Academic Information

The information provided in this catalog is subject to change without notice and does not constitute a contract between Abilene Christian University and a student or an applicant for admission. The information in this catalog is current as of June 2012.

For graduate programs, consult the Graduate School section of this catalog.

Definitions and Policies   

College Year   
Abilene Christian University follows the college calendar set by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. The college year consists of two 16-week semesters (or terms) and one summer term with sessions ranging in length from three to six weeks.

Enrollment Terms of a College Year

  • Fall - a 16-week term that is completed before the Christmas holidays
  • Spring - a 16-week term that is completed in early May
  • Summer - beginning mid-May and ending before the fall term begins
  • Intensive Courses - courses taught in an intense format within a term (e.g. January, 
           weekends and other courses of variable length that are taught within one of the
           above terms)

Semester Hour (Credit Hour)   
The semester hour (or credit hour) is the basic unit of college credit. The general rule is that a student receives one semester hour of credit for each class hour per week for a semester. However, two or three hours in laboratory, in studio work or in special activity classes may be required for one semester hour of credit.

Most classes meet three hours each week and give three semester hours of credit. Students should expect to spend an average of two hours of preparation outside of class for each hour of lecture or discussion in class.

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Classification of Students   
A student’s classification is determined by the number of semester hours successfully completed toward a degree program:

Classification Hours Earned

A graduate student is one who has completed a bachelor’s degree and is taking courses toward a graduate degree. A post-graduate student is one who has completed a bachelor’s degree and is not applying courses taken toward a degree. A special undergraduate student is one who is taking courses that do not apply toward an undergraduate degree program at ACU; such students may be taking courses for enrichment or for use on a degree program at another institution.

Full-time and Part-time Status   
An undergraduate student must be enrolled for at least 12 hours in fall or spring to be considered a full-time student at ACU. Undergraduate students enrolled in fewer than 12 hours and graduate students with fewer than 9 hours in a long term are classified as part-time unless they are enrolled in student teaching or completing final graduation requirements in fewer than 12 hours. For the summer term, a student must be enrolled in 6 hours to be considered a full-time student.

Academic Integrity   
ACU expects its students to practice absolute academic integrity. Plagiarism, cheating and other forms of academic dishonesty are not acceptable at ACU. Students should consult the university’s Academic Integrity Policy (located in the Student Guide, found at for a fuller description of the expectations of students and procedures for dealing with violations of the policy.

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Check In   
Each semester, all students will be required to check in to verify their attendance at ACU for that semester. Currently, this process occurs electronically during the first week of classes.

Students who fail to check in will be treated as non-attendees and administratively withdrawn for the semester to avoid incurring financial charges. A student who is administratively withdrawn is dropped from all classes, removed from housing and financial aid, and dropped from meal plans.

Students who successfully complete the check-in process are agreeing to the schedule for which they are registered. Thus, students who check-in but who never attend a particular class on their schedule will not be eligible for a refund for that course because of non-attendance.

Class Attendance   
ACU expects students to attend and participate in all class and laboratory meetings. Students must adhere to the policies published in each course syllabus. ACU normally offers classes in a series of regularly scheduled meetings. The most common patterns are Monday-Wednesday-Friday, Tuesday-Thursday, and once-per-week. Some classes have regularly scheduled laboratories (labs).

Students are responsible for initiating a Withdrawal from Class form for any class that they have never attended or have stopped attending. If students do not initiate a withdrawal form, one of the following actions may be taken:

  • The professor may initiate a withdrawal for a student who has violated the attendance policy as stated in the course syllabus. A “W” or “WF” grade will be assigned at the discretion of the professor; or
  • The professor may choose not to initiate a withdrawal form and simply assign a grade of “F” at the end of the semester.

Faculty who initiate Withdrawal from Class forms must designate whether the student is to receive a “W” or “WF” and provide the last date the student attended the course. After the 12th week of the semester, students may not withdraw from courses; however, a professor may withdraw a student for non-attendance but only with a grade of “WF.”

Withdrawal from a Course   
If it becomes necessary to withdraw from a course, the student should visit first with his or her academic advisor and the instructor of the course. The advisor will provide instruction on completing a Withdrawal from Class form. For the refund schedule for withdrawing from a class or from the university, please see Financial Information in this catalog. A withdrawal fee is charged when a student withdraws from a course.

The last day to withdraw from a course is:

  • Friday of the 12th week of a long term; 
  • The corresponding day when 80 percent of the course is completed for other short sessions (ex., Summer Session I).

