Undergraduate Adult (PLS) Program in the College of Arts and Sciences

Dean: Shaily Menon, Ph.D.

Associate Dean, Education Division: John Vacca, Ph.D.

Associate Dean, Humanities Division: Shawn M. Krahmer, Ph.D.

Associate Dean, Mathematics Natural Science & Computer Science Division: Jean M. Smolen, Ph.D.

Associate Dean, Social Sciences Division: Matthew J. Anderson, Ph.D.

Executive Director, Graduate and Extended Studies: Mary Ellen Hickes, M.A.

Director,  PLS Advising and Curriculum Planning:  Maria Beazley, M.A.

PLS Advisor:   Marita Hurst, M.Ed.

The College of Arts and Sciences Undergraduate Adult Program is known as the Professional and Liberal Studies (PLS) Program.  Adult Education has been an integral part of Saint Joseph’s University since 1915, connecting the Jesuit tradition of academic excellence and service with the contemporary needs of adult learners. The PLS Program administers adult undergraduate Arts and Sciences degree programs, certificate programs, off-campus programs, summer session, January intersession, and non- credit offerings. PLS also works in partnership with select regional employers to provide quality programs that support the education and professional advancement of their employees. PLS has an administrative responsibility for undergraduate adult programs, with curricular and instructional decisions made by academic departments in the College of Arts and Sciences.


The Professional and Liberal Studies  (PLS) program at Saint Joseph's University embraces the experience of our diverse adult students and challenges  them to adapt to the demands of a global society  through engagement in an integrative curriculum built on a strong liberal arts foundation.  The PLS community prides itself on sharing its Jesuit  roots and Ignatian values of ethics, social justice, and care for the whole person.  It is our vision for PLS students to further develop themselves as critical thinkers, skilled creators, and innovators within their professional  and personal lives.

Student Profile

The College of Arts and Sciences PLS Program serves both full-time and part-time non-traditional-age students and part-time, traditional-age students who are pursuing their undergraduate education. Students enter PLS with or without having earned previous college credit. Some adult students enter PLS to complete a degree program after  a delay from formal education. Work, family, and financial obligations influence the pace of adult and part-time students’ academic careers. Therefore, degree completion time varies. Other adult  students have already earned undergraduate degrees and enroll in PLS for specific courses that  will promote their professional advancement.

Degree and Certificate Programs

A list of programs offered through the  PLS program can be found on  the College of Arts & Sciences homepage

Degree and Certificate Programs

Bachelor  degree requires successful completion of 40 courses and a minimum of 120 credits (see Curricula section).  PLS students may also earn a Certificate of Proficiency or Post-Baccalaureate Certificate. The number of courses required varies depending upon specific certificate curriculum requirements. PLS students cannot graduate with more than one certificate or degree in the same field at the same time.

For further information regarding PLS Programs, please contact the PLS department at 610-660-1267 or email plsadmit@sju.edu.


The PLS program within the College of Arts and Sciences at Saint Joseph’s University  offers a “rolling admission” policy, meaning applications are accepted on a continuous basis if space is available. Typically, students submit all application materials for consideration up to two weeks before the start of a semester. Applicants may apply for fall, spring, or summer semesters. Students may apply for admission to programs offered on-campus, online, or as a visiting/isolated credit student. Admission to the PLS program is based on prior academic performance.

Application Requirements (On-campus PLS students)

Applications for admission are reviewed once all application materials have been submitted. An admission decision is made within three  to five business days. Students will receive official notification of their decision in writing via email.  Requirements are based on the amount of college credits that  a student has  already earned. Official transcripts are required of all applicants, with the exception of some visiting students. Failure to include  all institutions at which an applicant was  enrolled  may invalidate the application. Students who have at least thirty transfer credits are required to submit an application  and official college transcripts. If a student has  no prior college experience or has  earned less than  thirty college credits, the following documents are required for admission: application official college transcripts (if applicable), official high school transcript with graduation date or GED test scores, personal essay of 250 – 500 words  (topic  available by contacting the PLS office), and one letter  of recommendation. All documents submitted become the property of the University.  Applications are considered incomplete until all official documents are received.

