Graduation & Other Requirements

Information Related to Graduation
Commencement Information
Graduation Application Form (pdf file)
Course Catalogs
Request for Academic Policy Waiver or Enrollment Status Change
Transcript Request/Services and Final Grade Information 
Planned Graduation Date 

A student planning to earn an associate or baccalaureate degree from Montana Western must file an application for candidacy for the degree with the Registrar's Office no later than the start of the term before completion of all degree requirements. Students planning on earning two or more degrees must complete a graduation application form for each degree and pay all applicable fees.  (Graduation Application)

Date ALL Degree Requirements are Completed Graduation Application Deadline*
End of Spring Term Previous January 1
End of Fall Term Previous September 1
End of Summer Session Previous May 1
Students who miss the above graduation application filing deadlines must change their graduation date to the end of the next semester. Example: if a student plans to complete all degree requirements by the end of Spring semester, she/he must file a graduation application by January 1st of the previous year. If the student misses the January 1st filing deadline, his/her graduation date changes to the end of May. All requirements for a degree must be completed on/by the student's intended graduation date. 

Students must complete separate graduation applications for each degree they plan to earn. Graduation application filing instructions are as follows:

Catalog Governing Graduation  (online catalogs)

Each student must select an effective catalog year for graduation purposes according to the limitations outlined in the Catalog Governing Graduation section of that catalog. All general education, professional, major/broadfield/option, minor/related area, and all integrative and general elective course requirements as indicated in the chosen catalog must be successfully and satisfactorily completed. ALL requirements for each degree must be completed and ALL work for all required classes must be completed and final grades submitted before graduation can occur. All Incompletes must be made up, any/all correspondence work must be completed, final grades received and recorded by the end of the semester/term for which application is made. The selected catalog may not be more than six (6) years old at the time of graduation.

Other Information and General Requirements 

Pertaining to Graduation 

In additional to successfully completing all course requirements (including pre-requisite courses) for a (first or subsequent) degree or a prescribed program of study, students must satisfy the following general requirements for graduation or program completion. 

