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Pacific Oaks College    
2017-2018 Academic Catalog with Spring Addendum 
  Jan 26, 2023
2017-2018 Academic Catalog with Spring Addendum [Archived Catalog]

General Academic Policies

In this section you will find basic academic information and policies affecting all students, including grading, registration, Satisfactory Academic Progress, leave of absence, and attendance requirements.

Academic Calendar

The academic calendar for both Ground and Online students is comprised of a Fall, Spring, and Summer semester. All online courses (in all Schools) and ground School of Education courses are broken up into two separate 8 week Sessions every semester. Ground courses in the School of Human Development and the School of Cultural and Family Psychology are offered in 16 week (Fall and Spring) and 12 week (Summer) semesters only.

Program/Course Delivery and Length

Pacific Oaks College offers programs and courses both on ground and online. Not all programs or courses are available in both modalities.

Spring and Fall Ground courses are offered in 16 week semesters, and 8 week sessions. Summer ground courses are offered in a 12 week semester format only.

Online courses are offered in 8 week sessions.
Session I: Exclusively 8 weeks
Session II: Exclusively 8 weeks

Please refer to the Continuous Enrollment policy for more information regarding registration requirements, and reference the Student Gateway for a complete list of course schedules each semester/session.

Credit Hour

Credit Hour Definition

Academic credit at the College is granted using the semester credit hour system. A credit hour for a lecture, seminar, or thesis course represents 15 hours of instructional activity (e.g., classroom instruction, engagement with web-based instructional materials) based upon a 50-minute hour toward achieving specified student learning outcomes.

For blended or online courses, the 15 hours of instructional activity may include web-mediated synchronous or asynchronous lectures or webinars, interactive tutorials, and online discussions. On-ground lecture or seminar classes may be scheduled for 15 or more hours per credit hour to include break times when class sessions are scheduled for longer than one 50-minute hour. A credit hour also assumes up to 30 additional hours of homework, studying, and/or research.

A credit hour for practicum, fieldwork, or internship coursework represents 45 hours of applied practice and weekly seminar/supervision. A credit hour for an independent study represents a minimum of 5 hours of instructor-student contact and up to 40 additional hours of outside study and/or research.

Credit Hour Review

Each semester, course schedules will be reviewed by the Program Director and Dean/Associate Dean to ensure that class meeting times comply with the appropriate credit hour definition.  Syllabi will also be audited each semester to assess whether or not the time reasonably expected for a student to complete the assigned readings and specific course assignments aligns with the credit hour definition.  Another source of data regarding credit hour compliance will be student responses to course evaluation items that assess the amount of time students spend completing homework assignments, studying, or researching/writing papers.

All new course proposals must include sample readings and assignments that align with the credit hour definition and justify the credit hour value requested in the proposal.   All regularly scheduled program reviews will include a review of the course readings and assignments from a random sample of courses to evaluate compliance with the credit hour definition. 


Students are responsible for registering in courses each semester/session in order to maintain continuous enrollment. Students may review course schedules and register for courses in the Student Portal. Please refer to the Continuous Enrollment policy for more information regarding registration requirements.

New students must contact their assigned Enrollment Counselor or Academic Advisor upon admission into the college before registering for classes. Current students are encouraged to meet with their Faculty Advisor to plan each semester’s course schedule before registering for classes. If you need assistance reaching an advisor, please contact the Program Manager for your respective department.

Students are expected to have met all prerequisite requirements for courses in which they register.


The first week of every semester/session is the Add/Drop week for students.

Prior to the semester/session start: Students should add and drop courses online through the Student Gateway prior to the start of the semester/session.

During the first week of the semester/session: Students may also change their course schedules during Add/Drop week and will not be charged a late registration fee. For students who have yet to register for any courses prior to Add/Drop and choose to add courses during this time, they will be assessed a late registration fee. Students must submit any changes to their schedule through an Add/Drop form to the Registrar’s Office by the add/drop deadline. Please refer to the Academic Calendar for specific registration dates and add/drop deadlines. Drops that are officially processed by the add/drop deadline will not appear on the student’s transcripts.

After the first week of the semester/session: Students who wish to withdraw from a course after the add/drop deadline must submit an Add/Drop form to the Registrar’s Office.

Students who drop or are administratively dropped after the first week of class will receive a grade of “W” or “WX.” Students who drop after the first week of class may be eligible for a partial refund. Please see the Drop/Withdrawal Refund Schedule in the Financial Aid & Student Accounts section of the Catalog to determine whether a “W” or “WX” will be issued and if a tuition adjustment is necessary.

