2017-2018 Samford University Catalog 
    Jun 16, 2024  
2017-2018 Samford University Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Academic Policies and Regulations

Undergraduate Degree Requirements

Bachelor’s Degree Requirements

Total Credits

A minimum of 128 credits must be successfully completed for the typical bachelor’s degree.* No more than eight (8) credits in music ensembles, drama participation, and physical activity courses may apply toward the minimum of 128 credits required for graduation.** In order to receive a first bachelor’s degree, students must earn at least 50 percent of their total credits from Samford.

A second bachelor’s degree requires at least 32 additional credits and completion of all curricular requirements for the second degree.


*Some programs require more than 128 credits to complete the degree.

**Exceptions allowed for programs that require more than eight music ensembles and/or drama participation courses within the major.


Students are required to earn at least 50 percent of the credit for a first undergraduate degree in each degree program from Samford. Also, a minimum of 15 credits in the major field (with nine at the 300-400 level) must be earned at Samford. Each bachelor degree student must declare a major by the junior year. This information must be on file in the Office of the Registrar. Students desiring to change a declared major must do so at the beginning of the registration periods for each semester or term. An undeclared major is acceptable for the freshman and sophomore years. In addition to a major, a specialized curriculum in pre-law or pre-medicine may be followed. See the Pre-Law   or Health Professions Program  sections in the University-Wide Academic Opportunities  section of this catalog.

Double Majors/Dual Degrees

One of the many requirements for receiving a degree from Samford University is to complete at least one major leading to that degree. Any additional majors completed are a “bonus” added to that same degree. For example, a student may earn a bachelor of science degree, with a double major in chemistry and art, or a bachelor of arts degree, with majors in music and economics. When a double major includes majors from more than one college, or two majors in two separate degrees, the university registrar must be informed of the student’s preference as to the college and major for official listings. The first major listed by the student is used in determining both the degree to be received as well as the Commencement ceremony to be attended.

If a student wishes to pursue two majors of two separate types as two separate degrees, for instance one major is a bachelor of arts and the second a bachelor of science, this is considered a dual degree. Pursuit of a dual degree requires a student to take an additional 32 credit hours to earn the second degree. Upon completion of the major requirements and the 32 additional hours, the student will be awarded two degrees.

In the case of either a dual degree or double major, students must meet all the general education requirements for the second major/degree. If one major or degree has fewer general education requirements, the student must fulfill the stricter of the two requirements. For instance, if one major requires one year of a foreign language and the second major requires two, the student must take two years of a foreign language.


For a minor, at least 18 credits as prescribed must be taken. A minimum of nine credits in the minor field (with six at the 300-400 level) must be earned at Samford. A minor is not required in all majors; however, a student is encouraged to consult with his/her academic advisor to determine whether a minor or some selection or concentration of courses might enhance the academic experience.

Grade Point Average (GPA)

A grade point average of 2.00 in the Samford University (SU) average (calculated on all work taken at Samford) is required. Consult departmental listings for specific major course requirements, number of required credits, and grade point averages to achieve. A student must have at least a 2.00 GPA in both the major and minor fields.

Writing Proficiency Requirement

Samford University considers the development of students’ writing proficiency an important objective. All students must complete UCCA 102 - Communication Arts II (4)  at Samford (or transfer an equivalent course) with a grade of C- or better.

Convocation Requirement

Campuswide Convocation Programs for faculty, staff, and students are held regularly during the fall and spring semesters. Students must acquire 60 Convocation credits to graduate, 30 credits by the end of their sophomore year. Transfer students have their Convocation requirement prorated based on the credits they transfer to Samford from another institution. Students acquire Convocation credits by attending approved events and having their ID cards scanned at the conclusion of each event. For more information about Convocation requirements, visit the Office of Spiritual Life Web site at www.samford.edu/osl.

Additional Bachelor’s Degrees

In order to receive an additional bachelor’s degree, a student who has already received a bachelor’s degree must complete a minimum of 32 credits at Samford, including satisfaction of the University core curriculum, general education, GPA requirements, and four credits of religion (if a transfer student) beyond the first degree.

All additional curricular and minimum GPA requirements of the second degree must be met.

Areas of Study - Brief Definitions

Concentration-A study in one area, not large enough to be considered a major, but preferably in a subject that enhances the major and academic experience.

Curriculum-A set of courses constituting an area of specialization.

Earned Credits-Those credits that accumulate based on successful completion of coursework (excluding repeated courses). Most undergraduate degrees require a minimum of 128 earned credits. Earned credits may be different than quality credits, which are used to compute the grade point average.

General Education Courses-Required courses that engage students in the liberal arts tradition of using diverse approaches to explore our shared humanity.

Grade Point Average (GPA)-The number of quality points earned divided by the number of quality credits. Sometimes known as Quality-Point Average (QPA).

