Undergraduate Policies

Degree Requirements 

The University offers four bachelor degrees: the Bachelor of Arts, the Bachelor of Science, the Bachelor of Liberal Studies and the Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. The degree awarded is determined by the student’s major field. The standard requirements for the degree include the following:

  • Completion of a minimum of 120 credits
  • Completion of additional credits specified by the major
  • Completion of the General Education Program
  • Completion of approved requirements for the major field
  • Cumulative grade point average of 2.0

The University offers two associate degrees: the Associate Degree in Science and the Associate Degree in Business Administration.  The degree is determined awarded is determined by the student’s major field.  The standard requirements for the degree include the following:

  • Completion of a minimum of 60 credits
  • Completion of additional credits specified by the major
  • Completion of the General Education requirements for Associate degrees
  • Completion of approved requirements for the major field
  • Cumulative grade point average of 2.0

Residence Requirement

The residence requirement for a Bachelor’s degree at Saint Joseph’s University is 60 credits. The final 30 credits must be completed at Saint Joseph’s University, with the exception of an approved degree program or an approved plan of acceleration.

The residence requirement for an Associates degree at Saint Joseph’s University is 30 credits.  The final 15 credits must be completed at Saint Joseph’s University, with the exception of an approved degree program or an approved plan of acceleration.

Final Examinations 

Students are required to take a final examination in each subject during the scheduled examination period at the end of each semester. With the approval of the department chair, an instructor may exempt from the final examination all students who have earned the grade of "A" in the course. Individual teachers who wish to substitute an alternative mode of evaluation for the final examination must submit a specific request in advance through their department chairperson for the approval of the appropriate Dean. The syllabus must include information on the alternative mode selected.

Grade Appeal 

A  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 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.

Withdrawal from Course/Courses

A student who wishes to withdraw from a course after the add/drop period must obtain approval from their academic advisor no later than the withdrawal deadline for the semester as stated on the academic calendar. All withdrawn courses will be noted with a grade of “W” on the official transcript, and are not included in the grade point average calculation. Students who are withdrawing from a course that has a co-requisite will be withdrawn from both courses. A request to withdraw past this deadline requires an extraordinary reason and the approval of the respective Associate Dean overseeing the student’s primary major. A withdrawal will not be permitted after the last day of classes for the semester or in contravention of the penalties imposed through the University’s Academic Honesty Policy. 

Class Standing 

A student’s class standing is separate from the definition of "Satisfactory Academic Progress". Advancement through the freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior levels is predicated on the number of credits completed and hours earned toward completion of the degree program. traditionally, eight semesters are required to finish a baccalaureate degree program. Therefore, class standing at Saint Joseph’s University is based on the following scale for students in a 4-year bachelor’s degree program:

Class Standing Credit Hours Earned
First Year fewer than 24
Sophomore 24 to 53
Junior 54 to 83
Senior 84 or more

Sixth Course Overload

The standard course load for full-time bachelor’s degree students is five courses of 3-4 credits, up to a maximum of 17 credits, unless a student’s major program of study has an approved higher credit limit. Students with superior records (traditionally 3.3 GPA and above) may petition the Dean of the appropriate college for permission to register for a sixth course. No student may register for more than six courses in a single semester. Additional tuition may be charged for a course overload.

Independent Study/Directed Readings and Research/Tutorials 

Students who have completed four required semesters with an overall grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or higher, or cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.4 or higher for courses in the major field of study, may register each semester for one upper division course in the major field (or a closely related field) to be taken in the Independent Study/Directed Readings or Research/Tutorial format. Students are required to develop a comprehensive plan of study in consultation with the faculty member directing the course of study and receive prior approval of the department chair and the Dean’s office before registering for the course. . Such courses are offered to enrich the student’s major program and not as a special arrangement to facilitate a student’s fulfillment of course or credit requirements. 


Students may have a minor listed on their academic record in areas where the department has an approved minor, or in an interdisciplinary program. For a minor, at least 18 credits in the specified area must be successfully completed. Students choosing a minor must seek the approval of the chair in the department of the minor prior to applying to graduate.  Students should also be aware that their choice of a minor may be restricted based on their major or primary area of study. 

