Academic Policies & Procedures

Seattle Pacific University Accreditation 

The history of the growth of Seattle Pacific University is linked to the educational community of which it is a part. In successive steps from 1921 to 1937, the University was accredited by the Washington State Board of Education. Since 1936, the University has been accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU). 

Seattle Pacific is included on the approved list of the American Council on Education and Board of Regents of the State of New York and is a member of the Association of American Colleges and Universities and of the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education. The University is also a charter member of the Christian College Consortium and a member of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities, and its credits are recognized by members of the various regional associations and by leading graduate schools throughout the country. 

The University is approved by the Washington State Approving Agency (SAM) for enrollment for those eligible to receive educational benefits under Title 38 and Title 10, U.S. Code. 

School of Education Accreditation 

The School of Education is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) at both basic (undergraduate) and advanced (graduate) levels. The University is a member of the Association of American Colleges and Universities and of the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education. It is fully accredited by the Washington State Professional Educator Standards Board. The School of Education is also a member of the Association of Independent Liberal Arts Colleges for Teacher Education, and now has a chapter, Sigma Phi Upsilon, of Chi Sigma Iota, an international honor society that values academic and professional excellence in counseling. 

Course Numbering System 

1000-4999:  Undergraduate courses
5000-5999:  Graduate-level professional development 
6000-6999:  Master's-level courses 
7000-7999:  Doctoral-level courses 

All course credits are quarter credits. 

  • 5 quarter credits are equivalent to 3.33 semester credits. 
  • 3 quarter credits are equivalent to 2 semester credits. 
  • 1 quarter credit is equivalent to .67 semester credits. 

5000-level courses are considered primarily for the purpose of professional development.  Although different in purpose from the core master’s or doctoral graduate degree courses, such courses may be considered to meet elective requirements in some graduate degree programs, in accordance with the regulations of the particular graduate degree program and approval of the student’s program advisor. 

5000-level courses cannot be used to satisfy SPU undergraduate degree requirements for those students admitted Autumn Quarter 1992 and following. 

Grading 

The quality of a student’s performance in a course is recognized by a letter grade.  The following grades and grade points will apply to courses. 

Grade Points


A- 
B+ 

B- 
C+ 

C- 
D+ 

P
NC
I
 

N
W
EU
NU

4.0 
3.7 
3.3 
3.0 
2.7 
2.3 
2.0 
1.7 
1.3 
1.0 
0.0 

Pass (used only with Pass/NC option)
No Credit (used only with Pass/NC option)
Incomplete (requires instructor and dean approval prior to final exam; 
after one year deadline, the "I" becomes an "E")

In progress (restricted to specific courses)
Withdrawal
Earned Continuing Education Unit (CEU)
Not Earned Continuing Education Unit (CEU)

See the Graduate Catalog for more information about grading. 

Pass/No Credit Option 

Selected classes are offered on a Pass/No Credit option.  In these cases, you must reach at least a “C” (2.0) to pass the course.  Students may elect to be graded Pass/No Credit in a limited number of courses in their degree program.  See the SPU Graduate Catalog for information on these limitations. 

Equivalent Courses 

Courses noted as being “equivalent” may be substituted for each other. You may not receive duplicate credit for two courses considered equivalent to each other. If you take an SPU course equivalent to a course previously completed at SPU, the rules outlined below in the section regarding “Repeating Courses” will be employed. 

If you take an SPU course equivalent to a course previously transferred from another school, credit for the transfer course will be rescinded and the SPU credits and course grade will apply. Courses taken at another institution cannot replace an equivalent SPU course for which credit has been received. 

Repeating Courses 

You may repeat any course previously taken at SPU (or enroll in an SPU course noted as being “equivalent”) for the purpose of earning a higher grade, unless the course is designed to be repeated for additional credit. 

Effective Autumn 2011, the highest grade received in a course or its equivalent will apply to both the GPA for graduation and for honors at graduation. 

The original and repeated course will still appear on the transcript, but the lower grade and credits will be excluded from the overall GPA and credit total. Only courses taken at SPU will be used to change course grades. A course may be repeated only once. 

If you believe you have unusual circumstances, you may petition to repeat a course more than once by submitting a registration petition, accompanied by a statement from the course instructor, to Student Academic Services. Courses taken at another institution cannot replace an equivalent SPU course for which credit has been received. 

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. 
  • 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: 

  • The instructor arranges a conference with the student to discuss the incident. 
  • 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. 
  • 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). 
  • 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 provost. 
  • 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 provost. 

Academic Appeals Policy 

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. 

A process is also established for those who seek an exception to established University policy.  For more information on the grievance policy or policy petitions, refer to the SPU Graduate Catalog

Nondiscrimination Policy 

It is the policy of Seattle Pacific University not to discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability in its programs or activities, as required by applicable laws and regulations. 

As a Christian educational institution affiliated with the Free Methodist Church of North America, Seattle Pacific University is permitted and reserves the right to prefer employees or prospective employees on the basis of religion. 

If you have any questions regarding this policy, contact either of the following persons: 

Vice President for Student Life 
Campus Location: Room 209, Student Union Building  
Seattle Pacific University 3307 Third Avenue West, Suite 212  
Seattle, Washington 98119-1950 
206-281-2481 

Executive Director of Human Resources  
Campus Location: 330 West Nickerson Street  
Seattle Pacific University  
3307 Third Avenue West, Suite 302 
Seattle, Washington 98119-1957  
206-281-2809 

If you believe you may have been discriminated against in violation of this policy, please immediately contact one of the individuals designated above. For complaints regarding discrimination, the University’s Nondiscrimination Complaint Procedures located in the Student Handbook can apply for both graduate and undergraduate students. However, for certain continuing education programs, other procedures may apply instead.

If you have a question regarding the application of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and its implementing regulations, which prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex in education programs and activities, you may contact the University’s Title IX Coordinator or the U.S. Department of Education’s Officer for Civil Rights. All students are expected to refrain from actions that involve discrimination based on race, color, national origin, religion, disability, or sex.