Interdisciplinary-Curriculum (major, concentration, or minor) requiring credits in two or more subject areas/disciplines.

Major-The subject in which a student concentrates most of his/her studies, following a set course curriculum, usually 30 to 60 credits for a bachelor’s degree. Each student should declare a major by the junior year and file it with Office of the Registrar.

Minor-A focus of study in a subject, on average 18 to 24 credits. A minor is not required in all majors.

Quality Credits-Each course is assigned a number of credits that a student can earn toward a degree if the course is completed successfully. Quality credits are divided into the number of quality points earned to obtain a student’s grade point average (GPA). For a few courses, students only earn credits instead of quality credits, i.e. pass/fail courses, and these are not included in the GPA calculation.

Repeats-A course may be repeated in an attempt to earn a higher grade; however, credits for the course do not accumulate. See Course Repeats in the Grading System Guidelines and Policies section.

Undeclared Major-Students working toward a bachelor’s degree are not required to declare a major during their freshman and sophomore years.

University Core Curriculum-Six required courses for all undergraduate students. (See University Core Curriculum in this section.)

University Fellows Program-Advanced academic track for undergraduate students who meet specific academic requirements. (See the University Fellows Program section of this catalog.)

Upper-Level-Coursework at the 300/400 level.

General Education: University Core Curriculum and Distribution Requirements

The General Education Curriculum, including the University Core, engages students in the liberal arts tradition of transcending department and major by exploring new ways to understand their place in a complex world.  All undergraduates are required to take the University Core Curriculum at Samford (22 credits)*. It is recommended that students be registered for UCCP 101 - Cultural Perspectives I (4)  in their first semester at Samford. They should also register for UCCA 101 - Communication Arts I (4)  or UCCA 102 - Communication Arts II (4) , depending on their placement.** Students should consult their academic advisors for recommended scheduling.

Additional courses in general education are also required to provide the foundation for the more specialized courses in the major. In some cases the particular course required to satisfy a general education distribution requirement is specified by the major. Students should consult the section of the catalog that describes the major under consideration to learn about these special requirements.

Double-Dipping Note: Students may not “double-dip” by counting a course for credit in both their major and as a general education distribution requirement, unless otherwise noted in the department section. They may, however, count a general education course towards a minor, with the exception of students minoring in English or history.

* Core curriculum requirements cannot be met through transient enrollment.

** Placement into  UCCA 102 , bypassing the requirement to complete UCCA 101 , does not exempt students from the minimum number of hours required for their chosen degree program (usually 128). These students may need to complete an additional four hours of a General Elective.

University Core Curriculum Courses (22 credits)

UCBP 101 - Biblical Perspectives (4)  

UCCA 101 - Communication Arts I (4)  

UCCA 102 - Communication Arts II (4)  

UCCP 101 - Cultural Perspectives I (4)  

UCCP 102 - Cultural Perspectives II (4)  

UCFH 120 - Concepts of Fitness and Health (2)  

See also the General Education Overview table at the beginning of the Howard College of Arts and Sciences section.

General Education Distribution Area Requirements (27 credits)

See the General Education - Distribution Areas table at the beginning of the Howard College of Arts and Science section. This is the standard general education curriculum for Samford students (27 credits) and as such, is part of most degree programs offered. However, some schools, departments, degrees, majors, or minors may require variations to this standard. Please consult those department sections to see details on how general education variations may apply. See table footnotes for additional information.

Graduate Degree Requirements

A list of available graduate programs can be found on the Programs of Study  page. A list of available graduate joint degrees is shown below. For more information, including degree requirements, refer to the academic departments/schools sections of this catalog and/or publications from the individual departments or schools offering graduate degrees.

Graduate Joint Degrees Offered

Biology/Environmental Management (College of Arts and Sciences)

Master of Science in Environmental Management/Juris Doctor (M.S.E.M./J.D.)

Music (School of the Arts)

Master of Music/Master of Divinity (M.M./M.Div.)


Professional Accountancy (B.S.B.A./M.Acc.)
Master of Accountancy/Juris Doctor (M.Acc./J.D.)
Master of Business Administration/Juris Doctor (M.B.A./J.D.)
Master of Business Administration/Master of Accountancy (M.B.A./M.Acc.)
Master of Business Administration/Master of Divinity (M.B.A./M.Div.)
Master of Business Administration/Master of Science in Environmental Management (M.B.A./M.S.E.M.)


Master of Science in Education/Master of Divinity (M.S.E./M.Div.)

Divinity or Theological Studies (School of Divinity)

Master of Arts in Theological Studies/Juris Doctor (M.A.T.S./J.D.)
Master of Arts in Theological Studies/Master of Social Work (M.A.T.S./M.S.W.)
Master of Divinity/Juris Doctor (M.Div/J.D.)
Master of Divinity/Master of Business Administration (M.Div./M.B.A.)
Master of Divinity/Master of Music (M.Div./M.M.)
Master of Divinity/Master of Science in Education (M.Div./M.S.E.)
Master of Divinity/Master of Social Work (M.Div./M.S.W.)


