Sep 16, 2021  
Undergraduate Catalog 2019-2020 
Undergraduate Catalog 2019-2020 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Academic Policies

Degree Requirements

Planning a Course of Study

When planning their course work, students should acquaint themselves with their chosen program of study and graduation requirements outlined in this Catalog. Students who have not decided their course of study before entering the University may take a general program exploring several fields.

Freshman students may consult an adviser, faculty member or the First Year Advising office during the summer months before the beginning of the fall semester. All accepted students and their parents are encouraged to register for a regularly scheduled informative webinar hosted by the First Year Advising office. A helpful tool is the Academic Advising Guide which may be viewed at Students planning to enter preprofessional programs should consult the adviser, department, or school that will help them prepare for certification or in meeting the entry requirements of the respective professional program.

Degree candidates are responsible for satisfying all degree requirements. They may choose to meet the requirements of any one Catalog in effect during the period of residency. If students discontinue their education for a period of twelve months or more, they must re-qualify according to the Catalog in force at the time of their return.

General Degree Requirements: Master’s Degree

The general and specific degree requirements for a master’s degree are described in a separate Graduate Catalog, available online. Master’s degrees are available in the fields of Business, Computing, Counseling, Education, Nursing, Religion, and Social Work. A DNP (Doctorate of Nursing Practice) is also available.

Seniors Enrolling in Graduate Courses. Seniors within 30 credit hours of completing requirements for the bachelor’s degree may apply for admission to graduate courses. The applicant must have an overall cumulative grade point average of 3.00 (B) or higher and be recommended by the department/school chair or dean of his or her respected program.

  • Approval must be obtained from the Graduate Studies Office, 2008 Wright Hall; 423-236-2694. Forms are available online at
  • A maximum of 12 hours of 500 level graduate credits may be taken in this status.
  • The student must meet all prerequisites necessary for the admission into the course.
  • Courses taken from a school outside the student’s active program require permission for the school dean.
  • Courses taken for graduate credit may not be used for both the baccalaureate and the graduate degree program.
  • The cost of these graduate classes will be charged separately and are not part of the 12-16 hour undergraduate tuition rate.

General Degree Requirements: Baccalaureate Degree

The general degree requirements for a baccalaureate degree are as follows:

  • Satisfactory make-up of admissions deficiencies. 
  • A minimum of 124 semester hours with both a resident and cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 2.00 (C) or above.* Students earning the Bachelor of Music degree must take a minimum 138-142 semester hours.
  • A minimum of 40 hours of upper division credit, to include at least 14 upper division hours in the major for a B.A. degree and at least 18 upper division hours in the major for all other baccalaureate degrees.
  • Christian service requirements.
  • Writing classes requirement.
  • Completion of a major and minor (or two majors) for a B.A. degree or completion of a major for other degrees with a cumulative GPA of 2.25 in the major,* completion of the General Education requirements, and electives to satisfy the total credit requirements for graduation. Courses completed with grades lower than a “C-” will not be applied toward a major or minor. 
  • More than one major may be earned provided all courses required for each major and its cognates are completed. Each major must include a minimum of 20 semester hours that do not overlap with any other major or minor.
  • More than one minor may be earned provided all courses required for each minor are completed. Each minor must include a minimum of 12 semester hours that do not overlap with any other major or minor.
  • Bachelor of Arts degrees are exempt from completing a minor if the student is a Southern Scholar or working towards teacher certification.
  • Completion of an exit examination as required by the department or school.
  • Students wishing to obtain a second degree will need to complete, beyond the 124 minimum hours required, a minimum of 30 hours, including 16 hours upper division, and a new major.

*Some schools, departments, or majors require a higher standard. The student should consult the respective Catalog section for specific GPA or grade requirements for the desired program.

General Degree Requirements: Associate Degree

  • A minimum of 64 semester hours with a resident and cumulative GPA of 2.00 (C) or above. Some majors require additional hours or a higher cumulative GPA. Students should consult the respective Catalog section to learn the minimum requirements for their desired major. 
  • Completion of a major, the General Education requirements, and electives to satisfy the total credit requirements for graduation. Courses completed with grades lower than “C-” will not be applied on a major. Some majors require a higher minimum grade, as specified in the pertinent Catalog section.
  • Students who have completed one associate degree and who wish to obtain another associate degree may do so upon completion of the curriculum prescribed for the second degree. The work completed for the second degree must include at least 24 hours in residence over and above the number of hours earned for the first degree. If the second associate degree is earned subsequent to the first associate degree, the requirements for the second degree will be governed by the provisions of the Catalog in effect at the time the student re-enters the University for work toward the second degree.
  • Students who wish to obtain an associate degree at the time they receive a baccalaureate degree may do so if the degrees are in different fields. If requirements for an associate and a baccalaureate degree in the same field are completed at the same time, only the higher degree will be conferred.

Certificate Requirements: One-Year Certificate

  • A minimum of 32 semester hours which meet the requirements of a specific one-year program.
  • A resident and cumulative grade point average of 2.00 (C) or above. Grades in the technical area below “C-” will not be accepted.

General Requirements: Minor

  • A minimum of eighteen semester hours of which six must be upper division credit.

Major and Minor Requirements

Each major consists of 30 hours or more in the chosen field of specialization of which a minimum of 14 for a Bachelor of Arts degree and 18 for all other bachelor’s degrees must be upper division credit. The total semester hours required for each major for the Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Business Administration, Bachelor of Music, Bachelor of Social Work, and Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees varies with the field of specialization chosen.

