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About Student Success Advising: Advising Terminology

Advising Terminology

Academic Calendar

Walden University’s Academic Calendar is broken up into Quarter-Based Terms (Fall, Winter, Spring, and Summer) and Semester-Based Terms (Fall, Spring, and Summer). Within each of these terms, there are Parts of Term that correlate to specific course lengths. These calendars provide term-specific information and list the last day to add or drop a course (with refund) and the last day to withdraw with a grade of “W.” The calendars also contain coding that is aligned with the Office of the Registrar’s system for student  registration.

Academic Residencies

Academic residencies provide students the chance to connect with faculty members and students alike, though sessions designed to enhance your learning at different stages of your program at Walden. Not every program has a residency required of it, and for those that do the number and timing of required residencies will vary by degree program.

Accelerate into Master's (AIM)

Accelerate into Master’s (AIM) option allows students to take up to 5 graduate level courses while completing their Bachelor’s degree.  In order to take advantage of this option, students’ GPA must meet the acceptance requirements for the Master’s program they plan to pursue and they must also complete their general education, core, and concentration courses before entering into any AIM courses. AIM courses can only be applied to students with open electives in their Degree Audit. There is no application process to take advantage of this option.  Students must schedule an appointment with their Student Success Advisor to see if the Masters program they are interested in has an AIM option and for registration in AIM courses.

Administrative Withdrawal

When students cease to attend class but fail to notify the university that they are withdrawing, the university will administratively withdraw them from their courses. In the case of an administrative withdrawal, Walden University will determine whether a return of federal funds is necessary, in compliance with federal regulations relating to Student Assistance General Provision [34 CFR 668.22].

Anticipated Graduation Date

Walden requires its students to complete their programs within a specific number of years.

  • Doctoral students: 8 calendar years
  • Master’s and EdS students: 5 calendar years
  • Undergraduate students: 8 calendar years

Upon your initial enrollment in the program, your degree audit will populate your anticipated graduation date (AGD) the appropriate number of years based on the maximum time to complete the program. If you happen to reach or approach the maximum number of years in the program without completing it, Student Success Advising will contact you regarding any possible next steps. If you worry that you are approaching the time limit, Advising would recommend that you work with your faculty mentor and/or capstone chairperson to develop a plan for successfully completing your program.

Bursar Hold

Students who have not paid their tuition bill for a term will have a Bursar Hold placed on their account. This will prevent registration for future courses and residencies. To have the hold lifted, you will need to pay your outstanding balance.

Students who have a Bursar Hold will not be able to register for upcoming courses or residencies, nor will they be able to request a copy of their official transcript.

Any students who fail to pay off the outstanding balance within 60 days of a term’s end are eligible for Financial Suspension from the University.


Commencement is an optional ceremony, celebrating the graduation of Walden students twice a year. Students are not required to participate in commencement and applying for graduation is separate from applying for commencement.

Contingency Hold

A Contingency Hold is placed on students’ accounts if they are missing an official copy of their transcripts from their alma mater. Official copies of transcripts are those that are sent to Walden University directly from the alma mater, in a signed and sealed envelope to ensure that the transcripts have not been altered. Official copies may also be emailed directly from the alma mater to Walden, using the address.

Course Drop

Students may drop a course from their schedule through day 7 of the course without transcript notation or financial penalty. Students should either drop the desired course in their portal or send an email to their Student Success Advisor for assistance. Please note: A dropped course may have an impact on your federal financial aid. (Please refer to the Walden website for more information regarding the potential impact a drop or withdrawal may have on your financial aid.)

Degree Audit

The Degree Audit is the student's official record. This electronic document enables students to track their degree requirements and progress towards the completion of their program.  This includes all awarded transfer of credit, courses completed, and unfulfilled degree requirements.  Degree Audits can be easily accessed at any time via the Registration button at the homepage of the myWalden portal.


After a student's degree is conferred and provided there are no holds on his or her account, a diploma will be issued. The diploma indicates the student’s degree and major field of study but not the concentration or specialization. However, the concentration or specialization is indicated on the official transcript. Diplomas are 11” x 14”.

Document Hold

Students who have a minimal tuition balance due will have a Document Hold placed on their account. While students can register for upcoming courses and/or residencies with a Document Hold, they will not be able to request a copy of their official transcript with the hold in place

Enrollment Date

The first date of your first class in your current program is considered your enrollment date.

Field Experience

Field experience is a real-world, hands-on opportunity to put into practice theory studied in coursework. For more information about field experience, please visit the Field Experience website.

