Graduate student resources

Graduate advising

There are different kinds of advising available to graduate students. Understanding how to select and work with your advisors is key to your success. Advising roles are described below.

Graduate Program Advisor

Karin Dalesky, the graduate program advisor, is responsible for helping students with the technical pieces of graduate student life — deadlines, forms and formal procedures, and also functions as liaison to the Graduate School.

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Graduate Program Coordinator

Graduate students will work closely with the Graduate Program Coordinator (GPC). The GPC is a member of the IAS graduate faculty. The primary functions of the GPC are to advise in a substantive, academic nature relating to the graduate program as whole, give direction and shape work leading to the thesis or final project. This includes advising in the selection of electives that will contribute to that end. The GPC may or may not serve on your thesis committee, depending on the specific direction you ultimately decide to pursue. However, the GPC can help you identify a potential chair and/or committee members and appoint them.

Dr. Larry Knopp: Graduate Program Coordinator.

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Thesis Chair

You will work closely with your thesis chair. The role of the thesis chair is separate from that of the faculty advisor. Once the thesis committee is formed, the chair assumes the function of a primary academic advisor. The chair must be a member of the IAS Graduate Faculty. Before the student registers for thesis credit, the thesis chair and the student must sign the Thesis/Project Committee Chair Appointment Letter. (Please schedule an appointment with the graduate program advisor for this letter.) As stated in the letter, it is the role of the chair to help the student shape an interdisciplinary thesis or project of a quality appropriate to a master's level. The chair's ultimate duty is to evaluate the thesis or project and, if satisfactory, attest to its quality by signing the signature page of the document. You are encouraged to actively engage in choosing your thesis chair. Provide the graduate program advisor with the original signed appointment letter and distribute copies to everyone on your committee. Keep a copy for yourself.

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Thesis Committee

A thesis committee must have a minimum of two members, one of which serves as the chair. Committee members (also called readers) must be qualified individuals who possess a terminal degree in an area appropriate to the thesis/project and hold an academic appointment at an accredited institution. The chair and at least one-half of the total membership of the thesis committee must be members of the graduate faculty. It is the responsibility of the thesis chair to determine the suitability of any committee members or readers recruited from outside IAS. Readers attest to the quality of the thesis or project on the signature page and may offer appropriate advice and assistance to students. Once the committee members have been selected and before the you register for thesis credit, you and each member of your thesis committee must individually sign the Thesis/Project Committee Member Appointment Letter. (Please schedule an appointment with the graduate program advisor for this letter.) Provide the graduate program advisor with the original signed letter and distribute copies to everyone on your committee. Keep a copy for yourself.

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Staying Informed

Email listserv: MAUWT is the electronic mailing list for students, faculty, and friends of the Master of Arts Program. Important information is sent over MAUWT regarding registration, new courses, opportunities, meetings and events. All MA students must subscribe to MAUWT.

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Track your progress

General degree

The General degree option is a sustained investigation of factors that critically shape actions, procedures and outcomes. These factors provide foundations for knowledge and action in the public sphere. This degree option is well-suited for entry into or advancement along community relations, public agency management, community organizing, facilitation, consumer advocacy, policy and/or decision making, political action and governmental relations.

Community and Social Change degree

The Community and Social Change degree option focuses on the integration of theory and practice to achieve economic, racial, gender and social justice through the transformation of local communities. This degree option offers students the knowledge and the development of strategies and skills to improve the lives of those who, historically, are most vulnerable and have been marginalized. This track is especially relevant for students looking to acquire practical skills that will help them become community leaders, policy analysts and/or social justice practitioners.

Non-Profit Management degree

The Non-Profit Management degree option integrates: theory and research regarding organizational development; analyzes the social, cultural, economic and creative foundations of cultural management and policy; introduces the history, philosophy, organization, administration, and practice of museums; and provides an overview of the best practices, systems and management principles underlying successful fundraising programs. This option requires students to develop a project during the internship. Students produce a demonstrable example of expertise and interest, such as a personnel manual, strategic plan or annual fund development plan.

Contact the graduate program advisor for consultation in degree planning and forms to assist with tracking your progress.

