Academics

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 on page 1 of this Bulletin. It shows important dates and 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 schedules are available on-line through the web portal.  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.

Student Class Load

A student's class load is the total number of credit hours enrolled 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 or eight semesters, a student's class load must average 15 credit hours per semester.  A class load of 12 credit hours meets the minimum class load requirements for international students, financial aid and veterans.

Communication

Every registered student is provided with a Southwestern e-mail account (@swau.edu).  Regular notices about assignments, activities, schedule changes, campus 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 88.3 KJRN The Journey, NBC 5 KXAS TV, www.nbc5i.com, www.swau.edu or the University switchboard operator at (817) 645-3921.

General Enrollment Policies

Registration

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 first day of classes may have their class registration cancelled. Faculty advisors are assigned to assist students with registration and in planning an academic schedule. Advisor and advisee assignments are maintained by the Registrar and displayed on the web portal.  It is important that a student becomes familiar with all degree requirements and understands 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 may be allowed to register after the first week of the semester for justifiable reasons.  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 Registrar signed by the student’s academic advisor.

Withdrawal from the University

To officially withdraw from the University, a student must obtain a withdrawal form from the Registrar. 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 Registrar after all signatures 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 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 and 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 the Vice President for Academic Administration. The form is available on the web portal and must be completed and submitted to the registrar by the last day to add a class.

Questions regarding selected topics studies in a particular area should be directed to the department chair.

Academic Progression

A student may register for upper-division classes (numbered 300 and above) provided that she/he has completed a general education mathematics courses, ENGL 121, has completed or is currently registered for ENGL 220, and has completed 30 credit hours of university course work.

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 signature of the teacher for the class is 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. The level of participation in class requirements and activities is determined by the instructor.
  5. Audited classes do not receive university credits and will not fulfill any departmental or university graduation requirements.

Repeating a Course

A course in the major or minor in which a student has earned less than C- 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, but may be taken at another school.

Semester Credit Hour

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 Class

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 web portal.  The course fee is listed in the finance section of this Bulletin.

Internship

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 54). Only the end-of-semester grades are recorded on the permanent record.

Grading System

Grade Symbol Grade Points
A 4.0
A– 3.7
B+ 3.3
B 3.0
B– 2.7
C+ 2.3
C 2.0
C– 1.7
D+ 1.3
D 1.0
D– 0.7
F 0.0
P Pass
NP No Pass
I Incomplete
W Withdraw
AU Audit
IP In Progress
NC No Credit
NR Not reported by instructor
CR Credit by examination*

*P and CR represent grades of C or better

Incomplete Grades

A temporary grade of incomplete may be awarded only upon approval and submission by the faculty member involved.  Incompletes may not be entered on the faculty portal and are submitted directly to the Registrar on a form available on the web portal.  An incomplete grade of I indicates that the student was unable to complete all of the class work because of illness or other unavoidable circumstance.  The student must complete the remaining required work no later than nine weeks from the end of the semester during which the course was taken.  This due date is published in the academic calendar of this Bulletin. The instructor must submit a grade to replace the incomplete by the end of the semester during which the student completes the class.  If the circumstance is of such a nature that it may require additional time, the student must submit a request for an extension to the Academic Standards and Practices Committee.

Grade Changes

A grade may be changed only by the instructor responsible for the class. Changes in a grade are made by submitting a change of grade to the Registrar on a form available on the web portal. 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.

Transcript

To request a University transcript, a signed request must be submitted to the Registrar one week in advance of desired mailing.  A faxable transcript request form is available on the web portal.  There is a $5.00 charge for transcripts, except when requesting express mail.  The express mail charge is $25.00.  The transcript fee is waived for current students and degreed alumni.  Payment is required in advance.  A transcript is not released if a student’s financial account is not paid in full.  Additional postage may be charged for international mailing requests.

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

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.

Academic Sanction Policies

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

Academic Warning

When a student's semester GPA falls below 2.00 while the cumulative GPA remains above 2.00, or in the case of a first-time freshman, the semester GPA and the cumulative GPA fall below 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

When a student's cumulative GPA falls below 2.00 (except in the case of a first time freshman as noted under "Academic Warning"), 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 Southwestern 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 Vice President for Academic Administration and the Center for Academic Success and Advising will monitor the student's progress during the probationary period.  A student on Academic Probation must be aware that her/his academic career is 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 credit 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 Center for Academic Success and Advising
  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

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 Southwestern Adventist University. A suspended student may apply for readmission to Southwestern Adventist University after successfully completing at least one 12 semester hour term at another school.

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 dismissed.

Academic Honors Policies

Dean's List/Dean's Distinguished List

Special recognition is 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.

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.

Departmental Recognition

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 Graduate

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

Examination/Credit Policies

Final Examinations

In order to complete the semester, each student must take final examinations as scheduled. The final examination schedule is part of the class schedule and is available to students and faculty through the web portal. 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 Registrar.

