Graduation Requirements and Commencement

Minimum Unit and GPA Requirements

For undergraduate students, the minimum unit requirement for the BA, BM, BS, BSN, BFA, and BSW degrees is 120 (some majors require completion of more than the minimum number of units). Units for the following courses do not count toward the 120 units required for graduation:

MATH 90Foundations of Mathematical Reasoning3
MATH 95Intermediate Algebra3

All students must earn a minimum cumulative grade-point average (GPA) of 2.0 in all university work attempted. Transfer students must also earn a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0 in work completed at Azusa Pacific University. Some departments/schools also require a minimum cumulative GPA for major courses.


To earn an Azusa Pacific University undergraduate degree, the following units must be earned at APU:

  • At least 30 total semester units
  • 16 of the last 24 units counted toward the degree
  • At least 15 upper-division units in the major field
  • At least 50 percent of the units in the minor field, concentration, or emphasis (if any)

Neither transfer credit (including correspondence courses) nor credit by examination (CLEP, FLATS, OPIc, AP, IB) may be used to fulfill the above residence requirement. However, the units for APU off-campus study programs and university-endorsed off-campus and study away programs may be used to fulfill the university residency requirements.

Student Service Credit Requirements

All candidates for graduation must have completed 120 service credits approved by the Center for Student Action; this requirement is prorated for transfer students. Service credits may also be fulfilled through designated academic service-learning courses.

Selection of Catalog for Determining Degree Requirements

  1. Students are held to the General Education requirements of the catalog from the year they enter APU.
  2. Students electing to change their major(s) and/or minor(s), concentration(s), or emphasis can request any catalog in effect from the term of initial enrollment until graduation.
  3. Students electing to change catalogs should be aware that adopting a new catalog year will require completion of all requirements for all major(s) and minor(s) under the new catalog year.
  4. If a new major or minor is created during the time of attendance, a student can elect the new major/minor and choose to keep any other major(s)/minor(s) on the previously selected catalog for those programs.
  5. A student has seven years from the term of his/her first registration at APU to complete his/her degree under the catalog in effect at the date of first registration. Students who continue in attendance beyond the seventh year will be required to complete all new General Education, academic departmental, and graduation requirements, as well as adhere to all academic policies of the new catalog.
  6. “In attendance” is defined as enrollment in at least 12 units for one semester within a 12-month period. An approved leave of absence shall not be considered an interruption in attendance. If a student is not in attendance for more than two consecutive semesters (fall/spring) and then re-enters the university, the student is subject to the graduation requirements in effect at the time of re-entering.
  7. To change their academic catalog year and/or change their major, a student must submit a Major Update form.

Graduation Application

Graduation is not automatic upon completion of all coursework. Students who intend to graduate must complete an Undergraduate Graduation Application at least six months prior to commencement, a time period that always falls within the semester prior to the graduating semester. Commencement dates and the Graduation Application due dates are listed in the Academic Calendar.

Graduation applications and academic requirements are evaluated by the student’s academic records specialist in the Student Services Center to determine eligibility for participation in graduation. Students must consult with their academic records specialist if they wish to add or change a major, minor, concentration, and/or emphasis after applying for graduation.

Students can expect two clearance notifications:

  • The first clearance notification is emailed prior to the add deadline of the semester of the graduation they have applied for.
  • The second notification is emailed four to six weeks after the drop deadline of the same semester.

It is the student’s responsibility to read the clearance notifications and ensure they complete any outstanding requirements listed on the Graduation Clearance Status email. These requirements must be completed by the deadlines as outlined in the Participation in Commencement Policy (see below).

A degree is granted based on the completion of all requirements. In the event that a student does not complete all requirements for the degree as indicated in the Graduation Clearance Pending letter, he or she must complete those requirements within two years of filing their Graduation Application. If the remaining requirements for the degree are not completed by the deadline, the student will be subject to policies governing reentering students, and a new catalog year will apply.

Participation in Commencement

Undergraduate commencement exercises are held at the end of the fall and spring semesters. The university president, by the authority of the trustees and on the recommendation of the faculty, awards the degrees.

  • A student may participate in commencement exercises only if all degree work has been completed, or if no more than 3 units or one course will be taken in a term that begins after the commencement ceremony (the latter is called the “walk-short” policy). Eligibility to participate in commencement will be confirmed by the student’s academic records specialist at the Student Services Center.
  • All correspondence courses and CLEP, FLATS, and other proficiency tests must be completed prior to the start of a student’s final semester. Official transcripts must be received by the Undergraduate Enrollment Services Center no later than the drop deadline of the semester in which the student intends to participate in commencement.
  • If a student’s foreign language requirement is not satisfied through the proficiency assessment, the student may be required to take two consecutive semesters of the same language in order to satisfy the foreign language requirement. If a student must complete multiple semesters (courses) of foreign language, they will not qualify for the 3-unit or 1-course walk-short policy.
  • To participate in commencement exercises, all university obligations must be resolved no later than three weeks prior to commencement, including the receipt of transcripts (if applicable), financial clearance (must have a zero account balance), and clearance of service credits by the Office of Service and Discipleship
  • Students who disregard the Participation in Commencement Policy and participate in a commencement ceremony fraudulently will not be allowed to participate in future commencement ceremonies and could face sanctions including (but not limited to) suspension from the university, as such actions are considered an academic integrity violation and a student conduct violation.

Honors at Commencement

Latin Honors

Qualifying students may graduate with the following Latin honors: summa cum laude, magna cum laude, or cum laude. The minimum GPA requirements for Latin honors are as follows:

  • 3.90 – summa cum laude
  • 3.80 – magna cum laude
  • 3.70 – cum laude

All grades accepted toward graduation at Azusa Pacific University are included in the calculation of these honors, including correspondence and transfer courses. All grades not accepted toward graduation at Azusa Pacific (such as remedial courses) will not be included in the calculation.

Degree Posting Dates

The university posts bachelor’s degrees at the end of each session, regardless of the specific date when all work is completed. All degree requirements must be met prior to the posting date. The posting dates are at the end of the regular fall semester (approximately December 20), the end of the regular spring semester (approximately May 5), and the end of each of the summer sessions (see the academic calendar for specific dates). By petition, completed degrees may be posted on the 1st and the 15th of a month other than those listed above in this section. Once the degree is posted, the degree record is complete and final. It can be rescinded only in the case of substantiated error or fraud. A student may not add coursework to the posted degree in order to improve grade-point average or to add minors, concentrations, or emphases.

Security Interest in Student Records

A student may neither graduate nor receive any diploma or certificates until all financial obligations (including student loans wherein collections are administered by the university) have been satisfied in accordance with policies described in the Financial Information section of this catalog. Any diploma or certificates shall be retained by the university as a security interest until all such obligations are satisfied. Release of any such security interest prior to or subsequent to any default by the debtor shall not be considered a binding precedent or modification of this policy.