Academic Policies and Procedures
The policies and procedures listed below are not intended to override the Academic Policies described in the official University Catalog. Please refer to the catalog for further information/clarification.
Academic Requirements for BA Degree
1. Students must successfully complete a minimum of 120 semester credit hours. Music Ensemble courses can be counted for up to 7 of the 120 units. However, any Music Ensemble courses taken beyond 7 units cannot be counted towards the 120 units.
2. Students must fulfill the General Education requirements as follows. See the General Education Curriculum for more information on its supporting programs and courses:
- Core: Students must complete the following two courses: The Enduring Questions of Humanity, and The Enduring Questions in Contemporary Contexts.
- Communication and Inquiry: Students must complete two courses in Communication Skills and one course in Modes of Inquiry.
- Creative Arts and Creativity Forum: Students must complete one course in creative arts and a 1-unit Creativity Forum course.
- Science and Mathematics: Students must complete one course from each area: Biological Science, Physical Science, and Mathematics.
- Area and Comparative Studies: Students must complete the following two courses: Introduction to the Pacific Basin and The American Experience.
- Language and Culture: All students must show proficiency in a foreign language by completing a series of four courses.
- Study Abroad: All students must spend one half of their junior year engaged in a study abroad program.
- Learning Clusters: Students must take at least two courses in the Learning Clusters format.
- Wellness: Students must take Health and Wellness.
3. Students majoring in Liberal Arts must declare one of the four concentrations listed below at the end of their sophomore year and meet the requirements as listed: Environmental Studies, Humanities, International Studies, Social and Behavioral Sciences.
- Core Requirements of the chosen Concentration: Students must take five courses, apart from any independent or special study course. At least three of these five courses must be taken at the upper division (300-499) level.
- Concentration Elective Requirements: Students must complete a total of at least four elective courses in the above concentrations. Of these four, at least one course must be chosen from each of two of the concentrations not selected as the declared concentration, not including independent study or special study courses.
- Capstone Requirement: Students must complete Capstone 390 followed by two capstone courses as part of their concentration, one in the final block and one in the final semester of the senior year.
4. The remaining number of units needed to meet the graduation requirement can be satisfied by any curriculum-wide courses taken as electives.
5. Academic residency requirements: All students who are candidates for the bachelor’s degree must successfully complete at least fifteen courses at SUA during the last two years before they are eligible to graduate. This includes the study abroad program.
6. A minimum 2.0 grade point average for all courses taken at SUA is required. In addition, a minimum 2.0 grade point average in major courses is required.
7. Students must file an application for graduation in the Office of the Registrar at the end of the first session of their senior year.
8. Students must ensure that all financial obligations to the university have been met.
All students are required to meet with their advisors prior to enrollment in classes. In addition, juniors are required to declare a concentration. Failure to meet these requirements will result in an “advisor hold” on the student’s academic record preventing them from registering for classes. Students may change advisors at any time. The academic year calendar will provide specific dates for academic advising during which the student should consult with his or her advisor prior to registration for the subsequent session.
All students must declare an area of concentration, with the approval of an academic advisor, by the end of their sophomore year.
Students who wish to complete a Double Concentration must satisfy the conditions and requirements listed below in place of the Concentration requirements detailed in Item 1 part 3: “Requirements”. Declaration of a Double Concentration cannot be submitted until after the successful completion of at least two academic years of instruction (4 academic sessions), with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.8. Double Concentration must be declared no later than the beginning of the student’s last session of attendance. In order to have the transcript and diploma reflect the Double Concentration, all requirements must be completed in four years (8 academic sessions). A student who fails to complete the requirement for a double concentration reverts to a single concentration. For a double concentration in declared concentrations A and B, a student will need to complete 51 units with the following distribution (where C and D designate the two undeclared concentrations):
- Capstone project in one of the declared concentrations (9 Units)
- Five courses in concentration A (15 Units)
- 3 must be upper division (300/400 level)
- Five courses in concentration B (15 Units)
- 3 must be upper division (300/400 level)
- One course in concentration C (3 Units)
- One course in concentration D (3 Units)
- Two concentration electives in any concentration(s) (6 Units)
The instructor may not administer the final exam early or shorten the block or semester in any way. Any student who wishes to change the examination time or who fails to appear for the final exam at the scheduled time must petition for approval by the Dean of Faculty, such petition elaborating the extenuating circumstances prior to scheduling an alternate exam time.