All minors consist of at least eighteen semester hours. Six hours of a minor must be upper division credit.

The specific requirements for majors and minors are given under the respective disciplines section.

Degrees and Curricula

A Doctor of Nursing Practice consists of at least five (5) semesters of course work beyond the master’s degree.  It offers two (2) areas of emphases and requires a scholarly project.

A Master’s Degree consists of at least one additional year of course work beyond the bachelor’s degree. It includes a field of concentration and may require a thesis.

The Bachelor of Arts degree consists of four years of course work that places a student’s major field of study in the context of a liberal arts education. To encourage a wide range of studies, a minor is required. A foreign language component is required.

The Bachelor of Science degree consists of four years of course work that places the student’s major field of study in the context of a liberal arts education. The degree permits greater concentration in the field of study. No minor or foreign language study is required except as specified for certain majors.

The Bachelor of Business Administration degree is a professional degree consisting of a four-year program with concentrations available in various fields of business. Requirements for this degree are outlined in the School of Business section.

The Bachelor of Fine Arts degree consists of four years of course work allowing the student the focus to develop a body of work in drawing and painting. No minor is required.

The Bachelor of Music degree is a professional degree consisting of four years of course work designed to meet the needs of students wishing to receive teaching credentials. Requirements for this degree are outlined in the School of Music section.

The Bachelor of Nursing degree is a professional degree consisting of a four-year program of courses designed to meet the needs of students wishing to go into the nursing profession. Requirements for this degree are outlined in the School of Nursing section.

The Bachelor of Social Work degree is a professional degree consisting of a four-year program of courses designed to meet the needs of students wishing to go into the social work profession. Requirements for this degree are outlined in the School of Social Work section.

The Associate of Arts degrees is a two-year program designed to meet the needs of students who wish to pursue a short general studies program.

The Associate of Science degree is a two-year program designed to meet the needs of students who wish to pursue a short occupational or pre-professional program.

The Associate of Technology degree is a two-year program designed to meet the needs of students who wish to pursue an occupational program.

The One-Year Certificate is available for students in the Auto Mechanics Technician and in a Bible worker program. Requirements for these certificates are outlined in the Technology Department and in the School of Religion.

Preprofessional Curricula are programs designed to prepare students to enter professional schools. In some cases paraprofessional curricula will lead to an associate degree.


Students are expected to register during the scheduled registration periods designated in the school calendar. New students are encouraged to contact their adviser or the First Year Advising office for assistance with registering for courses. New students are required to participate in the orientation activities.

Late Registration. Permission to register late must be obtained from the Director of Records and Advisement. The course load of a late registrant may be reduced according to the amount of class work missed. A student registering after the first week of classes must obtain permission from the instructor and their adviser before enrolling in a class. No student may register after two weeks of the semester have elapsed.

Changes in Registration. To avoid changes in registration, students should carefully consider the program of courses necessary to meet their objectives. To avoid subsequent adjustments, a balance should be maintained between the course load, work program, and extracurricular activities.

To make changes in registration, students must obtain the appropriate change of registration form (Add/Drop) at the Records and Advisement Office, obtain the necessary signatures indicating approval of the change, and return the form to the Records and Advisement Office. Course changes and complete withdrawals from the school become effective on the date the form is filed at the Records and Advisement Office. A fee will be assessed for each change in program after the first week of instruction.

The above procedure is to be followed by on-campus students for all course types, including both online and face-to-face courses.

Online teacher certification and dual enrollment students must email a request to add/drop a course to the Southern Online Campus academic adviser ( The email should include: the student’s name and student ID#; course prefix, number, section, and title; and instructor’s name. The academic adviser will email his or her permission for the student to add/drop to Records and Advisement, copying the instructor and student. That office will notify all the email recipients when the course change is made. Course changes become effective on the date of the student’s original email. A fee will be assessed for each change in program after the first week of instruction.

Students enrolled in a fully-online degree program must email the instructor and program adviser with a request to add/drop a course. The email should include the student’s name and student ID#; course prefix, number, section, and title; and instructor’s name. The instructor will notify both the program adviser and Records and Advisement with his or her permission for the student to add/drop. Course changes become effective on the date of the student’s original email. A fee will be assessed for each change in program after the first week of instruction.

A student may not change from one section to another of the same course without the approval of the professor.

When a student drops a class during the first week of the semester, the class is deleted from the student’s record. A grade of “W” is issued when a student drops the class on the second week of the semester. A student may withdraw from a class up to the date published in the Student Handbook/Calendar to receive a “W”.  No withdrawals will be permitted on the tenth week or by the published date.

Auditing Courses. With the approval of the department/school, students may register on an audit basis in courses for which they are qualified. Auditors are to be admitted to classes of limited enrollment only if there are places after all students who wish to enroll for credit have been accommodated. Class attendance is expected but examinations and reports may be omitted. With the approval of the professor, a student may change a course registration from audit to credit or from credit to audit only during the first week of instruction. No credit is given for courses audited. Students taking nine or more hours of undergraduate credit may audit any additional class(es) for free-as long as the professor approves the audit, the minimum student enrollment in course has been met, and/or there is sufficient room in the class. Students taking eight or less hours for credit will be charged one-half of the regular tuition charge.

