2014–15 Undergraduate Catalog
There may be instances where you disagree with an instructor’s actions but do not wish to lodge a formal complaint. In such instances, you, the student, should speak to the instructor first. It is best to make an appointment to meet the instructor in his or her office rather than trying to handle an important issue after class or in a casual meeting on the sidewalk. Present the reasons for your complaint to the instructor in a clear manner and listen to the instructor’s response. This may eliminate any misunderstanding or miscommunication.
If your grievance is not resolved after this conversation and you wish to continue to pursue the matter, follow the process outlined in the following section.
In each case, the student shall bring the appeal in writing to the person or committee who made the original decision. If a resolution is not obtained at that level, the student may appeal to the next level in the school or University administrative structure.
Guidelines for Academic Appeals
Levels of Appeals
Academic petitions regarding general University matters such as decisions on graduation requirements or other Catalog academic regulations may be made in the following order:
A breach of academic integrity occurs when a student receives academic benefits he or she did not earn through his or her own work by cheating or by plagiarism. In its more blatant forms, academic dishonesty includes the following:
It is not dishonest to discuss possible answers to an exam question as part of a study group, to discuss ideas for a paper with other members of the class, or to ask a friend to read a draft of a paper for suggestions to improve it, unless the professor has prohibited these activities.
It is not dishonest to summarize, paraphrase, or quote the words of others in a paper, presentation, or other academic work so long as the student acknowledges the sources with appropriate citations.
Expectations and Procedures
Expectations regarding academic integrity are outlined here in the Undergraduate Catalog. Additional expectations may be defined in the class syllabus and/or department policy handbooks.
Both students and the professor in each class have the obligations to report and prevent cheating, plagiarism, or other academic misconduct. In the event that the instructor suspects academic misconduct or that such conduct is reported, the instructor will adhere to the following guidelines:
Once on probation, any student who earns a quarterly GPA of 2.3 or higher yet fails to raise the cumulative GPA to 2.0 or above will be put on probation holding. The student retains the same probation status as held the previous quarter (e.g., first-quarter probation or second-quarter probation) but does not move toward dismissal. The quarterly GPA that determines either probation holding or continuance to second-quarter probation or academic dismissal is not impacted by the repeating of courses that may be excluded due to equal or higher grades in past quarters.
Students on first-quarter probation are required to meet with their academic counselor in Student Academic Services to develop a plan that outlines goals and appropriate means to meet those goals toward achieving academic success. This meeting must occur before the fifth day of the quarter.
A student on first-quarter academic probation (or first-quarter academic probation hold) will proceed to second-quarter academic probation if his or her cumulative SPU GPA remains below 2.0 and quarterly GPA is below 2.3.
Students on second-quarter probation may not enroll in more than 13 credits and must meet with their academic counselor before the fifth day of the quarter to make appropriate changes in their class schedule. Such changes may include enrolling in study-skills classes.
If a student on second-quarter probation (or second-quarter probation holding) does not earn a quarterly GPA of 2.3 or raise his or her cumulative GPA to 2.0, the student will be dismissed from the University. The academic dismissal will be noted on the student’s academic record.
A student dismissed from the University will receive a letter outlining what steps must be completed before the student may apply for reinstatement to the University. Once academically dismissed, a student may petition to be reinstated no sooner that one quarter after being dismissed.
It is understood that there are many reasons that can contribute to an academic dismissal and as such students will be held to their own distinct requirements for reinstatement based on their unique situation as determined by the Academic Reinstatement Committee. If a student plans to apply for reinstatement they must meet with an academic counselor who will liaison with the Academic Reinstatement Committee to determine requirements for petitioning for reinstatement. Petition forms are available through an academic counselor. If an appeal is denied, a student may appeal again after the lapse of one year.
If a student on academic probation leaves the University, that person resumes the same probation status upon returning as when leaving. The student is removed from probation at the end of the quarter in which a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or better is achieved. A senior will not receive a degree until he or she is removed from academic probation. [Back to top]
Except during Summer Session(s), there is an interval of 10 minutes between periods, and a Chapel assembly is scheduled at 11:10 a.m. on Tuesdays. Forums and cadres are at 1 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays. SPU also offers a variety of evening, weekend, and summer classes. Most summer courses take place over two four-week sessions and vary from traditional classes in length and structure.
If a student has more than two exams on any day, he or she may reschedule one of the exams with an instructor at a mutually convenient time. An instructor may refuse a student’s request to reschedule a final examination. However, instructors may schedule an early final exam for a student under the following conditions:
Definition of Credit
The SPU “credit” is a “quarter” credit and is equal to two-thirds of the “semester” credit in use at some institutions. (For instance, 45 quarter credits are equivalent to 30 semester credits.) It is expected that students will spend at least two 50-minute periods of work outside the classroom for each 50 minutes in class.
Permissible Academic Load
To assist in their academic success and aid in the transition from high school to college, freshmen are not allowed to register for more than 18 credits per quarter. Those who desire to exceed the18-credit limit in order to participate in Music Ensembles or Private Instruction should contact the Registration staff in Student Academic Services.
By special permission from the university registrar, undergraduate and post-baccalaureate students who maintain a high scholarship standard may be permitted to register for as many as 20 credits. Only rarely, and through a petition process, are students permitted to register for more than 20 credits, including music, physical education, and all fractional credits. An example of "rare" circumstance warranting such a petition would be the need to take a few extra credits to complete the final quarter toward a degree.
It should be noted that there is an additional per-credit tuition charge for 19 or more credits.
Reduction or Limitation of Load
Experience suggests that most students should limit academic load in proportion to hours of employment outside of school hours. The following schedule suggests a relationship between the student’s academic load and outside work:
Except when participating in approved study abroad, students may not take courses concurrently from SPU and another institution during the regular academic year (autumn through spring quarters).
Faculty Advising: Key to a Successful Academic Experience
Although Seattle Pacific University makes every effort to assist students through the academic advising system, the final responsibility for meeting all academic and graduation requirements rests with each individual student.
Assignment of Faculty Advisors
Students may request a change in advisor, particularly if they have decided to pursue a major or have developed different interests. Students can change their advisor in Banner under “Student Menu/Your Faculty Advisor.”
Advisor Approvals for Registration
Students are required to apply for a major and request a major advisor no later than April of their sophomore year, or as soon as they are eligible based on that major's admission policies and procedures. Transfer students who enter as juniors or seniors are required to apply before they have completed 30 SPU credits, or as soon as they are eligible based on that major's admission policies and procedures. Once students have been accepted into a major, they are encouraged to continue to meet with their faculty advisor on a consistent basis.
Undergraduate Academic Counselors
The undergraduate academic counselors assist students and provide support for faculty by planning and facilitating New Student Advising for incoming students, advising students during their initial quarter at SPU, evaluating transcripts for transfer students, giving pre-approval for study abroad or at other U.S. institutions, completing graduation checklists, and awarding honors and degrees. The academic counselors are also responsible for assisting students on academic probation.
Changes in Personal Information
Addresses and phone numbers can be changed online through the Banner Information System or in the following offices: Student Academic Services, Student Financial Services, and Residence Life. Students who wish to change their name (e.g., due to change in marital status) need to provide Student Academic Services with the official documentation for the change (e.g., copy of marriage license).
Eligibility for Honors and Activities
Specific Intercollegiate Athletic Eligibility
Grade points (or quality points) are the numerical equivalent of letter grades and are assigned for each credit earned with a given grade according to the scale indicated below. For example, the grade of A in a 5-credit course would give the student 20 grade points. These points express the quality of a student’s performance in terms of numbers for the purpose of determining scholastic achievement and individual and graduation honors.
Grade Point Average
Use of I, N, W Grades
The instructor is under no obligation to grant the request for an "I" grade. However, if the instructor chooses to issue an "I" grade, the instructor and student must formulate a plan for the student's completion of the course requirements (PDF). The student may not attend a future class in which he or she is not registered as a means of working toward completion of an "I" grade.
A timeline for course completion will be determined by the instructor, and may be shorter than one year. However, in all cases the student must submit final coursework within one calendar year or the "I" becomes an "E." The student must initiate the removal of the "I" grade once coursework has been completed.
A student cannot carry more than 20 credits of incomplete grades without prior approval from the university registrar.
The "N" grade is used only in specified courses in which a final grade is dependent upon additional work. The "N" grade indicates that work is satisfactory to date, but carries with it no credit or final grade until all work is completed. Work must be completed within one calendar year or the "N" becomes permanent.