Financial Suspension

Students who fail to pay tuition and applicable fees greater than $350 within 60 calendar days past the due date will be Financially Suspended from their program.

Financial suspension results in the loss of all academic and student services, as the student is effectively withdrawn from the university. You must pay your outstanding balance before you would be eligible for readmission to the University. To arrange a payment plan to clear your balance, please contact the Bursar's Office. Once your Financial Suspension has been lifted, you will need to petition for readmission to your program. The petition form can be found online or you can request a copy from your Student Success Advisor.


Graduation (degree conferral) occurs when a student completes a degree program. Students should submit their Graduation Application at the start of the term in which they anticipate completing their degree requirements.



A Knowledge Area Module, or KAM, is a scholarly paper that demonstrates your academic mastery of a subject you research with the guidance of a Mentor.  The average length of a KAM is 90-120 pages. Only students in a KAM-based or Mixed-Model program (part KAMs, part classes) are required to write  KAMs. Students in Course-based programs will not write a KAM and will, instead, take only the courses, practicums, residencies, etc., required of their program as outlined in the program of study or degree audit.

KAM Assessor

Some programs have a limit on the number of KAMs a Faculty Mentor can assess for each student. In this situation, you may be required to locate an additional KAM Assessor. Please contact your Student Success Advisor for clarification on this policy.

KAM-based program

A KAM-based program relies primarily on Knowledge Area Modules (KAMs) - large, scholarly papers demonstrating one’s academic mastery of a subject, but may also require a Foundations course and a Research sequence, in addition to Academic Residencies. Students in a KAM-based program may be able to substitute a set of courses for a KAM (contact a Student Success Advisor for more specific information on this topic), but if this happens, the student is still considered KAM-based.

KAM Mentor

Students will be partnered with a faculty mentor who shares the same research interests and will support the student through the KAM process. This mentor will provide you with expert advice, including defining learning objectives, recommending relevant resources, and evaluating your work.

Leave of Absence

Walden University’s programs are designed to permit students to pursue their studies full time while managing the many responsibilities they have as adult professionals. The university will, however, consider a student’s request for a leave of absence if the student is experiencing hardships that make effective academic progress unusually difficult. A leave of absence is defined as a temporary break (30–180 calendar days) from academic registration with a clear intent to return to the program of study.


Mixed-Model Program

A mixed-model program relies on a mixture of KAMs and courses (in addition to the Foundations and Research courses) to complete the degree requirements.


The ombudsperson serves as an objective party for the university, advocating for fairness. The job of the ombudsperson is to aid in the timely and impartial resolution of problems in a non-adversarial, non-litigious manner. Students are encouraged to consult the ombudsperson as a first resort when they are attempting to resolve issues informally or do not know where to address a problem or how to approach the appropriate person or committee. The Ombudsperson can be reached at


Every Walden student has a myWalden portal where they can access their courses, email, student records, and other important information related to their program at Walden. The address for the portal login page is

Program of Study

Students receive an unofficial Plan/Program of Study (POS) from Admissions when admitted into the institution. POS are documents that track transfer of credit and are unofficial. After you begin your program you should refer to your Degree Audit for the most accurate information related to your degree progress.


Walden University's Academic Calendar is divided into either Quarters or Semesters. There are four Quarters in a year (Fall, Winter, Spring, and Summer), each 12 weeks in length with a week's break between.


Walden University's Academic Calendar is divided into either Quarters or Semesters. There are three Semesters in a year (Fall, Spring, and Summer) each 16 weeks in length.

Transfer of Credit

Transer of Credit is external credit tht is awarded to a student for educational courses taken at another accredited institution.

Withdrawal (course)

Students who are registered in a class have a specific period of time in which they can withdraw from the class after it starts. Please see below for information regarding the deadlines for withdrawal requests. No adjustments to registrations can be made over the phone – we will always require a written request to withdraw from a class and will use the time-stamp on your email to confirm if the request was received prior to the deadline.

Withdrawing from a class will enter a W grade on your transcript from the course. This W grade does not impact your GPA, but will remain on your record even after you retake the course in a future term.

Please note: Withdrawing from a course does count as an active term and students who are on Academic Warning should contact their advisor for information on how the withdrawal will impact their academic warning status

Withdrawal (from university)

Students who wish to withdraw from the university must submit a written request to do so. There is a University Withdrawal form located University and Program Forms section of the Academic Resources page of the myWalden portal.