Student Handbooks

MBA Student Handbook - MBA/JD Graduation Requirements and Academic Regulations

The following information applies to MBA/JD Joint Degree students.

Students should note that beginning fall semester 2012 all GSM courses were renumbered from three-digit numbers to four-digit numbers. Current and previous course numbers are listed when necessary for clarification in the information presented below.

General Program Structure

The MBA/JD joint degree program enables students to obtain the Doctor of Jurisprudence (JD) and the MBA degree in four (4) years.

Students must apply and be admitted to both the College of Law and the Atkinson Graduate School of Management and be in good academic standing in the MBA and law programs to be considered joint degree candidates.

Students may begin the program at either the Atkinson School or the College of Law. During the first two years of the program, students complete the required first-year curriculum of each school (one academic year is spent at each school). During years three and four, students fulfill additional required and elective courses in both the College of Law and the Atkinson School.

MBA students may apply for admission to the Joint Degree Program by applying to the College of Law during the first year at the Atkinson School. If accepted by the College of Law, the student should advise the Office of Admission of the Atkinson School.

MBA/JD Graduation and Program Requirements;

Each MBA/JD student is responsible for a thorough knowledge of graduation requirements. The Willamette MBA for Business, Government and Not-for-Profit Management will be conferred on MBA/JD students who satisfactorily complete all of the following requirements as listed below within the policies and regulations of the College of Law and Atkinson School.

  • Minimum total credits required for Joint Degree: MBA/JD joint degree candidates; must complete a total 120 semester credits of course work. The 120 semester credits include 72 semester hours of course work in the College of Law and 48 semester credits of Atkinson School course work.

  • Minimum Law credits required by the College of Law: As per College of Law regulations, all Joint Degree students must complete at least 72 semester hours of course work at WUCL, 59 hours of which must be letter graded.

  • Minimum MBA credits required by the Atkinson School: MBA/JD students must satisfactorily complete a minimum of 48 approved credits of MBA course work: The 48 credits of MBA course work, must include thirty-three (33) credits of required courses (including 3 credits of Experiential Elective course work) and fifteen (15) additional credits of elective course work.

  • Required MBA courses: The thirty-three (33) credits of required courses includes a combination of first and second year courses as listed below. Generally, required courses numbered 5000 or above will be completed in the first-year of MBA study and required courses numbered 6000 or above will be completed during years of concurrent enrollment in the MBA and Law programs.

GSM 5101
(previously GSM 506A)

Managing Organizations - Individuals, Teams and Human Resources
GSM 5102
(previously GSM 506B)
Managing Organizations - Design and Change
GSM 5103
(previously GSM 503)
Data Analysis, Modeling & Decision Making
GSM 5105
(previously GSM 505)
Accounting for Managers
GSM 5107
(previously GSM 507)
Marketing: Creating Satisfied Consumers
GSM 5108
(Previously GSM 508A)
PACE I: Consulting for Not-for-Profit & Government Organizations, & Achieving Your Career Goals

GSM 5109
(Previously GSM 508B)

PACE II: Consulting for Not-for-Profit & Government Organizations, & Developing an Entrepreneurial Venture
GSM 5110
(Previously GSM 510)
Economics, Finance & Markets
GSM 5114
(Previously GSM 514)
Operations & Systems Management
GSM 6121
(Previously GSM 698)
Politics & Public Policy for Managers
GSM 6123
(Previously GSM 650)
Strategic Management
GSM 6____ Experiential Elective
  • Required Experiential Elective: A minimum of three (3) credits from Experiential Elective courses is required for graduation. Experiential Elective courses are special elective courses that include a project with a form of external evaluation. Experiential Elective courses are designated by the faculty and are identified on the schedule of classes. Students can take more than one Experiential Elective if they choose.

  • Elective courses: MBA/JD students are required to complete fifteen (15) credits of elective course work (in addition to the three-credit Experiential Elective requirement) for graduation. Generally, six (6) credits of elective course work will be completed during spring semester of the first-year of MBA study and the remaining credits of elective course work will be completed during the years of concurrent enrollment at Atkinson and the College of Law.

  • IKEWs: MBA/JD students must satisfactorily complete the IKEW requirement of the MBA program.

  • Good Standing: MBA/JD candidates for graduation must have a cumulative Atkinson School grade point average of 3.00 (B) or higher, comply with requirements determined by the School's faculty, and be in Good Standing within all policies of the Atkinson School and Willamette University.

  • GSM 6000 - 6099 credit limit: A maximum of six (6) credits of elective courses numbered GSM 6000-6099 (previously GSM 653) may be applied toward the 48 credit MBA graduation requirement.

  • Minimum and Maximum Time for Degree: The MBA/JD joint degree program must be taken over no less than four academic years. An academic year consists of a fall semester and a spring semester. In addition, the candidate must complete the MBA degree within six (6) years from date of initial enrollment in the degree program.

  • Minimum Semester and Course Load Residency Requirement for MBA/JD Students: As a condition of graduation, the College of Law requires joint degree students to be enrolled for six (6) semesters of course work totaling ten (10) credit hours for each of those semesters. After year two of the program, Joint Degree students may combine Atkinson School and Law credit hours in the same semester to fulfill the residency requirement of ten (10) credit hours per semester.

  • Course Exceptions for MBA/JD Students: MBA/JD students are not required to complete "GSM 6122 (previously 673): PACE III. Leading Ethical and Sustainable Organizations," but may take the course as an elective.

  • MBA Independent Study and Internship for MBA/JD students: A maximum of six (6) credits from a combination of GSM Internship for Management, Independent Study and Research courses may apply toward MBA graduation requirements. Credits from "GSM7261G - Global Study and International Experience" are not counted toward this limit.  
  • Submit petition for degree: Candidates for graduation must submit a "petition for degree" at the beginning of their final semester in the MBA/JD program.

  • Completion of all MBA and Law graduation requirements: MBA/JD students must meet all academic regulations and graduation requirements governing the MBA program unless specifically described in these regulations. MBA/JD degree candidates must have also completed all graduation requirements of the JD degree as stipulated by the College of Law to be eligible for MBA graduation from the Atkinson School.

  • Other regulations: Regulations governing the courses for the degree program at either school (Law and Atkinson) shall apply unless they are inconsistent with these MBA/JD joint degree regulations.

  • Curricular changes: In the event the curriculum is changed or graduation requirements are otherwise altered, the rules in effect at the time of the student's entry to the program will apply unless otherwise stated.

Academic Regulations

Good Standing

All students must maintain 'Good Standing' for continued enrollment and graduation. "Good Standing" is defined as adhering to the academic policies, standards of conduct and financial policies of the Atkinson School and Willamette University.

Good Academic Standing

All students must maintain a cumulative Atkinson School grade point average of 3.00 (B) or better and make satisfactory progress toward degree completion to be in "Good Academic Standing."

Full-time MBA Enrollment Status

MBA/JD students who are enrolled in nine or more credits of graduate level course work in a given semester during their one year of full-time study in the MBA program are considered full-time MBA students. 


It is the responsibility of the instructor to assign grades. The Atkinson School uses a letter grade system consisting of seven regular grades. Their grade point values are:

A = 4.00
A- = 3.70
B+ = 3.30
B = 3.00
B- = 2.70
C = 2.00
F = 0.00

Other grades in the Atkinson School MBA grading system are listed below. Each grade shown below has specific requirements and implications.

= Incomplete
= Pass for a Pass/Fail or Pass/No-Pass course
 N  No-Pass for a Pass/No-Pass course
= Grade pending continuation of a full-year course
= Credit
= Withdrawal from course

Regulations Regarding "I" Grades

A grade of Incomplete (I) may be assigned at the discretion of the professor for any course to indicate that all work has been completed except a final exam or an assignment given by the instructor. If more than a final exam or assignment is required to complete a course, it is necessary to withdraw from the course.

"I" grades must be cleared from the transcript by completion of the course work during the next regular academic semester. Failure to clear an "I" before the end of the following semester will result in the "I" becoming a grade of "F.".

It is the student's responsibility to take the initiative and stay in contact with the faculty member of the course for which the "I" grade was received. It is also the student's responsibility to complete the requirements within the one semester time limit as described above.

If a student formally withdraws from school before the end of the following semester, the "I" grade will not be converted to an "F". However, the student must complete the course by the end of the first semester in which they return to the Atkinson School.

