Jun 13, 2024  
2022-2023 Graduate Bulletin 
2022-2023 Graduate Bulletin [ARCHIVED CATALOG]



The university offers the following graduate programs: Master of Business Administration (MBA), Master of Science in Management, Master of Education in Classroom Leadership (MEDCL), Master of Education in Administration and Supervision (MEDAS), Master of Education in e-Learning and Instructional Design, and D. Clifton Wood Master of Science in Counseling Psychology. The university offers the following post graduate program: Doctorate in Business Administration (DBA) and Doctor of Education in Curriculum and Assessment (EdD).  All post-baccalaureate, graduate and professional degree programs at Southern Wesleyan University require at least 30 semester hours, and some academic degree programs require more.

Transfer policy

For all master programs, with the exception of the MEDAS, the Master of Education in e-Learning and Instructional Design, and the D. Clifton Wood Master of Science in Counseling Psychology, a maximum of two three-semester hour graduate-level courses for a total of six semester hours may be transferred from other regionally accredited institutions provided that

  • The grade for the transferred course is 2.7 (B-) or greater.
  • The course was completed within the previous five years.
  • The program director judges the course to satisfy specified requirements in the graduate curriculum.

For the Doctor of Education program and for the Doctorate in Business Administration, all coursework must be completed at Southern Wesleyan University.  No transfer coursework will be accepted into the Ed.D. or DBA program including master level coursework earned at Southern Wesleyan University.


Candidacy for the degree is achieved upon regular admission to the respective program.

Credit Hour

The credit hour is the basic unit of credit awarded for progress toward a degree or certificate. In accordance with federal government guidelines, Southern Wesleyan University defines a credit hour as a reasonable approximation of the student learning outcomes that can be achieved in the context of a course that requires 42-45 hours of student work.  This includes contact time between student and faculty and the student’s independent work, including but not limited to laboratory work, internships, practica and studio work.  This definition is a minimum standard that does not restrict faculty from setting a higher standard requiring more student work per credit hour.  This definition applies for traditional semesters or those with a compressed format.

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).  Credit is measured through equivalency of student learning outcomes and through a process of estimating the hours of student engagement for an online course.

Academic Rigor

Southern Wesleyan sets high standards for student learning across the curriculum. It is important that sufficient rigor, the academic challenge in which students must think and perform, is built 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.  Graduate courses/programs must be more advanced than undergraduate courses/programs to express the advanced nature of the degree.

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. On the whole, 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, all faculty 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.

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.

Academic Advising

SWU Online students are assigned an academic success coach (ASC). SWU Online students may arrange advisement sessions by contacting their ASC.  The ASC assists with degree planning, questions regarding degree requirements, re-entry to SWU, withdrawing, or other academic policies. 

Students enrolled in the Doctorate of Business Administration will be advised by appropriate faculty members.  Before a doctoral student has accumulated 30 credit hours, a Dissertation Committee is established in order to assure that students are under careful advisement and mentoring throughout the program.

Students enrolled in the Doctor of Education Program will be advised by appropriate faculty members.  The full-time teaching faculty in the program will provide academic advising to the doctoral students.  The Chair of the School of Education and Music Studies will also assist with academic advising.  The student’s academic advisor and dissertation chair, when not the same individual, will coordinate curricular direction for the student when needed.  Students may arrange advisement sessions by contacting their faculty advisor.


When students enrolls in the Master of Education, Doctor of Education, and Doctor of Business Administration, registration for each subsequent course in the sequence is automatic provided the student maintains good academic standing. For all other program, students wil meet with their academic success coach to schedule classes for upcoming semesters.

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.

A student who must miss the first class 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 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.

Tardy Policy

A tardy is defined as missing more than 30 minutes of class without a valid excuse. Each tardy is considered as ½ of an absence. Two tardies are considered as one absence. The class participation grade for a course may also be affected by a tardy.