Application Requirements (Online PLS students)

For students applying to the Professional and Liberal Studies Online Degree Completion and Certificate programs, information is available at online.sju.edu.

Admission Policy for Academically Dismissed SJU Day Students

A Saint  Joseph’s University  day student who has  not met the academic standards of the University  (as determined by the Board of Academic Review and Dean of that  school) and has  been academically dismissed from the day program will not be considered for admission to the PLS Program for a period  of at least one semester or full summer term following dismissal from the day program.

The PLS Program reserves the right to deny admission to any applicant who has  a documented history of violating  University  rules  and regulations or who has  previously been expelled or suspended from the University.

Second Degree Candidates

Students who have earned a Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts degree in a program requiring  a minimum of 120 credits from a previous college or university and wish to pursue undergraduate studies to obtain a second degree may apply to the PLS Program to do so.  PLS students completing a second degree are required to complete a minimum of 10 additional courses (30 credits) through PLS at Saint  Joseph’s University, including any general education requirements not yet satisfied.  PLS students are required to complete at least four upper  division  courses in their major  at Saint  Joseph’s University unless specifically waived  by the appropriate Department Chair or Program Director (See Residency Requirement in the Academic  Policies and Regulations  section).

Visiting Students

Undergraduate students who attend other  colleges or universities and are in good  academic standing may enroll in classes at Saint  Joseph’s University  to transfer to their respective home institution. A visiting student application and letter  from the student’s home institution indicating good  academic standing are required. Visiting students who wish to take  courses with prerequisites must submit official transcripts depicting the necessary prerequisite on that  transcript. Under this classification, a visiting student may enroll in up to four total  courses.

Isolated Credit / Non Matriculated Students

Non-degree applicants may enroll in up to four PLS classes prior to formally matriculating into a degree program. Under this classification, students are admitted to the University, but not to a specific degree granting program. No financial aid is available. A formal application and academic transcripts are required prior to being admitted as an isolated credit  student.

Acceptance Policy

The decision regarding admission to  the College of Arts and Sciences Professional and Liberal Studies Program is based on a review of application materials and any relevant information obtained by Admissions personnel. The University  reserves the right to deny admission to an applicant who, for any reason, does not demonstrate the capabilities, qualities, skills or commitment believed to be essential for a student in Professional and Liberal Studies.


Saint  Joseph’s University  Professional and Liberal Studies Program, in accordance with Federal and State laws and regulations, does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, creed,  religion, national origin, sexual orientation, sex, age, veteran’s status or handicap, in regards to treatment, access to, or employment in its program or activities. In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), individuals with disabilities requesting accommodations should contact the Office of Student Disability Services at 610-660-1774.

Transfer Credits

A candidate for admission to a degree or certificate program with credits from another college must request official transcripts be sent to SJU from each college or university previously attended.  Students may also be required to submit course descriptions for each course taken outside of SJU. In some instances, a syllabus also  may be required.

International students must provide official transcripts from each high school and university previously attended, translated into English, and a course-by-course evaluation from an approved international credential evaluation service. Please see  the section on International Students for further  information.

Only grades of C or better from fully accredited colleges or universities will be considered for transfer.  Students may transfer a maximum equivalent of 25 courses towards the bachelor’s degree in PLS at the time of admission. PLS students in a bachelor’s degree program are required to complete a minimum of 15  courses at Saint  Joseph’s University, including at least four upper  division  courses in their major.  PLS has articulation agreements with local and regional community colleges designed to facilitate the transfer process. PLS students may transfer the equivalent of 10 SJU courses towards an Associate Degree at the time of admission. A minimum of 10 courses must be completed at Saint  Joseph’s University.

Please note that  the following students may transfer the equivalent of 30 courses towards the bachelor’s degree in PLS at the time of admission: 1) students who are transferring from the SJU Day School, and 2) students who have earned a Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts degree in a program requiring  a minimum of 120 credits from a previous college or university and who are pursuing a second degree at SJU.  These students are required to complete a minimum of 10 courses at Saint  Joseph’s University through the PLS program.

