Graduate Studies

Mission: The Graduate Studies Programs at Vanguard University (VU) serve lifelong learners throughout their educational journey. The structure and format of the degree programs makes it possible and manageable for working adults to finish their educational goals without sacrificing their careers and important responsibilities while still accomplishing their educational aspirations.

The following sections apply to all graduate programs.

Student Learning Outcomes

  1. Integration of Faith and Learning: Students will develop and articulate a Biblical worldview informed by a Pentecostal perspective, integrating faith with learning.
  2. Cultural Competency and Citizenship: Students will understand and practice effective local, national and global citizenship and demonstrate appreciation of diverse psychological, social, historical and artistic aspects of culture.
  3. Communication: Students will demonstrate effective, graduate-level written and oral communication skills.
  4. Critical Thinking: Students will develop and apply qualitative and quantitative critical thinking skills.
  5. Holistic Living: Students will appreciate and demonstrate a holistic view of health and living.
  6. Information Competency: Students will demonstrate foundational technology skills that allow one to locate and evaluate the integrity of information, and to understand the ethical uses of information.

Diversity 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, 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.

Admissions Information

Applications and information about graduate program admission may be obtained from the Graduate and Nursing Admissions Office:

When submitting an application, a non-refundable $45.00 application fee is required. Once all supporting information has been received and the application is complete, the full application will be reviewed. Finalists may be invited for an onsite or telephone interview. All applicants are evaluated without regard to race, gender, age, political affiliation, national origin or disabling conditions.

The completed application form, along with all supporting documents, should be submitted to the Graduate and Nursing Admissions Office.

Please contact Graduate and Nursing Studies Admissions directly or refer to the website for specifics regarding application deadlines and acceptance notification for both Fall and Spring admissions.

International Students

International students, whether on campus students or distant learning/online students, are required to complete the standard admissions process for acceptance by the University and additionally must fulfill the following requirements:

  • Affidavit of Financial Support:  Submit annual financial certification showing financial sponsorship for duration of planned study.  Financial aid, with the exception of institutional talent scholarships, is not available for international students.
  • All students need to be fluent in English to follow course lectures and complete their written assignments. The university might require documentation for fluency in English. Such tests as TOEFL and/or TSE might be required for international students whose first language is not English. A minimum score of 550 is normally expected on the written version, a minimum score of 213 is normally expected on the computerized version, and a minimum score of 80 is normally expected for the internet based version. A (slightly) lower score may be accepted if accompanied by documentation of a successful evaluation from an English as a Second Language program (ESL) here in the United States.
  • Deposit: For Fall students, submit a check in US dollars to cover 70% of basic costs of first academic year before the I-20 form is issued.  For Spring students, submit a check in US dollars to cover 100% of basic costs of the Spring semester before the I-20 form is issued.
  • Appropriate Visa documentation: International student applying within the U.S. must submit copies of their visa, I-94, and if on a student visa, copies of their I-20 A-B Form.
  • Student Visa: F-1 International students must maintain full time student status each semester for their program. Contact the degree program for more information about how many units are required for full time status.
  • Non Student Visa: Those currently in the U.S. on a visa other than an F-1 student visa (M-1, J-1, R-1, etc.) may only attend as a part time student. Contact the degree program for more information about how many units are allowed for part time status.
  • Transferring: To become eligible for transfer to VU from another American college, approval must be obtained from the previous school attended and the US Immigration and Naturalization Service.
  • Transferring from another institution outside of the U.S.: Transferring any units from a university or seminary overseas, all transcripts must be submitted to an agency that evaluates transcripts. All transcripts should be an English translation, and must be notarized by the U.S. Consul or notary, or another authority.

Academic Policies


Registration dates are specified on the calendar at the beginning of this catalog. 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 prior to the published deadlines.

It is important to maintain active status in a degree program. To do this, the student will register for one or more courses or file a "leave of absence" for each inactive semester. If the student neglects to register or file, he or she will be required to apply for re-admission.

Students may register for courses up to two weeks after the start of a semester with the permission of the Program Director, student's academic advisor and professors. The University reserves the right to refuse late registrations.

Students may not receive credit for concurrent enrollment at any other institution without prior approval by the Program Director. Further, the University reserves the right to cancel any scheduled course that has inadequate enrollment.

Change of Class Schedule

Students are responsible for the classes selected at registration. Changes may be made online during designated Online Registration time periods, and thereafter only by contacting the department and/or filing of an add/drop form in the Office of the Registrar. There is no automatic dropping of courses resulting from a student’s failure to attend class sessions. Students who fail to withdraw officially will automatically be given a grade of “F” (failure) by the professor.

A class dropped during the first two full weeks of a 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 Director.

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.”

For example:

Five to Seven Week Classes

Classes Academic Action
Prior to 2nd Class Meeting Complete drop off record
After 2nd Class and Prior to 4th “W” recorded (Withdrawal)
After 4th class meeting “WF” recorded (Withdrawal Failing)

Eight to Ten Week Classes         

Classes Academic Action
Prior to 2nd Class Meeting Complete drop
After 2nd Class and Prior to 5th “W” recorded (Withdrawal)
After 5th class meeting “WF” recorded (Withdrawal Failing)

Credit Hour Policy

See Credit Hour Policy section in University Policies.

Special Class Enrollment Options

Conference Courses

Students, who for good reason cannot enroll in a listed catalog course when it is regularly scheduled, can 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 Program Coordinator, the appropriate Department Chair, and the Registrar’s office; and
  2. pay a fee in addition to the regular tuition.

Individual Studies Courses

Students may pursue specifically designed courses of individualized study within their disciplines. Such courses are initiated by the student, who must secure an appropriate sponsoring faculty member to supervise and evaluate the student’s work. All individual studies courses must have prior approval from the appropriate Program Coordinator, the appropriate Department Chair, and the Registrar’s office. All individual studies courses carry an additional fee beyond the regular tuition.

