Specialized Master's Program (SMP) Policies

Degree Completion

Each of the Specialized Masters Programs follows a unique curriculum that spans two or three semesters and that requires 30 to 39 credits to complate. Once a student has met all requirements to complete their degree program, they may not extend their enrollment to future semesters in that academic program.

Students should review the curriculum sheet for their specific program, which outlines the degree pathway to completion. Questions about degree requirements and degree pathways may be brought to the student's academic advisor. All degree pathway exceptions must be formally requested through the academic advisor using the appropriate form(s), and students must receive written approval from the SMP Academic Director for their program.

Grading System

Please refer to the instructor or syllabus for each course to determine how letter grades will be assigned.

  • An “I” (for incomplete work) may be given if extenuating circumstances preclude the satisfactory completion of course work during the semester in which a particular course is taken. With permission of the instructor, students have up to 60 days after the final exam period to make up incomplete work. After 60 days, the grade is automatically changed to “F.”
  • A grade of “N” indicates that the professor has not yet turned in a grade.

If the student believes a grade was submitted in error, they should first contact the professor for the course. If the professor is unable to provide an explanation for the unreported grade, the student should contact their academic advisor.

Grade Changes

A nondisciplinary grade may be changed only by the professor in whose course the grade was initially given. A faculty member may change a grade from an “N” or “I” to a letter grade providing that the work is made up within 60 days of the completion of the course. Exceptions to the 60-day limit must be discussed with the Assistant Dean and Director of Graduate Programs Student Affairs.

Students who fail a required course must retake the course. Students may choose to retake failed elective courses but are not required to do so. Students will not earn the course credit required for program completion for failed courses.

Upon passing completion of a retaken course as a result of failure due to a lack of academic proficiency, a student’s transcript will show an “R” next to the grade earned for the initial course, indicating that it has been retaken, and a letter grade for the second attempt of the course. Only the grade earned during the retaken attempt of the course, whether better or worse, will affect the student’s cumulative GPA.

Upon passing completion of a retaken course as a result of failure due to an academic integrity violation, a student’s transcript will show the grade for each taking of the course. The grades earned during both the initial and the retaken attempts of the course will affect the student’s cumulative GPA.

Students are not allowed to retake courses in which they have not earned a failing grade. However, if a student is in their final semester of course work and has a GPA below a 3.0, they will be granted an exception to retake courses in which they received a grade of "C" or lower.

A student with a personal or medical emergency may submit a graduate programs petition to their academic advisor.

Academic Performance Standards

Cumulative academic performance of a student is evaluated at the end of each semester to determine continuation eligibility. All attempted and completed course work will be reviewed. When a student’s cumulative performance meets one of the following conditions, their record will be brought to the Academic Review Committee for review. If the student remains enrolled, their record will continue to be reviewed at the end of each term.

Students are expected to maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0 in all required course work to remain in good standing.

Satisfactory Academic Progress

Federal aid recipients' academic progress will be evaluated on an annual basis by WashU Student Financial Services. Failure to meet the necessary criteria can result in the suspension of future aid eligibility, although students will be granted an opportunity to appeal. Graduate students are expected to achieve the minimum GPA requirements for their specific programs, in addition to meeting federal standards for cumulative pace and completion of their degree program within a prescribed number of attempted hours (grades of W, I, and F will place a student in jeopardy of not meeting these standards). Please direct any questions about Satisfactory Academic Progress standards or the appeal process to olinfinancialservices@wustl.edu

Professional Code of Conduct/Academic Integrity

Olin Business School is a community of individuals with diverse backgrounds and interests who share certain fundamental goals. Primary among these goals is the creation and maintenance of an atmosphere conducive to the learning and personal growth of everyone in the community.

Becoming a member of the Olin community is a privilege that brings certain responsibilities and expectations. The success of Olin in attaining its goals and maintaining its reputation of academic excellence depends on the willingness of its members, both collectively and individually, to meet their responsibilities. It is imperative that all individuals associated with Olin conduct themselves with the utmost integrity in all aspects of their life, both on and off campus.

Plagiarism and other forms of cheating will not be tolerated. Where a student has violated the integrity of the academic community, an instructor may recommend that the student be brought before the Academic Review Committee. Please review Integrity Matters (PDF) for more information.

