Feb 22, 2024  
2011-2012 Catalog 
2011-2012 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Undergraduate Programs

The undergraduate “active learning” curriculum at Alaska Pacific University (APU) includes both traditional and nontraditional features. Combinations of class work and experiential learning—through individual and group projects, practicum or work experiences, individualized study—culminate in the senior project for all graduates. All undergraduate programs lead to the Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degrees. In addition, the Associate of Arts degree and Certificate programs are available in some areas. The Associate and Bachelor degrees require 64 and 128 semester credits respectively.

Each degree requires work in a major, coursework rooted in the liberal arts tradition, and electives chosen to broaden the student’s areas of interest. These graduation requirements are described below. Course requirements for the Associate and Bachelor degrees are listed in the department sections of this catalog.

General University Requirements

Alaska Pacific University promotes the fullest development of its students through student centered, experiential education. The educational goals state that the university “combines the breadth, integrative understanding, and critical thinking of the liberal arts with practical and focused knowledge for professional careers.” The General University Requirements (GUR) are designed to help students develop the first half of that combination: to develop mental skills and perspectives that will expand their understanding of knowledge as an integrated whole and the world as an interdependent community and will equip them to be more effective learners in their major areas.

Breadth requirements are intended to encourage more comprehensive understanding by providing exposure to the disciplinary lenses of natural science, social science, the humanities; examining ethical and moral systems and explore questions of value; exposing students to the affective and mental discipline of learning a second language in order to enhance their appreciation for language as a system of symbols and as a carrier of culture. Because the skills course requirements are designed to assure certain levels of competency, some GUR’s may require successful completion of prior coursework or placement by examination.

Required Skills and Breadth Competencies

  1. Carrying out a Project
  2. Written Communication
  3. Speech Communication
  4. Quantitative Reasoning
  5. Scientific Reasoning
  6. Humanities
  7. Ethical and Religious Values
  8. Social Science
  9. Second Language

All of the breadth competencies are met by courses or areas as follows:

1. Introduction to Active Learning

Students learn to carry out a project. All first year students are required to take a course designed to introduce them to collegiate learning through project-based education and to other dimensions of active learning. Different sections of this course focus on different domains of learning, but in each section students undertake at least one project. Learning objectives require students to:

  • conceptualize, plan, carry out, evaluate, and present both individual and group project
  • understand the importance of out-of-the-classroom activities requiring group and individual discipline
  • self-reflect and evaluate experiences, both individually and collectively

2. Written Communication

Competency level courses focus on developing fluency in writing for academic and a range of discipline-specific audiences. Learning objectives require the student to:

  • write soundly-reasoned and well-supported arguments
  • use appropriate grammatical and stylistic conventions
  • develop information literacy skills necessary to synthesize retrieved information, understand the ethical, legal, and social nature of that information, utilize it for specific purposes, and document its origins appropriately
  • understand and utilize stylistic conventions of a particular discipline
  • recognize that various disciplines disseminate and access information differently
  • be able to adapt the presentation of a topic to the full range of an audience within ones discourse community, from academic to popular

3. Speech Communication

Students may choose one course from a menu of selections to enhance their understanding of the importance of effective oral communication. In order to help students develop oral communication skills to a level that will enable them to function successfully in both professional and personal contexts, each course provides students with the opportunity to:

  • gain a greater understanding of self, society, and communication processes
  • understand the relationship between context, communication purposes, and message production
  • develop the ability to assess and improve one’s own communication skills

4. Quantitative Reasoning

To prepare students to understand and participate in an increasingly quantifiable and quantified society, culture, and world, students may choose from a suite of quantitative skill choices including pure symbolic logic, fundamental equation-based skills, and discipline-specific statistics.

Students will be able to:

  • understand the conceptual underpinnings of the operations they perform
  • manipulate data, equations, or other metrics symbolically, numerically, and logically

5. Laboratory Science

The GUR in laboratory science exemplifies the epistemology of the scientific method. Students choose one course from the natural science disciplines that offer laboratory or field components, such as biology, chemistry, geology, meteorology, oceanography, and physics. These courses include those with the prefixes SC and MAR. Each course provides students with the tools to:

  • observe and document nature in a systematic and integrative way in the context of discipline paradigms
  • pose and test hypotheses
  • learn and utilize standard formats used to communicate their scientific observations and experiments in writing and in speech

6. Social/Behavioral Science

The social/behavioral sciences focus on topics emerging from empirical investigations of human social behavior and society. Students may select a course from specific disciplines, such as psychology, communication, political science, or linguistics, or they may elect instead to take a survey course addressing the social scientific enterprise and philosophical commitments more broadly. Courses fulfilling this GUR are noted in the Catalog and in the course schedule for each term. For each course will:

  • situate the social/behavioral sciences in relation to other traditions focused on the question of what it means to be human
  • understand the tools and ethical practices of a scientific study of human social behavior
  • consider the self as a member of a social community

7. Humanities

In courses drawn from history, literature, philosophy, and cultural studies, students learn to analyze and ponder questions of value and meaning from different perspectives through reading, writing, discussion, listening, and seeing. They come to understand and experience the importance of personal inquiry, artistic expression, and the role of art in societies and lives. Courses in world language and religion, beyond the initial semester of study required for the GUR in Language or Ethical and Religious Values, also meet these objectives. Each course requires students to:

  • explore the scholarly tools used by a particular discipline
  • explore questions of history and/or origin, cultural relevance, and meaning of ideas and artistic creations
  • understand the role of historical, literary, or artistic interpretations in culture(s)
  • increase appreciation for the ways in which interpretations of the beautiful, the true, and the good in the past inform the ways in which we understand these in the present.

8. Ethical and Religious Values

The purpose of the Ethics and Religion GUR is to provide a broad view from which to consider more than one aspect of spiritual or ethical traditions. The goal of these courses is for students to gain a greater understanding of self and society by honoring spiritual and moral values as a foundation for leadership and multicultural development. The objectives of these courses are designed to:

  • introduce premises concerning the human condition, social reality, and the development of moral values
  • situate students within a direct relationship with the absolute, where students learn to begin the process that necessitates their involvement with their own self creation
  • emphasize the notion that either religion or ethics has long been a tradition of a liberal arts education

9. Language

Students are required to take one semester of one foreign language, a second language, American Sign Language or demonstrate competency at that level. Even this rudimentary study of a second language is expected to introduce students to the discipline of second language acquisition, promote multi- and intercultural awareness, and encourage students to elect additional study of natural languages. This competency may be demonstrated by scoring at the appropriate level on a placement test in a language regularly taught at Alaska Pacific University, by providing documentation of a foreign language or ASL proficiency (e.g. serving as a translator or interpreter or attending a school where English is not the medium of instruction), or by transferring four credits from language or ASL courses taken at another accredited post-secondary institution.

Students whose primary language is not English may use English proficiency to meet the language requirement. In this case, the student will be required to score at the appropriate level on a placement test in English. Students wishing to earn credit for languages regularly taught at Alaska Pacific University, without taking the courses, must follow the procedures for Credit by Examination, or take one of the CLEP examinations and score in the 50th percentile or above. The Credit by Examination option may be available only for languages in which Alaska Pacific University faculty members have expertise. The chair of the Liberal Studies Department will determine the appropriate examination.

Two years of high school language credit of “B” or better work meets the GUR for foreign language. Such study does not convey credit towards the degree, only satisfies the requirement. The learning objective for the language GUR is to:

  • develop introductory-level language skills in a second language

Practicum/Internship/Work Experience

APU’s active learning model takes students back and forth between theory and practice. To gain experience involving real world issues in the major, campus undergraduate program students enroll in either a practicum or internship, typically in the junior year; adult degree completion students are expected to be concurrently employed.

Senior Project

The undergraduate program at Alaska Pacific University culminates in the Senior Project, undertaken in a student’s major and related to post graduation plans. The Senior Project builds upon, and further personalizes, the student’s education; it combines knowledge gained with the ability to apply that knowledge to real situations. Whatever the project, it will be an excellent stepping stone to graduate school or immediate entry into the workplace. Students present their senior projects to the campus community on designated days at the end of each semester.


