Information for Current Students


Auditors are persons who desire to attend courses without earning credit. Written permission from the instructor and approval from the Registrar’s Office are required to register to audit a class.

Auditors may not actively participate in class and therefore certain courses may not be audited, including, but not limited to physical education activities, laboratory courses, studio courses, independent study courses, language courses, courses not taught in a group setting, and any other course the Registrar deems ineligible. Auditing a course cannot be used toward successful completion of academic credit.

Auditors are not allowed to register until the first day of the quarter, and the course must not have reached maximum enrollment. Changes to or from audit cannot be made after the first five days of the quarter.

Students enrolled for 10 or more non-audited credits may audit a course without an additional charge. Students enrolled for less than 10 credits should refer to the Tuition and Fees section “Auditing a Class.” Students approved to register for an audit are responsible for paying any course fees attached to the course. Students who choose to audit self-supporting classes through Outreach and Continuing Education are required to pay the full amount of tuition and fees.

Auditing Courses Policy

Recognizing the expanding reliance on electronic communication, WWU has determined that e-mail will be one of the University’s official means of communication. See POL-U7100.02 Using E-mail Accounts for Official Correspondence with Students. E-mail correspondence will be sent to students’ WWU e-mail addresses. Departments, faculty and staff may use e-mail instead of the U.S. Postal Service to provide students with information relating to official University business. U.S. Postal Service or campus mail can still be used as appropriate. This policy only applies to e-mail messages sent by the University to students that are designated as “WWU Official Communication.”

Students may choose the Pass/No Pass grading option in certain elective courses. 

The minimum level of performance required to receive a grade of P varies from course to course and is determined by each instructor or department. Students should not assume that performance equal to a grade of D or higher will result in a passing mark. Often performance at the level of C or higher is required. Regulations pertaining to Pass/No Pass grading are as follows:

  • Courses graded Pass/No Pass may not be applied to the major and minor, supporting courses, professional education requirements, upper-division writing proficiency requirement and General University Requirements
  • Graduate courses taken for the graduate degree cannot be taken Pass/No Pass. Courses graded Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory cannot be taken Pass/No Pass
  • Courses graded Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory cannot be taken Pass/No Pass
  • To designate a course as Pass/No Pass students must submit a request to the Registrar's Office after registering for the course; they may change this designation by submitting the Grading Mode Change Request form to to the Registrar's Office at any time through the fourth week of a quarter. For extension program courses, Pass/No Pass grading designation may be elected up to the end of the fourth week for regular quarter-long courses, or prior to the second class meeting for shorter courses
  • Prerequisites, work required and credit allowed may be affected by election of the Pass/No Pass option
  • In computing grade averages, neither the P nor NP grade in Pass/No Pass courses is counted
  • Should a student change their major or minor, the academic departments involved are the sole judges of the acceptability of any Pass/No Pass courses already completed in the newly chosen major or minor
  • Once a student has earned NP grades in courses totaling 10 credits, they may no longer register for courses under the Pass/No Pass option

NOTE: Excessive use of the Pass/No Pass grading system may negatively influence admission to some graduate or professional schools.

WWU Course Information

Students are responsible for ensuring that they have satisfied all prerequisites, with a grade of C- or better, before registering for a given course. Although some prerequisite enforcement is driven by the Web registration system, students should not assume they are eligible to enter a course without having taken the prerequisite just because the system allows them to register for the course. A student who has registered for a course without satisfying prerequisites or obtaining permission may be required by the instructor to withdraw from the course. If an instructor requires a student to withdraw from a course because a prerequisite is not satisfied, the student is responsible for doing so via Web4U or in person in the Registrar’s Office. All tuition, fees and withdrawal related deadlines apply.

Please note that the minimum grade required for courses in the Earth Science Education programs is a C or better. 

Prerequisites policy

Earth Science Elementary catalog page

Earth Science Secondary catalog page

Earth Science/General Science catalog page

Geology variable credit courses include Geology 300, 400 and 490.

