ADULT DEGREE COMPLETION STUDENTS: Please click HERE for Academic and General Policies that apply to all Adult Degree Completion programs.
Credit Hour Policy:
According to the United States Department of Education with regard to the credit hour definition, one semester unit represents an hour (minimum fifty minutes) of class time per week for at least 15 weeks (Carnegie definition). Two hours of preparation are normal for each hour of class.
Face-to-face instructional hours are equivalent to the following:
1 credit hour = 750 minutes instructional time
2 credit hours = 1500 minutes
3 credit hours = 2250 minutes
4 credit hours = 3000 minutes
Web-facilitated courses use web-based technology to facilitate what is essentially a face-to-face course. These offerings can be up to 25% online/web-based work.
Hybrid or Blended courses use online and face to face delivery. A substantial portion of the content (between 26% and 79%) is delivered online, and it typically uses online discussion and has a reduced number of face-to-face meetings.
Online courses have the majority of content online and typically do not have face-to-face meetings.
Academic unit leadership will monitor the unit of credit policy through the course syllabus, schedule, and faculty governance policies and procedures.
State Authorization: Online Course Enrollment and Physical Location
State authorization is a formal determination by a state that Point Loma Nazarene University is approved to conduct educational activities regulated by that state. In certain states and U.S. Territories outside California, Point Loma Nazarene University is not authorized to enroll online students. Students not residing in California are required to update their physical locations, and must also report whether they plan to travel or move during an online course. The definition of physical location and the policy on monitoring physical location are noted below.
Definition of Physical Location
The physical location of each student enrolled at the University is defined as physical location, not state of residency. Physical locations are reported and monitored during the Admissions process, Registration process, and online course enrollment.
Policy on Monitoring Physical Location
Students must disclose their physical locations to the Office of Records prior to program and online course enrollment, and disclose any changes in their physical locations to PLNU during enrollment.
The Point Loma Nazarene University community holds the highest standards of honesty and integrity in all aspects of university life. Any violation of the university’s commitment is a serious affront to the very nature of Point Loma’s mission and purpose.
Violations of academic honesty include cheating, plagiarism, falsification, identity fraud, aiding academic dishonesty, and malicious interference.
Cheating is the use of unauthorized assistance that results in an unfair advantage over other students. It includes but is not limited to: bringing and/or using unauthorized notes, technology or other study aids during an examination; looking at other students’ work during an exam or in an assignment where collaboration is not allowed; attempting to communicate with other students in order to get help during an exam or in an assignment where collaboration is not allowed; obtaining an examination prior to its administration; allowing another person to do one’s work and submitting it as one’s own; submitting work done in one class for credit in another without the instructor’s permission.
Plagiarism is the use of an idea, phrase, or other materials from a source without proper acknowledgment of that source. It includes but is not limited to: the use of an idea, phrase, or other materials from a source without proper acknowledgment of that specific source in a work for which the student claims authorship; the misrepresentation and/or use of sources used in a work for which the student claims authorship; the use of papers purchased online as all or part of an assignment for which the student claims authorship; submitting written work, such as laboratory reports, computer programs, or papers, which have been copied from the work of other students, with or without their knowledge and consent.
Falsification is the alteration of information or forging of signatures on academic forms or documents. It includes but is not limited to: using improper methods of collecting or generating data and presenting them as legitimate; altering graded work and submitting it for re-grading; falsifying information on official academic documents such as drop/add forms, incomplete forms, petitions, recommendations, letters of permission, transcripts or any other university document; misrepresenting oneself or one’s status in the university.
Academic identity fraud is the act of allowing a person to impersonate the registered student, by doing the academic work and by submitting it as if it were the work of the registered person. This encompasses both face to face and online environments. It includes, but is not limited to: having another person complete a course assignment, take an examination, respond to discussion board questions, or complete any kind of academic exercise on behalf of the registered student. In such cases, it may be considered collusion to commit fraud on the part of both parties.
Aiding academic dishonesty is assisting another person in violating the standards of academic honesty. It includes but is not limited to: allowing other students to look at one’s own work during an exam or in an assignment where collaboration is not allowed; providing information, material, or assistance to another person knowing that it may be used in violation of academic honesty policies; providing false information in connection with any academic honesty inquiry.
Malicious intent is misuse of academic resources or interference with the legitimate academic work of other students. It includes but is not limited to: removing books, journals, or pages of these from the library without formal checkout; hiding library materials; refusing to return reserve readings to the library; damaging or destroying the projects, lab, studio work or other academic product of fellow students.
A student remains responsible for the academic honesty of work submitted in PLNU courses and the consequences of academic dishonesty beyond receipt of the final grade in the class and beyond the awarding of the diploma. Ignorance of these catalog policies will not be considered a valid excuse or defense. Students may not withdraw from a course as a response to a consequence.
Response Procedure for First Offense
The following response procedure must be used by faculty or administrators who discover a violation of academic honesty in current or previous courses.
- Fact-Finding: The faculty member or administrator should attempt to speak or otherwise communicate informally with the student as the first step.
- Internal Communications: The faculty member must inform in writing the program director and school or college dean (who oversees the instructor and course in which the violation occurred) about the violation. The program director or dean must also contact the Vice Provost for Academic Administration and inquire whether the student engaged in any prior incidents of academic dishonesty. If so, the faculty member, program director, and dean should follow the process outlined below under Repeat Offense(s). Otherwise, continue to follow the below response procedure.
