General Academic Information and Policies

Academic Policies

The rules and regulations by which a university operates its program are called academic policies. At Southwestern Adventist University these policies are continually under review by the faculty to assure consistency with the curriculum and fairness to students. The Academic Policies Committee oversees the implementation of these policies.

Academic Semesters

The academic year is divided into semesters:

  • Fall Semester
  • Spring Semester
  • Summer Semester

The academic calendar is printed inside the front cover of the Bulletin. It shows registration dates and other deadlines for each semester.


Attendance The University attendance policy requires regular and punctual class attendance. No assigned work is excused because of absence, no matter what the cause. Records of class attendance are kept by the faculty. Students who miss an instructional experience are expected to meet with the class instructor to discuss their absences as soon as possible. Except for emergencies, the student should make arrangements with his/her teachers prior to any absence. When an accumulation of absences reaches the point of endangering a student's academic status, the class instructor should report this situation to the student and the Vice President for Academic Administration. The instructor should not assume that continued absence from class indicates an official withdrawal until notified by the Registrar.

Official university absences may be granted by the Vice President for Academic Administration for either academic or activity reasons. Academic Absences include class and major field trips while Activity Absences include music, mission, gymnastics, and recruitment trips. Faculty or staff who wish to have an event sanctioned for official university absence status must submit the names of all students, including date and hours absent from campus, to the Vice President for Academic Administration's Office no later than one week prior to the date of the activity. The Vice President for Academic Administration will review and approve/deny the request as appropriate and forward the names for publication and distribution to all faculty through e-mail. Students may miss classes because of approved Academic Absences and may miss up to one class hour for each credit hour of the class for approved Activity Absences. Arrangements for additional absences must be worked out by the student and the teacher involved. Faculty will report to the full faculty the names of students who actually attended that activity. When an official university absence occurs, faculty members must either average work missed or allow the student to make it up at the faculty member's discretion.

Serious illness or family emergencies may be verified by the Vice President for Student Services but are not considered official absences.

Illnesses that will be verified are those involving hospitalization or serious injury. When a serious illness or emergency has been verified, each instructor should assist the student in making up missed work or the instructor may average missed work into the student's grade. Faculty members should specify the appropriate time frame for making up missed work.

Unapproved absences should not exceed one class hour for each credit hour of the class. Unapproved absences beyond this number may subject the student to a lower grade, or failure, in the course. Classes missed when a student registers late will count as unapproved absences.

Class Schedule

Class Schedule Class schedules are available on-line at . Although every effort is made to be accurate in listing course offerings, the University reserves the right to make essential course changes, to discontinue any course for which an insufficient number of students register, or to change the semester in which a course is offered.

Class Load

The credit total hours of all classes being taken during a semester.

Class Load Credit Hours
Part-time 1-5
Half-time 6-11
Full-time 12-17
Overload* 18 or more

In order to graduate in 4 years, a student's class load must average 16 credit hours per semester. Should a student wish to register for more than 17 credit hours in one semester, he/she must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 and file a petition requesting an overload at the Office of Admissions and Records. A class load of 12 credit hours meets the minimum class load requirements for international students, financial aid and veterans.

*If enrollment in an honors class creates an overload of one hour, tuition will be waived for the one hour.


Every registered student is provided with a Southwestern e-mail account (  Regular notices about assignments, activities, schedule changes, closings, and other important matters are delivered via this account.  Students should check their Southwestern account at least once a day for these messages.  The University views announcements posted here as having been delivered to the student body.

Severe Weather Protocol

In the rare event of severe weather, an announcement will be made between 9:00 and 10:30 p.m. indicating that classes will be delayed or cancelled, or that the University will be open as usual on the following day. If it is not determined until early morning that classes must be delayed or cancelled, an announcement will be made by 6:00 a.m. You may check the following for official delay or closing announcements: University radio station, NBC 5 KXAS TV,, or the University switchboard operator at (817) 645-3921.

General Enrollment Policies


Registration is available to all students using the web portal.  Official registration dates are published in the academic calendar of the Bulletin.  Registration is not finalized until all procedures required by the university are completed and financial arrangements finished.  Students who do not receive financial clearance by the end of the first week of classes will have their class registration cancelled.  Faculty advisors are available to assist students with registration and in planning an academic schedule.  The chair of a department is considered the primary advisor for students majoring in programs offered by the department.  Other faculty may be assigned as advisors by the department chair.  Advisor and advisee assignments are maintained by the Office of Admissions and Records and displayed on the web portal.  With the assistance of a faculty advisor it is important that a student become familiar with all degree requirements and understand the responsibility for completing them.

Registration without Official Transcripts

Students accepted on the basis of an unofficial transcript will be allowed to register for classes for one semester. Official transcripts must be on file for a student to register for continuing semesters.

Late Registration

Students for justifiable reasons may be allowed to register after the first week of the semester.  They will be charged a late fee of $200 and must obtain the permission of each instructor involved

Changes in Registration

Changes in registration may be made according to the following procedures.  Classes may be added during the first week of each semester with the approval of the instructor and the student’s academic advisor.  Students citing unusual circumstances may add a class during the second week of classes with special permission of the instructor.  Students may withdraw from individual classes by submitting a change in registration form to the Office of Admissions and Records signed by the class instructor and the student’s academic advisor.