Regulations Regarding "F" Grades

"F" grades are calculated in the grade point average and result in zero credits earned toward graduation.

A student who receives an "F" in a required course must repeat the course and earn a grade of "C" or higher in the repeated course. A student who receives an "F" grade in an elective course may repeat the course.

When a course is repeated, both the "F" grade and the grade received in the repeated course appear on the transcript, and both grades are calculated in the grade point average.

"F" grades have very serious consequences. A student anticipating an "F" in a course is advised to withdraw from the course prior to the last scheduled class meeting of the course.

Grading Regulations Regarding Issues of Academic Honesty and Ethical Behavior

Students found to have committed plagiarism, cheating, or unauthorized possession or disposition of academic materials will receive a zero (0%) grade for the specific examination, test, paper, assignment, or project in question for their first offense. A second offense will lead to automatic expulsion.

Complete information about the definitions, policies and procedures related to Academic Honesty and Ethical Behavior is presented in the Code of Conduct section of this handbook.

Grade Changes

Changes in grades recorded on a transcript are permitted only under the following conditions:

  • Error by the instructor in computing or reporting a grade
  • Completion of work in a course for which the grade of "I" has been recorded
  • Administrative error in the reporting or recording of a grade

Grade Appeal

The Atkinson School has a formal grade appeal process (described below). Students who want to use the formal grade appeal process as their first step are encouraged to do so. Students who want to use a more informal process as their first step are encouraged to communicate directly with the professor, and/or the Associate Dean/Director of Admission. If the issue is not resolved at the informal level, the next step for the student would be to begin the formal grade appeal process.

Formal Grade Appeal Process: The first step of a specific course grade appeal must be for the student to take the issue to the instructor in question or to the chairperson of Atkinson School's Student Affairs Committee (SAC). If the faculty member involved with the grade appeal is the chairperson of the SAC, the student may take the issue to the chairperson of the previous year.

If the issue is not resolved to the student's satisfaction at this level of appeal, the student can submit two (2) copies of his/her appeal in writing to the Associate Dean/Director of Admission, who will then distribute them as follows: one (1) copy to the Student Affairs Committee (SAC) Chair and one (1) copy to the instructor involved.

Written grade appeals must reach the Associate Dean/Director of Admission within forty-five (45) days following the general notification of grades, otherwise the grade will stand as posted and no further appeal will be available. It is the Associate Dean/Director of Admission's responsibility to notify both the SAC Chairperson and the instructor in question about the appeal.

Upon receipt of the written appeal, the SAC Chairperson will make a written request for the involved instructor's position, also to be submitted in writing. The SAC Executive Committee will then meet to review and discuss all appeal particulars, including but not limited to interviewing the parties involved in the appeal. If a conflict of interest arises within the SAC Executive Committee, the SAC Chairperson will replace the said compromised individual with an ad-hoc member of similar standing.

The process of appeal will occur during the semester (fall or spring) following the initial filing of the appeal. The appeal process is complete when the SAC reaches a consensual decision and the said decision is rendered in writing and distributed to the student and to the instructor in question.

If either party is dissatisfied with the Committee's decision, they may make a written appeal to the Dean, whose decision is final and binding.

Core Course Waivers

MBA/JD students may be eligible to receive a "substitution waiver" for core course work, but are not eligible for "credit waivers." Students granted a substitute waiver must take a specific elective course in place of the specific core course. The total number of required MBA credits required for graduation for an MBA/JD student remains 48 credits.

Waiver criteria: The criteria for granting a waiver for a core course are determined by the faculty member responsible for the course, and based on an assessment of whether the student meets the academic requirements for waiving the course. Students who waive a core course are responsible for the content of the waived course as it is applied in other MBA core and elective courses.

  • GSM 5103 - Data Analysis, Modeling and Decision Making
    MBA/JD students who have a strong background in data analysis who are interested in a Substitute Waiver for GSM 5103 should talk to Professor Mike Hand at the beginning of fall semester. Students who receive the substitute waiver will enroll in GSM 6216 - Business and Economic Forecasting instead of GSM 5103 during fall semester.

