Academic Planning

Academic planning is a process that you – as a college student – need to be actively involved with from the day you enter Saint Joseph’s University until the day you graduate. 

Academic planning occurs throughout a student’s experience, not just prior to early registration. An academic advisor can help you: 

  • Plan your course of study at Saint Joseph’s, including what courses to take in future semester
  • Explain University policies and procedures
  • Provide you with important academic information
  • Connect you with other university offices

Below is a guide for Academic Planning. Use this guide in conjunction with regular advisor visits each semester.

By 60 credits
  • Know the general education requirements and major concentration courses needed for your course of study.
  • Use the schedule of classes and catalog to plan course selection.
  • Locate and use campus support services that can help you make career and personal decisions
  • Manage time - balance school, family, work and other responsibilities.
  • Understand college responsibilities, regulations, policies, and procedures found in the Student Handbook and Catalog.
  • Know where to obtain career related information.
By 90 credits
  • Know requirements for graduation
  • Schedule an official graduation review with advisor
  • Begin to consider your plan after college (e.g., graduate school or new job)
By 120 credits
  • Have completed course requirements for graduation
  • Transition smoothly into identified goals
  • Make application to graduate school program, if appropriate

The following topics contain information that will assist you in developing a successful academic plan to meet desired degree completion goal.

Academic Advising and Student’s Responsibility
All academic advisors are trained to read and evaluate information carefully to give students the best possible advice. However, primary responsibility for curriculum completion rests with the student. Every student must be aware of the requirements of his or her degree and should obtain advising on a regular basis to ensure timely completion of his or her program.

College of Professional and Liberal StudiesAdvising
Students may want to meet with professional advisors at different times during their academic career to check on remaining graduation requirements. Registration with an advisor is required for students with a cumulative or last semester attended GPA below 2.0.

Advanced Standing
A candidate for admission to a degree or certificate program with transfer credit from another college must request an official transcript(s) from each college or university previously attended. The omission of listing a previous institution on the application invalidates the transferability of credit from that institution after an admission decision has been determined.

Only grades of C or better will be transferred. A maximum of 75 credits (25 courses) may be transferred to the baccalaureate degree in the College of Professional and Liberal Studies. Students in a baccalaureate degree program are required to take a minimum of fifteen courses in the College of Professional and Liberal Studies, including at least four upper division courses in their major. Ten of these courses may not include credits earned through CLEP, ELAP (portfolio assessment), or challenge exams. The University College has developed articulation agreements with many local community colleges to facilitate the transfer process.

Business majors must take at least half of their Business core/concentration courses at Saint Joseph’s University. Some business courses may need to be reviewed by specific academic departments for evaluation of transfer credit.

Transfer students may bring in as many as ten courses toward the Associate degree. Students transferring from one of Saint Joseph’s day colleges with 30 or more courses and a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0 retain the GPA earned in the day school.

International students must provide official transcript(s) from each high school and university previously attended, translated into English, and a course-by-course evaluation from an outside agency must be submitted.

After enrolling in the College of Professional and Liberal Studies, a matriculated student is required to take all subsequent courses at Saint Joseph’s University. Once a student matriculates into PLS, permission from the Associate Dean is required for courses taken at another university. Permission may be granted under special circumstances not to exceed a maximum of six credits.

In some instances an advisor does not have sufficient information to determine if a course is equivalent to a PLS course. Transfer courses may need to be submitted by the advisor to the respective academic department chairperson for review and consideration.

Credit for Prior Learning
CLEP (College Level Examination Program)
provides the opportunity to earn college credit by the successful passing of tests in general or subject areas. These tests measure learning acquired outside as well as in the classroom setting. Students must be in good academic standing and must get approval from an academic advisor in the College of Professional and Liberal Studies before taking a CLEP exam in order to ensure the applicability of CLEP credits to a PLS program. A listing of tests and passing scores is available in the PLS office (Room 117 BL). Saint Joseph’s University is a national CLEP testing center. Please contact the College of Professional and Liberal Studies for CLEP test dates. Click here for a link to the CLEP/SJU Course Equivalencies.