A student's degree will be awarded effective the quarter in which all final grades have been assigned, regardless of when a student may have initially registered for a course in which the student received an "I" or "N" grade.
Withdrawal from a course with official approval during weeks two through six of the quarter will result in a "W" appearing on the transcript.
Students may change from audit to credit or vice versa during the quarterly registration period as published in the University Calendar. For more information regarding auditing a course, refer to the Student Class Status section.
Pass/No Credit Option
Courses noted as being "equivalent" may be substituted for each other. A student may not receive duplicate credit for two courses considered equivalent to each other. If a student takes an SPU course equivalent to a course previously completed at SPU, the rules outlined below in the section regarding "Repeating Courses" will be employed.
If a student takes an SPU course equivalent to a course previously transferred from another school, credit for the transfer course will be rescinded and the SPU credits and course grade will apply. Courses taken at another institution cannot replace an equivalent SPU course for which credit has been received.
Effective Autumn 2011, the highest grade earned at SPU in a repeated course (or an equivalant SPU course) will apply to both the GPA for graduation and for honors at graduation. The original and repeated course will still appear on the transcript. However, the lower grade and credits will be excluded from the overall GPA and credit total.
Only courses taken at SPU will be used to change course grades. A course may be repeated only once. Students who believe they have unusual circumstances may petition to repeat a course more than once by submitting a registration petition (PDF), accompanied by a statement from the course instructor, to Student Academic Services. Courses taken at another institution cannot replace an equivalent SPU course for which credit has been received.
Students who meet the graduation application deadlines will receive information on their academic progress prior to their anticipated quarter of graduation.
In February of each year, the Office of the Provost sends information about the time, date, and procedures for all Commencement activities to students who applied to graduate during the current academic year (from Autumn Quarter through Summer Session).
Receiving Commencement information does not guarantee that you will be allowed to participate in Commencement ceremonies. It merely indicates that you have applied to graduate during the current academic year.
Students who do not meet the application deadline might not receive academic progress reports and may apply too late to be listed in the Commencement brochure.
A student's degree will be awarded effective the quarter in which the final grades for all courses have been assigned, regardless of the term in which the student registered for those courses.
Degrees are awarded by the end of the quarter following the quarter in which the degree was completed.
To participate in the Commencement ceremony, you must have completed all courses necessary to fulfill graduation requirements during Autumn or Winter Quarter — or be registered during Spring Quarter and/or Summer Session for the final courses required to complete your degree.
Enrollment verification for all summer courses necessary to complete degree requirements must be submitted to your undergraduate academic counselor by May 1. Contact your academic counselor if you experience difficulty enrolling in summer courses by the May 1 deadline.
Diplomas are not distributed during Commencement. You will receive your diploma once final grades have been posted and SAS staff has confirmed that all graduation requirements have been fulfilled. During the Commencement ceremony, you will receive a diploma cover. Diplomas are mailed approximately six weeks after the degree is posted as along as all financial obligations to the University are met.
Students who have earned any of the following grades will not qualify for honors: E, NC, I, or N.
However, once the temporary grade of N or I has been replaced by the grade earned, honors may be awarded to qualified students.
Honors for post-baccalaureate students require the minimum GPA in the entire work necessary for the degree including the 45 credits required in residence.
Students must meet the graduation application deadlines to have honors appear in the Commencement program. Graduation honors are computed for the Commencement program on the basis of work completed through Winter Quarter for Spring Quarter graduates.
Students who complete degrees during Summer Session are not eligible for recognition until completion of all degree requirements.
The President’s Citation
To be eligible for this award, the student must have taken all of his or her university work at SPU and must have adhered consistently to the ideals of the University. The University president makes the selection.
Alpha Kappa Sigma
This honor society has chapters in all the colleges of SPU’s sponsoring denomination. During their senior year, candidates are recommended by an academic policies committee and elected by vote of the faculty.
Other SPU honoraries include:
Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities
We understand that students may need to take a leave of absence from the University for financial reasons, or for personal considerations such as illness within families, medical reasons, or special educational opportunities not available at Seattle Pacific University.
