Graduate Academic Catalog 2016 - 2017 
    Jun 15, 2024  
Graduate Academic Catalog 2016 - 2017 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]


Fresno Pacific University welcomes those students who qualify academically, who demonstrate physical and emotional capacity for university work, who accept the purposes and standards of the university and who would benefit from a Christian university education. Students are admitted without discrimination as to race, color, nationality, creed or sex.

The graduate programs are guided by the university philosophy expressed in the Fresno Pacific Idea, which emphasizes a holistic, integrated approach to education, learning in community, integration of theory and practice and an ethic of servanthood and leadership. The admission process seeks to admit students likely to respond positively to these goals within a context of academic excellence.

The graduate programs encourage applications from recent graduates as well as from those who may have been out of school for some time or whose first language is not English. The programs are prepared to consider nontraditional indicators of academic potential in admission decisions when deemed appropriate.

Specific programs or emphases may have additional admission requirements. These may include a request to complete additional coursework in areas of weakness prior to or concurrent with admission.

Application Process

Students interested in applying for admission should request application materials by contacting the Regional Enrollment Office or by applying online at Notification of acceptance will be sent as soon as all necessary documents are on file and have been reviewed by the admissions committee. International students in F-1 status are not permitted to study in unclassified standing unless enrolled in another program full time at Fresno Pacific University or another institution.

Transcripts submitted for admission or transfer credit become the property of Fresno Pacific University and cannot be returned to the applicant or forwarded to other institutions. This includes making copies of transfer records.

Those in need of financial aid should file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by March 2 for priority awarding. Further information and instructions for financial aid applications may be obtained from the Student Financial Services Office. (See the section on financial aid  in this catalog.)


All students wishing to apply to a graduate program must submit an application with a nonrefundable application fee.

Students who wish to pursue a master's degree, credential or certificate must apply to the specific program. The following documents are required to be considered for classified standing.

  1. Official transcripts—verifying bachelor's degree and any post baccalaureate work from a regionally accredited institution that is deemed relevant to this application.
  2. Statement of Intent—provide a statement of career goals and a description of how participation in this graduate program will contribute to growth and development towards these goals. This essay should be no longer than two pages.
  3. Three current reference forms—at least two from professional and/or academic individuals who are able to endorse the student's professional and personal characteristics.

Additional documents may be required for certain programs as deemed necessary by program directors.

Graduate Prerequisite Courses

Graduate applicants needing baccalaureate courses as prerequisites to a specific graduate program, should submit a Graduate Prerequisite Registration form to the Regional Enrollment Office. This form can be obtained through the applicant's outreach and admission representative. Courses are available through the Degree Completion program or the traditional undergraduate programs.

Baccalaureate Students Taking Graduate Courses

Baccalaureate seniors at Fresno Pacific University who wish to enroll in a graduate class must fulfill the following requirements in addition to completing an application to unclassified standing:

  1. Meet with and obtain written approval from their baccalaureate program director or mentor/ advisor.
  2. Be a last-semester senior in good standing, with at least a 2.75 cumulative GPA and no more than 15 units remaining to complete the bachelor's degree. (Leadership studies, MBA, and teacher education programs require a 3.0 cumulative GPA.)
  3. Obtain written permission from the director of graduate admissions or the director of seminary admissions for seminary courses.

No more than 6 graduate units may be taken prior to completion of the bachelor's degree.

Students currently enrolled in baccalaureate studies at an institution other than FPU and wishing to enroll in graduate classes at FPU must fulfill the above requirements, with the exception of meeting with their program director or mentor/advisor. They must also include a letter of good standing from their home institution.

Conditional Admit

Students who have applied to a graduate program and are conditionally admitted pending the completion of certain application requirements have one semester to complete these requirements. Students will remain on conditional standing and will be prevented from future registration until all conditions are met. Students attending under a conditional admission are not eligible for federal, state or institutional financial aid.

Nondegree Students

Students who wish to enroll in a graduate or a seminary class but do not intend to earn a degree/credential/certificate from Fresno Pacific University can apply for unclassified standing. Students must submit a transcript showing proof of bachelor's degree.

Admission Incentive Dates

Applications for admission to graduate programs should be submitted by the following dates: June 15 for the fall semester, November 15 for the spring semester, March 15 for the summer semester. For teacher education incentive dates see Teacher Education Program below. Student notification is handled on a rolling basis. Applications received later than these dates will be considered pending availability in the program.

Notification of Admission

Students who have applied for admission will receive a letter notifying them of their eligibility soon after all relevant information and documents are received.


Graduate and seminary students who have not enrolled for one semester or been granted an official leave of absence will need to reapply to the university. Students may reapply by meeting with their program director and submitting a Graduate Admissions Application Update form to the Regional Enrollment Office. Additional admission documents may be required for certain programs as deemed necessary.

Thesis/Project Time Limitations

Continuous Registration

If a student has not completed the thesis/project by the end of the culminating experience course as outlined in the course requirements, the student will be given the grade of IP (in progress) for the course and will have one additional consecutive semester (including summer) to complete the work without paying an additional fee. If the student exceeds the timeframe, the student is required to register for Continuation of Thesis/Project each semester and pay the corresponding fee until all requirements for the degree are complete, all substantive and format revisions have been made and the thesis/project is signed off by the dean.