Course Load

A full-time graduate student at Southern Wesleyan University is any graduate level student who is enrolled in 9 credit hours or more in a 15-week period or enrolled in 9 credit hours or more within two consecutive 7 week periods.  A graduate student who is registered for six (6) credit hours for a semester is classified as a part-time student, and registration for five (5) or less credit hours for a semester is classified as less than half-time.  A graduate student must be registered for a least five (5) hours for the semester to be eligible for financial aid.


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. They 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 ways depending on the course content and the skill and preference of the instructor. Southern Wesleyan University does not endorse one particular grading methodology, but policy does require that faculty adhere to the above grade definitions. Faculty are also 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” thru “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


A student who has extenuating circumstances and has permission of the appropriate academic chair 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. An Incomplete (I) grade that is not made up within the time frame allowed will be administratively changed to the grade of Failure (F).

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.

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).

If a course is repeated at SWU, only the highest grade will be used to calculate the cumulative GPA.

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

Good Standing and Academic Probation

For a graduate student to remain in good standing, he or she must maintain a cumulative (irrespective of level of courses taken) GPA of 3.0 (B) or higher as determined at the close of fall and spring terms. Students whose GPA falls below 3.0 (B) will be placed on academic probation. To return to good standing, a graduate student placed on academic probation must successfully repeat any failed course(s) or earn a minimum SWU GPA of 3.0 (B) or higher at the end of the semester of academic probation. If the minimum cumulative SWU GPA of 3.0 (B) is not achieved following the semester of academic probation, the student will be academically suspended.

A master student admitted conditionally based on an undergraduate cumulative GPA of less than 3.0 (B) must achieve at least a 3.0 (B) SWU GPA for his or her first semester of enrollment. If the minimum cumulative SWU GPA of 3.0 (B) is not achieved at the end of the first semester, the student will be administratively withdrawn from the graduate program without being placed on academic probation.

In addition, any graduate student who has earned two consecutive grades of F will be administratively withdrawn.

Academically suspended graduate students may petition for readmission after six months. A suspended student who wishes to apply for readmission should submit an application for admission and a written justification explaining why he or she should be granted readmission to the chair of the program. The decision of the chair is final.

A student enrolled in a graduate program who earns grades lower than 2.7 (B-) in the Benson School of Business and Social Sciences or 3.0 (B) in the School of Education and Music Studies for two courses will meet with the assigned academic coordinator and will receive a letter of academic warning from the Provost.  If another course grade lower than 2.7 (B-) in the Benson School of Business and Social Sciences or 3.0 (B) in the School of Education and Music Studies is earned, the student will not be permitted to continue in the program.  Appeals to action taken under this policy must be submitted to the chair of the appropriate program for consideration. 

No grade below 2.0 (C) may be applied toward a graduate degree in the Benson School of Business and Social Sciences.

No grade below 2.7 (B-) may be applied toward a graduate degree in the School of Education and Music Studies.  A minimum GPA of 3.0 (on all work attempted) within a five-year period from initial enrollment in the program is required to graduate from the School of Education and Music Studies with the M.Ed.  A minimum GPA of 3.0 (on all work attempted) within a seven-year period from initial enrollment in the program is required to graduate from the School of Education and Music Studies with the EdD.

Students enrolled in the D. Clifton Wood Master of Science in Counseling Psychology program must earn a minimum grade of 2.4 (C+) for each course required in the program.  Students must complete the specified degree requirements with a minimum cumulative program GPA of 3.0 within a five-year period from initial enrollment in the D. Clifton Wood Master of Science in Counseling program.

To graduate, all graduate students must have a grade point average of at least a 3.0 (B).

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 department coordinator (if applicable) or chair 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 Procedures

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

  • a letter to the school chair indicating the steps already taken to resolve the grade issue with the instructor and with the department coordinator;
  • a completed grade appeal form or a copy of the grade appeal form that was submitted to the department coordinator;
  • copies of communications with the instructor and the department coordinator to resolve the grade issue; and
  • substantive evidence supporting the grade appeal.*

The school chair’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.

