Undergraduate Requirements and Policies

High School Record

An applicant for regular standing must be a graduate of an accredited high school with a scholastic record (including SAT or ACT scores) which indicates ability to pursue higher education successfully.

Biola University welcomes applications from students who have been home-schooled. A transcript showing high school work completed, SAT or ACT scores, and a pastor's reference is required. GED scores may be requested at the discretion of the Director of Admissions. Students must be 17 years of age by the time of enrollment at the University. Home-schooled students are eligible to qualify for all merit scholarships.

The applicant must have a high school diploma. The following is a recommended college prep curriculum: English (four years), mathematics (three years), science (two years, including a laboratory science), foreign language (four years), social science (two years). Additional high school course electives are recommended as well. Prospective students interested in the nursing program must take chemistry and algebra in high school.

Applicants are urged to have at least two years in one foreign language in high school. The applicant with four years of the same foreign language in high school will not have to take any foreign language unless majoring in Bible, which requires Greek or Hebrew. Those with no foreign language in high school or wishing to begin a new language in college to meet the general education requirement must take 12 credits of foreign language for most majors. Catalog information regarding each major will indicate any exceptions to this rule.

Admission Procedure

The following must be filed in seeking admission:

  1. The personal application form. The application for admission must be accompanied by a $45 non-refundable application fee.
  2. An official high school transcript. The applicant should request the high school to send this directly to the Office of Admissions.
  3. An official transcript sent directly to the Office of Admissions from each school the applicant has attended since high school. To be considered official, transcripts must be sent directly to Biola by the previous institution(s) attended. This includes schools attended for even part of a semester. Those applying to the education or nursing programs should have an additional copy of each school's transcript sent directly to the appropriate department.
  4. One personal reference from the applicant's pastor or someone on the pastoral staff who knows the applicant well and is not a family member.
  5. The scores of the SAT Reasoning Test of the College Entrance Examination Board or the ACT must be submitted. Information regarding testing dates may be secured from a high school counselor. Applicants are encouraged to take the SAT I or the ACT no later than the January testing date. The SAT I is preferred.
  6. The regular application deadline for Fall is March 1 and for Spring is November 15. Applications may be submitted after deadlines (late fee total of $55), and will be considered and processed if space is available and time allows.

Application Deadlines


File Completed By Notification
November 15 (Early Action #1) January 15
January 15 (Early Action #2) February 15
March 1 (Regular Deadline) April 1

Files completed after March 1 will be processed on a bi-monthly basis with notification of admittance beginning after April 1. Applications are considered late after March 1 (late fee of $55) and will be processed if space is available and time allows.


File Completed By Notification
November 15 Rolling Basis

Official documents presented for admission or evaluation become part of the student's academic file and cannot be returned or copied for distribution.

Home-Schooled Students

As a home-schooled student seeking admission, there are two means by which you can apply:

Standard Procedure

Applicants must submit an application along with high school transcripts, SAT or ACT scores, and a pastor's reference. Contact Office of Admission for transcript guidelines.

Procedure Without Transcripts

Applicants must submit an application along with the GED or State Certificate of High School Proficiency, SAT or ACT scores, and a pastor's reference.

Please contact the Biola Transfer Counselor or the Transfer Evaluator with any questions regarding courses at a Community College.


Applicants who are granted acceptance are required to validate their acceptance by the payment of an enrollment deposit of $300 (non-refundable after May 1).

Accompanying the letter of acceptance will be a health form, which must be properly completed by both the applicant and the applicant's physician prior to enrollment. A medical consent form is also required of single students under the age of 18 at the time of entrance.

Transfer Students

Transfer students must present the same application forms and transcripts as those applying for freshman standing. The transcript from the last school attended must bear the statement of honorable dismissal. The Office of the Registrar has final authority for the release of transfer credits into Biola University.

Transfer students with less than 15 semester credits of regular college work must qualify for admission on the basis of both their high school and their college record. Those transferring with 15 semester credits or more of college work will be considered primarily on the basis of their college grades (high school graduation transcript is still required). A cumulative GPA of 2.5 is required for admission to Biola. A minimum grade average of "C" (2.00) is required to transfer college credits into Biola on each course attempted at the college level.

