Academic Policies

Office of the Registrar

Mission: The Office of the Registrar provides quality service to the Vanguard community and supports the university mission through implementing academic policy, providing precise reporting, and maintaining accurate academic and institutional records.

The following academic policies are specific to the traditional undergraduate programs of the University. For information specific to Graduate programs or Professional Studies, please see those sections of this catalog.

Academic Calendar

Vanguard University operates on a two-semester academic calendar system.

Fall Semester—The semester normally is scheduled from late August to the Christmas Holiday. A normal load for this session is twelve to eighteen units.

Spring Semester—The semester normally is scheduled from early January to early May. A normal load for this session is twelve to eighteen units.

Summer Sessions—The Summer term, which normally is scheduled from mid-May through early July, is generally divided into three sessions.


Registration dates are specified on the calendar at the beginning of this catalog. A student may register for a course or courses after the cutoff date given, but for no more than the number of units equal to the number of full weeks remaining in the semester (including the week of final examinations), and with the permission of the instructor(s) involved and Dean of the College.

Students will receive credit only for those courses in which they are formally registered. No registration is complete until tuition and fees have been paid or a satisfactory arrangement has been made with the Office of Accounting Operations. Late fees may be charged to students who do not complete the registration process by the published deadlines.

Students may not receive credit for concurrent enrollment at any other institution without prior approval by the Registrar. Further, the University reserves the right to cancel any scheduled course in which the enrollment is less than ten.

Diversity/Multicultural Exposure Course Requirement

It is the desire of the University to increase student understanding of the world’s diversity as an essential component of the educational process. Thus, the diversity/multicultural exposure course requirement in the curriculum aims to increase awareness of the richness and variety of contributions to society, culture, knowledge. Diversity/multicultural exposure courses thus consider:

  1. the concerns and contributions of women and people of diverse backgrounds (as defined by race, gender, ethnicity, physical ability, generation, religion, or national origins), and
  2. a need for cooperation within a complex and increasingly interdependent global community. Furthermore, as a community of Christians, 
  3. equipping all students to demonstrate the Christian ethic of love by embracing  reconciliation, promoting social justice, and carrying out transformative and redemptive actions in the name of Jesus Christ.

Learning Outcomes:

The university expects its students to excel in four diversity learning outcomes:

  • Knowledge: Demonstrates knowledge of multiple cultural perspectives and global experiences by articulating the value of diversity through reports, presentations, examinations, field-work, and discipline-appropriate projects.
  • Self-Examination: Examines one’s own attitudes, values, and assumptions and examines their impact. Evaluates one’s own attitudes, assumptions, and behavior towards diversity concerns and issues by recognizing, examining, and challenging underlying assumptions and prejudices through coursework such as self-reflective essays, reading responses, and journal entries, with the recognition that such work is a life-long endeavor.
  • Personal Engagement: Engages others with civility, empathy, honesty and responsibility with awareness of equity issues such as power dynamics and social privilege in these interactions. Demonstrates respectful and appropriate behavior when interacting with people of different genders, generation, religion, ethnicity, race, national origin, socioeconomic status, and ability by developing sensitivity to equity issues (such as power dynamics and social privilege) through field experience, research, and analytical reading and writing.
  • Social Engagement: Challenges past, present and future discrimination and privilege of individuals, societies, groups and institutions.  Identifies and begins to seek out transformative and redemptive opportunities in the church, in society, and in the evolving realities of global change through academic, co-curricular, internship, and vocational opportunities.

Broad Scope and Flexibility

The diversity/multicultural exposure requirement can be fulfilled with either:

  • Three (3) units of Diversity Focused (DF) courses, or
  • Twelve (12) units of Diversity Enhanced (DE) courses.

Diversity Focused (DF) courses are wholly centered on matters related to either gender, race, ethnicity, religion, lifestyle, and/or global perspectives. The subject matter is identified in the syllabus as such, and the course title often reflects the content as “diversity focused.”

Diversity Enhanced (DE) courses devote at least one-quarter of their content and time to diversity topics.

The requirement guarantees that every student who takes at least one DF, or a series of DE courses, will have exposure(s) that promote(s) greater understanding of some aspect of the many cultural, gender, or other diversities which characterize the modern world.

