Student Handbooks

MBA Student Handbook - MBA Graduation Requirements and Academic Regulations

The following Graduation Requirements apply to Early Career/Career Change MBA students.  BA/MBA, Accelerated and JD/MBA students should refer to the graduation requirements specific to their program format.

The following Academic Regulations apply to all students enrolled in MBA courses.


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 MBA students who satisfactorily complete all of the following requirements listed below within the policies and regulations of the Atkinson School:

  • Minimum Credits Required: MBA students must satisfactorily complete a minimum of sixty (60) credits of approved MBA course work. The sixty (60) credits includes thirty-six (36) credits of required courses (including the three credits of required experiential elective course work) and twenty-four (24) credits of additional elective course work.

  • Required courses: The thirty-six (36) credits of required course work includes a combination of first and second year courses as listed below. Generally, required courses numbered 5000 or above will be completed in the first-year of MBA study and required courses numbered 6000 or above will be completed in the second-year of MBA study.
GSM 5101 Managing Organizations - Individuals, Teams and Human Resources
GSM 5102 Managing Organizations - Design and Change
GSM 5103 Data Analysis, Modeling & Decision Making
GSM 5105 Accounting for Managers
GSM 5107 Marketing: Creating Satisfied Consumers
GSM 5108 PACE I: Consulting for Not-for-Profit & Government Organizations, & Achieving Your Career Goals
GSM 5109 PACE II: Consulting for Not-for-Profit & Government Organizations, & Developing an Entrepreneurial Venture
GSM 5110 Economics, Finance & Markets
GSM 5114 Operations & Systems Management
GSM 6121 Politics & Public Policy for Managers
GSM 6122 Leading Ethical, Socially Responsible & Sustainable Organizations
GSM 6123 Strategic Management
GSM 6____ Experiential Elective
  • Required Experiential Elective: A minimum of three (3) credits from Experiential Elective courses 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: Twenty-four (24) credits of elective course work (in addition to the three credits of Experiential Elective coursework) are required for graduation. Generally, six (6) credits of elective course work will be completed during spring semester of the first-year of MBA study and eighteen (18) credits of elective course work will be completed during the second-year of MBA study.

  • IKEWs: MBA students must satisfactorily complete the IKEW requirement of the MBA program.

  • 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

  • Maximum Credits from Pass/Fail, Pass/No-Pass, Transfer and Waived Courses: A maximum of twenty-one (21) credits from Pass/Fail and/or Pass/No-Pass course work, credit waiver or transfer credits may be applied toward the 60 credit graduation requirement. 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.  Credits from "GSM7261G - Global Study and International Experience" are not counted toward the limits described below.
    • A maximum of fifteen (15) credits may be applied from International Exchange.
    • A maximum of six (6) credits may be applied from a combination of Internship for Management, Independent Study and Research courses.
    • A maximum of six (6) credits may be applied from GSM 6290 Foreign Languages.
    • A maximum of six (6) credits may be applied from a combination of approved transfer courses and Atkinson School courses waived for credit.

  • GSM 6000-6099 credit limit: A maximum of six (6) credits of elective courses numbered GSM 6000-6099 may be applied toward the 60 credit MBA graduation requirement.

  • Course exception for students who successfully complete an Atkinson fall semester exchange program: Atkinson students who are selected for a fall semester International Exchange program and successfully complete the requirements for full-credit from the GSM Exchange course will be waived from the second year required course "GSM 6121 Politics and Public Policy for Mangers." This is a substitution waiver and does not reduce the 60 credits required for graduation.

  • 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.


Grades

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.

I
= Incomplete
P
= Pass for a Pass/Fail or Pass/No-Pass course
N = No Pass for a Pass/No-Pass course
T
= Grade pending continuation of a full-year course
CR
= Credit
W
= 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.


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.


Core Course Waivers

Credit Waiver vs Substitute Waiver: There are two types of core course waivers - the "Credit Waiver" and the "Substitution Waiver." Both waiver options are designed to help students work at advanced levels of study and get the most from their Willamette MBA education.

