Southwestern Adventist University

Undergraduate Bulletin 2017-2018 PDF

Distance Education


Jeanne Mizher, Secretary

Mission Statement

In keeping with the Christian mission and academic goals of the University, the purpose of the program is to give a broad spectrum of students an opportunity to learn and to earn college credit through distance education courses that contain the same rigor, currency, and quality that is offered in the traditional curriculum.

In addition, Southwestern Adventist University strives to provide Distance Education students with:

  • access to important academic support services including library and learning resources, information on technology employed in the program, and counseling and testing services.
  • a full range of student services appropriate to support the program, including admissions, financial aid, academic advising, registration, delivery of course materials, degree audits, and graduation assistance.

Admission and Transfer Policies

The Distance Education Program adheres to the regular University admission and transfer policies.

The Registrar is responsible for transfer credit evaluation.  Transcripts are reviewed to determine which academic credits will transfer and their applicability to degree requirements.  Course credits earned from regionally accredited colleges and universities will be accepted as transfer credit subject to the following guidelines:

  1. Courses with grades of C- or higher will transfer.
  2. Concurrent enrollment for transfer credit must be approved prior to registering at another college or university.  The student must file a request with the Distance Education office, and the course(s) must be approved for applicability of credit for degree requirements.
  3. A limited amount of transfer credit from certain unaccredited schools may be accepted upon review by the faculty.
  4. Courses considered technical, developmental/remedial, continuing education, co-operative education, extension, English as a Second Language, and non-credit classes will not transfer.
  5. Even though credit hours are transferable, the transferred hours may not necessarily apply toward a particular degree program or general education.
  6. Religion courses will be considered for transfer.
  7. Transfer students' cumulative grade point averages will include both grades earned in courses accepted in transfer and grades earned in courses taken in the Distance Education Program.
  8. Transfer of experiential credit is described below in the section on Alternatives for Acquiring Credit.

International Students

Admission requirements for international students are different from the requirements for U.S. citizens.  International students who apply to the Distance Education Program must comply with the academic admission policies on page 9 of this Bulletin.  General information related to the on-campus residence of international students does not apply.

Alternatives for Acquiring Credit

Distance Education students can take advantage of the following alternatives for acquiring college credit:

  1. CLEP is a national system of college credit by examination offered by the College Board in Princeton, New Jersey. 
  2. Proficiency examinations provide the opportunity to challenge a course for credit. The polices for this alternative are also described on page 44 of this Bulletin.
  3. Credit for prior learning is available through the portfolio assessment program. The student may receive up to 16 credits for college level learning acquired outside the formal credit granting process. To obtain this credit, the student must register for ADPS 230 Prior Learning Assessment, a one hour course. The course guides the student through the development of a portfolio to document college level learning. The portfolio will be evaluated by faculty in the discipline for which credit is requested. A limited number of courses are available for experiential credit. The student considering this alternative should consult carefully with the Distance Education Program office for course applicability. Credit awarded through the portfolio does not apply toward the 30 hour residency requirement. In addition to the tuition for the Portfolio Development course, there is an evaluation and transcription fee for experiential credit.

Financial Information

The tuition rate for Distance Education students is provided in the Finances section of this Bulletin. There are no scholarship or payment plans for this program. All charges must be covered at the time of registration. Students are eligible for many financial aid plans and are encouraged to contact the  Student Financial Services office at the time they apply for admission. Students will be issued an ID card for access to the library and other facilities like the gymnasium.

Degree Requirements

Distance Education students must meet the degree and graduation requirements described in the Core Curriculum and Graduation section of this Bulletin.  Alternatives for acquiring credit do not apply to the residency requirement. 

Academic Policies

The academic policies of the University described in the Academics section of this Bulletin apply to students in Distance Education (DE) programs. Since most DE students have additional responsibilities of employment and family, a normal course load is considered to be two courses per term (6-8 credits). Students may take up to 16 credits per term without petitioning for an overload. Petitions for an overload are filed with the Distance Education office and approved by the Academic Standards and Practices Committee.

A student may realize early in the semester that he or she cannot complete a course in a timely manner. The policy for withdrawing from a course is described on page 39 of this Bulletin. Students wishing to drop a course need to notify the Distance Education office prior to the last day to withdraw from a class. This date is listed in the Academic Calendar on page 1 of this Bulletin. The Distance Education office will regularly inform students of the dates for dropping a class. Refunds to students withdrawing from a course are described in the Finances section of this Bulletin. Students will be informed of the eligible refund at the time they request a withdrawal from a course. Withdrawing from a class may also affect financial aid eligibility. The student should check with the Distance Education office to understand the financial impact of reducing course enrollment.

It is expected that students will complete all academic work for a course during the dates designated for the semester of registration. The policy on Incomplete Grades is in the Academics section of this Bulletin. After first seeking the approval of the instructor, the student files a request with the Distance Education office for an incomplete grade and an extension of time to complete the requirements of the course. The Distance Education office will review the request and forward it to the Vice President for Academic Administration for official action. Incomplete grades may adversely affect the assessment of satisfactory academic progress used to determine eligibility for continuing financial aid.

Academic Programs

  • Certificate
    • Church Ministry
  • Associate of Applied Science
    • Fire Science (program application required)
  • Associate of Science
  • Bachelor of Science
    • Business
    • Elementary Education (program application required)
    • General Studies
    • Psychology
    • Social Science
  • Bachelor of Arts
    • History
    • Religion
    • Theology
  • Post Baccalaureate
    • Alternative Certification Program          

Distance Education for On-campus Students

Distance education courses are also utilized by on-campus students.  The Distance Education office provides assistance to students.  The University uses Canvas as the on-line course management system.  All courses require students to have access to the Internet, a SWAU e-mail account, and the ability to play video lectures.

Independent Classes

In certain unusual circumstances which jeopardize a student's academic progress, a course may be offered on an independent basis.  An independent class consists of course work done outside the classroom under faculty supervision.  Weekly conferences will be held with the instructor.  Distance education course work and conferences may be used if available and appropriate.  Consequently, a course fee for private instruction will be charged in addition to tuition for the course.  Generally, an independent class will be offered only if there are irreconcilable class schedule conflicts and alternatives like a class substitution and/ or waiver is not possible.  The faculty advisor submits a request on behalf of the student to the instructor of the course and his or her department chair.  A form for this purpose is available on the University's website.  The course fee is listed in the finance section of this Bulletin.

Summer Distance Education

Distance education courses offered by Southwestern Adventist University are available for traditional, on-campus, undergraduate students during the summer. The Summer Distance Education course schedule is available for students prior to the beginning of summer registration on the University's website. Students interested in this option should contact the Distance Education office for access to the course on Canvas. Summer registration is limited to three courses. 

Teacher Certification

Teacher credentialing is available via Distance Education through the Alternative Certification program. Post-baccalaureate students interested in completing the requirements for teacher certification must apply for admission to the University and to the Teacher Education Program. See page 136 of this Bulletin for further information or contact the Department of Education by telephone at (817) 645-3921 extension 6256 or on-line at A special distance education teacher certification program for teachers in the Seventh-day Adventist Southwestern Union Conference is also available. Teachers interested in this program should contact the Southwestern Union Department of Education. The e-mail address is or telephone (817) 295-0476.


Southwestern Adventist University