2014–15 Undergraduate Catalog
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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.

Appeal Process
Seattle Pacific University provides a process whereby a student may appeal an academic decision, including, but not limited to, grades on course activities; evaluations; course grades; decisions on program admissions; and decisions on fulfillment of program and graduation requirements.

  • Academic appeals may be made only on grounds of unfair treatment against the stated standards, not against the professional judgment of the faculty member(s).
  • The intent is always to resolve the appeal at the most immediate level.
  • Only in extraordinary circumstances, when a resolution cannot be obtained at the first level, is the process moved to the next level.

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

  1. The appeal must be made in writing within five calendar days after the student received the decision from the faculty member or committee.
  2. Every attempt shall be made at each level to resolve the issue according to ethical practices, accreditation standards, and University policy.
  3. The person making the appeal should provide the necessary supportive information to substantiate his or her appeal.
  4. If for any reason a case is appealed beyond the faculty member or faculty committee, an appeal file shall be created. This file will contain written documentation related to the case including, but not limited to, the student’s written appeal and the faculty response. The appeal file shall be open to all principals in the case, including the student appellant.

Levels of Appeals
Appeals on final grades must be submitted within one quarter of the grade being awarded. For appeals on academic decisions such as grades on course activities, evaluations, course grades, and decisions on program admissions, the levels to be followed in order are the following:

  1. Course instructor or ad hoc faculty committee appointed by department chair
  2. Department chair
  3. School dean
  4. Provost
  5. President

Academic petitions regarding general University matters such as decisions on graduation requirements or other Catalog academic regulations may be made in the following order:

  1. Student Academic Services
  2. Curriculum Committee
  3. Provost
  4. President (The decision of the president in any student appeal is final.)



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:

  • Copying another’s work on an exam
  • Preparing for an exam by using test questions from a stolen exam
  • Bringing concealed answers to an exam
  • Turning in another person’s work as one’s own
  • Committing plagiarism (i.e., copying portions of another’s words from a published or electronic source without acknowledging that source)

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:

  1. Prior to a formal meeting, the instructor will gather information from the student or others to determine any issues in question.
  2. If the instructor verifies that an act of academic dishonesty has occurred, the instructor must make a reasonable attempt to hold a conference with the student to discuss the misconduct. At this time, the instructor will explain the procedures for adjudicating the case.
    1. In the event that the student fails to respond in a timely manner to the professor’s request for a conference, the case may be turned over to the chair or dean for action. (See Lifestyle Expectations, # 2, 5, 10.) 
  3. The department chair or dean must be notified of the incident for the purpose of information and guidance. The chair or dean must notify the provost regarding the incident to determine any history of like activity and unusual circumstances. 
    1. The provost must notify the dean of student life for any proposed action in addition to the faculty member’s action. (This action will be undertaken as a separate procedure from the instructor’s meeting and decision.)
  4. If, following the conference, the instructor (or the chair or dean, in the case of 2.1 above) is convinced that the student violated the academic integrity policy, appropriate action will be initiated. The penalty imposed will be commensurate with the seriousness of the offense. Such penalties may range from loss of credit for the work in question to loss of credit for the entire course. 
    1. Flagrant dishonesty, violations of academic integrity associated with a criminal act (e.g., breaking into a building or office), and/or with concerted group effort will be immediately referred to the chief judicial officer and/or dean of student life for disciplinary action. 
  5. This decision(s) will be reported in writing to the student and the chair/dean. A copy of the decision(s) will be sent to the provost. The provost and the school dean will decide whether documentation of the incident and decision will be included in the student judicial record in the Office of Student Life.
  6. If the student appeals any decision, the appeal will move through the process as outlined in "Academic Appeals" and the "Appeal Process" above. A copy of all decisions, including appeals, will be sent to the office of the Provost and/or the Office of Student Life as determined by the Provost and dean.


An undergraduate student attempting 5 credits or more at SPU will be placed on first-quarter academic probation when his or her total SPU cumulative grade-point average first falls below a 2.0. The student is removed from academic probation status at the end of the quarter in which she or he raises the (SPU) cumulative grade-point average to 2.0 or above.

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.

  • Once reinstated, the student’s GPA is the same as when dismissed. The student may not use grades from other colleges and universities to raise the SPU GPA.
  • A reinstated student may not enroll for more than 13 credits in the quarter in which the student is reinstated.
  • A reinstated student will be dismissed if he or she fails to attain either a quarterly GPA of 2.3 or higher or a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or above by the end of the first quarter that person returns.

