About the Undergraduate Catalog

A Guide to Using the 2018-19 APU Undergraduate Catalog

The university’s Undergraduate Catalog is a comprehensive source of information to help students throughout their college experience. This guide helps students navigate the catalog by offering a glossary defining, in common language, the various academic terms and acronyms used throughout the catalog.

University Structure

Classroom faculty at APU hold positions in academic departments, which are organized within either a college, a school, or both. View the University Structure list to see each academic department, college, and school to determine the programs of study offered in each. 


A degree is an academic rank that the university confers on a student who satisfactorily completes a designated program of study. APU grants the following undergraduate degrees (also called baccalaureate degrees):

  • Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)
  • Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA)
  • Bachelor of Music (B.M.)
  • Bachelor of Science (B.S.)
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)
  • Bachelor of Social Work (BSW)


A major is a program of study that provides students with the knowledge, skills, and experience necessary to pursue a specific career or advanced study and leads to an undergraduate degree in that subject. Each major is offered in an academic department or program. Undergraduate applicants to APU can select a major at the time they apply for admission.

For more information and advice regarding academic programs, see the Undergraduate Academic Success Center catalog entry.


A minor is a supplemental program of study in a field different from a student’s major that provides educational breadth. 

Concentrations, Emphases, and Tracks

These are groups of courses within an undergraduate major designed to provide specialized knowledge.


Course descriptions explain the content and scope of each course, as well as the course prefix (an abbreviation that represents the subject or offering department), course number, prerequisites, unit value, and other pertinent information, and can be accessed by clicking on the hyperlinked course number, which produces a popup window with the full description. Alternatively, view a full list of course options under the school, college, or department level by selecting the “Courses tab. 


These are courses that students can choose from within the parameters set by their departments.

The General Education (GE) Program

The GE program comprises a common set of requirements and provides a common foundation of knowledge for all undergraduate programs. The specific requirements for a particular major degree program are listed under the academic department or program that offers the major.


Prerequisites are one or more courses that must be completed—or other knowledge, skills, or standards that must be demonstrated—before a student is permitted to take certain courses. Prerequisites (if any) for a course are listed in the course’s description in the catalog.

Some prerequisites have their own prerequisites, forming a string of courses that must be taken in sequence. The catalog course description shows only the last course in the prerequisite string of courses. For example, MATH 460 Topology has a prerequisite of MATH 450 Real Analysis. MATH 450 requires MATH 280 Discrete Mathematics and Proof, which requires MATH 165 Calculus I, which requires MATH 150 Precalculus or an appropriate score on a placement assessment. It is important that the student is aware of these prerequisite strings to ensure timely completion of all requirements.

Statements in the catalog course descriptions may also contain the word “concurrent,” which means that two or more courses may be taken in the same term, or “corequisite,” which means that the course or courses must be taken in the same term (or some prior term) as that of the course being described.

If a student does not meet a prerequisite as outlined in a course’s description, but can demonstrate to the department offering the course that he or she possesses the necessary knowledge or skills through alternative means, the department may grant the student permission to enroll in the course with consent of the department chair.

Cross-Listed Courses

These are courses that are shared by two or more academic departments and have identical titles, descriptions, units, and modes of instruction. They are interchangeable for degree requirements. They cannot be repeated for degree credit under separate prefixes.

Topic Courses

Topic courses are shown in the catalog with generic titles and are repeatable with different topics. Specific topic titles appear in the Schedule of Classes and on students’ transcripts. Example: HIST 368 A Year in Time is repeatable with different topics. In this case, the topic varies each term with a focus on different years (e.g., 1492, 1776, 1865, 1968).

Course Numbering System

Courses are generally numbered according to the following structure.

  • 010-099: Nondegree credit or precollege courses
  • 100-299: Courses primarily for freshman and sophomore students
  • 300-399: Courses primarily for advanced undergraduate students, usually with prerequisite coursework
  • 400-499: Courses for advanced undergraduates. Certain 400-level courses can be used in graduate programs. See Graduate Courses Taken by Undergraduate Students for details.
  • 500-599: Master’s-, doctoral-, and credential-level courses
  • 600-699: Master’s-level courses
  • 700-799: Doctoral-level courses

Credit Hour

A credit hour—the amount of work established by stated student learning outcomes and achievement—is approximately one hour (or 50-55 minutes) of classroom or direct faculty instruction, plus a minimum of two hours (for undergraduate) or three hours (for graduate) of out-of-class work, each week for a 16-week term (or the equivalent amount of work for a term of a different length). Classroom or direct faculty instruction and out-of-class student work leading to the award of credit hours may vary for courses that require laboratory work, internships, practica, studio work, online work, research, guided study, study away, and other academic work to achieve the identified student learning outcomes. In addition, student workload may vary based upon program expectations established by national or regional accrediting bodies.

Semesters and Semester Units

Azusa Pacific is on the semester system, offering three undergraduate semesters per calendar year:

  • Fall: September through December
  • Spring: January through May
  • Summer: May through August

24 units per year is considered full time, though a student must average 15 units per semester (30 per year) to complete the 120 total units required for graduation in a traditional four-year period.

Many institutions are organized in quarters with quarter units. To convert semester units to quarter units, multiply by 1.5. For example, 6 semester units x 1.5 = 9 quarter units.

To convert quarter units to semester units, multiply by .667. For example, 9 quarter units x .667 = 6 semester units.

View the most current Academic Calendar. For answers to questions not answered here, contact the Undergraduate Academic Success Center.