Jun 17, 2024  
2018-19 Undergraduate Bulletin 
2018-19 Undergraduate Bulletin ARCHIVED

Academic Programs and Policies

The undergraduate instructional programs are supervised by the deans of the various colleges under the administration of the provost/vice president for academic affairs. Each dean is responsible for directing the guidance of students in the college, from initial registration to graduation. All students are assigned to advisors by the deans of their respective colleges.

Requirements For Undergraduate Degrees

To qualify for a degree, candidates may choose to meet the requirements of the current bulletin or of any bulletin in effect between the dates of their matriculation and graduation, provided that the period between such dates does not exceed six years and provided they were enrolled during the year of the bulletin chosen. In the event students serve on active duty with the armed forces of the United States between the dates of their matriculation and graduation, the six-year limit will be extended one year for each year of active duty served, up to a maximum extension of four years.

Overlap Program

The Overlap Program permits qualified undergraduates to pursue a limited amount of graduate study concurrently with undergraduate study. Graduate courses taken in the program, however, are not applicable to the baccalaureate degree. A maximum of 12 credit hours of graduate coursework is allowed in the Overlap Program.

To be eligible for the Overlap Program, a student must be enrolled at SFA and must have achieved at least 95 semester hours of undergraduate credit. A student with fewer than 115 hours of undergraduate credit must present a 3.0 GPA both overall and in the major field. A student with 115 hours or more of undergraduate credit, however, may be admitted to the Overlap Program by presenting a 2.5 GPA overall and a 2.8 GPA in the major field. Any student in the Overlap Program must re-apply for full graduate admission when the undergraduate degree is completed.

To be admitted to the Overlap Program a student should:

  1. apply to the Graduate School
  2. complete an Overlap Application
  3. obtain the recommendation of the major department
  4. obtain the recommendation of the appropriate academic dean
  5. and obtain the recommendation of the graduate dean.

For more information, see the current Graduate Bulletin.

Second Bachelor’s Degree

Students who hold a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution, including SFA, may earn a second baccalaureate degree from SFA. Students who received the first baccalaureate degree from SFA must reapply for admission to the university for the second degree. The following conditions apply to the second baccalaureate degree:

  • Students must earn a minimum of 30 semester hours in addition to the hours required for the first degree.
  • Students must satisfy all prerequisites, co-requisites and major requirements for the second degree program.
  • Students who earned a first baccalaureate degree from SFA may apply up to 12 hours in transfer credit toward the second degree.
  • Students who earned a first baccalaureate degree from another accredited institution must complete all 30 semester hours at SFA with at least 15 hours taken in the major field at the 300 level or higher.
  • Students seeking a second baccalaureate degree requiring a minor may use the major completed in the first bachelor’s degree in lieu of a minor.
  • At the discretion of the major advisor or academic unit head, courses successfully completed in the first bachelor’s degree may be applied to the requirements for the second bachelor’s degree.

Degree Plan Requirements

Each student is held responsible for meeting the requirements of a degree program. Degree programs are approved by the Board of Regents, and each student’s progress is monitored by the major/minor advisors and dean. Students are required to declare a major and file an official degree plan no later than the end of the semester following the completion of 45 hours.

The appropriate advisor and the dean of the college in which the student is registered must approve any changes in the student’s Official Degree Program in writing. If the degree program is planned to also lead to a teaching certificate, the dean of the College of Education also must approve any change.

Application For Degree/Graduation

Applications are available in the Office of the Registrar or online at sfasu.edu/registrar/147.asp. Deadlines for application are located on the registrar’s website under Graduation and Diplomas at sfasu.edu/registrar/455.asp.

A student enrolled in classes the semester or summer in which she/he expects her/his degree may not be certain of completing all requirements at the time of commencement exercises because grades have not been processed at that time. Students who have completed all requirements or are registered for the final hours needed to complete degree requirements may apply for degrees and attend commencement.

The commencement program lists applicants or candidates for degrees. The appearance of a name in the commencement program and the act of attending commencement exercises is no guarantee of receiving the degree. Diplomas will be mailed to those who are found to satisfy all requirements, and transcripts showing that the degree has been conferred will be available.

Those who apply for a degree and pay the graduation fee for a given commencement and who are found to have not satisfied degree requirements must satisfy all requirements, reapply and pay graduation fees again. Access sfasu.edu/registrar for more information.

