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2014-2015 Graduate Catalog


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Community Standards and Policies

Graduate Student Services


Behavioral Expectations

Seattle Pacific University's standards for behavior are representative of the University's identity and are designed to provide a positive learning environment while promoting the intellectual, social, spiritual, and physical well-being of students. The context for Seattle Pacific community standards, explained below, reflects the University's commitment to its Christian philosophy of education in the tradition of its Wesleyan heritage.

Any questions regarding these statements should be addressed to the Dean of Students for Community Life in the Office of Student Life.

Context for Community Standards

As the University develops and implements its policies relative to lifestyle expectations, the standards are shaped and informed by four sources: legal authority (i.e., local, state, and federal law), Scripture, historic Christian tradition, and the mission of the University.

  • Legal Authority. Local, state, and federal laws address matters that directly influence University policy. Theft, possession or use of illegal substances, under-age use or possession of alcohol, any kind of harassment, physical abuse against persons or property (e.g., rape, assault, and vandalism), possession of firearms on campus, and violations of copyright laws are examples of the way laws interface with policy.
  • Scripture. Scripture addresses issues relating to matters of character and integrity that impact the community and the relationships of those who are a part of the community. We affirm that all persons are of sacred worth and affirm that God's grace is available to all.
  • Historic Christian Tradition and the University Mission. This area is the most difficult to define because our community is diverse in its concerns over certain issues. Nonetheless, our roots and values are deeply connected to the Free Methodist and other evangelical Christian churches. Evangelical churches are those that find their authority in God's word and stress the need for a personal, redemptive faith in Jesus Christ.

Conduct Code

Community expectations are the general standards that govern the personal conduct of all students and student organizations at SPU. Behaviors for which students or student organizations are subject to disciplinary action include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Actions that constitute violations of municipal, state, or federal law. The University reserves the right to follow its normal conduct process whenever a student is accused of a criminal act, regardless of the location of its occurrence and regardless of whether civil or criminal proceedings have been instituted against the student.
  • Actions that interfere with the educational process or the administration of the University, including those that obstruct or disrupt the use of University premises, buildings, rooms or passages, or which incite a disturbance.
  • Dishonesty such as cheating or plagiarism; knowingly furnishing false information; alteration or unauthorized use of University documents, records or property; or the misuse of student identification.
  • Participation in any actions that involve discrimination or harassment based on race, color, national origin, religion, disability, or gender.
  • Any form of coercive or unwelcome sexual behavior, including sexual assault, rape, acquaintance rape, indecent liberties, or related actions.
  • Activities that cause or threaten emotional, mental, or physical harm or suffering; that demean the dignity of any individual; or that interfere with one’s academic process. Examples of such actions are verbal threats or abuse, harassment, intimidation, threatened or actual physical assault, or consistent disregard for the rights and welfare of others.
  • Conduct or activities that are lewd, indecent, or obscene, whether demonstrative, visual, verbal, written, or electronic (see the Acceptable Use Policy Statement).
  • Failure to comply with the directions of authorized University officials in the performance of their duties, including the failure to comply with the terms of disciplinary sanction. This also includes the failure to identify oneself when requested to do so.
  • False reporting or warning of an impending fire, bombing, crime or emergency, or tampering with safety equipment.
  • Unauthorized possession of, or damage to, University property or services, or property belonging to others. Unauthorized presence in, or unauthorized use of or duplication of keys to, University premises or property.
  • Possession, use, storage, manufacture, transport, display, sale or distribution on University property of any firearms, weapons, fireworks, live ammunition, incendiary devices, explosives, flammable liquids, or other items that are potentially hazardous to members of the campus community. Propane and other compressed gases (including spray paint) are also prohibited unless approved for a specific purpose.

  • Activities that may cause damage or constitute a safety or health hazard or interfere with the academic process. Such activities include, but are not limited to, entering or exiting buildings through the windows; throwing, projecting, or dropping items that may cause injury or damage; and pranks that create safety and health hazards for others and/or cause damage to University or personal property.

Seattle Pacific University Nondiscrimination/Grievance Policy

It is the policy of Seattle Pacific University not to discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability in its programs or activities, as required by applicable laws and regulations.

As a religious educational institution operating under the auspices of the Free Methodist Church of North America, Seattle Pacific University is permitted and reserves the right to prefer employees or prospective employees on the basis of religion.

If you have any questions regarding this policy, contact either of the following persons:

Vice President for Student Life
Campus Location: Room 209, Student Union Building
Seattle Pacific University 3307 Third Avenue West, Suite 212
Seattle, Washington 98119-1950

Director of Human Resources/Title IX Coordinator
Campus Location: 330 West Nickerson Street
Seattle Pacific University
3307 Third Avenue West, Suite 302
Seattle, Washington 98119-1957

If you believe you may have been discriminated against in violation of this policy, please immediately contact one of the individuals designated above. Copies of the grievance procedures may be obtained from the above designated individuals; the Office of Student Life; the Office of Human Resources; and copies of the grievance procedures are also found here.

This publication is certified as true and correct in content and policy as of the date of publication. The University reserves the right, however, to make changes of any nature in programs, calendar, academic policy, or academic schedules whenever these are deemed necessary or desirable, including changes in course content, class rescheduling, and the canceling of scheduled classes or other academic activities.

Disciplinary Appeals

Students have the opportunity for a self-initiated appeal of a disciplinary action. Appeals may be addressed in writing to the appropriate University official within 48 hours of receipt by the student of the written notice of disciplinary action. The University attempts to provide ample information about community structures, expectations, and practices to all members, especially to those who are new each year. If you would like more information about behavioral standards or the disciplinary process, contact the Office of the Vice President for Student Life.

Other Appeals

All academic and service appeals begin with and are resolved by the graduate program coordinator and/or director who work directly with respective departments. If further assistance is desired, you may contact the academic dean of the school or college.

According to federal regulations, please note that after all internal processes have been exhausted you may contact the following agencies to seek resolution to your concerns. 


Washington State Office of the Attorney General

1125 Washington St. S.E.

P.O. Box 40100

Olympia, WA 98504-0100



Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)

8060 165th Avenue N.E., Suite 100

Redmond, WA 98052

425-558-4224 (Voice)

425-376-0596 (Fax)



Sexual Harassment
Seattle Pacific University is committed to maintaining an academic and social environment free of sexual harassment and assault. Members of our community have the right to work, study, and communicate with each other in an atmosphere free from unsolicited and unwelcome communication of a sexual nature.

Sexual harassment is a form of misconduct that violates the integrity and trust in human relationships. Sexual harassment does not refer to occasional appropriate compliments.

Rather, it is behavior that is personally intrusive, offensive, debilitating to morale, and insulting to human worth and dignity. Sexual harassment of students is marked by inappropriate sexually oriented attention by anyone (faculty member, staff member, or student) who is in a position to determine a student's grade or to adversely affect the student's academic performance, job performance, professional future, participation in campus activities, use of campus services and facilities, or ability to function comfortably in the SPU community.

Students who believe they have been sexually harassed or who have concerns about the appropriateness of faculty, staff, or student behavior may seek support and counsel from among a variety of helpful campus resources and people trained in the prevention of sexual harassment. The consultation will remain confidential if the student wishes. Formal complaints of sexual harassment may be addressed to the Vice President for Student Life (206-281-2481), the Director of Human Resources/Title IX Coordinator (206-281-2809) or the Office of the Provost (206-281-2125).

Further information and SPU's complete statement concerning sexual harassment is available from the Office of Student Life (206-281-2481), Human Resources (206-281-2809), or Safety and Security (206-281-2922).


Drug-Free Workplace and Drug-Free Schools and Communities
SPU is subject to the requirements of the federal Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988 and the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act of 1989. The University strongly supports the 1988 and 1989 acts and consistently ensures compliance with them. SPU annually distributes information regarding the restrictions and consequences of violations of each act. Any student who has not received copies of the statements should contact the Office of Student Life in the Student Union Building (SUB), second floor, or Human Resources at 330 West Nickerson.

The purpose of SPU’s Alcohol, Tobacco, and Drug Use Policy is to support the educational mission of the University with standards of personal health, moral integrity, and social consciousness. The policy is also intended to provide guidelines for members of the University community who are sensitive to the varieties of Christian perspectives represented on campus, the Free Methodist Church, and the community at large.

If the abnormal behavior resulted from prescription drug use in compliance with a physician’s instructions, then the policy may be waived. If the behavior is a result of drug abuse or alcohol use, the student will be subject to further disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal and referral for prosecution. If the behavior results in a conviction of a violation of criminal drug or alcohol laws, the disciplinary actions will be dictated by the Drug-Free Workplace regulations.

If a student is required to complete a drug treatment and rehabilitation program as part of the disciplinary action resulting from a violation of this policy, official records of the diagnosis or treatment will be kept for three years in the student’s records. The file will be held in the strictest confidence and will be used only as evidence to governmental and granting agencies that the University did in fact take steps toward correcting the problem.





Although the Center for Career and Calling's (CCC) primary mission is to serve undergraduate students, many online career resources are available that may be helpful to graduate students seeking positions. Visit both the "students" and "alumni" sections of the Center for Career and Calling website.



Staff in Disability Support Services (DSS) in SPU's Center for Learning coordinates services for all students with learning, psychological, medical, and physical disabilities to promote curricular and co-curricular program support and accommodations.

