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Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have questions about the MBA, MS-ISM, MAM-HR, and MAM-FB graduate programs in SPU's School of Business, Government, and Economics? Check the MBA, MS-ISM, MAM-HR, and MAM-FB websites to find detailed information about the programs, and see below to find answers to frequently asked questions. If you want to ask questions of someone in person, contact our Graduate Coordinator at 206-281-2753 or

What is distinctive about SPU's MBA, MS-ISM, MAM-HR, and MAM-FB programs? Why choose SPU?

Five key reasons:

  • The curriculum is grounded on ethics and values. Drawing on our Christian heritage, we emphasized an ethics-based approach long before it was popular to do so. We emphasize business’ meaningful purpose — serving others: customers, employees, and community.
  • Small class sizes. You'll get to know faculty and fellow students in our personal and interactive learning environment. Faculty care about you as a person and as a professional.
  • High quality. This is a fully accredited, academically rigorous, but challenging, and recognized program taught by qualified faculty and representatives from industry with substantial in-the-field expertise. We stress applied learning.
  • Connected. You will network with peers, alumni, and business community mentors.
  • Flexibility. You can start in any quarter, and you can proceed at a pace that fits with the demands on your life.

Is the School of Business, Government, and Economics accredited?

Yes, SPU's School of Business, Government, and Economics is AACSB accredited. Organized in 1916, AACSB International — The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business — is the oldest and most prestigious business school accrediting body in the world. Fewer than 40 percent of North American business schools have attained this accreditation.

How are your programs connected to the Seattle business community?

Our Executive Advisory Board links us to the Paget Sound business community. The Mentor Program matches students one on one with business professionals. Business leaders serve as guest speakers, sources for team projects, and informal advisors. Our graduate programs, along with the Center for Integrity in Business, sponsor the quarterly “Faith & the Marketplace” speaker series. We have many opportunities to network with alumni in person and on our Linked group.

What career services are available?

We offer a robust suite of career and professional development opportunities including career counseling, job search coaching, résumé development, workshops and seminars, networking events, and mentoring. Employment opportunities are posted on SPULink at SPU's Center for Career and Calling and our LinkedIn group.  

I want to get started right away. Can I take classes before formally applying?

Yes, you may take up to three of our MBA core courses or the two MS-ISM background courses as a pre-qualified student. A pre-qualified student must have at least one year of continuous full-time work experience after completion of an undergraduate degree with a 3.0 GPA.

When can I enroll in the program?

We accept applicants for the MBA, MS-ISM, MAM-HR and MAM-FB in Autumn, Winter, and Spring quarters, as well as during Summer Sessions. International applicants are not accepted during the summer due to the visa requirement of full-time student status. 

When should I apply?

MBA, MS-ISM, MAM-HR, and MAM-FB applicants should observe the following deadlines.


U.S. Applicants

International Applicants*

Autumn Quarter August 1

June 1

Winter Quarter November 1 September 1
Spring Quarter February 1 December 1
Summer Sessions May 1 Not available this quarter

*International applicants who do not need an F1 visa may adhere to the U.S. applicant deadlines

What qualifications do I need for the MBA or MS-ISM program?

You will need a bachelor's degree with a 3.0 (4.0 base) GPA, and a current résumé. Evidence of at least one full year continuous full-time work experience (post bachelor's degree at time of application; more preferred) is a significant factor.

GMAT scores above 500 (25 verbal; 30 quantitative; 4.4 analytical writing) are preferred for the MBA. GRE scores above 295 (150 verbal; 145 quantitative) are preferred for the MS-ISM. International applicants whose first language is not English must also have a TOEFL score of at least 90 iBt (or equivalent IELTS scores).

Are there any prerequisite courses prior to entrance?


Can I still apply if I don't have the required GMAT/GRE or GPA?

Yes. We evaluate applicants on all requirement factors, recognizing that many students do better the last two years of their bachelor's degree. When evaluating your undergraduate GPA, we use whichever is the higher between the cumulative GPA and the GPA on the last 45 credits. A GPA above the required 3.0 can support a GMAT/GRE that may fall a little below the requirement, and vice versa.