All students must complete four semesters of foreign language courses in the Language and Culture Program (LCP), and go on a semester of study abroad, in order to graduate. For purposes of this policy, English is not considered a foreign language at SUA.
A student may choose any language offered that does not fall into one or more of the following categories:
- A language that is native to the student, defined as the language of their country of origin.
- A language in which the student has completed high school level coursework in a country where said language is spoken.
These same restrictions apply to students’ choice of study abroad destination.
Placement testing: Students entering SUA wishing to begin language study with a language that they have had any exposure to are required to take a language placement exam, and will enroll in the appropriate level of their chosen foreign language based on the results of this test, an interview with an instructor of the language, and consultation with the LCP Director. Students who place in the 400-level must choose a different foreign language to fulfill SUA’s foreign language requirement. Students deemed “heritage learners,” but who do not meet either of the two criteria above, may choose to pursue more advanced study in their heritage language to fulfill the foreign language requirement.
In those individual cases where this policy does not account for a student’s linguistic or cultural situation, the LCP may review his or her language choice. Students are free to study more than one language at SUA before their study abroad semester, as long as they complete the 202-level or above in the target language with a grade of B or better, and as long as they are beyond their first semester at SUA, before they begin another language. In addition, students may enroll in upper-division LCP courses taught in any language in which they have demonstrated proficiency. Foreign language courses that are required for eligibility in the study abroad program may not be taken on a Pass/No Pass basis. Foreign language courses that are not required for study abroad (LCP courses taken as electives, as a concentration requirement, or after returning from study abroad) may be taken on a P/NP basis.
During their junior year, students will spend one block and one semester during either the fall or spring completing a study abroad experience. This experience is directly linked to the language and culture the student has chosen to fulfill the foreign language requirement.
Students may participate in study abroad programs in almost every part of the world for a full academic block and semester. Studying overseas provides a unique opportunity that can open up fresh perspectives on international political, economic and social issues, interpersonal relationships and ultimate career choices. The student must choose a country in which the primary language is the student’s chosen language of study. Depending on the level of language proficiency, the student may enroll in regular university courses or may enroll in language and culture programs that are accredited through a college or university in the United States. Depending on the program, the student may choose a home-stay with a family, or live in a university dormitory setting. All regularly enrolled students are eligible. Students studying abroad through approved programs are enrolled in a full course of study at the host institution, but receive Soka University of America credit.
Academic Standing and Definitions
A student is considered to be in good standing if they have a cumulative 2.0 (C average) grade point average, and at least a 2.0 GPA for the most recently completed session.
A student who, at the end of any Fall or Spring session, fails to maintain Good Standing (see above) is considered to have Probationary Standing. A student on probation is not allowed to take more than 4 courses in a semester and maybe ineligible for certain extracurricular activities and programs. Academic Coaching through the Student Affairs office is required until a student is no longer on probation.
Academic dismissal means termination of a student’s relationship with the university for unsatisfactory academic performance. The Academic Standards Committee will notify the student in writing. While a student is on probation, that student is subject to dismissal:
- if he or she fails to achieve a session GPA of at least 2.0 while remaining enrolled in at least 12 units throughout the session, or
- if he or she fails to achieve a cumulative GPA of at least 2.0 by the end of the second session after being placed on probation.
