May 25, 2024  
Academic Catalog 2023-2024 
Academic Catalog 2023-2024

Academic Policies & Procedures

Academic Advising

Academic Standing 

Appealing Academic Standing

Credit for Prior Experiential Learning

Dean’s List


Graduation Policies & Procedures

Graduation/Persistence Data

Degree Conferral

Sealed Transcript

Graduation Application and Fee

Maximum Timeline for Graduate Program Degree Completion

Graduation Honors 

Latin Honors Criteria

Graduation/Persistence Data

Policy Exceptions

Program Elimination


Waiver of Departmental Requirements and Prerequisites

Academic Advising

Seeking the assistance of academic advisors is a key to success at Pacific University.  While graduate students in professional programs are not assigned an official advisor, they are urged to work closely with their instructors to maintain successful progress toward degree completion.  

Roles and Responsibilities of Students and Advisors

Faculty academic advisors and the Academic and Career Advising Center work closely with each undergraduate student to develop a sequence of courses that meets individual needs and program requirements. The Director of Academic and Career Advising assigns general advisors to students upon admission and deposit. After an undergraduate major has been declared through the Advising Center (by the end of the sophomore year), a faculty advisor in that major area must be selected. Students may not register for classes until they have consulted with their advisors, and successful students generally have frequent contact with both their faculty advisors and the Advising Center. Any concerns and questions about policies and procedures regarding academic advising should be directed to the Director of Academic and Career Advising.

Students are responsible for monitoring and maintaining their own academic progress. They are expected to monitor their academic records (through Student Planning and Registration in BoxerOnline) to identify questions/concerns and ensure the records’ accuracy. Students are responsible for knowing and understanding the academic programs and policies of Pacific University, for making academic decisions that are guided by the academic policies of Pacific University, for selecting advisors within their majors and minors, for establishing meetings with their advisors and the Academic and Career Advising Center, and for establishing a relationship with secondary advisors as needed. For more information, see the Academic and Career Advising Center web page and the Academic and Career Advising Handbook

Academic Standing 

Academic standing and honors policies vary by degree program.  While undergraduate programs follow the standards below, Master’s degree programs, Doctoral degree programs, and undergraduate completion programs each have their own standards and honors policies.  Students in graduate/professional programs or completion programs should contact their program administrators for more detailed information.



Satisfactory academic standing is defined by:

  • A cumulative GPA at Pacific University of at least 2.0
  • A GPA of at least 2.0 in the previous semester

Academic standing is reviewed and assigned by the Registrar at the conclusion of each semester. Students who have not met standards for satisfactory academic standing in the immediate preceding semester in which they were registered may be assigned Warning or Probation status, or be Suspended for one semester. Financial Aid awarding and athletic eligibility may be affected negatively by a lack of satisfactory academic standing.


Warning status is assigned when a student:

  • earns a semester GPA of less than 2.000 and has a cumulative GPA below 2.000; or
  • earns a semester GPA of less than 1.500 and has a cumulative GPA of 2.000-4.000.

When on warning status, students are still considered in good standing and the status is not indicated on their transcript. The purpose of warning status is to help students with academic difficulty get back on track so their status does not deteriorate further. Students on Warning should meet with their faculty advisor or a member of the student support team for help.


Probationary status is assigned when a student currently on a status of Warning:

  • earns a semester GPA of less than 2.000 and has a cumulative GPA below 2.000.

The student is expected to meet with their faculty advisor, academic coach, staff member in Academic and Career Advising Center, or a student support specialist, and participate in a reflection process to develop a plan to address the concern.

Students on academic probation are not in good academic standing and are ineligible to participate in intercollegiate athletics, and may be ineligible to participate in other university sponsored activities as determined by the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. This academic status is not recorded on their transcript. Student’s financial aid may be impacted. 


Suspension is assigned when a student currently on a status of probation:

  • earns a semester GPA of less than 2.000 and has a cumulative GPA below 2.000.