Second Major 

Qualified students may request permission to pursue a second major for sound academic reasons. Such a request requires the approval of the chair of the secondary major department and of the appropriate Dean. Certification of completion of requirements for the second major will be the responsibility of the chair of the secondary major department. The official transcript will record the completion of the second major. The degree granted will be the degree appropriate in the primary major. Two separate degrees will not be granted to students who complete a second major.  Students cannot declare a second major after they have already applied to graduate.

Second Degree 

Students who have earned one bachelor’s degree may request permission to return to study for a different bachelor’s degree. This is the awarding of two distinct credentials. Applications for a second degree require the approval of the major department and the appropriate Dean. Candidates for a second degree must meet all standard degree requirements. Credits applied toward a first degree may be applied toward a second degree, as if the candidate were a transfer student, but at least 30 additional credits must be successfully completed for a second degree. Students who have completed a bachelor’s degree are advised that a second degree is rarely, if ever, required for certification or pre-professional qualification. Specific course requirements for certification or pre-professional qualifications can usually be met by enrolling in the required courses as a non-matriculated student. Many institutions offer graduate credit for courses which may be applied toward certification requirements.

Special Program 

A set of requirements leading to a specific objective secondary to the degree, either vocational or liberal, with the required courses simultaneously satisfying degree requirements, constitutes a Special Program. A minimum of 24 credits and two disciplines are necessary for a Special Program. Completion of a Special Program is noted on the student’s academic record.

Leave of Absence (LOA)

A Leave of Absence (LOA) is for students who are taking time off from their formal education, with the intent to return to Saint Joseph's University. Students may not take classes at another institution and transfer those credits back to Saint Joseph's University while they are on a leave of absence.

When approved, a leave of absence is granted for one semester and may be renewed once for a consecutive semester or a total of two leave of absences during a student’s time at Saint Joseph's University. To show continuity in the academic record, a comment of “Leave of Absence” will be placed on the official transcript for the term the student is on a leave of absence.

Students on a leave of absence are reported to lenders and loan service agencies as “not enrolled” and the student needs to contact lenders for information on possible repayment requirements.

Withdrawal from the University 

Undergraduate Day students should consult with their academic advisor before beginning the withdrawal process from Saint Joseph's University. The first step of the withdrawal process is to contact success@sju.edu or call 610-660-2956. Students will submit the withdrawal form and have an exit interview with a staff member from the Office of Student Success to complete the withdrawal process. 

Summer and Intersession Courses 

Degree credit is granted for courses taken in summer sessions and the winter intersession. Summer session courses that are part of the GEP or major course requirements must be taken at Saint Joseph’s University. However, if the course is not being offered that summer and is necessary for a student to maintain standard academic progress or the proper sequence of courses in their major field of study, an exception may be granted. (Please see the Courses Taken Elsewhere policy)

The approved uses of summer session courses for matriculated students are as follows:

  • To make up academic deficiencies, i.e., courses failed or not completed during a required semester
  • To make up credit deficits, i.e., additional credits needed as result of change of major or transfer
  • To enrich the student’s educational program
  • To reduce the student’s course load in a subsequent semester

Permission to register for summer courses does not constitute permission to accelerate a degree program. For all undergraduate students the maximum number of credits allowed for any one summer part of term will typically be eight. For exceptional reasons, the Dean may grant permission for an additional three credits. Registration and payment for summer credits are governed by the regulations and procedures of the summer sessions.

Latin Honors 

Undergraduate students will be awarded Latin honors upon conferral of the Bachelor degree if they have completed a minimum of 60 semester hours in residence and achieved the following cumulative grade point average:

summa cum laude 3.85
magna cum laude 3.70
cum laude 3.50

Dean's List

Students in bachelor’s degree programs who achieve a grade point average of 3.5 for a semester in which they are registered as a full-time student and complete a minimum of 12 credits at Saint Joseph’s University will be included on the Dean’s List.

Students in associate degree programs and degree completion programs must complete at least 30 credits at Saint Joseph’s University 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 six credits must be completed during the semester to be eligible for Dean’s List. A failing semester grade in the current semester disqualifies a student from achieving Dean's List. 

Academic Honor Societies

Phi Beta Kappa Society

Phi Beta Kappa was established in 1776 as a philosophical society. Eventually, it evolved into the paramount honor society for the liberal arts in America. Its major goal is to support, foster, and recognize the excellence of liberal arts scholarship in the institutions of higher education in America. There are presently 262 chapters in the United States; the Saint Joseph’s University chapter was established in 2001 and comprises faculty and staff members who are members of the Society. These members carry on the business of the chapter and elect the student members each year.