Some courses are offered for a variable number of credits. After registering for the course on Web4U, make certain you key in the correct credit amount. The web will automatically register you for the least amount of credit; you will then need to go back to the Registration menu and choose Change Variable Credit Hours. After the fifth day of registration, the Registrar's Office will need written permission from the instructor to make variable credit changes.

Student Registration Responsibilities 

Geology Department Registration

Students must complete the necessary prerequisites listed for a geology course to enroll. Please check Classfinder to see course prerequisites, and meet with your geology faculty advisor regularly to make sure you are on track to graduate. 

Not sure which geology electives to take? Speak with your faculty advisor for recommendations!  

How do I find my major or major status? 

Students can find their major status on their Degree Works page. 

When will I be moved to Phase II of my major? 

Phase I Geology and Geophysics students will be moved to Phase II of their majors when the grade is released for their last pre-major course, which will be at the end of the quarter after finals week. 

WWU Registration Policies:

Information about holds, time conflicts, override clearance, registration restrictions, registration priority, etc. 

University Academic Policies: Prerequisites, waitlisting, class attendance, hardship withdrawal, etc. 

The Geology Department reserves the right to manage its waitlists such that time to graduation may be minimized for Geology, Geophysics, and Earth Science Education majors. 

When a course reaches capacity during Phases I, II and III of registration, students may add themselves, via Web4U, to an automatically-generated waitlist. Before waitlisting is allowed, students must meet all course prerequisites and other course restrictions listed in the University Catalog, the online Timetable of Classes, and Classfinder.

When a seat becomes available in a waitlisted class, an automated email message is sent to the official WWU email address of the first student on the waitlist, notifying the student of the available seat. Students may also sign up to have waitlist notifications and other official WWU communications sent via text message. Students who receive notification of seat availability are responsible for registering via Web4U before the notification expires. During Phases I and II, notifications are active for 24 hours from the time the notification is sent, and for 12 hours during Phase III. The notification expires if the student does not register within the time allowed. A notification is then sent to the next student on the waitlist. All other registration policies are applicable when waitlisting services are active.

Further details on waitlisting and how to sign up for text message delivery can be found under Registration on the Registrar’s Office website.

WWU Waitlist Policy

Departmental Honors and Distinctions

BA or BS students and students in the University Honors College who have completed at least 4 credits of GEOL 490 and have a cumulative GPA of 3.50 or higher meet the requirements for departmental honors. Those students who have completed at least 4 credits of GEOL 490 and have a cumulative GPA higher than 3.20 meet the requirements for departmental distinction.

Geologist License Education Requirements

A professional license is required by law to practice geology in Washington State.

The first step toward licensure is passing the National Association of State Boards of Geology (ASBOG) Fundamentals of Geology exam.

To qualify to take ASBOG's Fundamentals of Geology exam you must satisfy certain educational requirements. If you obtain a B.S. degree in geology from Western your educational requirements are met.

If you choose a B.A. in geology or a B.S. in geophysics degree you must have a minimum of 36 credits in specific content areas, so please see your departmental advisor for planning if you take one of these degrees and wish to pursue a professional license.

Student Involvement in Research

The faculty in the Geology Department are active in a wide variety of ongoing research projects that frequently involve undergraduate and graduate students in special projects and thesis projects or provide employment.

Some of this research is funded or partially supported from grants to individual faculty members from the National Science Foundation, U.S. Geological Survey, National Parks Commission, Office of Ecology and geological-related companies.

Many of these projects are in the Western Washington region, others include investigations in other parts of the United States, Canada, overseas, or at sea as part of larger oceanographic projects.

Interested in Graduate School?

For those interested in pursuing a master's degree in the geosciences, please check out Dr. Jackie Caplan-Auerbach's "How to Apply to Grad School in the Geosciences" seminar