Graduate Study

Policies & Guidelines

Academic Load Status for Financial Aid, Immigration and Enrollment Verification

Graduate (Fall, Spring):
Status Enrolled Units of Credit
Full time 9+ units
Half time 4.5-8.99 units
Less than half time Fewer than 4.5 units
Graduate (Summer):
Status Enrolled Units of Credit
Full time 6+ units
Half time 3-5.99 units
Less than half time Fewer than 3 units

Certain courses may, due to appropriate curriculum and monitoring circumstances, be encoded to carry a load value higher than the actual academic credit awarded. Examples include certain engineering co-op experiences, doctoral research study and select clinical or practicum courses.

Postdoctoral Training

According to the National Institutes of Health and the National Postdoctoral Association, a postdoctoral appointee is an individual holding a doctoral degree who is engaged in a temporary period of mentored research or scholarly training for the purpose of acquiring the professional skills needed to pursue a career path of their choosing. At Washington University in St. Louis, postdoctoral appointees conduct advanced research training with a faculty mentor and are supported by either research grants, individual fellowships, or institutional training grants.

Under the purview of the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research, the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs (OPA) serves postdoctoral research associates and postdoctoral research scholars on both the Danforth and Medical campuses. The OPA helps postdoctoral appointees reach their career and professional development goals, advocates for postdoctoral issues, acts as a resource for information regarding postdoctoral life and recruitment, and, in collaboration with the Washington University Postdoc Society (WUPS), creates a lively postdoctoral community. Washington University in St. Louis is an institutional member of the National Postdoctoral Association.

For more information, visit the OPA website.

Registration in Courses

Registration dates are published in advance on the Office of the University Registrar’s website. Late registration after the term begins is permitted only until the “add/drop” deadline relevant to a student's program. Students will not earn credit for courses in which they are not duly registered. Students may not register in courses that have conflicting meeting times.

Students may drop a course by the published deadline found on the Office of the University Registrar’s website; dropped courses do not appear on the permanent academic record, and no grade is recorded. Students may withdraw from a course after the drop deadline and until the published withdrawal deadline. A withdrawal will result in a W notation associated with the course on the permanent record, including the transcript. Students who wish to drop or withdraw from a course are expected to follow steps to do so by the appropriate deadline. Failure to drop a course or withdraw by the published deadline may result in a failure of the course, and the transcript will reflect the failing grade. 

Transfer Credit

Transfer credit is recorded on a student's permanent record. Courses transferred from other institutions of higher education do not have grades or grade points awarded and therefore do not apply toward a student's GPA. 

Institutionally, Washington University participates in the Inter-University Exchange Program. Courses taken at Saint Louis University and the University of Missouri–St. Louis, according to the parameters documented, are approved to transfer to Washington University. The School of Law has a specific agreement in place with Saint Louis University for JD students only and under certain circumstances. Other transfer credit policies vary by school and program. Details may be found in the relevant academic sections of this Bulletin.

Tuition and Cost of Attendance

The cost of a Washington University education varies by school and, in some cases, by program. Tuition rates and fees are available through the Office of Financial Planning and Budget and are typically listed in greater detail (including fees and financial support options and procedures) on school websites.

Withdrawals and Refunds

If a student withdraws from Washington University after classes have begun, they must promptly file a request to withdraw in order to have appropriate registration and refund policies apply. These timelines vary by school and, in some cases, by program. Students should refer to the appropriate sections of this Bulletin for details.

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