Transfer students will not be required to take the SAT Reasoning Test or the ACT if 15 or more semester credits of college level coursework is completed prior to enrollment.

Transfer students coming from institutions which are not accredited or recognized may be given the opportunity to validate credits through the College Level Examination Program or through consultation. Information on this procedure is available from the Registrar's Office. Provisional credit for liberal arts courses from non-accredited institutions will be granted in accordance with the policies of state colleges or universities of the state in which the institution is located. Provisional credit is considered validated only when the student performs at the "C" level or better following enrollment in Biola University.

College-level credit earned during the 9th through 12th grades will be given credit. A combined maximum of 32 credits will be awarded for all forms of advanced credit options including AP, CLEP and IB.

Biola University's Transfer Policy is available online at: studenthub.biola.edu/undergraduate-transfer-policy.

Transfer of Credits

A student may transfer a maximum of 70 credits from community colleges. Upper-division credit cannot be allowed for courses taken at a community college. Final authority for the acceptance of transfer credits into Biola University rests with the Office of the Registrar. Current students taking courses at local community colleges while enrolled at Biola should request written prior approval of courses in order to assure that transfer credit will meet the needs of their curriculum. No course below a "C" (2.0) grade will be transferred from another institution; a "C-" will not be transferred. Vocational or technical courses will not be accepted for University credit. Admission counselors are prepared to give academic advisement to those attending, or planning to attend, community colleges with the intention of transferring into Biola University.

Transcripts must be official transcripts from an accredited institution sent directly from the institution to Biola in order to be recognized and officially evaluated for credit transfer. Any transcript that is hand carried or mailed from the student will be considered unofficial and the student will need to re-order a new transcript.

All students are required to take a minimum of 24 credits of upper-division in their major, 15 of which must be taken at Biola University. Biola has a residency requirement for Biblical Studies; of the 30 credits of Bible required for all students, 15 credits must be taken at Biola.

Grades do not transfer—only credit amounts. A student's grade point average is computed for graduation purposes only on work completed at Biola University.

Courses taken as a Pass/Fail or Credit/No-Credit grade are not recommended, as they would not meet the grade requirement for transfer of “C” or better. 

Non-music majors are limited to a maximum of 8 credits of Applied Music (including ensembles), and non-physical education majors are limited to 8 credits of physical education or skill courses.

A course taken at a community college or a lower-division class from a four-year school will not be given upper-division credit toward graduation requirements, even if the course content is approved by a Substitution Request.

Distance Education

Biola University will accept credit for equivalent courses from schools accredited by regional or national agencies recognized by CHEA (Council for Higher Education Administration), including online or correspondence courses. English Composition credit may not be earned via distance education. Communication credit may not be earned through distance education unless first approved by the Communication Studies Department.

Bible Residency Requirement

Biola has a residency requirement for biblical studies. Of the 30 credits of Bible required of all students, 15 credits must be taken at Biola. Students may petition the Office of the Registrar for an exception to this rule. Transfer credit, credit for prior learning, or credit by examination may not be used to fulfill the minimum residency requirement. Majors other than Biblical and Theological Studies or Christian Education may count a maximum of 30 Bible credits toward graduation.

General Education Options for Transfer Students

Transfer students may fulfill their general education requirements by completing Biola University's General Education Curriculum or, completing the Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum (IGETC).

The IGETC model for either the California State University (CSU) or University of California (UC) systems is accepted by Biola University with the following provisions:

  1. The current foreign language requirement for all Bachelor degrees cannot be completed by the IGETC certification.
  2. The minimum of 130 credits (124 credits for B.B.A.) for graduation will remain the same.
  3. In addition to the IGETC, students must take all major-specific General Education, prerequisite, and support courses if not met through IGETC.
  4. Official documentation certifying IGETC completion must be received by the Office of the Registrar by the graduation petition deadline (April 15 for Spring, November 15 for Fall) prior to receiving Commencement and/or Graduation clearance.

Advanced Placement Program

Biola University, as a member of the College Entrance Examination Board, recognizes the merits of the Advanced Placement Program and will grant credit for Advanced Placement exams taken in high school. Credit will be given when the Advanced Placement examination grade is 3 or better.