Pass/Fail Courses

Students may not elect to take courses on a “pass/fail” or “credit/no credit” basis. “Pass” or “Credit” courses will be granted for specific courses designed by each graduate department. Students must have a minimum evaluation of a “B-“ to earn the units.

Veterans Benefits

See Veterans Benefits section in University Policies.

University Leave of Absence and Withdrawal Policy

See the University's Leave of Absence and Withdrawal Policy section in Academic Information.

Graduate Program Leave of Absence Policy

All graduate programs have an established time limit within which to graduate.  If the time limit is not met, the student will not be able to continue any further study.  A leave of absence does not extend the maximum time permitted for the completion of degree requirements, rather it is counted as part of the time.  Refer to the policy of the applicable graduate program regarding the allowed time and for other information which may be program specific.  Any exceptions will be up to the program and will include but not be limited to a plan of action for degree completion, a detailed time frame, and approval of the program director. Any leave of absence my be filed with the Office of the Registrar.

Any student granted a leave during the add/drop period (as outlined in the University Catalog) for the semester will be dropped from any classes that the student is enrolled in. If the leave is granted after 75% of the semester the student may, with faculty approval, receive an Incomplete for one or more courses. If an Incomplete is not deemed appropriate, a grade of “W” will be issued. No refund of charges will be made for courses in which an Incomplete is given. No credit is earned for any course in which a “W” is issued. Refunds, if any, will be granted based upon the University's refund policy as found in the University course catalog.

Military Leave of Absence Policy

Military Leave is available for students using G.I. Benefits or Tuition Assistance Funding who, due to documented deployment or drilling, need to leave the University during the semester without completing their current coursework, or to withdraw from the University for up to two consecutive semesters.  Students on military leave are not regarded as having permanently withdrawn and need not apply for readmission.  Information regarding Military leave can be found in the Veterans Enrollment Certification and Benefits section of the catalog.

Grading System 

Grade Significance Grade Points
A Exceptional 4.00
A- 3.67
B+ 3.33
B Good 3.00
B- 2.67
C+ 2.33
C Satisfactory 2.00
C- 1.67
D+ 1.33
D Poor 1.00
D- .67
F Failure 0.00
W Withdrawl Not Applicable
WP Withdrawal Passing Not Applicable
WF Withdrawal Failure 0.00
CR Credit Not Applicable
I Incomplete Not Applicable
P Pass (Granted for "C" or higher) Not Applicable
AU Audit Not Applicable

A grade point is a numerical value assigned to a letter grade. Each unit of a grade of "A" is assigned four (4) grade points. Each unit of a grade of "B" is assigned three (3) grade points, et cetera. Thus, for example, a three unit course with a grade of B is assigned a total of nine (9) grade points. A grade point average (GPA) is determined by dividing the total number of grade points by the number of credits attempted for which grade points have been assigned.

The term "current grade point average" refers to the GPA earned in the last semester of enrollment. The term "cumulative grade point average," on the other hand, refers to the average of the total grade points accumulated divided by the total of all graduate credits attempted in the University. The cumulative GPA is calculated and entered on the transcript of the students’ academic record at the end of each full semester. While courses may be transferred from other graduate institutions, grade point averages are determined only on the basis of courses completed at VU.

Incomplete Grades

It is the responsibility of the student to obtain a “Petition for Incomplete Grade” form from the program office and to contact the course professor(s) as early as possible. Petitions are approved by the professor. The professor is under no obligation to assign an incomplete grade.  An incomplete will be considered for a significant, unexpected, abrupt change in life over which the student does not have control.  Examples of acceptable grounds for granting an incomplete grade include personal or family illness of more than brief duration, serious personal or family crisis, or an unplanned increase in job responsibilities. Unacceptable grounds include heavy or difficult class load, heavy work schedule, or computer problems.

All incomplete work for full-semester courses (16 weeks) is due 6 weeks from the last day of that semester. Incomplete work for accelerated courses (5-8 weeks) is due 30 days from the last day of that module. Failure to complete and submit the required work on time will result in a grade of “F”.

Grade Change Policy

See Grade Change Policy in University Policies.

Grade Appeals

See Grade Appeals section in University Policies.

Course Repeat Policy

Academic courses offered at Vanguard University are not repeatable unless specifically noted in the catalog. Those students who wish to retake a course due to a low or failing grade are permitted to register again for the same course during any given semester. All grades will appear on the student’s permanent academic record (transcript). When a course is repeated, all grades will remain on the transcript, but only the higher grade is computed in the grade point average. In the case that grades are the same, only the most recent grade will be included in the G.P.A. 

Class Attendance

Regular and punctual class attendance is expected. Failure to attend may result in a lower or failing course grade. See the program sections and course syllabi for more information.

Academic Disqualification

Students academically disqualified (see program sections for information on student standing) will be dismissed from the program and are precluded from further enrollment. In certain situations (explained in the letter informing the student of disqualification) students may appeal for re-entry. Appeals begin with the Director of the Program.

Appeals Procedure

A student seeking a variance from any stated academic policy should consult with the department. 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.

Application for Graduation

An application for graduation must be obtained from and filed with the Registrar’s Office no later than the first week of the student’s final semester in which the degree will be granted. Students who have filed an application for graduation and do not complete their requirements by the projected date of completion are required to file again in a later semester.

Awarding of Degree

Degrees are formally awarded at the end of the Fall, Spring and Summer terms. The degree is posted on the transcript as of the last day of the term in which the graduation requirements are met. Commencement exercises are held annually at the end of the Spring term.

Release of Student Records

See Release of Student Records in University Policies.