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Concurrent Enrollment Policy   
ACU students are generally expected to take their courses at ACU. Only in exceptional circumstances may students petition, in advance, to receive credit for a course at another institution during a semester that they are enrolled for courses at ACU. Concurrent enrollment includes correspondence, distance, and on-line courses. Petitions for concurrent enrollment must be approved by the advisor, dean of the student’s major, and the provost.

By government regulations, only courses taken within the intercollegiate agreement (ACU, Hardin-Simmons and McMurry) and the Patty Hanks Shelton School of Nursing, and other contracted programs that post grades to the ACU transcript, can be accepted for financial aid eligibility. Generally, courses from other colleges or universities will not count as hours enrolled for financial aid eligibility.

Changing or Adding a Major   
To officially add or change majors, a student must submit an approved Change of Program request to the Registrar’s Office. Change of Program forms are available in the Registrar’s Office or online at under the “Forms” link

Final Examinations   
Final examinations are given the last four days of each fall/spring term and the last day of each summer term or intensive course. A student with more than three final examinations on one day may petition the dean of his or her major to take a final after the scheduled time. Final examinations are never given in advance.

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Withdrawing from the University   
Students who must withdraw from the university or from their last course are required to complete a Withdrawal From the University form in the Student Life Office. This process must be completed prior to the beginning of final examinations.  Graduate students may obtain the form in the Graduate School Office. 

Medical Withdrawal
A student who is involuntarily withdrawn, or obtains a voluntarily medical withdrawal, may not re-enroll or be readmitted to the University before the start of the next semester.  In most cases, a Student Life hold may be placed barring the student form registering for future semesters until approval is obtained.  The Dean of Students or designee, in collaboration with the University Readmission Committee, must approve the student's re-enrollment or readmission.  Approval may be granted only if the Dean, after consulting appropriate university staff and/or the student's physical or mental health professional, determines in his/her professional judgment that the conditions that caused the withdrawal do not pose a direct threat or harm to themselves or others and will not significantly disrupt the ability of other students, faculty or staff to participate in university activities, academic programs, or employment.  The Dean may require any documentation or evaluation that he/she deems necessary in making this determination.  The student must also meet all the admission and enrollment requirements of the University and of the school or college in which he/she wishes to enroll.

To order an official transcript contact:
Registrar’s Office

Fax: 325-674-2238

All requests for official transcripts must be in writing and bear the signature of the person whose record appears on the transcript.

  • Transcripts will be released to students who are in good standing with the University.
  • Transcripts will be processed only upon the signed request of the student and after all bills and “holds” have been cleared.
  • All students who have had a loan, upon leaving ACU, must complete a federally- required exit interview in Student Financial Services before transcripts can be released.

No changes will be made to a student’s transcript after the degree has been posted.

Students may review their academic history on the Web via regardless of outstanding bills or holds.

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Undergraduate Course Load   
The minimum undergraduate graduation requirement, 128 credit hours, requires the equivalent of eight semesters with a 16-hour load. Intercollegiate courses are included in the semester course load. Students should consult with their academic advisors to help them determine the appropriate course load.

No student may register for more than 21 hours in a fall or spring term. (January intensive courses are included in the spring term course load.)

Summer Term
An undergraduate may take no more than 18 hours during the summer term. It is recommended that students do not take more than one course per summer session due to the intensive nature of each course. It is recommended that a student have a GPA of at least 3.0 and a limited work load outside of class to take more than one course per summer session.

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Academic Advising   
Abilene Christian University considers competent academic advising as a vital responsibility in educating its students.

Students who have declared a major are assigned two advisors:

  • A degree plan specialist who assists students with their degree plan, advising release  codes, degree evaluations, the graduation process, and other technical aspects of completing a degree.
  • A faculty advisor who assists students in developmental goals, internship/research opportunities, and program/vocational decisions.

Undeclared students are advised in the Academic Development Center until they have chosen a major.   

Other advising requirements:

  • All freshman, sophomore and undeclared students must meet with their degree plan specialist or faculty advisor prior to registering for courses each semester.
  • Students on probation or juniors and seniors with a GPA below 2.5 must meet with their degree plan specialist or faculty advisor before registering for courses.
  • Some academic departments may require all students to meet with a degree plan specialist or a faculty advisor prior to registering for courses. Check with the department chair or degree plan specialist of your major.
  • All students should meet with their faculty advisor at least once a year.