Course Registration

The Graduate Programs Office works with the Olin Registrar’s Office to register students for their foundations courses and first semester of course work. Each semester thereafter, students perform their own registration via WebSTAC. Students are required to meet with their academic advisor to obtain authorization for registration.

Adding a Course

Students may add a course to their registration during specified periods at the beginning of each term; please refer to the Olin Graduate Programs Academic Calendar. A faculty member’s signature is not required to add a class.

Short courses or weekender courses may be added to the student’s registration until 24 hours before the course begins, unless otherwise specified by the course instructor.

Semester Credit Cap

Each semester, students are able to enroll in a maximum number of credits according to the semester credit cap listed in their Conditions of Enrollment. If the semester’s established limit is exceeded, the student will be charged the per-credit rate for all credit units beyond the limit. If the student has extenuating circumstances, they may petition the Graduate Programs Office to exceed the stated semester credit cap without incurring additional tuition charges.

Auditing a Course

Students wishing to audit a course must first speak with the professor of the course to determine if auditing is an option and, if so, to learn the specific requirements for a successful audit. If approval is granted, the student should send the email approval to their academic advisor, who will work with the Olin Registrar's Office to change the grading option of the course to "A."

  • Audited courses do not apply to the credits required to graduate, but they do apply to the maximum credits allowed each semester without paying additional tuition.
  • Audited courses are listed on student transcripts. A grade of "L" is given for a successful audit, and a grade of "Z" is given for an unsuccessful audit.
  • Audited courses do not meet prerequisite requirements. If a student has audited a particular prerequisite for a course, they will need instructor permission to enroll in that course.

Dropping or Withdrawing from a Course

Students may drop or withdraw from courses during specified periods during the registration period and term as listed in the Olin Graduate Programs Academic Calendar. A faculty member’s signature or Graduate Programs Office approval is not needed for students who are dropping or withdrawing from a course during the period specified by the academic calendar.

Before the first day of a short course or weekender course, students may drop the course unless the instructor indicates otherwise.

Tuition Refund Schedule

Note: This schedule may not apply if a student is dropping all courses or withdrawing from their program. Questions should be directed to the student's academic advisor.

Flat-Rate Tuition Programs

Withdrawal Date Refund
Within the first week of classes 100%
After the first week and before the end of the third week 75%
After the third week and before the end of the seventh week 50%
After the seventh week and before the end of the eighth week 25%
After the eighth week of classes No refund or withdrawal

Withdrawal and Federal Loans

Regulations governing the return of Title IV funds (unsub and Graduate PLUS loans) require the school to determine the earned and unearned portions of disbursed loans as of the date the student ceased attendance. Students who are considering a withdrawal from any or all course work should contact the Olin Financial Services team in order to understand the implications for their current student loan amount and the impacts on their grace period.

Leave of Absence (LOA)

Students who need to take a Leave of Absence should discuss the process and implications with their academic advisor and Olin Financial Services.


A student is considered disengaged when they fail to attend class, do not respond to communications from faculty and/or staff, or have not completed the registration process for the next academic term. Advisors will attempt to contact the student by utilizing both the phone and email addresses on record with the school. If the student fails to respond to communication, does not register in their required academic course load, or is not in financial good standing by the add/drop date of the semester, the leave of absence would be initiated as soon as the Graduate Programs Office becomes aware.

If a student is placed on an administrative Leave of Absence in the middle of a semester, they remain responsible for the tuition charges according to the refund schedule. If the student fails to respond at the end of the leave term, the leave will be extended for one additional semester (excluding summer terms). At the end of two semesters on a leave of absence, if the student has not developed a plan to complete their curriculum with their academic advisor, the student will be administratively withdrawn from their graduate business program at Washington University. Summer terms are excluded for Full-Time MBA and SMP students but included for Executive MBA, Professional MBA, and online programs. If the student wishes to return to the program at a future date following their withdrawal, they will follow the application process for the program in the term they wish to start and be required to meet all admission requirements for the program.

Transfer Credit

As many as 6 units of transfer credit may be accepted toward Washington University SMP degree requirements provided that the prior course work meets the following criteria:

  1. The credits were taken at the graduate level in another program accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).
  2. It can be demonstrated (e.g., by course syllabi) that the course work taken is comparable in content (for required courses) or acceptable in quality (for elective courses) to Washington University courses.
  3. A grade of “B” or better was achieved in the course work for which transfer credit is requested.