Student members are elected in the second semester of the junior or senior year primarily on the basis of broad cultural interests, scholarly achievement, and commitment to the intrinsic value of learning. Eligible students must complete a minimum of 90 credit hours of liberal studies among the 120 or more credit hours required for the bachelor’s degree. In addition, they must have completed at least three full semesters of work (45 credits) in residence at Saint Joseph’s University and be fully registered, as a full time student, for the fourth semester. They must also have obtained the minimum grade point average at Saint Joseph’s University specified by the chapter. While the minimum grade point average requirements may vary slightly from year to year, usually it is 3.75 for juniors and 3.5 for seniors.

Liberal studies shall be considered to be courses designed principally for knowledge, understanding or appreciation of the natural and social world in which we live. Grades earned in applied or professional work may not be counted toward the liberal arts hours or the grade point average for eligibility. Applied and professional work shall be understood to include all training intended to develop skills or vocational techniques; this work often leads to licensure or certification. Such courses generally are taken by students who are preparing for a specific professional career. Examples of courses not recognized by the national office of Phi Beta Kappa under the heading of "liberal studies" would be those in business administration, accounting, education, journalism, library science, military science, applied physical education, speech, applied art, applied music, social work, applied communication, and computer science.

Weight will be given to the breadth of the program of each candidate as shown by the number and variety of courses taken outside of the major. Weight will also be given to the balance and proportion of the liberal arts in the student’s degree program as a whole. Students who have violated the academic honesty policy of Saint Joseph's University will not be eligible for membership.

Students who complete their college studies at the end of the summer of fall terms, shall be considered for membership during the following spring.

Election to membership in Phi Beta Kappa is wholly within the discretion of the local chapter, subject only to the limitations imposed by the Constitution and By-Laws of the Chapter. No right to election shall adhere to any student solely by reason of fulfillment of the minimum grade point average for election to "membership in course," and no reason need be given for non-election.

Beta Gamma Sigma

In the spring of 1907, a group of commerce students at the University of Wisconsin received permission from the faculty to organize a commerce honor society, which they called Beta Gamma Sigma. The purpose of the Society was to encourage and reward scholarship and accomplishment in the field of business studies among commerce students at the University. At about the same time, students at the University of Illinois and the University of California felt the need for such an organization on their campuses and respectively organized Delta Kappa Chi (1910) and The Economics Club (1906). In 1913, having become aware of their coexistence and common purpose, representatives of the three societies met at Madison, Wisconsin, to consummate a merger which made Beta Gamma Sigma into a national organization.

Action was initiated in 1919 to establish Beta Gamma Sigma as the only scholastic honor society recognized by the American Assembly of Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). This organization, which was renamed AACSB International - The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, includes in its membership collegiate schools of business that meet high standards of eligibility required of accredited member institutions with respect to curricula, teaching staff, teaching loads, library and laboratory facilities. Beta Gamma Sigma amended its constitution in 1921 to restrict the installation of new chapters to collegiate schools of business which are accredited members of AACSB International.

The Mission of the International Honor Society Beta Gamma Sigma is to encourage and honor academic achievement in the study of business, to foster personal and professional excellence, to advance the values of the Society, and to serve its lifelong members.

Other Honors Societies

Distinguished achievement is also recognized by admission to Alpha Sigma Nu, national Jesuit honor society, and the following more specialized national honor societies:

  • Phi Theta Kappa (Associate Degree programs)
  • Alpha Sigma Lambda (Adult Learners)
  • Upsilon Pi Epsilon (Computer Science),
  • Omicron Delta Epsilon (Economics),
  • Alpha Upsilon Alpha (Education),
  • Kappa Delta Pi (Education),
  • Alpha Eta (Health Sciences, Exercise Physiology)
  • Delta Phi Alpha (German),
  • Upsilon Phi Delta (Healthcare Administration)
  • Phi Alpha Theta (History),
  • Pi Mu Epsilon (Mathematics),
  • Phi Sigma Iota (Modern Languages/Classics),
  • Sigma Theta Tau (Nursing),
  • Rho Chi (Pharmacy),
  • Phi Sigma Tau (Philosophy),
  • Sigma Pi Sigma (Physics),
  • Pi Sigma Alpha (Political Science),
  • Alpha Epsilon Delta (Premedical),
  • Psi Chi (Psychology),
  • Lambda Nu (Radiological and Imaging Sciences)
  • Lambda Beta (Respiratory Therapy,
  • Alpha Kappa Delta (Sociology),
  • Sigma Delta Pi (Spanish), and
  • Sigma Xi (Student Research), and
  • Theta Alpha Kappa (Theology).