- Notice of Decision to Student: Once the violation is discovered, the instructor will send a written communication to the student regarding the incident and the consequences. Instructors can give students an “F” on a specific assignment or an “F” in the course as a consequence of a violation of academic honesty. The written communication should inform the student of the right to appeal and provide a link to the appeal procedure from the appropriate catalog. The communication should also inform the student that (i) a repeated violation of academic honesty may result in probation, suspension, administrative withdrawal or expulsion from the university, and/or (ii) depending on the gravity of the offense, a first violation of academic honesty may also result in probation, suspension, administrative withdrawal or expulsion from the university, in the discretion of the Vice Provost for Academic Administration (see No. 5 below). In cases of academic identity fraud, the violation(s) could be interpreted as a criminal offense and could result in administrative withdrawal from Point Loma Nazarene University.
- Notice to PLNU Administration: The instructor must send in writing a report of the incident to the program director, school or college dean, and the Vice Provost for Academic Administration. The report should include a description of the violation, the action taken, and evidence of the violation. The official record of the incident and any appeals is maintained by the Office of the Vice Provost of Academic Administration.
- Further Action: Upon receiving notice from the instructor of a violation of academic honesty, the Vice Provost for Academic Administration may, in his/her discretion, based on the gravity of the offense and its surrounding circumstances, determine to impose additional consequences on the student, including without limitation probation, suspension, administrative withdrawal or expulsion from the university. If the Vice Provost for Academic Administration takes such further action, he/she shall notify the student in writing within 48 hours (during standard, non-holiday, business/school days) of receiving the instructor’s decision.
The following appeal procedure must be used by a student who wishes to appeal consequences associated with a finding of academic dishonesty. Note that some violations may be considered ineligible for appeal, in the discretion of the Vice Provost for Academic Administration. Such violations could include without limitation those that involve or impact the health, safety, or security of any member of the PLNU community.
- School or College Dean: The student should present an appeal of the penalty in writing within 48 hours (counting non-holiday, business/school days) upon receiving the instructor’s decision or the Vice Provost for Academic Administration’s decision, whichever is later, including all documents and evidence supporting the appeal, to the Vice Provost for Academic Administration who will send the appeal to any two school or college deans. The deans will review the appeal and send a written ruling to the student, instructor, and Vice Provost for Academic Administration. The appeal decision reached by the deans is final.
Response Procedure for Repeated Offense(s)
The following response procedure must be used by faculty or administrators who discover a repeated offense of a violation of academic honesty in current or previous courses.
- Fact-Finding: The faculty member or administrator should attempt to speak or otherwise communicate informally with the student as the first step.
- Internal Communications: The faculty member must inform in writing the program director and school or college dean (who oversees the instructor and course in which the violation occurred) about the violation. The dean must also contact the Vice Provost for Academic Administration and inquire whether the student engaged in any prior incidents of academic dishonesty.
- Initial Notice to Student: If a prior offense of academic dishonesty has been noted, the school or college dean must notify the student in writing that such prior offense(s) will be discussed and evaluated by the dean when considering the consequence that should be imposed with respect to the current offense.
- Evaluation: The program director and school or college dean must consult with the instructor about the current incident of academic dishonesty and the instructor’s recommendations regarding the consequences for the current violation. The program director or dean may also, in his/her discretion consult with the Vice Provost of Academic Administration or others in order to evaluate the current incident and any prior offenses of academic dishonesty committed by the student for purposes of determining the appropriate consequences to impose for the current offense. Depending upon the seriousness of the incident or pattern of incidents of academic honesty violations and the circumstances surrounding the current and prior offenses of academic dishonesty, such consequences may include, without limitation, probation, suspension administrative withdrawal or expulsion from the university.
- Notice of Decision to Student: The dean will communicate his/her decision and the consequences in writing to the student. The written communication should inform the student of the right to appeal and provide a link to the appeal procedure from the appropriate catalog.
The following appeal procedure must be used by a student who wishes to appeal consequences associated with a finding of a repeated offense(s) of academic dishonesty. Note that some violations may be considered ineligible for appeal, in the discretion of the Vice Provost for Academic Administration. Such violations could include without limitation those that involve or impact the health, safety, or security of any member of the PLNU community.
- Neutral Dean: The student should submit to the Vice Provost for Academic Administration a written appeal of the dean’s decision including all document and evidence supporting the appeal within 48 hours (counting non-holiday, business/school days) of receiving the dean’s decision. The Vice Provost for Academic Administration will select a neutral academic dean to review the appeal. This dean will send a written notice of the decision on the appeal to the student, instructor, original dean, and Vice Provost for Academic Administration.
- Administrative Committee: If the student isn’t satisfied with the dean’s decision from Step 1 above, the student may submit a further written appeal including all documents and evidence supporting the appeal, to the Vice Provost for Academic Administration within 48 hours (counting non-holiday, business/school days) of receiving the dean’s decision on the appeal. The Vice Provost for Academic Administration will distribute the appeal to an administrative committee comprising two uninvolved deans, a member of the Graduate and Extended Studies Committee appointed by the Provost, and the Vice Provost for Academic Administration or designee. The appeal decision reached by this committee is final.