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]


Academic Schedule
Seattle Pacific University uses a quarter calendar that spans three quarters (Autumn, Winter, and Spring quarters), each consisting of 10 weeks of instruction. Classes are arranged in a block-schedule format: 5-credit courses are generally offered in either 80-minute periods three days a week or 120-minute periods two days a week.

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.

Final Examinations
A special two-hour class meeting is scheduled for most courses during on of the last three days of every quarter. The final exam period is considered an instructional period; classes are expected to meet during the scheduled time whether or not a final exam is given.

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:

  • The student is able to demonstrate appropriate mitigating circumstances that, in the judgment of the instructor, warrant rescheduling the final exam.
  • A rescheduled final exam is given no earlier than four working days prior to the last day of the final examination period.
  • The student’s request to reschedule a final exam is made at least two weeks before the regularly scheduled final exam period.

Definition of Credit
One “credit” signifies the value toward graduation of a class meeting one period of approximately one hour each week for a quarter of approximately 10 weeks together with satisfactory completion of the assigned out-of-class work. Two (and sometimes three) 50-minute periods of laboratory work are regarded as equivalent to one such period of regular class work.

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.

Enrollment Status
Enrollment status for undergraduate and post-baccalaureate students is determined by the following:


12–18 credits full time
9–11 credit three-quarter time
6–8 credits half time
1–5 credits less than half time


Permissible Academic Load
The term “academic load” refers to the schedule of studies for which a student is registered. Twelve to 18 credits are considered a regular academic load for undergraduate and post-baccalaureate students. Although Summer Session consists of more than one session, to be considered full time a student must be registered for at least 12 credits within the entire Summer Session.

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
An undergraduate student’s academic load is subject to reduction or limitation from the university registrar for low scholarship.

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:


Outside Work Per Week Load Recommended
14 hours or less 15–18 credit hours or less
15–20 hours or less 12–14 credits
21–30 hours or less 10–12 credits
More than 30 hours 6–10 credits

Concurrent Enrollment

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
One of the primary factors contributing to a successful academic experience is the positive relationship built between students and faculty. Faculty advisors reach out to students to assist them through the University system and to enable them to fulfill their educational goals. Students have the responsibility of seeking out their faculty advisor for assistance in clarifying goals, exploring areas of interest, and selecting classes each quarter.

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
The director of faculty advising assigns faculty advisors for all new undergraduate students. Freshmen are advised by their University Seminar professor during their first year and are expected to request a faculty advisor in their area of academic interest during the spring. Transfer students are assigned to faculty in their designated area of interest. New students are notified of their advisor assignment early in their first quarter of attendance at SPU.

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
To obtain guidance in the timely completion of a baccalaureate degree, undergraduate students who have not been accepted into a major are required to see a faculty advisor each quarter to receive permission to register.

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
Every student is assigned an academic counselor in Student Academic Services who follows the student’s progress from admission through graduation.

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
It is the student’s responsibility to notify the University of any changes to his or her permanent or mailing addresses. This will enable the University to forward important quarterly materials to students.

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
Students who are registered for less than a full-time academic load are not eligible to be rated for scholarship honors. To participate in extra-curricular activities, students must maintain a satisfactory cumulative grade-point average. Consult the Office of Student Life for specific requirements.

Specific Intercollegiate Athletic Eligibility
A student athlete in an intercollegiate sport must be enrolled in a minimum of 12 credits to be eligible for practice and competition. In addition, by the beginning of the student-athlete’s second academic year, the student must achieve a cumulative GPA of 2.0 (C) or higher to be eligible for competition. All other NCAA bylaws regarding eligibility must also be met.


Grades and Points
Except in cases of clerical error, no instructor may change a grade that he or she has submitted to Student Academic Services. The quality of a student’s performance in a course is recognized by a letter mark or grade, which is counted in points.

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
A student’s grade point average (GPA) is determined by dividing the total number of grade points earned during a given period by the number of credits for which the student was enrolled and for which he or she received a regular grade during the same period. For example, if a student earns 45 grade points during a quarter in which he or she is enrolled for 15 credits, his or her GPA for the quarter will be 3.0.