Withdrawal from the University

To officially withdraw from the University, a student must obtain a withdrawal form from the Office of Admissions and Records. The withdrawal form must be signed by a Student Finance Advisor and one of the following university personnel: the Vice President for Academic Administration, Vice President for Student Services, or Director of Counseling and Testing. The form must be returned to the Office of Admissions and Records after all signatures have are obtained and the withdrawal will be effective as of the date returned. Refunds will be made according to University policy. If a student follows this procedure, a W will be recorded for each class for the semester of the withdrawal. Otherwise,  the instructors of the student's classes will submit failing grades which will be recorded on the permanent record.

Students who officially withdraw  will not be permitted to charge for expenses on campus or live in the residence halls after their official withdrawal date.

Selected Topics

Most departments of the University list selected topics courses in the Bulletin and class schedule. These courses offer opportunities for departments to schedule directed reading and research for credit. Students desiring to enroll in a selected topics course must have written approval of the instructor, department chair, and Vice President for Academic Administration. This form is available in the Office of Admissions and Records.

Generally, students in selected topics courses take the class individually and are required to read widely, follow approved research methods, and present a paper or project showing competence in the area of study. Three clock hours of academic work per week are required for one semester hour hour.  Questions regarding selected topics studies in a particular area should be directed to the department chair.


Auditing Students wishing to attend a class for personal enrichment, without completing course requirements, may register for the class on an audit basis with the following provisions:

  1. Some courses are not available for audit.
  2. The signatures of both the teacher for the class and the registrar are required.
  3. Registration to audit a class occurs during registration, if space is available. Priority for class registration is given to regularly enrolled students.
  4. Students auditing a class must have the appropriate background and meet all prerequisites.
  5. Tuition to audit is one-half of the regular tuition, unless it is part of the tuition package.
  6. Course and lab fees that are part of an audited class are not waived.
  7. The level of participation in class requirements and activities is determined by the instructor.
  8. Audited classes do not receive university credits and will not fulfill any departmental or university graduation requirements.

Repeating a Course

A major or minor course in which a student has earned a D must be repeated or, with the consent of the major advisor, may be replaced by another course in the same area. If a student takes a course and then repeats it, the highest grade earned will be used in calculating the GPA. Though all grades remain on the permanent record. Students may not receive credit for a course more than once with the exception of music performance and selected topics, unless specified in the course description.  A course may not be repeated for credit by examination or by independent study, but may be taken at another school.

Study Load

One semester hour equals one 50-minute class period per week or three clock hours a week in supervised laboratory work. For each semester hour of academic work earned, a student is expected to spend two clock hours a week in outside preparation.

Independent Study

In certain unusual circumstances which jeopardize a student’s academic progress, permission for Independent Study is given subject to the approval of the instructor of the course and the student’s academic advisor.  Independent study means that the student is taking a required course on an independent basis.  A course may not be repeated for credit by independent study.  Distance education courses may be used for this purpose.


An internship is an on-the-job, career-oriented course for training in the student's major field. The student must make arrangements with his or her major department prior to starting the internship. The student must sign a contract outlining the number of hours they are expected to complete, the written and oral assignments involved, evaluations required, etc. Registration must be completed within one academic year of the completion of the internship.

Grading, Recording & Qualifying Policies

Grade Point Average

Two grade point averages are maintained by the University: (1) a semester average based on courses taken during a particular term, and (2) a cumulative average based on all college level work recorded on the transcript.

A student's grade point average (GPA) is computed by dividing the number of grade points by the number of credit hours attempted.

Grade Reports

Mid-term and final grade reports are available to students and advisors through the web portal. Students should check their grade reports carefully. If a student believes any part of the report is incorrect, the corrections must be made within 3 months, unless subject to the Academic Appeals Procedure (see page 51). Only the end-of-semester grades are recorded on the permanent record.

Grading System

Grade Symbol Grade Points
A Superior 4
B Above Average 3
C Average 2
D Below Average 1
F Failure 0
P Pass* 0
NP No Pass 0
I Incomplete 0
W Withdraw 0
AU Audit 0
IP In progress 0
NC No credit 0
NR Not reported by instructor
CR Credit by examination* 0

*P and CR represent grades of C or better

Incomplete Grades

An incomplete grade of I indicates the student was unable to complete class work because of illness or other unavoidable circumstance.  When an I is given, the work necessary to complete the class must be finished within nine weeks of the end of the subsequent semester.  If the circumstance is of such a nature that it may require additional time, the student must seek approval of the instructor and request permission from the Academic Standards and Practices Committee.  An incomplete grade will become an F if the class work is not finished in the prescribed time.

Grade Changes

A grade may be changed only by the instructor responsible for the class. Changes in a grade are permitted only when an instructor error is  made. A student who feels that an improper grade has been received must notify the faculty member immediately upon receipt of the grade. All grades are final three months after they are posted.


To request a university transcript, a signed request must be submitted to the Office of Admissions and Records one week in advance of desired mailing. A faxable transcript request form is available on the University web-site. There is no charge for transcripts, except when requesting express mail ($25), same day service ($5), or fax service ($5). Payment is required in advance. A transcript is not released if a student's financial account is not clear.