Students are encouraged to broaden their knowledge of areas of interest outside the major areas, either by focusing on a minor or branching into new fields of study.

Associate of Arts

General University Requirements

Written Communication ** 3-4

Quantitative Reasoning ** 3-4

MT 10100 , BAM 10500  or equivalent

Humanities 3-4

 See course descriptions  beginning with prefixes: CS, HI, HU, LL, LS, PH, and RS

Laboratory Science 4

(See course descriptions  beginning with prefixes: MAR and SC)

Social/Behavioral Science 3-4

See course descriptions  beginning with prefixes: BA, PY, SC and SS

Ethical and Religious Values 3-4

PH 20200 , RS 20100 , RS 20200  
IS 45300 ; HS 31800 

Total Credit Hours: *** 25-32

Major Requirements varies

Electives varies

Minimum Graduation Credit Hour Requirement: 64

Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science

General University Requirements

Written Communication ** 3-4

Humanities 6-8

See course descriptions  beginning with prefixes: CS, HI, HU, LL, LS, PH, and RS

Languages 4

Laboratory Science 4

See course descriptions  beginning with prefixes: MAR and SC

Social/Behavioral Science 3-4

See course descriptions  beginning with prefixes: BA, PY, SC and SS

or two courses selected from:

Sophomore Seminar

Each major has a course satisfying this requirement; see the department sections for details


See department section for details

Senior Project

See department section for details

Total Credit Hours: *** 32-40

Major Requirements vary

Electives varies

Minimum Graduation Credit Hour Requirement: 128

* Required of entering first year campus undergraduate students. May be waived by advisors for transfers entering as sophomores or above.

Competency Courses

** Competency courses must be completed with a grade of “C” or better.

*** The General University Requirements for the Associate of Arts Degree is an eight (8) course requirement rather than a 32 credit hour requirement; and for the Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science Degrees it is a ten (10) course requirement rather than a 40 credit hour requirement; e.g., many transfer “equivalents“ and AU equivalents are 3 credit courses.

Minimum Graduation GPA Requirement

For both the Associate Degree and the Bachelor Degrees, the minimum graduation GPA Requirement is 2.00 (C).

Minimum Major/Minor GPA Requirement

All majors and minors have a minimum GPA requirement of 2.00 (C).

Graduation Residency Requirement

For the A.A. Degree, the final 16 credit hours must be taken in residence at Alaska Pacific University. For the B.A. and B.S. Degrees, the final 32 credit hours must be taken in residence at Alaska Pacific University. Exceptions are handled by appeals to the Registrar’s Advisory Committee.

Upper Division Credit Hour Requirement

A minimum of thirty (30) credit hours must consist of 30000 and 40000 level courses for the B.A. and B.S. Degrees.

Campus Undergraduate Program

Business Administration

  Associate of Arts Major in:
    Accounting, A.A. 
    Business Administration, A.A. 

Counseling Psychology and Human Services

  Associate of Arts Major in:

Human Services, A.A. 

  Bachelor of Arts Major in:

Counseling Psychology, B.A. 

Human Services, B.A. 

  Minor in: Psychology 

Education (K-8)

  K-8 Professional Development Certificate 
  Associate of Arts Major in:
    Education, A.A. 
  Bachelor of Arts Major in:
    Education (K-8) 
  Minor in: Education (K-8) 

Earth Sciences

  Bachelor of Arts Major in:
    Earth Sciences 
  Bachelor of Science Major in:
    Earth Sciences 

Environmental Studies

  Bachelor of Arts Major in:
    Environmental Studies 

Environmental Science

  Bachelor of Arts Majors in:
    Environmental Science 
    Environmental Policy 
    Marine Biology 
  Bachelor of Science Majors in:
    Environmental Science 
    Marine Biology 
  Minors in: Environmental Science , Marine Biology 
    Mathematics for Environmental Sciences 

Liberal Studies

  Bachelor of Arts Major in:

Liberal Studies 


Minor in: Liberal Studies 

Outdoor Studies

  Bachelor of Arts Major in:
    Outdoor Studies 
  Minor in: Outdoor Studies 

Campus Undergraduate Student Milestones

First Year Second Year Third Year Fourth Year


Students introduced to
the portfolio
requirement during

Begin portfolio

Develop Educational plan
Select Spring courses
Discuss Portfolio progress and initial documentation

Select Spring courses
Consider Eco League option for spring of 2nd year

Complete GURs

Sophomore seminar: begin to address Major competencies

Consider using January block for field or travel experiences

Submit GUR competencies in Portfolio for Advisor’s review

Make plans for junior practicum: secure all signatures and prepare any needed risk management plan for
submission during the pre-registration period.

Participate in Eco-League options.

Apply for graduation by midterm of the semester before you plan to graduate. Apply to grad schools or begin job search; have recommendations written

Be sure that GUR Portfolio has been approved by advisor before signing up for senior project

Develop senior project, secure all required signatures, and prepare and submit any needed risk management plan during the preregistration period for the final semester.

Senior projects; Graduation exercises

Advise new students
January January
Last semester for Eco
League visit
Select 2nd year courses
Consider Eco League
possibilities for 2nd year
Select 3rd year courses
Consider Eco League possibilities for 3rd year
Select 4th year courses
Address GUR competencies for Portfolio
Register for fall
Register for fall Register for fall April/May
Senior projects
Graduation exercises
Senior projects
Graduation exercises

The Portfolio

In addition to meeting the General University Requirements for all APU graduates, all campus undergraduate students who graduate from APU must also compile and present to the faculty a Portfolio demonstrating that they have acquired and possess these skills and understandings. Because students are expected to demonstrate integrative knowledge, the portfolio asks students to bring to bear learning experiences across the core and major curriculums, as well as elective choices. Students are required to demonstrate their competency in each of these areas–through narration and examples of work–in the first section of the Portfolio.

Portfolio Process

The Portfolio process begins when students enter APU. In Introduction to Active Learning seminars, students prepare the introductory materials: autobiography, goals statements, and resume. During the next four semesters, students collect materials to be included in the documentation for the junior year review. Transfer students who arrive at APU with more than 29 credits are excused from the Active Learning seminar and are encouraged to get started with the portfolio by enrolling in GS 20500: Initial Documentation and GS 20600: Addressing the GUR Competencies. Students may also elect to prepare the portfolio on their own, consulting the Portfolio Development Guide. Sophomore seminars in each discipline include components regarding the major area competencies.

The University has identified the competencies as skills and understandings it expects APU graduates as educated persons to have developed. They are not ones that are necessarily developed in any particular class, but rather by formal and experiential learning of a variety of sorts.

Each department has developed an additional list of competencies it expects from its majors. These are included in the Portfolio Development Guide or available from departments.

The competencies include the General University Competencies and Major Area Competencies. The General University Competencies are congruent with but not identical to the General University Requirement courses.

General University Competencies

The Skills:

  1. To communicate effectively in writing
  2. To communicate effectively in speech
  3. To analyze qualitatively
  4. To analyze quantitatively
  5. To be computer literate
  6. To organize and carry out a project
  7. To lead

The Understandings:

  1. Of self
  2. Of society
  3. Of the natural world
  4. Of ethics and religion
  5. Of the humanities and the arts
  6. Of the importance of wellness

In the junior year, students address the general university required competencies, documenting mastery or outlining a plan for acquiring them before the end of the senior year. While the portfolio is a collection of a student’s work and a series of essays assessing that work, in a fuller sense, the term “portfolio” refers to the current product of an ongoing process intended to encourage academic and personal growth through reflection and self-assessment.

The portfolio is reviewed by the student’s major department and is considered an essential tool for students and their advisors to chart and carry out a plan for individualized learning. The GU section of the portfolio must be completed before the student enrolls for the senior project.

The Portfolio Development Guide, which details this process, is available online.