Credits awarded by Assessment through American Council on Education (ACE). A student may be granted transfer credit  for courses evaluated and approved for college credit  by the American Council on Education (ACE). Listings of ACE approved courses and credit  recommendations are contained in two publications: A Guide to the Evaluation of Educational Experiences in the Armed Forces and The National Guide to Educational Credit for Training Programs. Credits  awarded are subject to the same policies as those of any other  transfer credit.

Military Credits. Transfer credit  may be granted for college-level coursework earned while in military service if it is recommended by the American Council on Education (ACE) and if the course meets the content equivalence of a three-credit course offered at Saint  Joseph’s University. ACE recommendations for 1-credit  courses may not be transferred to fulfill a three-credit course requirement. Credit is not awarded for Basic Training or for vocational/technical level recommendations. To initiate an evaluation of military credits, a student must request an official military transcript from their respective service branch. PLS students may access additional information regarding military transcripts and ACE evaluations at http://www.acenet.edu/militaryprograms/transferguide

Credits for Prior Learning

A student in good  academic standing may be eligible to earn  college credit  for prior learning through CLEP (College Level Examination Program) or ELAP (Experiential Learning  Assessment Program). A student cannot earn  CLEP or ELAP credit  for a course in which he or she is presently enrolled  or for a course when he or she  has  completed a more advanced course in the same subject.

To be considered for CLEP or ELAP, a student must:

  • be in good academic standing, and
  • have more than 10 courses remaining in their degree program.

A student may not use  a CLEP exam  or ELAP portfolio  review for credit  if he or she  has  already transferred the maximum number of courses allowed.

CLEP (College Level Examination Program).  Through CLEP, PLS students have the opportunity to earn  college credit  by achieving a passing score on exams in specific subject areas. CLEP (administered by the College Board) offers 33 exams in five subject areas, covering material generally taught in first or second year of college. Students must obtain approval from the PLS Advising Office before taking  a CLEP exam  in order to ensure the applicability of CLEP credits to a PLS program. A listing  of exams and minimum required scores is available in the PLS  Advising office.

ELAP (Experiential Learning Assessment Program).  ELAP provides PLS students the opportunity to validate college level knowledge acquired through study,  work and other  life experiences. PLS offers a portfolio assessment process by which prior learning can be documented and assessed for credit. ELAP applicants may apply for portfolio  assessment credit  for experiences that  are similar  to the course content for a particular course.

It is the student’s responsibility in consultation with an academic advisor to identify courses for which he or she  would like to document identification of appropriate courses. Portfolio assessment is not "an easy way to earn  credits,"  but rather a formal process that  enables PLS students, through careful reflection and documentation, to prove learning equivalent to a SJU course.

Approval of all ELAP requests is at the discretion of each academic department. This process, including portfolio  preparation and academic department/faculty review, may take  approximately two to three  months to complete. If the student is awarded formal credit  as a result of the assessment, that  credit  will be recorded on the student’s permanent record as a transfer course with a grade of TR. ELAP applications may be made after  a student has  been fully accepted and enrolled  in the PLS program.

Academic Advising in PLS

For most PLS students, advising is provided through the PLS Advising Office. Exceptions to this include those majoring in English & Professional Writing and Early Childhood/Elementary Education who also are assigned a faculty advisor within their academic department. Through the advising process, PLS advisors help students to:

  • manage their transition to SJU;
  • develop an academic plan for completing requirements for graduation;
  • be aware of the various campus  resources available including tutoring, The Writing Center, etc.;
  • develop long range educational goals; and,
  • identify opportunities and resources that will enrich their education.

Advising is available for current and returning students, in-person or over the phone, through one-on-one advising sessions. For more information regarding student advising please call 610-660-1267 or email plsadvising@sju.edu.

Registration for Classes

Prior to the opening of registration each semester, PLS and the Registrar’s Office will send email announcements regarding registration and the class schedule. This information will include specific instructions and procedures for registration. It is expected that  students, with assistance from PLS Advising, will register for classes each semester independently through The Nest.