Juris Doctor/Master of Accountancy (J.D./M.Acc.)
Juris Doctor/Master of Arts in Theological Studies (J.D./M.A.T.S.)
Juris Doctor/Master of Business Administration (J.D./M.B.A.)
Juris Doctor/Master of Divinity (J.D./M.Div.)
Juris Doctor/Master of Public Administration (J.D./M.P.A.)*
Juris Doctor/Master of Public Health (J.D./M.P.H.)*
Juris Doctor/Master of Science (Bioethics) (J.D./M.S.)
Juris Doctor/Master of Science in Environmental Management (J.D./M.S.E.M.)

Social Work (School of Public Health)

Master of Social Work/Master of Arts in Theological Studies (M.S.W./M.A.T.S.)
Master of Social Work/Master of Divinity (M.S.W./M.Div.)
Master of Social Work/Master of Public Health (M.S.W./M.P.H.)


* In cooperation with the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Graduate Coordinated Degrees

Business, Pharmacy, Public Health

Doctor of Pharmacy/Master of Business Administration (Pharm.D./M.B.A.)
Doctor of Pharmacy/Master of Public Health (Pharm.D./M.P.H.)

Fast Track Degrees (Undergraduate + Graduate)

Health Professions, Public Health

Fast Track Doctor of Physical Therapy, D.P.T.
Fast Track Master of Healthcare Administration, M.H.C.A.
Fast Track Master of Social Work, M.S.W.

Academic Regulations

Students are expected to know regulations and policies found in this catalog and the Student Handbook. Keeping abreast of the school calendar, critical deadlines, and all University mail received in one’s University mailbox and/or electronic mail is also the student’s responsibility.

Undergraduate Academic Achievement Recognition

University Fellows Program

For more information about the University Fellows Program , see the University-Wide Academic Opportunities  section of this catalog.

Dean’s List

At the end of each semester, a Dean’s List is compiled consisting of undergraduate students who have earned a grade point average of at least 3.50 while completing at least 12 quality credits in that semester at Samford.

Graduation with Honors

Honors are awarded on the basis of all academic work taken at Samford University. Students who earn at least 70 credits at Samford and a grade point average (calculated on all work done at Samford University) of 3.500 through 3.749 are graduated cum laude; of 3.750 through 3.899 are graduated magna cum laude; and of 3.900 through 4.000 are graduated summa cum laude.

Honor Organizations

Alpha Epsilon Delta (Pre-Health)
Alpha Lambda Delta (Freshmen)
Dobro Slovo (Slavic Studies)
Omicron Delta Kappa (Leadership and Service)
Order of Omega (Greek Leadership and Service)
Phi Kappa Phi (Academic Achievement)

Howard College of Arts and Sciences
Biology - Beta Beta Beta
Classics - Eta Sigma Phi
Communication Studies - Lambda Pi Eta
English - Sigma Tau Delta
Geography - Gamma Theta Upsilon
History - Phi Alpha Theta
Journalism/Mass Communication - Kappa Tau Alpha
Mathematics - Pi Mu Epsilon
Philosophy - Phi Sigma Tau
Political Science - Pi Sigma Alpha
Psychology - Psi Chi
Religion - Theta Alpha Kappa
Sociology - Alpha Kappa Delta
World Languages and Cultures -

Pi Delta Phi (French)
Delta Phi Alpha (German)
Sigma Delta Pi (Spanish)

School of the Arts
Music - Delta Omicron
Theatre - Alpha Psi Omega

Brock School of Business
Business (General) - Beta Gamma Sigma
Accounting, Finance - Beta Alpha Psi
Economics - Omicron Delta Epsilon

Orlean Beeson School of Education
Teacher Education - Kappa Delta Pi
Professional Studies - Alpha Sigma Lambda

Ida Moffett School of Nursing
Sigma Theta Tau

McWhorter School of Pharmacy
Rho Chi

Class Honors (Certificates and Medals)

Class Honors certificates and medals are awarded in the spring term to undergraduate students who have successfully completed at least 12 quality (GPA) credits at Samford in the previous fall term with a Samford cumulative GPA of at least 3.50 (for a certificate) or 3.75 (for a medal). The four Class Honors medals are:

Freshman Year (1st medal):   Ruric E. Wheeler
Sophomore Year (2nd medal):   Seal
Junior Year (3rd medal):   Tower
Senior Year (4th medal):   John Howard

A student may earn one Class Honors certificate or medal each academic year for a combined maximum of four Class Honors awards. The award year count is determined by the number of years the student qualifies for a Class Honor, not by the student’s classification. For example, if a student qualifies for a certificate the first two years and a medal the third year, he/she will receive the 3rd (Tower) medal. The student will not have another opportunity to earn the 1st and 2nd medals. If a student’s first time to qualify for a Class Honor is during the senior year, he/she will receive a certificate or the 1st year (Wheeler) medal.


