McKinley Theatre Academics Grad Student Resources Grad Student News and Updates
2005-2006 Graduate Catalog Home

05-06 Graduate Catalog Home

Click here to download and print the 2005-2006 Graduate Catalog.

<< Back to 2005-2006 Graduate Catalog Home




Academic Load
Enrollment status for graduate degree and certificate students is determined by the following:

6 or more credits Full-time
4–5 credits Three-quarters-time
3 credits Half-time
1–2 credits Quarter-time

A graduate student may, with prior permission, take courses concurrently elsewhere, provided his or her combined load does not total more than the number of credits permitted as a normal graduate load for the registration period. No more than 15 credits of 6000-level work may be taken in one quarter without permission of the University registrar. Unless granted permission in advance by the director of graduate studies of their degree program, master’s students may take no more than 12 credits during the Summer Quarter and no more than 6 credits in any four-week period.

Students employed full-time should take no more than 8 credits per quarter. Financial aid recipients must carry a minimum of 3 regular on-campus credits to receive financial aid.

Class Registration
Dates for registration are published in the University Calendar found in this Graduate Catalog and online at Matriculated graduate and doctoral students may register through the first week of the quarter. Here are four options available to students (procedures for registration vary from program to program):

  1. In person in Student Academic Services (SAS).
  2. Via fax at 206.281.2669.
  3. Via mail to Student Academic Services, 3307 Third Avenue West, Suite 113, Seattle, Washington 98119.
  4. Via Seattle Pacific’s home page (using the BANNER Information System) at

Check with the program’s graduate coordinator regarding procedures for registration.

Registration on the Web
SPU offers undergraduate, post-baccalaureate, graduate, doctoral, and non-matriculated students the opportunity to register for classes online at On the Web, registration for the quarter begins around the eighth week of the previous quarter and ends on the fifth day of the quarter at 5 p.m. Once Web registration has ended, students must come to SAS, or mail or fax in their registration forms to withdraw from classes. The refund, if there is one, will be determined by the date the form is received.

Changes in Registration
Though choices made during the registration period are considered permanent, changes are permitted through the first week of each quarter. The deadline for adding courses is 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 printed in the University Calendar located in this Graduate Catalog and online at Withdrawals must be submitted to SAS on the add/ drop form after Web registration ends on the fifth day of the quarter at 5 p.m.

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 for audit in all undergraduate courses 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. They 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. 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.

Adding Classes
Students are permitted to change their registration as long as the change is submitted by the fifth day of the quarter (refer to the University Calendar for specific dates). Students may not attend or sit in classes unless officially registered by the fifth day of the quarter. Graduate day and evening classes (classes beginning after 4:30 p.m.) must adhere to this deadline. Any class addition after this date will be considered a change of registration and will be subject to a $50 fee; these are handled via a registration petition.

Registration Petitions
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. Unresolved holds by the deadline does not constitute an extenuating circumstance, and is not grounds for petition. The petition must not only voice the request, but it must also substantiate the validity of the request. Petition forms are available on the forms rack in the Demaray Hall lobby (first floor) and online at Instructions for completing this process are listed on the back of the petition. A student seeking late registration must obtain 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 SAS. SAS reserves the right to deny any petition for any reason. Each approved petition will incur a $50 change of registration fee.

Waitlisting Closed Classes
Students have the option of waitlisting any graduate classes that are closed. As space becomes available in closed classes, waitlisted students will be registered on a first-come basis. Students may waitlist only two classes per quarter. If the waitlisted class(es) create(s) a time conflict or exceed(s) the maximum credit load for the student, it (they) will not be added to the student’s schedule and the student will be dropped from the waitlist. Students will be notified in writing when they are entered into a class via the waitlist. Waitlist forms may be obtained from SAS, or students may waitlist a class via the Web. Directions are provided on these forms that outline the process students need to follow to waitlist a class. The waitlist program concludes at 11:59 p.m. on the second day of the quarter.

Students may choose to withdraw from the waitlist for a course by filling out an add/drop form in SAS or by dropping the waitlisted course via the Web.

Independent Study
Independent study agreements are courses in which a student does specific work independently with the instructor, as outlined in the official independent study agreement. Work for an independent study occurs outside 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 into his or her schedule. A student should not attend a class being offered and use that as part of independent study credits. Only matriculated students at SPU may register for “independent study.” The form 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 SAS no later than the 10th day of the quarter (see the University Calendar for specific dates). SAS will create the course as noted on the agreement. Copies of the agreement will be forwarded to the instructor and the student.

