A student’s service may correlate with his or her academic coursework or it may be an opportunity to branch out from the classroom experience. A full-time student’s involvement in ministry opportunities satisfies the graduation requirement for service credits, which is as follows:
- 120 service credits for students beginning a fall semester as freshmen
- 90 service credits for transfer students beginning a fall semester as sophomores
- 60 service credits for transfer students beginning a fall semester as juniors
- 30 service credits for transfer students beginning a fall semester as seniors
The service requirement applies to all full-time undergraduate students, and no exemptions are made. The amount of service credits required, however, may drop 15 credits per semester if a student graduates early—for example, if you started your freshman year in the fall semester and are planning on graduating in December of your senior year, you will be required to have only 105 credits instead of 120.
Only part-time students are exempted from the policy. If you are a part-time student, you are not required to complete the service requirement.
APU recognizes the importance and value of service that happens on campus as students strive to serve one another. One of the goals of the university, however, is to encourage students to pursue opportunities to serve local and global communities outside of APU. Therefore, the following criteria must be met in order for an experience to count toward service credits:
- The experience must take place outside of the APU community
- The experience must be unpaid
- The experience cannot be serving a family member
- Community events hosted on the APU campus may occasionally count toward service credits
Through supervised, purposeful, and transformational service, APU students become consistent community contributors. Generally, students can earn credits according to the following guidelines:
- 5 credits—one day of service (must be 5+ hours in one day)
- 10 credits—two-day or weekend service project (each day must be 5+ hours)
- 15 credits—semester of weekly involvement (generally 1-2 hours per week totaling roughly 15-30 hours of service)
- 30 credits—intensive weeklong or summerlong service or increased commitment and responsibility roughly equivalent to 40+ hours (e.g., Global Engagement Team)
APU encourages students to broaden their horizons through different experiences, and we also recognize that students may desire to stay with a particular ministry to continue developing their gifts and sustain relationships. APU fully supports this continuity of involvement and encourages students to provide leadership in their endeavors. Each student can earn up to 60 credits maximum per academic year and up to 30 credits per semester (including summer). The following restriction exists:
- Music ministries may use up to a maximum of two ensembles for a maximum of 60 credits.
Nursing Students: Be aware that you will receive 100 service credits through your program, so you will need to take additional electives to cover the remaining 20 service credits needed to complete the 120 total credits for the service requirement. If you have any questions, contact the Center for Career and Community-Engaged Learning at [email protected].
Verifying Your Service Credits
If you would like a letter verifying your hours of service for a graduate school or scholarship application, provide us with a prewritten verification letter addressed to the appropriate institution and include the information you would like verified (e.g., hours served, location of service, etc.). Our office would be happy to print the letter on university letterhead and sign the letter to verify your service. We have a two-week turnaround policy, so plan accordingly.
Submitting Your Request for Service Approval
Each student should complete the online Service Credit Report Form at the end of each service experience. A short reflection on the service experience is required as part of the online form.
Once filled out, the Service Credit Report Form will be processed, approved, and posted on the student’s home.apu.edu account. Students can expect their credit to be posted roughly 2-4 weeks after submitting their report(s).
Seniors intending to graduate must adhere to the registrar’s deadlines and policies as listed in the university catalog. This procedure includes completing the graduation application process and receiving clearance for completed service credits. For specific deadlines, visit the undergraduate registrar website.
For more information regarding the service requirement and service credits, email us at [email protected].
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between hours and credit?
Hours represent physical time spent at a particular ministry or service opportunity. Credits take time a step further, acknowledging a qualitative component in the ministry or service experience. For example, 15 credits represent roughly 15-30 hours of service.
How do I know what counts for credit?
A full list of experiences is available on the Ways to Serve page. Beyond the listed opportunities, many other experiences count for credit, including volunteer work with a church, tutoring, serving at a local nonprofit, and after-school programs or summer camps.
Can I get paid and receive credit?
No. A paid position cannot count toward service credit. However, if you work more than what you are paid for (e.g., 20-hour contract but work 25), you can count your extra time toward service credit. This encourages you to continue working in your chosen ministry rather than finding another service opportunity.
When do I need to turn in my Service Credit Report Form?
You should complete the online Service Credit Report Form at the end of each semester of service or immediately after completing a service experience. This encourages you to write the reflection while your thoughts about it are fresh.
Can I track the status of my Service Credit Report Form?
Yes, just look at the status bar of your form to track its progress through the verification process.
How many credits can I get during the academic year?
Each academic year (fall, spring, and summer combined), you may receive a maximum of 60 credits, and a maximum of 30 credits for a single service experience and/or during a given semester or summer.
Will I graduate if my service credits are not completed by clearance?
If you are not cleared by the set clearance deadline, your participation in the graduation ceremony may be in jeopardy. The Office of Spiritual Life Administration and Operations and the Undergraduate Enrollment Services Center work in collaboration to determine if a student has met graduation requirements. There is a chance you may be cleared to walk in commencement, but you will not receive your degree until all service credits are met and posted.
Can opportunities on campus count toward credit?
There are some opportunities to receive credit from various campus activities, but the purpose of the service requirement is to encourage students to move outside the walls of Azusa Pacific University and into the broader community.
What if I don’t like what the Office of Service and Discipleship offers for service opportunities?
If you are unsatisfied with the current opportunities or see an unmet need, research other organizations that may be engaging the work in which you would like to participate. If you cannot find something, stop by the Office of Service and Discipleship to talk with a coordinator to help you find an opportunity that matches your interests and strengths.
How do I request a letter verifying my hours of service for a graduate school or scholarship application?
Provide us with a prewritten verification letter addressed to the appropriate institution and include the information that you would like verified (e.g., hours served, location of service, etc.). Our office is happy to print the letter on university letterhead and sign the letter to verify your service. We have a two-week-turnaround policy, so plan accordingly.
- Submitted: You have officially submitted your form to the Office of Spiritual Life Administration and Operations.
- Supervisor Wait: The Office of Spiritual Life Administration and Operations is awaiting official verification from the supervisor.
- Supervisor Affirm: Your supervisor has verified and approved your service hours.
- Supervisor Deny: Your supervisor has denied the service hours you have submitted.
- Canceled: Your Service Credit Report Form has been flagged as canceled and will not continue the Service Credit Report Form process.