Academic Policies

Governing Policies for Satisfying Academic Requirements

Students Subject to the Catalog Provisions

All students are subject to the provisions of the catalog which was in effect at the time of their first enrollment at John Brown University, with the exception of charges for tuition, etc., which apply only for a specified period of time. However, students may change to a later catalog with approval of their advisor and dean or division chair by completing a Change of Catalog form in the Registrar's Office. Students may submit a Change of Catalog form until they have completed 75 hours. After that point, no further catalog changes will be permitted except in case of extended absence, as described in Graduation Requirements after Extended Absence.

Changes in Requirements and Regulations

The university reserves the right to make modifications in policies, procedures, and regulations: e.g., grading system, transfer of credit, guidelines for degree requirements, housing regulations and charges, tuition and fees, and admission standards, and to make such modifications applicable to any or all currently-enrolled students. When modifications occur, sensitivity to reasonable dates of implementation and appropriate categories of currently-enrolled students affected will be exercised. Students will be notified of such changes through the advisors, written notices, and campus publications.

Course Credits

The basic unit of course credit is the semester hour. One semester hour of credit normally represents participation by the student in the activities of one fifty-minute class period per week for 15 weeks together with adequate preparation through the use of approximately two hours outside of class for each period in class. Where additional supervised time is required such as for laboratories or listening sessions, an extended period of two to three hours may replace one regular class period. One hour of practicum credit requires weekly involvement of three to five hours, depending on the nature of the assignment.

Academic Year

John Brown University's school year comprises two semesters, with the fall term completed before the December holiday break. Each semester consists of 73 days of instruction followed by a four-day examination period. Commencement exercises follow each semester, scheduled on the Saturday after final examination week. In additional to the fall and spring semester, JBU offers traditional undergraduate courses in a summer term starting on the Monday following spring commencement.


Orientation activities for all new students begin before fall registration and may continue into the semester. The goal of the Orientation Program is to help each student make a smooth transition to college life at JBU.

Full-Time Student

A full-time student is one who is enrolled for 12 or more semester hours.

Classification of Students

A student will be classified as a sophomore when at least 30 semester hours of course work have been successfully completed; junior-60 hours; senior-90 hours.

Academic Advising

All undergraduate students are assigned an academic advisor in connection to their chosen major. Students who are undeclared are advised by an advisor who works solely with undeclared students until such time as the student declares a major. Students are responsible for seeing their advisor for schedule planning each semester as well as for determining a graduation plan and other major-related issues. Advisors will help guide students in planning, but are not responsible for students’ meeting graduation requirements. This responsibility lies with each individual student.

Summer Terms

John Brown University offers a summer term which begins the Monday after spring commencement. Students may earn as many as six credit hours, with most available courses satisfying requirements in the Core Curriculum. Summer tuition for undergraduate work is one-half the regular credit hour rate.

Credit Options

The credit applying toward a degree may include up to a total of 30 semester hours earned by means of alternative activities, such as credit by exam and credit for prior learning or credit for military training. In addition to taking elective courses, there are several non-traditional credit options available for students to earn credit toward a JBU Traditional Undergraduate degree, including:

Credit by Examination

Students may earn credit through selected nationally recognized standardized tests. Such tests include the College Level Examination Program (CLEP), and certain other tests approved by the American Council on Education (ACE).

Credit for Prior Learning (CPL)

The university recognizes that collegiate-level learning may occur outside the college/university classroom and has established specific procedures and policies for evaluating and granting credits for such learning. CPL may be earned only for documented and currently held learning, and is not granted simply for experience. This learning may have resulted from personal study, travel, work experience, workshops and seminars, military training, or other professional or vocational experiences. The guidelines recommended by the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning will generally be followed, except where they might conflict with existing policies of the university.

Students are encouraged to develop a portfolio of prior learning. JBU assesses that learning according to standards set by the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning. Some of these standards are:

  • Credit should be awarded only for learning, and not for experience.
  • College credit should be awarded only for college-level learning.
  • Credit should be awarded only for learning that has a balance, appropriate to the subject, between theory and practical application.
  • The determination of competence levels and of credit awards must be made by appropriate subject matter and academic experts.
  • Credit should be appropriate to the academic context in which it is accepted.

