The Four-Year Pledge is our commitment to facilitating graduation within four years by providing an effective and well coordinated advising program. By offering the Pledge – the first of its kind to be offered by any San Antonio institution – we demonstrate our dedication to providing you with a quality and affordable education. Completely optional, the Pledge is our commitment to keep you on track to graduate in four years. If you fulfill your commitment as outlined in the Pledge, but are unable to complete your degree requirements in four years, St. Mary’s commits to covering the cost of tuition and fees for the additional courses.
Keeping Education Affordable
The Pledge is one way we reduce the financial burden of college. Extending your studies over five or six years can significantly increase your amount of student debt. And for each semester you remain in school beyond four years, you lose the potential earnings of time in the workforce. We want to help students and their families avoid the costs associated with postponed graduation.
Those students who sign the Pledge agree to follow the eligible major’s degree plan and fulfill the responsibilities outlined in the Four-Year Pledge Agreement.
Students are not required to sign the Pledge and are not required to graduate in four years. Some majors are excluded due to the number of credit hours required for the degree.
St. Mary’s University pledges to provide students who have signed the Pledge up-to-date information so they can monitor their progress. The University will assure that the classes needed to complete the degree requirements are available. If the University is unable to provide the necessary course(s), St. Mary’s will offer reasonable substitutions to keep the student on track for graduation in four years.
List of eligible majors
Students choosing one of the following majors are eligible to participate in the Four-Year Pledge. Refer to the Academic Catalog to review the degree plan for each major.
Greehey School of Business
For the following majors, declare as a pre-business major by the start of the fall semester of your first year:
Entrepreneurial Studies (BBA)
Finance & Risk Management (BBA)
Information Systems Management (BBA)
International Business (BBA)
School of Humanities and Social Sciences
Declare as one of the following majors by the start of the fall semester of the student’s first-year:
English Language Arts, Reading with Teacher Certification, Grades 8-12 (BA)
Forensic Science Criminology (BA)
History with Teacher Certification (BA)
Interdisciplinary Reading with Teacher Certification Early Childhood to grade 6 (BA)
Spanish with Teacher Certification (BA)
Declare as one of the following majors by the end of the student’s second semester:
Criminal Justice (BA)
Exercise & Sport Science (BA)
International and Global Studies (BA)
Multinational Organization Studies-Portuguese (BA)
Multinational Organization Studies-Spanish (BA)
Political Science (BA)
Declare as one of the following majors by the end of the student’s third semester:
English Communication Arts (BA)
Declare as one of the following majors by the end of the student’s fourth semester:
Communication Studies (BA)
Sociology with Anthropology career option (BA)
School of Science, Engineering and Technology
Declare as one of the following majors by the start of the fall semester of your first year:
Applied Physics, Computer Science Option (BS)
Applied Physics, Engineering Option (BS)
Chemistry (BS) emphasis Biochemistry
Computer Engineering (BS)
Computer Information Systems (BA)
Computer Science (BS)
Computer Science and Application Systems (BA)
Electrical Engineering (BS)
Engineering Management (BS)
Engineering Science (BS)
Engineering Science concentration Environment Science (BS)
Engineering Science concentration Pre-Med (BS)
Forensic Science-Biology Option (BS)
Forensic Science-Chemistry Option (BS)
Industrial Engineering (BS)
Mathematical Sciences (BS)
Physics with Math Minor (BA)
Physics, Biophysics Option (BS)
Software Engineering (BS)
To remain eligible for the Four-Year Pledge, students must fulfill the following responsibilities. Failure to fulfill these responsibilities will void the Pledge.
- Sign and turn in the Four-Year Pledge Agreement to the Office of Academic Advising during your first semester of study. The deadline to submit the signed Pledge is the end of the first week of the fall semester.
- Choose your major within the required time frame.
- Fulfill any mathematics, foreign language or information technology proficiency requirements for your program of study by the time recommended for the degree plan for your eligible major. (If mathematics and foreign language requirements are not prerequisites for courses in your major, you must fulfill them by the end of your junior year. The information technology proficiency requirement varies by major. If a test is required, you must fulfill this requirement by end of your sophomore year.)
- Priority register each semester. Prompt registration helps ensure that needed courses will be available. Registration for your first term will occur during New Student Orientation. For each subsequent term, you must register during priority registration, a special block of time designated for current students, and must meet relevant academic program deadlines. Failure to meet these conditions may adversely affect your ability to graduate in four years. If you are unable to register for a course, contact your academic adviser for further guidance.
- Meet with your academic adviser during the priority advising period each semester. Students enrolled in the program must follow the recommended degree plan and the documented guidance provided by their academic adviser.
- Be willing to take required classes for your major at the times that the classes are offered, even if the classes are not offered at your preferred time.
- Do not fail or withdraw from a sequenced course required for your major. A sequenced course is any course that is a prerequisite to another course where failure to pass the course will prevent the student from progressing satisfactorily in his or her degree plan.