For more information about advising, contact: 

Office for University Academic Advising
ACU Box 29104; Abilene, Texas 79699-9104 
McKinzie ADC     
Phone: 325-674-2212

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Enrollment Requirements   
All new, first-time students must enroll in BIBL 101 in their first semester.  Full-time undergraduate students may not withdraw from BIBL 101 or any required developmental course without the permission of the appropriate dean or academic director.

All new, first-time students and new transfer students with less than 30 hours must enroll in CORE 110 in their first semester and will be registered each semester until the course is completed. 

All students who are placed in ENGL 106/107 must enroll in the course sequence their first semester.  All students who are placed in ENGL 111 must enroll in the course in their first year.  Students may wait until their sophomore year to begin literature requirements.  

All new, first-time students must complete PEAC 100, Lifetime Wellness, by the end of their third semester.  Each semester, students must register in required developmental (ENGL and MATW 0**) courses until all developmental requirements are completed. Students must complete these requirements before registering for upper-level courses in their major field.  ENGL 003, 004, 106/006, 107/007 and MATW 019 courses may not be dropped.

Auditing Courses  
Students who wish to audit a course should see the chair of the department (of the course) on the first day of class in order to request permission to audit the course. An approved request to audit a course must be submitted to the Registrar’s Office by Friday of the second week of the long term or the equivalent date of a summer term or intensive courses. Some courses are not available as audit courses.

The fee for auditing a course is $35. However, certain courses may have additional fees for auditors. Please check with the department of the course offered.

Add/Drop Policy   
During the add/drop period there is no penalty for adding or dropping courses. Students may adjust their course schedule during the add/drop period with a full refund of tuition and fees. For students on the Annual Block Tuition plan, the courses for which the student is registered after the end of the add/drop period will be the hours counted against the Annual Block. Courses dropped during this period will not appear on the student’s transcript. Refer to the Academic Calendar for specific dates for each term.

Late Registration   
Registration ends on Friday of the first week of classes of the fall and spring semesters. Students wishing to register for a class after the first week must complete a Late Add Petition, which must be signed by the course instructor, the student's advisor, and the dean of the college in which the course is taught. A late fee of $10 per course will be assessed for students who add or change classes. 

During the summer term, students wishing to register for classes after the class begins must complete a Late Add Petition. A late fee of $10 per course will be charged.

Students who were not enrolled at ACU during the first week of classes may not enroll after the last date of the add/drop period without special permission. A $50 late fee will be charged for students who register for all of their classes after the add/drop period.

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Intercollegiate Enrollment   
Office of the Registrar
ACU Box 29141; Abilene, Texas 79699-9141
Hardin Administration Building, Room 207

Phone: 325-674-2235
Fax: 325-674-2238

Students enrolled at ACU may concurrently register for courses at Hardin-Simmons University and McMurry University. The three universities have entered into an agreement whereby students who are matriculated in any one of the universities may register for courses at the other universities. This is especially helpful when a required course is not available at the university where the student is pursuing his or her degree. Courses taken by ACU students through intercollegiate enrollment count toward degree requirements, provided approval has been secured in advance. It is the student’s responsibility to make certain that courses taken through this arrangement will satisfy his or her individual degree requirements. (Courses taken under the intercollegiate agreement are not considered as transfer courses.)

ACU students may take no more than 9 hours of classes through the intercollegiate agreement each semester and must be enrolled in at least 3 hours at ACU for that term.

Students taking courses through intercollegiate registration will be charged ACU’s current tuition rate. Billing is handled by the institution in which the student is matriculated. Complete the procedure that follows:

  1. Obtain an Intercollegiate Enrollment form from the Registrar’s Office.
  2. Secure approval signatures from the student advisor, the department chair of the course, Student Financial Services and the Registrar’s Office.
  3. Take the completed form to the Registrar’s Office of the university where the course is taught to register.

Students from either Hardin-Simmons University or McMurry University who wish to enroll in ACU hours need to first see the registrar’s office at their institution. Students will receive a form granting permission to take courses at ACU. This form should be brought to the ACU Registrar’s Office, where the student will be processed and registered in the appropriate courses.

Transferring Credit

All course work from any institution will be evaluated according to the following policy or according to a specific transfer articulation agreement with the prior institution.  How transfer credit is applied toward an ACU undergraduate degree depends on an evaluation of each course to determine its comparability in content and semester-hour credit to a corresponding ACU course or degree requirement.

The following policies are in effect for all incoming transfer work from regionally accredited institutions, whether that work is done prior to attending ACU or after ACU enrollment has begun:

1.  Transfer courses with a grad of "C" or higher from regionally accredited institutions will be posted to the student's ACU record and may count toward hours in a degree if the credits are appropriate.  Courses taken as pass/fail or credit/non-credit from other institutions will not be accepted unless the college specifically states that the credit for the course is the equivalent of "C" work or better.

2.  Transfer courses will be posted at the same level they were taken at a previous institution.  When an accredited course does not have a comparable equivalent at ACU, the accredited course is counted as an elective.  Accredited transfer courses may be grouped to meet comparable requirements at ACU.

3.  ACU does not offer nor accept college credit for vocational/technical training or for work force education courses.  Courses which are considered Freshman Orientation courses or other types of University Seminar courses are not accepted.  Courses which are repeated over multiple semesters with the same number and/or course descriptions are transferred into ACU only once; i.e. PEAC activity courses, varsity sports participation, music lessons, etc.

4.  Evaluation of transfer work intended to meet specific ACU degree requirements is the responsibility of the chair of the department offering the comparable course at ACU.  

5.  No more than 66 semester hours of credit from a community, junior or other two-year college may be applied toward an ACU degree and a student may only take up to 6 hours from a community, junior, or other 2-year college after the student has more than 60 earned hours.

6.  A student who transfers three different PEAC activity courses to ACU is exempt from taking PEAC 100.  (The maximum number of activity courses required for an ACU degree is three.) Extra PEAC courses may count as general electives; activities (limited to two 1-hour courses) and lectures (unlimited).

7.  Grades for transfer courses are not included in the student's GPA at ACU.

8.  ACU will transfer a course from another institution for the same number of credit hours as the comparable ACU course.  Additional hours from a course, such as when a course is listed as 4 hours elsewhere, but only 3 hours at ACU, are posted as general elective credit.  ACU transfers four hours of physical training from military transcripts as three hours of the General Education PEAC requirement and one hour of general elective credit.

9.  Credits will be posted when the official transcript(s) reaches the ACU Registrar's Office from the issuing university.

10.  Courses taken at international institutions that are comparable to the U.S. courses must be credited in college credit hours.

11. Once a student enrolls as a degree-seeding student at ACU, the number of hours that can be taken at other higher education institutions is limited.  Students who enroll fewer than 30 hours of college credit may take up to 15 hours at other regionally accredited institutions, no more than 9 of which can be lower division courses (100-200 or equivalent).  Students who bring 30-59 hours to ACU at the time of enrollment may take up to 12 hours at other regionally accredited colleges or universities, with no more than 6 hours being lower division.  Students who enroll with 60 or more hours may take up to 9 hours elsewhere, with a maximum of 6 lower division hours.

12.  To be eligible to graduate with honors (summa, magna, cum laude), students must have completed 64 hours of course work at ACU.

13.  After enrolling at ACU, students must take no more than one university required course in English at another institution.


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Graduate Work for Undergraduate Students   
Students within 9 hours of graduation may petition the graduate dean to take up to 6 hours of graduate level course work at ACU for graduate credit. Before registering for graduate courses written approval must be obtained from:

     • the student’s advisor
     • chair of the department in which the course is offered
     • dean of the graduate school

Graduate courses may not be substituted for undergraduate courses nor be applied toward an undergraduate degree.

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Grade Definitions and Points   
The following grades are used at ACU. The grade point values shown are per semester hour of credit.

Grade Definitions and Points
Grade Marks Grade Meaning Grade Points
DInferior but passing1.0
IPIn-ProgressNot counted
PPassingNot counted
CRCreditNot counted
NCNo-CreditNot counted
WWithdrewNot counted
WFWithdrew while failing0.0

Students receive grades by accessing Grades are mailed to all first-year freshmen students at their permanent address. Students who have signed and submitted an Education Records Release form have authorized ACU personnel to release academic information, on request, to the person(s) designated on the form by the student. Education Records Release forms are on file in the Registrar’s Office.

Academic History and Grading Appeals   
The grade of the student becomes a part of that student's permanent academic history. The transcript is the document that provides records of a student's academic performance at ACU. Because of the necessity of the permanency of these records, grades for a course become part of academic history after one long semester has passed and may not be changed except in extraordinary circumstances and by special permission granted by the Office of the Provost.

The procedure for grade dispute resolution is as follows: The student is to begin at the initial level of the dispute. Thus, the student should attempt to resolve the dispute with the professor in question. The student may then go to the department chair who normally resolves all disputes within the department. The student, however, may appeal the department chair’s decision to the college dean, then to the provost whose decision is final. As stated above, after one long semester has passed, no appeals will be considered.

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Incomplete and In-Progress Grades   
A grade of “I” (Incomplete) must be removed by the end of the next long term or by the time approved in writing by the instructor; otherwise, it becomes an “F” on the student’s record. The student is responsible for requesting and completing an “I.” (A grade of “I” is calculated in the GPA as an “F.”)

A student who is graduating should finish any incomplete courses prior to the semester in which he or she is graduating. Students must complete all courses graded “I” or “IP” in order to participate in commencement.

The grade “IP” (In-Progress) is normally reserved for graduate students in graduate courses. It may be used with special permission for unusual circumstances for an undergraduate student or an undergraduate course. In the event an “IP” is assigned, the student will have the next long term or until the time set in the student’s agreement with the instructor to complete the course work; at the end of the next long term, the grade will become an “I.” At the end of the second long term, the “I” will become an “F.”

Credit/No-Credit Grades (CR/NC)   
Undergraduate students who have sophomore standing and a GPA of at least 2.0 may take a limited number of courses on a Credit/No-Credit basis. The purpose of this option is to allow students to take courses that will broaden their educational experiences, with less emphasis on grades and grade points. The following rules apply:

  • A student may request the Credit/No-Credit option in the Registrar’s Office within the first two weeks of the fall or spring semester or within the first two days of a summer semester or on the first day of an intensive course (advisor's signature required). The teacher will assign a letter grade at the end of the semester, but a grade of “D” or above will be recorded as “CR.” Incomplete grades (I or IP) are not appropriate and may not be assigned for a CR/NC course.
  •  The student receives earned credit hours for a “CR” grade, but the hours are no counted in computing the GPA.
  • A maximum of 12 hours may be taken Credit/No-Credit. These must be courses that are electives in the student’s degree plan and are outside the major field of study.
  • No course in which a student has received a letter grade may be repeated on the Credit/No-Credit basis. Courses offered as “CR/NC” in the course description are not included in the maximum hours a student may elect under this option.

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Pass/Fail Grades (P/F)   
Students may take PEAC activity courses Pass/Fail, except for PEAC 100. Any student who wishes to do so must complete a petition in the Registrar’s Office within the first two weeks of a long term or within the first two days of a summer term. A “Pass” grade is not figured into the GPA. A “Fail” grade counts as an “F.” Other courses may be designated Pass/Fail in the Course Description section of this catalog. Students should be aware that some graduate schools will not accept Pass/Fail grades and/or will automatically count them as a grade of “C.” Some schools will not transfer Pass/Fail grades.

Midterm Grades   
During the fall and spring semesters, undergraduate students receive a midterm grade for each course. Midterm grades and their definitions are listed below. Students who receive “unsatisfactory” or “not passing” midterm grades are encouraged to discuss their course problems with the instructor and their advisor as appropriate.

     • S = Satisfactory progress;

     • U= Unsatisfactory progress (assigned to students who in the instructor’s
        estimation are not doing work equal to their potential);

     • NP = Not Passing.

Repeating a Course   
If an undergraduate student repeats a course at ACU, a record of all occurrences of the course will appear on the transcript but only the most recent grade will be counted in his or her GPA. No course in which the student has received a letter grade may be repeated on the Pass/Fail or Credit/No-Credit basis.

Grade Point Average   
A student’s grade point average (GPA) is based on courses taken at ACU. It is determined by dividing the total number of grade points by the total number of hours attempted (not including hours where grade points are not counted). “Current GPA” is a student’s GPA for a single term; “cumulative GPA” is the overall GPA for all the terms a student has been enrolled in ACU.

To qualify for Latin honors at graduation, a student must have completed 64 hours at ACU (including registered hours) in addition to having the required GPA. Honors are based on the current GPA at the time of commencement. If the final semester’s grades alter the student’s standing, the correct honor will be noted on the diploma.

Calculating Grade Point Average   
Quality (Grade) Points ÷ GPA Hours = GPA

A grade point average (GPA) is calculated by using the formula above.

     1. Quality points are hours attempted multiplied by grade points awarded.    
         (Refer to the Table of Grade Definitions and Points.)

     2. GPA hours are all hours graded (including grades of “F,” “WF” and “I”),
         minus ungraded hours (“CR” or “P”).    

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Deans’ Honor Roll   
During any term in which undergraduate students have a current GPA of 3.6 or above and are registered for 12 or more hours with no “F” or “WF” grades, they will be included in the Deans’ Honor Roll for that term.

Academic Standing   

Good Standing
Students are in good standing if their cumulative GPA is at least 2.0. A higher GPA is required by some majors for their students. These requirements are specified in the departmental sections of this catalog. Good standing is not noted on the student’s transcript.

Academic Probation
Students are placed on academic probation following any semester in which their semester GPA is below 1.5 or after which their cumulative GPA is between 1.0 and 1.999. In addition, students who are successful in the appeal of their academic suspension are automatically placed on academic probation.

All freshmen who are placed on academic probation and new students who are admitted with a Learning Strategies requirement must enroll in UNIV 011. Exceptions to this requirement must be approved by the student’s academic dean. UNIV 011 does not count toward degree requirements.

Students on academic probation are not permitted to be candidates for or to hold any elected or appointed office, or participate in Study Abroad. There may be other extracurricular opportunities which are limited for students who are on academic probation.

When students are placed on academic probation, the number of hours for which they may register is determined by their probation contract. Probation contracts are developed and managed by the student’s college dean or, in certain cases, the Academic Development Center (ADC).

The general guidelines for determining course load are based on GPA. Nineteen hours is the maximum load that a first-semester student is allowed to carry. After the first semester, the maximum recommended course load, for a regular term, based on GPA is as follows:

GPA Course Load
2.015 hours
2.0 – 2.49916 hours
2.5 – 3.49917-18 hours
3.50 or above19-21 hours


Academic Suspension   
Students are suspended after any semester in which their cumulative GPA falls below 1.0 or after one semester on probation after which their cumulative does not equal or exceed 2.0. In addition, a student on academic probation in the previous term whose current term GPA is 1.49 or below will also be placed on academic suspension.

The following chart defines the process of academic probation and suspension and what criteria determine placement of the student into the appropriate academic standing. In the chart, "Previous Term Status" refers to the academic standing at the end of the last semester that the student attended (or at admission). The GPA columns and the "New Term Status" refer to the GPAs and status of the student at the end of the current term.

Previous Term Status Term GPA Cumulative GPA New Term Status
Good Standing2.0 or greater2.0 or greaterGood Standing
Good Standing1.49 or less2.0 or greaterAcademic Probation
Good StandingAny1.99 or lessAcademic Probation
Good StandingAny.99 or lessAcademic Suspension
Academic Probation2.0 or greater2.0 or greaterGood Standing
Academic Probation1.49 or less2.0 or greaterAcademic Suspension
Academic Probation2.49 or less1.99 or lessAcademic Suspension
Academic Probation2.5 or greater1.99 or lessAcademic Probation

Students who have been suspended for academic reasons may apply for re-admission after being out of school for at least one long term. In all cases of academic suspension, the University Readmission Committee will decide if the student should be re-admitted, and if so, whether special conditions should be required for re-admission. When students are re-admitted after suspension, they are placed on probation for one semester and may not be eligible for some forms of financial aid.

NOTE: Federal regulations governing student financial aid may differ from ACU policy. A student may be eligible to attend ACU on academic probation but be ineligible to receive federal, state or institutional financial aid based upon a lack of satisfactory academic progress (SAP). Consult the Student Financial Services Office.

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Degree Requirements   

Student Responsibility
This catalog is designed to make planning and scheduling a degree program as simple as possible. Each student at Abilene Christian University should keep in mind, however, that he or she alone is ultimately responsible for understanding and fulfilling all degree requirements. Students are responsible for their own degree plans and for the completion of all requirements for the degrees which they seek.

Catalog Year   
Each student will be assigned a catalog year, which indicates the set of requirements the student must meet in order to graduate from ACU. A student may use any catalog year that falls within the time the student attended ACU, from the initial year of enrollment until the year of graduation. However, a student may not use a catalog that is more than six years old at the time of graduation. Thus, this catalog expires in August 2018.

Note that each degree-seeking student must fulfill certain requirement areas:

     1. University Core Requirements (including additional requirements based on high school
         science and foreign language; if necessary)

     2. Major requirements (including supplements)

     3. Electives (to achieve minimum upper-level and total hour requirements)

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Admission to Major     

  1. Teacher Education majors should apply for admission to the Teacher Education Program with the Department of Teacher Education during the second semester of their sophomore year, or near the end of their first semester at ACU if they are transfer students. Applicants must have a minimum GPA of 2.75 for admission into this program.
  2. Social work, nursing, communication disorders, and all business majors must also apply for formal admission to upper-level programs. (See department sections of this catalog.)
  3. See the appropriate departmental section for information on admission to a specific major.

General Requirements for Associate Degree   

  1. The associate degree requires a minimum of 64 semester hours applicable to that degree.
  2. A cumulative grade point (GPA) of at least 2.0 on courses from ACU is required.
  3. A minimum of 32 semester hours applicable to the degree must be completed at ACU.
  4. Admitted students who have not earned at least two high school units of the same foreign language will have an admissions deficiency. Admission deficiencies may be removed as prescribed in the section on University Requirements.
  5. Latin honors are not awarded for the Associate Degree.
  6. Students must meet the specific course requirements for AA degrees that ACU offers. Satisfactory completion of 64 hours and the ACU University Requirements for a major leading to a bachelor’s degree are not sufficient to award an AA degree.

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General Requirements for Bachelor’s Degrees   
Graduation requirements include University Requirements, major requirements (departmental requirements) and electives. To determine the number of hours required for a given degree in any major, add the University Requirements, the major requirements and electives, which may be adjusted to reach the minimum number of hours required for the degree sought. 

  1. All degrees from ACU require a minimum of at least 128 semester hours applicable to that degree. Teacher certification and certain other degrees may require more. (See specific degree requirements.)    
  2. Each degree requires a major of at least 30 hours in addition to the University Requirements.    
  3. A minimum of 18 hours in the major field must be upper-level hours, and at least 9 of these upper-level hours must be taken at ACU.    
  4. The University Requirement consists of 56 hours for all degrees other than the BFA, BM, BSN, for teacher certification and cooperative degrees. See each major section for details.
  5.  Certain courses that are required by each major may also count as University Requirements. See individual degree plan for details.
  6. The maximum hours for a single major field is stated in the guidelines for each degree. 
  7. No minor is required by the university. However, the major field may require a minor or supporting courses outside the major.Many departments offer minors of at least 18 hours, and a student may elect to add a minor to any degree. Minors have specific requirements (see the appropriate departmental section of this catalog or the departmental advisor for approved minors).    
  8. Admitted students who have not earned at least two high school units of the same foreign language will have an admission deficiency.  Admission deficiencies may be removed as prescribed in the section on University Requirements.
  9. Most degree plans include a minimum of 6 semester hours of electives. However, deficiency in entrance requirements in foreign language  may count as elective hours. Such courses may count toward the hours required for the degree.    
  10. All courses numbered 0**, including but not limited to UNIV 011, UNIV 012, ENGL 106/006, 107/007, MATW 019 and English as Second Language (FLEN) courses, will not count toward hours required for a degree.
  11. No more than 5 hours of PEAC activity courses (PEAC 100 and four additional activity classes) may count toward graduation. An unlimited number of kinesiology lecture courses may count toward general electives.   
  12. A student must take at least 48 hours in residence at ACU to earn a degree, including the last 24, which must be taken in residence at ACU.   
  13. A minimum of 33 hours of upper-level, i.e. advanced (300-499) work, is required, 24 of which must be taken in residence, including 9 in the major field.   
  14. No more than 18 hours (and no upper-level hours in a student’s major field) taken by correspondence may count toward graduation.   
  15. An overall grade point average (GPA) of at least 2.0 on courses from ACU is required for the BA and BS. An overall GPA of at least 2.25 is required for the BFA, BM and BSN. A cumulative GPA of at least 2.75 is required for all teacher certificate programs. Specific majors and colleges may have GPA requirements above these stated minimums.   
  16. Each student will be required to take a course designated “Writing-Intensive” in his or her major field. Writing-Intensive courses integrate instruction and practice in writing into upper-level content courses to assist students in becoming effective writers in a specific discipline. Students should contact their advisor to determine the correct Writing-Intensive course for their major.   
  17. Each student will participate in a senior year integrative Capstone experience.  This course will challenge the student to critically analyze, reflect, and write about the major discipline from the perspective of a Christian worldview.  Capstone experiences may take the form of a single course or a cluster of courses designed to meet the Capstone goals.
  18. No changes, including majors, minors, concentrations, or changes to coursework, will be made to a student’s transcript after the degree has been awarded.

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Double Major   
Sometimes it is possible to meet the requirements for two majors in one degree (BS, BA, BBA, etc.). To complete a double major, a student must meet the degree requirements for both majors. To do so may require more than 128 credit hours.

Second Bachelor’s Degree   

  • Current students who wish to complete majors in two different degrees (e.g., BS and BA, etc.) must complete at least 24 credit hours beyond requirements for the first degree (at least 152 hours) and must meet all university and major field requirements for the second degree.
  • Previously degreed students who have been awarded a previous baccalaureate degree and pursue a second baccalaureate degree must complete at least 24 credit hours beyond requirements for the first degree (at least 152 hours) and must meet all general education and major field requirements for the second degree. This applies to students who received their first degree from ACU, as well as those who received degrees from other schools.