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 filling the request are to be obtained in SAS. The following limitations pertain to credit by examination:

  1. A student may receive credit by examination for any coursework that has been completed following high school graduation for which he/she has no formal record.
  2. A student may be tutored by a private instructor and challenge a course for credit by examination.
  3. A student may not take credit by examination for a course in which he/she has been registered for credit at SPU and received a “D,” “E,” “NC,” “Audit,” or “Incomplete.”
  4. Within a given program, 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.
  5. A student may not repeat an examination for credit.
  6. A student is entitled to only one consultation with the professor administering the test.
  7. A student must pay for all special exam fees prior to scheduling and taking the exam.


Withdrawal From Courses
Withdrawal with official approval during the first week of the quarter will not result in any record of the class on the transcript.

Withdrawal with official approval during weeks two through six will result in a “W” appearing on the transcript. If a student does not provide proper written notification to SAS, financial obligations will remain binding, regardless of whether classes were attended or whether any of the contracted services were utilized. Whatever the situation, students should communicate their intent to their advisor and instructor. Before dropping a course, students should consider what percentage of refund they are eligible for and any impacts on the financial aid package, if applicable. If a student fails to withdraw through SAS by the end of the withdrawal period (see the University Calendar for specific dates), the instructor will issue a failing grade.

Withdrawals or course drop requests may be mailed or faxed to 206.281.2669, or delivered in person directly to SAS.

Complete Withdrawal From School
A student who desires to withdraw from school must obtain an official add/drop form from SAS, submit a letter requesting a complete withdrawal or withdraw via the Web. The Web withdrawal is available only through the fifth day of the quarter. Refunds and adjustments to the student’s account are governed by the financial policies printed in the Costs and Financial Aid section of this Catalog. Students who register but do not attend classes must notify SAS in writing in order to cancel their registration and related charges. The date this notice is received will determine the amount of refund where applicable.

If a student fails to withdraw through SAS by the end of the sixth week of the quarter, the instructor of the course will issue the grade earned for the student.

Administrative Withdrawals Requested by Instructors
If the instructor or advisor receives notification that a student will not be attending, the instructor may contact SAS and request that the student be administratively withdrawn from the course. Also, if a student does not attend class within the first two days of the quarter, an instructor may ask SAS to administratively withdraw a student from his or her 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 (SFS)
SFS has the right to have a student completely withdrawn from classes due to an unpaid balance.

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.

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:

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


Grades and Grade Points
The quality of a student’s performance in a course is recognized by a letter grade that is counted in points. Except in cases of clerical error, no instructor may change a grade that he or she has submitted to SAS. In addition, grade changes may be made in only the quarter following the course.

Grade Points Explanation
A 4.0 Excellent attainment
A- 3.7  
B+ 3.3  
B 3.0 Satisfactory attainment
B- 2.7  
C+ 2.3  
C 2.0 *Minimum attainment for credit
C- 1.7  
D+ 1.3  
D 1.0  
E 0.0  

*Grades below 2.0 will not count toward a degree.

Au Audit
I Incomplete
G Graduate in progress (three-year limit)
N In progress (one-year limit)
NC No credit — used only with the pass/no credit option
P Pass — used only with the pass/no credit option
W Withdrawal with official approval

Use of I, G, 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. Work must be completed within one calendar year or the “I” becomes an “E.” The agreement between the instructor and student must be arranged prior to the final examination or last class session. The student must initiate the request for the “I” grade as well as its removal. Due to extenuating circumstances in a student’s life, a onequarter extension may be requested. A student needs to make his/her request in writing to the instructor. If the request is supported by the instructor, it will be forwarded to SAS for approval.

The “G” grade is used in only specified courses in which a “final” grade is dependent upon additional work and applies only to approved 6000–7000 level courses, which include internships, theses, dissertation, and projects at the discretion of the graduate program. Work must be completed within three calendar years or the “G” becomes permanent.

An “N” grade is used in only 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.

Withdrawal with official approval during weeks two through six will result in a “W” appearing on the transcript. (See Withdrawal section.)

Pass/No Credit Option

  1. A “P” grade in this option must be at least equivalent to a “C” grade (2.0).
  2. 6000-level courses may not be taken for P/NC, with the exception of thesis, dissertation, research, and projects, to be determined at the discretion of the schools.

Repeat/Substitute Classes
Students may repeat any course for the purpose of changing a grade unless the course is designed to be repeated for additional credit. Courses noted as being “equivalent” may be substituted for one another. The latest grade received in a course will apply to the GPA. The credits earned in the repeated course will be removed from the credits earned. However, the original grade will remain as a permanent part of the record. A symbol will be placed next to the earlier grade that will prevent the grade from being calculated in the GPA. Only courses taken at Seattle Pacific will be used to change course grades.

Academic Probation
Any graduate student whose cumulative GPA falls below 3.0 shall be placed on academic probation. Students on probation may take up to 9 additional credits in the graduate program in which they have been admitted. Failure to bring the cumulative GPA to 3.0 or higher by the completion of the additional 9 credits will result in dismissal from the program and from SPU. In addition, a graduate student cannot graduate with a cumulative GPA below 3.0.