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

The University recognizes certain examinations as a demonstration of proficiency for challenging, validating, or waiving classes.  An enrolled student wishing to take an examination must apply.  Application forms for challenge, validation, and waiver examinations are available on the University's website (www.swau.edu).  Fees for these examinations are listed under Other Expenses in the Finances section of the Bulletin.

Examination Guidelines

  1. A student must have approval for an examination on file with the Registrar before an examination may be recorded on the transcript or degree audit.
  2. Credit for a challenge examination may be earned only if a student has not already earned credit in a similar course, taken advanced courses in the area, or withdrawn from the course.
  3. Examinations may not be retaken.
  4. Examinations may not be used to repeat a course which has been audited or taken for credit.
  5. Grades are recorded for University-prepared challenge examinations and scaled scores are recorded for AP and CLEP examinations.
  6. CLEP examinations, with the exception of foreign languages, must be taken during the first year of residency.
  7. All proficiency examinations must be completed prior to the final two semesters of residence.

Challenge Examinations

Challenge examinations, if completed successfully, will result in credit recorded on the academic transcript.

College Level Examination Program or CLEP examinations are available through the University Counseling and Testing Center.  Students must have official scores sent directly to the Registrar for evaluation. A detailed list of the CLEP examinations, the required scaled score, and the credit awarded is available on the University web site and from the Registrar.  There is a CLEP examination fee and a recording fee.

The faculty of the University may upon request agree to prepare a challenge examination. Although not all classes can be challenged, a currently enrolled student may submit a request for the preparation of a challenge exam.  Forms for this purpose are available from the Registrar.  There is an examination preparation fee and a recording fee.

Waiver Examinations

A student may meet an academic requirement such as general education or a course prerequisite by passing a waiver examination.  Successful completion of the examination waives the curricular requirement but does not result in credit earned.  Thus, it does not reduce the total number of semester credit hours required for a degree, but it will increase the available number of elective hours.  The results of a waiver exam are recorded on the student’s degree audit but not on the permanent record or transcript.  Students must be currently enrolled to be eligible to submit a request for the preparation of a waiver examination.  Forms for this purpose are available from the Registrar.  There is an examination preparation fee but no recording fee.

Validation Examinations

Students who have transcripts from non-accredited colleges, transcripts showing non-transferable college courses, or transcripts from an international college or university may be required to take validation exams.  Upon successful completion of the examination, the credit will be transferred and recorded on the student’s permanent record.  The Registrar will assist the student to have an examination prepared and administered.  There is an examination preparation fee but no recording fee.

Advanced Placement Exam

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 AP credits have been completed by examination.  Students must have official scores sent directly to the Registrar for evaluation.
  3. Maximum of 6 hours of AP history and government credit will be applied toward a history or social science major or minor.

AP examinations are taken by students in high school and credits are evaluated and transferred as part of the admissions process. These credits are recorded on the transcript and are available to the student and academic advisor through the web portal. There is no fee for recording these credits. A detailed list of the AP examinations, the required scaled score, and the credit award is available on the University web site and from the Registrar.

Transfer Credit

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 may be accepted for transfer in areas of study  offered by the  University. Developmental courses, including most English as a Second Language courses, will not be accepted for transfer credit. Although permission to register for off campus classes while enrolled at the University is not  required, the  registrar will, upon  request, verify the  transferability of a course offered at another institution. The residency requirement states that the last 38 credit hours earned prior to graduation must include 32 credit hours in residence.  This requirement limits transfer credit to 6 semester hours during this time period.

Courses from a previously earned bachelor’s degree will be evaluated on an individual basis to determine applicability to degree requirements. A student with a bachelor's degree from a United States, regionally accredited, post-secondary institution will be considered to have fulfilled the general education requirements with the exception of religion courses. This is also the case if a student has an associate of science degree which includes the baccalaureate general education core for a particular state higher education program.

Credit may be accepted from certain unaccredited post-secondary institutions.  Students requesting transfer credit from an unaccredited school must have successfully completed a minimum of 12 semester hours with a grade point average of at least 2.00 in residence at Southwestern Adventist University. Validating examinations may be required for such transfer credits at the discretion of the Registrar.

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 Director of Records 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

Freshmen

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

Sophomore

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

Junior/Senior

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.

Portfolio

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 four types of baccalaureate degrees: the Bachelor of Arts, the Bachelor of Science, the Bachelor of Music 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 120 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.  A senior who does not achieve a minimum score of 200 in any section must retake that section or sections.  The retake cost is $30.00 for one section and $40.00 for more than one section.  Students missing the two scheduled testing dates will have to pay $40.00 to take the test individually at the Counseling Center.  All payments must be made in cash.

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. 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

The University awards three types of associate degrees: the Associate in Science, the Associate of Science, and the Associate of Applied Science.  Candidates who have completed the following requirements will be awarded degrees upon recommendation by the faculty and approval by the Board of Trustees.

All associate graduates will

  • Complete a minimum of 64 semester credit hours and earn a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.00.
  • Complete a minimum of 24 semester credit hours in residence. The last 12 hours before graduation must be taken in residence at Southwestern

Associate in Science graduates will also

  • Complete a major field of specialization with a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.00.  No class with a grade below C- may apply toward the major.
  •  Complete the general education requirements for the Associate in Science degree

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 with the Registrar three semesters before the student expects to graduate.