Classification of Students

Class standing is calculated after each semester grading period.

  • Freshmen have completed 0-23 hours
  • Sophomores have completed 24-55 hours
  • Juniors have completed 56-89 hours
  • Seniors have completed 90+ hours

Residency Requirement

A student in residence is someone who is regularly and continuously enrolled for classes at the University. A student breaks residence by not registering for classes for two or more semesters.

Two Baccalaureate Degrees

Two baccalaureate degrees with majors in different disciplines may be awarded concurrently or sequentially if the candidate has met all the degree requirements, completed a total of 158 credit hours, and 32 credit hours in residence.

Academic Sanction Policies

Academic Sanction Students must maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.00 in order to graduate. The current semester GPA, as well as the cumulative GPA of every student, whether full or part-time, is calculated after each semester grading period. The University will notify students when their performance is not reaching that minimum level.

Students who are not making satisfactory progress are subject to the Academic Sanction Policies involving four increasingly serious steps: Academic Warning, Academic Probation, Academic Suspension, and Academic Dismissal.

Academic Warning

Academic Warning When a student's semester GPA falls below 2.00 while the cumulative GPA remains above 2.00, the student and the advisor will receive a letter indicating the student has been placed on academic warning. There are no restrictions on registration but the student will be encouraged to enroll in UNIV 011 University Strategies the next semester.

Academic Probation

Academic Probation When a student's GPA falls below 2.00, or when the student's semester GPA falls below 2.00 for two consecutive semesters, that student is placed on academic probation. Transfer students admitted to SWAU with a GPA lower than 2.00 will also be placed on academic probation. The probationary status is communicated in writing to the student and the advisor. The Academic Vice President and the Academic Support Advisor will monitor the student's progress during the probationary period. Student on academic probation must be aware that their academic careers are in serious jeopardy and that some programs and activities, including financial aid, may not be available.

Academic Probation includes the following conditions designed to help students improve their academic performance:

  1. Late registration is not allowed
  2. Enrollment is limited to 13 semester hours and emphasizes repeating classes for which D or F grades were received
  3. Enrollment in UNIV 011 University Strategies, unless completed previously
  4. Development of a Contract for Academic Success
  5. A biweekly conference with the Academic Support Advisor
  6. Completion of all registered classes with minimum grade of C.

A student meeting these conditions continues on academic probation until the cumulative GPA reaches 2.00.

Academic Suspension

Academic Suspension A student who fails to meet the probation conditions during any probationary semester will be placed on academic suspension for one semester. During the suspension period the student may not register for classes at SWAU. A suspended student may apply for readmission to SWAU after successfully completing at least one 12 semester hour term at another school

Academic Dismissal

Academic Dismissal Suspended students who are readmitted and who then fail to raise their cumulative GPA, or have a deficiency which makes it unreasonable to anticipate eventual completion of degree requirements, will be academically dismised.

Academic Honors Policies

Dean's List/Dean's Distinguished List

Special recognition and scholarships are given at the end of each semester to students having high GPAs. Two lists of these names are posted. One is the Dean's Distinguished List, for which a student must have a semester GPA of 3.75 to 4.00 on at least 12 hours of completed college level class work. The other is the Dean's List, for which a student must have a semester GPA of 3.50 to 3.74 on at least 12 hours of completed college level class work. On both lists, at least 12 hours of the class load must be graded courses, not pass, credit, or other such designations, and there may be no incompletes.

Gold Award

Students who have completed 75+ hours of college credit at the end of the fall semester with a cumulative GPA of 3.90+ will receive Gold Awards of $600. Recipients of this award must be currently enrolled in at least 12 hours for the spring semester and must have earned (in residence) a minimum of 12 hours of credit in the fall. Students who have been under citizenship probation any time during the school year automatically forfeit all eligibility for this award. This award is given to returning students during the following academic year.

Silver Award

Students who have completed 75+ hours of college credit at the end of the fall semester with cumulative GPAs of 3.70 to 3.89 will receive Silver Awards of $400. The same enrollment, residency, and citizenship stipulations apply to the Silver Award as stated under the Gold Award. This award is given to returning students during the following academic year.

An eligible student will receive either a Gold or a Silver Award one time.

Graduation Honors

Honors status will be calculated for bachelor's degree graduates after the final semester grades are issued. The following designations are given to graduates who have maintained high GPAs.

  • GPA of 3.50 to 3.74 may graduate cum laude
  • GPA of 3.75 to 3.89 may graduate magna cum laude
  • GPA of 3.90 to 4.00 may graduate summa cum laude

The associate degree candidate who has maintained a cumulative GPA of at least 3.60 may graduate with distinction.

Upon recommendation of the major department, bachelor's degree candidates may be given departmental recognition if the GPA in the major area is at least 3.50 and the cumulative GPA is at least 3.00. The candidate must also have earned 64 hours in residence to qualify for this departmental recognition.

Honors students may graduate with the designation of Honors Program Graduate by meeting the requirements outlined under Honors Program.

