Jul 12, 2024  
2021-2022 Undergraduate Bulletin 
2021-2022 Undergraduate Bulletin [ARCHIVED CATALOG]




Undergraduate Academic Information

Degrees Offered

Southern Wesleyan University offers undergraduate courses of study leading to the Associate of Arts (AA), the Bachelor of Arts (BA), the Bachelor of Music (BM), and the Bachelor of Science (BS). SWU offers the Associate of Arts in General Studies, the Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, the Bachelor of Science in Human Services, and the Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood and Family Studies to students enrolled in SWU Online. In general, those degree programs with the “Science” designation refer to degrees with majors in the natural, social, and applied sciences (except history), mathematics, or are pre-professional in nature. The “Arts” designation refers to all other programs. In the case of students who double major in majors with different degree designations, the “Science” designation takes precedence. 

Students are subject to current catalog policies and degree completion requirements at the time of their admission and enrollment at the University.  With the assistance of their academic advisor, current students may choose to follow the degree completion requirements of a newer catalog year that better meets their educational goals.

A second baccalaureate degree may be earned by completing an additional 30 hours in residence and by fulfilling all requirements for the second degree.

Specialized Major

A baccalaureate degree at Southern Wesleyan University implies both breadth and depth. The breadth is ensured through the prescribed general core and augmented by elective credit. Depth in a specific academic discipline is required within the context of the student’s major. Southern Wesleyan University offers the following majors:

The specialized major is intended to encourage studies with flexible and unique academic interests, not met by existing majors, to develop an individualized or multi-disciplinary course of study. This option is only available through the On-Campus program.

Guidelines for students who wish to pursue a degree with a specialized major:

  • Must have completed a minimum of 15-credit hours at Southern Wesleyan University with a minimum GPA of 2.5.
  • By the end of the sophomore year, identify a faculty advisor who has expertise in the student’s area(s) of interest and is willing to work with the student.
  • In consultation with the faculty advisor and appropriate division chair(s), design a plan of study no later than the end of the sophomore year and obtain approval of the Academic Council at least three semesters before the anticipated date of graduation. (The design plan should include a suggested title for the major.
  • Assure that the program of study includes the following:
  • A minimum of 120-semester credit hours leading to a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degree
  • All general education requirements
    • A statement of goals and expected outcomes for the course of study
    • At least 30 hours of coursework at the 300-400 level in the areas of concentration
  • Meet the following academic criteria in the program of study:
    • A grade of 1.7 or higher in all courses taken in designated areas of concentration
    • A cumulative grade point average of 2.0 or higher


In addition to completing the requirements necessary to constitute a major, a student at Southern Wesleyan University may complete one or more minors in certain disciplines.

A minor consists of 18 to 24-semester hours of specified courses in the discipline. At least six hours of courses to be included in the minor must be taken under Southern Wesleyan University faculty.

Minors are available in accounting, administration in athletics and recreation, athletic coaching, biology, business administration, chemistry, Christian ministry, Christian studies, Christian worship, criminal justice, English, digital writing and publishing, early childhood and family studies, English, environmental studies, exercise science, financial planning, history, human services, literature, management, mathematics, media communications, music, psychology, religious studies, social science, and youth and children’s ministry.


A cognate is a distinctive set of courses that focuses on a particular subject within the content of the student’s academic major. Unlike a minor, these courses supplement a major and do not provide the “stand-alone” emphasis that characterizes a minor. Therefore, the cognate will not appear on a student’s transcript unless the related major is completed.


The term concentration designates an area of emphasis within a major. In some majors (religion, for example), a student must choose at least one area of concentration. In other majors (for example, English), a student may choose either to remain a generalist or to select courses that concentrate on an area of special interest.


A certificate program is a series of courses clustered together to provide specific educational training towards qualification in a skill area. Coursework and learning outcomes in the certificate program are at or above the institution’s equivalent degree program. Certificate programs must comply with all internal and external oversight rules and regulations. A certificate program will consist of a minimum of 12 credit hours; not including any pre-requisite course work needed. All credits towards a certificate program must be completed at SWU.

Credit Hour

In accordance with federal government guidelines, Southern Wesleyan University defines a credit hour as the amount of student time investment that reasonably approximates one hour of classroom (or direct faculty instruction) and a minimum of two hours out-of-class student work for approximately fifteen weeks for one semester or the equivalent amount of that work as established by Southern Wesleyan, including laboratory work, internships, practica, studio work, and other academic work leading to the award of credit hours.

In accordance with commonly accepted practices in higher education, SWU operates on a 50-minute hour for this definition.  Fifty clock minutes per week per credit hour for approximately 15 weeks provides approximately 750 minutes of direct faculty instruction time per credit hour based on the Carnegie unit..

Direct faculty instruction, or academic engagement, includes traditional, on-campus face-to-face classroom instruction with regular meetings for approximately 750 minutes for each credit hour granted (equivalent to one hour per week in a 15-week semester).

In the case of online and hybrid courses, academic engagement must be equivalent to traditional classroom instruction in terms of time (750 minutes per credit hour).  Out-of-class student work, or preparation, is typically reading and study time in preparation for academic engagement within the course.  Preparation is calculated as 1500 minutes for each credit hour granted (equivalent to two hours per week in a 15-week semester).

Academic Rigor

Southern Wesleyan sets high standards for student learning across the curriculum. It is important that rigor, the academic challenge in which students must think and perform, is built sufficiently into each course and program. To ensure that all programs are of the highest quality:

  • Courses/programs must have measurable student learning outcomes;
  • Courses/programs must have a curriculum map that is consistent with SWU curriculum map guidelines, provides an overview of the structure of the curriculum and indicates the contribution of individual courses to the goals of the program;
  • Academic content must progressively advance as course levels advance numerically.

Academic Assessment

Southern Wesleyan is committed to quality student learning, and the University is committed to excellence. This commitment to quality and excellence is at the core of why assessment is an integral and essential part of teaching and learning. Essentially, assessment is a cyclical process focusing on improvement (assuring quality); assessment is not a static process and is not about the individual person. Assessment is about providing a solid education for the Southern Wesleyan student through a process of improvement. At Southern Wesleyan University, assessment is firstly the process of gathering and interpreting information to determine if the department/major/program is meeting the intended student learning outcomes associated with a learning goal. Secondly, decisions are made or a new plan is created as a result of the information collected.

The University community plays vital roles in the assessment process. Consequently, participation in assessment activities is a University priority and responsibility. The information gathered from assessment activities is used for planning and improvement. In addition to the value of assessment in improving learning at the University, many assessment activities are mandated by external agencies.

Principal responsibility for the assessment of academic programs within the major or area of concentration resides with the faculty of each academic unit. Primary responsibility for coordinating the assessment of general education rests with the General Education Committee. Oversight of assessment, outside of general education, falls under the auspices of the Assessment Committee. Although the committees have assessment oversight, the faculty as a whole must be actively involved in planning assessment and using the results to evaluate program effectiveness. In some instances, both the General Education Committee and the Assessment Committee may be part of the oversight process. Assessment activities are integral to the processes of teaching and learning.

Compliance Certification and Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP)

Southern Wesleyan is required by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, the University’s regional accreditation body, to comply with all standards within the Principles of Accreditation, including the implementation of the QEP.  The QEP is defined by SACSCOC as a topic identified through ongoing, comprehensive and evaluation processes with broad-based support of institutional constituencies that focuses on improving specific student learning outcomes and/or student successes and commits resources for initiation and implementation.  The QEP reflects and affirms Southern Wesleyan’s commitment to enhance overall institutional quality and effectiveness.  The focus of Southern Wesleyan’s QEP is to enhance Baccalaureate-seeking student learning by improving student writing.  In response, the University designed student learning outcomes and an undergraduate curricular structure that fosters writing skills and opportunities for practice throughout the curriculum to prepare students for meeting the writing intensive graduation requirement.

The curricular structure is made up of a series of existing SWU courses that integrate writing-intensive (WI) content. These designated QEP Tier 1 and 2 Courses  are offered in tiers throughout each student’s degree program: two Core Curriculum/General Education Tier One courses and two Tier Two courses required in each student’s major of study.

Students must earn a passing grade in courses containing the writing-intensive components within each tier to meet the QEP graduation requirement.

Transfer Credit

Transfer credit is generally accepted from regionally accredited colleges and universities and from postsecondary higher education institutions that are recognized by the US Department of Education, provided such transfer courses meet the degree requirements at Southern Wesleyan University as well as transfer-quality accreditation standards.  Courses that are identified by the institution as intended for transfer must demonstrate comparable course content, comparable learning outcomes, and the nature, content, and level of the course learning experience and its appropriateness must be applicable to the programs offered by SWU.  Southern Wesleyan University reserves the right to deny credit from institutions that are not regionally accredited.