Term-based, credit-hour institutions such as Seattle Pacific University as a rule do not meet the conditions of a federally approved leave of absence; therefore if the student is receiving federal financial aid and withdraws or takes a leave of absence from the University, the student may be subject to the federal Return of Title IV and State financial aid return policies and to the terms of his or her student loan(s).
International students are bound by particular federal laws with regard to leave of absence; therefore this policy does not apply to them.
NOTE: Students must notify Student Financial Services about any change in planned period of enrollment, whether due to withdrawal from a class, a leave of absence, or withdrawal from the University. The specific requirements by which the student agreed to abide at the time any financial aid was accepted will remain in effect.
A student will be required to re-apply to SPU if she or he is away from the University for more than four quarters. Students do not apply for readmission to SPU if they take a leave of fewer than four quarters. A student gone for four or fewer quarters will be responsible to complete the same degree requirements as expected upon his or her first quarter of matriculation at the University.
An associate degree completed at any time after a student first matriculates at SPU will not be recognized.
Students approved for leave will maintain their priority registration appointment upon their return to SPU. If a student plans to attend another college while on leave, the student must gain prior approval for courses from an undergraduate academic counselor in Student Academic Services by completing the Non-Study Leave of Absence form. Official transcripts should be sent to Student Academic Services for credit evaluation according to transfer policy.
A student may earn no more than 20 credits from institutions other than SPU once a student has matriculated at Seattle Pacific University, except through pre-approved study abroad experiences.
Leave of Absence (PDF) applications are available here and on the forms rack outside of Demaray Hall 151. The student must complete the application, including a date, signature, and statement of reason(s) for requesting the leave of absence and return it to Student Academic Services.
While a student is on leave of absence, the University will report the student’s enrollment status to lenders and loan service entities as “not attending,” and a student loan borrower’s grace period will begin.
Students on an SPU leave of absence who do not attend school elsewhere for two consecutive quarters (including summer), or who attend another institution less than half time for two or more consecutive quarters (including summer) will be expected to begin repayment on some or all of their loans. Students are advised to contact their lender(s) regarding their enrollment plans and for repayment information and grace period expiration.
Additional leave of absence requirements:
Students who are not seeking a degree at Seattle Pacific, but who wish to take courses can do so as a non-matriculated student. Below are policy issues surrounding this type of student status:
Registration for Non-matriculated Students
Registering as a non-matriculated student is simple. Students complete the Registration Form and submit to Student Academic Services (SAS) to be processed.
This form asks for directory information, the student's social security number, date of birth, requested courses and the student's signature. It is important to indicate all current contact information so that you may receive information from University departments.
Course offerings can be found in the Time Schedule. Students should note that some courses may not be available to non-matriculated students and/or that some courses may have registration restrictions attached. In either case, the student would need to request special permission from the appropriate department.
One disadvantage to this student type is that registration does not begin until all continuing students have had a chance to register. See the Academic Calendar for specific dates for each quarter. For Autumn Quarter, non-matriculated students can begin registering on September 1 or the first business day in September.
Other Things to Consider
A late registration fee of $50 may be charged for late registration.
Once web registration has ended, students must come to Student Academic Services (SAS), or mail or fax in a written request to withdraw from classes.
Note: Internships, independent studies, and individual instruction in music have the extended registration deadline of the 10th day of the quarter (see the University Calendar for specific dates).
Registration for internships, independent study, distance-learning, and travel-study courses must be processed in Student Academic Services and cannot be accomplished over the web. Students must come to SAS, or mail or fax in their registration forms to register for these classes.
Waitlisting Closed Classes
Students have the option of waitlisting online via Banner any classes that are closed. As space becomes available in closed classes, waitlisted students will be registered on a first-come basis by Student Academic Services.
Students will be notified by SPU email when they are entered into a class via the waitlist. If the waitlisted class creates a time conflict or would cause a credit overload (generally more than 18 credits), Student Academic Services will send a message to the student's SPU email address asking for this issue to be addressed. If a response is not received by SAS within 24 hours (one business day) the student will be dropped from the waitlist for this problematic course.
Students may choose to withdraw from the waitlist for a course by dropping via the Banner Information System.
The waitlist program begins on the first day of registration and ends before the quarter begins. Refer to the University Calendar for specific dates. The waitlist process is the best way for faculty to know the demand for their classes.