Canceled Classes. The Vice President for Academic Administration or a department/school may cancel a class for which fewer than six tuition paying students enroll. This policy applies to ordinary classes but not to directed study courses, private lessons, and other special classes such as special methods of secondary teaching. Students enrolled in canceled classes should confer with their advisers to determine alternate means to complete their schedules.

Withdrawal Procedure for Students Called to Active Military Duty. Southern Adventist University community recognizes the sacrifices that those in the armed forces make while serving our country. We are proud of these individuals and have, therefore, adopted the following policy to deal with currently enrolled Southern Adventist University students who are called to active military duty.

  • Upon presentation of official military orders, the student will be automatically withdrawn from all of his/her courses for the given semester and a grade of “W” with notice of reason for withdrawal will be recorded on his/her academic record.
  • In addition, the student is eligible for a full-tuition refund or can choose to have the monies held on account to be used at a later date.
  • In the case of a resident student, room and board charges will be prorated based on the period in the semester when the student is required to leave; and the remaining charges will be refunded or held on account based on the student’s request.
  • If the veteran has left to perform military service, the veteran is to be readmitted with the same academic status he or she had when last in attendance at Southern. In most cases, the length of the absence from Southern cannot exceed five years. 

Credit Hours and Course Load

University courses are expressed in semester hours. A semester hour is consistent with the Carnegie Unit of one hour of faculty directed instruction and a minimum of two hours of academic student work for undergraduate (UG) or three hours of academic work for graduate (G) level courses. A sixteen-semester-hour UG class load will require 16 hours of faculty directed instruction and 32 hours of student academic work each week. A nine-semester-hour graduate load stipulates 9 hours of faculty-directed instruction and 27 hours of student academic work each week. Student academic work contributes to established intended learning outcomes and is verified by evidence of student achievement.

An equivalent amount of work is required for lectures, labs, internships, summer courses, online courses, directed (UG) study, independent study (G), or other course types leading to the award of credit hours. Schools and departments may determine contact time over the minimum requirements as needed. Physical Education activity courses meet two fifty minute periods for one credit hour. A laboratory period of two and one-half to three hours is equal to one class period. Except by permission of the office of the Vice President for Academic Administration, a student may not register for 18 or more semester hours.

To complete a baccalaureate degree in four years, a student must average between fifteen and sixteen hours per semester. The summer term may be used to advantage by students wishing to complete degree requirements in less than four years or by students having to take reduced programs of studies during the regular academic year. The typical class load during the summer is one three-hour class per session.

Student Status. An undergraduate student must be currently enrolled for a minimum of 12 semester hours to be considered full-time. Part-time status is maintained when a student is enrolled in 6-11 semester hours. Non-degree status is given to the student enrolled in 5 or fewer hours.

Study-Work Program. It is important that the student adjust the course load to achieve a reasonable balance in study and work. During registration the student should confer with his/her adviser in planning the proper balance of study and work.

In determining a reasonable study-work program, the following may serve as a guide:

Course Load Maximum Work Load
16 hours 16 hours
14 hours 20 hours
12 hours 26 hours
10 hours 32 hours
8 hours 38 hours

Class Standing

Standing Hours
Freshmen  0-23 semester hours
Sophomores 24-54 semester hours
Juniors 55-93 semester hours
Seniors 94 semester hours

Eligibility for class office requires a grade point average of 2.25 and a good citizenship record.

Prerequisite for Taking Upper Division Classes

Students must complete 40 semester hours of 100- and 200-level courses (lower division) before enrolling in a 300- or 400-level course (upper division). In addition,  ENGL 101 ENGL 102 , and MATH 215  must be met before enrollment in upper division classes.

Graduation Requirements

Degree Candidacy: A student becomes a degree candidate when s/he enters the school term during which it will be possible to complete all requirements for graduation. A senior contract for graduation must be given to the Records and Advisement Office by the end of October of the senior year.

Dates of Graduation: The date of graduation will be (a) the date of commencement for those graduating in December or May and (b) for others, the last day of the month in which graduation requirements are met and an official transcript is received at the Records and Advisement Office. Currently, there are three commencement services annually, one at the end of the first semester, another at the end of the second semester, and one in July.

Transcripts: Before a student will be allowed to graduate, transcripts of all transfer credits and pertinent correspondence must be received at the Records and Advisement Office. 

Participation in Graduation Exercises: Students are allowed to participate in commencement exercises only if they have completed all the courses required for graduation.

Deferred Graduation: Students ordinarily graduate under the requirements of the Catalog of the year in which they enter the University. Students who are studying for a baccalaureate degree and fail to graduate within six calendar years (four years for an associate degree), must plan to conform to the current Catalog.

Residence Requirements

Baccalaureate Degree: Twenty-five percent of the total semester hours required for the baccalaureate degree must be taken in residence, including at least 31 of the last 36 hours completed preceding the conferment of the degree. The total hours taken in residence must include at least 15 in upper division, 9 of which must be in the major (per major) and 3 in the minor (per minor), if one or more minors are taken.

Associate Degree: Twenty-five percent of the total semester hours required for the associate degree must be taken in residency including at least 31 of the last 36 hours completed preceding the conferment of the degree. The total hours taken in residence must include at least 15 in the major (per major) and 3 in the minor (per minor) if one or more minors are taken.

Certificate Programs: Eighteen semester hours of credit must be completed in residence immediately preceding the conferment of a one-year certificate.