Leave of Absence for Culminating Experience

A student may apply for a leave of absence under extenuating circumstances from thesis/project study for one semester. The leave must be supported in writing by the department chair in order to be valid. A student cannot have any outstanding financial balance when applying for a leave of absence. See also, Leave of Absence .

During the leave of absence, the student will remain in active status (i.e., the leave still counts against the 6 or 8 year time limit given to complete the program), but no tuition is charged. Following a leave of absence, the student must resume continuous registration until the thesis/project is complete and signed by the dean. No retroactive leaves will be granted.

Inactive Status

If a thesis student allows the continuous registration to lapse for two consecutive semesters, the student will be placed on inactive status. The student's thesis committee will dissolve and all other services will cease. If the student would like to be reinstated, the student will need to apply for readmission as follows.

Readmission after Inactivation

If a student has exceeded the program/degree time limit or his/her status is inactive, the student must reapply to the program and submit an application for advancement to candidacy.

Time Limit Extension

If the thesis/project is not complete by the end of the length of time to complete a graduate degree, program faculty will review a request for an extension of one year beyond the sixth or eighth year, if the following conditions have been met:

  1. All coursework has been completed.
  2. There are no outstanding IPs.
  3. The student has been advanced to candidacy, has formed a committee, has an approved proposal, and is currently making significant progress on the thesis/project as verified by the thesis/project chair.
  4. The student is not financially delinquent.

If the student does not have an approved thesis/project proposal, the student may appeal for an extension but may be required to take more coursework.

Admission Policies and Procedures

Admission Standards

Students considered for admission in an FPU graduate program must meet the following criteria:

  • An appropriate academic background in the selected course of study with a minimum 2.75 GPA. A 3.0 GPA is required for certain programs. (See program details for additional information.)
  • Personal values compatible with the university mission and philosophy.
  • A commitment to professional growth, excellence and servanthood.
  • Each program may have additional requirements. Check the program listing.

International Student Applicants Documents

In addition to the documents listed in the Graduate Admissions Application Process section, international students desiring to apply need the following documents. (These policies also apply to seminary students.)

  1. TOEFL or IELTS score report showing English language proficiency.
  2. A current passport that will remain valid for the student's entire stay in the U.S.
  3. A certified English translation and evaluation of the candidate's transcripts by one of the agencies approved by FPU (AERC or WES) that verifies that the candidate holds a bachelor's (or master's) degree that is equivalent to a degree granted by a regionally accredited college or university. When ordering an evaluation, the candidate must request a Course-by-Course Report rather than a Document (degree) Report to verify their GPA for FPU admissions and programmatic requirements. [The Document (degree) Report is included in the Course- by-Course Report.]
  4. Financial documentation that includes an Affidavit of Financial Sponsorship and a bank statement.

F-1 (Student) Visa

Once the application process has been completed and the student has been accepted, Fresno Pacific University will provide the documents needed to apply for a visa. International students may request an express mailing service for their immigration documents. Please note, there are many forms of additional
statuses other than F-1. If applicants do not intend to enroll as F-1 visa category students, they may contact the international admissions specialist to verify which requirements apply.

English Proficiency Requirements

The university reserves the right to require English testing and/or support classes if application materials and interviews indicate that the student's level of English proficiency may not be sufficient for university studies. In addition, faculty at FPU may require students to take English support classes if students appear to be having difficulty in their studies. The student's ability to communicate in English will be important for success in studies at FPU. If, while in graduate classes, it is determined that the student's ability to communicate and participate in English is below the necessary institutional standard, faculty may refer the student to the Intensive English Language Program (IELP) program director who may require the student to enroll in IELP courses.

Students need to demonstrate or gain English proficiency in order to study at Fresno Pacific University. The two ways to demonstrate and fulfill the English Proficiency Requirements are:

Prior Studies in English

Students may demonstrate English proficiency by verifying that prior post-secondary studies were conducted in English. Students must verify all of the following:

  • Completed a four-year baccalaureate-level degree
  • Completed at least two years of full-time study without ESL support/classes.

To verify these points, academic transcripts must be provided. FPU reserves the right to verify that the language of instruction was English.

English Testing

Students may demonstrate English proficiency by earning the minimum scores on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS).

Internationalized Standardized English Test (TOEFL or IELTS)
Overall exam: 6.5 550 79

Students who take the TOEFL must either take the paper-based test (PBT) at Fresno Pacific University prior to admission if they are in the United States, or they must take the Internet-based test (iBT) and request that an official score report be sent to FPU directly from Educational Testing Service (ETS). Photocopies or score reports from other institutions are not acceptable.

Students who have received a passing score of 530 may be admitted to a graduate or seminary program. Students may not complete the program without passing test scores. All students who are enrolled in a graduate or seminary degree program must enroll in required LANG and ESL courses and (at minimum) take the TOEFL test each time it is offered at Fresno Pacific University until they have earned passing exam scores.