Continuous Enrollment

In order to maintain continuous enrollment with Pacific Oaks College, students must be registered for and attend courses in Fall, Spring, and Summer semesters. They must participate in any combination of terms spanning a 16/12 week period. This may include:

  • Courses in the 16/12 week semester
  • Courses in Session I (8 week session) and Session II (8 week session)
  • Courses in the 16/12 week semester, and any combination of courses in Session I and/or Session II
Continuous Enrollment
16/12 week semester
Session I (8 week session) Session II (8 week session)


Students must maintain continuous enrollment in courses for the full semester as outlined above. Students who are unable to register for a semester/session due to an extenuating circumstance must request a Leave of Absence to maintain continuous enrollment. Please refer to the Leave of Absence Policy for additional information.

Students who are not registered in courses or on an approved Leave of Absence will be administratively withdrawn due to failure to comply with the continuous enrollment policy. Students who have been administratively withdrawn should refer to the Re-Admit and Re-Entry Policy for additional information.

For additional questions regarding the continuous enrollment policy, please contact the Student Finance Department or the Office of the Registrar. Please refer to the Financial Aid and Student Accounts section of this Catalog regarding minimum credit requirements for financial aid eligibility.

Grade Point Average

The grade point average (GPA) is determined by dividing the total number of grade points earned by the total number of credit hours attempted. If a student repeats a course, only the most recent grade earned is calculated into the grade point average; the grade point value of the first grade is no longer included in calculating the cumulative grade point average (CGPA) but will continue to be reflected on their official transcript. No grades are awarded for transferred credits, and transfer credit grades are not reflected in the College grade point average, though they are evaluated when calculating rate of progress (or pace) for the Satisfactory Academic Progress Evaluation. See Grade Point Classification for additional details.

Grade Point Classification

All academic work in courses, seminars, independent studies, and practicum/internship is evaluated by the instructor and is noted on the student’s transcript. Instructors award one of the following grades:


Grade Points Undergraduate Description Graduate Description
A 4.00 Excellent
B 3.00 Very Good Satisfactory
C 2.00 Satisfactory or Average Below Expectations
D 1.00 Below Expectations Not Applicable for Graduate Program
X 0.00 Unacceptable - No Credit
WX 0.00 Withdrawn-No Credit
P* N/A Pass
NP* N/A No Pass
CR* N/A Credit
NC* N/A No Credit
WP* N/A Work In Progress
W* N/A Withdrawal: see refund schedule for applicability and timeframe
I* N/A Incomplete
NR* N/A Grade Not Reported
AU* N/A Audit


* These grades are not calculated into GPA. Prior to Fall of 2010, a grade of “S” was assigned to courses. When calculating GPAs this grade is equated to a “B” letter grade.

Course withdrawals are not accepted after the final withdrawal deadline stated in the Academic Calendar. Please see the Academic Calendar/Refund Schedule for specific withdrawal deadlines.

Repeating Courses

Courses repeated during a student’s program of study due to non-satisfactory grades will be indicated as a repeated course with the most recent grade calculated into the Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA).

Previous grades for any repeated course are not calculated in the CGPA, but both original and repeated units will be counted as attempted units in Satisfactory Academic Progress Pace (Rate of Progress) calculations. Students who are required to repeat courses in order to qualify for degree program requirements may incur additional charges. Students who fail a course can repeat the course until they have successfully completed it. However, they can only continue to receive Financial Aid up to their third attempt. Students who receive a pasing grade, may continue to repeat the course to receive an improved grade, but will not be eligible for Financial Aid for additional attempts. Additional information regarding rate of progress may be found under the Satisfactory Academic Progress policy.

Although a grade of “C” or higher for graduate students or “D” or higher for undergraduate students is generally acceptable toward graduation requirements, students may choose to retake a course to improve their final grade. Students receiving lower grades in such coursework are required to retake or replace the course(s). Please refer to the Academic Programs section for additional information regarding graduation requirements.

Non-required repeated courses do not count toward full-time or part-time status and are not eligible for financial aid. Some courses, such as thesis continuation, can be taken multiple times and are not considered a “repeated course” for the purposes of this policy. Questions regarding financial aid eligibility for a specific course should be directed to the Office of Financial Aid prior to registering for the course.

Course Substitution/Waivers

A course substitution is a course that takes the place of a required course in a curriculum, provided the course substitution meets the content and/or spirit of the requirement. A description of the course to be substituted and how it meets the content and spirit of the requirement must be provided to the student’s Faculty Advisor and Associate Dean for review and approval.

A course waiver does not result in the awarding of credit. A waiver means that the student does not have to take a required course in the curriculum because the Faculty Advisor and Associate Dean have determined that the student already has the knowledge and skills taught in the course and would not benefit from repeating the content. Documentation of how the student has met the content and spirit of the requirement must be submitted to the Registrar’s Office.

The student will be required to make up the credits of the waived requirement, which could be met by completing an elective course of the student’s choosing, or a higher level course recommended by the Faculty Advisor. A student wishing to deviate in any way from program requirements must have permission from their Associate Dean. Please consult your Pacific Oaks College Faculty Advisor to request a course substitution.