Academic Behavior Policy
Both faculty and students at Point Loma Nazarene University have the right to expect a safe and ordered environment for learning. Any student behavior that is disruptive or threatening is a serious affront to Point Loma Nazarene University as a learning community. Students who fail to adhere to appropriate academic behavioral standards may be subject to discipline. Although faculty members communicate general student expectations in their syllabi and disruptive student conduct is already addressed in the Graduate and Professional Studies Student Handbook, the purpose of this policy is to clarify what constitutes disruptive behavior in the academic setting and what actions faculty and relevant administrative offices may take in response to such disruptive student behavior.
“Disruption,” as applied to the academic setting, means classroom, instructor or classmate-related student behavior that a reasonable faculty member would view as interfering with or deviating from normal classroom, class-related, or other faculty-student activity (advising, co-curricular involvement, etc.). Faculty members are encouraged to communicate positive behavior expectations at the first class session and to include them in course syllabi. Examples of disruptive classroom or class-related behavior include, but are not limited to:
- persistent speaking without being recognized or interrupting the instructor or other speakers;
- overt inattentiveness (sleeping or reading the newspaper in class);
- inordinate or inappropriate demands for instructor or classroom time or attention;
- unauthorized use of cell phone or computer;
- behavior that distracts the class from the subject matter or discussion;
- unwanted contact with a classmate in person, via social media or other means;
- inappropriate public displays of affection;
- refusal to comply with reasonable instructor direction; and/or
- invasion of personal space, physical threats, harassing behavior or personal insults.
The above types of behavior are prohibited in the classroom, course-related off-campus activities and class-related interactions between students and faculty members or academic administrators. Incidents which involve both academic and non-academic behavior may result in responses coordinated by the Vice Provost for Academic Administration (VPAA) and the Vice President for Student Development or the Dean of Students.
Civil and polite expression of disagreement with the course instructor, during times when the instructor permits discussion, is not in itself disruptive behavior and is not prohibited.
All students, including students with disabilities, are required to comply with this Academic Behavior Policy and related policies in their respective Student Handbooks, Catalogs and/or faculty syllabi. Students with disabilities, however, may be entitled to receive academic adjustments, modifications or auxiliary aids and services as described below under the “Academic Accommodations” section.
The following response procedure is recommended to faculty who witness or experience disruptive behavior, either in the classroom or in contact with an enrolled student outside the classroom. Depending on its severity, disruptive behavior could result in any of the following responses:
- Verbal and/or written request to stop behavior and warning of potential consequences.
- Exclusion from the current class period/activity.
- E-mailed report to Vice Provost for Academic Administration and/or Vice President for Student Development which, may further result in:
- Filing of report and no further action.
- Student meeting with VPAA, the Dean of Students and/or the Vice President for Student Development to develop and sign classroom behavior and growth plan detailing appropriate behaviors and consequences for failure to comply.
- Depending on the frequency and severity of the student behavior, consequences may also include without limitation permanent exclusion from a specific class, suspension, expulsion or administrative withdrawal from the university.
If events occur in classes or off-campus activities after university business hours, faculty should call Department of Public Safety and ask to speak to the highest ranking officer who will notify administrative personnel.
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) affords eligible students certain rights with respect to their education records. These rights include:
1. The right to inspect and review the student’s education records within 45 days after the day Point Loma Nazarene University (“PLNU”) receives a request for access. A student should submit to the Office of Records, a written request that identifies the record(s) the student wishes to inspect. The school official will make arrangements for access and notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected. If the requested records are not maintained by the school official to whom the request was submitted, that official shall advise the student of the correct official to whom the request should be addressed.
2. The right to request the amendment of the student’s education records that the student believes are inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the student’s privacy rights under FERPA.
A student who wishes to ask PLNU to amend a record should write the Office of Records, clearly identify the part of the record the student wants changed, and specify why it should be changed.
If PLNU decides not to amend the record as requested, PLNU will notify the student in writing of the decision and the student’s right to a hearing regarding the request for amendment. Additional information regarding the hearing procedures will be provided to the student when notified of the right to a hearing.
3. The right to provide written consent before PLNU discloses personally identifiable information (PII) from the student’s education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent.
Under FERPA, PLNU may disclose education records without a student’s prior written consent to school officials with legitimate educational interests. A school official includes persons employed by PLNU in an administrative, supervisory, academic, research, or support staff position (including security personnel and health staff); a person serving on the Board of Trustees; or a student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee. A school official also may include a volunteer or contractor outside of PLNU who performs an institutional service or function for which the school would otherwise use its own employees and who is under the direct control of the school with respect to the use and maintenance of PII from education records, such as an attorney, auditor, or collection agent, or a student volunteering to assist another school official in performing his or her tasks. A school official typically has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibilities for PLNU.
Upon request, PLNU also discloses education records without consent to officials of another school in which a student seeks or intends to enroll. PLNU will make a reasonable attempt to notify a student of these disclosures, unless the request or disclosure is initiated by the student.