Students with disabilities who wish to receive services and accommodations should do the following:

  • Provide the DSS program coordinator with current documentation prepared by a qualified professional in the relevant field. (For specific guidelines for each disability, check the DSS website or contact the DSS program coordinator at
  • Meet with the DSS program coordinator to discuss particular needs and appropriate accommodations.
  • For housing accommodations, students with disabilities should contact the DSS program coordinator by April 1 if they are returning students and want consideration during the Spring sign-up process, or by June 1 if they are new students applying for Autumn Quarter housing. Students applying for housing beginning Winter or Spring Quarters should contact the coordinator at least six weeks before the start of the quarter.

For information or to schedule an intake appointment, contact the DSS program coordinator at or 206-281-2272.


The Student Counseling Center (SCC) provides SPU graduate students professional referrals to various community-based services, therapists, or organizations. Listed on the SCC website, many of the mental health professionals to whom we refer are committed to reducing their fees for all enrolled SPU students. SCC staff will work with graduate students to help them attain the most appropriate referrals for any mental health, couple, marital, or family related challenge.


SPU welcomes and encourages enrollment of F-1 international students. Special educational and social programs are designed to enhance a student's cross-cultural experiences. Counseling assistance is also provided for academic achievement, cultural adaptations, and financial and legal concerns.

The coordinator for international student records serves as liaison with U.S. Department of Citizenship and Immigration Services regarding international students' travel outside of the United States, permission to transfer, employment eligibility, or practical training options, and maintaining status before, during and after graduation.

If you are a new international student, whether arecent arrival to the United States or a transfer student from another educational institution, you are required to have an interview with the coordinator during your first week of attendance at Seattle Pacific University. Call 206-281-2031 for an interview appointment.


F-1 non-immigrant status carries responsibilities as well as privileges. Failure to comply with requirements is considered a violation of U.S. law that invalidates F-1 status and cancels privileges. Seattle Pacific is required by law to make regular reports about F-1 students' status to the U.S. government.

All international and visa-holding students are required to carry health insurance while in attendance at SPU. This includes summer sessions and academic-year quarters in which the student may not be registered, or registered full-time (for non-F-1 students). Please see Health Insurance Plan for International Students for more information.

The coordinator for international student records, in Student Academic Services, provides services to assist international students in complying with the terms of their visa status, applying for benefits, and attempting to correct status violations when necessary. However, the student's status is always considered his or her own responsibility, not that of SPU.

To maintain good F-1 status, you must:

  1. Participate in an entry interview. You must attend the required New International Student Orientation. If you are unable, for a valid reason, to attend this required orientation, it is your responsibility to contact the coordinator for international student records no later than the fifth day of your first quarter.
  2. Be a full-time student. Complete a full-time course load (12 credits for undergraduate students; 6 credits for graduate students) during every academic quarter (summer sessions may be an exception) and maintain satisfactory academic progress. If it is not possible to be enrolled full time, a Request for Reduced Enrollment form must be obtained from the coordinator, signed by your academic advisor, and submitted to the coordinator no later than the first day of the quarter. Reduced enrollment will be approved only under exceptional circumstances defined by F-1 regulations. Following the 10th day of a quarter, F-1 students enrolled part time without DSO approval will be reported "out-of-status."
  3. Do not work off-campus without authorization. All F-1 students (in good status) are authorized to work on-campus at SPU up to 20 hours per week during cacademic sessions and up to 40 hours per week during vacation periods. Any off-campus employment (any type of work for any type of compensation) must be approved by the coordinator and is only allowed within strict F-1 regulations.
  4. Report any change of name or address. The U.S. government requires notification within 10 days of any name or address change. You must report the location of your physical residence (not a post office box) to both:
    • The coordinator for international student records, who will report the change to the U.S. government through the SEVIS reporting system.
    • SPU — using a Change of Directory Information form or the Banner Information System "Personal Directory Information/Directory Preferences" menu.
  5. Obey the laws of the United States of America.
  6. Participate in an exit interview (in the event of departure): Schedule an appointment with the coordinator if you will be graduating or otherwise ending your studies at SPU for any reason.


Graduate students are encouraged to attend chapels and assemblies and to use these opportunities to hear outstanding leaders in religion, education, and other professions. For a schedule, call University Ministries at 206-281-2966 or visit the online UM Calendar.


Graduate Commencement
Commencement is a time-honored ceremony at Seattle Pacific that recognizes the scholarship, service, and Christian growth of graduating students. It is a celebratory service where students, faculty, staff, parents, relatives, and friends congratulate the graduates on their "new beginning."

Master's degree and Doctoral degree students are recognized by the academic leadership for completion of their advanced degree and are hooded by their school dean and the graduate faculty. Degrees are awarded to graduates who have successfully completed the requirements to obtain their graduate diplomas.

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