Transfer Credit: A form and an approval process must be followed with the Records and Advisement Office prior to taking courses for transfer credit at another college or university during any session the student is simultaneously enrolled at Southern Adventist University and during any summer after initial enrollment. See department/school sections of the Catalog for classes which must be taken in residence.

Graduation with Academic Honors

Students graduating with a cumulative GPA of 3.50 or above will have the degree conferred as follows: 3.50-3.74, cum laude; 3.75-3.89, magna cum laude; 3.90-4.00, summa cum laude. The appropriate designations will appear in the Commencement Program and on the diploma.

Honor Roll/Dean’s List

At the conclusion of each semester of the school year, students who have carried a minimum of 12 semester hours and who have attained the following grade point averages will be included in the honors group indicated: 

GPA Honors
3.50-3.74 Honor Roll
3.75-3.89 Dean’s List
3.90-4.00 Distinguished Dean’s List


Southern Adventist University is committed to assisting every student in the area of academic advisement. Full-time students are assigned an academic adviser from their major field and are recommended to consult with their advisers before registering for classes. New students are encouraged to contact the First Year Advising office before registering for classes.

The responsibility of meeting graduation requirements belongs to the individual student. In planning their schedules all students should carefully follow the instructions in the Catalog, recommendations of their advisers, and print a degree audit from the web. In the event of a discrepancy between an adviser’s word and the Catalog, final interpretation of graduation requirements rests with the Records and Advisement Office. An effective tool to use in registering is the Academic Advising Guide which can be found at The Guide provides a sequence of courses to take each semester of the program/major.

Seniors must file a senior contract in the Records and Advisement Office to graduate. Previous to their senior year students should check periodically with the Records and Advisement office to determine whether they are meeting all curriculum requirements satisfactorily.

In the process of curriculum planning, students who have chosen a career in teaching should consult the Teacher Certification Officer regarding the requirements for teaching credentials. Admission to Teacher Education should be completed during the sophomore year.

Grading System

Course grades are an expression of the student’s mastery of the objectives for a particular course. Course objectives, in turn, focus exclusively on discipline-related and content-based knowledge and competencies which the student is expected to achieve as a result of participating in the particular course. Thus, a grade is a permanent record for other institutions of higher education, potential employers, and others, of the student’s fluency in the subject matter.

The student’s grade may be calculated on a normal curve or as a percentage of mastery of the course objectives, or some combination of the two. In any case, a grade should clearly indicate the level of achievement which the student has reached relative to course objectives. Grades are usually based on both formative (i.e. quizzes, homework, group work) and summative (i.e. exams, papers, major projects) activities, although proportions will vary.

Letter grades are generally defined as follows:

A Superior; the student demonstrates exceptional capability in handling course material
B Above average; the student’s demonstrated capability in handling course material exceeds the expectation of the professor
C Average; the student demonstrates a satisfactory grasp of course material which the professor intends students to learn in the class
D Below average; the student’s demonstrated ability to deal with the course material is less than the professor intends students to learn
F Failing; the student does not demonstrate sufficient capability with the course material to merit a passing grade
W Withdrew from the class; is not calculated in the GPA
AU Audit; no credit
I Incomplete; is not calculated in the GPA
IP In Progress; a temporary passing grade for interrupted course work still in progress; is not calculated in the GPA
P Pass; is not calculated in the GPA
NR Not Reported; the professor did not issue a grade; is not calculated in the GPA

The Pass/Fail option is available only in Physical Education activity classes (PEAC). Students enrolling in these classes must make a decision either to receive a grade of Pass/Fail or a conventional grade before the final grades are submitted. The decision will be final.

A student may receive an “I” (Incomplete) because of illness or other unavoidable delay. Any incomplete which is not removed by the end of the following term (Fall, Winter) will automatically become an “F”. A student may petition for an incomplete grade to extend up to one year. After a year a grade must be issued. A professor may assign a temporary “IP” (in progress) when an unavoidable problem prevents the issuance of a grade. Grade changes for a course are accepted up to one year. After one year, the student should enroll the second time and repeat the course. 

A course may be repeated before the student takes a more advanced course in the same field. Only the last grade will be counted on repeated courses. 

Mid-semester and semester grade reports are available online for the student to access. Only semester grades are recorded on the student’s permanent record. The following system of grading and grade point values is used:

Grade Grade Points Per Hour
A 4.00 grade points per hour
A- 3.70 grade points per hour
B+ 3.30 grade points per hour
B 3.00 grade points per hour
B- 2.70 grade points per hour
C+ 2.30 grade points per hour
C 2.00 grade points per hour
C- 1.70 grade points per hour
D+ 1.30 grade points per hour
D 1.00 grade points per hour
D- 0.70 grade points per hour
F 0.00 grade points per hour

The grade point average is calculated by dividing the total number of grade points earned by the credit hours attempted. 

Outcomes Assessment

In an ongoing attempt to improve its educational quality, the University administers a comprehensive assessment program. This involves periodic measurement of student academic achievement, student satisfaction, and personal, professional, and career development. Although participation in these assessment activities is expected of all students, not every student will be selected for every assessment; but during the course of enrollment, students are likely to be involved in at least one assessment activity.