A dismissed student may, within two weeks of notification of dismissal, file a petition with the Academic Standards Committee for a hearing to reverse dismissal and extend probationary status. A dismissed student may not register in courses and is denied all privileges of student status. A dismissed student who wishes to return to the university must file an application for readmission with the Office of the Registrar. In addition, an application for readmission must give appropriate reasons for reapplication consideration. A dismissed student who has been readmitted is on probation and has to meet specific conditions set by the Academic Standards Committee at the time of readmission. A readmitted student who fails to meet these conditions will be immediately dismissed and may not reapply.
Registration and Enrollment
Registration is the procedure whereby a student enrolls for specific classes. Tuition payments or arrangements are required prior to registration. Students must complete both processes to be officially enrolled in classes. New students register for courses during the fall block after having had an introduction to SUA’s curriculum, degree requirements, and registration procedures. Currently enrolled students register for fall classes in April and for spring classes in November. Students should consult the Catalog as they begin to plan their schedule.
During the week before registration, students must consult with their advisor, complete their registration form, and secure their advisor’s signature before their enrollment appointment times arrive. The schedule of classes is made available to all students and describes course offerings for every session. In addition, the Office of the Registrar publishes registration policies and procedures and a calendar of important dates. Students should plan two or three alternate courses in case their first choice of courses is not available. Size limits are imposed on classes; therefore, classes will be closed to further enrollment immediately upon reaching the specified maximum.
Late registration begins after the registration period for each session. A late fee of $60 will be charged. Registration after the first week of instruction is not allowed.
Students are allowed to change their schedule in accordance with the established deadlines for the add/drop period for each block or semester. During a block, the add/drop period ends after the third day of classes. During a semester, the add/drop period ends after the first week of classes.
During a block, a student can drop a course with no record of enrollment by the end of the second day of classes. During a semester, a student can drop a course without a record of enrollment by the end of the first week of classes. Non-attendance does not constitute a drop from the course. If a student does not formally drop a course by the required deadline, the student will be responsible for the course, financially and academically.
The normal course load in a session for a first-year student is 5 courses. For all continuing students, the normal course load for the fall session is 4 courses, and spring session is 5 courses. A full-time student must carry at least 12 units in the session. (A session consists of a block and a semester.) Course withdrawals resulting in a load of 11 units or less in a session require a petition to be reclassified as a part-time student (see above). In the case where a petition is not filed or not approved, the student must either withdraw from the university or take a long-term leave of absence. Students ordinarily register for no more than 4 units in a block and 15 units in a semester. Students whose cumulative grade point average is at least a B (3.00) or better at the end of the preceding session may petition their advisor for overload units in a semester. Overload units may be added only during the established deadlines for add/drop period.
Class level is defined in terms of completed credit hours as follows:
0-29.99: First Year
30-59.99: Second Year/ Sophomore
60-89.00: Third Year/ Junior
>=90: Fourth Year/ Senior
Part-time status (11 units or less in a session) is granted only by permission through both the Office of the Dean of Students and the Office of the Dean of Faculty. Where withdrawal from a course will jeopardize a student’s full-time status at the University, an undergraduate student may, under special circumstances, petition for part-time status, first by obtaining permission from his or her academic advisor and then by gaining approval of the Dean of Faculty and Dean of Students. Because transitioning from full-time status (12 units or more) to part-time status could impact a student’s financial aid, students are held responsible for notifying their parents or legal guardian of any changes in their status at the University and of any potential balance due. This policy does not apply to international students who in order to maintain their visa status must be enrolled with a full-time course load (12 units or more).
Student communication and interaction in the classroom are highly valued at SUA. A situation may arise, however, in which a student explores subject matter that is not included in the university curriculum, or in which the university’s schedule has not permitted a student to take a needed class. In such cases, a student may request and register for an independent study or a special study course. An independent study course should be requested when a student wishes to study topic not currently offered by the university. A special study course allows a student with suitable background to satisfy a graduation requirement by taking a course offered by the university, but is not offered in the current schedule of courses. In either case, the student must arrange to take this course with a full-time faculty member who will assist the student in developing an appropriate plan of study. The following regulations govern independent study and special study courses:
- Students of at least sophomore standing whose cumulative grade point average is 3.0 or better may petition for independent study or special study courses. In addition, permission for special study must be obtained from the appropriate academic programs or areas.