When the quarter begins, and the waitlist is no longer in effect, no preference is given to students who were previously on a class waitlist. Therefore, if a student withdraws from a course after the quarter begins, the class is available for anyone to register until 5 p.m. on the fifth day of the quarter.
Extended Registration Deadlines
Registration for internships, independent study, and travel-study courses must be processed in Student Academic Services and cannot be accomplished over the web. Students must come to SAS, or mail or fax in their registration forms to register for these classes.
Changes in Registration
Specific dates for these registration deadlines are listed in the online University Calendar. Students who are receiving financial assistance are encouraged to speak to a Student Financial Services representative before making a change in course load.
Registration restrictions have been designated for certain courses. The registration restrictions may be based on student level, student classification, or declared major.
Holds are placed on a student's account for different circumstances. Each hold prevents basic University privileges, such as, but not limited to, the right to register, add/drop classes, or receive copies of official transcripts and diplomas. Listed below are the types of holds that are placed on accounts and the offices to contact regarding them.
Summer Quarter Registration deadlines
Adding classes: Students must register prior to the first day of the course. Registrations will not be accepted once a course has begun.
Dropping classes: Students must drop the course before the class ends. Once the course has ended, students will not be allowed to withdraw.
Note: Summer Session internships, independent studies, and individual instruction in music have an extended registration deadline. Please check the Summer website for specific dates and deadlines.
Registration holds unresolved by the deadline or poor performance in a class do not constitute extenuating circumstances and are not grounds for petition. The petition must not only voice the request, but must also substantiate the validity of the request.
Registration petition forms (PDF) are available online and on the forms rack in the Demaray Hall lobby (first floor). Instructions for completing the petition process are listed on the form.
A student seeking late registration must seek permission from the instructor to sit in the class while the petition is pending. In all cases, the final decision to approve or deny a petition will be made by Student Academic Services. SAS reserves the right to deny any petition for any reason. Each approved petition will incur a $50 change of registration fee.
In keeping with the goal of service, Seattle Pacific has a program that offers tuition-free and technology-fee-free courses to persons 65 years of age or older. Senior adults of this age bracket may attend on-campus undergraduate classes as auditors or for academic credit. They may take courses in special interest areas and/or complete one bachelor's degree.
Those wishing to apply toward an undergraduate bachelor's degree must formally apply to the Office of Undergraduate Admissions. Senior citizen students may pursue only one bachelor's degree under this SPU program.
If you are not pursuing a bachelor's degree:
To register as a senior citizen, non-matriculated student, students must complete a registration form and submit it to Student Academic Services for processing.
The registration form requires the student's social security number, date of birth, requested courses, and signature. It is important to indicate all current contact information so that you may receive information from our university's departments.
Course selection can be found in the online Time Schedule.
Note: Some courses may not be available to non-matriculated students and/or some courses may have registration restrictions attached. In either case, the student must request special permission from the appropriate department in order to register.
Work for an independent study occurs outside of the classroom setting. An independent study should be created only when a needed class is not available for a particular quarter, or when a student cannot accommodate a class in his or her schedule. Students should not attend a class being offered and use that as part of the independent-study credits.
Independent studies can be created in situations when a student wishes to study a topic not covered in an actual course in the University Catalog. Only matriculated students at Seattle Pacific University may register for independent study.
The Independent Study form (PDF) must be completed by the student and signed by the instructor and the dean or department chair. The instructor and student must meet on a regular basis for the number of consultations noted in the agreement.
Registration for an independent study must be submitted to Student Academic Services no later than the 10th day of the quarter (see the University Calendar for specific dates). Student Academic Services will create the course as noted on the agreement. Copies of the agreement will be forwarded to the instructor and the student.
Enrolling in Courses at Other Institutions
Once a student has matriculated at SPU, the student should never enroll in a course at another institution without consulting an undergraduate academic counselor and completing a study-away approval form. If the student wishes to take courses toward a major or minor, a faculty advisor's signature will be required on the form.
