Student Handbooks

MBA Student Handbook - Accelerated MBA Graduation Requirements and Academic Regulations

The following Graduation Requirements and Regulations apply to Accelerated MBA students.

Students should note that beginning fall semester 2012 all GSM courses were renumbered from three digit numbers to 4 digit numbers. Current and previous course numbers are listed when necessary for clarification in the information presented below.

General Program Structure

The Accelerated program enables qualified students to complete the Willamette University MBA in 9 to 15 months of full-time study. The Accelerated MBA is a highly customized program. Specific curricular requirements for the Accelerated MBA will vary for each applicant based on an evaluation of the undergraduate or graduate level management courses previously completed and the grades received in those courses.  Each Accelerated student has a different set of curricular graduation requirements and should use their official letter of admission as their guide.

Accelerated Graduation and Program Requirements

Graduation Requirements

Each MBA degree seeking student is responsible for a thorough knowledge of graduation requirements. The Willamette MBA for Business, Government and Not-for-Profit Management will be conferred on Accelerated MBA students who satisfactorily complete all of the following requirements listed below within the policies and regulations of the Atkinson School:

  • Minimum Credits Required: Accelerated MBA students must satisfactorily complete a minimum of thirty (30) approved graded credits of Willamette MBA course work. The exact number of required credits is based on the individual evaluation of the candidate's transcript at admission and is stipulated in their letter of admission.
  • Required courses:  Accelerated students must complete the capstone course GSM 6123 Strategic Management and all required first and second-year Willamette MBA courses that were not waived based on their previous course work and academic performance. 
  • Required Experiential Elective: A minimum of three (3) credits from Willamette MBA Experiential Elective course work is required for graduation. Experiential Elective courses are special elective courses that include a project with a form of external evaluation. Experiential Elective courses are designated by the faculty and are identified on the schedule of classes. Students can take more than one Experiential Elective if they choose.
  • Elective Courses: A minimum of twenty-four (24) credits of Willamette MBA graded elective course work (in addition to the three credits of Experiential Elective coursework) are required for graduation. 
  • International Exchange: Accelerated MBA students who are selected and participate in a Willamette MBA international exchange program must complete a minimum of 27 credits of Atkinson School elective course work in residence at the Atkinson School in addition to the 15 credits of international exchange.
  • Good Standing: MBA candidates for graduation must have a cumulative Atkinson School grade point average of 3.00 (B) or higher, comply with requirements determined by the School's faculty, and be in Good Standing within all policies of the Atkinson School and Willamette University.
  • GSM 6000-6099 credit limit (previously GSM 653): A maximum of six (6) credits of elective courses numbered GSM 6000-6099 may be applied toward the 60 credit MBA graduation requirement.
  • Maximum time to complete degree: The candidate must complete the MBA degree within six (6) years from date of initial enrollment in the degree program.
  • Submit petition for degree: Candidates for graduation must submit a "petition for degree" at the beginning of their final semester in the MBA program.
  • Curricular changes: In the event the curriculum is changed or graduation requirements are otherwise altered, the rules in effect at the time of the student's entry to the program will apply unless otherwise stated.

Academic Regulations

Good Standing

All students must maintain 'Good Standing' for continued enrollment and graduation. "Good Standing" is defined as adhering to the academic policies, standards of conduct and financial policies of the Atkinson School and Willamette University.

Good Academic Standing

All students must maintain a cumulative Atkinson School grade point average of 3.00 (B) or better and make satisfactory progress toward degree completion to be in "Good Academic Standing."

Full-time and Part-time Enrollment Status

MBA students who are enrolled in nine or more credits of graduate level course work in a given semester are considered full-time students. MBA students enrolled in one to eight credits of graduate level course work in any semester are considered part-time students. All academic and conduct regulations of Willamette University and the Atkinson School govern full-time and part-time students.


It is the responsibility of the instructor to assign grades. The Atkinson School uses a letter grade system consisting of seven regular grades. Their grade point values are:

A = 4.00
A- = 3.70
B+ = 3.30
B = 3.00
B- = 2.70
C = 2.00
F = 0.00

Other grades in the Atkinson School MBA grading system are listed below. Each grade shown below has specific requirements and implications.

= Incomplete
= Pass for a Pass/Fail course
= Grade pending continuation of a full-year course
= Credit
= Withdrawal from course

Regulations Regarding "I" Grades

A grade of Incomplete (I) may be assigned at the discretion of the professor for any course to indicate that all work has been completed except a final exam or an assignment given by the instructor. If more than a final exam or assignment is required to complete a course, it is necessary to withdraw from the course.

"I" grades must be cleared from the transcript by completion of the course work during the next regular academic semester. Failure to clear an "I" before the end of the following semester will result in the "I" becoming a grade of "F.".

It is the student's responsibility to take the initiative and stay in contact with the faculty member of the course for which the "I" grade was received. It is also the student's responsibility to complete the requirements within the one semester time limit as described above.

If a student formally withdraws from school before the end of the following semester, the "I" grade will not be converted to an "F". However, the student must complete the course by the end of the first semester in which they return to the Atkinson School.

Regulations Regarding "F" Grades

"F" grades are calculated in the grade point average and result in zero credits earned toward graduation.