Examination/Credit Policies

Final Examinations

In order to complete the semester, each student must take final examinations as scheduled. The final examination is considered to be such an important part of each course that every class has its own final examination period. The final examination schedule is part of the class schedule which is published before the beginning of the Fall semester. It is the student's responsibility to arrange travel in a manner that will not interfere with the examination schedule. Requests for modification of a student's final examination schedule because of unforeseen emergencies must be arranged through the Academic Standards and Practices Committee. A form may be obtained from the Office of Admissions and Records.

Multiple Exams

Students having three or more final exams on the same day may make arrangements with the instructor and the Vice President for Academic Administration two weeks in advance to reschedule one exam at another time during exam week. Forms may be obtained in the Vice President for Academic Administration's Office or on the internet under Vice President for Academic Administration.

Proficiency Exams

Qualified students who wish to challenge a course offered on campus may apply to take a proficiency examination. Forms for this purpose are available at the Office of Admissions and Records. A proficiency exam is given to evaluate learning from significant life experiences, not to measure textbook cramming skills, and is not available for all courses. (If a CLEP exam exists for the subject in which the student desires a proficiency exam then the CLEP exam must be used.) Students must be currently enrolled to be eligible to take a proficiency exam. The University will grant credit on the following basis:

  1. If the student passes the examination with a grade of C or better, then he/she will be allowed to receive course credit or have the requirement of the course waived.
  2. Proficiency credit will be recorded as CR, and only after 12 hours of current course work is on the transcript.
  3. In addition to a fee for the proficiency exam, there is a recording fee of $25.
  4. All proficiency examinations must be taken before the last semester of the senior year.
  5. Proficiency examinations may not be retaken and students may not take a proficiency examination to repeat a course which has been audited or taken for credit.

CLEP Exams

The University will grant credit for the College Level Examination Program of the College Entrance Examination Board (CLEP), on the following basis.

  1. The passing level for all examinations is a score of 50, with additional levels for intermediate foreign languages.
  2. The transcript will indicate that credits accepted have been completed by examination and will be recorded as CR. CLEP credit will be recorded only after 12 hours of current course work.
  3. In addition to the fee payable to the Educational Testing Service, the University charges a $25 recording fee per exam for credit earned on CLEP examinations.
  4. CLEP examinations must be taken, and the recording fees paid, before the last semester of the senior year in order for a student to be considered as a May graduate.
  5. CLEP examinations may not be repeated and students may not take a CLEP examination to repeat a course which has been audited or taken for credit.
Subject CLEP Exam Credit Awarded for Hours
ACCT Financial ACCT 211 3
BIOLOGY Biology BIOL 111 & 112 8
Natural Science**** BIOL 291*** 6
CHEMISTRY Chemistry CHEM 111 & 112 8
COMPUTER SCIENCE Information Systems & Computer Application CSIS 291*** 3
ECONOMICS Principles of Macroeconomics ECON 211 3
Principles of Microeconomics ECON 212 3
ENGLISH English Composition or Freshman Composition ENGL 121* 3
FRENCH French Language FREN 111 & 112 6
French Language w/score of 59 or above FREN 111, 112, 211 & 212 12
GERMAN German Language GRMN 111 & 112 6
German Language w/score of 60 or above GRMN 111, 112, 211 & 212 12
HISTORY History of the United States I HIST 111** 3
History of the United States II HIST 112** 3
Western Civilization I HIST 211** 3
Western Civilization II HIST 212** 3
Social Sciences & History HIST 291*** 3
HUMANITIES Humanities ARTS 291***** 3
MATH College Mathematics MATH 101 3
College Algebra MATH 110 3
Precalculus MATH 121 3
Calculus MATH 181 3
Trigonometry MATH 291 3
POLITICAL SCIENCE American Government POLS 291*** 3
PSYCHOLOGY Introductory Psychology PSYC 212 3
Human Growth & Development PSYC 220 3
Intro to Educational Psychology EDUC 312 3
SOCIOLOGY Introductory Sociology SOCI 111 3
SPANISH Spanish Language SPAN 111 & 112 8
Spanish Language w/score of 63 or above SPAN 111, 112, 211 & 212 12

 \* If the student takes the essay section, it will either be included with the grade or sent to SWAU for grading. If the student does not take the essay section, he/she must take and pass an essay examination administered by the SWAU English Department.

\\ Maximum of 6 hours of CLEP history credit will be applied toward a history or social science major or minor.

***Does not apply to a major or minor.

****This is a non-lab science credit and does not apply to the lab science general education requirement.

*****May be applied toward the Social Science general education requirement.

Advanced Placement Exams

Advanced Placement Exams The university will grant credit for successful completion of Advanced Placement courses and examinations taken during high school on the following basis:

  1. The passing level for all examinations is a score of 3, 4, or 5.
  2. The transcript will indicate that credits accepted have been completed by examination and will be recorded as CR. AP credit will be recorded only after 12 hours of current SWAU course work.
  3. There will be a $25 recording fee per exam.
Subject Advanced Placement Exam Credi Awarded for Hours
ART Studio Art: Drawing, 2D or 3D ARTS 111 & 112 6
History of Art ARTS 221 3
BIOLOGY Biology BIOL 104 & 105 8
Environmental Science BIOL 291 4
CHEMISTRY Chemistry CHEM 111 & 112 8
COMPUTER SCIENCE Computer Science A CSIS 105 3
Computer Science AB CSIS 110 & 111 6
ECONOMICS Macroeconomics ECON 211 3
Microeconomics ECON 212 3
ENGLISH Eng Language & Comp or Eng Literature & Comp ENGL 121 3
FRENCH French Language FREN 211 & 212 6
French Literature FREN 291 6
GERMAN German Language GRMN 211 & 212 6
HISTORY United States History HIST 111 & 112 6*
European History HIST 212 3*
World History HIST 291 3*
MATH Mathematics/Calculus AB MATH 181 4
Statistics MATH 241 3
MUSIC Music Theory MUCT 111 & 151 6
PHYSICS Physics B PHYS 101 3
Physics C - Mechanics PHYS 121 & 221 5
Physics C - Electricity & Magnetism PHYS 122 & 222 5
POLITICAL SCIENCE Government & Politics - US POLS 291 3*
Gov & Politics - Comparative POLS 291 3*
PSYCHOLOGY Psychology PSYC 212 3
SPANISH Spanish Language SPAN 211 & 212 6
Spanish Literature SPAN 291 6

\* Maximum of 6 hours of AP history and government credit will be applied toward a history or social science major or minor.

Transfer Credit

Students who want to register for off campus classes while earning their degrees at the University must request permission from the Academic Standards and Practices. Special petition forms for this purpose are available at the Office of Admissions and Records and must include the course specifics and intended substitutions.

Generally, college-level courses will transfer if completed with a C-grade or higher through a regionally accredited college. Because of differences in degree requirements and course content, all credits may not apply toward specific graduation requirements. Vocational credits and English as a Second Language (ESL) courses will not be accepted for transfer credit.

Credit may be accepted from certain unaccredited institutions. Students transferring credit from an unaccredited post secondary institution must have an institutional grade point average of at least 2.0. Validating examinations may be required for such transfer credits at the discretion of the Vice President for Academic Administration.

Credit for Military Service Schools

The University follows, with limitations, the recommendations of the American Council of Education as published in the Guide to the Evaluation of Educational Experiences in the Armed Forces in granting credit for military service schools. At a minimum, the following limitation applies.

Courses must be in the baccalaureate/associate degree category as defined by the ACE Guide. This precludes acceptance of vocational, technical or certificate category courses, or military occupational specialties or job experience.

For consideration of credit from military service schools, the applicant may submit the following military records:

  1. A certified original of the DD Form 295, or
  2. A copy of the DD Form 214, or
  3. Course completion certificates.

The Assistant Registrar will assist persons eligible for veterans educational assistance benefits.

Outcome Assessment

In keeping with the University's commitment to program improvement, and in accordance with the criteria regarding institutional effectiveness established by the University's accrediting agencies, the University has established several measures to assess effectiveness in meeting its stated educational goals. Students will take tests or complete surveys designed to measure achievement in general education and/or selected major areas, academic support services, student and spiritual life, and administrative areas for the purpose of evaluating institutional effectiveness.

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

Baccalaureate Degree Students must meet the following requirements:

  1. Be recommended by the faculty and approved by the Board of Trustees.
  2. Complete at least 128 credit hours, including 40 hours of upper division credit.
  3. Satisfactorily complete specific requirements for prescribed classes in the major, minor, and general education and meet the residency requirements.
  4. Earn a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.00.
  5. Earn a minimum GPA of 2.25 in upper division major or emphasis course work. No class with a grade below C may apply toward a major, minor, concentration, or emphasis. Only courses required for the student's major or emphasis will be included in computing the major GPA.
  6. Nursing majors must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5 in all nursing courses.  Elementary Education majors must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.75.  See Nursing and Education sections for special graduation requirements for these majors.
  7. Take at least 12 credit hours in the major and 6 credit hours in the minor of upper division courses, except for the BS in General Studies.
  8. Take a Major Field Achievement Test as designated by the major department. This comprehensive examination will cover material the student is expected to know as a graduating senior in his/ her major. See the Academic Calendar inside the front cover for scheduled date.
  9. Take the College Base General Education Assessment. A senior who does not achieve a minimum score of 200 in any section must retake that section or sections. The retake cost is $30 for one section and $40 for more than one section. Students missing the two scheduled testing times will have to pay $40 to take the test individually at the Counseling Center. See Academic Calendar for the scheduled date.  All payments must be made in cash.

Associate Degree

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 meet residency requirements.
  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.

Special Program Policies

Transitional Program

Freshman students are placed in this program on the basis of entrance examination or placement test scores and/or high school grades.  Students will be required to take one or more of the following remedial courses:  UNIV 011, ENGL 021, MATH 011, MATH 012.  Credit received from these courses does not apply to the requirements for a degree.  However, the credit will apply toward the minimum course load for full or part-time status.

The academic support services advisor supports the work of the faculty academic advisors to closely advise these students.  Students in this program may have reduced course loads, restrictions on extra-curricular activities, and required dormitory residency.  The academic support services advisor schedules regular academic counseling sessions for each student in the program to make sure that she/he is benefiting from mathematics tutoring, the Write Spot writing center, career counseling, and other programs provided by the University to help students succeed.