Grade Points Explanation
A 4.0 Excellent attainment
A- 3.7  
B+ 3.3  


3.0 Highly satisfactory attainment
B- 2.7  
C+ 2.3  
C 2.0 Satisfactory attainment
C- 1.7  
D+ 1.3  
D 1.0 Insufficient attainment with credit allowed
E 0.0 Insufficient attainment with no credit allowed
Au   Audit
P   Pass (used only with the pass/no credit option)
NC   No credit (used only with the pass/no credit option)
I   Incomplete
N   In progress
W   Withdrawal with official approval


Use of I, N, W Grades
The “I” grade (incomplete) indicates that the student did not complete the work assigned for a course because of absence from school during the quarter due to illness or an acceptable emergency. The student must initiate the request for the "I" grade prior to the final examination or last class session. Unless the student is incapacitated, this request should be made in writing. Documentation verifying the illness or acceptable emergency (e.g., a note from a medical doctor) may be required by the instructor.

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.

Any SPU course may be audited, with the exception of some graduate courses.

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

  • The P grade in this option must be at least equivalent to a C grade (2.0).
  • The total number of credits toward the degree for which students may elect the P/NC option is based on the student's class standing at entrance to SPU, as specified in the schedule below. Limitations in item 3 below apply as well.

    Freshman – 30 credits
    Sophomore – 20 credits
    Junior – 15 credits
    Senior – 5 credits

  • No more than one course per quarter; no courses in major or minor; no courses in University Seminar, University Foundations, University Core,
    General Education or the Exploratory Curriculum.
  • 6000-level courses may not be taken for P/NC credit, with the exception of thesis, dissertation, research, and projects, to be determined at the discretion of the schools.
  • For those students who transfer to SPU, no “Pass” credits will be accepted for major or minor requirements, for Common Curriculum, for Exploratory Curriculum, for General Education, nor toward the University Scholars Curriculum.
  • Courses in which a student earns a Pass or No Credit grade do not count in a student's grade-point average calculation.
  • However, college-level credits (numbered 1000–4999) earned with a Pass grade do count toward elective credits in a bachelor's degree.
  • The P/NC form must be on file in Student Academic Services by the 10th day of the quarter.

Equivalent Courses

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.

Repeating Courses
Students may repeat any course previously taken at SPU (or enroll in an SPU course noted as being "equivalent") once for the purpose of earning a higher grade, unless the course is designed to be repeated for additional credit.

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.  


Graduation application forms for undergraduate and post-baccalaureate students may be accessed through the Banner Information System by selecting Student Menu,then Graduation Menu. Students must formally apply for graduation. They are encouraged to do so as soon as they have earned approximately 120 credits and have been admitted to all majors and minors they plan to complete. Graduation application deadlines are below.


Intending to Graduate Deadline
Spring Quarter/Summer May 1, in the year prior to graduation
Autumn Quarter November 1, in the year prior to graduation
Winter Quarter February 1, in the year prior to graduation


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.

  • If you cannot register for outstanding requirements for your degree during Spring Quarter and/or Summer Session, you are not allowed to "walk" in the Commencement ceremony.
  • Students who complete their degree requirements Autumn and Winter quarters may participate in Commencement ceremonies at the end of the academic year in which they finish their coursework.
  • Students completing degrees during Summer Session are not eligible for recognition of honors until completion of all degree requirements. Their honors do not appear in the Commencement program, and they are not eligible to wear honor cords during Commencement. Honors earned will appear on the student's diploma and transcript once the degree has been awarded.

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.

  • Spring Quarter graduates should receive diplomas by mid-September. 
  • Summer graduates should receive diplomas by mid-December.

Academic Honors

Dean’s List or Quarterly Honors
Quarterly honors are awarded to those undergraduate and post-baccalaureate students in good standing who have completed at least 12 credit hours of work and attained a 3.5 or higher quarterly grade-point average in a given quarter.

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.

Graduation Honors
Baccalaureate degrees will be conferred with honors for undergraduate students based on the following criteria:

  • The student must have completed 75 quarter hours in residence at SPU.
  • Honors are based on the SPU GPA only.
  • All courses taken at SPU (except ESL and other courses numbered below 1000) are included in the GPA for honors and must meet the minimum grade-point average required for the honor.

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.


Honor Grade Point Average
Cum Laude 3.50–3.74
Magna Cum Laude 3.75–3.89
Summa Cum Laude 3.90–4.00


The President’s Citation
The President’s Citation is awarded each year to a graduating senior who has demonstrated distinguished academic achievement in the context of a Christian liberal arts program.

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
Undergraduate students who have earned 90 credits at SPU and who are in the top 10 percent of the graduating class are eligible for election to the honor society 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.