- Make satisfactory academic progress. During each academic year the student should earn an average of one fourth of the total credits required to graduate in the student’s chosen major (including credit earned during the summer) for all four years. As an example, if a major requires 128 hours to graduate, the student needs to earn 32 hours per academic year on average. Majors requiring more or fewer hours mean that the academic progress requirements are adjusted appropriately. Approved college credits that the student brings in upon matriculation and approved summer school credit may be included in these averages.
- Avoid academic or disciplinary suspension, and maintain the required minimum grade point average for the major.
- Maintain continuous full-time (minimum 12 hours) enrollment at the University for four years.
- Meet your financial obligations to the University in a timely manner. Failure to pay bills when due will result in financial holds on the student’s registration. Staff in the business office and Office of Financial Assistance can help assess options for payment.
- Clear any business, registrar, library and dean of students holds that prohibit registration prior to your scheduled priority registration period. These holds could prevent you from enrolling in the classes needed to stay on track.
Four-Year Pledge FAQs
Is the Four-Year Pledge right for me?
The Pledge is designed for students who will enroll in St. Mary’s full time and have a clear academic plan.
Not all students can or should graduate in four years. Some majors are excluded due to the number of credit hours required for the degree. And many students are still asking questions about their careers and other aspirations. Sometimes acquiring the best educational outcome may require that you adjust your plans, change a major or alter the pace at which you proceed to obtain a degree.
The expertise, community and commitment to our students’ success is available to you whether or not you choose to sign the Pledge.
Who must sign the Pledge?
If you are 18 or older you may sign the Pledge on your own behalf. If you are under 18, you and a parent or guardian must sign the Pledge.
Where can I sign up for the Pledge?
Download the Four-Year Pledge Agreement and submit the signed form to the Office of Academic Advising during the first week of your first semester at St. Mary’s.
What happens if a student does not fulfill all of the responsibilities associated with the Pledge and does not graduate in four years?
A student who does not fulfill all of the responsibilities associated with the Pledge and does not graduate in four years experiences no penalty. The student simply is responsible for all additional costs (after financial aid eligibility) associated with obtaining an undergraduate degree from St. Mary’s University.
Are transfer students eligible for this program?
No. Because the program is designed for students to graduate in four years from the start of their first semester in college, in general, transfer students are not eligible. However, if you have earned college credit prior to high school graduation and are a first-time college student, you are eligible for the Pledge.
Can I complete a minor (along with the major) under the Pledge?
The Pledge applies only to your major. However, if the credits required for the minor fit within the elective credits of the major, you can complete both the major and minor within the plan.
Can I complete a double major under the Pledge?
Yes, you may choose to double major. However, the Pledge is designed to help you complete one undergraduate degree within four years. While double majors may be desirable to some, pursuing a double major introduces potential scheduling conflicts that prevent the University from fulfilling its obligation to make necessary courses available for you to stay on track to graduate in four years. If you choose to double major you may designate only one of those majors for coverage by the Pledge. The designated major must be an eligible major.
What if a student needs to take developmental courses or prerequisite courses?
Developmental courses such as Intermediate Algebra (MT0301) and Non-Departmental (ND) courses do not count toward graduation credit; therefore, they do not count toward the credit requirements for the Pledge.
What happens if I elect to participate in a study abroad program or an internship?
Students are encouraged to participate in study abroad programs and internships sponsored or approved by St. Mary’s. Such credits approved by St. Mary’s may count toward academic progress under the plan, but must be completed within the four-year agreement period. Contact your adviser to discuss your plans as early as possible.
What about summer classes at St. Mary's?
Students are allowed to enroll in summer sessions, which may allow for some adjustment in the fall and/or spring credit load.
What if a student takes summer courses at another institution?
Summer transfer credits may count toward academic progress provided the courses are accepted by St. Mary’s University. You are responsible for discussing your plans with your adviser as early as possible to determine how anticipated transfer credits will fit into your degree plan. Transfer coursework must be reported to St. Mary’s in a timely fashion. Keep in mind students must complete 30 of their last 36 credits at St. Mary’s University. (Note: You must obtain approval on a permission form in the Registrar’s office prior to taking courses at another institution.)
How will I know if I am on track?
You can access your entire academic record and degree plan 24 hours a day, seven days a week via the degree audit found in Gateway, the student portal.
What is the procedure if a student asks to suspend participation?
A student may suspend their enrollment without negatively impacting participation in the Pledge in the event the student must leave the University temporarily due to a serious health problem or the fulfillment of required military service. All suspensions must be documented and approved by the dean of students in consultation with the dean of the student’s academic program.
Can I graduate in less than four years?
Yes! You may complete your degree requirements as quickly as you wish. Students who enter the University with AP, CLEP, or some transfer and/or concurrent enrollment credits are eligible to participate in the program.
Will I be notified if I am no longer eligible for the Pledge?
No. To determine outstanding degree requirements, access your degree evaluation 24 hours a day, seven days a week via Gateway, the student portal.