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Helpful Resources for Graduate Students

Graduate Student Insurance

Insurance is provided to graduate students who are on assistantship through Cougar Health Services. Information can be found at the Cougar Health Services website.


Because tuition is considerably less expensive for Washington residents than out-of-state students, you should establish residency right away after you arrive in Washington State. Information on establishing residency and forms can be found on the graduate school website.

Graduate School Forms

All forms must be submitted through the SBS Graduate Coordinator, Audrey Van Nuland,

Common Forms Include:

  • Program of Study: Your program plan for completing your degree
  • Plan and Degree Level Change: Submit this form if you wish to change your major or degree level. Contact Graduate Admissions for additional information.
  • Program Change : Submit this form if your approved program of study has changed. Be aware of dates and deadlines.
  • Scheduling Exam : Procedures for scheduling standard exams. Students must have an approved Program of Study on file at the Graduate School before scheduling examinations.
  • ABD Waiver: If you have passed your preliminary exam and have completed your formal program of study course work, you can apply for an ABD waiver
  • Committee Change: If you would like to change your committee, use this form.

View a complete list of graduate student forms.

Graduate Student Handbook
Cotton Page Approval Instructions for Students
Cotton Page Approval Instructions for Faculty 

Appointment Requests

Drop in hours are held for graduate students via zoom Wednesdays 10-12 AM. These are on a first come, first served basis, so you may have to wait in a virtual waiting room.

If you are unable to attend drop in hours, you can request a one on one appointment.

Generalized Timeline for Thesis MS Degree

Course Requirements for MS

Year 1

  • Fall: coursework, assemble thesis committee, file program of study
  • Spring: continue coursework, begin research, present research proposal
  • Summer: continue research

Year 2

  • Fall: complete coursework, complete data analysis
  • Spring: write and defend thesis, graduate

Generalized Timeline for PhD Degree

5 years with MS, 6 years without

Course Requirements for PhD

Year 1

  • Fall: coursework
  • Spring; continue coursework, assemble committee, file program of study
  • Summer: begin research project

Year 2

  • Fall: continue coursework, continue research
  • Spring: complete coursework, take oral qualifying exam

Year 3

  • Fall: complete proposal defense (enroll in Bio 501), apply for extramural funding, take courses as needed
  • Spring: continue research, take courses/seminars as needed

Final Year

  • complete research, write and defend thesis