Students must earn a minimum grade of C in all required remedial classes and a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or higher, calculated on all courses taken, before completing the program.

Adventist Colleges Abroad

Adventist Colleges Abroad Through Adventist Colleges Abroad (ACA), qualifying students may elect to take a year out of their curriculum to become immersed in a foreign culture and learn a foreign language. Applicants for this program need not be language majors. The colleges affiliated with ACA are Colegio Adventista de Sagunto, Sagunto, Spain; Centre Universitaire et Pedagogique du Saleve, Collonges-sous-Saleve, France; Seminar Schloss Bogenhofen, St. Peter am Hart, Austria; Universidad Adventista del Plata, Entre Rios, Argentina; University of Eastern Africa, Baraton, Eldoret, Kenya; and Instituto Adventista Villa Aurora, Firenze, Italy. Following are the requirements for a year of study abroad:

  1. Admission to Southwestern.
  2. Complete and return the ACA application form, which is available at the SWAU Records Office. An application fee of $100 is also required. Financial application agreement forms need to be completed at the Student Finance Office before the ACA application is mailed. See Finances section for application procedures and types of aid available.
  3. Be competent in the language. The minimum requirement is one year of foreign language study in college or two years in high school.
  4. Have a grade point average of 3.00 in the foreign language and 2.50 overall.
  5. Have a good citizenship record.
  6. Meet the financial requirements. These costs, including transportation, are comparable to those at Adventist colleges in the United States.

A year of study is usually taken during the sophomore or junior year; however, freshmen who have competence in the language are not excluded.

Summer Abroad Language Program

Adventist Colleges Abroad operates summer language programs. These are primarily for students with no previous language instruction. This program is designed to provide students with elementary or intermediate language proficiency, therefore allowing them to enroll in the Year Abroad Program, should they be interested. Contact the Office of Admissions and Records for more information.

Student Missionary Program

Following the call of Matthew 28 to go into all the world, the Student Missions Program is a chance for students to experience being a missionary for 9-12 months.

Student missionaries teach English and Bible in Asia, Russia, Eastern Europe, Central and South America. There are positions to teach in elementary and secondary classrooms in Micronesia and the Marshall Islands. Pre-med and nursing students can receive experience in their fields working in many different countries as medical assistants or nurses. Religion majors can get experience in Australia and New Zealand as youth pastors and Bible workers. Assistant dean positions are available in Europe, Australia, and Africa. Students who prefer to stay in the United States may choose to serve as a Taskforce worker for 9-12 months. Taskforce workers are assistant deans at academies, student chaplains, church youth pastors, kindergarten teachers, cooks, Bible and literature evangelists who serve in the United States and Canada.

These are just a few of the hundreds of calls available to students each year for places far and near. The benefits of going as a student missionary include improving your Christian walk, travel, learning about a new culture and language, new friends, scholarships, and strengthening personal resumes. Check out for more information.

Student Rights & Appeals Policies

Student Academic Appeals Process *

Academic Appeals Process A student who feels that he or she has been treated unfairly or unjustly by a faculty member of the university with regard to an academic process has the right to appeal according to approved procedure. Specific grounds for an appeal include one or more of the following occurrences:

(1) that a computational/recording, or other technical error has been made but has not been acknowledged by the instructor; (2) that the grade has been assigned in an arbitrary, capricious, or vindictive manner, or in a manner intended to inappropriately manipulate or control the student; (3) that the assigned grade does not reflect the grading criteria in the course syllabus; or (4) that published department policies have not been followed.

*Nursing students see the item "Nursing Student's Grievance Policy".

Initial Appeals Procedure

  1. To initiate the appeals procedure, the student must talk with the course instructor for explanation/review of the decision within three (3) University days of the occurrence. (University days are defined as time during the fall, spring or summer semester that the academic program is in session from registration through final exams).
  2. If the problem is not resolved within two (2) University days of talking with the course instructor, the student must obtain an Academic Appeals Review Form from the course instructor's department chair. Within two (2) University days, the student must submit the form with a written summary and talk to the instructor's department chair. The chair has two (2) University days to respond to the student. This completes STEP I on the Academic Appeals Review Form.
  3. If the problem is not resolved, the student has two (2) University days from receipt of the chair's decision to contact the Academic Vice President, providing the written summary of the complaint and the academic appeals review form. Within two (2) University days the Academic Vice President will provide a written decision. This completes STEP II on the Academic Appeals Review Form.

Formal Appeals Procedure

If the problem is not resolved with the decision of the Academic Vice President, the student may file a formal grievance. A formal grievance is a serious matter and should be done with careful consideration.

Within two (2) days of the Academic Vice President's decision, the student must request in writing to the Academic Vice President a formal hearing before the Grievance Committee, an ad hoc subcommittee of the Academic Policies Committee. The Grievance Committee will meet within three (3) days of the request to hear the student's case and will issue a decision which will constitute final action by the University. This completes STEP III on the Appeals Review Form.

Withdrawal of Grievance

At any time during the grievance procedure, the student may withdraw the complaint. Additionally, missing a deadline or failure by the student to appear for any scheduled hearing without prior notification or evidence of extenuating circumstances, shall constitute final action by the University.