Board of Student Academic Review

The Board of Student Academic Review (BOSAR) reviews the academic performance of all students in bachelor’s degree programs whose grade point average (GPA) falls below a 2.00 to make recommendations on academic warnings, academic probation and academic dismissal.  The membership of BOSAR shall consist of:

  • Five (5) Associate Deans, one from each college and school: the College of Arts and Sciences, the Haub School of Business, the School of Education and Human Development, the School of Health Professions and the School of Nursing and Allied Health. One of the Associate Deans shall serve as Chair and another Associate Dean shall serve as co-Chair.
  • Seven (7) faculty members
  • One (1) student member 

Minimum Standards for Retention

A cumulative grade point average of 2.0 is the minimum required to be awarded a bachelor’s degree from Saint Joseph’s University. Students with a grade point average below 2.0 (cumulative or semester) at the end of any given semester will be warned by Dean, at the recommendation of the Board on Student Academic Review (BOSAR), that their level of performance may be insufficient to satisfy the requirements for graduation. 

At the end of the fall or spring semester, students who have completed their second semester and following, and who have a cumulative grade point average below the minimum level indicated in the table below will be reviewed by the Board on Student Academic Review (BOSAR), which could lead to a further recommendation for academic probation, suspension, or dismissal.

Semester completed Minimum GPA
At the end of the 1st semester 1.8
At the end of the 2nd semester 1.8
At the end of the 3rd semester 1.8
At the end of the 4th semester 1.8
At the end of the 5th semester 1.9
At the end of the 6th semester 1.9
At the end of the 7th semester 2.0

Transfer students are required to maintain the minimum cumulative GPA for the semester level to which they are assigned. Courses at other institutions for which they received academic credit at SJU upon transferring and which contribute to their SJU cumulative grade point average are included in these calculations.

Academic Probation

Students who fail to maintain the required cumulative grade point average or an acceptable level of progress toward the degree are placed on probation by their Dean, acting on the recommendation of the Board on Student Academic Review (BOSAR). A student on probation is required to report to the Dean, who may prescribe appropriate remedial measures, and is not permitted to register for more than five courses a semester. If circumstances warrant, the Dean may require a student on probation to limit their course load to four with no reduction in tuition.

The standard period of probation will extend one semester, during which time the student must show sufficient improvement to raise their GPA above the minimum level. In extraordinary cases, one additional semester of probation may be allowed by the Board on Student Academic Review (BOSAR) if the improvement during the first probationary semester indicates that the student will probably reach the necessary level by the end of the second probationary semester. A student may be permitted as many as three semesters of probations, provided that no more than two are consecutive.

A student on academic probation is ineligible to participate in major extracurricular activities, including intercollegiate athletics, or to serve as officer or director of any student activity.

Academic Suspension

A student who fails to raise their cumulative GPA above the minimum level, or who fail to make sufficient improvement in their rate of progress during the period of probation may be subject to academic suspension by the appropriate Dean on the recommendation of the Board on Student Academic Review (BOSAR). While a student is generally granted at least one academic probation before suspension, the Board on Student Academic Review (BOSAR) may recommend academic suspension without any probation when the student’s cumulative grade point average or rate of progress is so low that the Board on Student Academic Review (BOSAR) determines an 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 the period of suspension, but not more than three years. Students who have been away for more than three years must reapply to the university.

Academic Dismissal

A student who fails to make sufficient improvement in their 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.

Students may appeal academic dismissal in writing or in person to the Board of Student Academic Review (BOSAR) by a date to be set by the Associate Deans in consultation with the Registrar.  BOSAR may then recommend one of the following:

  • Student is placed on academic probation
  • Student is suspended from Saint Joseph’s University
  • Student is dismissed from Saint Joseph’s University

While a student is generally granted at least one academic probation or suspension before dismissal, the Board on Student Academic Review (BOSAR) may recommend academic dismissal without any probation or suspension if the student’s cumulative grade point average or rate of progress is so low that the Board on Student Academic Review (BOSAR) determines an academic probation and/or suspension would not be in the student’s best interest. A student who has been academically dismissed may not be a student at Saint Joseph's University in the future without formally re-applying to the University.