Students seeking the acceptance of transfer credit should complete the Credit Transfer Request Form, which requires a transcript and course syllabi. Forms are reviewed by Academic Directors and processed by the Graduate Programs Office. The “seven-year clock” will be taken into account when considering transfer credit requests.

Course Waivers

Course waivers are intended to allow students to avoid the redundant study of subjects already mastered. They do not reduce the number of credits required to earn the degree. Waiver request forms can be obtained from the student's academic advisor.

Course Work in Other Divisions

Olin Business School recognizes that students may wish to take course work outside of Olin to meet their academic goals. With few exceptions, students may not count non-Olin graduate courses toward their degree. Course exceptions must provide learning outcomes with close alignment to the student’s program: technical analytics or programming, quantitative finance, and operational engineering are examples. Exceptions must be approved by the program’s Academic Director, and students should submit their requests to their academic advisor.

Independent Study

Independent study under the direction of a faculty member is available on a selective basis. The purpose of independent study is to provide an opportunity for students to pursue subject matter beyond the specific course offerings found in the school. Independent study is not viewed as a vehicle for getting credit for something in which the student may already be involved (e.g., a job, a project in another course). It is an opportunity for the student to obtain more in-depth exposure to an area of interest under the supervision and direction of a faculty member.

Typically, a student will discuss with a particular faculty member the possibility of receiving supervision on an independent study research project. Projects may receive anywhere from 1.5 to 6 academic credits, but normally no more than 3 credits may be granted in any one semester. Students may apply a maximum of 6 units of independent study credit toward their degree requirements.

Once a project is agreed upon between the student and the professor, the student must submit an Independent Study form to the academic advisor for evaluation and approval. The petition should outline the topics to be covered, the texts or other research material to be used, and the research methodology to be employed. Students must be in good academic standing to be approved for independent study.

Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

CPT is work that is a part of a structured program offered in the SMP curriculum. Examples of CPT at Olin include summer internships and internships during the final semesters of the program.

  • Students must get approval from Olin, enroll in the CPT-approved course, and then obtain approval from the Office for International Students and Scholars (OISS).
  • Students must complete one academic year (both fall and spring semesters) before becoming eligible for CPT.

Enrolling in CPT

After a student has accepted an offer of paid or unpaid employment, they must follow these instructions:

  1. Report the offer to the Weston Career Center.
  2. Request that the company mail or email an offer letter on company letterhead to the student.
    1. Status: Part-time work is considered up to 20 hours/week. Full-time work is considered 21 to 40 hours/week. Students are permitted to work part-time during the academic year (fall and spring semesters), but they can work part-time or full-time during the summer semester or the final fall semester if enrolled in fewer than 10 credits.
    2. Length of internship: Four weeks is the minimum for part-time internships, and eight weeks is the minimum for full-time internships.
    3. Term Dates: Washington University Academic Calendar
  3. Complete the CPT application form, which can be accessed in the Graduate Programs Office of by contacting their academic advisor.
  4. Submit the completed form and a copy of the offer letter to their advisor in the Graduate Programs Office for processing. The student will be enrolled in MGT 551E Internship, Business and Application for the current term.
    1. Credit units = 1.5; grading method = pass/fail
    2. Note: Students will not be charged tuition by the credit unit for this 1.5-credit course during the summer term.
    3. If students complete MGT 551E in a spring or fall semester, the 1.5 credits will count toward their semester total.
    4. This course is tied to semester dates. Therefore, if employment extends beyond one semester, this entire process must be repeated before the new semester begins. Semester term dates can be found in the Washington University Academic Calendar.
    5. Deliverables for MGT 551E must be completed for the student to successfully complete the course.
  5. OISS will issue the student a new I-20 based on the offer letter’s dates of employment. These must fall within the semester dates listed above.
  6. Receive the new I-20 from OISS before starting the internship. The new I-20s will be ready two to five business days after the completed CPT application form has been received by OISS. The entire process, after the submission of the offer letter, will take three to seven business days. Students will need to present the I-20 to their employer on their first day of work and should not begin work until the process is complete.

Group Study Room Policies and Reservations

The primary purpose of Olin Business School group study rooms is to provide a space for Olin students and clients to engage in collaborative and cooperative study in small groups. The following policies exist to ensure that Olin students and clients have priority use of the rooms, the rooms are appropriately maintained, and clear expectations are in place.