The Ivy Honorary, a chapter of National Mortarboard Inc., selects students for membership at the end of their junior year who have distinguished themselves through scholarship, leadership, and service.

Other SPU honoraries include:

  • Centurions (men’s service honorary)
  • Falconettes (women’s service honorary)
  • Order of the S (athletics)
  • Sigma Beta Delta (business)
  • Pi Kappa Delta (speech)
  • Alpha Psi Omega (drama)
  • Mu Phi Epsilon (music)
  • Lambda Iota Tau (English)
  • Psi Chi (psychology)
  • Servant Scholar of the Year (student life)

Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities
A number of seniors are elected to Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities each year. This honor is awarded to students who will graduate from SPU, have a cumulative GPA of 2.75 or above, uphold the ideals of SPU, and demonstrate leadership in co-curricular activities. Candidates are recommended during their senior year by the faculty.


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 are not eligible to reside on campus, attend classes, or participate in regular student campus activities during their absence.
  • Students are responsible for all prior arrangements with applicable student service offices (i.e., Student Financial Services, Student Academic Services, University Services, Residence Life, Athletics, etc.)
  • Students must keep the University apprised of their current contact information, including mailing address and phone number while on leave of absence.
  • Students must meet all regular University deadlines for registration, housing reservations, financial aid applications, and similar matters. Financial aid/scholarship awards and University housing reservations do not automatically carry over.


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:

  • There is no application fee to become non-matriculated.
  • The maximum credit load per quarter is 20 credits.
  • No more than 45 credits taken as a non-matriculated student may apply toward an undergraduate degree.
  • No more than 15 such credits may be applied to a post-baccalaureate degree.
  • No more than 9 such credits may be applied to a graduate degree — although some graduate degrees differ in maximum credit amount.
  • If you decide that you would like to pursue a degree or certificate program at SPU, you will be required to go through the normal admissions process.

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

  • Applicants whose first language is other than English must submit an official TOEFL or IELTS score.
  • Non-matriculated students are not eligible to receive financial aid and will pay for courses on a per-credit basis.
  • If you are a veteran student, you may not be able to receive benefits through the G.I. Bill.


Registration on the Web
Registration at Seattle Pacific University will begin during the last few weeks of the preceding quarter and will end on the fifth day of the quarter at 4:30 p.m. SPU offers students the opportunity to register for classes through the Banner Information System. Students are notified via SPU email the date and time of their quarterly registration appointment. If students are not registered for the next quarter by the last day of finals of the preceding quarter, they may lose their opportunity to return. Registering on time will assure a spot at SPU.

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.

Adding Classes
Students are permitted to change their registration as long as the change is submitted by the fifth day of the quarter (see the University Calendar for specific dates) by 4:30 p.m.  Students may not attend or sit in classes unless officially registered. No registrations will be accepted after the fifth day of the quarter. Day and evening classes (classes beginning after 4 p.m.) must also adhere to this deadline.

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
Some courses require extra time to get special paperwork completed (e.g., independent study, internship), work on a special assignment (e.g., independent projects or research), audition (e.g., certain performance groups), or set up individual instruction. For these types of courses, students are allowed to register through the 10th day of the quarter. To see if this extended registration deadline applies to a specific course, contact Student Academic Services.

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
Though choices made during the registration period are considered permanent, students are permitted to change their registration until 4:30 p.m. on the fifth day of the quarter. The deadline for withdrawing from courses is the sixth week of the quarter.

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

Registration restrictions have been designated for certain courses. The registration restrictions may be based on student level, student classification, or declared major.

  • The phrase "Class open to" identifies who may register for the course.
  • The phrase "Class not open to" identifies who may not enroll in the course.

Student Holds

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.


Type of Hold Office
Academic Dismissal Student Academic Services
Academic Probation Student Academic Services
Account Deposit Required Office of Admissions
Advance Payment Needed  Office of Admissions
New Admit Registration  Student Academic Services
English Proficiency Test Required English Department
Health History or Immunization Required Health Center
Housing or Meal Plan Issue University Services
I-9 Form Student Financial Services
Incorrect Address Student Academic Services
Judicial/Behavioral  Student Life
Meet With Faculty Advisor See your Faculty Advisor
Must Complete English Requirement Student Academic Services
No Schedule Changes Allowed Student Academic Services
Past Due Account Student Financial Services
Registrar's Hold Student Academic Services
SFS Account Severely Past Due Student Financial Services
SFS Past Due Loans Student Financial Services
Unapproved Housing University Services


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.