PLS students should review their Degree  Works audit  and read  the catalog carefully  before selecting courses to make  sure  they have the prerequisites or proper  background for each course. Since  the goal of education is academic progress, normally  students should not register for a course when they have earned credit  in a more advanced course in the same subject. Students enrolling  in upper  division  courses who are unsure of the required background should consult with the PLS Advising Office (plsadvising@sju.edu).

All PLS students are encouraged to talk with a member of the PLS Advising Office and/or faculty advisor to review course selections prior to registration each semester. PLS students who are on academic probation are required to obtain approval for course selections prior to registration. Students are not guaranteed seats in classes. Registration is on a first- come,  first-served basis; therefore, students are encouraged to register at the earliest possible opportunity. When courses have filled to capacity, the student must go through the online class waitlist procedure to try for a second-chance seat in the class. If online waitlists are not used,  a student may contact the Chair of the Department to see  if an override  into the closed class is possible.

Academic Policies and Regulations

Degree and Certificate Requirements

To be eligible for a degree or certificate, a student must complete the required number of courses and credits listed  in the various curricula (See Curricula section). Students must complete 40 courses (minimum 120 credits) for a Bachelor’s Degree  and 20 courses (minimum 60 credits) for an Associate Degree.  Students may not graduate with more than  one certificate or degree in the same field. Three credits represent a total  of 42 instructional hours over the course of a semester.

Residency Requirement: 

The residency requirement for an Associate Degree  is fulfilled by the satisfactory completion of at least 10 courses in the PLS program immediately preceding the date of graduation. The residency requirement for a Bachelor’s Degree  is fulfilled by the satisfactory completion of at least 15 courses in the PLS program immediately preceding the date of graduation. Students who are pursuing a second Bachelor’s Degree and those who are transferring to PLS from the SJU Day School are required to complete at least 10 courses in the  PLS program immediately preceding the date of graduation. The residency requirement may not be satisfied by credits earned through CLEP, ELAP (portfolio  assessment),or courses completed elsewhere. PLS students must take  at least four Upper Division courses (level as defined by each academic department) in their major  (online or in classroom) through SJU to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree.  Students must take  at least one Upper Division course in their major  for an Associate Degree.

Please be aware that  once matriculated into the PLS Program, students are expected to complete all remaining courses at Saint  Joseph’s University.  Exceptions may be considered in extenuating academic circumstances by written  request to the appropriate Associate Dean.

Second Major

Qualified PLS students may request permission to pursue a second major for sound academic reasons. Such  a request requires the approval of the PLS Advising Office and chair or program director for the major.   The student must meet all the prerequisites and other  requirements for both majors. The final transcript, not the diploma,  will record the completion of the second major. The degree granted will be the degree appropriate to the primary  major.  Two separate degrees will not be awarded to students who complete a second major.


Bachelor’s degree students may have a minor listed  on their transcript. Approval from the program director or chair for the minor is required. At least one-half  of the courses required must be taken at Saint Joseph’s University.  For minor options and requirements, please see the Undergraduate Day Programs section of the Catalog.

Cancellation of Courses

The University  reserves the right to cancel a course for which there  is insufficient enrollment. When such a cancellation becomes necessary, students will be notified in advance and given the choice of receiving a full refund  or enrolling  in another available course without penalty.


During the add/drop period  at the beginning of each semester or 8-week module,  students freely may make  changes to their schedule through The Nest.   A student who drops a course from their schedule during the add/drop period  will not have the course listed  on their official record. After the Add/Drop period  has  ended, a student who wishes to no longer continue in a course will need to submit a request to withdraw from the course. For add/drop dates, please see  the University’s Academic Calendar.

Withdrawal from a Course (or courses)

A student who wishes to withdraw from a course after  the add/drop period  must do so in writing by completing the appropriate form no later than  the withdrawal deadline date as established by The Registrar’s Office. Students are encouraged to discuss withdrawing from a course with their instructor prior to submitting a withdrawal form to the PLS Advising Office. Withdrawal from any course without completing the required paperwork will result in an F for that  course and will lower a student’s grade point average. Students are permitted to withdraw from an individual course or from all courses. Grading and refund regulations apply only to the courses from which a student has  officially withdrawn. For the refund  schedule, visit the Hawk Central  website at http://www.sju.edu/hawkcentral.