In the case of any action by a Dean, the student will be notified. The student’s faculty advisor is notified as well. The student will be informed of their options and is required to meet with their advisor.

Academic Forgiveness

Undergraduate and graduate students who return following an absence of at least one calendar year may request academic forgiveness. If academic forgiveness is granted, each grade of C- or below for undergraduate students, and B- or below for graduate students will be eligible to be replaced with a grade of “AF”. Courses with a grade of AF will no longer count for credit or be included in the GPA calculation. Additionally, the student’s transcript will have a comment added denoting that academic forgiveness was granted in the applicable semesters. To apply for academic forgiveness, the student must submit a letter to the appropriate Dean explaining how they will achieve successful degree completion. This explanation may involve addressing the reasons for their poor original performance and lessons learned during their time away. Application for Academic Forgiveness must be completed at least 4 weeks before registration for courses. Please see application form for additional details.


  • Students may only receive academic forgiveness once.
  • Courses that a student withdrew from are not eligible for academic forgiveness.
  • Once a student has been approved for academic forgiveness, the action is irreversible and final.
  • Failing grades that result from violations of the Academic Honesty Policy cannot be changed under the terms of this policy.
  • Federal guidelines allow Title IV Federal Financial Aid to be applied for only one retake of a course with a passing grade. Questions related to financial aid eligibility following academic forgiveness can be directed to finaid@sju.edu.
  • A student’s Satisfactory Academic Progress is not impacted by academic forgiveness as it relates to federal, state, and institutional financial aid requirements. Please review the SAP policies relative to financial aid at sju.edu/sap.

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)

The standard academic program in the undergraduate day colleges at Saint Joseph’s University requires students to progress toward their degree in eight standard (fall and spring) semesters in which 15 credits are taken each semester. Following such a program a student will have completed 120 credits by the end of the eighth semester. Transfer students must complete a minimum of 60 credits at Saint Joseph’s University.

Satisfactory academic progress at Saint Joseph’s University requires students to earn a minimum of 24 credits in at least eight courses in each academic year, beginning in September and ending in August.

It is the policy of Saint Joseph's University to allow for a ninth and sometimes a tenth semester if significant reasons or a change in major justify such an extension. Permission for a ninth or tenth semester will ordinarily be obtained from the associate academic Dean of the appropriate college. The Deans of the Colleges reserve the right to consider special cases differing from the above statement.

Students who receive federal, state, or University aid need to maintain satisfactory academic progress in order to keep their eligibility. Evaluation of a student’s academic progress to determine financial assistance eligibility will be made at the end of the spring semester. Students not meeting criteria for satisfactory progress will be informed in early summer that their current academic record disqualifies them for financial assistance.

Students should not assume that Saint Joseph’s University will recommend and/or award financial assistance for more than eight semesters. Students intending to complete their degree program in more than eight semesters should first consult with the appropriate academic Dean and the Student Financial Services Office.

In addition to the quantitative parameter of 24 earned credits within each academic year as a requirement for retaining financial assistance, Saint Joseph’s University also adheres to the qualitative parameter defined as follows:

Utilizing the academic probation structure as described in this catalog, the recommendation of the Board on Student Academic Review (BOSAR) and approval of the appropriate Dean to impose an academic dismissal on a student automatically includes the termination of financial assistance by Saint Joseph's University. Under no circumstances will a student be eligible for financial assistance beyond the second consecutive academic probation.

Academic dismissal is mandatory if the student has not achieved the required cumulative grade point average at the end of the second academic probation. The Board on Student Academic Review (BOSAR) may recommend the continuation of a second academic probation only for a student who has completed six semesters of study or for a student who has changed their major during the second probation. Academic dismissal may also occur after the first probation if sufficient improvement in studies has not been shown. In rare instances academic dismissal may be given 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.

The qualitative parameter for financial assistance is linked to the academic dismissal procedures of the Saint Joseph's University. Since these judgments involve issues of academic qualifications and performance as well as federal and state regulations concerning financial assistance, decisions about the loss of financial assistance will be made jointly by the Student Financial Services Director and the appropriate academic Dean, acting on the recommendation of the Board on Student Academic Review (BOSAR).