Students are responsible for making informed enrollment decisions and for knowledge of university policies and procedures governing admission, registration, enrollment, financial aid, graduation and student conduct. While every effort is made by the University to provide accurate information, students should not rely on oral representations made by university faculty or staff that are not in accordance with official policy or procedure. Current university publications (catalog, class schedules, university web pages, student handbook/planner, for example) are official sources of information on all matters related to enrollment and graduation.
Academic Standing – candidates for graduation must be in “good” academic,
Admissions File must be complete – student admissions files must be complete for graduation to occur; failure to provide all necessary admissions information on a timely basis will result in graduation delays and additional fees/costs.
Bachelor of Arts degrees – course and credit requirements specified in various BA degree option outlines supersede “general” BA degree requirements. 
Bachelor of Applied Science degrees – a Provost-approved program of study (list of courses required to complete degree) must be submitted to the Registrar’s Office by the end of the BAS student’s first term of enrollment at UMW.
Catalog – Online catalogs
Computer Competency – all students planning to graduate from Western (Associate or Baccalaureate degrees) and who are using/following UMW catalogs starting with the 2004-05 edition, must demonstrate computer competency based upon national standards; students demonstrate competency by passing the computer competency exam administered by UM-W Computer Science department staff. 
Course Repeats must be brought to the attention of the Registrar’s Office before graduation occurs so that a student’s GPA can be recalculated to accurately reflect his/her academic standing upon graduation (see “Grade Changes” section); review the catalog definition for “repeating” a course; failure to provide this information on a timely basis may result in graduation date extensions, lower academic standing, and additional cost/fees.
Credit Hour requirements - students must satisfy minimum credit hour requirements for all parts/segments of the degree/program they are pursuing (consult Effective Catalog for specific requirements*); associate degrees require successful completion of between 60-72 semester credits*, BS Elementary & Secondary degrees require successful completion of a minimum of 128 credits, all other BS degrees, the BA degree, and the BAS degree require successful completion of a minimum of 120 semester credits*.
All credits applied to a degree or program of study at Western must meet Montana University System requirements for transfer acceptance and applicability and must meet minimum MUS and UM-Western grade and level (undergrad or grad) requirements.
Deadlines – graduation application deadlines are STRICTLY enforced; ALL requirements must be completed on/by the student’s intended graduation date (students specify this on their Graduation Application Forms); failure to complete all requirements or provide pertinent documentation on a timely basis will result in graduation date extensions and additional costs/fees.
Education Goals – students should determine their education goals (degree, major/option, minor/related area, etc) at the earliest possible date and convey that information to university officials (advisor, Advising Office, Registrar’s Office, etc), changes should also be communicated (use the Request to Change Student Information Form) as soon as possible; students who switch to a new program of study are required to move to the most recent catalog in print.
Effective Catalog - students must adopt and follow a catalog that is his/her “effective catalog"; students can follow any catalog published since his/her initial enrollment provided: (1.) the elected catalog(s) is not more than six (6) years old at the time of graduation, (2.) the student has been continuously enrolled at Western (excluding summers), and  (3.) the student has not changed his/her degree or major/option goals; students may adopt multiple catalogs to complete various parts of a degree (GenEd, major/option, etc) but ALL catalogs used must meet the conditions outlined in the preceding sentence. 
Grade Changes – class standing (rank, honors, etc) is based upon GPA calculations made at the time of graduation, grade changes made after graduation occurs will not result in recalculation of an individual’s GPA for purposes of changing that individual’s class standing.
Grade Point Average requirements - students must satisfy minimum institution and degree/program-specific GPA requirements* (example, refer to BS Elementary Education degree requirements in the current catalog).
Grades - students must satisfy all minimum MUS and UM-W grade requirements for degree-specific courses (refer to program descriptions/outlines in the current catalog):
Pass/Fail Graded Course Limitations – no more than ten (10) credits of “P”=pass graded elective-only coursework may be applied to requirements for a bachelors degree and no more than six (6) credits of “P”=pass graded elective-only course work may be applied to requirements for an associate degree at Western. No “P” graded course credits can be applied to meeting degree/program-specific course requirements with the following exceptions: student teaching, capstone co-ops/internships/senior thesis/projects and approved non-traditional coursework/credits;
Incompletes (grades on academic record) – students must clear any/all “incompletes” (INCs) from their UM-Western academic record before graduation can occur.
(Minimum) Grades required to meet course degree requirements are outlined in the effective catalog adopted by a student. HOWEVER, effective at the start of Fall semester 2005, the minimum grade needed to satisfy general education and/or degree/program requirements is a “C-“ UNLESS higher minimum grades are specified within program descriptions or in catalog course descriptions. This policy is in effect for all new students (frosh and transfers) entering the MUS for the first time and for former/previous MUS students readmitted to Western starting Fall semester 2005. 
Graduation Application Form - must be properly completed (including approvals of appropriate officials, graduation fees paid, etc) and submitted within appropriate deadlines for such action; failure to provide this information on a timely basis will result in graduation date extensions.  Incomplete or improperly completed forms will be rejected/returned.
Graduation with Honors – affected students should familiarize themselves with institutional requirements for graduation with (academic) honors; early commencement/graduation petitioners are not eligible for honors recognition at commencement.
”Holds” - must be resolved/removed from the student’s record/account; student must be in “good” academic, financial, and conduct/behavioral standing at the university for graduation to occur.
Honors Program – affected students are responsible for completing all course requirements for the Honors Program and for applying for honors program endorsement when submitting graduation application forms. Honors Program courses may substitute for other degree requirements but non-honors program courses may not be used to substitute for honors program requirements. Cross-listed non-honors program courses may NOT be changed to honors program course after the deadline to add for the term/block of enrollment has passed. (Honor's Form)
Indebtedness to the university must be cleared before graduation can occur; failure to clear one’s financial account at the university on a timely basis will result in graduation date extensions.
Lower-level courses (numbered 100-199 or 200-299) approved as substitutes for upper-level course requirements (courses numbered 300-399 or 400-499) DO NOT satisfy minimum upper-level credit requirements for a degree, major, option area, minor, or related area.
Non-Traditional Course/Credit Limitations – no more than 30 semester credits of successfully completed non-traditional coursework (CLEP, AP, Tech-Prep, military training credits, challenge course credits, correspondence courses, for example) may be applied to any degree at Western; non-generic applications of non-traditional course credits to degree requirements must be approved/documented via the Substitution/Waiver form process.
Pre-requisites – students must successfully complete all pre-requisite courses and restrictions that may be required for a specific degree or program.
Printed/published Requirements Used/Followed - students should not rely on oral representations made by university personnel (faculty or staff) that contradict official requirements or policies printed in university publications; i.e., graduation audits are based upon requirements printed in the applicable effective catalog.
Residency Requirements – all candidates for graduation or program completion must successfully complete minimum UM-Western residency requirements (for purposes of this requirement, “residency” means ‘enrolled at Western’; “resident credits” are successfully completed UM-Western course credits*):

Bachelor’s degree (first) residency requirements:
  • complete a minimum of thirty (30) resident course credits, the last term of full-time study - minimum twelve (12) credits - must be completed in residency, 15 credits of the major/option must be resident credits, 10 credits of the minor/related area must be resident credits,
  • Second bachelor’s degree residency requirements:
  • 30 credits above the minimum total credits required for the first degree must be completed in residence (exception: if the first degree was earned at Western, then only 15 of the 30 additional credits must be completed in residence);
  • Associate degree (first) residency requirements:
  • complete a minimum of sixteen (16) resident degree-applicable (GenEd or advisor approved program) course credits, last term of full-time study (12 credits) and all 16 resident credits must be completed while in residence;
  • Second associate degree residency requirements:
  • all 16 credits above the minimum total credits required for the first degree must be completed in residence; check with Education Dept re minimum course credits for Professional Education core requirements that must be completed in residence; check with appropriate dept chairs re specific minimum upper-level (300- & 400-level course) credits required for the selected degree/major/option that must be completed in residence.
  • Second bachelors degree:
  • must complete all course requirements for the second bachelors degree and complete 30 or more credits above the minimum total credits required for the first bachelors degree, all 30 credits for the second bachelors degree must be completed in residence,
  • students should notify the Registrar’s Office of intent to complete a second degree at least one semester prior to graduation. separate graduation application form must be completed and  submitted. 
  • Second associate degree:
  •  must complete all course requirements for the second associate degree and complete 16 or more credits above the minimum total  credit required for the first associate degree, all 16 credits for the second associate degree must be complete in residence,
  •  GenEd courses used to satisfy requirements for the first associate degree may be used to satisfy GenEd req for the second associate degree only with advisor and appropriate division approval.
  • Special Degree Requirements – students must meet or complete any/all existing special degree requirements, these will be outlined in university publications (examples: TEPS approval for BS education degrees, etc).
  • Substitutions – replacing a required course with another course to satisfy a degree or program requirement; course substitutions must be properly approved and submitted on a timely basis; lower-level courses approved as substitutes for upper-division requirements may NOT be used to satisfy minimum upper-level credit requirements. (Waiver Form)
  • Upper-level Course and Credit requirements – students must satisfy all upper level course and credit level requirements for the degree(s) they plan to complete. Upper-division/level course and credit requirements for UM-W bachelors degrees are outlined in the program descriptions/summaries in the effective catalog (the sum of the credits attached to all 300- & 400-level courses listed in the catalog program description/summary constitute the minimum upper-level credits required for that degree, etc). While a 100- or 200-level course may be approved as a substitute for an upper-level course requirement, the credits attached to the lower-level substitute course may NOT be used to meet the total minimum upper-level credit requirements for the degree. Approximately 1/3 of credits completed for a bachelors degree at Western must be upper-level course credits.
  • Upper-level Course Requirements for BA (Integrative) Electives – all but six (6) of the credits needed to satisfy the “elective” requirement for the BA degree must be upper-level (300-400 course numbers); lower-level courses approved as substitutes for upper-division requirements DO NOT satisfy this requirement.
  • Variances from published degree requirements – students are responsible for providing documentation verifying and showing official institutional approval of variances from published degree requirements (substitutions, waivers, etc). Substitution/Waiver Forms must be completed, signed/approved and submitted to the Registrar’s Office before graduation can occur; failure to provide this information on a timely basis will result in graduation date    extensions and additional fees/costs.   (waiver form)
  • Waivers – waivers of degree/program requirements must be properly approved and submitted on a timely basis; course waivers do notprovide credits applicable to a degree or program ; “waiving” a degree or program requirement means that the student receiving the waiver is not responsible for completing that particular requirement, however, total credit requirements for the degree/program must be completed in spite of any applicable waivers that may be approved. (waiver form)
  • Course Requirements – graduation or program completion cannot take place until all courses required for a specific degree (including courses required for GenEds, major/option, minor/related area, prescribed, integrative or free electives, professional courses and degree capstone coursework – student teaching/co-ops/internships/senior thesis/projects) or program of study are completed satisfactorily/successfully and grades have been posted to the student’s academic record.
  • ALL degree or program requirements must be completed before graduation can occur; failure to complete requirements or failure to provide appropriate documentation on a timely basis may result in graduation date extensions and additional costs/fees.
Program Requirements (not pursuing a degree)
Bachelor's degree graduates from Montana Western or any regionally accredited institution who are attending UM Western for the sole purpose of completing a "program" (e.g., a second major, minor, option, related area, or emphasis), but not pursuing a degree, must meet the following requirements before being certified as having completed the selected program: 

1.     Students pick up Montana Western Graduation Application forms at the Registrar's Office or print form; students applying for BS degrees in education should apply for graduation when they apply for student teaching.
2.     Complete the graduation application; write legibly, answer ALL questions and secure all necessary approvals (improperly completed forms will not be processed).
3.     Stop at the Financial Aid Office for signatures and to complete the exit interview questionnaire.   
4.     Pay all graduation costs/fees at the Business Office. Transcripts are withheld if outstanding debts to UM Western are not paid.
5.     Return completed graduation applications to the Registrar's Office on/before the posted deadline for such action (applicants for BS  degrees in education must present a completed Application for Student Teaching form when submitting completed graduation applications)
6.     Applications of students not meeting degree requirements by the end of the semester/term indicated on the graduation application form will be changed or moved to the next semester or term; only one (1) such change or move is allowed. Students who apply to graduate but who do not meet all degree requirements by the completion time indicated on their graduation application may be required to reapply and pay all applicable graduation fees/charges depending upon when they finally complete all degree requirements.
7.     After a graduation application has been filed, the student must inform the Registrar's Office of any changes to graduation status, such as semester of graduation, majors and minors, or name. Students may be required to reapply depending upon the change requested and the timing of such requests. 
8.     Successfully and satisfactorily complete all prerequisite and required courses for the program as listed in the governing catalog.
9.     Meet all grade point average (GPA) requirements of the appropriate division, 
10.   Complete and submit to the Registrar's Office your graduation application form  with proof of payment.