Requirements & Policies

Sterling strives to develop leaders


ACCK - a consortium of six Kansas colleges to which Sterling belongs. Students may take courses at these other schools and some degree programs are share among the schools. The central office is in McPherson, KS.
Audit - an enrollment status in which a student attends a course with the permission of the instructor but receives no grade or academic credit.
Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU) - a coalition of over 100 member colleges and universities throughout the United States and Canada which provides support for the member institutions and course opportunities forthe students enrolled at member institutions.
Course - a program of study lasting one semester (or one interterm) usually involving lectures, discussions, and/or laboratory experiences.
Credit - the recognition given for successful completion of a course, expressed in "hours" with the standard one semester lecture course being three credits.
Electives - those courses selected by the student to complete the total hours needed for graduation but not required by the core curriculum or the major. These are important options for the student to pursue interests beyond the major.
General Education - the courses required for every student, regardless of major. These courses provide a background of knowledge which allows students to place their chosen major in the context of the entire world.
Grade Point - the number value assigned to the grade a student earns in each course.
Grade Point Average - the total number of credits earned (credits x grade) divided by total hours attempted. The GPA is a measure of the student's level of achievement and is used to determine academic awards or to assess academic discipline.
Hours - units of credit for a course based on the number of hours a course meets each week. The number of hours each student needs to complete degree requirements is explained in the next section.
Interterm - a three-week study period during January in which students may take one course. Some specialized or travel courses are offered at this time.
Major - the primary field of study selected by a student, usually based on the student's career objectives.
Minor - a secondary field of study, not required for graduation, selected by some students who wish to develop additional skills.
Prerequisite - any requirement which must be met with a passing grade of C- or better before enrollment in a course.
Semester - a 15 week period of study.
Transcript - an official document from the Registrar's Office listing all academic work completed or attempted, and the official grades and grade point averages.
VPAA - Vice President for Academic Affairs, commonly referred to as Academic Dean

Academic Policies

The rules and regulations by which a college operates its program are called Academic Policies. At Sterling College these policies are constantly under review by the Faculty in order to make sure that they are consistent with the curriculum, fair to the students, and as few and as simple as possible. The Academic Affairs Committee of the Faculty oversees the implementation of these policies. Some of the more important policies are listed below. Faculty advisors have a more complete list of these policies with supporting rationales.

Class Schedules
Class schedules are published each semester and are available online at www. under "Academics". Although every effort is made to be accurate in its course offerings, the College reserves the right to make essential course changes, to discontinue any course for which an insufficient number of students register, or to change the semester in which a course is offered.

Class attendance is required of all students. It is the obligation of the student to maintain good standing in the course. Absences, especially unexcused absences, may make this difficult. Faculty members will specify in the course syllabus at the beginning of the term their policies regarding absences or irregular attendance and will keep a record of attendance. Irregular attendance or excessive absences may result in the lowering of a student's grade or the student being withdrawn from the course. Activity sponsors will identify participants and their schedules for faculty records. Excused absences are those that occur because of illness, death in the family, or similar emergency, of which the Vice President for Academic Affairs (VPAA) has been notified. (Appropriate documentation may be required.) Absences due to college-sponsored activities are those relating to academic or co-curricular field trips (including athletic events and concert tours), conferences or the like. While faculty members are normally expected to work with students involved in such activities, it is the student's responsibility to inform the instructor prior to the absence according to the instructor's attendance policy set forth in their syllabus. Such absences do not in any case excuse the student from work required in the course. Students must complete course assignments missed due to any absence. When an exam, student performance, or laboratory is scheduled for the same time as the student activity, the student's first responsibility is to the exam, performance, or laboratory, unless special arrangements have been made with the instructor in advance. Students are responsible for reporting absences to their instructors prior to class. In addition, an extended absence of more than 3 days must also be reported to the VPAA's Office. Students are responsible for all class work.

Course Numbering System
Course numbers are intended to guide students and advisors in appropriate course selection. The levels are:
100-199 No prerequisites required. Introductory and survey courses primarily for first-year students and General Education.
200-299 Courses with one or more prerequisites. Primarily for sophomores.
300-399 Courses with two or more prerequisites. Primarily for juniors and seniors.
400+ Senior level courses. ACCK courses, primarily for education majors.
500+ Graduate level courses available through the ACCK.