It is expected that all students adhere to registration deadlines. However, registration petitions are requests for exceptions to regular policies and procedures. The petition process provides students and faculty with the possibility of a response outside the normal bounds of policy when extenuating circumstances are judged to warrant such a response. Extenuating circumstances include illness, injury, death in the family, or problems with immigration.

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:

  • There is no application fee to become a non-matriculated student.
  • Senior citizen students can take as many courses as they please as long as they are not pursuing a degree.
  • A senior citizen, non-matriculated student may not register until the second day of each quarter. This allows all continuing students to register first and course registration will be on a space-available basis.
  • If also a veteran student, the student may not be able to receive benefits through the G.I. Bill.

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.


Credit by Examination
Currently enrolled matriculated students may take special examinations in approved academic subject matter offered by Seattle Pacific University to gain credit without being enrolled in specific courses. The procedures for obtaining permission and filing the request are to be obtained in Student Academic Services. The following limitations pertain to credit by examination:

  • A student may receive credit by examination for any coursework that has been completed following high school graduation for which he or she has no formal record.
  • A student may be tutored by a private instructor and challenge a course for credit by examination.
  • A student may not take credit by examination for a course in which he or she has been registered for credit at SPU and received a D, E, NC, Audit, or Incomplete.
  • A student may earn a maximum of 45 quarter credits by examination, including SPU challenge examinations, Advanced Placement (AP), College Level Examination Program (CLEP), International Baccalaureate (IB), National Council Licensure Exam for Registered Nurses (NCLEX), and the Proficiency Examination Program (PEP), none of which will apply to the 45-hour resident requirement.
  • Within a given major, no student may receive credit by examination in subject matter more elementary, as determined by the dean of the school, than that for which credit has been received previously.
  • A student may not repeat an examination for credit.
  • A student may not receive credit by examination for lower-division language courses in the student’s native language, if that language is other than English.
  • A student is entitled to only one consultation with the professor administering the test.
  • A student must pay for all special exam fees prior to scheduling and taking the exam.

Independent Study
Independent study courses are courses in which a student does specific work independently with the instructor, as outlined in the official Independent Study Agreement (PDF).

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.


Emphasis on Scholarship
Seattle Pacific University seeks to inspire in each of its students a sincere appreciation for genuine scholarly work and an earnest desire to study. The faculty Curriculum Committee has immediate jurisdiction over all questions pertaining to scholarship and is responsible to the faculty for maintenance of university standards.

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:

  1. It is the student's responsibility to ensure that final official transcripts reflecting coursework are received by SPU.
  2. No coursework completed elsewhere will be transferred if the student has already received credit for equivalent course(s) at SPU.
  3. Students may not take courses concurrently from SPU and another institution during the regular academic year (autumn through spring quarters), except when participating in approved study abroad.
  4. Students may complete no more than 20 credits from other institutions once matriculated at SPU, except through approved study abroad programs.
  5. The average grade in all courses accepted from each school must be C (2.0) or higher. This means that for every grade of D accepted there must be another grade of at least B or its equivalent for an equal number of credits. Exception: For ABHE accredited institutions and for courses taken at a non-U.S. school, no grade below C (2.0) will be accepted.
  6. No grade below D (1.0) will be accepted from any institution.
  7. Only courses taken for a regular grade (not "pass/fail" or "credit/no credit") will be applied toward requirements in General Education, the Common Curriculum and Exploratory Curriculum, and toward a student's major and minor.
  8. The minimum grade that can be applied toward a major or minor is C- (1.7).
  9. Transfer associate degrees earned after matriculation at SPU will not be recognized toward fulfillment of the Exploratory Curriculum, University Core requirements, or the foreign language proficiency requirement.
  10. A combined total of not more than 90 quarter credits, combined, will be accepted from all community and technical colleges, approved test programs (AP, CLEP, and IB) and unaccredited schools. For students matriculating at SPU for the first time, existing Washington, Oregon, and California community-college associate degree transfer agreements will be honored as they apply to Exploratory Curriculum requirements.
  11. No more than 45 quarter credits will be accepted from approved testing programs (AP, CLEP, and IB).
  12. Credits in excess of 20 in any one term will not be transferred. This includes courses taken concurrently by media, correspondence, or extension at more than one institution, as well as non-credit courses.
  13. To be eligible for a degree, an undergraduate transfer student is required to earn a minimum of 45 credits in residence at SPU, including no fewer than 15 upper-division credits in his or her major (more, if specified by the major). See individual majors for additional degree requirements.
  14. Credits will not be transferred for experiental learning.