A maximum of 32 credits can be awarded for all forms of advanced credit (AP, CLEP, IB, etc.).

See studenthub.biola.edu/transfer-equivalencies for more information.

College Level Examination Program

Biola University recognizes the College Level Examination Program (CLEP) of the College Entrance Examination Board. Biola University encourages transfer students from non-accredited schools to validate certain credits on the basis of the examinations provided by this program. High school students with superior records are encouraged to take the exams prior to attending Biola University.

Credit will be awarded for CLEP exams, provided no college credits have been attempted or earned in the same field. Students should not take English composition through CLEP. English composition through CLEP does not meet the English Composition requirement.

Students should take CLEP exams as early as possible in their college program to receive the maximum value from them. After 27 credits of college coursework have been completed (including transfer credits), students are no longer eligible to take CLEP exams; exception: foreign language, calculus and pre-calculus exams. Biola University reserves the right to determine the score at which credits will be released and the amount of credit awarded.

Unlike other CLEP exams, having previously attempted or completed a college level foreign language course does not preclude a student from taking the exam. A student may take a CLEP foreign language exam without pre-approval from the Office of the Registrar. To obtain credit, the student must seek a higher level of language than previously completed.

To view current CLEP score requirements, visit: studenthub.biola.edu/transfer-equivalencies.

Challenging a Course

A student may be able to challenge a course or requirement if the department has a challenge exam available. Check with the specific department to see if a comprehensive challenge exam is available.

By waiver: If a student's performance on a comprehensive examination demonstrates a good grasp of the course content, an exemption from taking the course may be allowed but no credit(s) will be given.

By registration: The Nursing, Biblical Studies and Intercultural Studies department offer some exams for which the student may be granted credits based on the successful completion of the challenge exam. The exams are listed in the course schedule. A fee rather than tuition applies. Specific information regarding these examinations is available from the Nursing and Bible departments. For further information see the University Registrar.

Academic Standards

A minimum cumulative grade point average of "C" (2.00) is necessary to graduate. A grade of "D" is normally acceptable as a passing grade in a single course. However, some departments have different standards (for example: Business, Cinema and Media Arts, Communication Studies, the Conservatory of Music, the School of Education, Foreign Language, Journalism and the Nursing departments). Also, "D" quality work in general is normally insufficient to allow the student to progress from one course level to the next. Higher GPA minimums are required before admission to teaching and nursing and other major departments. To determine whether a "D" is an acceptable grade in a required course and to review admissions requirements for a major, check with the appropriate academic department. Students receiving less than a "C" grade in a major course may be required to repeat the course to progress. Transfer students from other institutions must also maintain an average grade of "C" in all work completed at Biola University as a requirement for graduation since grades from other schools are not calculated into the student's cumulative grade point average. All students must have a minimum of a "C" average (2.00) in their major coursework.

For policies regarding Academic Standing and Disqualification see the Academic and Behavioral Standards section of the catalog.

General Education (Core Curriculum) Program


Biola University's General Education (Core Curriculum) provides a Christ-centered, integrated, and intellectually and spiritually transformative education that fosters cultural literacy and humble, purposeful engagement in local and global communities.

Program Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the General Education (Core Curriculum):

  1. Critical Thinking - Students will identify and explain a problem or issue, recognize and evaluate concepts and assumptions from multiple perspectives, ask relevant questions, analyze appropriate sources, and articulate logical, well-organized, and innovative conclusions.
  2. Quantitative Reasoning - Students will gather, interpret, and draw inferences from numerical data as the foundation for evidence-based and thoughtful judgments, effectively communicating insightful and carefully qualified conclusions.
  3. Oral Communication - Students will organize content cohesively, use compelling language and delivery that is audience-appropriate, incorporate supporting materials to establish credibility, and reinforce a memorable central message with civility.
  4. Written Communication - Students will produce well-organized and clear writing, supported by strong, diverse evidence and precise explanation, applicable to its audience and consistent with the conventions of appropriate genres.
  5. Information Literacy - Students will determine the extent of information needed, legally access and evaluate sources critically and ethically, while using information effectively to accomplish a specific purpose.
  6. Intercultural Competence - Students will develop an informed understanding of cultural diversity and respectfully engage people of various backgrounds, through campus, local, and global community interactions.
  7. Civic Engagement - Students will evaluate ideas regarding civic freedoms and community obligations, partnering and communicating respectfully in diverse communities, systems, and structures.
  8. Christ-centered Formation - Students will identify the basic contents of the Bible, explain the major doctrines of Christianity from an evangelical perspective, demonstrate how faith connects to academic disciplines, and articulate the process of spiritual formation in their lives.
  9. Applied and Integrative Learning - Students will draw connections across Core courses and apply that knowledge to broad and specialized fields of study.