Class Attendance and Excused Absences

Regular and punctual attendance is expected at all classes, laboratories and other activities for which a student is registered. For those classes where attendance is a factor in the course grade, the instructor shall make his/her policy known in writing at the beginning of each term and shall maintain an accurate attendance record. Regardless of attendance, every student is responsible for course content and assignments.

It is university policy to excuse students from attendance for certain reasons. Among these are absences related to health, family emergencies and student participation in university-sponsored events. Students are responsible for providing satisfactory documentation to the instructor for each missed class. Students with acceptable excuses may be permitted to make up work for absences to a maximum of three weeks of a semester or one week of a summer term when the nature of the work missed permits.

In the case of absences caused by participation in university-sponsored events, announcement via mySFA by the provost/vice president for academic affairs will constitute an official excuse. Faculty members sponsoring the event should submit an e-mail attachment with a written explanation of the absence, including the date, time and an alphabetical listing of all students attending to the office of the provost/vice president for academic affairs for publication.

Federal regulations require that students attend all classes in order to receive federal financial aid funds. Eligibility for federal student aid is, in part, based on the student’s enrollment status for the term in which she/he is enrolled. Enrollment will be checked beginning the first class day of each term through the census date (12th class day for fall and spring). Faculty members will report students not in attendance utilizing the online attendance process on the 14th class day during the fall and spring semesters, on the sixth class day during the summer terms and on the third class day in Maymester. Attendance is defined by physical attendance or participation in an academically related activity, such as submission of an assignment, examination, or participation in group or online discussions. Students who register for courses but do NOT attend or participate will be reported for non-attendance. Financial aid will be adjusted each term, and the student will receive funding for only those classes actually attended. Students receiving financial aid for the non-attended class will be dropped from that class.

Course Numbering System

The course numbering system at SFA is assigned an alphabetic prefix and a three-digit number. The first of these numeric digits identifies the academic level of the course. Freshman or first-year courses are designated by a 1, sophomore or second-year courses are designated by a 2, junior or third-year courses are designated by a 3, senior or fourth-year courses are designated by a 4, graduate-level courses are designated by a 5 and doctoral-level courses are designated by a 6. Prior to fall 2010, certain 400-level courses may be approved for graduate-level credit. These courses will appear on the graduate transcript. Some 100- to 400-level courses may appear on the graduate transcript with zero attempted and earned hours.

Grading System

The student’s grades are determined by daily work, oral and written quizzes, and final examination. A grade of A indicates excellent; B, good; C, average; D, passing; F, failure; QF, quit failure; WH, incomplete or grade withheld; WF, withdrew failing; WP, withdrew passing. WP and WF are assigned only when a student has withdrawn from the university after the mid-term deadline or with special approval of the student’s academic dean. No grade can be taken from the record unless put there by mistake. Specified courses are graded on a pass/fail (P/F) system with no other grades awarded. A student who makes an F can get credit only by repeating the work. Other grade designations are: K and KH (not included in attempted, earned or GPA hours); R* for remedial class grades; T* for transfer class grades; W for a dropped class with no grade; and W6 for a dropped class with no grade that counts for the six-drop.

A grade of A gives the student four grade points per semester hour; B, three grade points; C, two grade points; D, one grade point; and F and WF have zero grade points. Grades of WH, WP, W and W6 are counted in attempted hours, but are not utilized in calculating GPA. The semester credit hours in all courses - except some remedial courses, repeated courses, courses dropped with grades of W or WP, and P, T* R* and K* - are counted in the individual GPAs.

Upon agreement of the instructor, a grade of WF counts as hours attempted with 0 grade points earned in computing the GPA. A grade of WP does count as hours attempted, but is not included in computing the GPA.

Upon agreement of the instructor, a grade of WH will be assigned only if the student cannot complete the coursework because of unavoidable circumstances. Students must complete the work within one calendar year from the end of the semester in which they receive a WH or the grade automatically becomes an F.

Mid-semester grades for developmental, 100- and 200-level courses will be posted before the last day to drop during the fall and spring semesters.

Repeating Courses

An undergraduate student who desires to repeat courses in order to improve his/her GPA at SFA must repeat those courses at SFA. The following rules apply:

  1. For any course that is repeated at SFA, the last grade earned will be used to determine the GPA.
  2. Credit hours for courses taken at other institutions to replace credit hours earned at SFA may be used to meet graduation credit hour requirements, but grades from transferred courses will not change the GPA based on courses taken at SFA. Only grades earned at SFA will be used for calculating GPA, and transfer grades are therefore not included in the repeat policy.
  3. See Course Repeats - “3 Peats”  in the Business Office  section regarding possible additional charges.