4. The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by PLNU to comply with the requirements of FERPA. The name and address of the office that administers FERPA is:
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue
SW Washington, DC 20202
FERPA also permits PLNU to disclose directory information without student consent. Accordingly, PLNU may, but is not required to, release directory information. PLNU has defined directory information as name, address (including electronic mail), telephone number, date and place of birth, major field of study, dates of attendance, enrollment status, degrees, honors and awards received, participation in officially recognized activities and sports, weight and height of members of athletic teams, degree candidacy, and the most recent previous educational agency or institution attended. This information may be provided, upon review by the Director of Records, as public information to individuals who demonstrate a valid need for the information.
Except for disclosures to school officials, disclosures related to some judicial orders or lawfully issued subpoenas, disclosures of directory information, and disclosures to the student, FERPA requires PLNU to record such disclosures. Eligible students have a right to inspect and review the record of disclosures.
In addition to the above, FERPA permits postsecondary institutions to disclose PII from the education records without obtaining prior written consent of the student in the following circumstances:
- To officials of another school where the student seeks or intends to enroll, or where the student is already enrolled if the disclosure is for purposes related to the student’s enrollment or transfer, subject to specific requirements.
- To authorized representatives of the U. S. Comptroller General, the U.S. Attorney General, the U.S. Secretary of Education, or state and local educational authorities. Such disclosures may be made in connection with an audit or evaluation of federal or California supported education programs, or for the enforcement of, or compliance with, federal legal requirements that relate to those programs.
- In connection with financial aid for which the student has applied or which the student has received, if the information is necessary to determine eligibility for the aid, determine the amount of the aid, determine the conditions of the aid, or enforce the terms and conditions of the aid.
- To organizations conducting studies for, or on behalf of, PLNU in order to: (a) develop, validate, or administer predictive tests; (b) administer student aid programs; or (c) improve instruction.
- To accrediting organizations to carry out their accrediting functions.
- To comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena.
- To appropriate officials in connection with a health or safety emergency, subject to all FERPA requirements.
- To a victim of an alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence or a non-forcible sex offense, subject to FERPA’s requirements. The disclosure may only include the final results of the disciplinary proceeding with respect to that alleged crime or offense, regardless of the finding.
- To the general public, the final results of a disciplinary proceeding, subject to FERPA’s requirements, if PLNU determines the student is an alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence or non-forcible sex offense and the student has committed a violation of PLNU’s rules or policies with respect to the allegation made against him or her.
- To parents of a student regarding the student’s violation of any federal, state, or local law, or of any rule or policy of the school, governing the use or possession of alcohol or a controlled substance if PLNU determines the student committed a disciplinary violation and the student is under the age of 21.
Periodically, PLNU conducts formal and informal photo and video shoots (around the campus and at off-campus events and activities) for use in university publications, social media, promotional videos/commercials, and the PLNU Web site. Students who require that no identifiable image be used by the university must notify Marketing and Creative Services in writing prior to the second Monday of each semester. Students should email their request to firstname.lastname@example.org and include their full name and student ID number. In addition, PLNU may submit information about students’ participation in school activities to media outlets. Students who require that their names be excluded from such stories must notify Marketing and Creative Services in writing prior to the second Monday of each semester.
Questions relative to FERPA policies should be referred to the Office of the Vice Provost for Academic Administration.
Application for Graduation
A student who intends to graduate must complete an Application for Degree Candidacy (online or in the Office of Records in Mission Valley). The form must be filed with the Office of Records no less than 60 days prior to the anticipated degree posting date. Degree processing fees will be applied to the student’s account. Work for all courses considered for a degree must be completed prior to the anticipated degree posting date. Passing grades for all courses must be recorded prior to a degree posting. Posting dates are available on the academic calendar. All candidates must complete all program courses to participate in Commencement unless all of the following are met:
- There are no more than four (4) units lacking to complete the required units for the program (no more than six (6) units lacking for the Master of Arts in Clinical Counseling, Master of Science in Athletic Training, Master of Science in General Biology, Master of Science in Nursing, and the Doctorate of Nursing Practice.)
- There is an approved plan to complete the remaining units in the immediately following term
- Payment in full of all financial obligations to the university, including a degree processing fee
Examinations may be deferred due only to illness or other equally valid conditions over which the student has no control. Approval for deferral must occur before the scheduled examination. Faculty and/or the department or school has the authority to grant examination deferral.
Regular and punctual attendance at all class sessions is considered essential to optimum academic achievement. Therefore, regular attendance and participation in each course are minimal requirements. Absences are counted from the first official meeting of the class regardless of the date of the student’s enrollment. If more than twenty percent of the classes are reported as missed, the faculty member may initiate the student’s de-enrollment from the course without advance notice to the student. If the date of de-enrollment is past the last date to withdraw from a class, the student will be assigned a grade of “F” or “NC.” There are no refunds for courses where a de-enrollment was processed. For the 2020-2021 academic year, if absences exceed twenty (20) percent of the total number of class meetings but are due to university excused health issues, an exception will be granted.
A student who registers late must, therefore, be exceptionally careful about regular attendance during the remainder of the course. Registered students who neither attend the first class session nor inform the instructor of record of their desire to remain in the class may, at the request of the instructor, be removed from the class roster.
Exceptions to the foregoing attendance regulations due to extenuating circumstances beyond the student’s control may be granted only by appeal to the Vice Provost for Academic Administration. Students should consult the syllabus of each course for specific applications of and elaborations on the above attendance policy.