Biblical and Theological Studies Requirement

Thirty credits of biblical and theological studies must be included in the program of each student. Each student must take at least one course each semester until the requirement has been fulfilled. The following are required:

Foundational Courses
BBST 103Biblical Interpretation and Spiritual Formation3
BBST 105Foundations of Christian Thought3
BBST 109Old Testament History and Literature3
BBST 110New Testament History and Literature3
Intermediate Courses
BBST 251Theology I3
BBST 254Theology II3
BBST 306Early Christian History - Acts3
Elective Courses
BBST 300/400Upper-Division Bible Elective3
BBST 300/400Upper-Division Bible Elective3
BBST 465Integration Seminar 13
Total Credits30

BBST 465 may be taken with different content for a maximum of 6 credits counted toward graduation.

Students may count only a total of 30 credits of biblical and theological studies courses toward the required credits for a degree (Biblical and Theological Studies and Christian Ministries majors may count unlimited BBST credits toward those degrees). Challenge exams are available for BBST 109 and BBST 110 (see Biblical and Theological Studies section).

Part-time students (less than 12 credits per semester) are required to include at least one biblical and theological studies (BBST) course within each 15 credits completed at Biola University unless the 30-credit requirement has been met. Part-time students seeking a degree from Biola University must complete the entire requirement as outlined above.

Arts and Sciences Requirement

The students must make selections from the following courses in the arts and sciences.

First Year Seminar 11
Behavioral Science3
Fine Arts3
Foreign Language4-12
Physical Education4
Total Credits44-52

 First Year Seminar is required of all first-time students with fewer than 12 transferable credits from a college (excluding AP, IB, dual credit, or CLEP).

The courses that fulfill the general education requirement are the following:

Behavioral Science

Select one of the following:3
General Cultural Anthropology
Introduction to Psychology
Introduction to Sociology
Social Problems
Total Credits3

Check the catalog to determine which majors require PSYC 200 as a support course. PSYC 200 is required for all majors leading to a teaching credential.


Select one of the following:3
Introduction to Public Communication
Small Group Communication
Introduction to Argumentation and Debate
Oral Interpretation
Total Credits3

Communication credit may not be earned through distance education unless first approved by the Communication Studies Department.


ENGL 100Basic Studies in Critical Thinking and Writing3
or ENGL 112 Studies in Critical Thinking and Writing I
ENGL 113Studies in Critical Thinking and Writing II3
Total Credits6

All students scoring less than 480 on the verbal section of the SAT (or 16 ACT) must enroll in English 100, unless they receive a score of 510 or better on the SAT II Writing Exam. There will be a late make-up fee of $25 when placement exams are not taken on the dates indicated in the student’s acceptance letter. Non-native English speakers who do not pass the Biola English Placement Exam (BEPE) must enroll in the prescribed English for Non-Native Speakers course(s) prior to enrolling in ENGL 100.

International students, please see the English Language Studies section of the catalog for ENGL 151, ENGL 152, ENGL 161, ENGL 162, and ENGL 171.

English Composition credit may not be earned via distance education.

Fine Arts

Select 3 credits from the following:3
Art Appreciation
Drawing I
Figure Studies I
2-D Design
3-D Design
Sculpture I
Ceramics I
Painting I
Photography I-Introduction to Darkroom and Digital Processes
Theatre Appreciation
Biola Chorale
Chamber Music Ensemble
Symphony Orchestra
Chamber Choir
Jazz Ensemble
Symphonic Winds
Vocal Jazz Ensemble
Women's Chorus
Music Appreciation
Total Credits3

Entrance into ensembles is by audition. Not all ensembles are available for general education credit. Credit for ensemble is 1 credit, therefore 3 semesters are necessary to meet the requirement.