The following are approved Diversity Focused (DF) courses:1   

ANTH-102CIntro to Cultural Anthropology3
ANTH/HIST-317Modern China3
ANTH/SOC-320Social & Cultural Change3
ANTH/SOC-343Class,Race,Ethnicity & Gender3
ANTH-358World Religions3
ANTH-450Anthropology Teaching Internship1-3
ANTH-480Individual Studies:1-3
COMM-318Nonverbal Communication3
COMM-345Intercultural Communication3
COMM-374Gender Communication3
COMM-376Interracial Communication3
COMM-448Ethnography of Communication3
EDUC-315Teaching/Multicultural Setting3
ENGL-433Global Voices: World Literature3
ENGL-444Culture Focus:3
HIST-203CWorld Civilizations I3
HIST-204CWorld Civilization II3
HIST-356History and Geography of California3
HIST-360Women in American History3
ICST-102Intro/Intercultural Studies3
ICST-345Intercultural Comm in Ministry3
KINE/SOC-258Soc of Sport & Human Movement3
MUSC-253Music in Global Cultures2
MUSC-327Music History & Literature III2
OT-425Women in the Books of Samuel3
OT-430Women in Early Israel3
PLST/THEO-432Women in Ministry3
PSYC-331Diversity in the Helping Professions3
PSYC-335Social & Psychological Aspects of Aging3
PSYC-352Culture and Psychology3
SOC-100CIntroduction to Sociology3
SPAN-330Literature of Latin America3
SPAN-365Curso Panoramico de Latinoamer3
SPAN-464Religion/Culture/Latin America3
WJST-110Intro/Women's Studies: Gender/Justice2
WJST-212Ensure Justice Conference in Women's Studies1
WJST-345Human Trafficking3
WJST-410Research in Women's Studies3

 The following are approved Diversity Enhanced (DE) courses:1

ENGL-230CLiterature and the Human Experience3
ENGL-309Awakenings: Voices in American Lit3
KINE-231Global Games/Recreatn/Activit3

Enrollment Status Definitions

Undergraduate1 – 12 units
Graduate – 9 units

Undergraduate1 – 9 units
Graduate – 7 units

Undergraduate1 – 6 units
Graduate – 5 units

Student Academic Load in the College

A normal academic load is from twelve to eighteen units per semester. Students taking less than twelve units are considered part-time. Students who are employed for more than three hours of work daily may find that twelve units is a sufficient load. Students contemplating participation in Commencement with provisional honors should consider carefully the paragraph on “Honors” that appears later in this section.

Students who wish to register for more than eighteen units must have a cumulative “B” average and must secure advance written approval from the Department Chair of their major. Ideally, a student should budget two hours of preparation for each class hour.

The following persons must maintain twelve or more units per semester: international students possessing a student visa (F-1 status), Social Security dependents, students receiving Cal Grants, students who participate in intercollegiate athletics, and students whose extra-curricular programs dictate.

Special Class Enrollment Options 

Conference Courses—Junior or Senior students, who for good reason cannot enroll in a listed catalog course when it is regularly scheduled, may request to take a conference course. To have a conference course approved, a student must

  1. receive permission from the instructor offering the course, the appropriate Department Chair, and the Registrar’s Office; and
  2. pay a fee in addition to the regular tuition. No more than four conference courses may be credited toward graduation.

Individual Studies Courses—Junior or Senior students with at least a 3.0 grade point average may pursue specifically designed courses of individualized study within their major for up to three units per semester and for a total of twelve units applicable to graduation. Such courses are initiated by the student, who must secure an appropriate sponsoring faculty member to supervise and evaluate the project. A written prospectus of the nature of the proposed study, its objectives, resources, procedures, requirements, and basis for evaluation—as devised by the instructor or by the student in consultation with the instructor—must be submitted to the appropriate Department Chair and Registrar’s Office for approval. Individual studies carry an additional fee beyond regular tuition.

Pass/Fail Courses—Outstanding seniors and juniors may enroll for one course each semester on a Pass/Fail basis. A maximum of two courses taken on a Pass/Fail basis may be credited toward graduation. The request for such a grade must be made at the time of registration. These courses may not be used to meet core, major, or professional requirements with one exception: With the permission of the Dean of the College, seniors maintaining a GPA of at least 3.25 may use an upper division course to meet a core curriculum requirement. A grade of “C” must be earned in order to be granted a “Pass” grade for the course. A grade of “C-” or below will result in an “F” grade recorded on the transcript. A grade of  “P” does not affect the grade point average, but a grade of  “F” does. If an “A” grade is earned, it will be recorded on the transcript.