What if I can't get all my application materials in by the deadline?

The minimum due in our office by the application deadline is the application and $50 application fee. The other application materials and documents may follow after the deadline.

You must apply online for all SPU graduate programs.

How long does it take before I will know I've been admitted?

Once your application file is complete, an admission decision goes out to you within seven to 10 working days.

The MS-ISM program says it requires the GRE, but I took the GMAT. What do I do?

If you have already taken the GMAT, we will accept it in place of the GRE requirement in the MS-ISM program. For the MBA, we will only accept the GMAT.

How much is tuition?

Graduate tuition for the business programs is as follows, although other required fees also apply:

  • MBA, MS-ISM, MAM-HR, and MAM-FB graduate programs are $785 per credit hour (2014-15).

How long will it take me to complete the MBA, MS-ISM, MAM-HR, and MAM-FB degree?

Evening and weekend courses are scheduled to accommodate students with active work schedules. Courses are generally designed to meet one evening, three hours per week, for 11 weeks.

How quickly you complete the degree will depend on the number of courses taken each quarter and whether you attend during summers. Most students do two classes per quarter and, on average, complete the MBA in three years or the ISM in two years.

Can pre-MBA or pre-ISM courses be satisfied by courses in my bachelor's degree?

Yes, it’s possible. If you have completed the equivalent of any of the pre-MBA or pre-MS-ISM background classes and:

  • If your bachelor's degree was earned within seven years of admission to the program, and you received a minimum grade of B or better in the undergraduate course. Courses taken pass/no credit will not satisfy the background course requirement. 
  • If your bachelor's degree was completed more than seven years prior to admission, or if the grade in the undergraduate course is at least a C+, you may take a competency examination in the subject. Competency tests must be completed within the year following your date of admission to the program. If the competency examination is successfully completed, the applicable course will be satisfied. If not, you must take the course as a regular student or successfully complete a credit by examination test for which tuition and an examination fee are charged. 

Who are MBA and MS-ISM graduate students?

Your fellow students average 30 years of age, have seven years of work experience, and come from diverse professional backgrounds. Most work full time in a wide range of companies or nonprofits. Companies represented by students have included Boeing, Microsoft, Adobe Systems, Starbucks, Eldec, Safeco, AT&T, and Virginia Mason Medical Center.

How large are graduate classes?

MBA or MS-ISM classes average about 18 students, which encourages dynamic interaction between professors and students.

Is financial aid available?

Unfortunately, financial aid for graduate students is very limited in general, and we aren’t able to offer financial aid.

How do I apply for an I-20 to get an F-1 visa?

As part of the admission requirements, please submit the “Declaration of International Student Finances” form, along with a back and front copy of your passport and bank statements showing your ability to pay for the first year of education and living expenses. The process to receive an I-20 can take up to three months, so please adhere to the application deadlines.

How much savings do I need to prove I have available to obtain an I-20?

The estimated annual costs for the 2013-14 school year for living on or off campus are $41,596. For those living with a sponsor family in the U.S., the estimated annual costs are $29,480.

Do you offer Curricular Practical Training (CPT) and Occupational Practical Training (OPT)?

Yes! To qualify for CPT (internship), you must have F-1 visa status for at least three consecutive quarters. Your CPT will be counted toward your degree requirements. Several of our international alumni have completed OPT upon graduation and have had meaningful opportunities in Seattle-area corporations.

  • For CPT, you need 3 quarters (9 months) of full time study in any visa type to be eligible. If you begin in Fall 2014, then resume in Spring and Summer 2015, you will be eligible for CPT in Fall 2015 (since it’s the same academic year).  If you do not study in Summer 2014, you will be eligible in Winter 2016.

Can I visit the SPU campus to learn more about the business graduate programs?

Yes! Our faculty and staff are available to meet with you individually.  Contact our Graduate Coordinator to arrange a visit.