Those music majors in Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Arts programs must select from Art or Communication courses.

Studio Art courses listed are not transferable from other institutions for general education credit. These courses must be taken at Biola University

Foreign Language

The foreign language requirement is determined by the number of years of foreign language completed in an accredited high school, the degree a student is pursuing, and in applicable cases a student’s level of proficiency in a second language. In order for a student’s high school language study to count towards this requirement, a student must pursue the language previously studied at the appropriate level. Only the language requirement is waived; any foreign language credits waived must be replaced by elective of the student’s choice.

Years Completed in an Accredited High School B.A. Requirement (12 credits) B.B.A. and B.S. Requirement (4 credits)
1 year completed 12 credits 4 credits
Elementary 1 and 2 and first semester Intermediate (101, 102, 201)
2 years completed 8 credits None
Elementary 2 and first semester Intermediate (102 and 201)
3 years completed 4 credits None
First semester Intermediate (201)
4 years completed None None

Conversational language courses may be used toward the B.B.A. and B.S. requirement but not the B.A. requirement. If you take a classical or conversational language for your foreign language you must take it through the 102 level for a B.S. degree.

All students are strongly encouraged to satisfy their foreign language requirements during their freshman and sophomore years; the nature of foreign language acquisition makes it difficult to retain one’s level if continuous enrollment in language study is not maintained. Students with two years of high school language study must take the 102 and 201 levels of the same language in order to complete the B.A. language requirement. However, the department may require an unprepared student to change to a lower level, and students may be required to take a placement exam at the instructor’s discretion. A placement exam may also be required if a student does not maintain continuous enrollment in a language program. Repeating a lower level for credit will forfeit all prior experience credit for that level and above. Alternatively, a student may choose to study a different language, in which case the student must complete 12 credits (101, 102, 201). Bible majors should see the language requirement as stated for their major.

Transfer and Online courses: Biola’s G.E. language courses are 4 credit classes; students who want to receive transfer credit for courses taken elsewhere, or for courses taken for fewer than 4 credits, will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis to establish their proficiency level. Students may be required to take additional language credits even if they have completed an intermediate level course in cases where their courses totaled less than 12 credits AND they cannot show proficiency at the 201 level. If a student has passed a course sequence (101, 102, 201) totaling at least 12 credits through the 201 level, no proficiency assessment will be required. If a student placed in a level above 101 in a language offered at Biola, the student may take the appropriate level class and the lower level requirement will be waived. Only the language requirement is waived; any foreign language credits waived must be replaced by elective credits of the student’s choice. Students are encouraged to visit the Department of Modern Languages for advisement, should they have any questions.

Heritage Speakers: Heritage speakers of a language offered at Biola may be assessed by the Department of Modern Languages, and if they place into a higher level than 101, they will be placed into the appropriate course, in which case the lower level requirement may be waived. Heritage speakers of Spanish may elect to take 220 as a substitute of 201; upon completion of that course with a passing grade the lower level requirement may be waived. Only the language requirement is waived; any foreign language credits waived must be replaced by elective of the student’s choice.

International Students: International students for whom English is a second language may be exempted from the foreign language requirement under certain circumstances. In addition, students who have acquired a foreign language without taking high school or college classes may be eligible for a waiver if they pass a foreign language examination. If the exam is passed, a waiver will be granted for the corresponding G.E. foreign language requirement (101, 102, 201). Credit is not given for these exams. (For advisement, see the Department of Modern Languages.) All non-native speakers of English will be able to count 12 credits of English 151, 152, 161, and 171 toward graduation.

ESL: For students pursuing the B.A. degree, the 12 credits of ESL will satisfy the foreign language requirement unless the student is majoring in Bible, for which the study of Greek and Hebrew is required. For students pursuing the B.S. degree, 4 credits will satisfy the foreign language requirements, and an additional 8 credits may be counted as electives. Exceptions to this policy are noted under the appropriate departments (please note the credit difference per semester for biblical Hebrew and Greek).