When suspended, students are not considered to be enrolled in Pacific University. Suspension is for one semester, and “Academic Suspension” is noted on the student’s official transcript. 

Note: Students who are notified of suspension status or are appealing status while they are enrolled in a winter or summer course will be allowed to finish the course, but must sit out the immediate spring or fall term.


After the suspension period has ended, students must develop an academic plan with an Academic and Career Advising Center advisor and submit it with an “Appeal to Return” to the Academic Standards Committee if they wish to re-enroll. A brief narrative (written by the petitioning student) on the student’s preparedness to return should also accompany the “Appeal to Return.” Those who enroll after suspension are placed on Probation for the semester of their return. If a student returning from suspension subsequently does not meet the university’s academic standards and becomes eligible for suspension, the student may be dismissed from the University by the Academic Standards Committee.

Students wanting to return to Pacific University after an absence of any length must apply for readmission at least 2 weeks prior to the start of the semester. Students who have attended courses at other academic institutions during their time away from Pacific must submit official transcripts, along with their application for readmission. Contact Academic and Career Advising at


Students may submit a petition to appeal their assigned status to the Academic Standards Committee. For assistance in this process, they should contact the Academic and Career Advising Center or their academic advisor. Students will have 15 business days to file an appeal after notification of their assigned academic status.


Pacific may award credit for prior experiential learning gained through employment, volunteer activity, or professional training offered by non-academic entities, under specific conditions in compliance with the NWCCU Transfer and Award of Academic Credit Policy and if applicable, programmatic accreditation standards, with criteria reviewed and approved by the faculty of affected programs/schools/colleges through appropriate college and/or university approval processes. Approved sources of credit for experiential learning are described below. Whether and how credit for prior experiential learning applies to specific degrees and for specific requirements is determined by the respective program faculty through the appropriate college and/or university process. The eligibility for transfer to Pacific of credits for prior experiential learning awarded by other institutions is based on Pacific’s, rather than the source institution’s, approved criteria for such credits.

  • Credit by Examination - Pacific may award credit for selected credit-by-examination programs. The specific allowable exams, the amount and level of credit awarded in relation to exam scores, and how credit applies to specific requirements must be approved by the colleges where the credits are delivered through appropriate college and/or university processes. The eligibility for transfer to Pacific of credits by examination awarded by other institutions is based on Pacific’s rather than the source institution’s approved criteria for such credits.
  • AP Tests, Scores, Equivalencies  
  • IB Tests, Scores, and Equivalencies  
  • CLEP Tests - Credits may be awarded for CLEP test scores with special approval. Official test scores must be sent to the Registrar’s Office. Contact the Registrar for details.



The Dean’s List honors students seeking a degree who achieve a minimum semester GPA of 3.70 with 12 or more graded credits. Grades of P/N do not count as graded credits. Students on the Dean’s List receive a congratulatory letter, have their names placed on a plaque in Marsh Hall, and their hometown newspapers are notified. Each semester, only about 15-20% of our students qualify for this honor.

The Family Educational Right and Privacy Act 

FERPA is the federal law that governs release of and access to student education records. Students have certain rights under FERPA, which include:

  1. The right to inspect and review their education records within 45 days of the day Pacific University receives a request for access. Students should submit to the Registrar’s Office written requests that identify the record(s) they wish to inspect. The Registrar will make arrangements for access and notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected. If the records are not maintained by the Registrar’s Office, the student will be advised of the correct official to whom the request should be addressed.
  2. The right to request amendment of education records they believe to be inaccurate.  Submit written request to the Registrar’s Office that identifies the part of the record the student wants changed, and specify why they believe it is inaccurate. If Pacific University decides not to amend the record as requested by the student, the student will be notified of the decision and advised as to their right to a hearing regarding the request for amendment. Additional information regarding the hearing procedures will be provided to the student when notified of the right to a hearing. 
  3. The right to consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information contained in their education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent. FERPA does authorize disclosure without consent to school officials with legitimate educational interests. A school official is a person employed by Pacific University in an administrative, supervisory, academic or research, or support staff position (including law enforcement unit personnel and health staff); a person or company with whom Pacific University has contracted (such as an attorney, auditor, or collection agent); a person serving on the Board of Trustees; or a student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee, or assisting another school official in performing his or her tasks. A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibility. As allowed within FERPA guidelines, Pacific University also may disclose education records without consent to officials of another school in which a student seeks or intends to enroll. 
  4. The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by Pacific University to comply with the requirements of FERPA. The name and address of the Office that administers FERPA is: Family Policy Compliance Office, U.S. Department of Education, 600 Independence Avenue, SW., Washington, DC, 20202-4605.