A "Credit Waiver" automatically applies credits from a waived core course toward graduation requirements and does not require a substitute course. A "Substitution Waiver" requires a specific elective course to replace the waived core course, and credits from the waived core course do not apply toward graduation.

Maximum of 6 credits from a combination of waived and transferred courses: Eligible MBA students are limited to a maximum of six (6) credits from a combination of approved Credit Waivers or transferred course work. There is no limit to the number of core courses which can be waived via a Substitution Waiver. Students on academic probation are not eligible for course waivers.

Waiver criteria: The criteria for granting a waiver for a core course are determined by the faculty member responsible for the course, and based on an assessment of whether the student meets the academic requirements for waiving the course. Students who waive a core course are responsible for the content of the waived course as it is applied in other MBA core and elective courses.

  • GSM 5103 - Data Analysis, Modeling and Decision Making
    Students who have a strong background in data analysis who are interested in a Substitute Waiver for GSM 5103 should talk to Professor Robert Walker at the beginning of fall semester. Students who receive the substitute waiver will enroll in GSM 616 - Business and Economic Forecasting instead of GSM 5103 during fall semester.

  • GSM 5105 - Accounting for Managers
    Students who have completed a course in Financial Accounting with a minimum grade of 3.0 (B), a course in Cost or Management Accounting with a minimum grade of 3.0 (B), and have a cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or better may be eligible to substitute an approved upper division accounting course for the core course Accounting for Managers. Qualified students must contact Professor Pierson during Compass Week to review their waiver options.

  • GSM 5101 and 5102 -  Human Resources and Organizational Dynamics
    Students who have completed ALL of the following may be eligible for a Credit Waiver for GSM 5101/5102: a bachelor degree in business from an AACSB accredited program within five years of entry to the Atkinson School with a major in Organizational Behavior, Organization Theory or Human Resources; six or more undergraduate courses in HRM/Personnel (including course work in ethics) and earned a minimum grade of 3.0 (B) in each course; four or more junior/senior level courses in Organizational Behavior, Organization Theory, Leadership or Decision Making with a minimum grade of 3.0 (B) in each course; and have a cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or better. Qualified students should contact Judy O'Neill before the first week of fall semester.

  • GSM 5107 - Marketing - Creating Satisfied Consumers
    Students who have completed six credits or more of undergraduate course work in marketing with a minimum grade of B (3.0) in each of the marketing courses, have a cumulative GPA of B+ (3.3) or better in all marketing course work, and a cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.0 (B) or higher may be eligible for a Substitution Waiver. Students granted a substitution waiver for GSM 5107 are required to complete either "GSM 6260 - Research for Marketing Decisions" or "GSM 6261 Marketing Strategy" in place of GSM 5107. Qualified students should contact Judy O'Neill before the first week of fall semester.

  • GSM 5108 and 5109 - PACE I and II
    GSM 5108 and 5109 cannot be waived.

  • GSM 5110 - Economics, Finance and Markets
    All students who seek a waiver for GSM 5110 must talk with the professor who will be teaching the course during spring semester.  To qualify for a review by the professor, the student must have completed an undergraduate course in Intermediate Micro, Intermediate Macro, and Corporate Finance course in the U.S. with grades of "B" or better in each course and a cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.0 (B) or higher. In addition, a student seeking a waiver must familiarize himself or herself with the syllabus of GSM 5110 and explain why he or she has already learned the course material.  The finance professors also strongly recommend students seeking a waiver attend the first class meeting of GSM 5110 before making a final decision.

  • GSM 5114 - Operations and Systems Management
    All students who seek a waiver for GSM 5114 must contact Professor Henry Bi before the beginning of spring semester to discuss the waiver process.


Transfer Credits

MBA students may be eligible to apply a maximum of six (6) semester credits of graduate course work earned from another university or college toward the MBA degree. The six semester credit maximum includes any credits transferred at the time of entry to the program and any credits received (College of Law or other) while enrolled in the Atkinson School.