Extraordinary Withdrawal

Withdrawal from a course after  the last  day of the published withdrawal period  requires documentation of an extraordinary and unusual reason. PLS students must submit an Extraordinary Withdrawal request form, documentation to support any extraordinary or unusual reasons for the withdrawal, and approval of the instructor to the PLS Advising Office for final approval by the appropriate Associate Dean. The avoidance of undesirable grades is not sufficient reason for an extraordinary withdrawal.

Should the general good  of the University  be involved, the University reserves the right to request the withdrawal of any student. Withdrawal is not permitted for the purpose of avoiding penalties imposed through the University’s Academic Honesty Policy.

Incomplete Grades (“I” on the Transcript)

The grade of Incomplete, noted as “I “on the grade report, is reported by an instructor to the Program Director or Department Chair and to the Registrar only under the following circumstances (all must apply):

  1. The student has requested an Incomplete.
  2. Course requirements have not been completed for reasons beyond the student’s control (e.g., illness or family emergency), and
  3. The student has completed the majority of the work for the class, and the student can accomplish the remaining requirements within 30 days of the end of the class or reasonable time frame agreed upon by the instructor and student following issuance of the “I” grade.

Please note that if the work for the course is not completed by the agreed time, the “I” will convert to an F. A student may not be given an Incomplete grade if an incomplete from a previous semester is still outstanding.

In Progress Grades (“IP”on the transcript).

The grade of “In Progress,” noted as “IP” on the grade report, indicates that the course spans more than one semester’s work. The final grade will be sent to the Registrar by the instructor upon completion of the course.

Grade Appeal

A PLS student who wishes to appeal the final grade in a course should first contact the instructor of the course in an attempt to remedy the situation. If after  talking  with the instructor the student still thinks that they have been inappropriately evaluated in the course, the student may make  a written  request for review to the Program Director or Department Chair, depending on the program of study. The written  request must describe, in detail, the situation and reason for appealing the course grade. The program director or department chair will consult with the instructor and if a grade change is warranted, make  a recommendation to the Associate Dean for approval.

Student Deactivation

After two years of non-attendance, PLS students will be deactivated and will be required to apply for readmission if/when they decide to return  to their studies at SJU.   To avoid deactivation, a student who is expecting to be away from their studies for a period  of time is encouraged to request a leave of absence.

Leave of Absence

PLS students may request a leave of absence for up to two years.  After two years,  student will be deactivated and will be required to re-apply to be considered for readmission to a PLS program. Students are required to submit a completed PLS Leave of Absence /Withdraw from University form to the PLS Advising Office.

Withdraw from the University

A student may withdraw from their program and University  provided any indebtedness to Saint  Joseph's has  been settled and he/she is not liable for dismissal because of an academic violation  or disciplinary action. Students are required to submit a completed Withdrawal from University form to the PLS Advising Office.

Minimum Standards for Graduation

A cumulative grade point average of 2.0 is the minimum required for a Bachelor’s Degree, Associate Degree, or a Certificate from Saint  Joseph’s University.  Students with a cumulative grade point average below 2.0 at the end of any semester will be notified in writing that  their level of performance may be insufficient to satisfy the requirements for graduation.

Minimum Standards for Retention

PLS students are permitted to take  courses at a rate  that  is appropriate and convenient for them, normally  without incurring  any penalties for delay in completing degree program requirements. Students pursuing Teacher Certification, however,  are required to complete their certification within the time stipulated in departmental regulations.

Grades for PLS students are reviewed at the end of each 8-week module in the fall, spring, and summer semesters.

Bachelor’s Degree  seeking PLS students with an SJU grade point average below the minimum requirement shown in the following table  will be reviewed by the Academic Review Board for PLS, which could lead to a recommendation for academic probation, suspension, or dismissal.   SJU grade point average is calculated by dividing quality  points by GPA hours for courses completed at SJU.  Failures are calculated into the GPA, but withdrawals are not.