If a student decides to appeal an academic decision, he or she should contact the advisor for more detailed information and assistance. The 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 can be made only on grounds of unfair treatment against the stated standards, not against the professional judgment of the faculty member(s). The appeal process rarely goes beyond the first level and 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.

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 as follows:

  1. Faculty member at the course level
  2. Graduate program director
  3. Dean
  4. Vice president for academic affairs
  5. President

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

  1. Graduate program director or SAS (Check with advisor for the appropriate venue for petition.)
  2. Graduate Policy and Evaluation Committee
  3. Dean
  4. Vice president for academic affairs
  5. President

The decision of the president in any student appeal shall be final.


  1. An appeal must be made in writing within five calendar days of receiving 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 the 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.

Academic Integrity
A breach of academic integrity occurs when students receive academic benefits they did not earn through their own work. In its more blatant forms, academic dishonesty includes 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 his or her own; and 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 so long as the student acknowledges the sources with appropriate citations.

Guidelines for Penalties Against Academic Dishonesty
The penalties for breaches of academic integrity shall be clearly spelled out in a course syllabus; they may range from no credit for the work in question to no credit for the course. Both the students and the instructor have obligations to report and to prevent cheating, plagiarism, or other academic misconduct.

If the instructor suspects academic dishonesty, the following guidelines apply:

  1. The instructor arranges a conference with the student to discuss the incident.
  2. If following the conference the instructor is convinced that the student violated academic integrity, the instructor may propose appropriate action. If the student accepts such action as appropriate, both student and instructor will verify this in writing and no further penalty will be necessary.
  3. If agreement is not reached between the instructor and the student, the instructor may propose a grade penalty against the student by notifying the appropriate graduate director (or the school dean, if the graduate director is the instructor) in writing with supporting evidence. The penalty imposed will be commensurate with the degree of offense, from loss of credit for the work involved in the infraction to loss of credit for the entire course, such penalty to be determined in consultation with the graduate director (or school dean as appropriate). The student may appeal this action by following the process and procedures previously outlined.
  4. In the case of repeated offenses, or of flagrant dishonesty that warrant probation or dismissal from the University, charges will be made in writing by the instructor to the appropriate school dean. The student may appeal this action through the dean to the vice president for academic affairs and then to the president of the University.
  5. If the act of dishonesty is associated with a criminal act (e.g., breaking into a faculty office) or with concerted group effort (all or part of a class), such cases will be immediately referred to the vice president for academic affairs.

All master’s and doctoral degree students who wish to participate in Commencement must apply to graduate by March 1. The application is available from the graduate advisor. The form will be forwarded to SAS so that mailings regarding Commencement can be sent out during Spring Quarter. Degrees are awarded when the department notifies SAS that all requirements are complete. Diplomas will be mailed approximately six weeks after the degree is posted.

The graduate faculty elect a number of master’s and doctoral students for recognition by Who’s Who Among Graduate Students in American Colleges and Universities each year. This honor is awarded to candidates who will graduate from Seattle Pacific by the end of Summer Session, have a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or above, and demonstrate outstanding scholarship, service to the community, leadership, and future potential.

Official transcripts are released only on written authorization of the student whose records are requested. The University reserves the right to deny official transcript services for indebtedness to the institution.

Official transcripts may be released to students. Students may view unofficial copies of their transcript via the SPU website using the BANNER Information System. Each official transcript costs $3.

If the student has an account, official transcripts are released only if the account is paid in full. Students may request an unofficial copy of their transcript at no charge, or print a copy off the Web.

Transcripts contain the student’s entire academic history while at SPU. This includes undergraduate work (0001–4999 courses), professional advancement courses (5000–5999), graduate work (6000–7999), and continuing education units (CEU, or non-degree work). Undergraduate, graduate, and CEUs are segregated on separate pages of the Seattle Pacific University 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.

To receive a copy of the transcript, students must send a written request to SAS. The letter needs to include the name that the student attended under; social security number or SPU ID number; the last quarter and year the student attended; if the student is enrolled in a current quarter of instruction, the number of classes enrolled in for that quarter; transcript destination address; the number of official or unofficial copies required; and the student’s signature.

Seattle Pacific will resend a transcript to the originally requested destination provided the University made an error in processing. The University 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 resending a transcript for any reason other than University error.

Student Records: FERPA Policy
The SPU Family Educational Rights and Privacy statement can be found on the Seattle Pacific University home page at This University policy is also available in the Office of Student Life or SAS.