Course Withdrawal

A withdrawal, grade of W, is appropriate if a student requests a withdrawal from a course that is in progress. A withdrawal must be processed before the half-way point of the course to avoid a grade of F. If the student fails to contact his or her academic success coach (ASC) after the half-way point, the student will be awarded a grade of F.

A student’s financial aid award will likely be affected by withdrawal from a course. Consequently, the student should contact his or her Financial Aid Counselor to discuss the financial implications of withdrawal.

A withdrawal may affect a student’s anticipated graduation date, and the student may be administratively withdrawn from additional courses if the course in question is a pre-requisite.

No student may earn more than two grades of W. A grade of W will not be included in the calculation of the grade point average.

Military Withdrawal

In the event that a student, who is a member of the National Guard, United States Armed Forces, or a reserve component, shall be called/ordered into active duty (including active State duty), the student and/or student’s spouse can request and receive a granted military leave of absence from Southern Wesleyan University.  The student and/or spouse will be administratively withdrawn from the university and receive a full refund of tuition and fees*.  The refund of other charges may be prorated based on the date of the withdrawal. 

Service members and/or their spouses 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.   

Upon release from military duty, the student and/or student’s spouse will be readmitted to the university at the current tuition rate with the same academic status they held during their last attending semester without loss of academic credits earned, scholarships, or institutional grants awarded prior to the commencement of military duty.  The student will be readmitted under the current catalog as long as the program/courses are still offered. 

Without deployment orders, the student and/or the student’s spouse must follow standard College drop or withdrawal procedures. A retroactive appeal to consider a military withdrawal can be initiated upon delivery of the applicable deployment orders.

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

Withdrawal from the University is appropriate when a student wishes to discontinue his or her online or graduate program. The student’s academic success coach (ASC) must be contacted to initiate the appropriate withdrawal process. The student should contact his or her Financial Aid Counselor to discuss the financial implications of withdrawal from the University.

Re-entry following Withdrawal

Students who have been withdrawn for less than one calendar year and who wish to re-enter, should contact their 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. Students must complete degree requirements within a five-year period from initial enrollment in the program.

Residency Requirement

A student enrolled in select master programs may transfer a maximum of 25 percent of the total number of credit hours required for the degree program. All remaining required credit hours must be completed with Southern Wesleyan University. (See transfer policy, above.)  The MEDAS, the Master of Education in e-Learning and Instructional Design, and the D. Clifton Wood Master of Science in Counseling Psychology do not accept transfer credit.

A student enrolled in the Doctor of Business Administration and Doctor of Education programs must complete all coursework in-residence at Southern Wesleyan University.

General Graduation Requirements for Master Degree Programs

  • Complete the specified degree requirements with a minimum cumulative program GPA of 3.0 within a five-year period from initial enrollment in the master program.
  • Complete each course with a minimum grade of 2.0 (C) to earn a graduate degree in the Benson School of Business and Social Sciences.
  • Complete each course in the D. Clifton Wood Master of Science in Counseling Psychology program with a minimum grade of 2.4 (C+).
  • Complete each course with a minimum grade of 2.7 (B-) to earn a graduate degree in the School of Education and Music Studies.
  • Meet all specific program requirements.
  • Pay all tuition, fees, and other charges.
  • Apply for graduation.

General Graduation Requirements for the Doctorate in Business Administration Degree Program

  • Complete the specified degree requirements with a minimum cumulative program GPA of 3.0 within a seven (7)-year period from initial enrollment in program.
  • Complete each course with a minimum grade of 2.7 (B-) to earn a Doctorate in Business Administration.
  • Meet all specific program requirements including successful completion of the comprehensive examination, the doctoral dissertation, and a residency requirement.
  • Pay all tuition, fees, and other charges.
  • Apply for graduation.

General Graduation Requirements for the Doctor of Education Degree Program

  • Complete the specified degree requirements with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0.
  • Complete each course with a minimum grade of 2.7 (B-) to earn a graduate degree in the School of Education and Music Studies.
  • Meet all specific program requirements including successful completion of the comprehensive examination, the doctoral dissertation, and three summer residencies.
  • Complete all degree and program requirements within seven (7) years from the student’s initial enrollment in the program.
  • Pay all tuition, fees, and other charges.
  • Apply for graduation.