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
Freshman 1–44 earned credits; includes SPU and transfer work accepted.
Sophomore 45–89 earned credits; includes SPU and transfer work accepted.
Junior 90–134 earned credits; includes SPU and transfer work accepted.
Senior Minimum 135 earned credits; includes SPU and transfer work accepted (senior status does not necessarily ensure graduation with that class).


Post-Baccalaureate Students
Students who have received the baccalaureate degree and are seeking a second bachelor’s degree or initial teacher certification are considered post-baccalaureate students. Admission to this classification is by application only.

Graduate Students
Graduate students are master’s or doctoral candidates. Admission to this classification is by application only. Seattle Pacific offers a variety of graduate and doctoral degrees.

Matriculated Students
Students who have fully met the requirements for admission and have registered for courses in the quarter for which they were admitted (designated as undergraduate, post-baccalaureate, graduate, or doctoral students) are matriculated students.

Non-Matriculated Students
Students who are not seeking a degree who are allowed to attend SPU without submitting the credentials required for admission with regular status are non-matriculated. The maximum credit load per quarter is 20 credits.

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.

A person who wishes to attend class but who does not desire credit is an auditor. With approval from the instructor concerned, auditors may register to audit any undergraduate course and most 6000-level courses. Students may change from audit to credit or vice versa during the quarterly add period published in the University Calendar.

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
Throughout the academic year and summer Seattle Pacific University offers or participates in several programs that allow students to study in other geographic locations. These study opportunities are divided into two categories: those receiving SPU credit and those receiving transfer credit, which are described below.

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.

To obtain more information on the travel studies program through SPU, contact the Study Abroad Office or visit SPU's Study Abroad website.

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.


Official transcripts may be released to students. Official transcripts are released only on written authorization of the student whose records are requested.

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.

  • A $5 fee is charged for each official transcript.
  • Students may request one unofficial copy of their transcript at a time at no charge.
  • Students may view and print unofficial transcripts by accessing the Banner Information System.
  • Students may order an official transcript by accessing the Banner Information System.

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:

  • The name under which the student attended
  • Social security number or SPU ID number
  • The last quarter and year the student attended
  • Whether or not the student is enrolled in a current quarter of instruction and the number of classes enrolled in for that quarter
  • Destination of the transcript
  • Student signature
  • The number of official copies required

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.


Academic courses usually do not require the transportation of Seattle Pacific University students from campus to another location unless so stated in the course syllabus. If the course or event is to be convened at a remote location, students will be required to provide their own transportation to the site. Unless specifically stated, the University normally assumes no responsibility for determining transportation of students to the site of a course or to nonacademic activities, whether such activities occur on or off campus. Students will be responsible for their own transportation to such activities.

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.


Veterans' Benefits
Seattle Pacific undergraduate and graduate academic programs of study are approved by the Washington State Approving Agency (SAA) for enrollment of those eligible for benefits under Title 38 and Title 10, U.S. Code. Seattle Pacific professional development courses (5000-5999) are not approved by the Washington State Approving Agency for enrollment of those eligible for benefits under Title 38 and Title 10, U.S. Code.


Withdrawal From Classes
The policy for withdrawing from a class is as follows:

  • A withdrawal from a course during the first week of the quarter will not appear on the transcript.
  • A withdrawal from a course during weeks two through six of the quarter will be noted with a “W” (withdrawal) on the transcript.
  • No withdrawals are accepted after the sixth week of the quarter.
  • If a student does not provide proper written notification to Student Academic Services, financial obligations will remain binding, regardless of whether classes were attended or whether any contracted services were utilized.
  • If a student does not withdraw from a course by the end of the sixth week of the quarter, but stops attending the course, the student will receive the grade earned.
  • Should the student desire to complete the course during a future quarter, the student will be required to register and pay the current tuition for the course.
  • After the fifth day of the quarter the student must obtain the required signatures to withdraw from a course. Withdrawal forms (PDF) are available online.

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
If the instructor or advisor receives notification that a student will not be attending, the instructor may contact Student Academic Services and request that the student be administratively withdrawn from the course.

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
Student Financial Services has the right to have a student completely withdrawn from classes due to an unpaid balance.


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