Ruric Wheeler served as a faculty member and administrator at Samford University for over half a century. He established a national reputation in mathematics through his textbook, Modern Mathematics, which went through 11 editions under his authorship. In honoring this outstanding scholar, devoted teacher, and university leader, the Wheeler medal celebrates the pursuit of academic excellence in a Christian tradition.


The University seal is inscribed with an oil lamp resting on an open book. The University motto, “Deo doctrinae aeternitati,” appears above the lamp. The seal reminds us that God is the eternal source of light and truth, and that his wisdom is “a light unto our path.”


The Samford belltower has long served as the University logo. Inside the tower are the sixty bells of the Rushton Memorial Carillon, one of the largest in America. Just as the belltower makes Davis Library the focal point of the campus, the Tower medal is a reminder that knowledge and learning are at the center of university life.


This medal bears the name of John Howard, an 18th century humanitarian who campaigned tirelessly for the improvement of prisons. His statue was the first to be placed in St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, and it stands to this day in a place of honor near the pulpit. Howard’s life symbolizes Christ’s call of service to others.

Academic Integrity

A degree from Samford University is evidence of achievement in scholarship and citizenship. Activities and attitudes should be consistent with high academic standards and Christian commitment and should be in keeping with the philosophy and mission of the University. At Samford, academic integrity is expected of every community member in all endeavors and includes a commitment to honesty, fairness, trustworthiness, and respect.

The University Statement on Academic Dishonesty is as follows: students, upon enrollment, enter into a voluntary association with Samford University. They must be willing to observe high standards of intellectual integrity, respect knowledge, and practice academic honesty. Those who cheat on an examination or class assignment are not only academically dishonest, but also are deficient in the scholarly maturity necessary for college study. Those who engage in academic dishonesty are subject to severe punishment. Any act to obtain an unfair academic advantage is considered dishonest.

If a student is accused of a violation, a hearing panel composed of faculty and students will review the violation and may impose sanctions that include probation, suspension, or dismissal. The types of misconduct that constitute a violation, as well as the full text of the policy, including procedures and appeals, is available on the Registrar’s Office page of the University Web site.

Academic Renewal

Undergraduate students who have dropped out, withdrawn, or who have been suspended because of academic deficiencies but have demonstrated sufficient maturation may request to be enrolled as a candidate for academic renewal. (See Academic Renewal Applicant  in the Undergraduate Admission Procedures and Policies  section of this catalog for application procedures.)

Audit Student Guidelines

As an alternative to full participation in a credit course, students may audit the course. Audit students do not receive grades and do not usually participate in examinations; however, instructors have the option of establishing requirements for a satisfactory audit. Undergraduate students are not permitted to audit courses numbered above 400-level.

  1. Audit as Credit Student - Students choosing this option must be admitted to Samford either as a Regular or Special Status Student. Students should enroll in the course to be audited using registration procedures and paying the same tuition as regular enrollees. Provided the instructor’s requirements are met, the course will appear on the credit transcript with the notation AU and zero credits. If these requirements are not met, a W will be entered on the transcript.
  2. From a Grading/Credit Basis to an Audit Basis - A student can change from a grading basis to an audit basis any time prior to the deadline for withdrawing from a class without academic penalty. There will be no financial refunds made as a result of change in grading basis.
  3. From an Audit Basis to a Grading/Credit Basis - An audit student may not receive regular credit for a course begun as an audit, unless the change is made by the last day to add a course for the semester or term.

Class Attendance

One of the most vital aspects of a residential university experience is attendance and punctuality in the classroom. The classroom is the place where each student contributes to the learning experience of his or her classmates; therefore, the value of the classroom academic experience cannot be fully measured by testing procedures alone. Class attendance policies are established by each school at the University, and specific attendance requirements are indicated in the syllabus of each class. Some students participate in institutional activities that require them to represent the University in scheduled events on and off campus. For activities of sufficient importance in the overall life of the University, excused absences are granted. A list of activities qualifying for excused absences is maintained by the Office of the Provost. An excused absence does not relieve a student of responsibility for the academic work in the class missed. However, students may not be penalized for such absences and must be given the opportunity to make up missed work. Students are responsible for informing their professors, in advance, of the class dates that will be missed because of these activities. Practice and/or preparation for these activities would not be a valid reason to miss class. Ultimately, each student bears the responsibility to be aware of and to comply with attendance and punctuality requirements.

Class Registration and Policies

Class Load for Undergraduates

A normal class load for undergraduate day students during fall and spring semesters is 16 undergraduate credits. Permission from the school dean must be secured to register for more than 18 credits. Under no circumstances may an undergraduate day student register for more than 21 credits in any semester, regardless of session length, location, or method of delivery.

