Southwestern Adventist University

Undergraduate Bulletin 2011-2012 PDF

Graduation Requirement Policies

Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP)

Southwestern Adventist University's Quality Enhancement Plan, "Improving Research Skills and Writing through Information Literacy," brings together four aspects of education -- research, writing, critical thinking, and information technology --and integrates these aspects into the curriculum through a matrix of classes delivered through the general education curriculum and by the specific academic departments. Each student must complete these requirements in order to graduate.

QEP Curriculum Four-Year Matrix


  • UNIV 110 Principles of Active Learning
  • ENGL 121 Freshman Composition
  • CSIS 102 Microcomputer Literacy and Applications


  • ENGL 220 Research and Professional Writing
  • UNIV 201 Research in the Academic Discipline (Academic Departments may designate a particular class to fulfill this requirement.)


Two upper-division classes within the student's major designated as fulfilling the requirements of the QEP (Writing, Research, Technology, and Critical Thinking). This requirement may be fulfilled by one upper-division class and the Capstone class if the academic department has a separate class for the completion of the portfolio.

A Capstone Class designated by the student's major academic department.


The requirement for the portfolio will be set by the QEP committee and the academic departments. The portfolio will be completed in either the Capstone class or a specially designated portfolio class.

Baccalaureate Degree

The University awards three types of baccalaureate degrees: the Bachelor of Arts, the Bachelor of Science and the Bachelor of Business Administration.  Candidates who have completed the following requirements will be awarded degrees upon recommendation by the faculty and approval by the Board of Trustees.

All baccalaureate graduates will

  • Complete a minimum of 128 semester credit hours, including 40 credit hours in courses numbered 300 and above and  earn a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.00.
  • Complete the general education requirements.
  • Complete a minimum of 32 semester credit hours in residence. The last 38 credit hours earned prior to graduation must include 32 credit hours in residence.
  • Complete the requirements for a major field of specialization with a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.25.  No class with a grade below a C– may apply toward the major or area of emphasis. Classes listed as cognates are included in the major. A minimum of 12 hours in the major field must be taken in residence.
  • Take a comprehensive examination in the field of study designated by the major.
  • Take the College Base General Education examination prior to graduation.

Bachelor of Arts graduates will also

  • Complete a minor field of specialization.  No class with a grade below a C– may apply toward the minor, and a minimum of 6 hours in the minor field must be taken in residence.
  • Complete 6 semester credit hours of a foreign language at the intermediate level as part of the general education program.

Graduates with Nursing and Elementary Education majors have modified degree requirements and these are specified under the respective department sections in this Bulletin. 

Double majors must be completed within a single degree such as a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science.  To receive a degree with a double major, a student must complete all of the requirements, including cognates, of each major or area of emphasis. A second major will satisfy the requirement for a minor for the Bachelor of Arts degree. The BBA degree cannot have a second area of emphasis, and a student cannot earn two majors or areas of emphasis in communication.

Two baccalaureate degrees such as a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Science with majors in different disciplines may be awarded concurrently or sequentially.  The candidate must meet all the degree requirements for each major including cognates, general education, the foreign language requirement, the requirement of a minor, a total of 158 semester credit hours, and 32 credit hours in residence.


Associate Degree

Students must meet the following requirements:

  1. Be recommended by the faculty and approved by the Board of Trustees.
  2. Complete at least 64 credit hours.
  3. Satisfactorily complete the requirements for classes in the major, general education, and 24 semester credit hours in residence.
  4. Earn a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.00.
  5. Earn a minimum cumulative GPA in the major courses of 2.00.  No class with a grade below C– may apply toward the major.


Graduation Procedures

A graduating student will fulfill all degree requirements published in the Bulletin. The student may complete the degree requirements published in the Bulletin at the time of admission or any Bulletin issued during continuous enrollment.  All general requirements for graduation must be fulfilled as published in the current Bulletin.

An application for graduation must be completed and filed in the Office of Admissions and Records three semesters before the student expects to graduate. Ordering deadlines for gowns and diplomas require that each student finalize all arrangements for graduation one semester prior to a graduation ceremony.

A Graduation Contract must be completed and returned to the Office of Admissions and Records no later than one week after the start of the senior year.

Any transfer work must be completed and the official transcript of this work must be in the Office of Admissions and Records by March 1 for May graduates, July 15 for August graduates, and November 15 for December graduates.  

The student must satisfactorily meet all financial obligations to the University, including payment of graduation dues, in order to obtain a diploma or transcript showing graduation. The amount of dues is determined by the class with the approval of the president.  If graduation dues were paid as a previous graduate, only half of the dues will be required for the next degree.

All graduates are expected to participate in the commencement exercises unless given permission by the Vice President for Academic Administration to graduate in absentia.

Graduation Ceremonies

The commencement ceremonies are held at the end of the fall and spring semesters each year. Students eligible to participate in graduation must complete all arrangements with the Office of Admissions and Records prior to January 15 in order to be included in the ceremony. The program for each commencement ceremony lists the names of all degree candidates.

Diplomas showing graduation are issued following each graduation date, subject to financial clearance.

Deferred Graduation

Seniors in their last semester, who are registered at the University for all remaining hours and who fulfill their graduation requirements by the end of the semester, may participate in the graduation exercises. An exception will be made for students whose requirements are incomplete because of D's, F's, or I's in no more than two of these final classes. They may still participate in the graduation exercises if documented evidence is provided that any remaining requirements can reasonably be completed prior to the next graduation deadline. The student will be listed as a candidate for graduation in the graduation program.  After April 15 of the following year, students will be expected to meet the graduation requirements of the new Bulletin.


Southwestern Adventist University