Online Class Attendance
Students taking online courses are expected to attend each week of the course. Attendance is defined as participating in an academic activity within the online classroom which includes posting in a graded activity in the course. (Note: Logging into the course does not qualify as participation and will not be counted as meeting the attendance requirement.)
Students who do not attend at least once in any three consecutive days will be issued an attendance warning. Students who do not attend at least once in any seven consecutive days will be dropped from the course retroactive to the last date of recorded attendance.
Students who anticipate being absent for an entire week of a course should contact the instructor in advance for approval and make arrangements to complete the required coursework and/or alternative assignments assigned at the discretion of the instructor. Acceptance of late work is at the discretion of the instructor and does not waive attendance requirements.
Pursuant to Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and other applicable laws, PLNU prohibits discrimination and harassment against a qualified individual with a disability. While all students are expected to meet the minimum standards for completion of each course as established by the instructor, students with disabilities may request academic adjustments, modifications or auxiliary aids/services. The PLNU Disability Resource Center (DRC), located in the Bond Academic Center (DRC@pointloma.edu or 619-849-2533), is the point of contact for disability issues for all PLNU undergraduate and graduate students, including students enrolled at the Mission Valley Campus and College of Extended Learning students enrolled in PLNU courses at Community College satellite campuses.
Current and prospective students seeking an accommodation must follow the reasonable accommodation procedures described in the Disability and Reasonable Accommodations Policy for Current and Prospective Students. After the student files the required documentation, the DRC, in conjunction with the student, will develop an academic adjustment or accommodation plan (AP) to meet that student’s specific learning needs. The DRC, in conjunction with the student, will thereafter email the student’s AP to all faculty who teach courses in which the student is enrolled each semester. The AP will be implemented in all such courses.
If students do not wish to avail themselves of some or all of the elements of their AP in a particular course, it is the responsibility of those students to notify their professor in that course. PLNU highly recommends that DRC students speak with their professors during the first two weeks of each semester about the applicability of their AP in that particular course and/or if they do not desire to take advantage of some or all of the elements of their AP in that course.
Registration and Records
A complete and official transcript is available from the Office of Records. Official transcripts cost $5.00 each and can be ordered by going to the National Student Clearinghouse website (https://mystudentcenter.org/). Requests not submitted through online ordering require an Official Transcript Form from the Records Office website and a student’s handwritten signature. Transcripts marked for pick up will not be released to anyone other than the student except by a signed, written authorization submitted to the Records Office. Photo identification is required for pick up. Unofficial transcripts are free and available through Workday as well as at the Office of Records. Expedited processing and mailing options may be available for an additional fee.
Course Offerings and Class Schedules
All course offerings are posted in Workday. The university reserves the right to cancel any class with insufficient enrollment and make necessary changes in its schedule and programs.
Course Numbering System
||Upper-division courses open to post-baccalaureate students with the approval of the school dean or department chair upon the recommendation of the program director/coordinator.
||Transition or post-baccalaureate courses applicable to a certificate, credential, or a master’s degree program.
||Graduate courses applied to a master’s degree program.
||Post-master’s courses open to students who hold a valid master’s degree.
Some courses listed in this Graduate and Professional Studies Catalog stipulate either a prerequisite or a co-requisite. A prerequisite is a condition or requirement that must be fulfilled prior to enrolling in a course, such as a specific student classification, permission of the instructor, or another course. A co-requisite refers to a condition or a requirement that must be met prior to or concurrent with enrollment in a course.
Adding a Class. The deadline for students to register for courses is the last day of the second week of the semester or the last day of the first week of a Quad. Exceptions to this deadline will only be considered if students have extenuating circumstances beyond their control and the student completes a change of schedule form, with the approval of the school dean/department chair and the Vice Provost for Academic Administration. The form is then filed with the Office of Records.
Dropping a Class. Students may drop a course through the first 50% of the period of offering; enrollment will be deleted from the student’s permanent record. After that, a student with extenuating personal circumstances may request permission of the program director (or the representative director in the case of programs in the School of Education) to withdraw from the course. If approved, a W will appear on the transcript with no impact on the GPA. If the petition is not approved or not submitted, the grade of WF will be assigned or a letter grade in accordance with the grading policy noted in the syllabus as determined by the instructor of record. Students should consider refund and transcript implications when dropping a class.
Maximum and Minimum Course Loads
The maximum course load for a graduate program is twelve (12) units in a semester (MBA Fifth Year has one term with a max course load of fifteen (15) units). Overloads may be carried with the written approval of the Vice Provost for Academic Administration on the recommendation of the school dean/department chair. This must be filed with the Office of Records prior to the applicable registration period. For financial aid purposes, the minimum full-time course load for graduate students is six (6) units per semester. For further information regarding financial aid, students should contact their Student Financial Services representative.
Independent studies at the university level enable students to enrich their academic experience by pursuing topics and research in a closely supervised program with an academic supervisor. In such a study, a qualified student works with the instructor to develop a plan and syllabus. Graduate students may receive credit for up to six (6) units of independent study to be applied to their degree program. No more than four (4) units may be received from one project or study.
An independent study form and proposal must be submitted with a registration form to the program director, with an approved copy filed with the Office of Records. The independent study must be approved by the instructor, department chair or school dean, and the respective college dean. Independent study fees may apply depending on circumstances.