A student who receives an "F" in a required course must repeat the course and earn a grade of "C" or higher in the repeated course. A student who receives an "F" grade in an elective course may repeat the course.

When a course is repeated, both the "F" grade and the grade received in the repeated course appear on the transcript, and both grades are calculated in the grade point average.

"F" grades have very serious consequences. A student anticipating an "F" in a course is advised to withdraw from the course prior to the last scheduled class meeting of the course.

Grading Regulations Regarding Issues of Academic Honesty and Ethical Behavior

Students found to have committed plagiarism, cheating, or unauthorized possession or disposition of academic materials will receive a zero (0%) grade for the specific examination, test, paper, assignment, or project in question for their first offense. A second offense will lead to automatic expulsion.

Complete information about the definitions, policies and procedures related to Academic Honesty and Ethical Behavior is presented in the Code of Conduct section of this handbook.

Grade Changes

Changes in grades recorded on a transcript are permitted only under the following conditions:

  • Error by the instructor in computing or reporting a grade
  • Completion of work in a course for which the grade of "I" has been recorded
  • Administrative error in the reporting or recording of a grade.

Grade Appeal

The Atkinson School has a formal grade appeal process (described below). Students who want to use the formal grade appeal process as their first step are encouraged to do so. Students who want to use a more informal process as their first step are encouraged to communicate directly with the professor, and/or the Associate Dean/Director of Admission. If the issue is not resolved at the informal level, the next step for the student would be to begin the formal grade appeal process.

Formal Grade Appeal Process: The first step of a specific course grade appeal must be for the student to take the issue to the instructor in question or to the chairperson of Atkinson School's Student Affairs Committee (SAC). If the faculty member involved with the grade appeal is the chairperson of the SAC, the student may take the issue to the chairperson of the previous year.

If the issue is not resolved to the student's satisfaction at this level of appeal, the student can submit two (2) copies of his/her appeal in writing to the Associate Dean/Director of Admission, who will then distribute them as follows: one (1) copy to the Student Affairs Committee (SAC) Chair and one (1) copy to the instructor involved.

Written grade appeals must reach the Associate Dean/Director of Admission within forty-five (45) days following the general notification of grades, otherwise the grade will stand as posted and no further appeal will be available. It is the Associate Dean/Director of Admission's responsibility to notify both the SAC Chairperson and the instructor in question about the appeal.

Upon receipt of the written appeal, the SAC Chairperson will make a written request for the involved instructor's position, also to be submitted in writing. The SAC Executive Committee will then meet to review and discuss all appeal particulars, including but not limited to interviewing the parties involved in the appeal. If a conflict of interest arises within the SAC Executive Committee, the SAC Chairperson will replace the said compromised individual with an ad-hoc member of similar standing.

The process of appeal will occur during the semester (fall or spring) following the initial filing of the appeal. The appeal process is complete when the SAC reaches a consensual decision and the said decision is rendered in writing and distributed to the student and to the instructor in question.

If either party is dissatisfied with the Committee's decision, they may make a written appeal to the Dean, whose decision is final and binding.

Transfer Credits

Accelerated MBA students are not eligible to apply transfer credits from other institutions to the Willamette MBA program unless those credits are over and above the minimum course requirements stipulated above.   Grades earned in courses transferred to the MBA program are not used in calculating the student's grade point average. Students should also be aware that quarter credits and semester credits are not equal; six semester credits are equal to nine quarter credits.

Students requesting evaluation of transfer credits earned prior to enrollment at the Atkinson School must submit a written request to the Associate Dean/Director of Admission. The written request must include a copy of the course syllabus. If approved, credits may be applied toward elective credits or toward completion of selected core courses.

Graduate Course Work Completed at Willamette University College of Law during Enrollment at the Atkinson School: Accelerated MBA candidates who are not candidates for the MBA/JD joint degree may be eligible to receive up to six (6) elective credits for courses completed at the Willamette University College of Law. Interested students should contact the Associate Dean/Director of Admission to appeal for permission to transfer course work from the Willamette University College of Law.  

Transfer of credits from the W.U. College of Law to the MBA program is governed by all of the following regulations:

  • a grade of "C," "Credit" or higher awarded by the College of Law is required for transfer of credits
  • Willamette College of Law courses completed with grades below "C" or "Credit" are not eligible for transfer to the MBA program
  • Grades earned in law courses will not be used in calculating the MBA grade point average
  • Students on academic probation (with a cumulative GPA less than 3.00) are not eligible for transfer credits from the College of Law.

MBA students registering for a law course must register at the College of Law. College of Law students are given priority for enrollment in Law courses. College of Law credits will be recorded on the Atkinson School transcript. Students should inform Atkinson Recorder of their enrollment in a law course.

Students enrolling in elective course work at the College of Law should be aware of the attendance policy governing all College of Law courses that requires minimum attendance at 75% of regularly scheduled class hours. A student who does not satisfy this minimum, regardless of reason, at any point during the semester, will be dismissed from the College of Law course. Dismissal will be noted on the student’s College of Law transcript. College of Law instructors may also impose a stricter attendance policy and additional sanctions for non-attendance, if students are informed at the start of the course of the instructor’s attendance rules.

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 ( who will confer with Senior Associate Dean for a decision. 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 to 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, 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