Bachelor of Arts Degree
For all Bachelor of Arts degree programs having a requirement for “foreign language – sophomore level – 6 hours,” that requirement will be satisfied upon completion of the Bachelor of Arts requirement for English - composition: ENGL 112 (3) and a second Literature course (3) for students who qualify as non-native speakers of English (see above).

Under this special provision, college credit will be granted for the English courses, but not for any ESL (English as a Second Language) course. Students will still need to complete the prescribed number of hours for particular degree programs (usually this will mean that a Bachelor of Arts degree student will need an additional 12 hours of electives to replace the 12 hours of foreign language that were satisfied by the alternative means outlined above).

Composite Interdisciplinary Degree   
An individualized composite interdisciplinary major (CIND) may be approved for a student whose life and career goals will be served by such a major. The student must work with the appropriate academic advisor(s) and the Registrar’s office to design the degree plan, which will include the appropriate University Requirements. The Registrar will then sign a primary advisor to work with the student (see Interdisciplinary Degree Program for additional details.)

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Pre-Professional and Cooperative Degree Programs   
Abilene Christian University offers several pre-professional programs. In general, the student attends ACU for one to four years and then transfers to a professional school to complete the degree. (For more information, see the appropriate departmental sections of this catalog.)   

Pre-law may also be considered a pre-professional degree, but there is no mandatory course of study for pre-law students. The Association of American Law Schools suggests the following basic skills and insights be developed by pre-legal education: comprehension and expression in words, critical understanding of the human institutions and values with which the law deals, and creative power in thinking. The self-discipline and study habits required in law school should be developed in undergraduate courses. Students are urged to consult the pre-law advisor for more specific information.   

Cooperative degree programs require students to do part of their work at ACU and part at a professional school, and the students may receive a degree from ACU and from the other school. For example, the pre-medical cooperative degree permits a student to spend three years at ACU and then to receive a bachelor’s degree from ACU after completing the first year in medical school.

For more information about any of these degree programs, contact the Admissions Office or the appropriate academic advisor.

Minors at ACU   
For most majors at ACU a minor is optional. The minimum requirements for a minor are 18 credit hours with a minimum of 6 advanced hours. See the appropriate section of the catalog for specific details on a particular minor.

The following chart contains a list of all minors available for study at ACU

Advertising and Public Relations

Agricultural Sciences


Bible, Missions and Ministry


Business Administration




Computer Science

Convergence Journalism

Criminal Justice

Digital Entertainment Technology

Digital Media

Engineering Science


Environmental Science

Ethnic and Women’s Studies

Family Studies


Graphic Design


Information Technology

Interior Design

Leadership Studies


Media Studies



Peace and Social Justice



Political Science

Professional Writing


Public Service (Pope Fellows Only)





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Undergraduate Graduation   


Preparing to Graduate

     • Each fall, students with more than 90 hours will receive an email with a link to the
        Intent to Graduate form. This form will allow the student to communicate their 
        expected date of graduation to the Registrar’s Office.

     • During the semester before graduation, students should run an on-line Degree
        Evaluation and visit with their advisor about the schedule for their last semester.

     • Students should submit all CLEP tests and transcripts for transfer work before their
        last semester.

     • Students who do not complete graduation requirements in the semester for which
        they intended to graduate must declare a new graduation date with the Registrar’s 

     •  Students with outstanding incomplete grades will not be allowed to participate in the   
       commencement ceremony.

     • All holds on a student account must be removed before the student may purchase academic regalia.

Graduation with Latin Honors   
Honors designated at commencement are based on the student’s cumulative GPA and the number of hours earned at ACU by the end of the previous semester and are subject to change. In order to qualify for honors, baccalaureate students must complete at least 64 earned hours at ACU. Students whose averages are at least 3.6 graduate cum laude (with honor), 3.75 graduate magna cum laude (with high honor), and 3.9 graduate summa cum laude (with highest honor). Courses taken Credit/No-Credit, Pass/Fail, or any Credit by Exam do not count toward GPA requirements for honors.

Class Rank   
ACU does not rank students within the graduating classes, nor does the university provide information about where students fall by quartile with a graduating class. With multiple graduations per academic year, and because students graduating in the the same academic year are meeting requirements from different catalog years (and thus, different curricula), the class rank or quartile rank is an invalid assessment of comparative ability for individual students.

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