Student Records 

A student’s record is regarded as confidential, and release of the record or of information contained therein is governed by regulations of the federal law of the “Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).” Only directory information, such as a student’s name, photograph, address, e-mail address, telephone listing, birthplace and date, major fields of study, participation in officially recognized activities and sports, dates of attendance, degrees and awards received, and the most recent previous educational agency or institution attended, may be released by the institution without consent of the student unless the student has asked Southern to withhold such information. 

With the permission of the student, parents of students termed “dependent” for income tax purposes are entitled to access to the student’s educational records. The law also provides for the release of information to university personnel who demonstrate a legitimate educational interest, other institutions engaged in research (provided information is not revealed to any other parties), and certain federal and state government officials. 

A student may inspect and review records and is entitled to challenge the content of records. Students may access online a history of their coursework, grades, and degree audit.

A more thorough explanation of records may be obtained from the Records and Advisement Office. A FERPA tutorial and quiz is available at The Director of Records and Advisement will further explain and clarify the FERPA to students, parents, or interested parties upon request.

Academic Honesty

Morally and spiritually, Southern Adventist University is dedicated to scholastic integrity. Consequently, both students and faculty are required to maintain high, ethical Christian levels of honesty.

Faculty Responsibilities:

  1. Professors must explain clearly the requirements for assignments, examinations, and projects, such as “open book,” “take home,” or “peer collaboration.”
  2. Professors may assume “no collaboration” is the rule unless they state otherwise.

Student Responsibilities:

  1. Students assume responsibility to avoid plagiarism by learning the proper procedures for acknowledging borrowed wording, information, or ideas. Otherwise students might innocently misrepresent others’ material as their own.
  2. Students unfamiliar with procedures for citing sources should confer with their professors.
  3. Students are to assume that all course work is “no collaboration” unless stated otherwise by the professor.
  4. Many professors will require students to submit papers through Turnitin, an originality checker application.

Schools/Departmental Policies:

Some departments/schools, because of the nature of their programs, have additional honesty policies which have the same force as those published here. Such policies will be presented to students before implementation.

Procedures for Handling Academic Dishonesty:

  1. When a professor suspects that academic dishonesty has occurred, the professor should first privately discuss the incident with the student. After the meeting, if the professor is convinced the student was dishonest, he or she will file an incident report with the Associate Vice-President of Academic Administration describing the infraction and the penalty administered. The professor shall also give a copy of the report to the student.
  2. In verified instances of academic dishonesty, the commonly applied penalties include, but are not limited to the following:
    • Record a failing grade on the exam, assignment, or project.
    • Assign a failing grade in the class.
    • Allow the student to resubmit the assignment with a reduced value for the assignment.
    • Assign the student a paper, project, or activity that improves the student’s understanding of the value and nature of academic integrity.
  3. The University keeps a centralized file of dishonesty reports in the Academic Administration office. After two reported incidents of academic dishonesty, the Associate Vice President will notify the dean or chair of the student’s major. Two incidents also make a student eligible for dismissal from the University.
  4. At any point, the student may appeal any of the above actions through the established appeal procedures spelled out in the “Academic Grievance Procedure” section of this Catalog.

Conditional Standing and Dismissal

Any student whose GPA does not meet the criteria for graduation is on conditional standing. The following are four categories of students who are on conditional standing:

  1. Students whose Southern Adventist University or cumulative GPA falls below 2.00. They are not eligible to hold office in any student organization.
  2. Entering freshmen whose high school GPA is below 2.25 or if their composite ACT score is less than 18, SAT score is less than 1290 or R-SAT score is less than 940.
  3. Transfer students whose GPA is less than 2.00.
  4. Students in baccalaureate programs completing their sophomore year with a GPA in their major field less than the level required for graduation. For most degrees the institutional graduation requirement is 2.25, but some programs may designate a higher GPA.
  5. Students on conditional standing may enroll in a maximum of 13 hours and are required to enroll in NOND 105 The University Enrichment  *

Candidates for a baccalaureate degree must achieve a minimum GPA of 2.00 after 24 semester hours have been attempted. Candidates for an associate or certificate program must have a GPA of 2.00 before beginning their final semester. Veterans enrolled for baccalaureate degrees, associate degrees, or certificate programs must maintain a cumulative grade point average of 2.00, or they will not be certified for veterans benefits. Veterans may be certified for repeat of “F” grades or for a major that requires a specific minimum grade and the grade received was lower than specified.

Government regulations require all financial aid recipients to maintain satisfactory academic progress towards a degree as measured both qualitatively and quantitatively in order to receive financial aid. This requirement applies to the entire enrollment at Southern Adventist University-even periods during which a student does not receive financial aid. Failure to comply with this requirement may result in a student becoming ineligible for financial aid.

This policy defines the minimum standards for eligibility for state and/or federal financial aid.

Students are subject to academic dismissal for any of the following categories:

  1. If they are on conditional standing for two consecutive semesters without demonstrating improvement;
  2. If they are on conditional standing for one or more semesters and have not received a grade of “C-” or better in NOND 105 The University Enrichment  ;
  3. If their Southern Adventist University or cumulative GPA does not reach the levels indicated in the preceding paragraph or the levels in the following table:
Credit Hours Attempted Cumulative Grade Point Average
0-23   1.50 or above
23-54   1.75 or above
55 or above   2.00 or above

*Students enrolled in less than 12 hours are exempt from Academic Power Tools.

