Student Handbooks

MBA Student Handbook - Regulations and Processes Governing Specific Courses

The following information refers to all Early Career/Career Change, BA/MBA, JD/MBA, Accelerated, Exchange and non-degree students enrolled in an Atkinson School course.

Beginning fall semester 2012, all GSM course numbers were changed from three digit numbers to four digit numbers. If you have a question about a current or previous course number please contact Karen Arthur, Atkinson School Recorder.


Topics in Management - GSM 6000 to 6099 (previously GSM 653)

Courses with numbers between 6000 and 6099 are special "topics" courses. No more than six (6) credit hours of special "topics" courses with course numbers between 6000 and 6099 may be applied toward graduation requirements.


Foreign Language - GSM 6290  (previously GSM 690)

Willamette University foreign language courses numbered 331, 332 or higher may be completed for Atkinson School credit through GSM 6290. Successfully completing a 331 foreign language course would allow you to say you are competent to conduct standard management activities in that language; 332 would allow you to say you are proficient.

The language instructor has the right to assess and confirm the capacity of the student to take the course, and may require MBA students to complete additional course work not required of undergraduates.

Academic Regulations Related to GSM 6290: Students should be aware of all of the following regulations regarding Foreign Language Study:

  • A maximum of 6 credits from GSM 6290 may be applied toward graduation requirements of the MBA degree.
  • GSM 6290 is graded Pass/Fail. An Atkinson grade of "Pass" requires a grade of "B" or better in the language class. The maximum number of P/F and P/N credits that can be applied toward graduation requirements of the MBA degree is limited. See the Pass/Fail and/or Pass/No-Pass Credits note at the bottom of this page.


Student Investment Fund - GSM 6292A and GSM 6292B (previously GSM 692A and 692B)

GSM 6292A (fall semester) and GSM 6292B (spring semester) constitute a year-long course. Students who successfully complete both the fall and spring semester will receive 3 credits for the year. Students who do not successfully complete both fall and spring semester will receive zero credits.


Internships for Management - GSM 7251, 7252, 7253 (previously GSM 750,751,752)

The internship program is available for eligible students enrolled in the Early Career/Career Change MBA, BA/MBA, MBA/JD, Accelerated MBA formats.

An internship is an on-the-job learning experience intended to supplement the MBA curriculum and provide an important educational and professional experience. Internships provide opportunities to strengthen interpersonal skills, use research design and methodology, organize and implement projects, and gain greater understanding of organizational realities. Employers benefit from the new problem-solving techniques and approaches brought by students. Students have the opportunity to test their interest in prospective employers.

The majority of students secure a paid work experience during the summer between their first and second year of study. However, eligible students may participate in an internship in the summer between the first and second year of MBA study, during fall semester of the second year of MBA study, and during spring semester of the second year of MBA study.

The school markets the internship program to employers and provides counseling and job search assistance to students. However; securing an internship remains the ultimate responsibility of the student.

GSM 7251 (previously GSM 750): Internships for Management I (3 credits): Internship I is for students participating in their first semester of internship with an employer. This course provides students the opportunity to undertake professional level employment that leverages their first year MBA studies and supports their career objectives while earning credits toward their degree. Upon successful completion of the course, students will have applied first year studies to the conduct of their internship and, specifically, to the production of professional level deliverables appropriate to their position and to their workgroup's function.

Internship I requires students to complete a significant work experience, check in with the “Contributing Assistant Professor for Internships and Projects” every 2 weeks, write a position plan, write a final paper (includes a SWOT, discussion of how the student applied their first year coursework to the internship, and takeaways from the internship), and participate in a final meeting with the “Contributing Assistant Professor for Internships and Projects.”

Students applying to register for Internship I must submit an internship proposal via Internwatch at http://agsm.willamette.edu/internwatch/ and complete an information meeting with the instructor. Students must demonstrate that the application and leverage of MBA level content will occur in depth in the internship experience.

