Core Curriculum & Graduation

Rationale

At Southwestern Adventist University, a Seventh-day Adventist liberal arts education emphasizes preparing students with a broad academic background that enables them to contribute to society in multi-faceted ways. Flexibility, adaptability, intellectual curiosity, and commitment to lifelong learning go beyond the confines of a specific discipline. We believe that broad skills and connections across disciplines, including an emphasis on the distinctive beliefs and history of the Seventh-day Adventist church, foster the development of the whole person who will be a responsible citizen of this world and the world to come.

Educating the Whole Person

  1. Spiritual and Physical Well-being - An education focused on the whole person requires a preparation of the mental and physical body for learning. General Education in this area should focus on the theological and historical foundations of our faith with an emphasis on the SDA health message.
  2. Intellectual Curiosity and Inquiry -Learning utilizes discovery, synthesis, analysis, and problem solving, skills which must be intentionally embedded across the curriculum in ways that inspire lifelong learning and enable students to apply them to a variety of situations and environments.
  3. Clear and Effective Communication - The ability to communicate thoughts and ideas in a clear and effective manner facilitates the participation of an educated person in society. This concept extends beyond traditional oral and written forms to encompass current modes of expression and their personal, moral and social implications.

B.A. Foreign Language Requirement

Complete either 6 semester credit hours of one foreign language at the intermediate level or 8 semester credit hours each of two foreign languages at the elementary level.

Baccalaureate Degree Requirements

The University awards six types of baccalaureate degrees: the Bachelor of Arts, the Bachelor of Science, the Bachelor of Music, Bachelor of Music Education, Bachelor of Business Administration and the Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences. Candidates who have completed the following requirements will be awarded degrees upon recommendation by the faculty and approval by the Board of Trustees.

All baccalaureate graduates will

  • Complete a minimum of 120 semester credit hours, including 36 credit hours in courses numbered 300 and above and earn a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.00.
  • Complete the general education requirements.
  • Complete QEP requirement UNIV 111 Wellness for Life.
  • Complete a minimum of 30 semester credit hours in residence. The last 36 credit hours earned prior to graduation must include 30 credit hours in residence.
  • Complete the requirements for a major field of specialization with a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.25, unless otherwise specified by major department. No class with a grade below a C- may apply toward the major or area of emphasis. Classes listed as cognates are included in the major. A minimum of 12 hours in the major field must be taken in residence.
  • Take a comprehensive examination in the field of study as designated by the major.

Bachelor of Arts graduates will also

  • Complete a minor field of specialization. No class with a grade below a C- may apply toward the minor, and a minimum of 6 hours in the minor field must be taken in residence.

Graduates with Nursing and Elementary Education majors have modified degree requirements and these are specified under the respective department sections in this Bulletin.

Double majors must be completed within a single degree such as a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science. To receive a degree with a double major, a student must complete all of the requirements, including cognates, of each major or area of emphasis. A second major will satisfy the requirement for a minor for the Bachelor of Arts degree. A student cannot earn two majors or areas of emphasis in communication.

Two baccalaureate degrees such as a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Science with majors in different disciplines may be awarded concurrently or sequentially. The candidate must meet all the degree requirements for each major including cognates, general education, the foreign language requirement, the requirement of a minor, a total of 150 semester credit hours, and 30 credit hours in residence.

Associate Degree Requirements

The University awards three types of associate degrees: the Associate in Science, the Associate of Science, and the Associate of Applied Science. Candidates who have completed the following requirements will be awarded degrees upon recommendation by the faculty and approval by the Board of Trustees.

Associate of Science graduates will

  1. Complete a minimum of 60 semester credit hours and earn a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.00
  2. Complete a minimum of 24 semester credit hours in residence. Twelve of the final 15 hours before graduation must be taken in residence at Southwestern
  3. Complete QEP requirement UNIV 111 Wellness for Life

Associate in Science graduates will

  1. Complete a minimum of 60 semester credit hours and earn a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.00
  2. Complete a minimum of 24 semester credit hours in residence. Twelve of the final 15 hours before graduation, must be taken in residence at Southwestern
  3. Complete a major field of specialization with a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.00 in the major. No class with a grade below C- may apply toward the major
  4. Complete the general education requirements for the Associate in Science degree
  5. Complete QEP requirement UNIV 111 Wellness for Life

Graduation Procedures for All Degrees

A graduating student will fulfill all degree requirements published in the Bulletin. The student may complete the degree requirements published in the Bulletin at the time of admission or any Bulletin issued during continuous enrollment. All general requirements for graduation must be fulfilled as published in the current Bulletin.

A Graduation Contract must be completed and returned to the Registrar no later than one week after the start of the second semester of the student's junior year.

Any work taken at another institution must be recorded on the transcript before the degree is awarded.

The student must satisfactorily meet all financial obligations to the University, including payment of graduation dues, in order to obtain a diploma or transcript showing graduation. Graduation class dues are a mandatory non-refundable fee that covers expenses such as class gift, 25 graduation announcements and miscellaneous class activities. This fee applies to campus as well as Adult Degree Program students. When a student returns to obtain an additional degree and graduation dues were paid as an initial Southwestern graduate, only half of the dues will be required for each subsequent graduation class. Graduation dues are charged to the student account at the beginning of the semester in which the student will graduate.

All graduates are expected to participate in the commencement exercises unless given permission by the Vice President for Academic Administration to graduate in absentia.

Candidates will receive instructions on ordering graduation regalia and announcements at the senior class meeting.

Graduation Ceremonies

The commencement ceremony is held at the end of the spring semester each year. Students eligible to participate in graduation must complete all arrangements with the Registrar by March 15 to be included in the ceremony and ensure name is printed on Graduation Program.

Posthumous Degree Policy

In the unfortunate event that a Southwestern student dies before completing degree requirements, the student may be awarded a posthumous degree upon approval by the Vice President for Academic Administration.

1. Department faculty must first approve and send a recommendation to the Vice President for Academic Administration for approval.
2. To be considered the student must have:
    a. been enrolled within the last 2 semesters.
    b. completed 75% of the degree requirements.
    c. been in good academic standing.

If a student does not meet the above criteria, they may be awarded a certificate of Special Recognition.

Deferred Graduation

Students who have fewer than 6 hours or two courses remaining in their degree program, as documented on their graduation contract, may participate in graduation exercises. The student will be listed as a candidate for graduation in the graduation program. All SWAU residency requirements apply to deferred graduation. All degree requirements must be completed within six (6) years of the date of the catalog selected.

Graduation Honors

Honors status will be calculated for bachelor's degree graduates after the final semester grades are issued. The following designations are given to graduates who have maintained high GPAs.

  1. GPA of 3.50 to 3.74 may graduate cum laude
  2. GPA of 3.75 to 3.89 may graduate magna cum laude
  3. GPA of 3.90 to 4.00 may graduate summa cum laude

The associate degree candidate who has maintained a cumulative GPA of at least 3.60 may graduate with distinction.

Honors Program Graduate

Honors Program students may graduate with the designation of Honors Program Graduate by meeting the requirements outlined under the Honors Program in this Bulletin.