Standards of Scholarship for Doctoral Degrees

The following standards apply to all students seeking a doctoral degree at Seattle Pacific University.

Degree requirements

  • You must satisfactorily complete the approved program of study.
  • You must complete at least a 3-credit graduate course in Christian faith and values. 
  • You must maintain the professional and personal standards expected of graduate students stipulated for each program. Failure to maintain these standards may result in removal from the program of study and degree status. 
  • You must maintain the required minimum cumulative SPU GPA in your program, which will be no lower than 3.0, and may be higher in some programs.
  • No course for which a grade less than a C (2.0) is earned may be accepted toward a doctoral degree. Higher standards may be required by specific programs. 
  • Doctoral courses may not be taken for a pass/no-credit option, with the exception of thesis, dissertation, research, practicum, internships, and projects. Any exceptions are determined at the discretion of the doctoral programs.
  • All doctoral internship, thesis, and project courses must be completed within three years of initial enrollment in the course. Students enrolled in such courses will receive a doctoral in-progress grade of “G” until the course is completed. After a lapse of three years the “G” becomes permanent.
  • All courses applied toward doctoral degrees must be taken within a specific period immediately preceding the granting of the degree. Each doctoral program’s length is noted in the specific program section.
  • The last 15 credits of the degree must be earned at SPU.

Limitations on credit

  • Generally, no more than 9 credits taken at SPU before admission to a specific degree program will apply toward a doctoral degree, though some programs, at their discretion, may allow more credits. 
  • The number of SPU credit-by-examination courses and workshops that may be applied toward a doctoral degree are determined by the individual doctoral program (see program section for specifics). Only admitted students are eligible for the credit-by-examination option and examinations may be taken only in quarters in which the student is enrolled at SPU. See additional information about credit by examination in this catalog.
  • Credits accepted in transfer toward your degree must be from a regionally accredited institution or an international institution with comparable government recognition, unless catalog pages for your degree program itemize specific policies and standards for the acceptance of credits from non-regionally accredited institutions.
  • The number of credits taken at other regionally accredited universities that can be transferred toward a specific doctoral degree program varies (see program section for specifics). The credits must be in classes that are functionally identical to courses required by the SPU program and are accepted at the discretion of the specific program.
  • One-credit courses, whether quarter- or semester-based, are not transferable and may not be applied toward a doctoral degree.
  • No doctoral work taken at another institution during the time a student is working on a doctoral degree at SPU may apply toward an SPU degree, unless the student has the prior written approval of the program director.
  • SPU does not award credit for prior learning.
  • You must make application for any required comprehensive examination at least four weeks before the examination is scheduled and pay the comprehensive examination fee at Student Financial Services (SFS).
  • Degrees are awarded and posted to your transcript based on the quarter in which you fulfill all degree requirements. Your degree will be posted within one quarter after your lastuarter of enrollment.
  • You must pay the cost of binding the requested copies of the thesis/project (if applicable) to the appropriate graduate office.