May 30, 2024  
2023-2024 Undergraduate Catalog 
2023-2024 Undergraduate Catalog

Adult Studies: Accelerated Degree Programs

In 1977, the Adult Studies Program was established to serve the educational and career needs of working adults. This accelerated program was the first of its kind in the Lehigh Valley. In keeping with the mission statement of DeSales University, the mission of Adult Studies is to provide lifelong learners with a liberal arts education and professional training according to Christian Humanist tradition, emphasizing excellence, individual attention, and program flexibility.

Adult Studies uses a variety of delivery systems to extend programs and services to audiences from government, business, industry, organized labor, other agencies, and the general public. Programs and services are provided at times and places convenient to the individuals and groups being served and encompasses a variety of degree, certificate, and non-credit programs and services.

The academic program in the Adult Studies division at DeSales University has four objectives:

  1. To provide adults with opportunities for personal enrichment and satisfaction through the stimulation of intellectual and cultural growth;
  2. To provide adults with the skills, knowledge and insights required to update and improve their vocational and professional performance;
  3. To provide adults with information and understanding needed to fulfill their responsibilities as citizens in society;
  4. To be responsive to the needs of communities in the Lehigh Valley and the organizations and agencies (public and private) that are located in these communities.

For a variety of reasons, increasing numbers of adults are enrolling in lifelong learning programs to achieve their educational objectives. As a response to this need for lifelong learning, DeSales University offers Adult Studies, a program which provides opportunities for adults to further their education through evening, online, and day degrees and certificate programs. Credit for experiential learning may also be awarded through prior learning assessment. Programs and services from Adult Studies are available during the day, evening, and weekend on a year-round basis to all persons who can benefit from further education.

Adult Studies offers adult learners the possibility of achieving their educational objectives in a convenient, flexible, and student centered environment. Students may select from the following variety of program options to earn a certificate or a bachelor’s degree:

  • Ten sessions starting throughout the year, face-to-face and online;
  • Evening classes meeting once per week;
  • Fall and spring traditional day courses;
  • Two 6-week online summer minimesters;
  • One 3-week May term;
  • One 3-week online winter minimester;
  • One-credit workshops

Admission to Adult Studies

An open admission policy is in effect at DeSales University for Adult Studies students with the exception of education and nursing programs, which have specific admissions criteria. Admission into the Adult Studies program is limited to students for whom education is no longer the major focus in their lives. Information about admission, registration procedures, and deadlines for the diverse programs and courses can be obtained directly from the Adult Studies Office.

Adult Studies students who desire to transfer credits for academic work done at other postsecondary institutions must have official copies of their transcripts sent to the Adult Studies office as soon as possible.

Before applying, students should schedule an appointment with an adult studies admissions counselor to develop an appropriate and individualized education plan. Each student must provide proof of high school completion or GED before matriculating.

Criteria for Adult Studies

You are welcome to apply to the Adult Studies program if you meet one of the following criteria: (Additional documentation may be required to determine eligibility.)

  • Has a full-time career and/or other significant non-academic responsibilities (e.g., being self-supporting, having financial dependents);
  • Has been out of high school for 5+ years;
  • Is a veteran or active duty service member;
  • Is pursuing post-baccalaureate studies (e.g., certificate, second degree).

Additional requirements for DeSales University traditional day students seeking reclassification into the Adult Studies program:

  • A written request must be submitted to the office of enrollment management. This request must usually be documented with a letter from the student’s employer specifying that the student is employed full-time and receives a full benefit package, or tax returns showing that the student’s parent(s) or guardian(s) do not claim the student as a dependent. 
  • Written requests must be received at least two weeks before the beginning of the fall or spring semester. Acceptance into the Adult Studies program occurs only at the start of the fall or spring semester. Reclassification can’t be made for a semester that has already been billed for by the Treasurer’s Office.
  • Nursing majors must obtain prior approval from the head of the division of nursing.
  • Students on academic probation will ordinarily not be admitted into the Adult Studies program.
  • Students dismissed or having withdrawn from DeSales University may not immediately enter the Adult Studies program. In addition to meeting the above criteria for admission to the Adult Studies program, these students must take courses at a community college (earn at least grades of “C”) to demonstrate their ability to handle college level courses.

Professional Development and Personal Enrichment

DeSales University encourages members of the community who seek professional development or personal enrichment but do not want to pursue a class for credit through two options:

  • Auditing - Participation in the course will be reflected on a transcript; however, no credit will be awarded. This is appropriate for individuals who want the ability to provide documentation of participation in a course.
  • Value Initiative Program (VIP) - No permanent record will be maintained.

Students, in either option, will be permitted to attend classes on a space available basis and will not be required to take exams or other academic assessments. The cost for taking courses through either of these options is included with tuition/fees information. Anyone who is interested should contact an Adult Studies advisor.

Office of Veterans and Military Services

The Office of Veterans and Military Services helps active military students and student veterans achieve personal, academic, and professional success by encouraging participation in the human community and by emphasizing the dignity of the individual in the Salesian tradition.

For any student using Ch. 33 Post 9/11 GI Bill® or Ch. 31 Veteran Readiness and Employment benefits, even if the VA has not yet paid tuition and fees, it is the policy of DeSales University to permit enrollment without assessing late penalty fees, requiring alternative or additional funding, or denying access to university resources. Students using either benefit are required to provide DeSales with: 1) Certificate of Eligibility; 2) DD214; 3) Additional documents as necessary. GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by the VA is available at the official U.S. government Web site at

We understand that the commitment to military service may find a student deployed with little notice. This may make pursuing educational goals, at that time, difficult or impossible. DeSales seeks to support military students and their spouses in achievement of those goals and has adopted a deployment policy, which is designed to be responsive to and flexible for the student. To obtain a copy, please contact the Office of Veterans and Military Services.

Evening-Weekend Nursing Program

DeSales University has a national-class reputation for strong undergraduate and graduate nursing degree programs. Adult Studies has combined the strengths of the DeSales nursing education with a format that enables busy adult learners to earn a BSN degree while continuing to work, care for a family, and handle other responsibilities.

Evening-Weekend nursing students are able to complete classes offered in the evenings and on weekends. Many are available in 8-week sessions with multiple scheduling options, including online.

Senior Citizen Program

Non-matriculating senior citizens (60 years of age or older) may enroll on a space-available basis in up to four non-studio credit courses per term (e.g., spring, fall, summer) at the rate of the current one-credit tuition fee. This may be a combination of courses (up to four) offered during the day or through Adult Studies; for example, one course in Session 1, one course in Session 2, and two fall day courses. In addition to the registration fee, special course fees as applicable will be charged. Senior citizens may enroll in courses for enrichment, audit, or credit; and must meet the necessary prerequisites.

All applicable academic regulations will be in effect for such students. Proof of age is required at the time of registration.


All Adult Studies students are encouraged to take advantage of the advising services. Students should plan to meet with an advisor on a consistent basis to discuss course planning, scheduling options, and other academic issues. Advising is available in person, through e-mail, or by telephone.

Certificate Programs

A certificate program provides the student with a coherent program of study that has specific and readily obtainable objectives and yet does not require the number of courses or the time commitment of a degree program. Professionals and college graduates who want or need additional higher education credentials outside their major area of collegiate study are also good candidates for an Adult Studies certificate. At least nine credits toward any certificate must be completed through DeSales.

The assistant dean of lifelong learning is responsible for administering certificate programs for Adult Studies students. For complete details, students should contact an Adult Studies advisor.

More information about DeSales University certificate programs is available at Undergraduate Programs (A-Z) .

Adult Studies Individualized Major (AIM)

The Adult Studies Individualized Major (AIM) offers students an opportunity to earn an interdisciplinary, self-designed degree. As a BA in liberal studies, it is intentionally structured to cross traditional discipline boundaries to address the student’s specific academic and vocational needs. AIM “customizes” a student’s education while ensuring rigorous standards within a carefully constructed yet flexible framework.

Credit for Prior Learning

DeSales University recognizes that many adults acquire college level learning in non-collegiate settings such as work, the military, community organizations, and independent study. The Adult Studies program provides the adult learner with a variety of methods to demonstrate that they have acquired college level learning. Students who desire to earn college credit for their prior learning may choose from one or a combination of the following options:

DeSales University Challenge Exam Program

Credit by examination may be earned for most DeSales University courses. In addition to the DeSales University Challenge Examination Program, standardized examinations have been developed by the following nationally recognized organizations. Students should consult their advisor before taking any exams.

College Level Examination

DeSales University is an official CLEP Test Center. Students may earn credits through the CLEP program, which may apply to a DeSales University degree. Interested students should contact the Adult Studies Office at 610.282.4361.

Defense Activity for Nontraditional Education Support (DSST)

The DSST exams were originally designed for military personnel, but the exams are now open to anyone and exams are offered in the social and physical sciences and business.

Military Training

Since 1954, the American Council on Education has been evaluating military training programs for college credit. Credit recommendations are published in the Guide to the Evaluation of Educational Experiences in the Armed Forces.

Non-Traditional Training

The American Council of Education has evaluated many professional training programs for college credit. Credit recommendations are published in the National Guide to Educational Credit for Training Programs. Training programs have been evaluated for hundreds of organizations nationwide.

Portfolio Assessment

The portfolio process is used to evaluate knowledge for college credit. The process involves the collection of evidence and documentation to support a formal credit request for specific courses and is considered transfer credit. Students are required to pay 30% of tuition for assessment of a portfolio related to a given course. For more information, contact an Adult Studies advisor.

Change of Major

The change of major for an Adult Studies student is a formal procedure. The procedure to declare or change a major begins with the student’s Adult Studies academic advisor. After a meeting with the Adult Studies student’s advisor, during which the student’s program record will be evaluated in terms of the new program major, an Adult Studies approval form will be completed. The request form will be signed by the student and by the advisor who is making the recommendation for the change. The completed approval form will be sent to the appropriate department chair for approval. The Registrar’s Office is responsible for changing the major on the student’s permanent record once the form with proper signatures has reached the office. The graduation requirements for the major are determined by the catalog year in effect at the time of the student’s official acceptance to the major.

Attendance Policy

In Adult Studies, course attendance/participation is required. Students who do not attend or participate risk being dropped, withdrawn, or receiving a failing grade in the course. Students who have been withdrawn from the course will be refunded in accordance with the course withdrawal policy.

Refund Schedule

The refund policy for those Adult Studies students who are not receiving any financial aid may be found in the Adult Studies course schedule.

For Adult Studies students enrolled in one-credit human resource management workshops: Students who have attended the first meeting may withdraw before the second meeting. However, there will be no refund for tuition.

For those Adult Studies students who receive financial aid, the following refund policy is applicable: a refund will be credited from the date the student completes the registrar’s official withdrawal form and will be based on the amount of time the student has spent at the University, until the semester is 60% complete. At this time, all applicable tuition and fees shall be considered to be 100% earned and a refund will not be applied. For example, if the length of the semester is 100 days, and the student withdraws after 30 days, 30% of all charges would be considered earned and a 70% refund of all charges will be applied. If the student withdraws after 75 days, all charges are considered 100% earned and a refund will not be applied.

Sessions 1 and 2 include all fall sessions, 3 and 4 include all spring sessions, and 5 and 6 include all summer sessions.

Please note: Students who have already received a refund of a credit balance may owe money to the University and/or to the respective financial aid programs in the case of a withdrawal within the first 60% of the semester.

Course Withdrawal Policy

Adult Studies students who wish to withdraw from courses should consult the Adult Studies calendar to determine the last day of withdrawal. If students withdraw with permission, they will be given a grade of either W, WP, or WF at the instructor’s discretion. The grades given in such instances will become part of students’ permanent record but will not be used in the computation of students’ GPA. Withdrawal after the designated withdrawal date results in failure in all cases except those exempted as the result of student appeal.


Tuition: Credit Courses $560 per credit hour
Tuition: Audit $270 per credit hour
Value Initiative Program (VIP) $200 per course
Course Fees variable
Application Fee 30
Graduation Fee 120
Certificate 35
Returned Check Service Fee 30
Practicum Fees 275
Student Teaching (Secondary) 700
Student Teaching (Elementary) 700
Student Teaching (Special Education) 700
Processing of Teaching Certificate 100
Challenge exam-Adult Studies students 30% of tuition
Portfolio assessment 30% of tuition

Tuition, Fees, and Deferred Payment

Tuition and fees are subject to change without advance notice.

DeSales University requires that the Adult Studies students pay tuition immediately upon beginning work in any given course. However, for students in need, the tuition deferment policy is as follows:

  1. When students have a government grant of any kind, VA, Federal Pell, PHEAA, etc., tuition will be deferred until the grant is received from the government. If the aid is less than the charges, the difference is immediately due and payable.
  2. When students are eligible for tuition reimbursement from their employers, written evidence of this eligibility is required from the employer. Only the amount of tuition that can be reimbursed will be deferred. In cases where all reimbursement is contingent upon successful completion of the course(s) and the student fails the course, DeSales University will require payment by students from their own funds. If they do not pay, they will not be permitted to matriculate in any subsequent session until all bills are paid and they will be ineligible in the future for tuition deferment of any kind.
  3. When students negotiate a loan through the government or a bank or other agency, written evidence of the loan is required. Tuition is deferred until the loan money is received.
  4. No Adult Studies student will be permitted to register for any session until bills for all previous non-deferred sessions are fully paid.

Transcripts of Credits

A fee will be charged for each official transcript of credits (amount varies). Current students can order transcripts via MyDSU under Applications (eTranscripts). Transcripts will not be issued unless all financial obligations have been discharged.

Outstanding Financial Obligations

Students who separate from the University, whether voluntarily or involuntarily, with an outstanding balance due are subject to being turned over to a third-party collection agency. If this action is taken, the University has the right to collect the associated collection fees charged to the University by the collection agency. These collection fees can range from 25% to 50% of the past due balance. Transcripts and/or diplomas will not be issued until the total financial obligation and any associated collection fees have been paid in full AND the University has received the payment from the collection agency, which may take up to 6 weeks.