All Western Colorado University students are assigned an academic advisor who can assist them in developing their educational plans and accomplishing career and life goals. Academic advisors are an important resource as students develop course schedules. Consultation with an academic advisor is required prior to registration each semester.

Course Descriptions

Course descriptions provide a summary of the course content. If there is a prerequisite that must be met before a student can register for the course, this information is stated in the course description. Prerequisites may include specific courses, class standing, declared major and other requirements. If there is a corequisite course in which a student must be registered, this information is also stated in the course description. The Course Schedule, available prior to registration, includes information about courses offered in the given semester, such as the names of instructors, class meeting times and locations, and additional requirements.

Registration Procedures

New students are required to participate in new student orientation. Information about registration and orientation is provided to all new students admitted to the University. Currently enrolled students may register during the present semester for the next semester or summer session. Registration timelines and procedures are detailed on the Office of the Registrar website.

Late Registration

Students should register for classes prior to the beginning of the semester. While they may register during the first week of the semester, students must understand that the limited availability of classes may prevent them from obtaining complete schedules. Late registrants may be assessed additional fees.


After classes have begun in a 16-week semester, students may add an open class without petition until 5 p.m. on the fourth day of the semester. After the fourth day and until the end of the official drop period, students may add a course only with approval by the instructor. The add deadline for any course that meets for less than 16 weeks is two days. The student is responsible for understanding and communicating with the instructor, understanding course policies, and understanding any consequence of adding a course after the first class meeting.

Students may drop a course during the first 15 percent of the class meetings. This rule applies for both classes that meet for a full semester and classes that meet in sessions shorter than a full semester. (Note the difference between this rule and “withdrawal” explained on the next page.)

Western Colorado University faculty reserve the right to drop students from class rolls if they miss the first class meeting. Not all instructors require attendance at the first class meeting, but many do. Students are strongly encouraged to attend all of their first class meetings. If circumstances such as weather or travel arrangements prevent students from attending the first class session, it is the student’s responsibility to contact the instructor of each course to request that their seat in the class be held.

Class Attendance and Participation

Faculty and students have shared responsibility in the education process. Class attendance and participation is the student's responsibility. The interactions a student has with the instructor and fellow students represent a significant portion of the learning process in coursework. Therefore, class attendance and participation is essential for a successful education. Instructors may set attendance and participation policies for each of their courses, which are specified in the course syllabus. If a student violates an attendance or participation policy, instructors may withdraw a student from class, lower the earned grade, and deploy other actions as specified by the course policy.

An  important responsibility for students is to be prepared for class. Such preparation for the average student expecting an average grade (“C”) typically requires two to three hours of studying or other types of preparation for every hour of coursework.

Variable Credit Courses

Variable Credit courses are courses which may be offered for a range of credits. The range of credits is set by the discipline, and is published in the catalog and class schedule. The types of courses generally encompassed by the term “variable credit” include Field Experience, Internship (described below), Independent Study, Directed Study, Practicum, Senior Thesis, and Research Problems. The learning objectives and academic requirements for these courses are established between individual faculty and individual students, and have specific academic outcomes defined before the course work begins.

Students must register for variable credit courses prior to beginning the studies associated with the course. Internship hours or study completed before the course registration is complete will not be counted toward the hours required for the course credit.

The student must be enrolled for the credits during the term in which the studies begin. This coursework is part of a student’s academic load for the semester and course contact hours must be able to be completed by the end of the semester for registration to be approved. A request for changes to variable credit registration after the work begins may be considered through a petition process in extenuating circumstances. The petition must be signed by the instructor for the variable credit course, the department chair, and the Registrar.

To register for a variable credit course, the student must submit a completed and signed Variable Credit Course form to the Office of the Registrar. Some disciplines may have additional requirements for registration in Variable Credit Courses. Substituting variable credit courses for required courses in the major or minor is at the discretion of the discipline; no variable credit course may be used to meet General Education requirements.


Internships offer students the opportunity to combine academic credit with work in their career field. The learning objectives and academic requirement for these experiences are established in collaboration with the student’s faculty advisor, based on the employer’s job description. The faculty advisor, employer, and student sign off on the learning objectives, agreeing in advance to the parameters of the internship. Students earn credit based on the number of hours to be worked, which is determined in advance. Each academic department establishes a requirement for the number of hours to be worked for each credit earned in line with established minimal contact hour requirements for credit hours. Employers complete an evaluation of the intern at the end of the experience which faculty use in assessing the student’s performance and grade.

Minimum eligibility requirements for internships are a 2.000 GPA and completion of at least 12 credits in the academic area of the internship. The internship policy of individual disciplines may be more stringent. Assignment of internship credit toward requirements of a degree program is to be decided by the academic area of the internship, and in no case can it count toward General Education requirements.

In  order for internships to maintain academic integrity, Western Colorado University and a faculty member must be involved from the initial development of the learning objectives through the completion of the internship.

Students must register for internship credit prior to beginning the work associated with the internship. The student must be enrolled for the credits during the term in which the work is initiated. This course work is part of a student’s academic load for the semester and course contact hours must be able to be completed in order for registration to be approved.

Auditing Courses

Regularly enrolled students may register to audit a course for no credit, but only at the time of registration. Students may not change from audit to credit or from credit to audit after the class has begun. Students auditing a course pay appropriate tuition and fees and are expected to attend classes regularly. Audited courses are treated as a part of a student’s course load for purposes of determining semester course-load limits, are not graded, and do not fulfill degree requirements.

Western invites citizens 60 years of age or older to participate in classes at the University on a space-available, no-credit, no-cost basis. (This does not apply to Extended Studies courses.) Students qualified to audit courses in this manner should make arrangements with the Office of the Registrar.