At the end of each semester the Academic Review Committee reviews the records of students who are subject to dismissal and the Vice President for Academic Administration will notify students in writing whether or not they may continue. A student academically dismissed may be readmitted only after demonstrating maturity and motivation for a university career. The dismissed student may be required to complete successfully at least one term of college-level courses at another institution prior to readmission at Southern Adventist University.

Students receiving financial aid must also meet an academic progress policy set by the federal government. For further explanation see, “Academic Progress Requirements.”


Class. Attendance at class and laboratory appointments is expected. Professors prepare an absence policy for each class, which includes an explanation of penalties, if any, for absences, and the procedure for making up work, if such is allowed. It is the responsibility of professors to publish their policies for each class at the beginning of each semester, but it is the students’ responsibility to familiarize themselves with the practices of each professor from whom they are taking classes. Generally speaking, professors will not excuse absences for reasons other than illness, authorized school trips, or emergencies beyond the students’ control.

Students are not penalized if they incur absences while participating in school-authorized activities, but they are held responsible for work they miss. It is their responsibility to initiate arrangements to make up their assignments. One and one-half absences are given for missing a 75-minute class, two for missing a 100-minute class, etc.

Students who are on conditional standing are not eligible to participate in extra-curricular trips if the trip would require them to miss more than one day of classes per semester.

Examination. Because of problems concerning time, expense and fairness, final examinations will be taken as scheduled in the official examinations schedule. In the case of illness verified by University Health Center or a physician, death in the immediate family, three examinations scheduled consecutively in one day, or four or more examinations scheduled in one day, a final exam may be rescheduled upon approval by the professor and the Associate Vice President for Academic Administration. The rescheduled examination will be given at a time convenient to the professor.

When examinations are rescheduled because of three scheduled consecutively in one day or four in one day, the last examination of the day will normally be the one rescheduled. Examinations rescheduled for any reason other than those listed above, may require a fee of $100 per examination. All rescheduling requests will be made on a form available at the office of the Vice President for Academic Administration.

Convocation. Convocations are held each Thursday at 11:00 a.m. During weeks of prayer, convocations are held on Monday through Friday as well. Occasionally, convocation will be held in the evening or may begin at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday. All students are required to attend 14 convocations each semester. Failure to meet this convocation requirement may result in suspension of registration. Exceptions to the convocation attendance requirement are made by the Office of Student Development only for legitimate direct work conflicts with scheduled convocations. Any excuses for absences from convocation must be approved by the Vice President for Student Development. A special series of orientation convocations is scheduled during the SmartStart summer session.

Limitations on Class Attendance

Classes at Southern Adventist University are open to registered students only. The learning experiences, class discussions, and the information disseminated in the classroom, or other places of learning, are services which the University provides to its students. The relationship of trust that is required for honest inquiry and open interaction between students and faculty is protected by asking visitors not to attend or participate in classes without prior permission of the professor.

Professors and the institution reserve the right to remove students or visitors from classes if their speech or behavior threatens the purposes of the class by exceeding the bounds of normal academic freedom.

Professors conducting extension classes from other institutions on the Southern Adventist University campus share the rights spelled out by this policy.

Sequence of Courses

A student may not receive credit for a course which is a prerequisite to a course for which s/he has already received credit.

Course Numbers

Each course number consists of three figures as follows:

HIST 354. Latin America (C-1), (W) 3 hours   

The first numeral indicates class year status as follows:

0-Developmental (no credit)
1-freshman level (lower division)
2-sophomore level (lower division)
3-junior level (upper division)
4-senior level (upper division)

Within a given 100 sequence there is no significance in one course number being higher than another. For instance, 265 does not necessarily mean that the course is on a higher level than 235.

Course numbers separated by a hyphen are two-semester courses in which credit for the first course is a prerequisite to the second [e.g., ENGL 101-ENGL 102. Critical Thinking in Academic Reading and Writing]. However, credit is given for the first semester when taken alone.

Course numbers that stand alone represent courses of one semester which are complete units. Course numbers separated by a comma [e.g., HIST 154, HIST 155. American History and Institutions] represent complete units, either one of which is counted for graduation without reference to sequence.

Designation in brackets following course titles, [e.g., MATH 215 - Statistics (IN-4)] indicates the General Education area and sub-area that the class fulfills. Classes designated with a “(W)” are writing classes for General Education credit.

Students may earn credit for a cross-listed course from only one department/school [e.g. HIST 356 and SOCI 356].

Cognate Courses

Required courses related to the major which are not a part of the major are called cognate courses [e.g., students majoring in Nursing are required to take Microbiology as a cognate course].

Student Rights

Right of Petition

Students who believe there is a valid reason for requesting variance from or exception to an academic policy stated in the Catalog may make a petition to the Director of Records and Advisement for consideration of their case after obtaining the advice and signature of the department chair or school dean of their major. The petition must contain a statement of the request and supporting reasons. Highly unusual requests will be referred to the Vice President for Academic Administration. Students will be notified in writing by the Director of Records and Advisement of the action on petitions. Petition forms are available from the Records and Advisement Office or online at

Academic Grievance Procedure

Students who believe that their academic rights have been infringed upon or that they have been treated unjustly with respect to their academic program are entitled to a fair and impartial consideration of their cases. They should do the following to effect a solution:

  1. Present the case to the professor or professors concerned.
  2. If necessary, discuss the problem with the department chair or school dean.
  3. If agreement is not reached at this level, submit the matter to the Vice President for Academic Administration.
  4. Finally, ask for a review of the case by the Academic Grievance Committee, chaired by the Vice President for Academic Administration or his designee and including three other faculty members and two students selected by the Undergraduate Council. Both the student and the professor involved in the case are entitled to appear before the committee or to present a written statement of the case. The decision of the committee shall be presented in writing to the individuals involved within three days of the committee meeting unless a later time is agreed upon by both parties. The decision of the committee is binding and will be implemented by the professor involved or the Vice President for Academic Administration.