Grades and Appeals Process
Traditional letter grades (A, B, C, D, F) including plus and minus grades are used to indicate the level of scholarship earned for each course. Except for the correction of an error, all traditional letter grades are final at the conclusion of the academic term. Once the degree has been posted on the student’s official transcript, no change of grade action is allowed for courses leading to the degree. The grade of C is the lowest grade acceptable for graduate credit.
[H] Audit. The grade assigned when a course is taken as an audit course. A student wishing only exposure to a course may elect to audit the course. The student registers in the regular manner and pays an audit fee. Regular attendance at all class meetings is the responsibility of the student, but written assignments and examinations are not mandatory. A grade of H is entered only for satisfactory attendance; a grade of F is entered for non-attendance. Courses audited carry no credit toward the grade-point average, graduation requirements, or meeting professional requirements. Audit units count toward the student’s course load, except in determining financial aid, and may be repeated.
[CR] Credit. The grade utilized for designated courses which are graded on a Credit/No Credit basis. Courses graded Credit are counted toward a student’s total number of units but have no grade-point value and no effect on the grade-point average.
[I] Incomplete. A grade of Incomplete is given for work which has been completed partially in a satisfactory manner, but which, for valid reasons such as illness or death in the family, is not finished. The grade of I is to be given only on the basis of extraordinary circumstances clearly beyond the student’s control. The grade of I is regarded as a deficiency grade and may be removed by the assignment of additional work to make up the deficiency; or, in cases where the incomplete is assigned because of inability to take a final examination, by a special examination. A grade of Incomplete must be made up, if at all, by the end of the next regular semester. Until made up, a grade of I is considered as F in determining the student’s grade-point average, and eligibility for financial assistance. Note: Federal fair use policy requires ending access to Canvas resources after three weeks. Instructors should keep this in mind when establishing incomplete grade resolution requirements and deadlines.
[IP] In Progress. A provisional grade assigned to courses, such as fieldwork courses, that extend longer than a semester due to the nature of the course requirements. The grade of IP carries no grade points and is replaced by the grade earned when the requirements for the course are properly completed. If the work is not completed within one calendar year from the end of the semester date of enrollment, the course registration will be concluded and a grade of No Credit [NC] assigned or a grade based on completed work for computation into the grade-point average.
[NC] No Credit. The grade recorded for all non-passing work in those courses graded on a Credit/No Credit basis. The NC grade has no grade-point value and no effect on the grade-point average. In order to complete an NC course to meet degree or credential requirements, including one that was an IP and reverted to NC, a student assigned this grade must register again for the course.
[W] Withdrawn. This grade is recorded when a student doing passing work is given permission by the program director to drop a course after the first 50 % of the course (for exceptional circumstances such as personal and family emergency).
[WF] Withdrawn under failing conditions. This grade is recorded when a student does not request permission or whose petition to withdraw from a class is denied after 50% of the class has passed. A grade of WF is considered the same as an F in calculating the grade-point average.
Grade Points. Letter grades are converted to numerical equivalents for computation according to the following scale.
Courses in which grades of H, IP, W, CR, and NC are received are not included in determining the grade-point average.
Minimum Grades Required. Except as indicated below, all students admitted to a post-baccalaureate program must maintain a grade-point average of 3.000 (B) or better as a condition of remaining in the program.
- The minimum acceptable grade-point average for Master of Arts in Christian Ministry students is 2.750.
- The grade-point average is computed on all courses taken since admission to graduate study. Courses accepted as transfer credit are not used in computing the grade-point average.
- Students may repeat courses up to the maximum number of attempts as set within the parameters of each program as stated in the catalog in which they earned a grade lower than a C unless otherwise specified within the parameters of each program as specified in the catalog. Students in the Master of Science in Nursing and Doctorate of Nursing Practice may repeat courses in which they earned a grade lower than a B-.
- If this is done, each grade appears on the transcript, but the lower grade is not used for grade-point calculation. Only the units associated with the higher grade will be calculated into the total units earned toward graduation.
- Students receiving Veterans Benefits may not be eligible for benefits when repeating a course.
Course Grade Appeals
It is the responsibility of the faculty to evaluate student performance and assign grades. The university has established a course grade appeal policy, however, that may be used when a student believes the syllabus was not followed in the grade calculation or if it is thought that grading was done in a capricious and arbitrary manner. The appeal policy does not include student dissatisfaction with a grade based on the faculty member’s professional judgment. A Course Grade Appeal Form may be obtained from the Office of Records and must be filed by the last day of the following semester in which the grade was given.
Earned Grades Policy
In addition to completing a course’s academic requirements, PLNU’s Earned Grades Policy requires that a student’s account be substantially paid in full to receive final course grades in a given term. Please review the complete Earned Grades Policy here.
Normal Academic Progress
The academic progress of all students is reviewed by the Vice Provost for Academic Administration. Those who maintain the minimum required grade-point average are in satisfactory scholastic standing and as such are making progress toward a degree. To remain free of academic probation, students must earn a minimum cumulative grade-point average specified by the program in which they are enrolled. A cumulative GPA of 3.000 is required of all programs with two exceptions: The Master of Arts in Ministry degree requires a cumulative GPA of 2.750 and the Doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree requires a cumulative 3.200 GPA for graduation.
