The following information applies to Early Career/Career Change MBA students. Students classified as BA/MBA, Accelerated or JD/MBA students should refer to the graduation requirements specific to their program format.
If you have questions about your curricular path through the MBA program, review the "MBA Curricular Path and Registration Guide" and talk with the Associate Dean/Director of Admission.
MBA 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 and have no pending grades or grades of "Incomplete." The sixty (60) credits includes thirty-three (33) credits of required courses (including the three credits of required experiential elective course work) and twenty-four (27) credits of additional elective course work.
Required Courses: The thirty-three (33) 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 5103||Data Analysis, Modeling & Decision Making|
|GSM 5104||Managing Individuals, Teams and Organizations|
|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 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 meaningful interaction with organizations or environments, input from the organizations or environments that affects the completion of a deliverable for the class, and an opportunity for students to formally reflect on the factors which led to the success or failure of the experiential activity. 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.
Willamette MBA Management Writing Program: MBA students who began the MBA program in Fall Semester 2016 or after, must satisfactorily complete the Willamette MBA Management Writing Program.
Formal Concentrations: Students who began the Willamette MBA program fall semester 2017 may pursue one or more concentrations, but the concentration(s) will not be formally listed on their final MBA transcript. The ability to have a concentration formally listed on the final transcript begins with the entering class of 2018.
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.
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:
Other grades in the Atkinson School MBA grading system are listed below. Each grade shown below has specific requirements and implications.
|=||Pass for a Pass/Fail or Pass/No-Pass course|
|N||=||No Pass for a Pass/No-Pass course|
|=||Grade pending continuation of a full-year course|
|=||Withdrawal from course|
Regulations Regarding "I" Grades
A grade of Incomplete (I) may be assigned at the discretion of the course instructor when an unexpected emergency, event, or situation precludes a student from completing the course as planned. To receive an incomplete grade, all coursework must be complete except for a final assignment or exam. If more than a final assignment or exam is required to complete the course, it is necessary to withdraw from the course.
A student requesting a grade of “Incomplete” must enter into an agreement with the faculty member to document remaining requirements and establish the timeline for completion. A copy of the agreement signed by the student and the faculty member is provided to the Atkinson School Recorder, Karen Arthur, at the time the “Incomplete” grade for said student is submitted by the faculty member.
“I” grades must be cleared from the transcript by completing the required coursework within the timeline contained in the agreement — which shall be no later than the end of the next regular academic semester. (Fall or spring semester.) Failure to clear an "I" by the mutually agreed-upon date contained in the agreement will result in the "I" becoming a grade of "F.”
It is the student's responsibility to complete the requirements stipulated in the agreement and take the initiative to stay in contact with the faculty member of the course for which the "I" grade was received.
If a student formally withdraws from school before the end of the next regular academic 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.
Changes in grades already recorded on a transcript are determined by the faculty member and 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.
The Atkinson School recognizes two different situations which can initiate a grade appeal, and prescribes a different process for each.
If a student believes a grade was issued in violation of the University's Discriminatory Misconduct Policy (http://willamette.edu/offices/hr/policies/policy_harassment/index.html), the student should immediately notify the Dean or Human Resources and the appropriate procedures will be followed.
If a student does not believe a grade was issued in violation of the University's Discriminatory Misconduct Policy, but feels the grade represents a prejudiced, arbitrary, or capricious academic evaluation, the Atkinson School has a four stage grade appeal process. The stages must be completed in order:
- The student communicates directly with the professor. Most grade issues can be quickly resolved by respectful discussion at this level. If the issue is not resolved between the student and professor, the next step for the student is to begin the written grade appeal process.
- The student prepares a written appeal. The appeal must provide clear documentation showing the grade represents a prejudiced, arbitrary, or capricious academic evaluation. A prejudiced, arbitrary, or capricious academic evaluation means the assignment of a grade on some basis other than a student's performance in the course. No other criteria for grade appeal will be considered. The student must submit two (2) copies of their appeal in writing to an Associate Dean/Director of Admission (the arbitrator). The arbitrator shall then decide whether the written appeal meets the standard of “a prejudiced, arbitrary or capricious academic evaluation.” If the arbitrator believes that it does not meet this standard the student may appeal the decision to the Dean of the Atkinson school. The Dean’s decision at this stage will be final and binding.
Written grade appeals must reach the arbitrator within forty-five (45) days of the posting of grades by the registrar, otherwise the grade will stand as posted and no further appeal will be available.
- Once the appeal has been approved by the arbitrator or the Dean, the written appeal will then be distributed as follows: one (1) copy to the Student Affairs Committee (SAC) Chair and one (1) copy to the instructor involved. If the faculty member involved with the grade appeal is the chairperson of the SAC, the arbitrator shall distribute the appeal to the previous chairperson. It is the arbitrator'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 the appeal 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 regular academic semester (fall or spring) following the initial filing of the appeal. The decision of the SAC shall be 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 cannot be waived
- GSM 5104 - Managing Individuals, Teams and Organizations
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 Alex Subert, Sr. Associate Dean, before the first week of 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 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 Alex Subert, Sr. Associate Dean, before the first week of fall semester.
- GSM 5108 and 5109 - PACE I and II 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 cannot be waived.
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. 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 Associate Dean/Director of Admissions, will determine the specific courses for which the CPM credits will be applied.