Residence Courses—Residence courses are those taken during regularly scheduled sessions on the VU campus as distinct from extension, online, or other special courses.

Auditing Courses—Students may attend class with no obligation to participate actively in the work. For such students, no examinations are given, no assignments are requested or marked; however, no credit may be obtained for such attendance. Students who are full-time traditional undergraduates pay no additional fee. Students must attend at least 50% of the class sessions in order to have the audited course recorded on the transcript.

Cross Registration between Traditional Undergraduate (TUG) Degree Programs and Professional Studies (PS) Degree Programs

Students enrolled in a Traditional Undergraduate (TUG) degree program may enroll concurrently in classes in Professional Studies (PS) degree programs according to the following criteria:

  1. Students are considered on a case-by-case basis and will be assessed as to fit for the PS program.
  2. Students must obtain “cross-registration” approval from the
    1. Professional Studies programs office;
    2. the appropriate PS Program Chair;
    3. the student’s TUG Academic Advisor;
    4. and the Office of Accounting Operations. Approval may be granted in highly unusual circumstances, such as a course is needed by a senior level student for graduation in his/her final semester.
  3. Students must possess a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher and have at least 88 cumulative units (i.e., senior status) to be eligible to take both Major and general education courses. Students who have not achieved senior status may request to cross-register, however, they must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.331.
  4. Students may not cross-register for more than six cumulative units 1.
  5. Students will be enrolled in PS Degree Programs as “student-at-large” (not eligible for Financial Aid).
  6. Students will pay the prevailing PS tuition rate.
  7. Students wishing to cross-register in PS Degree Programs should request a cross-registration application form from the Graduate and Professional Studies Admissions Office.
  8. Additional signatures may be necessary for students who wish to have PS courses satisfy major and/or core curriculum requirements. Consultation with the Department Chair (major requirement) or the Core Curriculum Chair (Core requirement) is recommended prior to registration. 

PS Degree Program students at VU may enroll concurrently in classes in VU’s TUG Degree Programs according to the following criteria:

  1. Students are considered on a case-by-case basis.
  2. Students must obtain cross-registration approval by the Dean of the College (TUG).
  3. Students will be enrolled in the College as “student-at-large” (not eligible for Financial Aid).
  4. Students will pay the prevailing traditional undergraduate tuition rate.
  5. Students wishing to cross-register in traditional coursework should request a cross-registration application form from the Undergraduate Admissions Office.

Course Numbering 

Course numbers are assigned as follows:

Number Definition
90-99 Considered college preparatory and are not accepted toward Bachelor degrees.
100-199 Freshman level – lower division
200-299 Sophomore level – lower division (Freshmen are admitted to this level of courses provided prerequisites have been met.)
300-499 Upper division (Sophomores who have their advisor’s consent and have met prescribed prerequisites are admitted to this level.)
500-599 Graduate level (These courses may also be offered at the undergraduate level for qualified students.)
600-799 Graduate level only
1000-2999 Undergrad level professional development (not degree applicable)
3000-4999 Undergrad level continuing education (not degree applicable)
5000-8999 Graduate level professional development (not degree applicable)
9000-9999 Graduate level continuing education (not degree applicable)

A course number followed by the letter C (such as THEO-101C Foundations of Christian Life) indicates the course is part of the core curriculum. 

A course number followed by the letter L (such as BIOL-220L Cell Biology Lab) indicates that it is a laboratory course.

A course number followed by the letter R (such as CHEM-304R Organic Chemistry I Recitation) indicates that is a recitation course.

Change of Class Schedule 

Students are responsible for the individual program they select upon registration. Changes may be made online during designated Online Registration time periods, and thereafter must be made by the filing of an add/drop form in the Office of the Registrar. A class dropped during the first two full weeks of the semester is not entered on the transcript; however, one dropped subsequently up to the end of the eighth full week will appear on the transcript with a grade of “W.” Classes dropped after the eighth week will receive a grade of “WF” unless the professor, aware of extenuating circumstances beyond the control of the student, is willing to grant a “WP”; however, the student must be earning a minimum grade of “C” in the course to warrant a “WP.”

All classes added after the second full week of classes must be approved by the instructor and the appropriate Dean.