Matters not Grievable

University policies, regulations or procedures adopted by the University and/or the Board of Trustees are not subject to the grievance process. Students may request discussion and recommend changes to such policies, but this dialogue is advisory and not grievable.

For academic policy and procedure appeals:

  1. Registrar
  2. Vice President for Academic Administration
  3. Academic Policies Committee

Student Records - Student Rights

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) affords students certain rights with respect to their education records. They have:

  1. The right to inspect and review their education records within 45 daysof the day the University receives a request for access. Students should submit to the registrar, head of the academic department, or other appropriate official, written requests that identify the record(s) they wish to inspect. The University official will make arrangements for access and notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected. If the records are not maintained by the University official to whom the request was submitted, that official shall advise the student of the correct official to whom the request should be addressed.
  2. The right to request the amendment of the student's education records that the student believes are inaccurate or misleading. If the University decides not to amend the records as requested by the student, the University will notify the student of the decision and advise the student of his/her right to a hearing regarding the request for amendment. Additional information regarding the hearing procedures will be provided to the student when notified of the right to a hearing.
  3. The right to consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information contained in the student's education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent. One exception which permits disclosure without consent is disclosure to school officials with legitimate education interests. A school official is a person employed by the University in an administrative, supervisory, academic research, or support staff position (including law enforcement unit personnel and health service staff); a person or company with whom the University has contracted (such as an attorney, auditor, or collection agent); or a student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee, or assisting another school official in performing his or her tasks. A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his/her professional responsibility. FERPA permits the University to disclose any and all education records , including disciplinary records, to another institution at which a student seeks or intends to enroll.
  4. The right to file a complaint with the U. S. Department of Education concerning the alleged failures by Southwestern Adventist University to comply with the requirements of FERPA. The name and address of the office that administers FERPA is:

    Family Policy Compliance Office

    U.S. Department of Education

    400 Maryland Avenue, SW

    Washington, DC 20202-4605

    The University may, at its discretion, publish or release the following information without prior consent unless the student requests in writing that certain information be withheld: Student name, address, telephone listing, enrollment status, class, major field of study, most recent previous school attended, photographs, date and place of birth, participation in officially recognized activities, e-mail address, dates of enrollment, anticipated date of graduation, degrees, awards and honors. The Registrar is responsible for compliance with the provision of this Act. Questions concerning the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act may be referred to the Records Office.

Student Records - Southwestern Adventist University Rights

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) provides ways in which the University may share information with parents without the student's consent. For example:

  1. The University will disclose education records to parents, upon request, if the student is a dependent for income tax purposes.
  2. The University will disclose education records to parents if a health or safety emergency involves their son or daughter.
  3. The University will inform parents if the student who is under age 21 has violated any law or its policy concerning the use or possession of alcohol or a controlled substance.
  4. A University official will generally share with a parent information that is based on that official's personal knowledge or observation of the student.

The University will disclose to an alleged victim of any crime of violence or non-forcible sex offense the final results of a disciplinary proceeding conducted by the University against the alleged perpetrator of that crime, regardless of whether the institution concluded a violation was committed. The University may disclose to anyone - not just the victim - the final results of a disciplinary proceeding, if it determines that the student is an alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence or non-forcible sex offense, and with respect to the allegation made against him or her, the student has committed a violation of the University's rules or policies.

Course Descriptions

Course Numbering System

All courses are prefixed with the subject, such as ENGL, MATH, CHEM, etc. This abbreviation is followed by a three position number. Course numbers are intended to guide students and advisors in appropriate course selection.

Code Description
000-099 Developmental classes. Do not meet graduation requirement and cannot be transferred.
100-199 Courses primarily for first-year students and General Education.
200-299 Courses primarily for sophomores and juniors.
300-499 Courses primarily for juniors and seniors.
500+ Graduate level courses.

Courses separated by a comma mean that course content is covered sequentially and that normally the courses are taken in sequence, but that they can be taken out of sequence.

First Digit

0 is reserved for college preparatory courses. The number 1 is reserved for freshman level courses, with 2, 3, and 4 is used for sophomore, junior, and senior level courses respectively.

Second Digit

The numbers 1-8 are used at the discretion of the department.

Third Digit

Numbers 0-9 are to be used at the discretion of the department.

Explanation of Abbreviations

  • Lec - the number of 50-minute lecture periods per week. Abbreviations
  • Lab - the number of clock hours in laboratory per week.
  • u.d. - upper division. i.e., courses numbered in the 300 and 400 range.

Semester Course

Following the course description will be the term indicating which semester course is generally taught.

  • (Fall) - taught every fall semester
  • (Spring) - taught every spring semester
  • (Fall, odd years) - taught fall 2011, 2013, etc.
  • (Fall, even years) - taught fall 2010, 2012, etc.
  • (Spring, odd years) - taught spring 2011, 2013, etc.
  • (Spring, even years) - taught spring 2010, 2012, etc.
  • (Fall, Spring) - taught every semester
  • (Summer) (Offered periodically)

Academic Programs

Bachelor of Arts (BA)

  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • English
  • History
  • Interdisciplinary Studies
  • Journalism
  • Life Science
  • Mathematics
  • Music
  • PR and Advertising
  • Radio-TV-Film
  • Religion
  • Social Science
  • Social Science,  International Affairs
  • Theology

Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA)

  • Accounting
  • Finance
  • International Business
  • Management
  • Marketing

Bachelor of Science (BS)

  • Business/Kinesiology
  • Biochemistry
  • Biology
  • Business/Computer Info Systems
  • Business
  • Chemistry
  • Clinical Laboratory Sciences
  • Computer Science
  • Elementary Education, Early Childhood-Grade 4
  • Elementary Education,  Grade 4 - Grade 8
  • Exercise Science
  • General Studies
  • Interdisciplinary Studies
  • Journalism
  • Life Science
  • Mathematical Physics
  • Mathematics
  • Mathematics, Secondary Teaching Area
  • Music
  • Nursing
  • Nursing - RN to BS
  • Physical Education
  • Physical Science
  • PR and Advertising
  • Psychology
  • Psychology, School Guidance
  • Radio-TV-Film
  • Social Science
  • Social Studies
  • Wellness

Associate of Science (AS)

  • General Studies
  • Wellness

Minors are available in the following areas:

  • Accounting
  • Biblical Languages
  • Biology
  • Business
  • Chemistry
  • Coaching
  • Computer Science
  • English
  • Finance
  • History
  • Journalism
  • Mathematics
  • Music
  • Physical Education
  • Physics
  • Political Science
  • PR and Advertising
  • Psychology
  • Radio-TV-Film
  • Religion
  • Social Science
  • Sociology
  • Spanish
  • Speech Communication
  • Wellness

Academic Integrity

Academic Integrity Southwestern Adventist University was founded by the Seventh-day Adventist Church in order to educate its students academically and spiritually for Christian service. The ethical training of students is as important as their academic competence. Academic integrity rests on honesty, the first principle of the Christian life. Students must be honest in their dealings inside and outside the classroom.

Students must maintain a high ethical standard in their academic work. When a student turns in work for credit in the classroom, that work must be the student's own. Students have access to some forms of authorized assistance. Authorized assistance may come in the form of tutoring by official university tutors, help from the professor, or the legitimate use of outside sources which are cited according to standard form. Other forms of outside assistance are unauthorized, for example, having another person complete all or part of an assignment, taking material from the Internet or other sources without citing it, or bringing unauthorized materials into an examination. Unauthorized help, in these and other forms, constitutes academic dishonesty.

General responsibilities of students:

  1. Students must produce their work independently, except when the professor has assigned the work as a group project.
  2. Students must not represent work as their own which is not their own.
  3. Students must not aid others in academic dishonesty.

Examples of violations:

What follows are examples of academic dishonesty which will jeopardize a student's standing in the classroom and at the university. This is a representative list only, not an exhaustive one.

  1. Misusing Sources of Information (Plagiarism)

    When using outside sources in a paper, students must cite the source plainly in the text of the paper and on a references page, using the style which their professor requests. Failure to cite sources properly may result in failure on the paper or in the class. Students must cite the source when quoting, when paraphrasing, or even when using an idea which is unique to that source. If a student fails to do so, he or she may be subject to failure in the class. Fabricating a quotation, a paraphrase, or any part of a bibliographic reference also constitutes academic dishonesty.

    Students may not turn in written work as their own which was produced wholly or partly by others. If a student will receive credit for the work, the student must have, in fact, done the work. Students may not turn in material taken from the Internet as their own work, whether the material was taken from a free website or a pay service. Repeated acts of plagiarism may result in expulsion from the university.

  2. Misrepresenting One's Work
  3. Work that is assigned to the student must be done by the student. Homework assignments in any subject area must be the work of the student getting the credit and must not reflect unauthorized help from others.
  4. Using Unauthorized Materials During an Examination Unless the professor indicates otherwise, students should assume that the use of notes, textbooks, the Internet, databases, calculators, or any other outside sources of help during an examination, will constitute academic dishonesty.
  5. Exchanging Information During an Examination

    Students may not share information with each other in any form or by any means during an examination. Talking or signaling in any manner during an examination may result in failure on the examination. Obtaining information from another student's paper by any means during an examination is a violation of academic integrity.

  6. Tampering with Computers

    Students may not access faculty computers by any means in order to obtain advance copies of tests or quizzes, alter grades on an online grade book, or for any other purpose.

  7. Forging a Signature

    Students may not sign anyone's name but their own on any advisement form, registration form, exceptions form, or any other document for any purpose whatsoever.

  8. Aiding Others in Academic Dishonesty

    Students who enable others to misrepresent their work are also guilty of academic dishonesty and may be penalized as if they had misrepresented their own work. No student may do the class work for which another student will get credit, except in those cases when the professor has assigned work to be done in a group.

Procedure to be Followed in Cases of Academic Dishonesty

Professors have discretion in the classroom when academic integrity has been violated. The class syllabus should contain a statement on how violations of academic integrity will be treated. A first case of academic dishonesty may be handled by the professor, but will be reported to the Vice-President for Academic Administration. A second offense may be handled by the Vice-President for Academic Administration in conjunction with the professor. Students may appeal a decision made by either the professor or the Vice-President for Academic Administration by following the student academic appeals process as outlined in this bulletin under "Student Rights and Appeals Policies." (See page 51.)