Grades lower than C- will not be accepted in transfer.

Except with special permission, transfer credits may not be among the last 32 hours of the degree. (Cooperative program hours count as Southern Wesleyan University hours.)

Substitutes for required courses must be approved by the division chair or the school dean.

Alternative Sources of Academic Credit

A maximum of 68 credit hours will be awarded to a student in any combination of the following:  College Level Examination Program (CLEP), DSST (formerly, DANTES Subject Standardized Tests), Advanced Placement (AP) credit, military credit, and departmental exams.  American Council on Education (ACE) standards are utilized to determine minimum credit awarded.

Minimum required test scores and corresponding transfer course equivalencies for AP, CLEP and DSST credit are available on the University website.  Course equivalencies are subject to change without notice.  A fee  will be charged for granting all CLEP and DSST credit.  Official score reports are required from each testing provider prior to credit being awarded.

Students should discuss their intent to complete an examination and its applicability to the students’ degree program with their academic advisor BEFORE registering for the exam. 

Students completing exams to meet final graduation requirements should plan to take the exam at least six weeks prior to the anticipated graduation ceremony in order to allow time for official score reports to be received.

Class Attendance

To receive credit for a course, a student must be present for at least 75% of the class meetings in the course.  No credit will be awarded in any course in which the total number of absences exceeds 25% of the class meetings.  This number includes any authorized travel that causes a student to miss classes (for example; field trips, athletic competitions, or musical performances).

Once students have missed 25% of the class meetings in a course, they are no longer permitted to participate in activities outside of the classroom that would result in an additional absence.  Students who experience extenuating circumstances may choose to appeal.

A student who must miss the first class session of any course must contact the instructor before the course is scheduled to start.  If no prior arrangement is made between the student and the instructor, a student who misses the first class session will be administratively dropped from the course.  The student may seek re-entry according to the schedule adjustment procedure outlined above, but reinstatement in the course is not guaranteed.

Attendance in online courses is based on the completion of at least one designated assignment by the due date/time posted within the course site for each week of the course. Online activities may include lecture, assignments, readings, forums, and assessments (for example; quizzes or tests).

Hybrid courses are a combination of online and classroom activities. Students are expected to attend all campus class meetings as well as to adhere to posted online deadlines for assignments. Classroom attendance will be taken in class by the instructor. Online attendance is based on completion of at least one designated assignment by the due date/time posted within the course site for each session.

In the event of a national disaster or emergency, these attendance policies are subject to change.

Class Attendance in SWU Online

  • Attendance is mandatory. There is no provision for a student to miss more than 25% of the sessions in any one course. In most cases, missing more than one session exceeds the 25% limit. Any student who misses more than 25% of the sessions for any course shall receive a grade of “F” for that course and may be required to repeat the course at his or her expense.  Students who experience extenuating circumstances may choose to appeal.
  • Attendance in online courses is based on the completion of at least one designated assignment by the due date/time posted within the course site for each session. Distance learning activities may include lectures, assignments, readings, forums, and assessments.
  • A tardy is defined as missing more than 30 minutes of class without a valid excuse. Each tardy is counted as half of an absence. Two tardies are counted as one absence.
  • Any absence must be reflected in the class participation portion of the student’s final grade.
  • If students must miss more than 25% of a given course, they must contact their academic success coach immediately to file Temporary Withdrawal paperwork. If students fail to submit appropriate paperwork, they will continue to be charged for courses and receive failing grades until they are administratively withdrawn.

In the event of a national disaster or emergency, these attendance policies are subject to change.

Verification of Student Identity in Online Education

The United States Federal Higher Education Opportunity Act requires schools to verify the identity of online students.  For this reason, Southern Wesleyan University has established policies to certify that the student registering for a course is the same student who participates in the course or receives course credit.

The following methods, in accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), will be used for the ongoing verification of student identity:

  • a secure login and password, unique to each student, will be required to access the learning management system and related course resources, discussions and assignments;
  • A SWU email account with secure login and password will be issued to all students and used as the primary communication method among students, faculty and staff;
  • Faculty, at their discretion, may require proctored work or other electronic verification through an appropriate technology.

Advisement and Registration

Each student is assigned an advisor at the time of admission. Students enrolled in the On-Campus program are assigned a faculty advisor, and students enrolled in SWU Online are assigned an academic success coach.  It is the responsibility of the student to consult with his or her academic advisor each semester before the student’s designated window for course registration begins.

The academic success coach (ASC) serves as the first point of contact for SWU Online students. The ASC assists with degree planning, questions regarding degree requirements, course registration, re-entry to SWU, withdrawing, or other academic policies.  Mandatory advisement sessions are scheduled throughout the duration of the SWU Online student’s program, including a session prior to the start of the student’s first course.

Students enrolled in either the On-Campus program or SWU Online may arrange advisement sessions by contacting their faculty advisor or ASC.

All students enrolled in the On-Campus program must register by “enrollment day” as indicated on the college calendar.

A student should not register for a course that conflicts with a required basic course. If two required courses conflict, registration should be for the lower-level course.

Schedule adjustments (course add/drop/withdrawal) may occur after the published registration time period according to the following procedure:

  • The last day to add a class as published on the University calendar has not passed.
  • The student’s faculty advisor or ASC and the Financial Aid Office have reviewed and approved the drop/add request.
  • The drop/add form is submitted to the Office of Academic Records for processing prior to the last day to add a class.

Courses dropped between the last day to drop without record and the last day to drop a course without penalty as published on the University calendar will be dropped with a grade of “W.”  A grade of “W” is not calculated into the GPA.

Courses dropped after the last day to drop a course without penalty as published on the University calendar will be dropped with an NC or F, except in the case of withdrawal from the University when a grade of W may be assigned.

A student who must miss the first class session of any course must contact the instructor before the course is scheduled to start.  If no prior arrangement is made between the student and the instructor, a student who misses the first class session will be administratively dropped from the course.  The student may seek re-entry according to the schedule adjustment procedure outlined above, but reinstatement in the course is not guaranteed.

Course Load

A normal course load is 15 credit hours per semester. Those registering for 12 or more credit hours will be recorded as full-time students; those for fewer than 12 will be recorded as part-time.

No student may exceed 18 credit hours in a semester without permission of the student’s academic advisor and the appropriate academic dean.

A normal course load for the SWU Online Program is 9 credit hours per semester; recorded as part-time status.  New online students who have earned fewer than 30 credit hours or re-admitted online students who have not been enrolled at SWU for at least one year prior to re-admittance may not enroll in more than 9 credit hours without the appropriate dean’s approval.  Continuing online students who have earned 30 or more credit hours and who seek to enroll in more than 12 credit hours in a semester must obtain approval from the appropriate dean.

Federal financial aid regulations state that for each semester at least 50% of an On-Campus student’s course load must consist of face-to-face courses for the duration of the semester, and that for each semester at least 50% of a SWU Online student’s course load must consist of online courses for the duration of the semester.  

For example, for an On-Campus student who enrolls in 12 credit hours in a semester, a minimum of 6 credit hours must be On-Campus Program courses and the remaining hours may be 6 credit hours in the SWU Online program as space is available.

On-Campus students utilizing GI Bill benefits should contact the VA Benefits Administrator in the Office of Academic Records if they are considering enrolling in SWU Online courses as benefits could be impacted.

SWU Online GI Bill recipients who plan to enroll in fewer than 12 credit hours in a semester should contact the VA Benefits Administrator in the Office of Academic Records prior to registering for courses.

Summer Terms

Courses offered during the summer sessions are arranged to help students make up deficiencies or to accelerate their programs. Academic policies apply equally in summer sessions as they do in the fall and spring semesters. Because of the accelerated nature of summer courses, no unexcused absences are allowed.

No course may be entered after the second day of the session.

Refer to Fees and Expenses  for information regarding refund policies.

Withdrawal from Courses

For students enrolled in the On-Campus program, course withdrawal may occur after the published registration time period according to the following procedure:

  • The last day to add a class as published on the University calendar has not passed.
  • The student’s faculty advisor or academic success coach (ASC) and the Financial Aid Office have reviewed and approved the withdrawal request.
  • The request to withdraw is submitted to the Office of Academic Records for processing prior to the last day to add a class.

Courses dropped between the last day to drop without record and the last day to drop a course without penalty as published on the University calendar will be dropped with a grade of “W.”  A grade of “W” is not calculated into the GPA.

Courses dropped after the last day to drop a course without penalty as published on the University calendar will be dropped with an NC or F, except in the case of withdrawal from the University when a grade of W may be assigned.

For students enrolled in SWU Online, a course withdrawal is recorded when a student requests to withdraw from a course that is in progress, regardless of the student’s attendance history in the course. A course withdrawal must be submitted prior to the midpoint of the course to avoid a final grade of F. If the student fails to submit a course withdrawal through his or her ASC prior to the midpoint of the course, a final grade of F will be recorded for the course. A course withdrawal may affect a student’s anticipated graduation date, and the student will be dropped from future courses for which the withdrawn course is a prerequisite.

A course withdrawal during an academic award period may reduce or eliminate financial aid or VA assistance and/or eligibility and require that all or part of the assistance received be refunded to the lender.  A student who wishes to withdraw should contact his or her ASC and the Office of Financial Aid before initiating any schedule changes or withdrawals.

Exceptions to the withdrawal policy must be approved by the student’s academic dean.

Military Withdrawal

Enrolled active duty military personnel or military reservists who receive emergency orders to active duty during the semester may be administratively withdrawn from SWU and receive a full refund of tuition and fees*.  The refunding of other charges may be prorated based on the date of the withdrawal.  The grade of ‘WM’ (Military Withdrawal) will be given in each course from which the student is withdrawn.  Service members who request a military withdrawal must submit a copy of their official orders to the Office of Academic Records prior to departure or before grades are posted for the semester for the withdrawal to be processed on the student’s academic record.  Military withdrawals may not be granted for TDY (temporary duty), short-term assignments, or for semesters that are complete.

* Students who enlist in the military or in the reserves once classes in the semester have begun are not eligible for a military withdrawal during that semester.

Withdrawal from the University

A permanent withdrawal is recorded when a student initiates a withdrawal from his or her entire schedule and wishes to discontinue enrollment.

On-campus students who are withdrawing as a student from SWU should contact the Director of Retention prior to initiating a withdrawal from the University.

SWU Online students must contact their ASC to request a permanent withdrawal prior to the midpoint for each of their current courses.  If the student fails to submit a permanent withdrawal through his or her ASC prior to the midpoint of each of his or her current courses, a final grade of F will be recorded for the courses. 

A permanent withdrawal during an academic award period may reduce or eliminate financial aid or VA assistance and/or eligibility and require that all or part of the assistance received be refunded to the lender.  A student who wishes to withdraw should contact his or her faculty advisor or ASC and the Office of Financial Aid before initiating a withdrawal from the University.

Review by the Undergraduate Admissions Committee is required for readmission of all students who are dismissed or suspended, leave on academic warning or probation, leave during the semester without officially withdrawing, or withdraw with a GPA less than 2.0.

Exceptions to the withdrawal policy must be approved by the student’s academic dean.

Re-Admission following Withdrawal

Students who have been withdrawn for less than one calendar year and who wish to re-enter, should contact their faculty advisor or academic success coach (ASC) for academic advisement and to develop a class schedule. To re-enroll, the students must meet the minimum GPA requirement, and all previous account balances must be resolved.

Students who have been withdrawn for greater than one calendar year must submit an application for re-admission, and they will be subject to the current catalog policies and degree completion requirements at the time of their re-admission and re-enrollment.


Southern Wesleyan University uses letter grades as an indicator of the level to which a student has mastered the objectives of a given course. While efforts are made to eliminate subjectivity and bias, grades should be looked on as approximations. Grades are not an end in themselves but merely provide some evidence of how well the institutionally set goals have been met by a given individual. Students are encouraged to set their own learning goals and to use grades as only one measurement among many.

Grades serve the school in many ways, including:

  • Giving feedback to students;
  • Determining whether credit is given for a course;
  • Determining how well material has been mastered overall;
  • Helping to improve instruction;
  • Sharing with stakeholders such as advisors, parents, employers, funding agencies, accreditors and graduate schools.

Primarily, grades are directly related to the achievement of specified learning outcomes stipulated in a course syllabus or other official course materials. In some cases, a portion of the grade may involve other learning related to the broader topic of the course or the overall Southern Wesleyan University learning outcomes. Grades may also indicate the level of student engagement with the learning experience measured through such things as class participation, attendance, timeliness and optional activity or research.

The following meanings are represented by the letter grades:

  A Advanced: The student has gone beyond the simple mastery of the course objectives. He or she can integrate the concepts presented with previously learned material as appropriate to the course. In addition, key ideas can be applied in new and complex settings bringing fresh insights and creativity. Work is of consistently high quality.
  B Proficient: The student has gained competence with respect to the course objectives and is able to satisfactorily apply concepts most of the time. Work is of moderate to high quality.
  C Basic: The student performs adequately in relation to most of the course objectives. There may be some areas of weakness, and he or she sometimes applies ideas incorrectly or incompletely. Work is of moderate quality with some inconsistency.
  D Below Basic: The student has minimal grasp of the course objectives. Many important concepts are only partially mastered, and he or she struggles to make adequate application. The quality of work is inconsistent and/or marginal.
  F Failure: The student has not demonstrated mastery of many or most of the course objectives. The quality of work is not sufficient to warrant gaining credit for the course.

Faculty members at Southern Wesleyan University are hired both to teach and to make expert judgments of how well students master course objectives. The judgments are arrived at in a wide variety of methods depending on course content and preference of the instructor. SWU does not endorse any particular methodology, but faculty are required to adhere to the above grade definitions. Also, faculty are asked not to include items in the final grade that have no relation to the course outcomes, program outcomes or student engagement with the topic.

All grades are reported in a system of eleven letter grades designated as “A” through “F” with appropriate plus and minus additions reflecting the following scheme:

  A 4.0
  A- 3.7
  B+ 3.4
  B 3.0
  B- 2.7
  C+ 2.4
  C 2.0
  C- 1.7
  D+ 1.4
  D 1.0
  F 0.0
  NC No Credit (does not affect GPA)
  P Pass
  S Satisfactory completion but no credit toward graduation
  I Incomplete
  W Withdrew

Grade Point Average

A student’s Grade Point Average (GPA) is calculated by dividing the number of grade points earned by the number of credits attempted (excluding P and S grades).

In calculating undergraduate cumulative GPA, up to twelve credits with a grade of 0.0 earned before July 1, 1998, will not be included in the calculation. If a course is repeated, only the highest grade will be used to calculate the cumulative GPA.

For certain purposes specifically indicated in this catalog, the GPA is calculated on all work attempted.

Courses receiving grades of less than C- (B- for education certification majors; C for Early Childhood and Family Studies) will not be applied toward major, minor, or concentration requirements, or toward other specified requirements within a major, without permission from the major advisor and the dean.

Pass-No Credit Courses

Courses that are graded with a high degree of subjectivity, or where evaluation is based on the simple completion of a specific list of requirements, will be graded on a P/NC basis. Credit earned on this basis will count towards graduation but will not affect the student’s GPA.

On-Campus program seniors may register for one elective course per semester for which they will receive the grade of Pass/No Credit. This option is reserved to students with a GPA of 2.5 or higher and cannot apply toward a major, departmental requirement, courses required for teacher certification or ordination. Also, instructors may remove any of their courses from this option. Arrangements for this option are to be completed at the time of registration.

Incomplete Grades

Under extenuating circumstances, a student, with permission of the appropriate academic dean and the faculty member involved, may be allowed to carry an incomplete grade until all required course work is completed.

The faculty member and the student will mutually determine the amount of time needed to complete the work, within a maximum of five (5) calendar weeks from the last day of classes.

The faculty member will recommend an incomplete only after ascertaining that all daily work is passed and that the student lacks completing only a relatively small amount of the semester’s work.

Repeated Courses

Grade replacement may occur for courses repeated solely at Southern Wesleyan University. If a student repeats a course that was completed at Southern Wesleyan University, only the highest grade will be used to calculate the cumulative institutional and collegiate GPA.

Repeated courses that are completed as transfer will not replace a grade on a course completed at Southern Wesleyan University. All attempts of transfer courses, including repeated courses, are used to calculate the cumulative collegiate GPA.

Students who receive financial aid from veterans’ or military benefits may be personally responsible for the tuition/fees for a course when repeating it for credit if the student met the minimum grade for the course on the first attempt or if the repeated course is variable credit (e.g., internship or practicum). VA and military students should contact the Veteran’s Services Representative in the Office of Academic Records for assistance prior to registration.

Veterans’ Benefits and Grades

Grade point averages for those receiving veterans’ benefits will be calculated on all work attempted. For certification of enrollment, those eligible should contact the Office of Academic Records.

Federal and State Financial Aid and Grades

In determining eligibility for state and federal financial aid, the cumulative grade point average will be calculated on all work attempted.