Students who wish to take Pacific Oaks coursework outside their degree/program requirements are allowed to do so under the following guidelines:

  1. Students are required to complete the required Course Substitution Form which must be signed by the student and Associate Dean.
  2. The course substitution needs to be justified. A description of how it maps to the learning outcome must be documented on the Course Substitution Form and approved by the Associate Dean to ensure that the programmatic learning outcomes of the degree are not compromised.
  3. Course Substitution forms and approvals must be completed and submitted to the Registrar’s Office prior to the course being taken.

Students wishing to petition for a course substitution or waiver should gather sufficient documentation and justification to warrant a course substitution/waiver. In conjunction with their Faculty Advisor, students should then complete the Course Substitution Form. If the Faculty Advisor approves the petition, the student must then seek approval from the Associate Dean responsible for the course or curriculum. The approved Course Substitution Form must be submitted to the Registrar’s Office before the student files his/her application for Degree Conferral form for degree audit and graduation.

Course Audit

Students should confer with an Academic Advisor prior to officially auditing a course. To audit a course, a student must obtain approval from the Associate Dean of the school offering the course and select “Audit” on a registration form and submit the form to the Registrar’s Office. The deadline to request to audit a course is the Add/Drop deadline. No credit is earned from audited classes. A notation of “AU” is assigned to audited classes and is not used in computing the grade point average or rate of progess.

Course prerequisites are enforced in the determination of registration eligibility for the course, and audit fees will be assessed. No preregistration is allowed for courses taken as audit. Course requirements such as homework, exams and papers are not graded by the instructor for students who are auditing a course. Audits do not count for full-time or part-time statuses, loan deferments, financial aid, etc. Students may not change a grading system from an Audit to a letter grade. Not all courses are eligible to be audited.

Incomplete Grade Policy

An Incomplete (“I”) grade is only available to students who have successfully completed 75% of the coursework required for a particular course. Incomplete grades are issued at the discretion of the instructor, and are only granted for compelling and extenuating circumstances.

The Incomplete grade cannot be used to improve a grade. Therefore, the grade of “I” is not to be awarded in place of a failing grade or when the student is expected to repeat the course; in such a case, a grade other than “I” must be assigned.

Students must make arrangements with the instructor to discuss the option of an Incomplete grade before the end of the semester/session. If an Incomplete grade is granted by the instructor, the student and the instructor must complete and sign the Incomplete Contract Form to define the terms and deadline in which the coursework must be completed.

The student has up to the end of the following semester/session, based on instructor discretion, to finish his or her coursework. If the student does not complete the work, his or her grade automatically defaults to an “X” grade.

The “I” grade appears on grade reports and/or official transcripts until a final grade is determined and recorded. Students who fail to meet the conditions of the Incomplete Contract will automatically receive a “X” grade. The student is responsible for knowing the deadline and the requirements for course completion.

Students who receive an “I” grade in a pre-requisite course will be automatically unregistered from the requisite course, if they are registered in the requisite course for the following term/semester.  If a student receives a passing grade in the pre-requisite course prior to the Add/Drop deadline, they may register for the requisite course, but must follow the Add/Drop process to do so.  They will not be automatically registered in the requisite course upon successful completion of the pre-requisite course.

An extension of an Incomplete may only be granted by the Associate Dean or designee due to a documented extenuating circumstance. A request for an extension must be petitioned in writing, via the General Petition Form prior to the expiration of the Incomplete Contract and it must be supported by the instructor. Students who withdraw from Pacific Oaks College with an Incomplete Contract will have until the deadline to submit all required outstanding work.

Grade Appeal

Grade appeals regarding a letter grade must be submitted in writing for review within the semester/session following the assignment of the grade. Grade appeals are limited to situations in which the student believes the grade was unfairly assigned or miscalculated.

A student who has questions about a grade should seek to resolve the issue by first consulting the instructor. If the instructor determines a grade change is warranted, the instructor will submit a Grade Change Form to the Registrar’s Office. Additional coursework may not be assigned and/or revised to enable the student to receive a higher grade. The student will be notified of the grade change by the Registrar’s Office.

If the instructor does not approve a grade change, and the student wishes to make an official grade appeal, students may complete the Grade Appeal Form and gather all supporting documents. If the instructor is no longer working with the institution or does not respond within 72 business hours, final Grade Appeal requests will be escalated directly to the Associate Dean.

If the Associate Dean is unavailable, the Grade Appeal will be submitted to the department designee for review. The Associate Dean or designee may confer with the student and the instructor to resolve the issue. In most cases the instructor’s decision is final, unless the Associate Dean determines that extenuating circumstances warrant a review. The Associate Dean will return the decision in writing to the Registrar within two (2) weeks of receiving the Grade Appeal indicating the basis on which the decision was made. If a grade change is warranted, a Grade Change form must be submitted in addition to the Grade Appeal.