The normal class load in each summer term is two courses. The maximum credit allowable in any summer term is eight. The maximum credit allowable for two summer terms is 16. The maximum class load allowed in Jan Term is two courses, not to exceed a total of six credits. Professional Studies students are limited to 10 credits in the summer and 14 credits in the fall or spring, without the dean’s approval.

Student Classifications

Undergraduate students are classified as follows:

Freshman - A student who has earned fewer than 32 credits.
Sophomore - A student who has earned at least 32 credits, but fewer than 64.
Junior - A student who has earned at least 64 credits, but fewer than 96.
Senior - A student who has earned at least 96 credits.
Full-time student - One who is enrolled for at least 12 credits in a semester or six credits in a summer term.

University Core Curriculum

All freshmen are required to take the University Core Curriculum at Samford. All students should be registered for Cultural Perspectives (UCCP 101 ) in their first semester at Samford. They should also register for Communication Arts I (UCCA 101 - Communication Arts I (4) ) or (UCCA 102 - Communication Arts II (4) ), depending on their placement. Students should consult their academic advisors for recommended scheduling.

Cross Registration

Graduate, professional, divinity, and law students may not register for courses in the other academic divisions without permission of the academic deans in both areas. Additional tuition may be incurred; payment is due the day the charges are incurred.


Graduation Requirements

It is the responsibility of the student to see that all graduation requirements are met. A student is required to meet all requirements for graduation as set forth in the Samford University Catalog (or, if more up-to-date, any school/departmental official publications) in effect at the time of entrance into the major, assuming that there is no interruption in enrollment other than for stated vacation periods. Later changes in the requirements for graduation are not applicable to students who proceed through their chosen program in a timely fashion.

Students whose enrollment has been interrupted are to follow the requirements for graduation as set forth in the catalog (or, if more up-to-date, any school/departmental official publications) in effect at the time of readmission to a major program of study.

If the University changes requirements for graduation after the entry of a student into a program, and if those changes better meet the goals of the student, the student may petition the dean of the appropriate school to be allowed to qualify for graduation by meeting the newer requirements. If approved, the student will meet all requirements for graduation set forth in the later catalog. In no case may a student qualify for graduation by meeting requirements set forth in two different catalogs.

Graduation Attendance

Commencement exercises are held at the end of the fall semester and at the end of the spring semester. All candidates completing degree requirements are required to be present at the commencement events, except that attendance at the fall commencement is optional for those having completed degree requirements the previous August.

Undergraduate students who lack eight course credits or fewer (three course credits or fewer for graduate students) toward degree requirements may petition the university registrar to march with their class at commencement. Such students must file an approved request outlining their plans to complete the missing course requirements. A form for this purpose is available in the Office of the Registrar.

This policy does not apply to students who have not completed UCCA 102  with a C- or better. Also, this policy does not apply to undergraduate students who lack five or more convocation credits. Students who lack four convocation credits or fewer toward degree requirements may petition to march with their class at commencement. Such students must file an approved request form, which is available in the Office of Spiritual Life.

Students who have a Values Violation pending or have not completed the sanctions given by the Values Advocate or a Values Council will not be allowed to participate in graduation activities, including commencement exercises.

Credit Hour Policy

For Samford University programs, including the undergraduate, graduate and professional, one unit (hour) of academic credit is granted to students who have successfully met academic requirements with an amount of work represented in intended learning outcomes and verified by evidence of student achievement that reasonably approximates not less than:

  1. One hour of classroom or direct faculty instruction and a minimum of two hours of out-of-class student work each week for approximately fifteen weeks or one semester or trimester hour of credit, or ten to twelve weeks for one quarter hour of credit, or the equivalent amount of work over a different amount of time; or
  2. At least an equivalent amount of work as required in paragraph 1 of this definition for other academic activities as established by the institution including laboratory work, internships, clinicals, practica, studio work, and other academic work leading to the award of credit hours.

The above policy is in accordance with federal regulations and requirements of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. It is applicable to all courses offered, regardless of the mode of delivery and/or session length (e.g., standard 15-week instructional format, 10- or 8-week format, nonclassroom based learning experiences, and online course delivery experiences). Individual schools and/or programs with course formats which differ from those cited above must define the standards for credit hours assigned and provide those standards and credit hours to students through publication (i.e., handbooks or websites).

Elective Withdrawal

Course Withdrawal and Dropping a Course

A student may drop a course without a grade of W (withdrawn) or academic penalty up through the last day to drop a course(s). Students can drop a course online through the Samford Portal up through this deadline. (See the Academic Calendar  section of this catalog for date.)

A student may withdraw from a course after the last day to drop a course and up through the date to “withdraw from a course without academic penalty,” but will receive a grade of W. If the course is dropped after the date to “withdraw from a course without academic penalty,” the student will receive a grade of WF.