Good Standing and Academic Probation

At the conclusion of each fall and spring semester, undergraduate On-Campus and SWU Online students’ records will be reviewed to determine academic standing (eligibility for continuation without restriction).

Good academic standing is attained when a student earns at least the minimum Institutional Total GPA indicated below for each fall and spring semester of enrollment.  The Institutional Total GPA is calculated for all grades earned for every semester of enrollment at Southern Wesleyan University (including summer semesters calculated at the end of fall):

  Hours Attempted GPA (Institutional Total)
  12 1.6
  24 1.6
  36 1.7
  48 1.8
  60 and above 2.0

Any student who fails to meet these requirements will be placed on academic warning for the following semester. Students placed on academic warning will be advised to limit co-curricular activities.

Any student who is currently on academic warning for the fall or spring semester and who does not attain good standing by the end of the current semester will be placed on academic probation.  Any student who is currently on probation has limits on the extent he or she may represent the University (see details below). By the end of the semester of probation, the student must meet the requirements for good standing or be suspended for the following full semester.

Representing the University

Representing the University is a responsibility and a privilege; therefore, such representation is generally carried out only by students in good standing. Also, off-campus overnight travel may make it difficult for students on academic probation to do well enough in their studies to remove probation; therefore, students on probation should not be involved in the following:

  • membership in the homecoming court
  • holding office in University organizations
  • having a continuing role in leading chapel
  • phonathon
  • ministry teams
  • intervarsity athletics, including travel with the team in a support role. (Students on probation may practice on campus.)
  • *internships and practica, including clinical experience
  • *traveling ensembles
  • *major dramatic productions

*Exceptions: Students for whom participation in one of these activities is a degree requirement may be allowed to participate, even if on academic probation.

Faculty sponsors, instructors, and others in charge of activities prohibited above, or of other activities which make heavy extra-class demands on a student’s time, or which involve representing the University, are notified each semester about students who have been placed on academic probation, and will take action to advise against or prohibit participation. Students who have been placed on social probation during a semester by the Vice President for Student Life may be advised against or prohibited participation in events that represent the University.

Academic Suspension

Academic suspension results if the terms of academic probation are not met. Suspended students are not eligible for re-admission for six months. After that period, the student must submit a petition for re-admission to the University in accordance with the re-admission procedures of Southern Wesleyan University. The student’s petition for re-admission will be reviewed by the Undergraduate Admissions Committee.  If the student’s petition is approved, the student may be re-admitted on academic probation and will have one semester to attain good standing or risk permanent exclusion.

Disciplinary Dismissal

A student dismissed or expelled from the University for disciplinary reasons will receive academic credit only for courses already completed at the time of dismissal.

Transient Course Credit

Current students may request to complete courses at another institution as a transient student. On-Campus program students may submit an online Transient Letter Request via mySWU prior to the semester in which the student would like to enroll in transient courses.  SWU Online students may submit a Permission to Take Undergraduate Courses(s) at Another College Form to their academic success coach.  Students who do not request or receive transient permission to attend another institution or who complete courses that were not approved by the Office of Academic Records risk not having their transient courses transfer to SWU.

Once the student submits the Transient Permission Request, the Office of Academic Records will send the student notification of whether or not the transient request is approved.  If approved, the student will be sent a Certified Transient Permission Letter that may be presented to the transient institution for purposes of admission.  The student is responsible for sending a copy of the official transcript from the transient institution to the Office of Academic Records at SWU once the transient courses are completed in order for the transfer credit to be included in the student’s academic record.

Classification of Students

Degree-seeking students are academically classified according to the number of semester hours successfully completed:

  Freshmen 0-29 hours Juniors 60-89 hours
  Sophomores 30-59 hours Seniors 90 and above


Examinations and announced tests missed because of an unexcused absence cannot be made up. Make-up of work missed because of excused absences should be arranged with the teacher before the absences, if possible. Re-examinations are given only under exceptional circumstances and then only with the permission of the academic dean.


Textbooks can be purchased at the virtual bookstore: http://swu.ecampus.com/

Graduation Requirements and Degree Conferral

Associate Degree Graduation Requirements

The Associate of Arts degree requires a minimum of 60 semester hours of credit, including required Core Curriculum course work and remaining elective credits.

The following are the graduation requirements at the associate level:

  1. Completion of the Core Curriculum.
  2. Completion of ENGL 1003, ENGL 1013, and MATH 1053 with a minimum grade of C-.
  3. Completion of 60 semester hours (at least 15 credit hours from SWU) with a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0.
  4. Satisfactory participation in all required divisional and University assessment activities.
  5. Recommendation by the faculty.
  6. Completion of the application for graduation. It is the student’s responsibility to meet all requirements for graduation and apply for graduation by the dates specified in the University calendar.
  7. Payment of all financial obligations.

Bachelor Degree Graduation Requirements

All baccalaureate degrees include the following requirements:

  1. Completion of the Core Curriculum.  In some majors, specific courses are designated.
  2. Completion of a concentration of studies constituting a major. (Transfer students must complete at least nine hours of upper-level courses in the major discipline at Southern Wesleyan.)
  3. Completion of major courses, ENGL 1003, ENGL 1013, and MATH 1053 with a minimum grade of C-.
  4. Complete the QEP Intensive Writing Standard by earning the minimum passing grades in: two Core Curriculum/General Education courses  containing the WI intensive writing components, or transfer equivalents;* and two major courses  (typically 3000-4999 level courses) containing the WI intensive writing components.**
  5. Completion of a total of 120 semester credits with a minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) of at least 2.0.  At least 32 semester hours must be taken by study under the faculty of Southern Wesleyan University, and except in some cooperative programs, these must be the final 32 semester hours.  At least the last 52 semester hours must be completed in institutions granting the baccalaureate (bachelor’s) degree.
  6. Satisfactory participation in all required divisional and University assessment activities.
  7. Fulfillment of any chapel requirements for students enrolled in the On-Campus program.
  8. Recommendation by the faculty.
  9. Completion of the application for graduation. It is the student’s responsibility to meet all requirements for graduation and apply for graduation by the dates specified in the University calendar.
  10. Payment of all financial obligations.

All graduation requirements must be completed, and all financial obligations must be cleared before a student is graduated with a degree from Southern Wesleyan University. Participation in graduation activities may on occasion be permitted if a student is enrolled in courses that will result in the completion of degree requirements at the time of commencement ceremonies, even though final certification of graduation is not yet possible.

* Exemption from the Tier One requirement may be achieved through the transfer of equivalent courses; earned test credit through Advanced Placement (AP), DSST (DANTES Subject Standardized Tests), College-Level Examination Program (CLEP), or International Baccalaureate Programme (IB); earned equivalent military credit; or through a combination of these methods of transfer of credit for a minimum of 30 transfer credit hours of general education  courses.

** Transfer credit may not be used for exemption from the Tier Two requirement.

Degree Conferral

Degrees are conferred during the May and December graduation ceremonies.  Final degree requirements must be completed or in progress to participate in commencement.

The graduation application, the application deadline as published on the University calendar, and related graduation information and instructions are emailed to graduation candidates via their SWU email account several months prior to commencement.  Graduation candidates must apply for graduation prior to the stated deadline to have their degree conferred.

Diplomas are mailed to graduates’ permanent address within six weeks following commencement.

Graduates who have outstanding financial obligations to the University will not receive their diploma until all financial holds are resolved.

Academic Honors

Alpha Chi

Southern Wesleyan University sponsors a chapter of the National Honorary Society, Alpha Chi. To be eligible for selection, a student must be enrolled in an On-Campus program and have completed at least 60 hours of course work at Southern Wesleyan University. Membership is limited to the top ten percent (all college work included) of the senior class and top five percent of the junior class. Eligibility for membership is determined by the Provost and election is by the Academic Council during the spring semester of each year.

Alpha Phi Sigma

Southern Wesleyan University sponsors a local chapter of Alpha Phi Sigma (ΑΦΣ).  Alpha Phi Sigma is the National Criminal Justice Honor Society and been a member of the Association of College Honor Societies since 1980.  Alpha Phi Sigma is also supported by, and affiliated with, the Academy of Criminal Justice Science.  Membership to is open to all current Criminal Justice majors and minors who have earned a minimum of 36 collegiate credit hours, 12 credit hours of which must have been earned in coursework in the criminal justice field; attained at least a 3.2 collegiate GPA; and who rank in the top 35% of their class.  New members are added yearly as qualifying criteria are met.