Course Enrollment Policies

First-Year Course Requirement Policy
Each semester of the freshman year, students are required to enroll in three courses that meet general education requirements. During the freshman year two specific courses are required, and the student must choose four other general education courses. Students are required to enroll in, and are not allowed to drop or withdraw from, these courses:
1. LL101 College Composition (I)
(LL095 Basic Writng may be a prerequisite as determined by test scores);
2. GD105 Foundations of Servant Leadership

All students must have completed the above courses or their equivalent by the end
of their first semester (or year if LL095 is required) at Sterling College. If either of the above courses are waived by the appropriate department, the student will still be required to take three general education classes during each semester.

Directed Study/Independent Study

  • An Independent Study is a specific program of study, for 1-3 credits, under the direct supervision of a faculty member. The faculty member meets with the student for at least one hour per each hour of credit per month. Enrollment in this type of course is limited to juniors and seniors in their major area(s) only and for a maximum of 6 credits toward degree completion.
  • A Directed Study is a catalog course which is offered on an independent basis because it is not on the current schedule, or it is offered in conflict with another required course. The amount of time spent with the student is at the faculty member's discretion. Faculty members are not obligated to teach a course as a Directed Study, and the department may also identify courses which cannot betaken in this format.


  1. The student and the faculty supervisor must plan the course in advance.
  2. The faculty member must design a syllabus to meet the requirements of this individualized course of study.
  3. To register for the course, the student must present a completed contract form with the course syllabus to the Registrar's Office no later than the 1st week of the Fall and Spring semesters, or the first day of Interterm.
  4. Directed or Independent Studies over the summer must be the exception rather than the rule. The approval of the course instructor and department chair must be obtained. The completed contract with syllabus must be submitted to the Registrar's Office no later than April 15th.
  5. The VPAA must approve all requests prior to enrollment in the course.

All persons wishing a grade in a course must take it for credit. All persons wishing to attend a course without credit must enroll in the course as an auditor. No change from audit to credit or from credit to audit may be made after the initial 10-day drop/add period. Audits will be limited to one course a semester for students enrolled full-time. Part-time students may audit a maximum of two courses during a semester. Audit fee is $55 per credit and applies to anyone auditing a course, regardless of special tuition arrangements. The fee is waived only if the credits fit within the full-time load of 12-17 credit hours. Before enrolling for an audit course, students must obtain a form from the Registrar's Office and secure the permission of the instructor. Where a course has enrollment limits, students taking the course for credit will be given priority. Auditors must understand that the instructor is under no obligation to evaluate their work and/or performance. Audits, successfully completed, will be recorded on transcripts. Students desiring to audit courses must first be admitted to the College in order that an academic record may be established.

Concurrent Enrollment
Any course taken at another institution while a student is enrolled at Sterling College (correspondence or summer school, as examples) must have the prior approval of the Registrar to ensure appropriate application to a Sterling College degree program.

General Enrollment Policies

  1. Course Registration: Students may not attend a class unless they are properly enrolled and registered in accordance with the procedure set by the Registrar's Office.
  2. Adding or Dropping Courses after Registration: Students who wish to drop or add a class must obtain a form from the Registrar's Office and have it signed by their academic advisor. After the first week, instructors must also sign the form. Deadline for adding or dropping a course is the 10th class day of each respective semester at 5:00 p.m.
  3. Withdrawal from Courses: To officially withdraw from a course students must obtain a card from the Registrar's Office, and have it signed by their academic advisor and by the course professor. The signed card must then be returned to the registrar's office. In order for the withdrawal to be "official" this process must be completed before the fifth school day after mid-term grades are released. A "W" will be recorded on the academic transcript. Grades for "unofficial" course withdrawals will be recorded as an "F" on the academic transcript. Please consult the academic calendar to determine the last day to withdraw from a course.
  4. Withdrawal from College: To officially withdraw from Sterling College after a term has begun students must report to the Student Life Office to receive a withdrawal form. The withdrawal form must be signed by the following college personnel or their designees: the Vice President of Enrollment, Vice President of Student Life, Director of Financial Aid, Resident Director (if a residential student), Academic Advisor, Director of the Library, Registrar, and the Vice President for Finance. Refunds will be made where applicable. Students who officially withdraw from Sterling College will not be permitted to eat on campus or live in the residence halls after their official withdrawal date. The last official date to withdraw from college is the same as the last date to withdraw from courses.

Course Load

Part-time Less than 12 credit hours
Full-time 12 - 17 credit hours
Overload* Over 17 credit hours

Note: To be eligible to participate in any extracurricular activity representing the college off-campus, a student must be a full-time student enrolled in at least 12 credits. Students on probation are not permitted to carry more than 13 credits. Students wishing to take an overload must obtain permission from the Registrar. Refer to Schedule of Charges for overload fee.

* Students enrolled in 18 credit hours who are also enrolled in Band, Choir, or an ensemble are not charged an overload fee.