Student Identity

Identity Verification

All students including those who enroll in a distance education course at Southern Adventist University for the first time are required to authenticate their identity at the time of initial registration in their first semester at Southern.  The student may accomplish this using one of the following options: 1) Authenticate in person at Southern Adventist University or 2) Authenticate online with a secure identity verification partner, chosen by Southern Adventist University.  Fees for this authentication are the responsibility of the student.

Exam Proctor

Students in online classes may also be required to take online examinations using Southern’s designated paid proctoring service.  Fees for proctoring are the responsibility of the student.

Nontraditional College Credit

In addition to credit earned in the traditional classroom setting, Southern Adventist University accepts credit earned by two other means-challenge examinations and distance courses.

The goals and objectives of the University emphasize not only facts and concepts but also values and attitudes best transmitted by interacting over a period of time with peers and professors committed to moral excellence, critical thinking, and the pursuit of truth. For this reason, most university credits should be earned through class participation. However, the University will permit a maximum of one-fourth of the credit required for a given degree to be earned by these nontraditional means.

Southern recognizes the International Baccalaureate as nontraditional credit and will record up to 12 hours of credit of courses taken on the Highest level (HL).

University Credit by Examination. Although the university recognizes several types of examination for credit, some policies apply to all types.

  • No CLEP or challenge exam may be attempted for a course in which the student has been enrolled beyond the second week of a semester.
  • No course may be challenged as part of the last thirty hours of any degree.
  • Grades are recorded for departmental challenge examinations and scaled scores are recorded for nationally formed examinations.
  • Students may earn a maximum of 12 hours of credit by examination in courses that do not appear in the University Catalog if the evaluating tests are approved by Undergraduate Council.
  • Credit for challenge and/or validation examinations will not be placed on a student’s permanent record and is, therefore, not transferable until that student has successfully completed 12 semester hours in resident at Southern Adventist University.
  • Fees charged for challenge examination and credit are listed under “Other Charges and Fees” in the financial section of this Catalog.
  • Additional information concerning challenge examinations may be obtained from the Records and Advisement Office or the Counseling and Testing Center.

There are specific policies for different types of credit by examination.

  • Challenge examinations demonstrating competence equivalent to a regular course and prepared by a department/school. The following policies apply:
    • Challenge examinations must be passed at “B” level or above.
    • Since not all classes listed in the Catalog are open to challenge examinations, students must obtain permission from both the department chair or school dean and the Vice President for Academic Administration before petitioning to challenge a course.
    • Students must also furnish evidence of adequate preparation to challenge a class before the department chair or school dean assigns a professor to prepare a challenge examination.
    • A student may challenge a given course only once.
    • A challenge test may not be taken if the student has audited the class.
  • College Level Examination Program (CLEP) subject examinations
    • In general, CLEP subject examinations must be passed at the score of 50 or higher to receive credit. However, students taking the CLEP exam for SOCI 125  must pass with a score of 59 or higher.
    • The English Department participates in CLEP for ENGL 101  but not for ENGL 102 . As part of the CLEP exam, a written essay is required.
    • The CLEP exams in history qualify as elective credits. They do not fulfill the general education requirement for history. Three hours of AP/CLEP credit can, however, count towards a history major or minor.
    • The following subjects are not acceptable by CLEP exam: BIOL 151 , BIOL 152 , CHEM 151 , CHEM 152 , or modern languages course.
  • Advanced Placement Examinations
    • In general, AP examinations must be passed with a score of 3, but some departments have additional restrictions.
    • AP history exams, if passed with a 4 or higher, qualify for elective credits. They do not fulfill the general education requirement for history. Three hours of AP/CLEP credit can, however, count towards a history major or minor.
    • The biology and chemistry AP requirement is 5. Students may be exempt from taking BIOL 152  if they have an Advanced Placement grade of 5 and a grade of “B” or better in BIOL 151 . A student receiving a score of 5 on the chemistry AP examination will be given credit for CHEM 151 . Credit for CHEM 152  requires a 5 on the AP exam and years of H.S. Chemistry and laboratory work that is equivalent to our university chemistry lab. A student receiving a score of 4 or higher on the AP Chemistry exam will receive credit for CHEM 111 . (A student may not receive credit for both CHEM 111  and CHEM 151 .)
    • A score of 3 or higher on the AP English Language and Composition exam or on the AP English Literature and Composition exam earns credit for ENGL 101 . Credit for ENGL 102  may not be earned through Advanced Placement.
  • Modern language offers students the opportunity to earn up to six intermediate language credits in Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, and Spanish through the STAMP 4S test. Details are available from the Modern Languages Department.

Online Courses. Students are encouraged to take advantage of the courses offered online by Southern Adventist University. The University also accepts credits from distance education providers that are accredited by NUCEA (National University Continuing Education Association) on the same basis as credits from other regionally-accredited colleges or universities.

Unless otherwise noted, Southern’s online courses begin and end within the same time frame as the university’s face-to-face courses during any semester or summer session in which the online courses are scheduled.

