific attendance policies and define the consequences of absence, tardiness, and early exiting in the course syllabus. Appeals relating to attendance are addressed first to the instructor and second to the respective graduate program office.

Dropping a Course

In an emergency situation, and before the student attends the first class of the semester, he or she may drop a course by submitting a Request Registration Change Form to the Registrar’s Office. The tuition paid for that class will then be reimbursed in full. After the Last Day to Drop a Course for the respective program, courses cannot be added or dropped, and tuition will not be reimbursed. Dropped courses do not appear on a student’s transcript.

Withdrawing from a Course

After the Last Day to Drop a Course has passed, a student can only withdraw from a course and will receive no tuition reimbursement. In this event, the course remains on the transcript as a part of the academic record with a “W” (Withdrawal). Withdrawals must be completed prior to the end of the course withdrawal period for the respective graduate program. The student’s GPA is not affected by a withdrawal. However, financial aid eligibility may be affected. In order to withdraw from a course one must submit a Request Registration Change Form to the Registrar’s Office prior to the deadline.

Withdrawing from the Program

In order to withdraw from all courses and from the University, students must submit a Request Registration Change Form to the Registrar’s Office. If it is impossible to follow this procedure due to some emergency, the Registrar must be notified within one week of the student leaving.

Auditing Courses

An auditor is a person who attends a class but is not held responsible for the course work. Out of courtesy, the auditor should not participate in discussions except as allowed in consultation with the professor. An audited class requires the prior permission of the course’s graduate program office and a Request to Audit form completed and submitted to the Registrar’s Office. A special Audit Fee is required. Online courses are not available for Audit.

Transferring Credits from Other Institutions

Northwest University’s academic calendar is formatted on a semester basis. A credit transferred into Northwest from a college operating on a quarter-calendar is equivalent to 2/3 of a semester credit. Thus, one can translate quarter credits to semester credits by dividing the quarter credits by 1.5.

Master’s students are allowed to transfer a maximum of 6 to 18 graduate credits, while doctoral students are allowed to transfer a maximum of 12 to 20 credits, from other regionally accredited colleges and universities. Specific credit maximums, requirements, and exceptions are explained in the respective program section of this catalog. A mimimum course grade fo B- is required for transfer credits.

In order for the transfer of credits to occur it is the student’s responsibility to contact the respective graduate office to initiate the process. In all cases an official transcript must be received, evaluated by the graduate office, and approved by the dean. This must be done prior to registering for any courses in the program to prevent granting credit twice for the same course. There is no charge for transferred courses and transferred credits do not apply towards financial aid awards.

Academic Honesty

Northwest University has intentionally developed a learning community that includes Academic Honesty as a foundational value and expects honesty from faculty and students in all areas, including academic lives.

Northwest University considers dishonest academic conduct by students to include any activity that allows a student to take an unfair advantage of fellow students. Examples of academic dishonesty by students include the following:

  • Cheating on assignments or examinations.
  • Submitting material that has been prepared by someone else or failure to give full credit to material prepared by someone else (plagiarism). Plagiarism is defined as “using someone else’s ideas or phrasing and representing those ideas or phrasing as our own, either on purpose or through carelessness” (MLA).
  • Arranging for another person to serve as test-taker.
  • Seeking help from another person or source during a test in which collaboration is not permitted.
  • Submitting the same (or essentially the same) paper in more than one course without prior consent of the current assigning professor(s).
  • Making false statements in order to acquire special consideration from an instructor.
  • Sabotaging another student’s work.

Additionally, for faculty, academic dishonesty included unduly altering a student’s grade or awarding points when not earned.

The Academic Honesty policy functions at Northwest University on an honor basis so faculty and staff agree to academic integrity standards upon hire and acknowledge willingness to enforce the policy and report misconduct. Academic dishonesty may result in the student failing the assignment, receiving an “F” in the course, or possibly being dismissed from the University. Instances of academic dishonesty are typically reported to the Provost’s Office. Any student disciplined by a faculty member for alleged academic dishonesty has the right to appeal the disciplinary action. The student should initiate his/her appeal according to procedures outlined in the Northwest University Student Academic Appeals Policy, which is available in the Provost’s Office or the Student Development Office.

Anti-Plagiarism Software

When academic dishonesty occurs, the teaching-learning process is undermined and students rob themselves of the educational benefit intended by the assignment. To assist students and faculty, Northwest University is utilizing Turnitin.com, an online plagiarism detection service that conducts textual similarity review of submitted papers. When papers are submitted to Turnitin.com, the service will retain a copy of the submitted work in the Turnitin database for the sole purpose of detecting plagiarism in future submitted works. Students retain copyright of their original work.

Academic Appeals

Student Responsibility and Expectations: A student is expected to relate to the standards of his/her graduate program and to the individual professor’s classroom regulations and course expectations in a positive way. Students must be courteous toward the professor and refrain from conduct which disrupts the learning process. If a student has a grievance against a professor with regard to a grade received, a discipline received for academic dishonesty, or other teacher action affecting the student’s standing, the student shall first respectfully speak to the professor concerning the situation.

The Academic Appeals Process: If an acceptable resolution is not reached between the student and the professor, or if the student finds the professor unapproachable, the student should speak to the graduate program dean (or applicable associate dean). Again, if an acceptable resolution is not reached or if the professor is the dean, the student may appeal to the Provost. A form for this purpose (Student Petition for General Academic Matters) is available on the web site of the Office of the Provost.

If the matter still remains unresolved, the student will have seven days to request (in writing to the Provost) a hearing by the Academic Affairs Committee (the University’s highest academic consideration committee). Instructions for this process are found in the Student Academic Appeals Policy which is available from the Office of the Provost.

Electronic Communication

Students will need access to high speed internet to support interaction in classes and with their program leadership. Student also must have access to and use the most recent version of Microsoft Word (available to students from the NU Information Technology Office wesite at a significant discount).

It is essential that students understand the nature and scope of electronic communications in their graduate program. Nearly all communication between students and their graduate office, all administrative forms management, course management and reporting, and cohort information are conducted through electronic means. Graduate programs have important information on the following Northwest University websites:

Each of these provide pertinent and helpful information for course-related matters such as syllabi, grades, testing and for submitting papers, as well as updates and announcements regarding special program offerings and servings provided by the student’s graduate office. All graduate students are assigned a Northwest University e-mail account prior to the start of the first course. Students are required to use such as the primary means of communication for issues related to academic, advising and student services. Students are able to access and download the various management tools necessary for a wide variety of tasks inside and outside of the classroom.

Solicitation and Confidentiality

Since graduate classes and cohorts provide a warm and inviting environment conducive to fostering close student relationships, respect and care for such relationships and all information disclosed by students over the course of the program must be preserved. Therefore, students should keep all student information, including student contact information, completely confidential. Students are prohibited from using student contact information and student mailboxes for solicitation purposes of any kind. In addition, students are not obligated to disclose any information, including contact information, to other students.

Campus Alert System and Emergency Closure Notification Procedures

In the case of an emergency or class cancellation due to weather the University’s Campus Alert system will send out emergency text messages directly to student and employee cell phones. You can sign up for this service by going to the Eagle website at eagle.northwestu.edu and clicking on the “Campus Alerts Tab.” You can also call the main Northwest University phone line at 425.822.8266.

Student Records


An official copy of a student’s academic record at Northwest University that bears the official seal of the University and the signature of the Registrar is referred to as a transcript. Requests for transcripts must be accompanied by the student’s signature and a $5.00 fee for each copy. Phone orders for transcripts cannot be accepted.

NOTE: Financial indebtedness to the University will prevent the release of a student’s transcript. If a student is delinquent (as determined by the Promissory Note) in his/her Federal Perkins Student Loan or NDSL payment, he or she will not be eligible to receive deferment, cancellation provisions, nor will academic transcripts be released.

Since the Registrar can only verify the authenticity of course work earned at Northwest University, transcripts entrusted to the University from other institutions cannot be duplicated and given to the student or other external individuals without the expressed written permission of the institution and the student.

Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 specifies and protects students’ rights and privileges concerning their records and information. Be aware of your following rights:

The Right to Prevent Disclosure – You have the right to prevent disclosure of educational records to third parties with certain limited exceptions. It is the intent of this institution to limit the disclosure of information contained in your educational records to those instances when prior written consent has been given to the disclosure, as an item of directory information of which you have been refused to permit disclosure, or under the provisions of FERPA which allow disclosure without prior written consent.

The Right to File a Complaint with the U.S. Department of Education – You have the right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education if this institution fails to comply with FERPA. Do so by contacting:

The Family Policy and Regulations Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Ave. SW
Washington D.C. 20202

The Right to Inspect – You have the right to review and inspect substantially all of your educational records maintained by or at this institution.

The Right to Obtain Policy – You have the right to obtain a copy of Northwest University’s written FERPA policy. A copy may be obtained through the Registrar’s Office in person or by mail. Do so by contacting:

Registrar’s Office
Northwest University
P.O. Box 579
Kirkland, WA 98083-0579

The Right to Request Amendment – You have the right to seek to have corrected any parts of an educational record in which you believe to be inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of your rights. This includes the right to a hearing to present evidence that the record should be changed if this institution decided not to alter the educational records according to your request

Program Completion, Graduation, and Commencement Participation

Course Completion

Northwest graduates students three times a year: early May, late August, and late December. The graduation date should not be confused with the public Commencement Ceremony that occurs in late April or early May, described below. Each graduating student must complete all required coursework, credit hours, and maintain all GPA requirements prior to graduation. (Because several graduate programs utilize the summer semester as their final semester, some programs’ students are allowed to participate in commencement ceremonies as long as their degrees will be completed by the end of the summer semester following commencement.) Since the awarding of a degree certifies that the student has met all requirements, students who have not met these requirements will be reclassified as graduating the following term, provided the requirements are met by that time.

Degree Requirements

All requirements must be completed prior to graduation. Incomplete courses are not considered completed. Candidates who receive an incomplete grade in a course required for graduation will have their application reclassified to the next term. The catalog requirements in effect during the term in which the student first enrolled are applicable, provided graduation is within four years from the end of that term for master’s students and within seven years for doctoral students.

Students who have previously completed a master’s degree at Northwest University and wish to complete a second master’s degree must:

  1. Earn at least half of the total number of credits for the second degree and
  2. Complete all required courses of the second master’s degree.

Graduation Application Fee and Submission Deadline

All applicants for graduation must pay at the time of application a fixed, nonrefundable graduation fee to cover the cost of the diploma and commencement. If the student cancels the application for graduation or if graduation is postponed, the fee is retained and used when the student graduates. Students must submit a Graduation Application to the Registrar’s Office no later than the end of the first week of the term prior to their prospective graduation term.

Graduation Audit

Each graduating student must have his or her records audited by the Registrar’s Office prior to graduation to confirm the remaining graduation requirements and ensure that they will be met. It is the student’s responsibility to arrange this audit with the Registrar’s Office.

Residency Requirements

Residency refers to the coursework completed in the student’s respective graduate program. Specific requirements and exceptions are explained in the respective program section of this catalog.

Student Responsibility

While the University provides advisement services to its students through the graduate program offices, the Registrar’s Office, and other sources, the final responsibility rests with the student to fulfill all requirements for graduation, including those identified in an official program audit. This includes requirements resulting from program modifications affecting course offerings as may be adopted by the University and/or by the respective graduate program.

Commencement Participation

All eligible applicants for graduation must submit their Intent to Participate form six weeks prior to commencement ceremonies. Participation is restricted to the academic year of the awarded degree. No one will be presented as graduating at a public commencement ceremony if they have not satisfied each graduate program’s requirements (refer to individual program for specific requirements). The Registrar’s Office requests clarification for outstanding credits during the spring semester and must certify to the Provost that students will have satisfied all graduation requirements. Only the Provost can allow students to participate in commencement with outstanding requirements.

Honor Societies

Psi Chi – Psi Chi is the National Honor Society in Psychology, founded in 1929 at Yale University. The purpose of Psi Chi is to encourage, stimulate, and maintain excellence in scholarship.