For those courses that are offered on an unusual calendar, withdrawals received in the Office of the Registrar during regular business hours prior to the end of the first eighth of the total number of class hour sessions offered in the course will have no entry made on the transcript; a grade of “W” will be issued for withdrawals received between one eighth and one half of the total number of class hour sessions; withdrawals received in the Office of the Registrar during regular business hours in the final half of the class will receive a grade of “WF” unless the professor, aware of extenuating circumstances beyond the control of the student, is willing to grant a “WP.”

Declaring a Major 

All students are urged to declare a major no later than the end of their third full semester of work. Students may be aided in this determination by consulting with departments of interest or an Undeclared Advisor. Formal declaration of a major or a change of major is made by filing a “Change or Declaration of Major" form in the Office of the Registrar.

Declaring a Minor 

A minor consists on average of twenty units in a single subject area. Students cannot receive minors in the same department as their major. A student who desires a departmental minor should consult the appropriate department. Minors are not formally declared in the Office of the Registrar until the student applies to graduate.

A Second Bachelor’s Degree 

A second Bachelor’s degree may be awarded to a student who applies providing a minimum of thirty units beyond the units required for the first Bachelor’s is achieved. A second Bachelor’s degree may be pursued concurrently with the first one providing no units are applied to both degrees (with the exception of Core Curriculum courses), including the total number of units needed for the first degree (124 minimum).  The second Bachelor’s must be in a major significantly different from the first Bachelor’s, and a minimum grade point average of 2.0 must be maintained. Requirements for both degrees must be fully satisfied. No more than six units may be transferred toward the second degree’s major—no more than six units may be lower division. A student desiring to be considered for a second Bachelor’s must be enrolled at VU in the final semester in which graduation requirements are to be met and an “Application for Graduation” must be submitted to the Office of the Registrar no later than the second week of the semester in which graduation is anticipated.

Students may complete a second major at VU and have the second major indicated on the transcript and diploma; however, only those students who have achieved a second Bachelor’s degree will be awarded a second diploma and be permitted to participate in the commencement ceremonies for a second time.

Interdisciplinary Studies 

The Liberal Studies major is an interdisciplinary program which provides an opportunity for students to seek a broad liberal arts education rather than to concentrate in a single academic discipline.

The Liberal Studies major is the approved academic program for those seeking a California Multiple/Single Subject Teaching Credential. Those students seeking a teaching credential should consult the Graduate Program in Education, Department of Liberal Studies, for specific requirements.

Off Campus Study Programs

Vanguard University is committed to cultivating Spirit-empowered leaders with significant cross-cultural experience. Toward that end, the university provides local and global outreach opportunities as well as off campus study programs for academic credit, both international and domestic. 

Vanguard University Programs

VISA (Vanguard Intercultural Studies Abroad): Costa Rica :

Vanguard Intercultural Studies Abroad (VISA) is a comprehensive program available to Religion majors (and qualifying Religion minors) with junior and senior status. The three-month program in San Jose, Costa Rica, includes 15 units of coursework, including language study, plus a three-unit on-field practicum.  For program details see Department of Religion.

Vanguard Study Intensives

Programs may change each year.  Contact the Office of Global Education and Outreach for more information as to what programs are available for this academic year.

Vanguard Sundance Film Festival (Park City, Utah)

For program description see the Department of Communication section of the Catalog.

Center for Holy Land Studies Tour

A multi-week journey through the Holy Lands in partnership with the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary.  There are two programs available: one centered in Israel and the other focused on the Life of Paul that may include travel to Greece, Italy and Turkey.  Students earn 3 units of academic credit for each program.

Affiliated Semester Programs

Vanguard University maintains partnerships with a number of external study abroad programs as well as the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities’ Best Semester programs.  For more information about these opportunities see the Office of Global Education and Outreach.

Council for Christian Colleges and Universities Study Programs 

The Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU), an association of more than 100 member institutions in North America and more than 70 affiliates in 23 countries, offers a number of semester and Summer programs to students of its member institutions. Students of Vanguard University are eligible to participate in any of the study programs offered by the CCCU (see below). These interdisciplinary learning opportunities are available to students with Junior or Senior standing. Students generally take at least 16 units during their semester abroad and should consult with their academic advisors to see how the off campus study coursework fits with their academic program. Listed below are the courses available in each of the CCCU programs. For more detailed information about any of these programs visit the CCCU website at

Washington D.C. American Studies Program (ASP) Courses (15-16 units)

Students can take the following courses during a semester-in-residence in Washington, D.C. (for a total of 15 units). ASP courses satisfy upper division History and Political Science major requirements and possibly other major requirements—consult your academic advisor. For more information, contact the Department of History and Political Science.