Unsatisfactory Academic Progress
Point Loma takes seriously a student’s inability to make satisfactory progress toward the goal of a degree. The university works with students placed on academic probation to create links between them, faculty advisors, program directors, and other support programs. Policies concerning students on academic probation are administered by the Vice Provost for Academic Administration.
Note: Students who receive federal, state, or veterans aid must meet certain qualitative and quantitative standards of academic progress. As a result, it may be possible for a student to be on academic probation at the university but be ineligible for federal, state and veterans aid. Additional information on PLNU’s financial aid satisfactory progress policy is available in the PLNU Student Financial Services Office.
Students whose semester or session GPA is below acceptable standards may receive a letter of Academic Warning. This includes courses without final grades, such as in progress courses or incomplete courses.
Academic Probation Alert
Students whose cumulative GPA meets the minimum standard for good academic standing, but whose session GPA for a regular semester falls below the program minimum, are placed on alert status. While not technically on academic probation, these students are under the strict supervision of the Office of the Vice Provost for Academic Administration and may be required to repeat courses in which they received a low grade.
Students whose cumulative GPA falls below minimum standards are placed on academic probation. Probationary students who fail to earn the minimal required session GPA for their program the following semester are disqualified from continuing at the university.
Continuance on Academic Probation
Students who are on probation and earn at least the required GPA for their program during the current session, but whose cumulative GPA is below that standard, may be continued on academic probation at the discretion of the Vice Provost for Academic Administration, considering all factors. These students are under the strict supervision of the Office of the Vice Provost for Academic Administration.
Students whose cumulative GPAs fall below the minimum requirements for two consecutive semesters are disqualified. Students who are disqualified from continuation at the university due to performance below minimum GPA standard will receive a letter from the Vice Provost for Academic Administration describing the reason for the disqualification, the student’s eligibility or ineligibility to apply for readmission and the route to readmission if eligible.
Students in continuous enrollment may elect to graduate under the curricular requirements of either the Catalog for the year in which they enter the university or the Catalog of a subsequent year. Those whose enrollment is not continuous (i.e. not enrolled for more than one semester) as regular students are subject to the Catalog requirements for the year in which they re-enter the university or that of a subsequent year of enrollment. A student may not combine requirements from two or more catalogs.
Department/School Recommendation for a Degree
Prior to recommending a student for a degree, the department or school evaluates the student’s progress based on the department/school’s student learning outcomes, grade-point average, and other requirements. The Office of Records reviews documents prior to degree posting to assure that all requirements for graduation have been met. All work taken toward a degree must be completed in full before posting. Degrees are conferred six (6) times per year at the close of each traditional quad. Commencement convocation is two times a year, at the close of the fall and spring semesters. All candidates who completed their work and had their degree posted in the current academic year may participate. A candidate who is deficient in meeting graduation requirements by an amount which could reasonably be earned in the summer sessions following may be permitted to participate in the spring commencement. These students are recognized publicly as summer graduates (indicated in the commencement program). The diploma is available to summer graduates upon satisfactory completion of all work for the degree after the closest degree confirmation date.
Time Limit for Completion of a Graduate Degree
All requirements for graduate degrees must be completed within an eight-year period from the time of initial enrollment in the program.
Optional certificates are offered in some schools or departments. The requirements governing certificates are as follows:
- A certificate is a skill-based program responsive to employer and/or market need that supplements a student’s graduate or adult degree completion studies. Point Loma Nazarene University offers certificates which may be one of three types: academic, professional development or attendance certificates.
- Academic certificates will be between six (6) and eighteen (18) graduate level units. Professional development certificates are based on a ten (10) hours per CEU formula. Attendance certificates are awarded on the basis of full session attendance.
- 50% or more of the units being applied to the certificate must be unique to that certificate.
- Only academic certificates that appear in the student’s catalog of record may be earned at the point of graduation.
- Students must earn a 3.000 cumulative grade point average for an academic certificate with no grade lower than C.
- Of the total graduate units in the academic certificate, a minimum of two-thirds must be earned in residence.
- Academic certificate programs will state clearly whether they can be applied to a PLNU degree.
- Neither professional development nor attendance certificates can be converted to academic credit or applied to university programs or degrees.
Transfer credit is defined as graduate credit earned at another regionally accredited institution. Students may request transfer courses to be considered for application to a degree program. Any transfer courses to be considered for application to a degree program must be recommended by the school dean/department chair with final approval residing with the Vice Provost for Academic Administration. No more than six (6) transfer units may be applied to a degree, and all coursework must have been completed within the last seven (7) years at a regionally accredited institution and may not have been previously used for completion of a graduate degree program. PLNU will not accept transfer credit from Career or Technical Schools. Transfer work from Foreign Institutions will not be accepted without proper transcript evaluation from an accredited Foreign Transcript evaluation service. For transfer coursework to be used, it must be presented on an original official transcript directly from the issuing institution.
Occasionally, an exception to the requirements in this catalog may be appropriate. For consideration of a curricular exception, students must file a Curricular Exceptions Petition (form available online) with their program advisor. The program advisor will make a recommendation to the appropriate school dean or department chair. If approved by the school/department, the petition will be forwarded to the Vice Provost for Academic Administration for final approval. Decisions regarding exceptions are based on the merit of each individual case.
All curricular exceptions combined may not exceed 20% of the total units required for the degree or credential. The rationale for such changes must be substantiated with official academic records that become part of the student’s PLNU academic records.