- No more than four independent study courses can be used to satisfy graduation requirements.
- No more than one independent study or special study course per session may be taken.
- Independent or special study courses are restricted in satisfying concentration requirements.
To register for an independent study or special study course, students must submit an approved independent study/special study form to the Office of the Registrar by the add/drop deadline.
At Soka University of America (SUA), the “credit hour” is defined as “the amount of work represented in intended learning outcomes and verified by evidence of student achievement that is an institutionally established equivalency that reasonably approximates not less than:
- (1) One contact hour of classroom or direct faculty instruction and a minimum of two contact hours of out-of-class student work each week for approximately fifteen weeks for one semester hour of credit, or the equivalent amount of work over a different amount of time; or
- At least an equivalent amount of work as required in paragraph one of this definition for other academic activities as established by the institution, including laboratory work, internships, practices, studio work, and other academic work leading to the award of credit hours.”
SUA offers credit courses in 14-week semesters (fall and spring) and in 15-day fall blocks and 17-day winter blocks. Three-credit lecture courses require a minimum of 45 total contact hours of scheduled face-to-face instruction (or 37.5 total clock hours) whereas four-credit lecture courses require a minimum of 60 total contact hours of scheduled face-to-face instruction (or 50 total clock hours). For every hour of classroom instruction each week, there is a minimum of two hours of student work outside of class. SUA will review periodically the application of its policy on credit hour across the degree programs to assure that credit hour assignments are accurate, reliable, appropriate to degree level, and that they conform to commonly accepted practices in higher education through new course development, course review and revision, and program review. A contact hour is 50 minutes and a clock hour is 60 minutes.
Levels of courses at Soka University of America are designated as follows:
<100: Remedial courses. Cannot be counted towards graduation.
100: Basic or introductory courses.
200: Intermediate level courses.
300, 400: Advanced courses.
Juniors and seniors who, in order to graduate, are for substantial reasons unable to take needed courses at SUA, may petition the Dean of Faculty for permission to take such courses elsewhere, to be transferred in. The Dean of Faculty will make his/her decision in consultation with the program/area director/coordinator, and the Registrar, and may impose conditions, including but not limited to when and where the course is to be taken. The Academic Standards Committee will handle appeals of the Dean’s decision.
These transferred courses will not compute into the GPA, but will appear on the student’s transcript. This policy may be applied toward no more than 2 courses and no more than 8 units per student. Although a higher requirement maybe set as a condition by the program/area, no courses will be accepted as meeting SUA graduation requirements, nor will they have credit transferred, if the grade received is less than C-.
SUA will only accept applications for entrance as a first year student. SUA does not have a separate transfer admission process. If you are currently a college student, you may apply, but you will not be eligible to transfer college credits. Applicants with college experience are required to submit college transcripts to be used as a part of the assessment process should they choose to apply for admission to SUA.
Soka University of America participates in the Advanced Placement (AP) program offered by the College Board. AP credits are not awarded; however, academic programs and areas may grant placement based on AP results. Students must submit to the Office of the Registrar official transcripts or reports from the College Board no later than the end of the Sophomore year at SUA for scores to be considered. An on-going policy review takes place annually; therefore, placement based on AP tests and scores is subject to change without notice. Similarly, academic programs and areas may grant placement for college courses taken elsewhere.
The following guidelines are to be considered:
1. If academic programs and areas grant placement, students are placed in a higher-level course.
2. Placement is not awarded if the student has already earned credit for the course at SUA.
Once grades have been submitted to the Office of the Registrar, they become final and may be changed only in case of error. An instructor desiring a change of grade must present a written request to the Dean of Faculty. The change will become effective only if the change of grade form has been approved by the Dean of Faculty and filed with the Office of the Registrar by the end of the following session. Students wishing to appeal a specific grade assigned by the instructor may do so under SUA’s Grade Grievance Policy. No grade changes are permitted after a degree is awarded.