Comprehensive Assessment in the Doctor of Education Degree Program

As a lock-step program, the Comprehensive Assessment (COMPs) must be started after successful completion of 30-36 hours of coursework and after the formation of the Dissertation Committee.  The same Dissertation Committee members will serve as the student’s COMP Committee.

The student must write an empirical, theoretical or analytical paper in APA format that may not supplant or supplement the dissertation.  The paper is negotiated between the faculty serving on the Dissertation Committee and the student; it must be solely authored by the student; and it must represent the student’s learning specific to the EdD coursework.  Examples include but are not limited to:  a topic of interest originating or deriving from specific course resources (article text, video, discussion, etc..), expansion of a concept, application of a strategy, extensive higher-level questioning (delve deeper into a topic), or further research of a contradiction of findings.

As a culmination of learning, the student must align to learning outcome #2 plus two additional learning outcomes of the program of student’s choice.  Assessment must be evident as a focus of the program.  The student will work closely with the Dissertation Committee Chair through multiple drafts until the Chair feels the paper is ready for the student to submit to full committee.  The committee privately discusses the strengths and limitations of the paper.  All three committee members will then vote that the student passes, passes with revision, or fails.

Final Examination in the Doctorate of Business Administration Degree Program

The final, comprehensive examination will take the form of a written or oral examination.  The student in conjunction with the Director of Graduate Studies, will determine the format of the examination.  The student will report the date and location of the exam to the Benson School of Business and Social Sciences for approval by the committee chair.  The student will take the exam upon the completion of 30 hours after successful completion of the course BDBA 7163  Developing the Research Proposal.  The exam will be in two (2) parts.  If the student fails one part, he or she will have one semester following the completion of BDBA 7163 to retake the failed portion of the exam.

Doctoral Dissertation

After the completion of at least 18 credit hours, the student begins the process of forming a committee in order to assure that the student is under careful advisement and mentoring throughout the program. The Program Director, along with the student’s input, recommends the appointment of the Dissertation Committee.

The dissertation is original research in which data is collected by the candidate and the interpretation of that data does not already exist in the researcher’s field of study. The dissertation demonstrates the student’s capacity to engage in the highest level of critical thought and ability to make a substantive contribution to theory or practice. The dissertation must meet the guidelines provided in the Dissertation Manual. The dissertation must reflect the most current APA requirements and be written in English.

Doctoral students who have passed comprehensive exams and have begun taking doctoral dissertation hours must remain enrolled in a least six (6) dissertation hours each semester (including summers), without skipping a semester, until completion of the dissertation. Students who need to interrupt their dissertation work for extenuating circumstances must submit a Leave of Absence form to the Program Director. Submission and approval of the form must be obtained prior to the first day of classes for the semester of non-enrollment. Failure to enroll each semester will result in termination of doctoral candidacy and removal from the program. A doctoral candidate has seven (7) years to complete the coursework and the dissertation.

A written dissertation is mandatory for candidates for the doctoral degree and requires a minimum of six (6) hours of doctoral research following successful completion of program coursework. In addition to the written dissertation, the dissertation must be successfully defended by the student at two times: the proposal and the final defense.

Each member of the Dissertation Committee completes a final dissertation defense ballot identifying “Pass,” “Pass with Revisions,” or “Fail.” In the event that one or two of the three Dissertations Committee members dissent, the Dissertation Committee will identify specific area/s of deficit and work with the candidate to successfully revise the document. A successful oral defense of the dissertation is required.

All processes and procedures are outlined in the Dissertation Manual.

Conferral of Degrees

Degrees are conferred two times per year: at the May and December commencement ceremonies. Final degree requirements must be completed or in progress at Southern Wesleyan University by the scheduled ceremony date to qualify for a given ceremony.

Graduation information and application forms are emailed in February and September to potential graduates who must apply by the deadline stated in that material.