Sophomore Seminar

In this course, students learn and put into practice the basic thought processes, questions, and problem solving styles of the various academic disciplines. Each department provides one sophomore-level seminar course designed to introduce the student to the fundamental project skills of real world professionals representative of that department.

This course teaches students how to frame a directed study that is academically rigorous and how to design a project that yields clear results, to evaluate those results, to manage time effectively, and to critique one’s own work. The student will interact creatively with faculty and peers, plan and carry out a basic, but professional team project or independent study, and critique the projects of other student teams.

Directed Study

Students are encouraged to design directed studies as opportunities to make attachments across disciplines or to study in greater depth areas of particular interest. Under the mentorship of a faculty member, students pursue learning objectives they have set for themselves.

Junior Practicum

Each major offers a Practicum or Internship experience that adds more refined and technical problem solving skills to the student’s professional repertoire. A significant part of the Junior Practicum is the planning and execution of an individual project with greater complexity and sophistication than projects attempted at earlier levels. The practicum will provide experience involving real world issues in the major.

Senior Project

The undergraduate program at Alaska Pacific University culminates in the Senior Project, undertaken in a student’s major and related to post graduation plans. The Senior Project builds upon, and further personalizes, the student’s education; it combines knowledge gained with the ability to apply that knowledge to real situations. Whatever the project, it will be an excellent stepping stone to graduate school or immediate entry into the workplace. Students present their senior projects to the campus community on designated days at the end of each semester.

Adult Undergraduate

Degrees available to Adult Undergraduates (AU) were designed for busy adult students who for personal and professional reasons want to return to college to begin or complete a degree in the business, human services, or education fields. AU students are able to complete General University Requirements (GUR), major requirements, and electives in the evening on-campus or online to complete Associate (AA) and Bachelor (BA) Degrees.

Many courses are offered in accelerated, seven-week modules available in the evenings on-campus or in an eLearning format once a week. Courses offered in session format (11 weeks) can also be completed in the evening on-campus or online.  Degree curricula are designed to integrate theories and concepts learned within the classroom to everyday work. Thus AU students pursuing a bachelor degree are required to be working or volunteering. Methods of instruction reflect APU’s active learning philosophy. Classroom learning experiences include attending classes, engaging in independent research, participating in peer-group learning, executing projects, and writing and reflection.

The University is committed to the effort to grow local leaders and professionals from within Alaska. Evening and eLearning degree options improve educational access and professional development for busy adults who are otherwise unable to take advantage of traditional on-campus degrees.

Students transferring in fewer than 60 credits may earn those credits by enrolling as an associate degree seeking student or earning the additional credits needed in the following ways:

  • Credit for Prior Learning is a formal mechanism for reflecting on a person’s work life and past experiences and then documenting the learning based on competencies for specific topical areas. Compilation of the portfolio takes the student though work assignments, on-the-job training, volunteer work, military service, travel, and other learning opportunities. Taking two one credit courses will guide you through the process: GS 20500 - Portfolio Development: Initial Documentation , and GS 20700 - Portfolio Development: Assessment for Credit of Prior Learning .
  • Challenge Coursework that is normally taught in regular classes at Alaska Pacific University: Specific courses may be challenged through credit by examination, examinations are administered by APU.
  • College Level Examination Program (CLEP) and DANTES allows students to challenge subject areas by taking examinations. Most tests require a score at or above the 50th percentile.

Students transferring in 60 or more college level credits and are employed or volunteering are eligible to enroll in the bachelor degrees immediately. The new Accelerated Business Administration and Managment/Master of Business Administration degree option requires 72 or more college level credits, completion of APU GUR requirements, and a minimum of 5 years of progressively responsible managment experience. Contact the Admissions Office to begin the process.