Students wishing to appeal a specific grade assigned by the instructor may do so under SUA’s Grade Grievance Policy. The student and the instructor who gave the final course evaluation should resolve disputes. However, in cases in which satisfactory resolution cannot be achieved, a formal appeal can be filed through the Academic Standards Committee. In addition to letter grades, students may request and receive narrative evaluations.
The grades of A, B, and C may be modified by (+) or (-). In addition to letter grades, students may request and receive narrative evaluations. Grades are reported to students in the following terms:
In addition, the following notations are used:
P: Pass (minimum of C- work is required). The units will be counted toward the total units required for graduation, but not in computing the grade point average.
NP: No-pass (below C- work). The units will affect the grade point average.
I: “Incomplete” is a notation of incomplete work, which has been postponed for serious reason after consultation with the instructor.
W: “Withdrawal” is a notation used when a student drops a course before the withdrawal deadline.
Grade points for each course are assigned by multiplying the point value below for the grade earned by the number of units the course carried.
A+/A: 4.0 points
A-: 3.7 points
B+: 3.3 points
B: 3.0 points
B-: 2.7 points
C+: 2.3 points
C: 2.0 points
C-: 1.7 points
D: 1.0 points
F, NP: 0.0 points
P, I, and W are not calculated in the GPA.
Grades are averaged on the basis of their unit value to determine a grade point average. Grades of “F” are considered in determining the grade point average. The session grade point average is calculated by dividing the total number of grade points earned in a session by the total number of units attempted in letter graded courses for that session. The cumulative grade point average is calculated by dividing the total number of grade points earned by the total number of units attempted in letter graded courses. Courses in which NP has been earned also count toward the total number of units attempted.
Students who have fully participated in a course during a particular block or semester and whose current work is of non-failing quality, may petition their instructor to assign an incomplete grade if for substantial reason they cannot complete required course work. A letter of explanation, a plan for completing the course requirements, and any other supporting materials must be submitted at the time of requesting for an incomplete grade.
Normally the student obtains from the Office of the Registrar a “Request to Receive a Grade of Incomplete” form. The form is filled out by the student and given to the instructor, who then completes the form by assigning a default grade that is entered on the student record if the student does not complete the coursework by the deadline. The incomplete form must also be approved by the Dean of Faculty. An incomplete grade not removed by the deadline will result in the assignment of the default grade as submitted by the instructor. The maximum time allowed for an incomplete to be resolved is the beginning of the corresponding session of the following academic year. (Students who received an “I” in Fall session must complete their work before the beginning of the Fall Block of the following academic year; student who received an “I” in the Spring session must complete their work before the beginning of the Winter Block of the following academic year.)
If a student requires an extension to the deadline, the student must petition, in writing, to obtain an extension to the deadline for removal of the incomplete. The petition, approved by the instructor and the Dean of Faculty, must be submitted to the Registrar’s Office for an extension to be granted.
Students whose incomplete grades turn into a poor or failing grade must understand that the retroactive impact of their GPA may affect their academic standing.
Instructors are required to provide low grade notices to all students whose cumulative work in a course is at level of C- or below at the midpoint of the block or the semester. Failure to receive a low grade notice does not preclude the possibility that the student may fail the course.
Copies of low grade notices are sent to academic advisors, and students are encouraged to discuss their academic performance with their advisors and instructors.
Students may elect to take up to 4 courses on a Pass/No Pass grading basis. Students may receive Pass/No Pass grades in courses designated by the University or a specific faculty member. In no case may the total number of regular academic courses in which a student receives a Pass/No Pass exceed four. Grades are then reported in terms of a P (Pass) or NP (No Pass). A student’s work of C- or better is required for a passing grade. Course credit is awarded for a “Pass” and the student’s grade point average is not affected. “No Pass” (NP), however, affects the grade point average. The following general regulations apply:
- The Pass/No Pass option applies to at most four courses.