A Graduation Contract must be completed and returned to the Registrar no later than one week after the start of the second semester of the student’s junior year.

Any transfer work must be completed and the official transcript of this work must be submitted to the Registrar 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. Graduation class dues are a mandatory non-refundable fee that covers expenses such as class gift, and miscellaneous class activities.  This fee applies to campus as well as Adult Degree Program students.  When a student returns to obtain an additional degree and graduation dues were paid as an initial Southwestern graduate, only half of the dues will be required for each subsequent graduation class.  Graduation dues are charged to the student account at the beginning of the semester in which the student will graduate.

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

Candidates will receive instructions on ordering graduation regalia and announcements at the senior class meeting.

Graduation Ceremonies

The commencement ceremony is held at the end of the spring semester each year. Students eligible to participate in graduation must complete all arrangements with the Registrar by March 15 to be included in the  ceremony.

Deferred Graduation

Seniors in their last semester, who are registered at the University for all remaining hours and who will 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. Students 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 BulletinAll degree requirements must be completed within six (6) years of the date of the catalog selected.

Special Programs

CORE Enrichment

Students who wish to enroll at Southwestern, but fail to meet one of the two minimum admission requirements (GPA or SAT/ACT) must participate in CORE Enrichment.  Learning takes place in a three-week session prior to the beginning of the freshman year and provides developmental learning support in the areas of math, reading, and writing.  At the end of the session, student progress will be assessed and students will receive new course placements for Fall Semester.  Students attending CORE Enrichment receive one credit hour that will apply toward the requirements for a degree.

The Center for Academic Success and Advising (CASA) supports the work of the faculty academic advisors with CORE Enrichment students.  Students in this program may have reduced course loads, restrictions on extra-curricular activities, and required dormitory residency.  CASA 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 enhance academic success.

Adventist Colleges Abroad

Through Adventist Colleges Abroad (ACA), qualifying Southwestern 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. A current list of ACA summer and full-year programs and admission requirements can be found at www.aca-noborders.org.

Student Missions 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 student missionary or Taskforce worker for 9-12 months.

The benefits of going as a student missionary or Taskforce worker include improving your Christian walk, travel, learning about a new culture and language, new friends, scholarships, and strengthening personal resumes. Check out www.hesaidgo.com for more information.

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. Multiple Submissions.  Students may not submit papers or assignments for credit that have already been submitted or are in the process of being submitted for another course.
  3. Misrepresenting One's Work. 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 using the University's "Academic Integrity" form. 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."

Student Rights & Appeals Policies

Student 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.

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.

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.*

*The Nursing Department has an additional grievance policy, which can be found in the Nursing section of the Bulletin.  The procedure outlined in this policy completes STEP 1 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 Vice  President for Academic Administration, providing the written summary of the complaint and the academic appeals review form. Within two (2) University days the Vice President for Academic Administration 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 Vice President for Academic Administration, 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 Vice President for Academic Administration's decision, the student must request in writing to the Vice President for Academic Administration 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.

Student Records - Student Rights (FERPA)

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 days of 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 (FERPA)

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.

Explanation of Abbreviations

  • Lec - the number of 50-minute lecture periods per week.
  • 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 2015, 2017, etc.
  • (Fall, even years) - taught fall 2014, 2016, etc.
  • (Spring, odd years) - taught spring 2015, 2017, etc.
  • (Spring, even years) - taught spring 2014, 2016, etc.
  • (Fall, Spring) - taught every semester
  • (Summer) (Offered periodically)

Academic Programs

Bachelor of Arts (BA)

  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Communication - emphasis in Advertising and PR, Journalism, Radio-TV-Film
  • English
  • English - emphasis in writing
  • European Civilization
  • History
  • History - Secondary Certification
  • Interdisciplinary Studies
  • Life Science - Secondary Certification
  • Mathematics
  • Music
  • Religion
  • Social Science - emphasis on International Affairs
  • Theology

Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA)

  • Accounting
  • Finance
  • International Business
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • Dual Concentration

Bachelor of Science (BS)

  • Biochemistry
  • Biology
  • Business/Computer Info Systems
  • Business
  • Chemistry
  • Computer Science
  • Communication - emphasis in Advertising and PR, Journalism, Radio-TV-Film
  • Elementary Education
  • Exercise Science
  • General Studies
  • Health and Fitness
  • Interdisciplinary Studies
  • Life Science - Secondary Certification
  • Mathematical Physics
  • Mathematics
  • Mathematics - Secondary Teaching Area
  • Medical Laboratory Science
  • Music
  • Nursing
  • Physical Education
  • Physical Science - Secondary Certification
  • Psychology
  • Psychology - emphasis in School Guidance
  • Sports and Fitness Management
  • Social Science
  • Social Studies - Secondary Certification

Associates of Applied Sciences (AAS)

  • Fire Science

Associate in Science (AS)

  • General Studies
  • Health and Fitness

Minors are available in the following areas:

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