The final decision of the Grade Appeal will be forwarded to the Registrar’s Office and will be placed in the student’s record. The Registrar’s Office will communicate the decision to the student, and no further appeal is available.

Academic Success Program

To ensure academic preparedness, a key to success in learning, Pacific Oaks College provides support through the Academic Success Program and resources, which include the Smarthinking online writing resource and peer tutoring services.

Please contact the Center for Student Achievement, Resources, and Enrichment (CARE) Office with any questions.

Change of Faculty Advisor

Students may request a change of Faculty Advisor for a variety of reasons. Requests should be submitted in writing to the Program Manager of the corresponding academic department. A change must be approved by the student’s Associate Dean and appropriate form submitted to the Registrar.

Program Changes

Active students at Pacific Oaks College may petition to make the following changes to their academic programs without applying for re-admission:

  • Change of academic program
  • Change of specialization within the same academic program
  • Change of credential
  • Change of modality (100% online or on ground)
  • Change of location or cohort

To qualify for a Program Change, students must meet the following requirements:

  • Student must be in good academic standing.(See SAP policy for further information on what defines good academic standing.)
  • Student must be in good financial standing.This generally means that a student does not owe a balance to the school, or is on a payment plan.
  • Student must not have any pending professional comportment issues in review.

All students who intend to change programs are encouraged to speak with a Financial Aid representative and the Student Accounts Office prior to petitioning for any type of program change as they may impact aid eligibility.

Students are required to discuss all changes with their Faculty Advisor and obtain approval in the form of a signature.  For the following programs, students will be evaluated to determine admissibility beyond the Faculty Advisors approval.  Additional documents may be required when requesting the program change as students must meet all corresponding admission requirements in place at the time of the change request. Changes will not be processed for students who do not qualify.

All change requests must be submitted to the Registrar’s Office in writing through a Program Change Request form. The Registrar’s Office typically processes approved change requests at the end of each semester/session.

Due to differences in program requirements, not all Pacific Oaks College coursework from a student’s previous program or all coursework transferred from previous institutions may apply to meet requirements in the new program. A new transfer evaluation will be performed at the time of the change request, and applicability of previously completed coursework will be determined by the Associate Dean for the new program at the time of the change request. In some cases, additional units may be required in order to complete the program. Please refer to the Pacific Oaks Transfer Credit Policies  and Academic Program  sections for additional information regarding the transferability of coursework.


Pacific Oaks College expects all students to attend courses and submit all assignments per each course’s requirements. Active participation is an important component of classes, and attendance is critical to building a learning community. All on ground and online courses have an online interaction built into the first week of each course, and students are recorded either absent or present each day based on participation in a graded academic activity during this week (Add/Drop period).

Attendance is defined as participating in an academic activity within the online classroom, which includes posting an introduction, posting in a graded discussion forum, submitting a written assignment or quiz, or submission of another deliverable as defined in the course syllabus. Each instructional week begins Monday and ends on Sunday. Students who do not post attendance during the first week (Add/Drop period) will be administratively withdrawn in the second week of the applicable semester or session.

Absences should occur only for extenuating circumstances such as ill health or critical emergency. Whenever possible, a student should notify the faculty of these absences in advance. It is within a faculty member’s discretion to determine whether absences are excused. Excessive late arrivals, absences, or excessive periods of time without logging into the online component of a course, regardless of the reason, may jeopardize a student’s academic standing. A student’s request for an excused absence indicates the student’s intention to remain enrolled in the course. Faculty members must notify the Registrar’s Office of excused absences.

A student will be automatically dropped from a course for non-participation or otherwise not attending within the first week of a semester or session (Add/Drop period). A refund of tuition will be based on the applicable refund policy (see Drop/Withdrawal Refund Schedule ).

For information regarding the determination of withdrawal date, please see the Withdrawal from the College policy  in this Catalog.

Satisfactory Academic Progress Overview

Pacific Oaks College students are required to maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) toward the completion of a degree or credential program. The following details academic standing and the potential progression of academic standing if Satisfactory Academic Progress standards are not met.

SAP is a qualitative (grade-based) and quantitative (time-based) measurement of student academic progress. Various federal regulations governing student financial assistance require that a higher education institution develop standards to measure academic progress toward a degree. In addition, federal regulations require that financial aid recipients make Satisfactory Academic Progress toward a degree or certificate program to remain eligible for financial aid.

Students are evaluated against both qualitative and quantitative standards at the conclusion of a SAP increment. Below is an outline of how a student may meet SAP and maintain Good Academic Standing.

Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards

Qualitative Standards: Cumulative Grade Point Average
Includes all undergraduate and graduate-level coursework attempted at POC, excluding grades of Credit (CR), No Credit (NC), Work in Progress (WP), Withdrawal (W), Incomplete (I), Grade Not Reported (NR), Audit (AU), Pass (P) and No Pass (NP). Only the most recent grade is counted in the cumulative GPA when a course is repeated. Transfer credits are not calculated into a student’s CGPA.