  • GSM 5105 - Accounting for Managers
    MBA/JD students who have completed a course in Financial Accounting with a minimum grade of 3.0 (B), a course in Cost or Management Accounting with a minimum grade of 3.0 (B), and have a cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or better may be eligible to substitute an approved upper division accounting course for the core course Accounting for Managers. Qualified students must contact Professor Thibodeau during Compass Week to review their waiver options.

  • GSM 5101 and 5102 - Managing Organizations
    MBA/JD students who have completed ALL of the following may be eligible for a Substitute Waiver for GSM 5101/5102: a bachelor degree in business from an AACSB accredited program within five years of entry to the Atkinson School with a major in Organizational Behavior, Organization Theory or Human Resources; six or more undergraduate courses in HRM/Personnel (including course work in ethics) and earned a minimum grade of 3.0 (B) in each course; four or more junior/senior level courses in Organizational Behavior, Organization Theory, Leadership or Decision Making with a minimum grade of 3.0 (B) in each course; and have a cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or better. Qualified students should contact Judy O'Neill before the first week of fall semester.

  • GSM 5107 - Marketing - Creating Satisfied Consumers
    MBA/JD students who have completed six credits or more of undergraduate course work in marketing with a minimum grade of B (3.0) in each of the marketing courses, have a cumulative GPA of B+ (3.3) or better in all marketing course work, and a cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.0 (B) or higher may be eligible for a Substitution Waiver. Students granted a substitution waiver for GSM 5107 are required to complete either "GSM 6260 - Research for Marketing Decisions" or "GSM 6261 Marketing Strategy" in place of GSM 5107. Qualified students should contact Judy O'Neill before the first week of fall semester.

  • GSM 5108 and 5109 PACE I and II
    GSM 5108 and 5109 cannot be waived.

  • GSM 5110 - Economics, Finance and Markets
    MBA/JD students who seek a substitute waiver for GSM 5110 must submit an application for review to professors Michael Dothan, Wei Wu and Robert Couch. To qualify for a review by the professor, the student must have completed an undergraduate course in Intermediate Micro, Intermediate Macro, and Corporate Finance course in the U.S. with grades of "B" or better in each course and a cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.0 (B) or higher. In addition, a student seeking a waiver must familiarize himself or herself with the syllabus of GSM 5110 and explain in the application for a waiver where he or she has already learned the course material. The finance professors also strongly recommend students seeking a waiver attend the first class meeting of GSM 5110 before making a final decision.

  • GSM 5114 - Operations and Systems Management
    MBA/JD students who seek a substitute waiver for GSM 5114 must contact Professor Henry Bi before the beginning of spring semester to discuss the waiver process.

Transfer Credits

MBA/JD students are not eligible to transfer credits from other MBA programs to the Atkinson School. 

Requests for Exceptions to Academic Policies or Procedures

Students requesting an exception to academic policies or procedures must submit a written request and rationale for the request. The proposal should be directed to the Associate Dean/Director of Admission ( who will confer with the Senior Associate Dean for a decision. The following are required of all written proposals.

  • The student must explain the request in detail
  • The student must provide information about any discussion or tentative agreements that may have occurred between the student and a faculty member (if any)
  • If a tentative agreement has already been made with a faculty member, the student must provide the signature of the faculty member involved or the faculty member must send an email directly to the Associate Dean/Director of Admission discussing their level of support for the proposal and any other comments or suggestions
  • The student must state a clear rationale for the request as to why it is the best alternative for their educational and career goals

If the proposal is not approved, the Associate Dean/Director of Admission will notify the student via email.

If the proposal is tentatively approved, the student must complete an interview (in person or on the telephone) with the Associate Dean/Director of Admission to discuss the implications and regulations governing the requested exception and any future implications of the exception.

Following the interview, the student must sign in writing that they understand and accept the exception that has been made and the conditions and regulations governing the exception. The signature is required for the exception to be implemented. Failure to provide a written statement accepting the conditions and regulations governing an exception voids any tentatively approved exception to policy or procedures.

Students should note that the following basic requirements of the MBA degree are never modified:

  • Satisfactory completion of the minimum number of credits required for graduation
  • Satisfactory completion of required courses (or substitute courses approved by the Senior Associate Dean)
  • Minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.00 in Willamette MBA course work