Student Records and Confidentiality
Certain items of information about individual students are fundamental to the educational process and must be recorded. This recorded data concerning students is used only for clearly defined purposes and is safeguarded and controlled to avoid violations of personal privacy. Seattle Pacific University has the responsibility to effectively supervise any access to and/or release of official information about its students. In this regard, the University is committed to protecting the right of privacy of all individuals about whom it holds information, records, and files. Access to such records is restricted to the student concerned, to parents of a dependent student, to others with the student’s written consent, to officials within the University, and to a court of competent legal jurisdiction.

The following policies have been established to comply with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (hereafter referred to as the “Act”):

Public Information. The Act provides that public “directory information” about a student may be made available to third parties without permission of the student. However, public notices must be given of intent to publish the information, so that those students wishing to withhold information from public access (such as an unlisted telephone number) may do so. For a listing of what constitutes directory information, consult the SPU Web page at

Release of Information.With the exception of directory information, no information in any student file may be released to any individual or organization without prior written consent of the student. When disclosure of information is mandated by court order or subpoena, the staff member receiving such orders must immediately notify in writing the student concerned, prior to compliance with the legal order. Information from University records about students is released for approved research purposes only if the identity of the student involved is fully protected.

Student Access.With certain exceptions, official student information collected and maintained by the University is available for inspection and review at the written request of the student. Clarification of exceptions may be obtained by contacting the University registrar.

A request for general access to all official records maintained by the University must be made in writing to the University registrar. A request for access to information maintained by a particular office may be addressed to the administrative head of that office. When making such a request, the student must provide proper identification. The designated staff person must supervise the review of the contents of the record with the student. The student is free to make notes concerning the contents, but no material may be removed from the record. Student requests for access to appropriate information must be granted within 45 days of the written request.

If health reasons or extreme distance from the University prevent the student from inspecting the education record, then copies of specific education records will be made. The student must pay all copying expenses in advance of release of the record.

Student Correction of Education Records
Students who believe that information contained in their education records is inaccurate, misleading, or violates privacy or other rights, may request that the University amend the records. The first step is to contact the University registrar or records custodian.

The University will decide within a reasonable period of time whether or not to do so. If the University declines to amend the student’s records, it will inform him or her of the right to a hearing. Upon written request, the University will provide an opportunity for a hearing to deliberate the student’s case. However, a hearing may not be requested by a student to contest the assignment of a grade.

If the hearing panel determines that the student’s challenge is without merit, the student may place in his or her record a statement commenting upon the information and setting forth reasons for disagreeing with the University’s decision. A complete copy of the University’s FERPA policy may be obtained by contacting the dean of student life or SAS.

Students have the right to file complaints concerning alleged failures by the University to comply with the requirements of the Act. Such complaints should be addressed to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act Office (FERPA), Department of Education, 300 Independent Avenue SW, Washington, D.C. 20201.

For a complete listing of student policies and procedures, please refer to the SPU Web site at

Change of Personal Information
It is a 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 account statements and registration materials to students. Change-of-address forms are available in SAS and SFS. Students who wish to change their names (e.g., due to change in marital status) or student identification number, need to provide SAS with the official documentation for the change (e.g., copy of marriage license, copy of social security card).

Veterans’ Benefits
Seattle Pacific University’s academic programs of study are approved by the Higher Education Coordinating Board’s State Approving Agency (SAA) for enrollment of people eligible to receive educational benefits under Title 38 and Title 10, U.S. Code. For information on education benefits, contact the veterans’ coordinator in SAS by calling 206.281.2031.

Visiting Graduate Students
Students who have been admitted to a master’s degree program in another accredited institution may enroll for up to 9 credits at SPU, with the approval of the program from which courses are to be taken. To gain admission to Seattle Pacific as a visiting graduate student, the applicant must submit the standard graduate application form and a letter from the dean’s office of their home institution stating that the applicant is a student in good standing at that institution.

Non-Matriculated Students
In certain programs, qualified individuals who desire to take a particular 6000-level course but not planning to work toward a graduate degree or certificate may register for the course only with the advance approval of the director of graduate studies of the program from which the course is to be taken. Such students will be classified as graduate non-matriculated students.

Permission to register as a non-matriculated graduate student is always on a space-available basis. If a non-matriculated graduate student later applies and is accepted for admission to a graduate program, the credits earned in a course as a non-matriculated graduate student may be used in meeting master’s degree requirements only if (1) a grade of B or better was achieved in the course, and (2) the course was taken within the three-year period prior to admission to the program. In no case may more than 9 credits taken before admission to a program be used toward master’s degree requirements.

Student Transportation Policy
Academic courses usually do not require the transportation of SPU 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 assumes no responsibility for determining transportation of students to the site of a course or 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. The Office of 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 vice president for business and planning.

<< Back to 2005-2006 Graduate Catalog Home