Alpha Sigma Lambda

The University hosts a chapter of Alpha Sigma Lambda, an honorary society that gives recognition to outstanding adult students. To be eligible for selection, a student must be at least 25 years of age and have taken at least 24 graded credits in a baccalaureate program at Southern Wesleyan University. Members are selected annually from the top 20 percent of those eligible based on the above criteria and who have attained at least a 3.2 cumulative collegiate GPA on all work attempted in college.

Beta Beta Beta Biological Honor Society

Beta Beta Beta Biological Honor Society (TriBeta) seeks to encourage scholarship in the field of biology by reserving its regular membership for those who achieve superior academic records and indicate special aptitude for and major interest in the life sciences.  It desires to cultivate intellectual interest in the natural sciences and to promote a better appreciation of the value of biological study.  Beta Beta Beta also endeavors to extend the boundaries of man’s knowledge of nature by encouraging new discoveries through scientific investigation and encourages undergraduate students to begin research work and report their findings in the journal of the society, BIOS.  The society emphasizes a three-fold program:  stimulation of scholarship, dissemination of scientific knowledge, and promotion of biological research.

Undergraduate membership is open to all current biology, pre-medical, pre-dentistry, environmental studies and exercise science majors and biology minors who have completed at least one term of the second year (45 credit hours) of a four-year curriculum or its equivalent, have completed at least three courses in biological science, of which at least one is not an introductory course, with a minimum B average in these courses, have an overall GPA of at least a 3.0 and are in good academic standing with the university.

Sigma Tau Delta

Established in 1924 as an international English honor society, Sigma Tau Delta confers distinction for high achievement in English language, literature, and writing among current students at accredited colleges and universities.

Candidates for undergraduate membership must have completed at least two college courses in English language or literature beyond the usual requirements in freshman English.  The candidates must have earned a minimum of 36 credit hours and at least a 3.0 cumulative collegiate GPA.  Candidates must rank in the highest 35% of their class.

Dean’s List

Twice yearly, the Provost will publish a list of those undergraduate students who have carried at least 12 hours of college credit within the preceding semester, have no grade (included in GPA calculation) for any single course below a B, and have earned a GPA of at least 3.5.

Graduation Honors

Graduating seniors with outstanding scholarship will qualify for the following honors, to be recognized at commencement.

  Cum Laude: A cumulative GPA of at least 3.4 on all collegiate work attempted.
  Magna Cum Laude: A cumulative GPA of at least 3.6 on all collegiate work attempted.
  Summa Cum Laude: A cumulative GPA of at least 3.8 on all collegiate work attempted.

To be eligible for graduation honors, a student transferring from another college must complete at least 45 credit hours at Southern Wesleyan University with a cumulative GPA of at least 3.4 on all collegiate work attempted.

Grades earned in SWU courses and also in courses from accredited institutions that are equivalent to SWU offerings or are applicable to SWU degree programs are included in the calculation for graduation honors. Non-credit courses and 0.0 courses count as 0.0.

University Honors

In the event that a student is ineligible for any of the above graduation honors but has achieved a cumulative SWU GPA of at least 3.8 on no less than 60 credits earned at Southern Wesleyan University, that student will be assigned the designation of “University Honors.”

Honors Program

The Honors Program at Southern Wesleyan University develops and challenges the minds of undergraduate students through research and experiential opportunities that will further prepare them to impact and meet the needs of the community and beyond.

Program Learning Outcomes

The Honors Program at Southern Wesleyan University seeks to:  

  1. Integrate faith and learning through critical, creative, and independent thinking.  
  2. Enhance students’ work through a deeper mentoring relationship with faculty.
  3. Contribute to an innovation-oriented community of scholars.  
  4. Demonstrate a higher level of academic mastery through engaging in scholarly work in their chosen field and presenting at on-campus forums, local, state, regional or national conferences.

The Honors Program is a four- to six-semester program that affords students the opportunity to participate in advanced study beyond the classroom.

Students interested in the Honors Program must apply and meet the following minimum requirements for entry into the program:

  • A cumulative SWU GPA of at least 3.6 and in good standing as described in the Student Handbook. 
  • A minimum of 15 credit hours completed at SWU. 
  • Approval and recommendation from a faculty member in the discipline related or closely related to their area of study and one additional recommendation from SWU faculty, staff, and/or church member. 
  • A writing sample addressing why they want to join the Honors Program and the relationship between academics and faith.

Once accepted into the Honors Program, a student must maintain a minimum 3.25 semester GPA while a member of the Honors Program. 

Application Process

Once a student is eligible to apply by meeting the first two criteria in the Honors Program Academic Requirements, the coordinator of the Honors Program or a member of the Honors Oversight Committee at Southern Wesleyan University will invite the student to apply by email. Students will prepare and submit the remaining above application materials including faculty/staff recommendations. Applications will be reviewed by the Honors Oversight Committee (HOC) using a rubric point system. Students obtaining the top scores will be invited to complete an interview with the HOC. After the interviews are completed, the HOC will notify students whether or not they have been accepted.

  • Incoming freshmen with a high-school GPA of at least 3.5 and a score of 1200 on the SAT or equivalent on the ACT are admitted as candidates of the Honors Program at Southern Wesleyan University. Once accepted for admission to the university, students with these credentials will be evaluated, and letters will be sent to those who qualify for candidacy. These students will also be enrolled in HNRS 2323 in place of SEMR 2323. Participation in this courses is a privilege of candidacy.
  • Transfer students with freshmen or sophomore standing entering with a college GPA of at least 3.5 will also be admitted as candidates of the Honors Program at Southern Wesleyan University. These students will also be enrolled in HNRS 2323 in place of SEMR 2323. Participation in this courses is a privilege of candidacy. 
  • Existing freshmen and sophomore students at Southern Wesleyan University with at least a 3.5 college GPA can request to become candidates of the Honors Program at Southern Wesleyan University.
  • Southern Wesleyan faculty members can recommend existing freshmen and sophomore students with at least a 3.5 college GPA for candidacy in the Honors Program at Southern Wesleyan University.

Students become candidates in their freshmen and sophomore years and are offered some unique opportunities for fulfilling a couple of General Education requirements and are invited to a number of community-building events. Candidates are evaluated in the spring of their sophomore year, and if they qualify, are invited to join and complete the Honors Program in their junior and senior years. During the spring of a candidate’s sophomore year, the director of the Honors Program at Southern Wesleyan University, in conjunction with the Honors Program Oversight Committee, will evaluate the cumulative GPA and request faculty endorsements of the candidate to assure that he or she is qualified for admittance into the Honors Program. If the candidate has a 3.5 cumulative college GPA or higher and has a positive endorsement from a faculty member in his or her major, then the candidate will be formally invited to participate in the Honors Program.

Once the candidate has accepted the invitation, he or she will be become a member of the Honors Program.

Student members of the Honors Program enjoy many benefits from participating in the program. First and foremost, the Honors Program affords its members an opportunity to engage professionally in their chosen field while still in college. One major element of this professional engagement is a close mentoring relationship with a faculty member in that field. This professional engagement opportunity includes academic leadership opportunities, alternative or expanded engagements in major courses, opportunities to explore a topic or area of choice in a more in-depth format, professional experience that will enhance one’s resume, and additional preparation for post-graduate work. All Honors courses and project work is remunerated with academic credit and noted on the student’s official academic transcript and the student’s Honors project is recognized in the commencement program at graduation.

More specifically, student members of the Honors program enjoy the following benefits:

1. Integration of faith, learning, and living is important. We believe God expects us to be good stewards of the intellectual gifts He has given us.

2. Helps students to further develop their skills of critical thinking, problem solving, and creativity.

3. Helps students to see that they can accomplish a level of professional engagement beyond what they might have thought they were capable.

4. Helps students to develop intellectual independence.

5. Can help enhance student learning through mentoring relationships with faculty.

6. Provides students with the opportunity to engage in professional scholarly work in their chosen field.

7. Helps students to promote better oral and written presentation skills through presentations at on-campus forums or local, state, regional, or national conferences.

8. Fosters a sense of accomplishment in student participants.

9. Helps to promote an innovation-oriented culture among students.

10. Helps students to build an identity as a group.

11. Helps provide effective career preparation so students are better qualified for their chosen vocations-better qualified for the job market.

12. Helps to increase acceptance/enrollment in graduate education and with getting teaching assistantships or fellowships

13. The ability to do quality research may help with earning a raise or a promotion in future employment.

In order to maintain candidacy and after admittance to the Honors Program, candidates and members are expected to demonstrate a high level of participation in class-discussion, reports, debates, and presentations. They are also expected to demonstrate abilities such as the following: thinking, discussing, writing, analyzing, synthesizing, and gathering and presenting information from a variety of sources and viewpoints.