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 are limited to a maximum of six (6) semester credits from a combination of approved transfer courses and courses waived for credit.

Students on academic probation (with a cumulative GPA less than 3.00) are not eligible for transfer credits.

Graduate School Credits Earned Prior To Enrolling in the Atkinson School: Students may be eligible to transfer MBA graduate credits earned prior to enrollment at the Atkinson School, as part of the maximum allowable six credits of transfer or waived credits. Transfer credits earned prior to enrollment are evaluated on a case by case basis and require the approval of the Dean. To be eligible for transfer consideration courses must meet all of the following requirements:

  • Credits earned could not have been used to complete a previous degree
  • Must have been completed within three (3) years of entry to the Atkinson School
  • Must be graded at a level of B or better
  • Must have been earned at an AACSB accredited MBA program or an NASPAA accredited MPA program
  • Must meet criteria set by the faculty member of the selected course.

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: MBA candidates who are not candidates for the MBA/JD joint degree may be eligible to receive elective credits for courses completed at the Willamette University College of Law as part of the maximum six (6) semester credits eligible for transfer or waived credits. Effective beginning the Spring 2014 semester, MBA students who take courses at the College of Law will be graded on a Honors/Credit/No Credit basis and not within the the typical curve of the JD program.  If you have questions about the grading policy, please contact the Law School's Office of Student Affairs. 

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

  • Up to six (6) semester credits of elective course work required for the MBA degree may be transferred from the Willamette University College of Law for College of Law course work completed with a grade of "Honors," "C", "Credit," or better
  • Willamette College of Law courses completed with grades below "C" or grades of "No 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
  • Courses in the College of Law may not be taken by Atkinson students prior to the semester in which the student will have completed at least 24 hours of first year courses. If during that semester any MBA course is dropped, the law course must also be dropped at that time.
  • MBA students who have waived six credits of core course work are eligible to transfer credits from the College of Law.
  • 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.

Graduate Course Work Completed At Other Colleges or Universities during Enrollment in the Atkinson School: MBA students may be eligible to transfer pre-approved elective credits earned from another university as part of the maximum allowable six semester credits eligible for transfer.

Students on academic probation (with a cumulative GPA less than 3.00) are not eligible for transfer credits.

Credit for approved transfer course work will be entered on the transcript as credit toward graduation but will not be calculated into the GPA. Only credits completed with a grade of "B" or higher will apply toward the MBA degree. The combination of transferred credits from other universities and waived credits cannot exceed six (6) semester credits.

A student desiring to take graduate course work at a college or university other than Willamette University must submit a written request for transfer credits to the Associate Dean/Director of Admission at least six (6) weeks prior to beginning the outside course (s). The written request must include a copy of the course syllabus and will be reviewed for transfer by the Associate Dean/Director of Admission. Guidelines for evaluating requests for transfer are:

  • The student must provide evidence that the course is not available through the Atkinson School curriculum, including independent study.
  • The student must provide evidence the requested course enhances his or her educational program and career plans.
  • The course must be a graduate level elective course.
  • The quality of the offering institution, program, and instruction is to be considered as well as the course content and level.

Upon completion of approved transfer credits, the student must provide the Atkinson School recorder an official transcript from the transfer institution. The Recorder will evaluate and convert the credits to Atkinson School semester credits. (Note: quarter credits and semester credits are not equal: 3 quarter credits equal 2 semester credits; 6 quarter credits equal 4 semester credits; 9 quarter credits equal 6 semester credits.)


Transfer Credits from the Atkinson School Certificate in Public Management

Twelve credits earned through the CPM (Certificate in Public Management) prior to fall semester 2013 may be transferred towards credit for the MBA program. The Dean, in consultation with the Director of Admissions, will determine the specific courses for which the CPM credits will be applied.


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 (joneill@willamette.edu) 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