Semester completed Minimum GPA
Up to 60 credits 1.8
61-90 credits 1.9
>90 credits 2.0

Please note  that  Degree  seeking PLS students who, after  attempting their first 12 credits at SJU, have a cumulative grade point average below 1.0 will be recommended for academic dismissal. They will be informed of the relevant policies, including the right to appeal their dismissal to the Academic Review Board for PLS (please see  the section on Academic Dismissal for additional information).

Post-Baccalaureate Certificate Students with a GPA below 2.0 after attempting a minimum of 6 credits will be subject to academic probation. Students who are completing a Certificate of Proficiency are expected to consistently maintain a GPA of 2.0 or be subject to academic dismissal.

Academic Probation

PLS students who are not making  satisfactory academic progress according to the standards listed  above will be placed on academic probation. When on probation, a degree seeking student may be given 1-2 semesters (maximum of 15 additional credits) to raise his or her GPA to the required standard.  In extraordinary cases, one additional semester of probation may be allowed  by the Academic Review Board for PLS if the improvement during the first probationary period  indicates that  the student will probably reach the necessary level by the end of an additional probationary semester. If the student does not raise his or her GPA to the required level within this time frame, s/he will be subject to dismissal. Post-Baccalaureate Certificate students who are placed on academic probation will have up to 6 additional credits or one semester to raise his or her GPA to a 2.0. If the student does not raise his or her GPA to the required level, s/he will be subject to dismissal.

PLS students placed on probation are required to meet with their advisor and the Dean (or Dean’s representative) at the beginning of each semester to review their academic plan and discuss campus resources that  will help ensure their academic success. A student on probation is limited to 2 courses per semester (unless full time enrollment is required for financial aid or other reasons) and must consult with an advisor prior to registering for courses through The Nest.

Students may lose  their financial aid if they do not attain the required GPA after  being placed on probation. In rare instances, the loss  of financial aid may be stipulated without any previous probation if the student’s academic standing is so poor that  academic probation would not be in the student’s best interest. Since  these judgments involve issues of academic qualifications and performance, as well as federal and state regulations concerning financial aid, decisions about the loss of financial aid will be made jointly by the Director of Student Financial Services and Compliance and PLS acting on the recommendations of the Academic Review Board for PLS. See Satisfactory Academic  Progress and Financial Aid for additional information. PLS students on probation making  inquiries must address them  to the Dean or Dean’s representative. For further  information regarding financial aid, please contact Hawk Central.

Academic Suspension

A student who is showing slow improvement in their level of performance or rate  of progress during this period  of probation may be subject to academic suspension by the appropriate Dean on the recommendation of the Academic Review Board for PLS. While a student is normally  granted at least one academic probation before suspension, the Academic Review Board for PLS may recommend academic suspension without any probation when the student’s cumulative grade point average is so low that  it is determined that  academic probation would not be in the student’s best interest. A student who has  been placed on suspension by the appropriate Dean may return  to Saint  Joseph's University  only after being away for at least one semester but not more than  two academic years. If a student wishes to return  after  two years,  the student will be required to reapply  for admission.

Academic Dismissal

A student who fails to make  sufficient improvement in his/her level of performance or rate  of progress during the period  of probation (or after coming back  from suspension) may be subject to academic dismissal by the appropriate Dean. While a student is normally  granted at least one academic probation (or suspension) before dismissal, the Academic Review Board for PLS may recommend academic dismissal without any probation or suspension where  the student’s cumulative grade point average is so low that  it is determined that  an academic probation and/or suspension would not be in the student’s best interest. When dismissal is recommended for a student, the student will be informed of the relevant policies, including the right to appeal their dismissal to the Academic Review Board for PLS. Students who appeal the recommendation for academic dismissal must do so in writing within tenbusiness days  of the date of their dismissal letter  from the Dean. The Academic Review Board for PLS will consider extenuating circumstances that  may have entered into a student’s situation and will decide whether and under what  circumstances the student may be readmitted. If readmitted, the Academic Review Board for PLS may recommend that  the student be placed on academic probation for the next semester or serve  a suspension period  before return  to their studies.