- Music Ensemble courses will not count toward the four-course limit.
- Capstone 390 will not count toward the four-course limit.
- The Pass/No Pass option must be exercised by the last day to Add/Drop, (see Academic Calendar).
- Once chosen, the Pass/No Pass option is not reversible after the add/drop period.
- A grade of “NP” is equivalent to an “F” in GPA calculations and in awarding of units.
Official transcripts of courses taken at SUA are issued only with the written permission of the student. Requests for transcripts to show end of current session’s work are held until all grades are recorded. Students should make their requests through the Office of Student Accounts or order online through National Student Clearinghouse by going to www.getmytranscript.com. Regular service requests are generally processed within 3-5 working days after receipt of request. The fee for regular service is specified on the Official Transcript Request form. Rush service is available for an additional fee of $10. These will be processed within 1-2 working days after receipt of request. There is no additional fee for mailing your transcripts via US first class mail. You may have your transcript sent via express delivery to any valid domestic address or international address for an additional cost as specified on the Official Transcript Request form. Express delivery rates may change in accordance to current express delivery costs. Transcripts will not be issued when a student has outstanding financial obligations to the university. In this case, the student will be notified by the Students Accounts Office.
Transcripts from other institutions that have been presented for admission become part of the student’s permanent academic file and are not returned or copied for distribution. Students desiring transcripts covering work attempted elsewhere should request them from the appropriate institutions.
Between the 2nd and the 8th week of a semester, a student may, with the permission of their advisor, withdraw from a course. A record of enrollment signified by a grade of “W” (withdraw) is recorded on that student’s official transcript. Course withdrawals during a Block constitute a Leave of Absence. Course withdrawals resulting in a load of 11 units or less in a session require a petition to be reclassified as a part time student Non-attendance does not constitute a withdrawal from a course. Students who do not formally withdraw from a course by the required deadline will be responsible for the course, both financially and academically.
Honors and Awards
Dean’s List honors are awarded to students achieving high scholarship and a notation is placed on their official transcripts at the end of each session. To be eligible for the Dean’s List in a session a student:
- Must achieve a 3.7 or higher grade point average for that session.
- Must have completed 12 letter graded units or more.
- Must have no I, NP, or F grades.
- Must have had no academic disciplinary action taken against him or her.
A student with outstanding academic achievement throughout his or her university career may be graduated with university honors. To be eligible for honors, the student must have an outstanding cumulative GPA for all work leading to graduation. Categories of honors are: cum laude (3.5 GPA); magna cum laude (3.7 GPA) and summa cum laude (3.9 GPA).
The Ikeda Scholarship is the most prestigious scholarship program at Soka University of America, Aliso Viejo. This scholarship provides students with all expenses paid, including tuition, room and board, books, and incidental expenses for the academic year. It is based on merit alone, primarily academic accomplishment with experiences in leadership and service also taken into account. Ikeda Scholarships are awarded annually in September to a student in the Sophomore class, the Junior class and the Senior class for a total of three scholarships per year. A committee consisting of SUA’s Dean of Faculty and Dean of Students acts as the selection committee, making final recommendations to the University President who announces the recipients in the Fall of each academic year.
Excellence in Academics: The committee will review grades, narrative evaluations, papers and projects.
Excellence in Community Service: The committee will review student essays and letters of recommendation.
Excellence in Creative Arts: The committee will review art, literature, music, performance, in any form. May be awarded to an individual or to a group.
Excellence in Research: The committee will review papers or projects. May be awarded to an individual or to a group.
Excellence in Academic Mentoring: The committee will review essays and letters of recommendation.