The Honors Program consists of social events, course work, non-credit and service opportunities, and attendance at the research or creative project presentations of others in the Honors Program. Members are expected to maintain an overall GPA of 3.5 or higher.

Guidelines for being in the Honors Program, writing a proposal, and participating in a scholarly research or creative project may be found on the university’s website under Academics, Honors Program, or on mySWU under the Honors Program link.

Major Courses or Upper Division Courses with Honors Components (9-12 credits) 

These are courses that students take in order to earn a particular degree in a particular major. The student will choose, or the faculty of a particular major may dictate, which courses in that major will be taken as Honors courses.

  • Two (2) courses in the student’s major designated for honors credit (3-4 credits each)
  • An additional upper-division course (3-4 credits), such as an additional course in the major, an Honors-level independent study, an Honors course outside the major; or a second research project.

Research Sequence: 5 credits 

These credits are remuneration for the time and effort invested in the research or creative project and are counted as part of the credits for graduation.

  • HNRS 2011, Honors Introduction to Research or Creative Projects (1 credit) - taken fall of junior year after admittance into the Honors Program
  • HNRS 4993 or XXXX 4993, Honors Research or Creative Project (3 credits) - taken spring junior year or fall senior year

Students will choose a faculty advisor in their major field who will guide them in the preparation of a proposal for the scholarly research or creative project. At least two additional faculty members, one in the discipline area and one outside of the discipline, will be chosen by the student in conjunction with the faculty advisor to serve as a supervisory committee for the project.

The proposal for the research or creative project should be presented to the Honors Oversight Committee for approval before the research or creative project is started, no later than 12 months before the final presentation of the project (usually late fall or early spring of the junior year)

  • HNRS 400X, Honors Senior Seminar (1-2 credits)- taken fall or spring of senior year; written research or creative project and oral presentation

The final research paper or creative project and oral presentation and defense of the research or creative project should be at least 6 weeks prior to graduation and will require approval of the supervisory and Honors Oversight committees (1 credit).

An additional academic credit can be earned if the student applies for extramural funding for their project or presents his or her project outside of SWU at an appropriate professional meeting or symposium.


Directed Study Courses

Directed study is a method of instruction permitting the student to complete a course in an independent context. Essentially, the course work is completed independently but under the supervision of the faculty member, a grade is assigned, and college credit is posted to the student’s academic record upon successful completion of the course.

Directed study courses are designed as an exception for students and may be offered as an option for students who are nearing graduation and are required to enroll in a course that is currently not offered.

In general, students must have earned at least 60 credit hours and a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5 to enroll in a directed study course. Students may be limited to a maximum of 3 hours of directed study credit each semester.  Additionally, students may apply no more than 12 credit hours of directed study credit in their degree program and no more than 25% of their core course work in their major or minor.

Approval to register for a directed study course must be obtained in writing by the dean prior to the faculty assigning any work for credit.

All students (students in either the On-Campus or SWU Online program) seeking a directed study course will be charged a fee in addition to regular tuition, which will then be used for renumeration for the faculty member directing the study, except in extenuating circumstances, including the following:

  • In the event that there is insufficient enrollment for a class to make, students who need the class to graduate on time, as determined by the dean, will be offered the class as a directed study, with no additional charge to the student.
  • If a class needed to graduate is not being offered, or if the class time conflicts with another class required for graduation, the student will not be charged the additional fee for enrolling in the directed study necessary to graduate on time.
  • Students taking directed study as part of the Honors Program will not be charged the additional fee.

Permission for directed study, as well as fee waivers, must be approved in writing by the dean.

Experiential Learning (Credit-bearing) Courses

Southern Wesleyan believes that learning is often enhanced through practical experience in settings where theory can be applied to practice. Though often integrated with content-based courses, credit may from time to time be granted for experiential learning such as internships, practica, and clinical experiences which constitute stand-alone courses. In certain majors, these experiences are required, while in other programs they are recommended or optional. The prerequisite for participation in such an experience is completion of all required general education courses in computer, math, oral communication, and writing. No more than 18 credits of stand-alone experiential learning may count toward the requirements of a degree.

Eligibility for the credit-bearing experience will be determined by the academic advisor and coordinator of studies for the major. The Coordinator of Studies is responsible for approving arrangements for the course. Unless otherwise noted, credit for the experiential learning requires at least 40 hours of engagement in the setting per credit hour and appropriate critical reflection approved by the assigned faculty member. Faculty oversight is expected in all field experiences.

Hybrid Courses

Some courses at Southern Wesleyan University are offered in hybrid format in which some traditional face-to-face “seat time” is replaced by online learning activities that extend and reinforce the classroom learning. If a hybrid meeting date for “seat time” falls on a holiday, the instruction for that meeting will be given online.

Independent Study Courses

A course in independent study is available in each major offered by the University, to enable stronger students to enrich their program by studies or research opportunities not generally available in formal courses.

To be eligible for independent study, a student must have a cumulative GPA of no less than 3.0 on all work attempted. Up to eight hours of credit may be earned, but no more than three hours in any one semester.

To register for independent study, the student must obtain the signatures of the division chair and the dean of the course requested.

Online Courses

Southern Wesleyan University offers some of its courses in a distance-learning format that allows students to complete the course requirements in a manner mediated through technology (rather than in a face-to-face setting). In general, such courses are asynchronous and web-based. As such they require of the student a level of technological skill, organization, and self-discipline beyond what may be commonly a part of face-to-face courses. Students are strongly advised to assess their readiness before enrolling in an online course. 

In addition, all those participating in a distance learning course must have completed SWU’s online learning orientation.

Travel Courses

On occasion it is deemed that course learning outcomes may be achieved through a combination of travel and instruction. Faculty in charge of courses involving extensive travel should consult the Vice President for Student Life to determine whether or not a student wishing to take such a course is on social probation. If so, the instructor may prohibit such a person from registering for the course or from completing it.

Tutorial Instruction

On occasion it may be necessary for a student to receive instruction on an individual basis from a member of the University faculty. When this is necessary, the instructor will spend the full amount of class time with the student, and the tutorial fee will be one and one-half times the regular tuition fee.

Academic Honesty

Honesty in all matters-including honesty in academic endeavors-is a valued principle at Southern Wesleyan University. It is the expectation of the University that all those joining the academic program will act with integrity in all matters. Because of this principle, members of this community of learners (students, faculty, facilitators, staff, and administrators) are also expected to honor one another.

Honesty is particularly important when it comes to academic work. Because the University awards academic credit based on the assessment of each student’s work, and because that academic credit represents the University’s validation of learning, dishonesty by a student strikes at the heart of the value of the degree for all students and alumni. Consequently, any form of academic dishonesty (including cheating, plagiarism, and falsification of documents) constitutes a serious breach of trust.

No form of academic dishonesty will be tolerated. Students are encouraged to help each other maintain these high standards. All academic dishonesty observed should be reported to the faculty directly. Faculty members are in charge of their classrooms and are encouraged to be present during exams. In the case of exams given outside of a classroom setting (such as online), efforts should be made to safeguard the integrity of the evaluation.

All community members are encouraged to avoid increasing temptations for dishonesty. At the beginning of the course, faculty members are encouraged to convey and to interpret their policy on plagiarism (academic dishonesty involving the use of another’s material, methods, or ideas without properly acknowledging the originator).

Upon evidence of academic dishonesty (cheating, plagiarism, or misuse of another’s intellectual property), either by voluntary confession, report of another student, or on the basis of work submitted, the faculty member should follow this procedure:

  1. Talk with the student in the presence of another faculty member or an appropriate administrator. If the student is taking classes online only, then the faculty member should email the student and copy the dean or designated representative.
  2. Inform the student of the resulting discipline, based upon the situation:
    1. student’s unprompted confession - NC or 0 for work involved.
    2. admission after confrontation by faculty member - NC or 0 on work and 10% course grade reduction; the student is not permitted to withdraw from the class.
    3. denial of guilt and faculty member believes innocence - no penalty.
    4. denial of guilt but faculty member believes guilt - F for the course; the student is not permitted to withdraw from the class.
    5. In the event that there is evidence the student either encouraged others to be involved in the academic dishonesty, or conspired with others in the process by giving, receiving or using unauthorized aid, the faculty member should consult with his or her academic dean and recommend to the provost a response that may include academic dismissal from the University.
  3. Explain the appeal process to the student described in Appeals (Cases of Alleged Academic Dishonesty).
  4. Submit a written report to the provost, including the discipline implemented. Upon receipt of the report, the provost will take the following action:
    1. For a first offense, the provost will send a letter to the student indicating that evidence of the incident will be kept on file and warning of possible dismissal should the student be implicated in academic dishonesty again.
    2. For a first offense involving multiple students or outside parties that results in a recommendation of dismissal, the provost will meet with the students.
    3. For a second offense, the student will meet with the provost to discuss the evidence and appropriate action. This meeting may result in the student’s dismissal from the institution.
    4. Should a student not enrolled in the course be implicated in an act of academic dishonesty, that student will meet with the provost, who will place a record of the event in the student’s file. A second offense would result in dismissal from the University.