HIST 207World Civilizations I3
or HIST 208 World Civilizations II
Select one of the following:3
United States History to 1865
United States History Since 1865
Survey of American Government
Total Credits6

An alternate route for meeting the requirement for HIST 108, HIST 109 or POSC 225; and HIST 207 or HIST 208, is to take the appropriate History department proficiency examination. The examinations are given twice a year in September and February. For those students, who pass the examination, upper-division History courses will be substituted in lieu of HIST 108, HIST 109 or POSC 225; and HIST 207 or HIST 208. Appropriate upper-division coursework is determined in consultation with the Department of History and Political Science.


Select one of the following:3
Literature and Film
Literature in Context
British Literature I
British Literature II
British Literature III
American Literature I
American Literature II
Race and Ethnicity in American Literature
World Literature
Total Credits3


Select one of the following:3
Introduction to Logic
Introduction to Ancient Philosophy
Introduction to Medieval Philosophy
Introduction to Modern Philosophy
Introduction to Philosophy
Introduction to Ethics
Introduction to Philosophy and Aesthetics
Total Credits3

Physical Education

Each student is required to complete 4 credits of physical education to be eligible for graduation. Selection is made from the following skill classes (101,110, 130, 140, 150). Note: First Aid and CPR do not count as P.E. activity credit.

Four credits of P.E. are required containing three different activity skills, allowing one skill to be repeated at a higher level to complete the four activities. In addition, three different activities are required to fulfill the 4 credit general education requirement. Example: A student who has taken beginning volleyball once may take it at the intermediate/advanced level once.

Credit for varsity sports may be substituted for two regularly scheduled physical education classes. In addition to the 4 credits of physical education activities required for general education, the student may complete 4 more credits (a maximum of eight) to apply towards graduation. Students 21 years of age at the time of entrance to Biola are exempt from the physical education requirement.

Students studying for the multiple subject teaching credential but not selecting physical education as a minor area of emphasis, should select PEED 201 and two other physical education activity classes to fulfill the general education requirement.


Eight credits are required in science and/or mathematical sciences (exception, those in the Bachelor of Music program or the Bachelor of Fine Arts, see specific programs for details). A minimum of 3 credits in math and 3 credits in science is required. BIOS 100 with BIOS 110 and PHSC 101 with PHSC 102 have both been designed for the student with a limited background in science. The courses in Science/Mathematics approved for General Education credit are:

Select 8 credits from the following:8
Physical Anthropology
Physical Anthropology Laboratory
Biological Principles: Lecture
Introduction to Environmental Science
Observational Biology Laboratory
Fundamentals of Organismal Biology
and Fundamentals of Organismal Biology Laboratory
Current Topics in Biology
Seminar in Biological Science
Principles of Human Anatomy and Physiology
Natural History of Marine Mammals
The Chemistry of Everyday Life
General Chemistry I
Introduction to Chemistry
Principles of Organic and Biochemistry
Precalculus Mathematics
Topics in Mathematics
Calculus for Management Sciences
Calculus I
The Nature of Mathematics
Honors Nature of Mathematics
Business Statistics
Introduction to Probability and Statistics
Physical Science Survey: Lecture
Physical Science Survey Laboratory
Physics of Sound
Physics I
and Physics I Laboratory
Physics in Everyday Life
and Physics in Everyday Life Laboratory
General Physics I: Mechanics and Heat
and General Physics I Laboratory
Science and Origins
Total Credits8

CSCI 104 and/or PHSC 105 may be used to the fulfill the remaining 1–2 credits for the Science/Mathematics requirement after a student has taken 3 credits of Math and 3 credits of Science from the courses listed above. Bachelor of Music and Bachelor of Fine Art students may not use these courses towards their Science/Mathematics requirement.

General Education (Core Curriculum) Course Substitutions

While the general education requirement will normally be met from the courses specified in the catalog, in exceptional cases where students have the appropriate prerequisites and where the department in which the course is taught determines that the intentions of the general education requirement would be satisfied, students may request permission to substitute an upper-division class for the lower-division course specified in the catalog. Students are to secure written approval for such a substitution prior to taking the class.


Normally a student has considerable freedom in the choice of electives in addition to the biblical studies and theology, general education and major requirements. However, in addition to the note given at the end of the biblical studies and theology requirements, the non-music major is limited to a maximum of 8 credits in applied music (including ensembles) and the non-physical education major is limited to 8 credits in physical education or skill courses.