Leaves of Absence, Withdrawal, and Readmission
Students may be granted a leave of absence for personal and/or family emergencies. A leave of absence is a short-term period of leave that will not adversely affect a student’s academic progress and that constitutes less than 10 days of absence.
Such assessments will be made by the Dean of Students and the Dean of Faculty. Students who wish to request a leave of absence should:
- Consult with their faculty advisor and the Dean of Students.
- Submit written notification to the Dean of Faculty.
An approved leave does not require application for readmission. Students should advise the Dean of Students and the Dean of Faculty when they plan to return to the university.
Students wishing to withdraw from the university must formally withdraw by completing a withdrawal from available at the Office of the Registrar or the Dean of Students Office, and must obtain the signatures specified on the withdrawal form. In cases of withdrawal for personal reasons, students must make an appointment with their academic advisors and notify the Dean of Students in writing prior to initiating a withdrawal procedure. A student is considered to be in attendance until such notice has been received by the Dean of Students.
A student who simply leaves the university without filing the required paperwork for a withdrawal is considered to have terminated his/her enrollment with the university as of the last class attended or the last evidence of academic participation in courses in which he/she was enrolled. The grade posted will be “W” if enrollment is terminated prior to the withdrawal deadline; otherwise an “F” will be posted. All financial refunds or obligations are dated from the effective date indicated on the withdrawal form. Withdrawal from the university will not be granted during the last week of any class.
Students who wish to be considered for readmission to SUA after an absence of three sessions or less must contact the Registrar’s Office to request an Application for Readmission. A readmission fee of $25 and other supporting documents are required with an application. The application must be submitted no later than ninety days for international students or thirty days for domestic students prior to the beginning of the session for which the student is requesting readmission. The Academic Standards Committee reviews all readmission applications. In addition, the Committee may require a medical report and a personal interview.
Students must complete the following steps:
- Write a personal letter and include in this letter:1) a summary of activities since leaving the institution, including employment; 2) reasons for wanting to 3) academic goals; and 4) and any other information which may assist the committee in making a decision.
- Furnish official transcripts of courses taken since leaving SUA.
- Be in good financial status with the university.
Students with unsatisfactory course work will be considered for readmission. The Academic Standards Committee in making its decision regarding readmission will consider their prior SUA record and their course work at SUA.
Students who arrive at registration time expecting to be readmitted without following the readmission procedure should expect to wait until after registration to have their application considered. The Academic Standards Committee cannot guarantee acceptance in such cases.
Students wishing to return to SUA after three sessions of absence for any reason, including dismissal, must submit their requests to the Office of Enrollment Services and follow the required admission process. Students readmitted will normally be subject to current degree requirements.
The university maintains records relating to students for various academic purposes in compliance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974. Annually, Soka University of America informs students of the Act (FERPA), which affords students certain rights with respect to their education records. Find more information under FERPA.
One form must be completed for each person who is to have access to the student’s records. These forms are available under Student Forms.
Registration as a student and attendance at or participation in classes and other campus and university activities constitutes an agreement by the student to the university’s use and distribution (both now and in the future) of the student’s image or voice in photographs, videotapes, electronic reproductions, or audiotapes of such classes and other campus and university activities.
If any student in a class where such photographing or recording is to take place does not wish to have his or her image or voice so used, the student should raise the matter in advance with the instructor.
The student ID number is a number assigned to your academic record and is required for any inquiries you make. The ID number is printed on your study list, your official transcript, and all enrollment/grading related documents distributed by the Registrar’s Office. Your ID number is unique and considered confidential.
Newly matriculated students should notify the Office of the Registrar immediately of any change in their addresses or those of their parents or guardians. All current students should update their home/mailing address through their access of PeopleSoft (Learn). The university assumes no responsibility for materials sent through the mail not received.
Soka University recognizes that its students may choose to identify themselves within the university community with a preferred first name that differs from their legal name. As long as the use of a preferred name is not for the purpose of misrepresentation or attempting to avoid legal obligations, the University acknowledges that a preferred name may be used whenever possible in the course of university education and communication, except where the use of your legal name is necessitated by university business or legal requirement.