Prerequisite: Registration for Internship I requires official approval from the “Contributing Assistant Professor for Internships and Projects,” completion of at least 24 credits of the first-year curriculum, good standing, and a cumulative Atkinson grade point average of 3.00 or higher. Internship for Management courses are graded on a P/N basis

Important note for international students: strict rules apply for students on an F1 or J1 visa. Please see the GSM-7251 course syllabus for a summary of considerations and contact Chris Andresen, WU's Associate Director of International Education, for complete details.


GSM 7252 (previously GSM 751): Internships for Management II (2 credits): Internship II is for students participating in their second semester of internship with an employer. Internship II is limited to students who successfully completed the requirements of Internship I.  In general, students in Internship II will be continuing a significant project or assignment started in Internship I, adding a new project or additional responsibilities to their Internship I experience, or working with a new supervisor or department.

Internship II requires students to complete a significant work experience, write a position plan that describes how the student will continue to grow in their position, provide monthly updates to the “Contributing Assistant Professor for Internships and Projects,” write a final paper that discusses integration and other observations (includes how their department interacts with other areas within the company and an analysis of the way in which their experience in this company parallels or differs from what they learn in the classroom), and participate in a final meeting with the “Contributing Assistant Professor for Internships and Projects.”

Students applying to register for Internship II must submit an internship proposal via Internwatch at http://agsm.willamette.edu/internwatch/ and complete an information meeting with the instructor. Students must demonstrate that the application and leverage of MBA level content will occur in depth in the internship experience. Internship for Management courses are graded on a P/N basis.

Prerequisite: Registration for Internship II requires official approval from the “Contributing Assistant Professor for Internships and Projects,” successful completion of Internship I, good standing, and a cumulative Atkinson grade point average of 3.00 or higher. Important note for international students: strict rules apply for students on an F1 or J1 visa. Please see the GSM-7252 course syllabus for a summary of considerations and contact Chris Andresen, WU's Associate Director of International Education, for complete details.


GSM 7253 (previously GSM 754): Internships for Management III (1 credit): Internship III is for students participating in their third semester of internship with an employer. Internship III is limited to students who successfully completed the requirements of Internship I and Internship II. In general, students in Internship III will be continuing a significant project or assignment from Internship II, adding a new project or additional responsibilities to their Internship II experience, or working with a new supervisor or department.

Internship III requires students to complete a significant work experience, write a position plan that describes how the student will continue to grow in their position, provide monthly updates to the “Contributing Assistant Professor for Internships and Projects,” write a final paper (an overview of what they have learned about the role of their function within the company, the company within the industry, and the industry within the economy), and participate in a final meeting with the “Contributing Assistant Professor for Internships and Projects.”

Prerequisite: Registration for Internship III requires official approval from the “Contributing Assistant Professor for Internships and Projects,” successful completion of Internship II, good standing, and a cumulative Atkinson grade point average of 3.00 or higher.

Students applying to register for Internship III must submit an internship proposal via Internwatch at http://agsm.willamette.edu/internwatch/ and complete an information meeting with the instructor. Students must demonstrate that the application and leverage of MBA level content will occur in depth in the internship experience. Internship for Management courses are graded on a P/N basis

Important note for international students: strict rules apply for students on an F1 or J1 visa. Please see the GSM-7253 course syllabus for a summary of considerations and contact Chris Andresen, WU's Associate Director of International Education, for complete details.


Academic Regulations Related to Internship for Management Courses
:  Students should be aware of all of the following regulations regarding the Internship for Management courses:

  • Prerequisite: Students must meet the prerequisites for the course.
  • BA/MBA students are required to satisfactorily complete Internships for Management I for three credits.
  • Internship for Management courses are graded on a P/N basis. The maximum number of P/F and/or P/N credits that can be applied toward graduation requirements of the MBA degree is limited. See Pass/Fail Credits note at the bottom of this page.
  • A maximum of six credits from a combination of Internship for Management courses can be applied toward the graduation requirements of the MBA degree.
  • A maximum of six credits from the combination of Internships for Management, Independent Study and Research courses can be applied toward the graduation requirements of the MBA degree.
  • Students on academic probation are not eligible for Internship for Management courses. Students may appeal eligibility through submitting a formal written appeal to the Associate Dean/Director of Admission who will take the appeal to the Senior Associate Dean for a decision.