The following policies apply to all courses taken outside of Southern Adventist University’s face-to-face and online courses:

  • A maximum of 12 semester hours of distance or extension credit may apply toward a baccalaureate degree program and eight hours toward an associate degree.
  • Distance courses must be approved in advance by the University.
  • Distance work may not apply on the upper division requirements of the major or minor.
  • A minimum grade of “B” must be earned to apply on the lower division requirements for a major.
  • A course in which the student earned a grade of “D” or “F” while in residence may not be repeated by distance.
  • No distance credit will be entered on the student’s record until s/he has earned a minimum of 12 hours in residence with a average of at least “C.”
  • Official transcripts must be in the Records and Advisement Office before a diploma will be ordered. The graduation date will be the last day of the month after the official transcript is received.

Practicum and Internships. Suggested departmental/school guidelines for practicum and internships.


  • A minimum of 50 clock hours per one credit hour.
  • The process of learning a job on a part-time basis.
  • The work may be done at various job sites.


  • A minimum of 100 clock hours per one credit hour.
  • The application of learning the skills of a job on a full-time basis.
  • The work must be supervised on one job site.

Waiver Examinations

Upon the approval of the department chair or school dean and the Vice President for Academic Administration, students may obtain a waiver of curricular requirements by successfully completing a comprehensive examination-written, oral, manipulative, or otherwise, as determined by the department/school involved. A fee of $50 per examination is charged.

Transient Student

A Southern Adventist University student acquires transient student status when s/he is granted permission through the Southern Adventist University Records and Advisement Office to enroll for automatically transferable credit at another accredited institution. The credit that students may transfer must meet Southern Adventist University criteria for transfer credit and residence requirements.

To receive transient status, a student must:

  1. have completed a minimum of 12 hours in residence at Southern Adventist University and
  2. be enrolled simultaneously at Southern Adventist University for a minimum of three hours of class credit. (This condition does not apply to summer classes.)

Students may not receive transient status for more than one semester during which the amount of transferable credit exceeds the amount of simultaneous credit earned at Southern Adventist University.

Extension Classes

Extension classes are university classes offered on the campuses of Southern Union academies as an opportunity for seniors to earn university credit in skills areas that will fulfill part of the General Education requirements at Southern Adventist University. Instructors are academy teachers who are qualified with appropriate credentials and experience.

To enroll in an extension class students must be members of the junior or senior class. The grade point average criteria to enroll in extension classes is for senior class standing is 3.00 or above and for junior class standing 3.50 or above during the years of their secondary education. Eligibility is determined before the student begins taking the extension class.

The extension classes must duplicate as nearly as possible their university counterparts in content, degree of difficulty, testing and grading.

Continuing Education

Southern Adventist University makes continuing education credit available through the Records and Advisement Office. Sponsors of organizations wishing to offer Southern Adventist University continuing education certificates must complete the following steps:

  1. Secure approval of the program by
    • applying at the Records and Advisement Office at least two weeks before conducting the workshop/seminar/conference and
    • submitting with their application the topic of the presentation, an outline of the presentation, and the name of the presenter(s) with evidence credentials.
  2. File an evaluation of the workshop/seminar/conference following the presentation. The University will furnish evaluation forms.
  3. Participants in continuing education events must pay institutional processing fees to receive their certificates.

Student Mission/Task Force Credit

Students may earn twelve hours of elective credit while participating in the Student Mission/Task Force programs. Details are available in the office of the University Chaplain. Students who wish to serve as student missionaries or task force workers must plan their programs a year in advance to fulfill necessary prerequisites.


Students may obtain official transcripts of their academic record through the National Student Clearinghouse website at or by clicking on “My Access” at Official transcripts sent directly to a student will be enclosed in a sealed envelope with the registrar’s signature across the back. Transcripts are released for those students whose accounts are current or paid in full and who are current in re-payment of student loans.

The National Student Clearinghouse charges the student credit or debit card $2.25 for each transcript destination. Electronic transcripts are available for an additional charge. 

A student may receive an unofficial transcript for evaluative purposes by applying in person or by faxing the form to 423.236.1899. The form is available at

Apostille Service and Document Authentication Process

Southern Adventist University offers apostille and document authentication of transcripts and diplomas. As per the Hague Convention of 1962, there is a list of countries which require a document to go through the apostille process prior to being presented. For countries which are not a signatory party to the Hague Convention of 1961, the documents are required to go through the authentication process certifying the authenticity of the document before being presented. The student needs to check the country to see which process is required. The apostille and authentication process of transcripts and diplomas require:

  • The student must request the apostille/authentication process for the diploma/transcript.
  • The student must request his/her official transcript on line: and request a replacement diploma from the Records and Advisement Office. The student must receive financial clearance. (See official transcript charges at the Records and Advisement Office website.)
  • The charge for the apostille/authentication process is $100 to be paid to the cashier (phone number: 423.236.2826) at Southern Adventist University. This charge covers the costs for a replacement diploma, notary fees, validation of the notary at the Hamilton County Courthouse, Clerk’s Office; priority mailing of the documents to the Tennessee Secretary of State for apostille or authentication process; priority mail envelope back to the Records and Advisement Office. The Records and Advisement Office will then mail the document(s) via priority mail to the specified address.
  • The process will take a minimum of 15 business days before mailing to the person/place indicated.