Please note that electing to use a preferred name will not change your legal name.
Soka University is committed to creating inclusive, respectful, and supportive spaces for all students.
What is a Preferred Name?
A preferred name is a first name that you choose to be called that is different from your legal first name. When you select a preferred name, it will appear instead of your legal name on some university related records and documents. (A preferred name is optional/not required by all students. If you identify with your legal name, you do not need to fill out the Preferred Name Request form)
Soka University reserves the right to delete a preferred name if used inappropriately, such as misrepresentation or fraud or to remove the use of derogatory or offensive language.
Where will the preferred name show up?
- Once established, the preferred name will be used across university systems, where possible.
- Class rosters (administrative and faculty center), Final grade rosters (administrative and faculty center), Student center (student self-service), Brightspace Photo directory, Email name display, Soka student ID (please note that the Soka student ID is not a legal form of identification), Online Academic Advising Report (administrative and self-services).
- However, please note that the PDF Academic Advisement Report will continue to display the primary/legal name.
- Please note that the university may send out mail using the student’s preferred name.
- Your legal name will be used for certain university records, documents, and business processes where use of your legal name is required by law or university policy.
Examples of where your legal name is necessary include, but are not limited to: International Student Services, Student Accounts, Financial Aid, Registrar’s Office, Student Employment, Records, Mailroom/Post Office, National Student Clearinghouse Transcripts (unofficial and official), Enrollment Verifications, and Degree Verifications Diplomas Medical Records.
Under the Family Rights and Privacy Act, a student’s name, including the preferred name, may be disclosed to the public as “directory information” unless the student opts not to permit such disclosure. To revoke the disclosure of directory information, a student has the option of requesting privacy through the FERPA Request for Confidentiality form . Choosing a FERPA restriction means the University cannot confirm student status to anyone inquiring about the student record (including parents, other immediate family, and potential employers). For more information about FERPA and setting FERPA restrictions, contact the Registrar’s Office.
Students needing a letter verifying their enrollment at SUA should make their request at the Office of the Registrar. Categories are based on the number of units in which the student is enrolled on the date the verification letter is prepared. For enrollment verification purposes, the following categories are used for students during the fall and spring sessions:
12.0 units or more: Full-time
6.0 to 11.99 units: Part-time
5.99 or less: Less than half-time
Official transcripts of courses taken at SUA are issued only with the written permission of the student. Requests for transcripts to show end of current session’s work are held until all grades are recorded. Students should make their requests through the Office of Student Accounts or order online through the National Student Clearinghouse website. Regular service requests are generally processed within 3-5 working days after receipt of request. The fee for regular service is specified on the Official Transcript Request form. Rush service is available for an additional fee of $10. These will be processed within 1-2 working days after receipt of request. There is no additional fee for mailing your transcripts via US first class mail. You may have your transcript sent via express delivery to any valid domestic address or international address for an additional cost as specified on the Official Transcript Request form. Express delivery rates may change in accordance to current express delivery costs. Transcripts will not be issued when a student has outstanding financial obligations to the university. In this case, the student will be notified by the Students Accounts Office.
Transcripts from other institutions that have been presented for admission become part of the student’s permanent academic file and are not returned or copied for distribution. Students desiring transcripts covering work attempted elsewhere should request them from the appropriate institutions.
Diplomas will be mailed to the permanent address on record after final degree audits have been completed. Only one original diploma is issued per student. A duplicate diploma may be issued in case of the loss or destruction of the original. Each replacement diploma bears a notation at the bottom stating that the diploma is a replacement of the original and listing the date of its issue. If you wish to request a replacement diploma, students will be required to complete the Request for Duplicate Diploma form accompanied by payment of $30.00 to Soka University of America. If a financial obligation is owed to the university, the replacement diploma will not be released until the account balance is settled.