The date of the course withdrawal will be the date the official Course Withdrawal Form is returned to the Office of the Registrar. Students can obtain the Course Withdrawal Form from the Registrar’s Office Forms page.

If a student discontinues attending a course after the “last day to add or drop a course” without notifying the Office of the Registrar in writing or exceeds the maximum absences allowed in a course, a grade of FA will be entered on the student’s record with the same penalty as a grade of F.

School Withdrawal

A student desiring to withdraw from the University at any time must secure an official Withdrawal Request Form from the Office of the Registrar. The official date of withdrawal will be the date this form is returned to the Office of the Registrar. If a student leaves the University without completing this process, the permanent record will show a grade of FA in all courses for that semester/term. Students can obtain the Withdrawal Request Form from the Registrar’s Office Forms page.

  • The permanent record of a student who withdraws before the last day to drop a course(s) will not show courses attempted for that semester/term.
  • The permanent record of a student who withdraws from all courses for a semester/term before the deadline, as stated in the Academic Calendar, will show courses attempted and will show a grade of W (withdrawn). A “W” is not calculated in the student’s GPA.
  • No student who withdraws from the University for any reason is entitled to a transcript of credits until his/her financial account has been settled in the Office of the Bursar.
  • A student who withdraws in the last two weeks of a semester automatically receives a WF in each course attempted.

Semester Withdrawal

A student who withdraws from all courses in a semester or term and is not registered for courses the following semester or term is considered to be withdrawing from the University. (See the School Withdrawal section above for more information.) If the student does not return to Samford within one calendar year, he/she will have to be readmitted. (See Readmission Student Applicant  for more information.)

A student who withdraws from all courses in a semester or term but is registered for courses in the following semester or term is still considered currently enrolled. The student may request permission to take courses as a transient student at another institution by submitting the Transient Enrollment/Letter of Good Standing Request Form. (See Transfer Policies for more information.)

Forms for dropping/withdrawing from a course, University or semester withdrawal, and transient enrollment can be found on the Registrar’s Office Forms page.

Academic Warning and Required Withdrawal

Placement on Academic Warning

Any student who has attempted 12 or more credits at Samford University must have a cumulative GPA of 2.00 in work done at Samford. Failure to maintain a 2.00 GPA will result in being placed on academic warning.

Continuation of Academic Warning

Any student who has been placed on academic warning and whose Samford cumulative GPA continues to be below 2.00 will continue on academic warning unless required to withdraw.

Making Satisfactory Academic Progress

Students on academic warning who maintain the GPAs listed below will be considered as making satisfactory academic progress toward graduation and may remain in school. Student athletes are held to NCAA standards for continuing eligibility that may be higher than those below. Contact the Athletic Compliance Officer for details.

Requirements to Classify as Making Satisfactory Academic Progress
Total Quality Credits Required Cumulative Samford GPA
13-31 1.70
32-63 1.80
64-95 1.90
96 or more 2.00

Required Withdrawal

If a student placed on academic warning does not achieve the cumulative GPA required at Samford University at the end of the semester or term, he or she is required to withdraw from the University for at least one full semester. Readmission is not automatic. Applications for readmission must be made through the Office of Admission at least six weeks prior to the beginning of the semester/term the student wants to return. Students may not attend other institutions during their period of withdrawal. Samford University will not accept any transfer credits completed during this required absence.

See Readmission Student Applicant  in the Undergraduate Admission Procedures and Policies  section of this catalog for application procedures.

Grading System Guidelines and Policies

Pass/Fail Basis Grading System

Any student who is enrolled in the Howard College of Arts and Sciences, the School of the Arts, the Brock School of Business, the Orlean Beeson School of Education, the School of Health Professions, or the School of Public Health, who is classified as a sophomore, junior, or senior, may elect to receive a pass/fail grade rather than a letter grade in no more than 12 credits of regular coursework. In a course elected for grading on the pass/fail basis, the student’s grade shall be designated “pass” or “fail.” A grade designation of “pass” shall not be included in the student’s grade point average; a grade of “fail” shall be included at 0.00 quality points per quality credit.

No course elected for grading on the pass/fail basis shall satisfy any part of a core, general education, major, or minor requirement for graduation. Successfully completed pass/fail courses will count toward the minimum total credits. The student can change from a grading basis to the pass/fail basis or from the pass/fail basis to the grading basis any time prior to the deadline for withdrawing from a class without academic penalty.

Certain internship and externship courses may be taken for pass/fail credit only. Credits earned in these courses may count toward the major or minor requirement and will not be included in the 12-credit limit. (Consult with your dean or advisor before registering for pass/fail credit.)

Course Repeats

Upon the recommendation of the advisor and with the approval of the university registrar, an undergraduate student may repeat a course for credit in which she or he received a C- or lower to improve her or his grade and cumulative GPA, as well as her or his understanding of course content.