Policies governing transfer of credits include the following:
Undergraduate, post-baccalaureate, and graduate definitions assume that students have been admitted to the University. Matriculated students are classified at the beginning of each quarter according to the following designations:Undergraduate Students
No more than 45 credits taken as a non-matriculated student may apply toward an undergraduate degree, and no more than 15 such credits may be applied to a post-baccalaureate degree, nor can more than 9 such credits apply toward some graduate degrees. A later decision to work on a degree or certificate program will necessitate formal application and admission to the University as a matriculated student.
Auditors may neither participate in class discussions nor take examinations. If they do daily assignments, the instructor is under no obligation to read or correct them. Courses that are audited do not count toward financial aid. Students who are unable to remain at the University because of low grades, and new applicants who do not qualify for admission, may not register as auditors. A student may receive credit for an audited course only by enrolling in it as a regular student in a subsequent quarter. Tuition rates for auditors will be equal to the tuition credit rate.
Travel Studies Program
Students planning to study abroad need to meet with staff in the Study Abroad Office in order to explore travel studies options and obtain the appropriate study abroad application for their study abroad experience. Ultimately, this paperwork will be submitted to Student Academic Services for registration for SPU credit or for approval of transfer coursework.
SPU credit. Study abroad classes that offer Seattle Pacific University credit are scheduled and listed in the Time Schedule and this Undergraduate Catalog.
In order to receive credit, students are expected to register for the courses no later than 30 days prior to leaving for the tour. Students may be eligible for financial aid while participating in the SPU Travel Studies program. However, students should check with Student Financial Services for complete details. An SPU faculty member is responsible for coordinating and grading the students in the program.
Transfer credit. Students may participate in approved travel-study programs outside of Seattle Pacific University that offer academic credit through other institutions. Students may take a leave of absence from SPU for the duration of the travel-study program. Before enrolling in any other program or institution, students must consult an undergraduate academic counselor and complete a study-away approval form (PDF).
Students who wish to take courses toward a major or minor, must obtain a faculty advisor's signature on the form. Limited financial aid may be available for travel-study programs. Check with Student Financial Services for complete details. For further information, check with the department that is sponsoring the program, or visit Special Studies.
Seattle Pacific University reserves the right to deny official transcript services for indebtedness to the institution. If the student has an account, official transcripts are released only if the account is paid in full.
Transcripts contain the student’s entire academic history while at SPU. Undergraduate, graduate, doctoral work, and CEUs are segregated on separate pages of the SPU transcript. Although a copy of the transcript may be requested at any time, updated transcripts will be available after final grades have been submitted and recorded.
If a student chooses not to order a transcript online, then a written request to Student Academic Services is required. The request must include:
Payment is due at the time the transcript is requested. Payment can be made by cash (in-person only), check, Visa, or MasterCard.
SPU will re-send a transcript to the originally requested institution provided the University made an error in processing. We must, however, be contacted within three months of the original request. After the three-month grace period, a separate written request must be submitted. The University reserves the right to approve or deny any request for re-sending a transcript for any reason other than University error.
If transportation of SPU students is in University-owned or sponsored vehicles, drivers must have passed a defensive driving course, possess a current driver’s license, and have authorized a check of their driving records. Safety and Security need not be notified of all officially sponsored travel.
Any exception to this policy must be approved in advance and in writing by the senior vice president for planning and administration.
Complete Withdrawal From School
Students who desire to withdraw from Seattle Pacific University should complete the Complete Withdrawal Form (PDF) and submit it to Student Academic Services for processing. If students are registered for courses, they are able to withdraw via the web, but only until 4:30 p.m. on the fifth day of the quarter.
Refunds and adjustments to the student's account are governed by the financial policies listed in Costs and Financial Aid.
A student who is registered but does not attend classes is responsible to cancel his or her registration or to contact Student Academic Services in writing. The date this withdrawal takes place will determine the amount of refund, where applicable.
If a student fails to withdraw through Student Academic Services by the end of the sixth week of the quarter, the student will receive the grade earned and possibly no refund.
To be eligible for a refund of parking fees, the student must inform the Office of Safety and Security. Parking refunds are calculated in accordance with the tuition refund policy.
Administrative Withdrawals Requested by Instructors
In addition, if a student does not attend class within the first two days of the quarter, an instructor may ask Student Academic Services to administratively withdraw a student from the class. If a student knows that he or she will miss the first class, it is best to notify the instructor to avoid being withdrawn from the class.
Administrative Withdrawals Requested by Student Financial Services