FERPA allows Pacific University to provide Directory Information at its discretion. Directory Information is defined as information which would not generally be considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosed. Designated Directory Information at Pacific University includes the following:

  • student name
  • permanent, local, or temporary address
  • email address
  • telephone number
  • dates of attendance
  • degrees and awards received
  • major field of study
  • participation in officially recognized activities and sports
  • weight and height of members of athletic teams
  • thesis title/topic
  • photograph
  • full-time/part-time status
  • previous school attended
  • date and place of birth
  • and recorded image

Students may withhold Directory Information by notifying the Registrar’s Office in writing; withholding requests are binding for information to all parties other than those for which exceptions allowed under FERPA. Requests for non-disclosure are honored by the University for no more than one academic year. Re-authorization to withhold Directory Information must be filed annually in the Registrar’s Office within the first two weeks of the fall semester.

More information about FERPA and Pacific University’s compliance procedures is available in the Registrar’s Office. 

Graduation Policies & Procedures

All degree candidates must apply to graduate through BoxerOnline in the semester prior to their final term. A formal Commencement ceremony for undergraduates (and certain graduate programs) is held in May only; students who are within one semester (no more than 18 credits) of completing their degrees may participate in Commencement. All students intending to participate in May’s Commencement must submit the Application for Graduation by January 15, regardless of when they anticipate completing their degree requirements. The Application for Graduation may be completed and submitted through BoxerOnline.

Catalog Year and Graduation Requirements

Students are governed by the catalog policies and program requirements in effect when they enroll in an academic program for the first time at Pacific University or a subsequent year of attendance thereafter.  Students should consult with department chairs for advice if the catalog requirements for their declared majors or minors have changed during any period of absence.  If more than ten years have elapsed since a student’s original matriculation, the original date of matriculation is replaced by the date of re-entry.

The Oregon Teacher Standards and Practices Commission sets requirements for prospective teachers. Students expecting to teach must satisfy those rules in effect at the time of graduation.

Degree Conferral

Degrees are conferred eight times during the year depending upon when all requirements are successfully completed. Students must apply to graduate in order to be conferred.

Degree conferral dates       Applications due  
2nd Saturday in August May 15  
August 31 May 15  
September 30 May 15  
November 30 September 15  
January 31 October 15  
March 31 January 15  
3rd Saturday in May January 15  
June 30 January 15  

Formal university-wide commencement ceremonies are held in Forest Grove in May and August (for professional programs), and the MFA Program holds a ceremony in Forest Grove in June. The policies regarding commencement participation for students who have not completed degree requirements vary by program. 

Graduation Application and Fee

In order to graduate, students must submit an Application for Graduation for each distinct degree or certificate they anticipate completing. The application is available through BoxerOnline. A $100 non-refundable graduation application fee is applied to the student’s account when the Application for Graduation is submitted. The graduation application fee applies toward expenses attached to the conferring of degrees, including processing costs, diploma costs, and commencement-related expenses. Students are charged a single fee for a given degree conferral date, regardless of whether on that date they will earn a single degree, a dual degree, or multiple simultaneous degrees and certificates. No additional fee is charged if a student earns the degree(s) applied for within 12 months of the original application and on a single conferral date. 