Grade Appeal

Good communication between faculty and students will help make disputes between them infrequent, but if disagreements occur, it is university policy to provide a mechanism whereby a student may formally appeal faculty decisions. When a student uses the appeals procedure, all parties should endeavor to resolve the dispute amicably at as early a stage as possible and in compliance with applicable laws, regulations and policies. The faculty member, after considering the outcome of the appeals process, shall retain complete academic freedom to make the final determination on the matter.

The purpose of this policy is to provide students a way to formally appeal faculty decisions. All relevant documentation under consideration at each step will be forwarded to the appropriate parties at the next procedural level. A student or faculty member shall have 10 business days from the conclusion of each step in which to appeal to the next level. These steps are to be allowed when making an academic appeal:

  1. In the event of course-related disputes, the student must first appeal to the instructor within 30 calendar days after the first class day of the next long semester. Given extenuating circumstances, exceptions to this deadline may be granted by the academic unit chair/director.
  2. If the dispute is not resolved, the student may appeal in writing, stating the specific issues, to the instructor’s academic unit chair/director. The academic unit chair/director shall request a written statement from the faculty member. The academic unit chair/director shall provide both parties with a written recommendation for resolution.
  3. If the dispute is still unresolved after appeal to the academic unit chair/director, the student or faculty member may appeal in writing to the instructor’s dean. The dean will notify the other party of the continuation of the appeal and provide all parties with written recommendation after reviewing all documentation.
  4. If the dispute is still unresolved after appeal to the dean, the dean may refer the appeal to the college council. If the college council has no student members, the dean will ask the president of the Student Government Association to recommend no more than two students from that college to be appointed as voting members. The college council will review all documentation and submit its recommendation to the dean.
  5. If a resolution of the matter is still not reached, the student or the faculty member may appeal in writing to the provost and vice president for academic affairs. The dean’s written recommendation in addition to all documentation will be submitted to the provost and vice president for academic affairs. The college council may serve as an advisory body to the provost and vice president for academic affairs in the appeal process. The provost and vice president for academic affairs will evaluate all documentation and any additional oral presentations from the student and faculty member.
  6. After making a decision, the provost/vice president will inform the student and all people involved in the appeal process of the final disposition of the matter.

The provost and vice president for academic affairs will inform the student and all people involved in the appeal process of the final recommendation.

A faculty member, after considering the outcome of the appeals process, shall retain complete academic freedom, including the right to assign semester grades.

Consult Policy 6.3, Final Course Grade Appeals by Students, for more information.

Academic Integrity

Abiding by university policy on academic integrity is a responsibility of all university faculty and students. Faculty members must promote the components of academic integrity in their instruction, and course syllabi are required to provide information about penalties for cheating and plagiarism as well as the appeal process.

Definition of Academic Dishonesty

Academic dishonesty includes both cheating and plagiarism. Cheating includes, but is not limited to:

  • using or attempting to use unauthorized materials on any class assignment or exam
  • falsifying or inventing any information, including citations, on an assignment
  • and/or helping or attempting to help another in an act of cheating or plagiarism.

Plagiarism is presenting the words or ideas of another person as if they were one’s own. Examples of plagiarism include, but are not limited to:

  • submitting an assignment as one’s own work when it is at least partly the work of another person
  • submitting a work that has been purchased or otherwise obtained from the internet or another source
  • and/or incorporating the words or ideas of an author into one’s paper or presentation without giving the author credit.

Penalties for Academic Dishonesty

Penalties may include, but are not limited to: reprimand, no credit for the assignment or exam, resubmission of the work, make-up exam, failure of the course, or expulsion from the university.

Procedure for Addressing Academic Dishonesty

A faculty member who has evidence and/or suspects that academic dishonesty has occurred will gather all pertinent information and initiate the following procedure:

  1. The faculty member will discuss all evidence of cheating or plagiarism directly with the student(s) involved.
  2. After consideration of the explanation provided by the student(s), the faculty member will determine whether academic dishonesty has occurred. The faculty member may consult with the academic unit head and/or dean in making a decision.
  3. After a determination of academic dishonesty, the faculty member will inform the academic unit head and submit a Report of Academic Dishonesty with supporting documentation to the office of the dean of the student’s major. This report will become part of the student’s record and will remain on file with the dean’s office for at least four years, even if the student withdraws prior to receiving a grade.
  4. For a serious offense or subsequent offenses, the dean of the student’s major will determine a course of action, which may include dismissal from the university. The dean may refer the case to the college council for review and recommendations before making this determination.

