No Set Class Times: A Schedule That Is Truly Built Around Your Life
We know you have a busy life, and we don't think school should interrupt it. Every student comes to WGU with a unique situation—working full-time, working part-time, managing family, supporting a spouse, and more. We believe you should be able to fit schooling into your life, not the other way around. That's why we don't have set class times, deadlines, or due dates. You get to work on your courses any time, any place. Your personalized Degree Plan helps you see all your course requirements and plan them out so you can stay on track to graduate. You set up your Degree Plan with the help of your Program Mentor and will have regular appointments with them to ensure you're making progress.
Flexibility Means You Drive Your Progress
How quickly you learn.
The time you devote to studying.
How much previous knowledge you bring.
Your Degree Plan Lays Out Program Requirements
It's your map to the assessments you'll need to complete and the learning resources you can use to prepare. Your degree plan includes:
- Details of your term
- Assessment type, status, and associated learning resources
- Access to preassessments—described in more detail in completing your assessments
- Required completion dates—explained below
All of the specifics will be described in detail by your Program Mentor and established during the first few weeks of your program.
Example List of Course Competencies
Term enrollment is the process of choosing courses and verifying that you are enrolled for the term of study. During term enrollment, you and your Program Mentor will map out which assessments you will complete and the time frame in which you will do so by established start and end dates. Your Program Mentor will schedule at least the minimum number of competency units required for full-time enrollment (12 units for undergraduate students, 8 units for graduate students). Your on-time progress (OTP; explained further below) is based on how you set term enrollment each term.
Start and End Dates
To help you plan your progress through the term and to set a study schedule and calendar, you and your Program Mentor will set start and end dates for each course. With these dates, you can plan your preparation and see how you can accelerate or where you may need to spend more time in getting ready to demonstrate competency in an assessment area.
Common Terms Used at WGU
Competency units or CUs are basically the same as a credit-hour in a traditional college. Because we measure competency instead of time in-class, we call them competency units rather than credits. Each WGU course is approximately 2–4 CUs and you need approximately 120 CUs to graduate with your undergraduate degree, 30–36 CUs for your graduate degree.
WGU requires that students make measurable progress toward the completion of their degree programs every term. We call this on-time progress, a measure that shows you are on track and making progress toward on-time graduation. As full-time students, graduate students must enroll in at least 8 competency units each term, and undergraduate students must enroll in at least 12 competency units each term.
Satisfactory academic progress (SAP) is particularly important for financial aid students because you must make SAP in order to maintain eligibility for financial aid. We will measure your SAP quantitatively by reviewing the number of competency units you have completed each term.
Assessments, Not Classes
WGU’s academic approach is competency-based and dedicated to producing highly competent graduates. Instead of basing progress on credit hours and seat time in the classroom (physical or virtual), WGU awards degrees by measuring students' demonstrated skills and knowledge (competencies) in specific subject areas.
WGU’s competency-based academic approach utilizes a variety of assessments to measure your skills and knowledge in your chosen field. These assessments require you to demonstrate that you understand concepts and can perform them in real-life situations. Assessments can take many forms, including objective exams, research papers, assignments, projects, and essays.
The bottom line: You’ll learn what you need to succeed. Your diploma will mean you’ve mastered the essential skills and knowledge the workplace demands—and that you've proved it.
Courses of Study
Your degree program at WGU is composed of a number of Courses of Study (COS). Each Course of Study contains all of the necessary components for competency development in each subject area, including:
- Learning resources
- Community support
- Plan of study
These combine to help you know where to turn if questions arise and to help you establish a manageable pace for learning as you prepare for the final assessment.
Flexibility is built in to accommodate all types of students. You aren't required to complete all coursework, you don't have to move through the material in a set order, and you can attempt an assessment at any point. Every detail is laid out for you at the beginning of a course—you'll know what to expect, what resources are available, and what is required to pass the course.
As a WGU student, you will be required to demonstrate your mastery of competencies in a variety of ways. An assessment may be a traditional test, a project, an essay, or another practical demonstration of a required skill. Assessments can take many forms. Here are some examples from various programs:
- Assignments involving problem-solving (e.g., science or information technology).
- Computerized exams consisting of 50 multiple-choice, matching, and other question types (e.g., mathematics).
- Projects requiring the student to design a lesson plan (e.g., teaching).
- Reflection essays about case studies (e.g., MBA).
- Research papers on particular topics within the student’s field.
Your assessments align to demonstrate specific competencies in your chosen field.
Assessments at WGU are developed using a rigorous process that conforms to accreditation requirements and professional testing standards. WGU relies upon an Assessment Program Council, comprising leading test experts. This process yields high-quality exams, reliable scores, and supports valid conclusions about each student’s level of competence.
Objective assessments—what we call traditional multiple-choice-style tests—are common in many of our programs. Because of WGU's commitment to both quality and accessibility, it's crucial that we conduct these tests in a way that is both secure and convenient. Thanks to webcam technology and online proctoring services, WGU enables you to take tests from the comfort, privacy, and convenience of your home or office—while simultaneously ensuring that the highest testing standards are maintained.