While faculty and administrators must consider academic dishonesty seriously in order to protect the value and integrity of University degrees, every effort will be made at each step of the process to work with students redemptively.

Academic Appeals

Request for Grade Change

Students who believe they have received a final grade that does not accurately reflect their academic performance may petition the instructor in writing no later than four (4) weeks after the grade is posted to the student’s academic record.  The petition for a grade change should include substantiating evidence* to support the petition (e.g., written correspondence between the instructor and the student, graded assignments, record of attendance, etc..). 

If a grade miscalculation or other inaccuracy is determined, the instructor will submit a grade change request to the division chair (if applicable) or dean as is appropriate for review.

If the petition is approved, the change in grade is processed by the Office of Academic Records, and the student’s academic record is updated.  If the instructor disapproves the petition, the student may appeal according to the University’s grade appeal procedures.

*Note:  A disagreement about the subjective evaluation of the student’s performance in the class is not grounds for a grade change.  It is assumed that the instructor, as the subject matter expert, is the one most qualified to evaluate any and all work submitted.  Therefore, in order for a grade change request to be considered, the student must demonstrate an objective discrepancy between the way in which s/he was evaluated and the grading policies and procedures outlined in the course syllabus.

Grade Appeal Procedure

A grade appeal will only be considered when:
  • The grade is the final grade in a course;
  • The grade has not been appealed previously;
  • The instructor has disapproved the student’s petition for a grade change as described in Request for Grade Change;
  • Substantiating evidence* of improper application of or disregard of university policy or procedure by the instructor is evidenced in the student’s appeal;
  • The course is not included in an earned degree by the student when s/he has already graduated from Southern Wesleyan; and
  • The student complies with the grade appeal procedure.
*Note:  A disagreement about the subjective evaluation of the student’s performance by the instructor is not grounds for an appeal.  It is assumed that the instructor, as the subject matter expert, is the one most qualified to evaluate any and all work submitted.  Therefore, in order for an appeal to be considered, the student must demonstrate an objective discrepancy between the way in which s/he was evaluated and the grading policies and procedures outlined in the course syllabus.

The student may appeal in writing to the instructor’s division chair (if applicable) or dean within ten (10) working days following the receipt of the instructor’s disapproval of the student’s petition for a grade change.  The student’s appeal should include:

  • a completed grade appeal form;
  • a letter to the division chair (if applicable) or dean describing the steps already taken to resolve the grade issue with the instructor;
  • copies of the communications with the instructor to resolve the grade issue; and
  • substantive evidence supporting the grade appeal. 

If the student disagrees with the division chair’s written decision, the student may appeal to the instructor’s dean within ten (10) working days of receipt of the division chair’s decision.  The dean will only consider appeals if the division chair’s decision lacks due process or shows evidence that relevant information was not taken into consideration.  The student’s appeal to the dean should include:

  • a letter to the dean indicating the steps already taken to resolve the grade issue with the instructor and with the division chair (if applicable);
  • a completed grade appeal form or a copy of the grade appeal form that was submitted to the division chair;
  • copies of communications with the instructor and the division chair (if applicable) to resolve the grade issue; and
  • substantive evidence supporting the grade appeal.*

The dean’s decision is final, and no further appeal will be considered for this grade.  The grade resulting from this decision may be the original grade, a higher grade, or a lower grade depending on the outcome of the appeal and is posted as the final grade on the student’s official academic record, including the University transcript.

*Note:  A disagreement about the subjective evaluation of the student’s performance by the instructor is not grounds for an appeal.  It is assumed that the instructor, as the subject matter expert, is the one most qualified to evaluate any and all work submitted.  Therefore, in order for an appeal to be considered, the student must demonstrate an objective discrepancy between the way in which s/he was evaluated and the grading policies and procedures outlined in the course syllabus.

Appeals (Cases of Alleged Academic Dishonesty)

If a student is charged with academic dishonesty and the matter is not resolved with the faculty member, the student may appeal to the instructor’s division chair, in writing, within ten (10) working days after being informed that the grade for the course will be F.  If the division chair can mediate an agreement between the student and instructor, a grade-change request may be processed, if necessary.

If no agreement can be reached, if the instructor is also the division chair, or if there is no division chair as in the case of the Benson School of Business and the School of Education, the student may appeal the decision in writing to the appropriate academic dean within ten (10) working days.  The academic dean shall investigate and render a decision. The student is not permitted to withdraw from the course during this process.

Within ten (10) working days after being informed of the decision, either the instructor or the student may appeal the dean’s decision to the provost who will determine if the case should be considered by the Academic Council.  The Academic Council or its designated Appeals Committee will review all appropriate material, consult the parties involved, and determine the final penalty.  The decision of the Academic Council is final.  Academic dishonesty discovered outside the context of a course or after a course is completed will be dealt with in a manner appropriate to the situation.  The penalty may include such sanctions as rescinding of credit previously awarded, expulsion from the university, revocation of certificates, honors or diplomas, and in a case of fraud, appropriate legal action. Appeals in these cases will be heard by the Provost, with a final appeal to the Academic Council.

Other Academic Appeals

When a student seeks an exception to any academic policy that is documented in the University Bulletin or in the Student Handbook, the student should appeal accordingly:

  1. The student should submit a written appeal to the University registrar, who will then forward the appeal to the administrator responsible for the application of the particular policy.
  2. All appeals must be written and must include the student’s desired outcome of the appeal. 
  3. A thorough explanation of the student’s rationale and supporting documentation is required in order for the appeal to be considered.

The administrator will investigate the matter and make a decision.  If the administrator approves the appeal, the exception will be communicated to the appropriate parties. If the administrator disapproves the appeal, the student will be contacted about the decision. The administrator’s decision is the final step for almost all appeals.

If, however, the student can provide compelling evidence that the decision of the administrator was biased or that all documentation was not considered, the student may appeal the administrator’s decision in writing within ten (10) working days to the Provost.  The Provost will investigate and determine if the appeal may be reconsidered or not.  The Provost’s decision that the matter will not be reconsidered is final.

If the Provost determines that the matter may be reconsidered, the Provost shall either grant the exception or assign the appeal to the Academic Council, or designee, within ten (10) working days.  The Academic Council, or designee, will review all appropriate material, consult parties involved, and approve or disapprove the appeal. This final decision of the Academic Council may not be appealed.

Workplace Policies

Email Policy

Upon admission to Southern Wesleyan University, students are provided with an email account, which is the official channel of communication between the University and its students. It is the responsibility of the student to periodically monitor his or her student email account and to be aware of the information sent by the University. Students are expected to check their email on a frequent and consistent basis in order to stay current with University-related communications. Students are responsible for recognizing that certain communications may be time-critical. Failure to manage email accounts is not an acceptable excuse for missing official University communications via email and will not excuse students from complying with University policies, procedures, and deadlines. There is no grounds for appeal for relief from those policies, procedures and deadlines communicated through email to students.

Inclement Weather

In the event of inclement weather, Southern Wesleyan University will determine whether or not the offices and academic programs of the University will open on schedule, delay opening or will be closed.  This decision is made by 6:00 a.m., and announcements regarding adjustments to normal working hours, delay or closure at the Central campus will be announced through the University’s SWUALERT notification system.  Students, faculty and staff are automatically enrolled in SWUALERT to be notified of emergencies and inclement weather information.  SWUALERT utilizes email, voice and text for notifications.  Additionally, the University website will display inclement weather alerts, and notifications may be broadcast over local radio and television stations.

In the event a SWU Online student experiences inclement weather that causes a disruption to his or her ability to participate in meeting online course requirements (e.g., power outage or flooding), the student should check his or her course syllabus for specific information about notifying faculty members. It is the student’s responsibility to notify instructors promptly and explain circumstances due to severe weather. Instructors will notify the student of any approved extension for coursework.

Pets in the Workplace

Unless a service animal is required, and the accommodation has been documented, dogs and other pets are not to be brought to work.  It is important to maintain a professional workplace and pets can be a distraction to employees and their work, the work of others and university guests.