The CINCEL Program (Centro de Investigaciones Cultural y Estudios Lingüísticos) in San José, Costa Rica, in conjunction with Vanguard University, offers Vanguard students who are majoring in Spanish, and others, a total immersion experience in Spanish. Students must demonstrate commitment and interest in the Spanish language at Vanguard University before going to CINCEL. Motivation will be as important as actual previous achievement, since the CINCEL staff are accustomed to working with students at all levels. The program features home-stay with select host families, and an academic program of courses. The program is for one semester (16 weeks, 16 units) during any one of CINCEL’s trimesters, or a half semester (8 weeks, 8 units) available during the Summer trimester. For the purpose of assessment, students will take a proficiency test both before and following their CINCEL experience. Prerequisites: Upon approval of the Chair of the Vanguard University Spanish Department, students may apply CINCEL units toward their Vanguard University Major (8 or 16 units) or Minor (no more than 8 units). Students will receive no credit for CINCEL unless currently enrolled as full-time students at Vanguard University. Non-Spanish majors or minors may earn elective units providing they have previous clearance from their own department and the Spanish Department. Students must have completed the intermediate level (SPAN 203-204) or the equivalent.

CINCEL Courses (8, 16 units)

(Note:  The lesser unit values refer to courses in the 8-week Summer trimester for students pursuing the Minor in Spanish).

SPAN-380Cincel Semester Abroad1
SPAN-382Spanish Grammar, Cincel2-5
SPAN-384Spanish Conversation, Cincel2-4
SPAN-386Spanish Phonetics, Cincel2-4
SPAN-388Spanish Practicum, Cincel1-2

Advanced students, if recommended by CINCEL, may take one or more of the following courses:

SPAN-481Lit of Latin America, Cincel2
SPAN-483Composition, Cincel2
SPAN-485Translation, Cincel2

Additional Coursework at CINCEL

Any student desiring to take extra units of study while at CINCEL must receive written approval in advance from the Spanish Department, and have academic and financial registration completed for the units before going to CINCEL. To be counted as Spanish units, such extra units must be taught in Spanish with Spanish readings, and not novels in English translation, for example.

Additional Study Abroad Opportunities

In addition to the off-campus programs offered by Vanguard University and its affiliates, students can study abroad in programs offered by select external organizations.   Students are required to complete a  Study Abroad Application Packet from the Office of Global Education and Outreach and consult with their academic advisors to see how any program they are considering fits with their academic program. 

Study Abroad Courses

Academic credit for college-sponsored study trips conforms to WSCUC guidelines. One unit hour is granted for each week of study, with an additional unit hour possible if academically warranted. Students should consult with their academic advisor, department chair, and study abroad personnel for counsel on either Vanguard or off-campus study abroad programs. Please see the "Off-Campus Study Programs" section of this Catalog for more detailed information on study abroad programs offered through VU.  Students wishing to study abroad through an institution other than Vanguard should contact the Office of Global Education and Outreach for appropriate paperwork and approval.

Credit by Testing and Extension 

Vanguard University grants a maximum of twenty-four units from Advanced Placement (AP), College Level Examination Program (CLEP), International Baccalaureate (I.B.), other testing organizations, or from non-VU extension and correspondence programs. VU grants credit to students who receive a grade of “3” or higher on tests administered in the AP program of the College Board unless otherwise indicated by the appropriate department. Credit for exams taken through CLEP will be awarded based on recommendations by CLEP and the appropriate department. Typically a minimum score of 50 is required. VU grants credit to students who receive a score of “4” or higher on the higher-level exams in the I.B. program. Work taken through any regionally accredited extension, online, or correspondence program may be recognized for fulfilling graduation requirements. Go to for more detailed information.

Appeals Procedure

A student seeking a variance from any stated academic policy should consult with the department of the course/policy in questions. Academic Policy Exception Request forms are available online or in the Office of the Registrar. The final appeal in all student academic matters is to the Provost, who serves as the chief academic officer of the university.