Independent Study and Research Courses - GSM 7261 AND GSM 7262 (previously 751 and 752)

The elective curriculum includes opportunities for students to do individualized in-depth study with a professor about a management topic of interests. These courses include:

Independent Study - GSM 7261 (1 to 3 credits) 
Research - GSM 7262 (1 to 3 credits)

Enrolling in an Independent Study or Research course requires permission from the supervising professor. The supervising professor must be a member of the Atkinson School full-time faculty who is either tenured or on a tenure track.

Students seeking to register for an Independent Study or Research course must obtain a registration form from the Atkinson Recorder, discuss the project with the full-time tenured or tenure track faculty member who will supervise the project, complete the form, obtain the signature of the faculty supervisor on the registration form, and return the form to the Atkinson Recorder.

Academic Regulations Related to Independent Study and Research Courses: Students should be aware of all of the following regulations regarding Research and Independent Study courses:

  • Prerequisite: Students participating in an Independent Study or Research course must have completed at least 24 credits of core/required first-year courses, must be in good standing, must have a cumulative Atkinson grade point average of 3.00 or higher, and must have the consent of the supervising professor.
  • Independent Study and Research courses are graded on a P/F basis. The maximum number of P/F and/or P/N credits that can be applied toward graduation requirements of the MBA degree is limited. See Pass/Fail Credits note at the bottom of this page.
  • A maximum of six credits from the combination of Internship for Management, Independent Study and Research courses can be applied to toward the graduation requirements of the MBA degree.
  • The supervising professor for an Independent Study or Research course must be a member of the Atkinson School full-time faculty who is either tenured or in a tenure track position.

Global Study and International Experience - Independent Study - GSM 7261G

Global Study is a one credit Independent Study course that involves global study and group site visits in a specific country. The course is graded P/N. GSM 7261G courses will include required pre-trip class meetings and meetings during or after the trip, and visits to numerous companies and other organizations in the country of travel. Students will study: fundamentals of international business, the environments and challenges of emerging markets, strategies and operations for succeeding in emerging markets, and specific aspects of business in the country to be visited.  Participants in the course will pay charges as specified for the international trip (includes airfare, etc.). Tuition is not charged for this one credit course. In addition, credits from GSM7261G will not be counted toward academic regulations that limit the number of P/N, P/F, or internship, independent study and research credits that can be applied toward graduation.

International MBA Exchange Programs - GSM 7240,7241,7242,7243,7244 (previously GSM 740,741,742,743,743,744)

The Willamette MBA program has graduate study exchange agreements with Copenhagen Business School in Denmark, Bordeaux School of Management in France and Strasbourg School of Business in France for students enrolled in the Early Career/Career Change MBA, BA/MBA, Accelerated and MBA/JD program. Depending on the exchange program chosen, Willamette MBA students who are selected to participate in an exchange program will study abroad during either:

* the summer semester between the first and second year of study, or
* the fall semester of the second year of study, or

Complete information about the eligibility, application and selection process for the exchange programs is available at http://www.willamette.edu/agsm/students/exchange. Questions about our exchange programs should be directed to Judy O'Neill, Associate Dean/Director of Admission, not the exchange institution.

Academic Regulations Related to International MBA Exchange Program Courses: Students should be aware of all of the following regulations regarding International MBA Exchange courses 