Photo and Video Policy

Southern Wesleyan University takes photographs and videos of students throughout the year. These images often include students in classrooms, residence halls, laboratories, at athletic events, and other University activities and venues. SWU reserves the right to use these photographs and videos in the promotion of the University. Students who enroll at SWU do so with the understanding that photographs/videos may be taken which would include them, and these photos/videos may be used in University publications, websites, social media, and other media for promotional purposes only. Names of students may be released to the press regarding student involvement in academic, athletic and other extracurricular activities.

Privacy of Student Educational Records

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) is a Federal law administered by the Family Policy Compliance Office in the U.S. Department of Education:  20 U.S.C. §1232g; 34 CFR Part 99.  FERPA applies to educational institutions that receive any federal funding.  Southern Wesleyan University is subject to FERPA.

The student’s education record is maintained by the Office of Academic Records.  FERPA affords eligible students certain rights with respect to the education records.  An eligible student is a student who is at least 18 years of age or is enrolled at a postsecondary institution.  Education records are records that contain information directly related to a student and are maintained by the University or by a party acting for the University.  FERPA rights include:

  1. The right to inspect and review the student’s education records within 45 days after SWU receives the student’s request.  The University will make arrangements for access to the records and will notify the student of these arrangements.  The student will be required to present proof of identification for access to the records.
  2. The right to challenge, in writing, the content of the student’s education records that the student believes is inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the student’s privacy rights under FERPA.  The student shall be granted a hearing if the outcome of the challenge is unsatisfactory to the student.  The student may submit an explanatory statement for inclusion in the education record if the outcome of the hearing is deemed unsatisfactory by the student.
  3. The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the University to comply with the requirements of FERPA.

Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, DC  20202

  1. The right to prevent disclosure of the student’s education record except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without the student’s consent.  A student’s education record    may be released without the student’s written consent:
  • to school officials with legitimate educational interests:  a school official is an individual who has a legitimate need to review an education record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibilities;
  • to third parties endorsed by SWU who perform an institutional service or function for the University;
  • to officials of another postsecondary institution at which a student seeks or intends to enroll;
  • in response to a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena;
  • 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 as a state postsecondary authority that is responsible for supervising the University’s state-supported education programs;
  • in connection with financial aid for which the student has applied or which the student has received;
  • to parents of an eligible student if the student is a dependent for IRS tax purposes as defined in Section 152 of the Internal Revenue Code;
  • to appropriate officials in connection with a health or safety emergency;
  • to parents of a student under 21 years of age who is found in violation of any Federal, State, or local law, or of any rule or policy of SWU, governing the use or possession of alcohol or a controlled substance;
  • when directory information is requested.  Directory information at SWU includes student’s name, local and permanent address, telephone number, SWU email address, age, major field of study, dates of attendance, enrollment status (e.g., graduate or undergraduate; full-time or part-time), degrees, honors, and awards received, participation in officially recognized activities and sports, and weight and height of members of an athletic team.

Currently enrolled students may request non-disclosure of directory information by completing the Request for Non-disclosure form available in the Office of Academic Records. Written requests for non-disclosure will be honored for a maximum of one year. In the absence of a non-disclosure form, SWU may release directory information about a student accordingly.

Smoking Policy

Since 1906, Southern Wesleyan University has been committed to guiding students to reach their highest potential academically, physically, socially, and spiritually. In keeping with this commitment in terms of physical well-being, Southern Wesleyan has taken the positive step of declaring itself to be a smoke-free campus. Off-campus facilities are also smoke-free areas. This is done in light of the overwhelming evidence that smoking is harmful to the individual who smokes and also to those individuals around the smoker.

University policy for SWU Online is that no smoking takes place inside the classrooms and related space. When the facility in which a specific class meets has another smoking policy, SWU Online enforces the no-smoking rule in SWU Online classrooms, hallways and common areas. The current policy has worked well, and the faculty and staff hope that all of our students put forth an effort not to smoke at all, especially during the hours of class.

Tutoring Services


SMARTHINKING is an online tutoring service offered by Southern Wesleyan University to SWU Online students. The service is free to SWU students, and most subject areas are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. With SMARTHINKING, students can connect with a tutor and interact live, submit writing for any class to the Online Writing Lab, or submit a question and receive a reply from a tutor. Students may connect with SMARTHINKING when assistance is needed in any one of several subject areas including writing, math, science, or business.

Smarthinking can be accessed via course modules in Canvas or via the student tab in mySWU.

For help using SMARTHINKING, click on the SMARTHINKING Student Handbook in the Customer Support & FAQ area of your homepage or contact Customer Support at (888) 430-7429 ext. 1 (Mon-Fri; 8am - 6pm ET).

For on campus help, contact Tutoring Services at 864.644.5137.

Library Services

The Claude R. Rickman Library engages the Southern Wesleyan University community by supporting and cultivating scholarship and creativity through access to staff, services, and resources.  The library collection contains books, eBooks, reference materials (print and online), DVDs, CDs, and curriculum materials. The library also has digital access to thousands of journals through online databases that provide access to millions of full text journal articles.

The Rickman Library homepage is the starting point for accessing all library resources.  Students can search the online catalog for books and other materials that are housed in the library. Students can also search and request holdings from other academic libraries across the state of South Carolina through the statewide catalog, PASCAL.

Over 100 databases are available from the library, arranged by both title or subject.  To access databases, log in with your full SWU email address and the password used for access to the student portal mySWU.

Research and course guides are available with useful resources compiled by librarians.  There are also pages with tips for citing your sources in APA or MLA writing styles.

Please contact a librarian if you have any questions about accessing or using library resources. We are here to assist you with your research needs!

Accommodations for Students with Disabilities

It is the practice of Southern Wesleyan University to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as well as with state and local requirements regarding students and applicants with disabilities. Under these laws, no qualified individual with a disability will be denied access to or participation in any services, programs or activities of SWU.

Accessing Accommodations through Support Services

Students with a qualifying disability who wish to request accommodations at SWU will need to:

  • Contact the Student Success Coordinator to schedule an appointment for an intake meeting;
  • Be prepared to provide current and appropriate formal documentation of your disability.

Formal documentation may be mailed, emailed or hand-delivered to the Student Success Coordinator before or at the time of the intake meeting. Contact information is provided below.  Accommodations do not begin until this process is completed; consequently, in order to start the semester with accommodations, this meeting should take place and the information should be provided to the Student Success Coordinator prior to classes starting.

Student Success Coordinator
Southern Wesleyan University
PO Box 1020
SWU Box 1994
Central, SC 29630


Accommodations are determined based on the individual’s documentation and needs.  Accommodations may include but are not limited to:

  • extended time on test-time and a half or double time depending on documentation;
  • alternative/private testing location;
  • copies of notes and/or PowerPoint presentations;
  • ability to record lectures using recorder of Smartpen;
  • have test read aloud;
  • preferential seating.

Required Documentation

All documentation must be current in order to be acceptable. In order to be considered current, the documentation must fall within the following time frames:

  • Within 3 years for learning disabilities and all other disabilities (This does not apply to physical or sensory disabilities of a permanent or unchanging nature.);
  • Within 1 year for psychiatric disabilities.

Documentation should be typed on official letterhead, dated and signed by a qualified and credentialed professional. Documentation provided on a prescription pad is not acceptable. The documentation should include the following:

  • A diagnostic statement identifying the disability with its DSM-IV Diagnostic notation;
  • A description of the diagnostic methods used along with copies of test results;
  • A description of the student’s current functional limitations;
  • A description of the expected progression of the disability, if relevant;
  • A description of current and past accommodations, services and/or medications;
  • Recommendations for accommodations, strategies and/or service.

Student disability and accommodations records are treated as confidential information under applicable federal and state laws as well as University policies.  Information is provided only to support individuals on a need-to-know basis.

Process for Obtaining Services

  1. The student contacts the Student Success Coordinator to schedule an intake meeting to discuss accommodations;
  2. An intake meeting is completed in which documentation is reviewed and a determination is made regarding reasonable accommodations.  If the documentation is deemed incomplete, a request for additional information will be made;
  3. The Student Success Coordinator sends the appropriate instructor an email notification about the approved accommodations for the student.  A copy of this notification is sent to the student;
  4. The instructor reviews the accommodations and confers with the student and the Student Success Coordinator as needed;
  5. After the accommodations have been approved, it is the student’s responsibility to introduce himself or herself to the instructor on the first day of class and to provide further information the student deems necessary;
  6. The Student Success Coordinator and instructor will address any issues that arise with providing the requested accommodations;
  7. The student must meet with the Student Success Coordinator at the beginning of each semester to renew his or her request for accommodations.

Students who find services to be unsatisfactory or who wish to file a grievance should contact the Student Success Coordinator at 864-644-5137 or learningcenter@swu.edu.