  • Group study rooms in Bauer Hall and Knight Hall may be reserved only by Olin Business School degree candidates and only via the online reservation system. Students not enrolled in Olin Business School degree programs may not reserve these rooms.
  • Group study rooms in Simon Hall may not be reserved. They are subject to the policies below, as applicable.
  • Group study rooms in the Kopolow Business Library located in Simon Hall may be reserved by any WashU student. Students should visit the library’s front desk for information.
  • Charles F. Knight Executive Education & Conference Center group study rooms (located on the second floor of the Knight Center) are strictly for the use of Olin Executive Education students and clients. Olin undergraduate and non-Executive Education graduate students may not use Knight Executive Education & Conference Center group study rooms under any circumstances. Knight Center group study rooms located on the first floor are available as noted below.
  • Rooms are primarily intended for group use. A group is defined as two or more users engaged in collaborative study. Individuals engaged in simultaneous individual study are not considered a group.
  • Bauer Hall/Knight Hall:
    • Group rooms may not be reserved for individual student use.
    • An individual may use an unoccupied or unreserved room. However, should a group need the room, the individual must vacate it. One group member must reserve the room using the online system at that time and prior to informing the individual that they must vacate it.
    • If no more than one individual representing a group reservation is present 15 minutes or more after the reservation start time, the reservation is considered forfeited, and the room may be used by another group during the time that the forfeited group had reserved it.
  • Simon Hall and the first floor of the Knight Center:
    • An online reservation system is not currently in place for the group study rooms in Simon Hall and on the first floor of Knight Center. An individual may use an unoccupied room. However, should a group wish to use the room, the individual must vacate it.

Room Usage Policies

  • Room users are responsible for their personal property and should not leave items unattended. Olin Business School is not liable for loss or damage to personal property. Rooms cannot be reserved or held by placing personal belongings in them. Unattanded items (e.g., backpacks, coats, laptops, binders) may be removed and taken to lost and found for safekeeping. Lost and found is located in the Undergraduate Office (Simon Hall) or in the Graduate Programs Office (Knight Hall and Bauer Hall).
  • Rooms must be left clean and in good condition for the next users. Whiteboards must be erased and trash thrown away. “Do not erase” requests on the whiteboards will not be honored.
  • Do not remove items from the group study rooms (e.g. chairs, markers, erasers, remotes).
  • Should a room need to be cleaned or should an accident occur (e.g., a spilled beverage), students should email General Services immediately.
  • Should audiovisual assistance be required, students should email General Services.
  • Violation of these policies may result in suspension from room reservation and usage. Students should report all violation issues to their program office.

Reservation Instructions

  • Rooms in Bauer Hall, Knight Hall, and Knight Center (first floor only) are reserved through the Graduate Programs Office.
  • Reservations for the current day are displayed on the monitor outside each Knight Hall/Bauer Hall group study room. Reservations will also display on the GO WUSTL calendar of the student who has made the reservation on behalf of the group. First floor Knight Center study rooms are not equipped with a monitor outside of the room, but reservations will appear on the GO WUSTL calendar of the student who made the reservation.
  • Reservations may be made up to two weeks in advance. Any reservations made in advance of two weeks will be charged a fee.
  • Reservations are limited to a period of two hours in length.
  • Maximum occupancy should be noted prior to making a reservation. Group size should not exceed the maximum.

Time Limit

Students in SMP programs must complete the degree within seven years of beginning the program.

Intent to Graduate

Every candidate for a degree must indicate their intent to graduate by filing an Intent to Graduate form via WebSTAC near the beginning of the semester in which the degree is to be conferred.

If the student is completing more than one degree program at Washington University, they must file a separate intent for each degree program and provide all of the requested information.

Awards and Honors

Olin Business School awards are given to honor outstanding achievement. Recipients of the awards listed below are selected based on a variety of factors, and the selection process may include one or more of the following criteria: faculty vote, overall academic record, and course performance.

  • The Charles F. Knight Scholar Awards are presented to the top 7.5% of SMP graduates in each program. This distinction is based on cumulative GPA.
  • The top 20% of SMP graduates in each program are invited to join the Beta Gamma Sigma business honor society. This distinction is based on cumulative GPA.

In addition, each cohort will select one faculty member to receive the Reid Teaching Award, and the faculty of each program will select one outstanding student of the year for that program.

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