Microcredential Programs

A microcredential is a cluster of courses at the post-Baccalaureate level that provides specific educational training towards qualification in a skill area. Students who are seeking a graduate degree share enrollment in this series of courses; consequently, a student seeking a microcredential will experience the same rigorous academic standards and learning outcomes as the degree-seeking students. Also, students share the same resources and support services as degree-seeking graduate students including the online bookstore, disability services, and chaplain services.

A microcredential will typically consist of a minimum of 12 credit hours, not including any required pre-requisite course work. All microcredential credits must be completed at Southern Wesleyan University.

An official academic transcript from the regionally accredited college or university of the student’s highest degree earned is required for admission into a microcredential program.  The Healthcare Microcredential requires additional proof of a minimum of one-year professional experience in the healthcare field for admission. 

Additionally, a candidate for the Microcredential in the Master of Education in Classroom Leaders program must also submit:

  1. Valid teaching certificate from the State of South Carolina or equivalent out-of-state certification. 
  2. Verification of current employment as a school teacher.  Applicants who are not currently employed in a school district must provide written permission from the school administrator permitting the student access to the school for completion of course requirements and practicum experiences.

Tuition rates and fees apply for all micrcredential programs, and payment plans are not offered. 

Successfully completed microcredential courses may apply toward a graduate degree program or in the case of a microcredential in Classroom Leadership, may meet requirements for the classroom leadership endorsement in South Carolina.  Check individual microcredential programs for details regarding the application of microcredential credit. No grade below 2.7 (B-) may be applied toward a graduate degree in the School of Education and Music Studies.  No grade below 2.0 (C) may be applied toward a graduate degree in the Benson School of Business and Social Sciences.  However, the Benson School of Business and Social Sciences allows for no more than two grades below B- for students enrolled in a graduate degree program to remain in good academic standing.  A student who earns grades lower than B- for two courses, including grades earned in microcredential courses, will be placed on academic warning.  If another course grade lower than B- is earned, the student will not be permitted to continue in the business degree program.

A certificate of completion will be issued to students who successfully complete the required courses for the microcredential program.  Completion of the microcredential program will be recorded on the student’s academic transcript.

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 manage 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 chair 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 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 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 chair and recommend to the provost a response that may include academic dismissal from the university.
  3. Explain the appeal process to the student, which is thus detailed below in the catalog.
  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 take 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.

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 department coordinator, in writing, within ten (10) working days after being informed that the grade for the course will be F.  If the department coordinator 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 department coordinator, the student may appeal the decision in writing to the appropriate academic school chair within ten (10) working days. The academic school chair 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 school chair’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 his or her academic success coach (ASC), 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.


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

Tutoring Services


SMARTHINKING is an online tutoring service offered by Southern Wesleyan University to SWU Online students. The service is free to 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 864-644-5036 or learningcenter@swu.edu. 


Workplace Policies

Children in the Classroom

Southern Wesleyan University supports an academic environment that is conducive to learning for all students and is not equipped to offer childcare accommodations or services.  SWU cannot assume the responsibility for supervising children who accompany their parent or legal guardian into the classroom or into other instructional settings or leave children unattended at any campus site.

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 if 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 arrange 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:
  2. 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;
  3. to third parties endorsed by SWU who perform an institutional service or function for the University;
  4. to officials of another postsecondary institution at which a student seeks or intends to enroll;
  5. in response to a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena;
  6. 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;
  7. in connection with financial aid for which the student has applied or which the student has received;
  8. 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;
  9. to appropriate officials in connection with a health or safety emergency;
  10. 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;
  11. 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 and the overwhelming evidence that smoking is harmful to the individual who smokes and also to those individuals around the smoker, Southern Wesleyan has taken the positive step of declaring itself to be a smoke-free campus. Off-campus facilities are also smoke-free areas.

University policy for the Online and Graduate Programs 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, Online and Graduate Programs enforces the no-smoking rule in Online and Graduate Programs classrooms, hallways and common areas. The current policy has worked well, and the faculty and staff hope that all students put forth an effort not to smoke at all, especially during the hours of class.