Business Administration (see Business Administration  Section)

Associate of Arts in Business Administration 
Associate of Arts in Accounting 

Bachelor of Arts in Accounting 
Bachelor of Arts in Health Services Administration 
Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration and Management 

Minor in: Business Administration and Management Business Administration and Management 
Minor in: Health Service Administration 

BA/MBA Accelerated Business Administration & Management/Master of Business Administration 

Counseling Psychology and Human Services (see Counseling Psychology and Human Services )

Associate of Arts in Human Services 
Bachelor of Arts in Human Services 
Minor in Human Services 

Education (see Education  section)

Associate of Arts in Education (K-8) 
Bachelor of Arts in Education (K-8) 


 e-learning Courses For Undergraduates

Select undergraduate courses are available online each semester. Please check the schedule for “APU eLearning” offerings for information pertaining to when the classes meet for weekly Elluminate sessions. The courses are available to all undergraduates, but are primarily delivered to serve the needs of Adult Undergraduate students.

Undergraduate eLearning Courses at APU have Three Components

  1. Face-to-Face Orientation: All students wanting to enroll in an eLearning course for the first time are required to attend a face-to-face orientation the week prior to the beginning of the semester. During this time students are introduced to APU’s technology systems, meet with course faculty and advisors, participate in workshops, and other activities.  
  2. Weekly eLearning “Chats”: Each eLearning course meets at least once a week via Elluminate in the evenings; some courses meet twice a week. Elluminate sessions are required, just like meetings for any other course.
  3. Assignments Completed Independently: Students can expect to achieve the same learning outcomes as for a campus-based course. But, eLearning students must be prepared to do more work as independent learners than they might do for a campus-based class.

To Register and Prepare for an eLearning Course:

  • As with all coursework, you must have your advisor’s approval.
  • Prior to the start of the semester in which you take your first eLearning course, you must attend face-to-face training sessions that will help you become familiar with the technology systems that will be used in online courses: Moodle, Elluminate, MY APU (student web portal), and APU email.
  • You must have access to a computer, preferably one that is at your home and no more than 2 years old.
  • You must have reliable Internet access, preferably the equivalent of “broadband.”

Early Honors

Alaska Pacific University offers an Early Honors Program for qualified high school seniors. Early Honors students take a full year of classes at APU, fulfilling remaining high school graduation requirements while also earning transferable college credits. Students will gain an appreciation of the arts and sciences, and will build and refine their analytical and expressive reasoning powers.

During the first semester, Early Honors students enroll in a common university-level curriculum designed with the intent to satisfy the senior level requirements of the Anchorage and Mat-Su School Districts. The September Block starts off with GS 13300 Critical Thinking  and GS 10200 Fitness for Life . Students move into the Session in late September and finish their semester by mid-December. During that time students enroll in designated sections of LL 10100 Argumentative Writing . Placement in math courses depends on prior coursework, and there are choices among the science and social science courses offered.

In the second semester, many of the students elect to participate in the Travel Abroad option for the January Block (see LS 20400 Travel Course ) but alternatives are available on campus. During the spring Session, which begins in early February, students have the opportunity to select courses from the Alaska Pacific schedule relevant to their academic interests.

Early Honors mainly serves students from the Anchorage and the Matanuska-Susitna Valley. Students living outside of the Anchorage area may be eligible, provided they have family residing within commuting distance or they live on campus in the Residence Halls. Outstanding home-schooled students are also eligible to apply.

Because Alaska Pacific University does not grant high school diplomas, students who want to receive a diploma must work with their high school guidance office to insure that they do so.

Eco-League Exchange Program

APU is a member of an inter-college exchange group called the Eco-League. The Eco-League is composed of five colleges and universities, all small, all with strong programs in Environmental Science, Environmental Studies, Marine Biology, Outdoor Studies, and similar programs (Alaska Pacific University, College of the Atlantic, Green Mountain College, Northland College and Prescott College). Through this program, APU students in their sophomore or junior year may elect to spend up to two, non-consecutive semesters studying at one of the Eco-League member institutions as part of their academic program. For more information on how to participate, go to the Eco League web site: www.ecoleague.org.


Incoming Students to Alaska Pacific University (APU)

Students planning on attending APU for a semester need to check in with their home institution for proper procedures. For more information, forms, and deadline dates go to the Eco League web site, www.ecoleague.org.

Outgoing Students

APU students planning on attending another Eco League Institution need to contact their advisor. For more information, forms, and deadline dates go to the Eco League web site, www.ecoleague.org.