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Grading policies

Graduate School policies relating to grading may be found in the Graduate School Memoranda, Memo 19.
In case you have not consulted the catalog, we urge you to do so. We, do however, want to be absolutely certain that everyone is aware of the following rules:

  • Grades below 1.7 will be recorded as 0.0 by the Registrar and will not count toward residency, total credit count or grade and credit requirements. A minimum of 2.7 is required in each course that is counted toward a graduate degree. A minimum cumulative grade-point average of 3.00 is required for graduation.
  • Failure to maintain a 3.00 GPA, cumulative or for a given quarter, constitutes low scholarship and may lead to a change-in-status action by the Graduate School. Failure to maintain satisfactory performance and progress toward a degree may also result in a change-of-status action by the Graduate School (See Graduate School Memoranda, Memo 16 for more information).
  • "Change-of-status" refers to re-classification from "good standing" to "probation" for up to two quarters, followed by one quarter of "final probation" prior to "drop." At any point prior to "drop," a student can return to good standing by reaching a cumulative GPA of 3.00. In some cases where a student's cumulative GPA drops only slightly below 3.0 for a single quarter, the faculty is permitted to recommend a "warning" in lieu of automatic probation. Unlike probation, a warning does not appear on the student's academic record.

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Independent study options

Electives in the your area of emphasis are generally selected from among IAS graduate courses or the graduate courses of other UW Tacoma programs. In addition, several independent study options can be used to fulfill MA elective requirements.

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Continuous enrollment/on-leave procedures

To maintain graduate status, a student must be enrolled on a full-time, part-time or official on-leave basis from the time of first enrollment in the Graduate School until completion of all requirements for the graduate degree. Registration is required when applying for the master's degree, filing the thesis and receiving the degree. Summer quarter on-leave enrollment is automatic for all graduate students who were either registered or officially on leave the prior spring quarter. Failure to maintain continuous enrollment constitutes evidence that the student has resigned from the Graduate School. To be eligible for on-leave status, the student must have registered for, and completed at least one quarter in the University of Washington Graduate School. The student must also have been registered or officially on leave for the immediate past quarter (except summer).

Requesting on-leave status

Beginning September 28, 2011, students requesting on-leave status must submit an online Request for On-Leave Status via MyGrad Program. For a given quarter, students can submit the request as early as two weeks prior to the first day of instruction and must submit payment of the non-refundable fee no later than 5:00 p.m. on the last day of instruction. Leave is granted on a quarterly basis, though the following students may request up to four consecutive quarters of leave at one time: PCMI students, military personnel with deployment orders and some UW Fulbright grantees. With the exception of military personnel with deployment orders, graduate students will be required to pay the fee for each quarter of leave requested.

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Returning from on-leave status

Graduate students who are on leave are eligible to register for the quarter immediately following the expiration of the on-leave period, or any quarter during the leave period, without having to file a Returning Student Re-enrollment Form.

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Submitting the thesis/project

All master students must submit a thesis or project that is a culmination of your work. Review the guidelines for  submitting your thesis or submitting your project.

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Graduation requirements

The following information has been organized to provide graduate students working toward a Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies with essential university requirements and procedures. Students are expected to visit the Graduate School website or the IAS office for the most current information. Please note that the information in the UW Graduate School Memoranda supersedes the information provided here. It is your responsibility to meet all requirements of the Graduate School and the MA Program. Please contact the graduate program advisor with questions.

Earning your masters degree

Candidates for the MA in Interdisciplinary Studies must meet the following requirements. Keep them in mind as you work toward your degree.

  • Complete 55-quarter credits applicable to the MAIS degree.
  • Remove any X, N, or I grades posted on your transcript for courses needed to satisfy degree requirements. If the two-year limit to remove I grades has passed, you must retake the course(s) if they are required for the degree.
  • Have a grade of 2.7 or better on all coursework used to satisfy degree requirements and have a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.0.
  • Complete all coursework, including approved transfer courses, within a six-year time period. Transfer credits must have prior approval.
  • Complete Graduate School coursework requirements including residency requirements as stipulated by the UW Graduate School.
  • Fulfill all specific requirements of your thesis or degree project.

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Master's Degree Request

Final Quarter Application Process

Students can now apply to graduate during weeks 1-7 of their final quarter. To do so:

  1. Complete the online Master's Degree Request/WARRANT.
  2. Make an appointment with the graduate program advisor to pick up the hard copy of the Master's Degree/WARRANT Request, so you can obtain the required signatures.
  3. Return the signed Master's Degree/WARRANT Request to the graduate program advisor no later than 12:00 p.m. the Thursday of finals week.

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Students who complete their degree requirements in any quarter of an academic year may participate in that year's commencement exercises. Information about the UW Tacoma Commencement Ceremony becomes available in early spring for the June ceremony.

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UW Graduate School links

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