A student’s record of academic dishonesty will not be available to faculty members. The purpose of the record is for the dean to track a pattern of academic dishonesty during a student’s academic career at SFA.

Student Appeals

A student who wishes to appeal decisions related to academic dishonesty should follow procedures outlined in Policy 6.3, Final Course Grade Appeals by Students.

Satisfactory Progress and Standing

As shown elsewhere in this publication, an undergraduate student enrolled for 12 or more semester hours of coursework in a regular semester is considered full time. Satisfactory progress toward a degree for the full-time student, therefore, is the passing of 24 or more semester hours of coursework a year. A part-time student likewise is considered making satisfactory progress toward a degree by passing coursework attempted in proportion to 24 or more semester hours a year.

Scholastic Probation and Suspension

To satisfy the minimum standards of the university, a student must achieve a 2.0 GPA on all hours attempted.

Good Standing

A student must maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0 to remain in good academic standing.

Academic Probation

A student is placed on academic probation after the first regular semester in which the cumulative GPA falls below 2.0. Students on academic probation whose semester GPA is 2.0 or higher will be allowed to continue on academic probation until the cumulative GPA is 2.0 or higher. Academic probation will continue until the student achieves good standing or is placed on academic suspension.

Academic Suspension

A student on academic probation will be placed on academic suspension if the student’s semester GPA falls below 2.0.


A student on academic suspension may be allowed to continue at the university through any of the following procedures:

  1. meet conditions established by the student’s dean
  2. be reinstated on academic probation automatically after one regular semester’s absence from the university. Following a second or subsequent academic suspension and absence from the university for two regular semesters, be reinstated automatically on probation. Summer terms are exempt from periods of academic suspension. Automatic reinstatement will not occur if the student takes courses elsewhere and fails to attain a GPA of 2.0 for those courses
  3. or, after the first academic suspension, attend summer school at SFA and either raise the cumulative GPA to 2.0 or higher or obtain a GPA of 2.0 or higher for at least nine semester credit hours in courses specified by the student’s dean.

Change of Major

Students on academic probation or suspension may change majors with approval from their current and receiving deans.

Withdrawal From the University

(Also see Refund of Tuition and Fees  in this bulletin.)

Students who officially withdraw from the university will have a W recorded on the transcript if the withdrawal is prior to five days after mid-semester or mid-session as applicable. Students desiring to withdraw after these dates will receive grades of WP if passing or of WF if failing in their respective courses. Application for withdrawal must be initiated by the student in the Office of the Registrar .

Any student who ceases to attend classes without officially withdrawing is subject to grades of F or QF in all courses for which she/he is registered.

Any student who withdraws from or otherwise leaves the university without clearing her/his financial record, i.e., without having returned borrowed books and equipment, paid any outstanding university traffic fines and settled other financial matters with the university, will be subject to the following sanctions until such time that the record is cleared:

  1. The student will not be permitted to re-enroll.
  2. The student will not be eligible to receive an official transcript of academic work completed.

President’s Honor Roll and Dean’s List

Full-time, degree-seeking undergraduate students may be recognized on the President’s Honor Roll or the Dean’s List during the fall or spring semesters when the following requirements are met:

  1. Earn 12 or more quality semester hours with a minimum GPA of 3.5 at SFA during either the fall or spring semester. Courses excluded from grade-point computation also are excluded from quality hours and may not be used to determine Honor Roll status.
  2. Undergraduate students meeting the above requirements with a semester GPA of 4.0 qualify for President’s Honor Roll.
  3. Undergraduate students meeting the above requirements with a semester GPA of 3.5 through 3.999 qualify for the Dean’s List.

Graduation With Honors

A student receiving a baccalaureate degree with academic honors has completed a course of study with at least 54 semester hours of SFA residence coursework excluding pass/fail hours and has an overall GPA as follows:

Summa Cum Laude 3.8 to 4.0
Magna Cum Laude 3.6 to 3.79
Cum Laude 3.4 to 3.59