  • Atkinson exchange students will be enrolled at Willamette University while on exchange. Exchange students will register for the GSM MBA International Exchange course appropriate for their exchange program (GSM 7240, 7241, 7242, 7243 or 7244).
  • Atkinson School International MBA Exchange courses are graded Pass/No-Pass. Passing grades received from the exchange university will be recorded as "Pass" by the Atkinson School. Non passing grades received from the exchange university will be recorded as a "No Pass." The Atkinson School transcript will list the name of the exchange institution, courses completed and the P/N grade assigned.
  • Accelerated MBA students who participate in MBA International Exchange must complete a minimum of 30 credits of Atkinson School elective course work in residence at the Atkinson School on the Willamette campus in Salem. 
  • Students participating in a fall semester exchange program at Copenhagen or Strasbourg must successfully complete and pass a minimum of 30 ECTS credits at the exchange institution to complete the 15 credit GSM MBA International Exchange course for fall semester. Students must  complete at least one MBA level course in Ethics, Social Responsibility or Sustainability  as part of their 30 ECTS credits while at Copenhagen or Strasbourg.
  • Students participating in a fall semester exchange program at Bordeaux must successfully complete and pass a minimum of 24 ECTS credits at the exchange institution to complete the 12 credit MBA International Exchange course for fall semester. Students must complete at least one MBA level course in Ethics, Social Responsibility or Sustainability as part of their 24 ECTS credits while at BEM.
  • The required course "GSM 6121 - Politics and Public Policy for Managers" will be waived for students who successfully complete an AGSM Fall Semester Exchange program.
  • Students participating in a summer semester exchange program must successfully complete and pass a minimum of 12 ECTS credits at the exchange institution to complete the 6 credits International Exchange course for summer semester
  • At the completion of the exchange semester, exchange students must order an official copy of their transcript from the exchange school be sent to the Associate Dean/Director of Admission at the Atkinson School.


Pass/Fail and Pass/No-Pass Courses and Credits

The maximum number of Pass/Fail and/or Pass/No-Pass credits that can be applied toward graduation requirements varies with the program option.

Credits from "GSM7261G - Global Study and International Experience" are not counted toward the maximum limits discussed below.

Academic Regulations Related to Pass/Fail and Pass/No-Pass Credits for MBA and BA/MBA Students: A maximum of twenty-one (21) credits from a combination of Pass/Fail and/or Pass/No-Pass course work, waived credits or transfer credits may be applied toward graduation requirements. Credits may be applied from a combination of courses/credits within the limits listed below, and may not exceed a total of twenty-one (21) credits.

  • A maximum of fifteen (15) credits may be applied from International Exchange courses.
  • A maximum of six (6) credits may be applied from a combination of Internship for Management, Research, Independent Study courses.
  • A maximum of six (6) credits may be applied from the GSM course Foreign Language Study.
  • A maximum of six (6) credits may be applied from a combination of approved transfer course work and Atkinson School waived credits.

Academic Regulations Related to Pass/Fail and/or Pass/No-Pass Credits for Accelerated MBA Students:

  • Accelerated MBA students must complete a minimum of 30 credits of graded (A-F scale) Atkinson School course work at the Atkinson School.


Requests for Exceptions to Academic Policies or Procedures

Students requesting an exception to academic policies or procedures must submit a written request and rationale for the request. The proposal should be directed to the Associate Dean/Director of Admission (email joneill@willamette.edu) for review. The following are required of all written proposals.

  • The student must explain the request in detail
  • The student must provide information about any discussion or tentative agreements that may have occurred between the student and a faculty member (if any). If a tentative agreement has already been made with a faculty member, the student must provide the signature of the faculty member involved or the faculty member must send an email directly to the Associate Dean/Director of Admission discussing their level of support for the proposal and any other comments or suggestions
  • The student must state a clear rationale for the request as it why it is the best alternative for their educational and career goals

If the proposal is not approved, the Associate Dean/Director of Admission will notify the student via email.

If the proposal is tentatively approved by the Senior Associate Dean, the student must complete an interview (in person or on the telephone) with the Associate Dean/Director of Admission to discuss the implications and regulations governing the requested exception and any future implications of the exception.

Following the interview, the student must sign in writing that they understand and accept the exception that has been made and the conditions and regulations governing the exception. The signature is required for the exception to be implemented. Failure to provide a written statement accepting the conditions and regulations governing an exception voids any tentatively approved exception to policy or procedures.

Students should note that the following basic requirements of the MBA degree are never modified:

  • Satisfactory completion of the minimum number of credits required for graduation
  • Satisfactory completion of required courses (or substitute courses approved by the Senior Associate Dean)
  • Minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.00 in Willamette MBA course work