Maximum Timeline for Graduate Program Degree Completion

Master’s Programs:  All degree requirements must be completed within seven years unless the program stipulates a shorter time period. Timing begins on the date of matriculation into the Graduate program. Terms spent on a leave of absence are counted toward the timing limit. Students may petition based on extraordinary circumstances.

Doctoral Programs:  All degree requirements must be completed within ten years unless the program stipulates a shorter time period. Timing begins on the date of matriculation into the graduate program. Terms spent on a leave of absence are counted toward the timing limit.

Graduation Honors 

Degree Program

Minimum GPA  


Bachelor of Arts 3.5 Latin
Bachelor of Education 3.5 Latin
Bachelor of Music Education 3.5 Latin
Bachelor of Music Therapy 3.5 Latin
Bachelor of Science (CAS students only) 3.5 Latin
Bachelor of Social Work 3.5 Latin
Athletic Training, MS 3.5 With Distinction
Visions Science, MS 3.5 With Distinction
Doctor of Optometry 3.8 With Distinction
Vision Science, PhD 3.5 With Distinction
Doctor of Physical Therapy 3.5 With Distinction

Latin Honors Criteria

Undergraduate students graduating with a cumulative grade point average of 3.50 to 3.699 are designated Cum Laude; 3.70 to 3.909 are designated Magna Cum Laude; 3.91 to 4.00 are designated Summa Cum Laude.

Sealed Transcript

Upon the conferral of a degree or upon the completion of a certificate program, that part of the student’s record is considered sealed and can be amended only to correct an inaccuracy. If an amendment takes place, a notation on the transcript must be included. Graduates wishing to take additional coursework may do so as non-matriculated, or through an additional degree program or certificate program.

Graduation/Persistence Data

In accordance with the Student Right To Know Act DCL of August, 1991, Pacific University is required to publish graduation and persistence rates of the cohort of first-time freshmen. While most students graduate in four years, the six-year graduation rate for the entering class of 2012 is 65%. 

Policy Exceptions

Students may seek exceptions to academic policies, in extraordinary circumstances, by following the appropriate College or Program process.  Graduate and Professional students must follow procedures outlined in their program’s Student Handbook.  Undergraduate students seeking exception to academic policies must submit a petition to the Academic Standards Committee.  Information on the process may be obtained from the Director of Academic and Career Advising (503-352-2800).

Program Elimination

When the decision is made to eliminate an academic program, the program’s Director and Registrar work together to develop a plan to help ensure that matriculated students are able to complete it with minimum disruption. Current options include teaching out the existing program through completion, creating independent studies comparable to courses that would have been offered, and substituting other courses for requirements.


Students may view their academic records (unofficial transcript) through BoxerOnline, or order printed or electronic transcripts through BoxerOnline via the National Student Clearinghouse. 

Pacific University certifies that an e-transcript (electronic transcript) issued by the National Student Clearinghouse is an official University transcript. The acceptability of an e-transcript is determined by the receiving institution/recipient in accordance with its policies and procedures.

Electronic Transcript Acceptance

Pacific University will accept e-transcripts for transfer of credit and admission purposes if the following criteria are met:

  • The transcript is a PDF certified document that has no indication of tampering
  • The transcript is certified as official from a high school, college or university using a third party agency for the certification process
  • Approved agencies currently are limited to Credentials Solutions, Common App, Avow Systems, Docufide, National Student Clearinghouse, and Scrip-Safe. Others may be accepted on a case-by-case basis.
  • A Pacific University official in the Registrar’s or Admission’s Offices has received the transcript directly from one of the above approved services. Pacific will not accept a forwarded transcript from an unaffiliated source unless it has been pre-approved by the Registrar.
  • Pacific University has the right to refuse an e-transcript or require additional information prior to accepting an e-transcript as official if there is a question about the document’s authenticity.

Waiver of Departmental Requirements and Prerequisites

Students may appeal to academic departments to waive requirements for a major or minor; the department may waive requirements if it is satisfied that the student has already achieved the knowledge expected. Similarly, prerequisites may be waived at the discretion of the instructor. Course waivers do not reduce the number of total credits needed to graduate.