A student may also  be dismissed or suspended from the University  under the provisions of the Academic Honesty Policy (See Academic  Honesty Policy section).

Readmission Following Withdrawal or Dismissal

When seeking readmission, students who have voluntarily withdrawn from the university are required to reapply  to the university after  a two- year absence, following all of the requirements for admission into their desired program. Students who have been dismissed from either  the PLS or HDC programs due to failure to meet academic standards or because of an academic integrity violation  will not be reconsidered for admission for an undergraduate program within the College of Arts and Sciences.

Satisfactory Academic Progress and Financial Aid

PLS students who are receiving federal, state, or University aid are required to maintain satisfactory academic progress (SAP) and also meet the Minimum Requirements for Retention in order to keep their financial aid eligibility.  

SAP is reviewed after the spring semester each academic year.  Both cumulative GPA and the ratio of credits earned to credits attempted are used to determine academic progress.   Students not meeting criteria for satisfactory progress will be informed at the end of each spring semester that their current academic record disqualifies them for financial assistance.  These students will be given the opportunity to file an academic plan with the Dean’s Office to be considered for financial aid for the coming academic year.

Below are the minimum GPA standards that undergraduate PLS students must maintain to be considered making satisfactory progress.  Please note that these standards are in accordance with the PLS Academic Probation Policy. 

Students must maintain the following cumulative GPA:

  • 1.8 cumulative GPA up to 60 credits earned
  • 1.9 cumulative GPA for 61-90 credits earned
  • 2.0 cumulative GPA above 90 credits earned

In addition to maintaining the required GPA, PLS students must earn a passing grade in a minimum of 67% of overall credits attempted in order to be considered making satisfactory progress.  For example, if a student registers for four courses, the student must earn a passing grade in at least three of these courses to meet this requirement.  Please note that withdrawals are considered when calculating the ratio of credits earned to credits attempted.  Although withdrawals do not impact GPA, they do negatively impact this measure of satisfactory academic progress. 

If a student is not making satisfactory progress based on the criteria above, the student must submit an academic plan explaining the circumstances that led to the failure to meet the standards and the changes that will allow the student to be successful.  The student should identify and provide documentation of any extenuating circumstances (e.g., loss of job, a major financial life event, personal illness, illness or death of family member, or other special circumstances) that may have hindered their ability to make satisfactory progress.  The appropriate Associate Dean will review plan to determine if the student will be allowed to continue to receive federal financial assistance. For a student’s academic plan to be considered, it must be submitted by the first day of classes of the traditional full-term semester for which the student is requesting federal aid.    

Class Status

Degree students with fewer than 24 credits completed are considered First year students; with 24 to 53 credits, Sophomores; with 54 to 83 credits, Juniors; with 84 or more credits, Seniors.

Dean’s List

The Dean’s List is published at the completion of each semester. PLS students working toward a Bachelor’s degree are eligible for this honor.

A PLS student must complete at least 30 credit  hours through the Saint Joseph’s University  PLS program before becoming eligible. A cumulative grade point average of 3.50 is required to achieve and to remain on the Dean’s List. A minimum of 6 credits must be completed during the semester to be eligible for Dean’s List. A failing semester grade in the current semester makes one ineligible for the list.

Commencement and Diplomas

PLS students who will complete all of the requirements for a degree in a given semester must submit a completed Graduation Application within the time specified under  the Academic  Calendar. If this application is not completed, the student’s records will not be closed, and the awarding of the degree will not be recorded on the official record. The Graduation Application can be found  on The Nest  under  Student Records.

Commencement is held annually in the spring. Diplomas are issued three  times a year—on September 15, January 15, and on the date of the Commencement ceremony, typically in May. Students receiving diplomas in September or January are invited to participate formally in the Commencement ceremony the following May.

Honors at Graduation

Honors at graduation will be awarded for SJU grade point averages in all subjects as follows:
summa cum laude 3.85
magna cum laude 3.70
cum laude 3.50

Averages for honors will be computed on the basis of work completed at Saint Joseph’s University in the PLS program only. To be eligible for honors at graduation, students must complete at least 20 courses (60 credits) at Saint Joseph's University in the PLS Program.