Examples of curricular exceptions include: a course replacement of a required course in the curriculum with a course taken at another institution; a course substitution of one PLNU course substituting for another PLNU course; and/or a course is waived, requiring the student to take an elective to replace the unit requirement for the program.
The purpose of a thesis or graduate project is to give students experience in carrying out the kind of research they may expect to do throughout their professional careers. A thesis/graduate project involves investigation of primary sources. It may involve a re-examination or re-evaluation of primary sources that others have already studied in an effort to confirm or revise the conclusions of others. It may involve a new program of testing and analyzing procedures or methods. It is intended to demonstrate the student’s ability to work independently on a problem, to demonstrate wide familiarity with the literature in the field of the program, to demonstrate command of the techniques and principles of research, and to demonstrate ability to form valid generalizations from the data used.
For those graduate programs requiring a thesis or applied project, the school or department has determined the unit credit required for completion of the thesis/applied project. Students will be assigned an advisor to assist and supervise their work. Students are expected to complete this final phase of their graduate study in a timely manner. If, however, the student requires additional time for completion, an extension fee will be charged each semester until the thesis/applied project grade is recorded (see fee schedule ).
Students who have not completed the thesis/applied project after registering for all the units of thesis work required for their major course of study will be routinely registered each subsequent semester for “thesis extension” until completion. This action will add a thesis extension fee, generating a bill but no additional units. Automatic registration will continue each semester until the final grade has been posted by the thesis advisor. This process allows the students to remain registered in the university system for library resources, computer system, and other support services.
The registration for the extension is automatic. However, if a student “opts out” of this option prior to completing thesis work, the course will be graded No Credit or F. For a student to opt back into the program to complete the thesis/applied project, the student is required to file a request for readmission and registration for the balance of units for the original required thesis course. In addition, the school/department makes a determination on the merits of the readmission request. If a balance exists in the student’s account, the payment of regular tuition and fees will be required prior to readmission.
Multiple Master’s Degrees
A graduate student may earn more than one master’s degree from Point Loma Nazarene University by meeting all university and academic department/school requirements and fulfilling all graduation requirements for each degree. When a second degree is pursued in the same academic discipline (e.g., the School of Education or the Fermanian School of Business, etc.), two-thirds of the courses for the second degree must be distinct from the first degree.
Students desiring to pursue two graduate programs concurrently must apply for program eligibility for both programs and be accepted into those programs. In addition, they must meet with the program director of both graduate degree programs in order to plan the joint course of study. Concurrent graduate program students must meet the requirements of both programs, as stated above.
Withdrawal and Readmission
Withdrawal from the University
There are times when a student finds it necessary to withdraw from the university. In order to avoid being administratively withdrawn, courses and incompletes being converted to a failing grade, and financial payments going into default, students are required to notify the Office of Records and complete a Notice of Intent to Withdraw from the university. If withdrawal occurs while a student is registered for classes, students must follow the procedures listed below for withdrawing from a course.
Withdrawal from a Course
Students may drop a course at any time up to the last day allowable to drop a course. If this action leaves the student with no further courses, a withdrawal form (available online) must be filed in a timely manner. Students with extenuating circumstances, such as personal or family emergencies after the last day to drop, may contact the Vice Provost for Academic Administration. If the action is approved, courses are then graded with a W (withdrawal) unless the faculty deems the student’s performance to be unsatisfactory at the time of withdrawal, at which point a WF grade would be assigned.
Students who cease attending or never attended a course for which they are registered receive an F in that course if accepted procedures for dropping/withdrawing are not followed.
Financial implications for withdrawals may be found under “Refund Policy .”
Leave of Absence
For more information regarding Leaves of Absence, please refer to the 2020-2021 Graduate and Professional Studies Student Handbook.
Students who have been admitted to the university, have attended classes, and have subsequently withdrawn formally or taken a leave of absence for more than one semester (or two sequential Quads) but less than one year must contact their program academic advisor or the Office of Student Success to determine next steps for re-entry. Students who have not been enrolled for more than one calendar year from the last date of attendance must submit a new application through the Office of Graduate and Professional Studies Admissions. The new application will use the student’s prior residential GPA as the readmission GPA. Should the residential GPA not meet satisfactory academic progress, student would be considered for admission under probation and would be required to have an academic improvement plan in place prior to admission. Students who are successfully readmitted are subject to the program requirements of the catalog under which they re-enter unless a leave of absence has been granted, and are subject to availability of course offerings and course sequencing. Students previously admitted under exception will retain their exception status.
Students who have not attended or enrolled in a course for one semester, are not currently completing coursework, have not filed an approved leave of absence with the Office of Records, and have not officially withdrawn, will be placed in an inactive status. Students who have been inactive for one year will be administratively withdrawn. Such withdrawal may have financial aid implications. Students with this status must submit a new application to the university and to their degree program.
For more information regarding Teach-Out Policy, please refer to PLNU’s Teach-Out Policy and Procedures.
As the online catalog is considered to be the official document relative to academic program offerings and charges, any print-outs of pages taken from the online version are, by definition, unofficial. Also, PLNU reserves the right to amend this Catalog at any time without prior notice. This Catalog, along with the policies herein, supersedes and control over all previous Catalogs, except as otherwise expressly provided herein regarding graduation requirements.