Graduation Requirements

Graduation requirements must be met by all Buena Vista University students who seek an undergraduate degree, with appropriate variations made for transfer students reflecting existing articulation agreements.

Graduation requirements include all of the following:

  • Credit and honor point specifications: a minimum of 128 credit hours of credit with a cumulative grade point average of not less than 2.0
  • Completion of a major
  • Completion of the general education requirements, both intellectual foundations and intellectual explorations
    • Students seeking the Bachelor of Applied Science degree will complete the BASc core instead of intellectual explorations)
  • University Seminar/Transfer Seminar (Storm Lake) or BVU Seminar (Professional & Online)
  • Interdisciplinary capstone (IDST400)
  • Completion of the Application for Graduation

This catalog is designed to assist the student and academic advisor in planning and scheduling a degree program. Each student should keep in mind, however, that he or she is ultimately responsible for understanding and fulfilling all degree requirements. Students are responsible for their own degree plans and for the completion of all requirements for the degrees that they seek.

Credits and Honor Points

A minimum of 128 credit hours must be completed for graduation. Sixty of these hours must be earned at a four-year baccalaureate institution. The final 30 credit hours must be completed at BVU. All students seeking a bachelor of arts or bachelor of science degree must complete 12 credit hours of upper division courses in the major from BVU.

All students must meet the university’s general education program requirements; however, an associate of arts degree from a regionally accredited institution satisfies the general education foundation and exploration requirements.

An overall cumulative grade point average of 2.0 is necessary for graduation. Some programs require a higher cumulative grade point average. For example teacher licensure requires a grade point average of 2.5 for the total program, as well as each major, minor, and area of concentration. A minimum of 6 credit hours in each certification area must be taken at BVU. Check with the specific academic major for specific GPA requirements.


Students earning an undergraduate bachelor of arts or bachelor of science degree must complete at least one major, which typically ranges from 32-64 credit hours. The GPA in the major must be 2.0, and some programs require a higher GPA.

General Education Program

Graduates of Buena Vista University must complete all general education requirements, including:

  • Intellectual foundations studies in writing, oral communication, technology, and mathematics.
  • Intellectual explorations studies in humanities, science, social science, and the fine arts.


A student who is registered for courses at Buena Vista University is considered to be “in residence.” A minimum of 30 credit hours must be completed in residence, of which a minimum of 12 credit hours in the declared major must be 300-level or above. Students must spend their senior year in residence unless otherwise approved by the academic advisor, the appropriate school dean, and the academic dean. Advanced written approval must be secured by students desiring to enroll off-campus with the intent of applying credits earned to a Buena Vista University degree program through summer study at a different BVU site, extension courses, other institutions, correspondence study, or study abroad.

Participation in Commencement

Buena Vista University has one annual commencement ceremony held in May. Any student completing requirements during that academic year, from October (Term 1) through August (Term 6), is invited and expected to participate in commencement.