Credit for Prior Learning provides JBU with a means of assessing learning associated with previous life-learning situations. Visit with your admissions counselor or the Registrar’s Office for more information about non-traditional credit options.

Availability of Courses

Accompanying the description of each course in the back section of this catalog is an indication of the semester in which the course is to be offered. This data is subject to occasional modification. Accordingly, the university reserves the right to withdraw, with reasonable notice, any course offering for a particular semester.

Online Courses

Online courses are offered to traditional undergraduate students through the JBU Online Undergraduate Program. Each course is eight weeks, with assignments due weekly. The student will pay all traditional undergraduate per-credit tuition charges for online courses. Only one 3-hour course is permitted per eight-week term (two classes per semester in different terms) and registration for online courses is subject to available seating.

To take an online class, the student must have a 2.0 cumulative GPA or higher and must be taking a minimum of 9 hours on-ground classes, unless special permission is granted by the Registrar.

To register, contact the Associate Registrar if you are a current student.

Independent Study

Independent study courses are those in which students do not meet in a typical classroom setting but study independently under the regular supervision of a full-time faculty member. The topic of study may be an area of special interest normally outside of the existing curriculum. A student must complete an application for Independent Study form that can be picked up at the Registrar's Office. Approval must be provided by the professor supervising the independent study and the dean of the college or chair of the division in which the course resides. A non-refundable fee of $125 per semester hour will be charged to the student. In some special circumstances, the college dean or division chair may waive the fee. The student will pay all normal per-credit tuition charges for hours below 12 or above 18 hours.

Prerequisites and Corequisites

Students are not permitted to enroll for courses for which they have not completed all prerequisites. A prerequisite course must have been completed with an acceptable passing grade before enrollment in the given course is permitted. A corequisite is a course in which a student must be enrolled and satisfactorily participating simultaneously to the given course. The instructor of a course can waive a prerequisite for a specific student.

Required Enrollment in Specific Core Curriculum Courses

All regularly enrolled students must complete both the freshman level Core Curriculum Bible courses by the end of their first two years of attendance.

All regularly enrolled students except those in associate degree programs must enroll for EGL 1013 and EGL 1023 during their first two semesters of enrollment. However, some students are required to complete English as a Second Language or EGL 1003 Basic Writing before enrolling in EGL 1013.

All new students must complete the Gateway Seminar in Christian Scholarship during their first semester of attendance.

Maximum Course Load

The normal maximum semester load is 18 credit hours, but the student's grade point average affects the limit for the next term. A full-time student who earns a 3.0 GPA during a semester at JBU will be permitted to enroll for an increased load. First-time freshmen students are limited to a maximum of 18 hours during their first semester.

GPA Next semester maximum

Sem 3.0 to 3.24

Sem 3.25 to 3.49

Sem 3.5 or better

Cum Below 2.0 (Academic Probation)

19 semester hours

20 semester hours

21 semester hours

15 semester hours

Enrolling for any credit hours beyond 18 in a semester will incur additional tuition charges at one-half the regular per-hour rate, regardless of prior grade point average. Enrollment for more than 21 hours is permitted only upon approval of a petition to the Dean of Academic Services.

The maximum summer term load is six credit hours. A student whose grade point average for the previous semester was 3.25 or better may petition to enroll for additional hours.

Late Enrollment

Any student who enrolls after the close of the regular registration period may be subject to limitations in the course load. No student is permitted to enroll for the semester after the end of the tenth day of classes.

Auditing Courses

Students may register for courses on a non-credit or audit basis, provided the proper procedure is followed, either at initial registration for the semester or by official change of registration prior to the stated deadlines. The names of such students will be entered on the class roll, and the class appears in the student's academic record, but without credit and with final grade of  'AU' or 'U'. It is the responsibility of the student to obtain a statement of grading criteria for satisfactory participation from the instructor. Tuition is charged at one-half of the rate of for-credit registrations and subject to the same regulations.

The last day to add a course under 'audit' status and the last day to change a course from 'audit' to 'credit' status is the last day to add a course. The last day to change from 'credit' to 'audit' status is the last day to drop a course.

Adding and Dropping Courses

Courses may be added after initial registration, provided the procedure is completed by the close of the second week of classes. Courses dropped by the approved procedure before the end of the eighth week of classes will not appear on the permanent record. Non-completion of a course thereafter will result in a letter grade based upon the student's performance relative to the required work for the complete course.