When a course grade of C- or lower is repeated at Samford, only the grade earned in the most recent instance of the course, even if it is lower, will count in the calculation of the cumulative average. The credits count only once. Both courses and both grades remain on the transcript with an indication of which course is counted in the computation of the cumulative GPA. The repeated course must be exactly the same course that was originally taken. Courses repeated at other institutions do not change the Samford cumulative GPA.

Courses with grades of C or higher may be repeated; however, both grades will be averaged into the Samford cumulative GPA.

The deadline for submitting the petition to repeat a course with a C- or lower grade is the last day to add a course in the semester the repeated course is being taken. A form for this purpose is available in the Office of the Registrar.

A course can be repeated only once using the repeat policy to exclude the original grade from the student’s GPA calculation. A student may take advantage of this policy for no more than 16 credits. Repeating a course may influence a student’s financial aid or sports eligibility. Courses repeated after graduation will not change the graduation GPA.


Examinations, two hours in length, are given in all undergraduate subjects at the end of each semester. The precise weight assigned to the final examination is determined by the faculty member, the traditional policy being to count as 25 percent to 35 percent in obtaining a final average.

Grade Changes

An initial grade may be changed by an instructor with the approval of the instructor’s department chair and dean. This change reflects administrative error in the calculation of a grade, the accidental misposting of an incorrect grade, or some other administrative factor resulting in the posting of an incorrect grade. It can also be the result of the completion of course requirements by a student where an INC grade is replaced by a letter grade. An E or an INC which is not changed by grade change automatically becomes an F if not removed by the last day of classes in the next full semester after the grade was given. This grade of F may not be challenged.

Grade Appeals

An initial grade may be challenged by a student before the last day of classes of the next full semester. Jan Term grades must be appealed by the conclusion of the spring term. Summer term grades must be appealed by the end of fall term. All petitions must be made first in writing to the instructor, chair, and dean. If each of these three in turn denies the appeal, the student may submit a written appeal to the university registrar. The registrar will convene a subcommittee of the Faculty Academic Affairs Committee who will weigh the appeal. The results of this subcommittee’s decision are final.

Letter Grading System

Grades are indicated by letter symbols. The numerical value assigned to a letter grade is determined by each faculty member.

Grade Symbol Definition Quality  Points Earned
A The highest proficiency in ability and application 4.0
A- Slightly less than the highest proficiency in ability and application 3.7
 B+ Outstanding proficiency 3.3
B Ability and achievement of a high but second order 3.0
B- Ability and achievement of a high but third order 2.7
C+ A better than average performance 2.3
C Average ability or average achievement 2.0
C- Slightly below average achievement. There is a repeat policy. 1.7
D+ Below average performance. Many colleges decline to accept transfer credit of lower than a C grade. There is a repeat policy. 1.3
D Below average performance. There is a repeat policy. 1.0
D- Just above failing performance. There is a repeat policy. 0.70
E Grade given to a student who, though failing a final examination, has a general daily average high enough to justify the expectation that he/she could pass the course if permitted to take a make-up examination. An E can be removed only by re-examination and is never raised to a grade higher than D. There is a repeat policy. 0.00
F Outright failure and can be changed only if it is the result of a clerical error made by the institution. If F is given as a final grade, the student must repeat the entire course and earn a passing grade to receive credit for it. There is a repeat policy. 0.00
FA Grade given to a student who is dropped from a course because of excessive absences or who withdraws from the University without written permission from the Office of the Registrar. It carries the same penalty as F. 0.00
FX Failure due to a violation of academic integrity. 0.00
INC Represents Incomplete. Incomplete grades are valid if the student has done work that would earn a passing grade in the course but has failed to complete some portion of the required work because of an emergency, and the work can be completed without further class attendance. 0.00
IP Indicates that a course remains In Progress and ends after the semester’s/term’s final grade deadline. 0.00
Z Represents No Grade. It is given when a faculty member does not assign a grade. Instructor must change the Z to a grade. 0.00
W Indicates that the student withdrew before the academic penalty period, but was in good standing. There is no penalty for W. 0.00
WF Indicates that the student withdrew during the academic penalty period. WF carries the same penalty as F. 0.00
P Grade assigned for successful completion of a course designated Pass or Fail. It will not be included in the GPA. 0.00
AU Symbol assigned for successful completion of a courses taken on an audit basis. An audited course will not meet any graduation requirement or be included in the GPA. 0.00

Transfer Policies for Current Samford Students

Transfer of Grades/Credits for Courses Taken at Other Institutions by Current Samford Students

Current Samford students who take courses at another institution during any semester or term (typically the summer term) are considered transient students at the other college/university. Below are important facts for current Samford students who are pursuing transient enrollment at another institution:

  • Students who wish to transfer any credit completed while a transient student towards their Samford degree must have written approval signed in advance by their academic advisor, academic department head, and the registrar. The Transient Enrollment/Letter of Good Standing Request Form can be found on the Registrar’s Office Forms page.
  • University Core Curriculum requirements cannot be met through transient enrollment.
  • Seniors must have the written approval of their academic dean.
  • Seniors may not transfer more than two courses for a maximum of 8 credits.
  • The transient institution must be regionally accredited.
  • Transient transfer credit is subject to University transfer policies and will be awarded when the official transcript from the transient institution is received.
  • Courses from transient schools must have a letter grade of C- or better in order to be posted as earned credit on your transcript.
  • Courses taken on a pass/fail basis will not be accepted unless the student produces written documentation from the awarding institution that the grade represents at least a C-.
  • Transfer/transient courses are not calculated into the Samford GPA.
  • It is the student’s responsibility to arrange to have a transcript sent from the transient institution directly to Samford upon completion of the course(s).
  • The Transient Enrollment/Letter of Good Standing Request Form must be accompanied by a course description(s) from the transient institution.
  • Transient enrollment policies also apply to overseas/study abroad courses with foreign institutions. A separate form for study abroad transient work is available on the Registrar’s Office Forms page.
  • Total combined registered credits-Samford courses plus transient enrollment (not the BACHE program)-may not exceed 18 hours unless approved by the student’s school dean. Combined registered credits for transient and Samford courses may never exceed 21 hours in any term. See Class Load for Undergraduates for maximum credit hours allowed.
  • For students taking transient work in the summer, the deadline for completion of the Transient Enrollment/Letter of Good Standing Request Form is in April (exact date TBA).

Joint Services Transcript 

The Joint Services Transcript (JST) is issued through the JST Operations Center. It reports courses that may be considered for transfer credit from any of the military branches, one source for all. “The American Council on Education’s (ACE) Military Programs evaluates formal service courses and occupations approved by a central authority, employing the services of teams of subject-matter specialists from colleges and universities (professors, deans, and other academicians) that, through the discussion and the application of evaluation procedures and guidelines, reach consensus on content, description, and amount of credit to be recommended for selected courses and occupations.”  (Quoted from the JST Official Transcript Explanation.)

Samford will consider for transfer credit any course reported on the JST that has potential for academic credit. Courses that fall into vocational/career/technical areas are not considered for transfer credit. The course description reported on the JST transcript is forwarded to the appropriate academic department chair for evaluation. If a comparable Samford equivalent is approved, credit is applied for the ACE recommended credit hours and level. If additional course information is needed, the online Guide to the Evaluation of Educational Experiences in the Armed Services may be consulted.

In addition, the Defense Language Proficiency Test (DLPT) may be considered for world language credit if reported on the JST. The language and scores with ACE recommendations in listening, reading, and speaking are sent to the chair of the World Languages and Cultures Department for evaluation and assignment for comparable credit.

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is a federal law designed to protect the privacy of a student’s education records. The rights of the FERPA heretofore assigned to parents are now transferred to their college students.

These rights are:

  1. Eligible students have the right to inspect and review all their educational records maintained by the school. The student must contact the Office of the Registrar to make an appointment to view their academic record.
  2. Eligible students have the right to request that a school correct records believed to be inaccurate or misleading. If the school refuses to change the records, the eligible student then has the right to a formal hearing. After the hearing, if the school still refuses the correction, the eligible student has the right to place a statement in the records commenting on the contested information in the records.
  3. Generally, Samford University must have permission from the eligible student before releasing any information from a student’s record. However, the law allows schools to disclose records, without consent, to the following parties:
    • School employees who have a need to know
    • Other schools to which a student is transferring
    • Parents when a student over 18 is still a dependent
    • Certain government officials in order to carry out lawful functions
    • Appropriate parties in connection with financial aid to a student
    • Organizations doing certain studies for the school
    • Accrediting organizations
    • Individuals who have obtained court orders or subpoenas
    • Persons who need to know in cases of health and safety emergencies
    • State and local authorities to whom disclosure is required by state laws adopted before November 19,1974

Schools may also disclose, without consent, “directory type” information, such as a student’s name, address, and telephone number. Samford University has designated the following as directory information: student name, address, telephone number, e-mail address, date and place of birth, enrollment status, major field of study, participation in officially recognized activities and sports, weight and height of members of athletic teams, dates of attendance, honors, degrees and awards received, most recent previous school attended, and photograph. An eligible student who does not wish for this information to be released without prior written consent must notify in writing the Office of the Registrar by the last day to drop/add without financial penalty in a semester or term.

Distance Learning

A few academic programs offered by Samford are available in part, if not entirely, in a web-based, online format. These programs are identified as such.

For more information on state authorizations for online, distance learning agreements, see the following link, and click on Distance Learning: