Standards of Scholarship for Master’s Degrees

The following standards apply to all students seeking a master’s degree at Seattle Pacific University.

Degree requirements

  • You must satisfactorily complete the approved program of study.
  • To earn any SPU master’s degree, you must complete no fewer than 33 credits.
  • The last 15 credits toward your degree must be earned at SPU.
  • You must complete at least three SPU graduate credits in disciplinary-focused, Christian thought and practice. These credits can be taken together in a single course or can be separated in one- or two-credit classes.
  • You must maintain the professional and personal standards expected of graduate students stipulated for each program to which you are admitted. Failure to maintain these standards may result in removal from the program of study and degree status. 
  • You must maintain a cumulative SPU grade point average of 3.0 or higher. If your cumulative SPU GPA falls below 3.0, you will be placed on academic probation. (Exception: Students in the Seattle Pacific Seminary must maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5 or higher to remain in good academic standing.)
  • No course for which a grade lower than a C (2.0) is earned may be accepted toward a master’s degree. Higher standards may be required by specific programs.
  • Graduate courses may not be taken for a pass/no-credit option, with the exception of your thesis, dissertation, research, practicum, internships, and projects. Any exceptions are determined at the discretion of the graduate programs.
  • All graduate 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 master’s in-progress grade of “G” until the course is completed. After a lapse of three years the “G” becomes permanent.
  • All courses applied toward master’s degrees must be taken within the six-year period immediately preceding the granting of the degree. Exceptions to this policy may be sought from the Curriculum Committee through a petition with graduate program support.
  • 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).
  • You may work toward two master’s degrees at SPU simultaneously. See Graduate Study in More Than One Field.
  • If you have previously earned a graduate degree, you must fulfill the requirements listed under Second Master's Degree.
  • 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 last quarter of enrollment.
  • You must pay the cost of binding the requested copies of the thesis/project (if applicable) to the appropriate graduate office. 

Limitations on credit

  • Generally, no more than 12 credits taken at SPU before admission to a graduate program will apply toward a master’s degree, though some programs, at their discretion, may allow more credits.
  • No more than 15 credits in independent study and research — including thesis, practicum, or project credit — may apply toward a master’s degree.
  • No more than 12 credits of 5000-level courses may be applied to any graduate degree. Individual programs may set lower limits. Exceptions in excess of the 12-credit limit can be made only with the approval of the Curriculum Committee and Provost on recommendation of the School or College dean. 5000-level courses may not be applied to an undergraduate degree. Find additional information about 5000-level courses.
  • The number of SPU credit-by-examination courses that may be applied toward a master’s degree are determined by the individual graduate program, but in no case may more than 6 such credits be applied toward a master’s degree. 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.
  • No more than 12 credits earned at other universities can be transferred toward a specific master’s degree program (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.
  • No graduate work taken at another institution during the time a student is working on a master’s degree at SPU may apply toward an SPU degree, unless the student has the prior written approval of the graduate director.
  • SPU does not award credit for travel, life experience, or work experience.