  • All graduate students and undergraduate students enrolled in credential programs must maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.00 or above.
  • Undergraduate students not enrolled in credential programs must maintain a cumulative GPA of 2.00 or above.

Quantitative Standards: Pace (Rate of Progress) and Maximum Time Frame
Pace (Rate of Progress)
Pace (Rate of Progress) is calculated by dividing a students earned credits by their attempted credits. Attempted credits include all Pacific Oaks course attempts recorded on the academic transcript, including repeated courses, withdrawals, and Incompletes, as well as transfer credits that apply toward the student’s current degree program. Credits accepted and applied in transfer toward the student’s current degree program are included as attempted and earned credits, even for periods in which the student did not receive financial aid. Grades that count negatively against Pace include D, X, I, W, WX, NC, and NP. Repeated courses also count negatively against Pace, since both original and repeated units will be counted as attempted units in the Pace calculation

  • Both graduate and undergraduate students are required to successfully complete a minimum of 66.67% of all courses attempted.

Maximum Completion Timeframe:
Successful completion of all program requirements within 150% of the normal length of the program as measured in credits attempted towards the program. Credits accepted and applied in transfer toward the student’s current degree program are included as attempted and earned credits in determining the maximum timeframe. Students’ progress must ensure academic program completion within the maximum allowable timeframe.

  • The maximum allowable attempted units are 150% of the required units in a student’s academic program for both graduate and undergraduate programs.

SAP Review Period

Satisfactory Academic Progress is reviewed at the end of each SAP increment. Students are evaluated against both qualitative and quantitative standards at the conclusion of a SAP increment. SAP increments are defined as payment periods.

After each evaluation, students who do not meet SAP standards will be notified in writing by the Registrar’s Office. It is important students check their school email frequently to respond to any communication regarding their SAP status with Pacific Oaks.

Students who change their program may impact their SAP review period, and their SAP reviews will include all POC coursework taken by the student for previous programs.

Satisfactory Academic Progress Not Met

Students who do not meet SAP will be placed in one of the following student statuses:

  1. Academic & Financial Aid Warning
  2. Academic & Financial Aid Probation
  3. Academic Dismissal

Academic and Financial Aid Warning

Students who do not meet the minimum requirements for making Satisfactory Academic Progress at the time of evaluation are placed on Academic and Financial Aid Warning for the next semester/session. Students in this status are required to meet with their Faculty Advisor or Associate Dean to create an Academic Recovery Plan (ARP) to ensure their success in their academic program. An ARP is an individualized plan which identifies the progress each student must make to return to Good Academic Standing. ARP’s during Academic and Financial Aid Warning are written for one (1) semester.

Students will be given one (1) semester of attempted coursework to meet SAP requirements. All coursework attempted after the term during which the student did not meet satisfactory academic progress is counted as part of the Academic and Financial Aid Warning period. Students who are otherwise eligible to receive Title IV financial aid are eligible to receive Title IV financial aid while on Academic and Financial Aid Warning. Students may be required to re-take coursework previously completed in order to increase the likelihood of successfully meeting SAP and/or graduation requirements. These requirements may affect the student’s eligibility for financial aid funds.

At the conclusion of the Academic and Financial Aid Warning period, students who do not meet SAP requirements will be notified by the Registrar’s Office. Any student wishing to continue their studies must submit the SAP Petition for Reinstatement Form and Academic Recovery Plan to the Registrar’s Office.

Academic and Financial Aid Probation

Students who have not met SAP standards following a term of Academic and Financial Aid Warning must appeal in order to complete one additional term of study on Academic and Financial Aid Probation. Probation will not be given automatically. Students who did not appeal their Academic and Financial Aid Probation status will be administratively withdrawn.

All coursework attempted after the term during which the student did not meet Satisfactory Academic Progress is counted as part of the Academic and Financial Aid Probation period. Students in this status are required to meet with their Faculty Advisor to revise the Academic Recovery Plan to ensure their success in their academic program.

Students who are otherwise eligible to receive Title IV financial aid are eligible to receive Title IV financial aid while on Academic and Financial Aid Probation if their appeal is approved. Students may be required to re-take coursework previously completed in order to increase the likelihood of successfully meeting SAP and/or graduation requirements. These requirements may affect the student’s eligibility for financial aid funds.

At the conclusion of the term of Academic and Financial Aid Probation, students who do not meet SAP requirements will be dismissed from the College. Dismissed students should refer to the Academic Dismissal Appeal policy.

Academic Dismissal

A student is academically dismissed following the session/semester in which they were placed on Academic and Financial Aid Probation when the student does not meet all SAP requirements

Students who have been awarded financial aid or ‘veterans’ administration benefits for the coming semester are advised that academic dismissal carries with it the cancellation of any financial aid or benefits. Students who are reinstated may be reconsidered for financial aid at that time. However, reinstatement does not necessarily mean that financial aid will be available for that semester/session or any future semester/session.

Academic Dismissal Appeal

Students who wish to appeal an academic dismissal must demonstrate both extraordinary circumstances explaining the unsatisfactory academic performance and a likelihood of success if allowed to continue at Pacific Oaks College.

Additionally, the appeal must include:

  • A reasonable explanation for the student’s academic performance to date, and any mitigating circumstances that are related to his/her performance;
  • Reasonable evidence that the student has the ability to be successful in his/her academic program due to changed circumstances, experience, and/or successful completion of credits during the period of absence; and
  • A plan for completion of the coursework required to meet SAP upon the student’s return.

Students have a right to appeal within 14 days after being notified of their academic dismissal decision. Students will need to submit a Re-Entry Form and a petition that supports why they should be re-entered. Appeal decisions are based on relevant information that was not available at the time or if procedures were not followed per PO academic policies and guidelines. The appeal decision will be determined by the Academic Standards Committee (ASC). All decisions made by the ASC are final. Approved students will be readmitted in an Academic and Financial Aid Probation status.

Returning after Dismissal

A student may apply for re-admission one year after the dismissal date. The student will need to submit a Petition for Reinstatement Form, an Admissions Application and any official transcripts from previously attended accredited institutions to the Office of Admissions. The Office of Admission Registrar Office will forward all documents to the Appeal Committee for review. All students who return after academic dismissal will be placed on probation for one semester/session and complete degree requirements from the current catalog. If the student is not able to meet SAP, then the student will be dismissed.

Dismissed students who re-apply to Pacific Oaks College must demonstrate a substantial likelihood of success if allowed to return.

The student must submit the following in support of a re-admission from dismissal status:

  • Submitting a personal statement demonstrating how their circumstances have changed to allow them to succeed once they return to Pacific Oaks and their likelihood of success, if allowed to return to PO.
  • Successful completion of coursework at another regionally accredited institution.
    • Undergraduate dismissed students must complete a minimum of 12 transferrable units from a regionally accredited institution with a GPA of at least 2.50. Each course must be completed with a grade no lower than a “C”.
    • Graduate dismissed students must complete a minimum of 8 transferrable units with a GPA of at least 3.0. Each course must be completed with a grade no lower than a C.

Approved students will be readmitted in an Academic and Financial Aid Probation status. Verification of this information through an official transcript must accompany the petition for reinstatement. Prior to beginning course work elsewhere, it is recommended that students contact Academic Evaluations to review the course work they plan on taking outside Pacific Oaks College to ensure the courses fulfill the requirements set forth by the College. In accordance with the ‘Schools’ graduation requirements not all credits may be accepted in transfer upon a student’s return.

Leave of Absence

Pacific Oaks College requires all students to maintain continous enrollment, and encourages all students to complete their course of study in an expeditious manner. In extenuating circumstances, however, an approved Leave of Absence may be granted. A Leave of Absence (LOA) is a temporary interruption in a student’s program of study due to an extenuating circumstance.

A student considering a leave of absence must consult with his/her Faculty Advisor and the Financial Aid Office prior to petitioning. The request should be made prior to the start of the semester/session in which the student intends to take a Leave of Absence.

An LOA together with any additional leaves of absence must not exceed a total of 180 days in any 12-month period.  Students are required to return to their program of study after their LOA ends. Students are allowed a maximum of two (2) LOAs during their program of study.

The minimum requirements for a leave of absence are:

  1. The student must be in good academic standing, per SAP policy.
  2. The form/petition must state clearly and completely the reasons for the leave.
  3. The student must not have any disciplinary, financial or academic inquiries pending;
  4. Leave of Absences may not exceed 180 days in any 12-month period;
  5. The student may not exceed LOA limits or other academic requirements.

Requesting a Leave of Absence

  1. Leave of Absence (LOA) requests must be submitted to the Registrar’s Office in writing prior to the Add/Drop deadline of the intended LOA semester/session;
  2. Students must contact the Office of Financial Aid to understand the financial implications failing to return may have on their loan repayment terms and grace periods;
  3. Students must include the reason for the leave request, documentation (if applicable), and the semester/session in which the student intends to return;
  4. Students may request an LOA for up to 1 semester/2 sessions per 12-month period (Fall, Spring, and Summer). Longer LOAs will not be approved.


LOA’s will be noted on the student’s transcript for each approved semester/session until the student returns to school. Students returning from an LOA will return to the same place in their program of study, with the same enrollment status, number of credits, and academic standing as when they began their leave.  A student who does not return from an LOA by the agreed upon semester/session will be administratively withdrawn from the institution. In order to return, administratively withdrawn students must request re-entry or re-admission. Please see the Re-Admission and Re-Entry policies for additional information.

Withdrawal from the College

Students have the right to withdraw from enrollment at Pacific Oaks College at any time. Students are strongly advised to speak with the Academic, Student Services, Student Accounts, and Financial Aid departments prior to submitting a withdrawal request as the timing of their withdrawal may have financial implications.

Withdrawal from Pacific Oaks College can occur in one of two ways, official (student-initiated) or administrative.

Official (student-initiated) Withdrawal:

The official withdrawal process begins with the submission of the Withdrawal Form to the Registrar’s Office. The form is available in the Registrar’s Office as well as on the Pacific Oaks College Registrar Forms website.

A student’s withdrawal date is:

  1. The date the student officially notified the institution through the Withdrawal Form; or
  2. Any earlier or later date that the institution documents as the last date of academically related activity by the student.

To complete the official withdraw process, the student should:

  1. Complete an advising appointment with their assigned Student Advisor;
  2. Submit the Withdrawal Form to the Registrar’s Office
  3. Complete the Exit Interview process through the Financial Aid Office; and
  4. Reconcile any account balance with the Student Accounts Office

Administrative withdrawal:

Pacific Oaks determines that a student is administratively withdrawn when he or she falls into one of the following categories:

  1. Not meeting the requirement(s) for continuous enrollment
  2. Billing or Financial Aid holds
  3. Admissions Contingency holds
  4. Not meeting the minimum attendance requirements
  5. Non-return from Leave of Absence by student’s indicated return date
  6. Failing to appeal their Probation status, or having their appeal declined

For administrative withdrawals, a student’s withdrawal date is:

  1. The last day of the last session/semester attended; or
  2. Any earlier or later date which the institution documents as the last date of academically related activity by the student

Withdrawal from Pacific Oaks College during any period of enrollment, whether official or administrative, may necessitate the return of federal financial aid and is subject to the Pacific Oaks College Drop/Withdrawal Refund Schedule. Students are responsible for any resulting balance owed to Pacific Oaks College. The College does not refund any fees to withdrawn students.

Admission to Class

Faculty may admit to class only those students who are officially registered.

Class Cancellations

Classes may be cancelled due to insufficient enrollment. In some cases, students may be able to replace a cancelled ground course with an online course.

When public health or safety is a factor, the administration will make a decision to delay the school opening or to cancel classes. When public health or safety is a factor, students are encouraged to contact Student Services.

Independent Study

Independent study is a course option available to all students. An independent study can be designed to meet several specific needs: elective or required courses for a specialization, and/or an opportunity for students to explore areas of human development and related topics on their own.

An Independent Study Contract details the objectives of the study as well as the faculty member enlisted by the student to be the faculty of record on the independent study. This contract must be submitted to the Registrar’s Office prior to registration. It is the student’s responsibility to secure the instructor’s signature on this contract. Independent studies range from one (1) to four (4) units. Each unit is equivalent to forty-five (45) hours of academic work. Independent studies traditionally consist of books (read and reported on), journals, data gathering (interviews), reflective processes, observation, fieldwork, writing, reporting, and presentations.

BA to MA Excellerate Option

With approval, undergraduate students may substitute two MA level courses for two BA  courses, as identified on the BA to MA Excellerate Application.  Requirements include:

  1. Recommendations from two faculty members at Pacific Oaks,
  2. Successful completion of at least 84units toward the BA program,
  3. Completion of at least nine credits at Pacific Oaks College and a cumulative GPA of at least 3.25 at Pacific Oaks College.  
  4. Good academic and financial standing,
  5. Fulfillment of all general education and progression requirements,
  6. Only one “excellerate” graduate-level course may be taken at a time,
  7. A recommendation from the student’s BA Associate Dean indicating that the students is prepared for graduate-level study, and
  8. Approval to take the MA level course by the Associate Dean for that program. 


The Associate Deans for each of the eligible MA programs have identified courses that may be taken by “Excellerate” BA students. 

All applicants to the BA to MA Excellerate option must submit an application to their BA Associate Dean, which will include a personal statement indicating their commitment to graduate study along with a sample of their academic writing. Applications can be obtained from the Office of the Registrar.

BA graduates who are subsequently accepted to a Pacific Oaks College MA program, and who have successfully completed “Excellerate” MA level courses with a B (3.00) or higher, may be applied  toward fulfillment of the MA program.

Non-Matriculating Students

Non-matriculating students are not seeking a degree or credential, but are allowed to enroll in courses at Pacific Oaks College. Non-matriculating students may register for courses during open registration on a space availability basis only by completing the Non-Matriculating Student Application through the Registrar’s Office. Non-matriculating students must meet all the prerequisites published in the catalog for enrollment in the individual courses. Students taking bachelor-level classes must have proof of a high school diploma or GED. Students taking master-level classes must submit official transcripts indicating completion of a bachelor’s degree.

Non-matriculating students may enroll up to twelve (12) credits without being officially admitted. Credentialed California teachers who are attempting to fulfill the transitional kindergarten requirment may take up to 24 credits as a non-matriculating student. If the non-matriculating student formally applies for admission to Pacific Oaks College at a later date, there is no guarantee that such courses taken as a non-matriculating student will be accepted toward meeting degree program requirements. That student will then need to meet the degree requirements in the current Catalog at the time of his or her formal admission acceptance into the degree program. If formally admitted to a degree program, an official evaluation will be completed to determine which program requirements have been met.

A non-matriculating student is ineligible to receive financial aid. The Non-Matriculating Student Application can be located on the Registrar’s Office website.

Change of Name and/or Address

A change of name and/or address may be processed by completing a Change of Student Information Form located on the Registrar’s Office website. Name changes require supporting legal documents, including:

  1. Marriage License
  2. Divorce Decree Reinstating Maiden Name
  3. Adoption Documents
  4. Court Order
  5. Valid Passport
  6. Birth Certificate

Name changes cannot be processed through the student portal system. Such changes may be made by contacting the Registrar’s Office.

Application for Degree Conferral

Pacific Oaks College confers degrees six (6) times during the academic year. Please see the Academic Calendar for specific conferral application deadline dates. All degree requirements and contingencies, including but not limited to incompletes grades, portfolio, thesis, etc. must be completed by the last date of the semester/session of the designated semester/session the degree is to be conferred.

Bachelor’s students must complete all contingencies in their penultimate (second to last) semester/session.

Although a student may have completed all requirements, degree conferral is not automatic. Every degree candidate is required to file a Petition for Degree Completion Form with the Registrar’s Office and pay the appropriate fee. If the student should fail to complete degree requirements by the intended graduation date, the student must submit a new Petition for Degree Completion Form.

The Registrar’s Office must receive all official transcripts to meet contingencies for all coursework leading to baccalaureate degrees by the last day of the semester/session of the student’s anticipated conferral date.

International students are required to demonstrate final pre-requisite degree conferral. An international student who is conditionally admitted with proof of final degree conferral pending will be permitted until the start of the second term to provide required degree conferral documents.

Participation in Commencement

A formal college commencement ceremony is held annually in the Spring semester. To participate in the commencement ceremony, students must submit a Commencement RSVP form. Students may only participate in commencement once per degree earned. Students may also opt out and choose to participate at a subsequent commencement.

The following students are eligible to participate in the annual Spring commencement ceremony:

  1. Bachelor’s and Master’s degree students who met all their degree requirements at the end of the prior Summer or Fall semester/session;
  2. Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree students who are candidates to complete their degree requirements by the end of the Spring semester/session. The student’s official program degree audit evaluation must indicate the student is on target to satisfactorily complete all degree requirements by the end of the Spring semester/session of that year, as verified by the Registrar’s Office and so indicated by the expected graduation date on the student’s record;
  3. Students placed on Financial Aid & Academic Warning or Probation statuses must meet with their Faculty Advisor to be cleared to participate in commencement.

Requirements for participation in Commencement are not subject to appeal. Students completing degree requirements at the end of the following Summer semester/session may participate if they meet the following criteria:

  1. School of Education - Student has 9 or less units left to fulfill degree requirements and portfolio must be current.
  2. Master’s degree students from the School of Human Development - Student has 6 or less units left to fulfill degree requirements and Thesis or Applied Research Project must be completed.
  3. Master’s degree students from the School of Cultural and Family Psychology - Student has 9 or less units left to fulfill degree requirements.
  4. All other academic programs - Student has 6 or less units left to fulfill degree requirements.
  5. All undergraduate credits to fulfill degree requirements include both Pacific Oaks credits and courses in transfer.

Diplomas and Transcripts

Diplomas are mailed out approximately six (6) to eight (8) weeks after the date of degree conferral. This allows time for confirmation that all degree requirements have been met. Under no circumstances will a diploma be released prior to the conferral date. Transcripts from other institutions that have been presented for admission or evaluation become part of the student’s academic file and are not returned or copied for distribution.

Diplomas and/or transcripts will not be released until the student has been certified as having met all degree requirements and met all financial obligations to the College. Unless otherwise allowed by Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) regulations, all official transcripts are issued only with written permission of the student. Information on requesting official transcripts is available at Pacific Oaks website.

Transcripts of Academic Records

Official Pacific Oaks transcripts are available by completing a transcript request through Transcript-On Demand.  Information is available on the Registrar Office, Transcript Request webpage. Unofficial transcripts are available to current students to view and print through the My Pacific Oaks student portal.

General Petition

For any petition regarding academic policy or procedure not specifically covered in this catalog, students may file a General Petition Form with the Registrar’s Office.  The petition will be reviewed and a decision reached by the Academic Standards Committee.  Such decisions of the Academic Standards Committee are final and not appealable.

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