ELAP (Experiential Learning Assessment Program) provides currently enrolled students in good academic standing the opportunity to validate college level knowledge acquired through work experience. ELAP candidates will be asked to demonstrate their prior knowledge of actual courses listed in the PLS catalog. If the student is awarded formal credit as a result of the assessment, that credit will be recorded on the official transcript with a grade of P. ELAP candidates will be charged an application fee and a per-subject fee. ELAP applications may be made after a student has been fully accepted and has enrolled in the College of Professional and Liberal Studies. Approval of all ELAP requests is at the discretion of each academic department. The transferability of portfolio assessment credits is at the discretion of each institution and the relevant academic department. Credit cannot be earned in Business courses through the ELAP Program.

Challenge Tests. Students making satisfactory academic progress may also earn credit by passing departmental challenge tests to determine competency in a given subject in which the student has gained knowledge equivalent to that learned in a classroom. Students must receive a grade of C or better in this test to be awarded credits. Applications for challenge tests may be made after students have been fully accepted in the College of Professional and Liberal Studies Department chairs must approve all challenge requests. Comprehensive written challenge tests, prepared and evaluated by PLS faculty, can be arranged by contacting the Associate Dean. Credit will be recorded on the official transcript with the grade of P.

A student may not challenge, CLEP, or ELAP a course that the student is presently taking. A student is required to drop or withdraw from the course, according to the catalog and schedule procedures, before seeking to challenge, CLEP, or ELAP the course. A student cannot normally earn credit by exam in a course when he/she has completed a more advanced course in the same subject. If a student fails a challenge exam, the student must wait six months before challenging the same course again. Business courses can only be challenged once. A grade of P (Pass) is recorded in all cases of credit by examination, including ELAP; this grade does not affect a student’s cumulative average.

Students are encouraged not to use a CLEP test or ELAP for any of the last 10 courses before graduation.

Awarding of Credit by Assessment through American Council on Education (ACE). A student may receive credit for non-credit courses or training evaluated and approved for college credit by the American Council on Education (ACE). Listings of ACE approved courses and credit recommendations are contained in two publications: A Guide to the Evaluation of Educational Experiences in the Armed Forces and The National Guide to Educational Credit for Training Programs. Credits received are subject to the same policies as those of any other transfer credit.

Schedule Planning
Schedule planning is an integral step in the process of completing a degree and achieving the goals you have set for yourself. Tools that will help you plan your schedule successfully include:

  • The PLS Catalog that lists requirements for your major(s)/minor(s) as well as prerequisites and co requisites for individual courses
  • The Student Cumulative Record Sheet
  • Course schedules from the Registrar and lists of courses and semesters offered from the Catalog

Student Cumulative Record Sheet and Degree Completion
The Student Cumulative record Sheet (also referred to as the Cum Sheet) is the tool used by PLS to determine completion of degree requirements. The cum sheet will include degree requirements for general education courses, major/core courses, and general selection electives for credits earned at the institution and credits transferred as well as in-progress classes (i.e., current registration) that will satisfy degree requirements.

Courses not used are those courses that are not satisfying any of the requirements for the degree or certificate program. Rejected courses are courses that may not meet the minimum grade requirement or are repeated courses.  The student is responsible to review the requirements as listed in the catalog.

After an advising session, a student will receive either electronically or in print a copy of a current cum sheet. The student is responsible and strongly encouraged to review the cum sheet within 30 days of receipt to ensure that is accurate according to the student’s understanding of meeting degree requirements.

At the end of each final grade period, cum sheets will be updated to include that semester’s grades. Students who fail or withdraw from a course will need to re-register for the course in the upcoming term.

At present, the cum sheet is being used in lieu of the University’s degree audit system known as CAPP (Curriculum Advising, and Program Planning). CAPP is not fully functional for PLS students. PLS students are advised to use the Student Cumulative Record Sheet as the primary resource to determine academic progress towards degree completion. You may obtain a copy of your most current Student Cumulative Record Sheet from an advisor.

At 90 credits, students are required to schedule an official graduation review with their academic advisor. The advisor will explain the remaining course and credit requirements needed to graduate.

Grading System
The University’s grading policy may be found by clicking on this link located on the Registrar’s website: