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Graduate students

A page within Records and Registration

Graduate policies and procedures:

Graduate students are students who are working toward earning a graduate degree or are non-degree seeking students taking one or more graduate classes (numbered between 500-999). UWL offers several types of graduate degrees. Some of them include Master of Science (MS), Master of Software Engineering (MSE), Master of Science in Education ( MSEd), Education Specialist (EdS), Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT), and Doctor of Education (EdD).

Graduate students should read the Graduate Catalog to learn the applicable requirements for their graduate studies, specific program information, academic policies, and university policies. The topics below are only a few of the relevant policies. In addition, some textbook and continuing education information is also below.

When reviewing the catalog, graduate students should be sure to read the Graduate Catalog only for their academic policies unless otherwise indicated. Undergraduate policies are often different and do not usually apply to graduate students.

Graduate expanders


Graduate students who wish to drop or add classes may do so using the WINGS Student Center from the time they register to the fifth day of the semester. After the fifth day of the semester, 

  • Add: graduate students need the instructor's permission to add a course from the fifth day of the semester through the 10th day. Departmental permission may also be required. After the 10th day, students cannot add a course except in unusual cases and then only with the consent of the instructor, department chair, and the college dean's office.
  • Drop: graduate students may drop without permission through the 10th day of the semester. After the 10th day, students need the instructor or advisor's permission to drop a course.

Please bring the signed drop or add forms to Records and Registration, 117 Graff Main Hall. Please see the graduate catalog for other academic policies and information.


Graduate students are required to purchase textbooks for all courses they are enrolled in (including slash courses). Graduate students are not eligible to use Textbook Rental Services, but graduate student textbooks may be purchased (based on availability) through the University Bookstore.


Official grades are submitted at the end of each term and are available to students through their WINGS Student Center. Grades are not mailed. 

The student's college takes academic action at the end of each semester if a student fails to meet requirements. Students with unsatisfactory grades are expected to seek counseling and help with their studies. Available resources include the instructor(s), advisor, and department tutors. Student services staff, particularly Counseling and Testing Center personnel, will provide assistance on a confidential basis. Students are encouraged to seek help at the earliest sign of academic difficulty. The university assumes that students will communicate regularly with interested parties (e.g. parents) with respect to academic status and progress.

Repeating courses

A graduate student can repeat up to two courses once in which a grade of "C" or lower was earned with the permission of the program director. 

Full Graduate Repeat Policy.

Graduate research, comprehensive exams, and terminal project completion policy

This policy was designed for student who need more time to complete a thesis, seminar paper, or other culminating graduate projects. The purpose of the Graduate Research, Comprehensive Exams, and Terminal Project Completion Policy is to provide continued access to university faculty, technology, facilities and the library while the student is still working on their final project.

Thesis/Seminar paper approval

The recommended initial submission date for college-approved dissertations, and theses for approval is two weeks before graduation. Dissertations and theses should be submitted to Graduate Studies (223 Graff Main Hall) for professional editing and final approval. Seminar papers which will be archived in the Murphy Library should likewise be submitted to Graduate Studies for editing.


Students should apply for graduation in the term in which they will successfully complete the thesis, comprehensive exams, or terminal project. On your WINGS Student Center page, open the drop-down box and click "Apply for Graduation." You will need to click "Apply for Graduation" again under your program and then follow the prompts. Students who are enrolled in GRC 798 or GRC 799 in the semester in which the degree will be awarded can also use their WINGS Student Center to apply for graduation. Students who have completed all required GRC 798 or 799 enrollments in a prior semester must contact the Records and Registration Office, 117 Graff Main Hall, to apply for graduation. 

All graduate students with 20 credits are automatically billed a one-time graduation fee. This fee covers the cost of graduation and Commencement, and is assessed whether or not a student chooses to attend the ceremony. An additional cap, gown, and hood fee is paid at the bookstore when these items are picked up the week before the ceremony. 

UW-La Crosse has a spring (May) and winter (December) Commencement ceremony held at the La Crosse CenterAttendance at the commencement ceremonies is encouraged but not required. Tickets are not required for guests to attend the Commencement ceremony. However, it is recommended that students limit the number of guests to no more than six. The venue reaches full capacity with standing room only. 

Your graduate program may also participate in a graduate hooding ceremony - ask your Graduate Program Director for more information.

Continuing education

Continuing Education and Extension offers courses for professionals, frequently at off campus sites. Call Continuing Education and Extension at (608) 785‑6507 for more information.