Academic Policies and Procedures

As an institution of higher learning, St. Mary's University is society's center for ideas and the procedures necessary to implement knowledge. Competent performance and an ordered social structure are objectives no other institution can fulfill. This is a profound trust and therefore the University has the obligation to refine concepts of personal and social responsibility. It has the right to expect mature attitudes of self-discipline and the dignified behavior of the scholar.

Student Responsibility

Students are ultimately responsible for keeping informed about and observing all disciplinary and academic regulations and decisions that may affect their status at St. Mary's University. In this obligation they are assisted especially through this academic catalog, the bulletin boards, and e-mail. They should acquaint themselves, therefore, with the contents of the catalog and read the notices on University, School, and Departmental bulletin boards, where announcements may appear concerning changes in schedule, revision of rules and regulations, and calls for students to appear at administrative offices. Promulgations appearing on bulletin boards become binding within 24 hours after being posted. Notices to appear in particular offices are sometimes transmitted via the student's Instructor. All currently enrolled students are issued a St. Mary's University e-mail account. Students are expected to check their issued e-mail account regularly. The St. Mary's University e-mail account is the primary source of the University communicating with the student concerning important announcements and special activities. There are, for example, changes to registration, add/drop process, class cancellations, priority registration, transcripts ordered and processed, if a 'hold' exists, Career Services Center recruiting information, University Ministry events, sporting events, graduation information, and much more. This service is free and available to all currently enrolled students. Students are required to use it.

Students must register for courses the semester during which they will actually attend those courses; otherwise, course credit will not be granted. Students may not begin formal course work (including internships, service learning, or field placement hours) before the semester for which they have registered for the course. Any exceptions to this policy must be approved in advance and in writing by the student's respective Academic Dean.

Class Attendance

Class attendance is related to academic success, and class participation contributes to the synergism of the educational process. Undergraduate students are expected to attend all classes, including laboratories, practica, and events associated with the course or program.

The Professor keeps the roll, may record a zero for any work missed due to an unexcused absence, and may drop a student for missing an equivalent of two weeks of classes. One absence in a laboratory will be the equivalent of two 50-minute absences or one 75-minute absence. "Two weeks" are computed as follows:

Fall and Spring Semesters:
  • Six unexcused absences in a 50-minute class period
  • Four unexcused absences in a 75-minute class period
  • Two evening classes which are 165 minutes per meeting
Summer Sessions:
  • Four day-class meetings
  • Two evening-class meetings
Three tardies constitute one absence

Absences incurred during late registration (first week of classes) are considered excused. Absences for reasons other than University-sanctioned events (which must be approved by Deans or the Academic Vice President) will be determined to be "excused" or "not excused" by the Professor. An excessive number of absences, even if they are excused, can severely compromise the quality of the students' learning experience. Therefore, if the Professor judges that the student has missed excessive material due to absences (excused, unexcused or a combination of the two), that Professor may initiate action for withdrawal of the student from the class. The Professor shall notify a student one class prior to initiating action for a student's withdrawal. The student will be charged the regular $10 add/drop fee.

Grades assigned for withdrawals initiated by the Professor or by the student are "W" (Withdrawal) or "WF" (Withdrawal with Failure). The grades "W" or "WF" will be assigned according to the dates published in the Academic Calendar. The grade "WF" is calculated in a student's grade point average as an "F."

It is the responsibility of the student to contact the Professor before an absence, if possible, or, in the case of an emergency, as soon after the absence as possible. It is also the responsibility of the student to make up any missed work to the satisfaction of the Professor on the basis of guidelines stated in that Professor's course syllabus.

Appeals from decisions made concerning this attendance policy may be brought to the attention of the departmental Chairperson. If the results of an appeal are not satisfactory at the chair person level, an appeal may be brought to the attention of the course respective Academic Dean.

Academic Honesty

Based upon its philosophy of education, St. Mary's University is strongly committed to academic excellence, truth, honesty, and personal integrity. The university expects all students to agree to the following:
The St. Mary's University Honor Code
As a member of the St. Mary's University Community, I promise not to participate in academic dishonesty, including cheating, plagiarism, fabrication, or other academic misconduct which deliberately infringes upon University policy. I will not tolerate these activities from my fellow classmates.
Academic dishonesty is outlined in the Student Handbook. Students of the St. Mary's University community who will fully choose to violate the Honor Code understand that the Dean of the appropriate School will adjudicate infractions according to Article V: Judicial Charges and Hearings of the Code of Student Conduct. If the student is deemed guilty, the consequences could include removal from St. Mary's University.

Sanctions for a student's academic dishonesty vary according to the nature and the seriousness of the offense. Teachers may require a student to redo a class/laboratory assignment; may record an F (Failure) for a particular test, examination, or class/laboratory assignment which involved dishonesty; or may record an F (Failure) for a final course grade. Any student appeal of a teacher imposed sanction must be made in writing to the student's Dean within fourteen (14) days. Teachers inform their Department Chairperson in writing, with a copy to their Dean, concerning any sanctions imposed upon students for academic dishonesty. A written statement of official policies, procedures, and processes related to academic dishonesty is available in any Dean's office.

Study Week (No Examination Week)

During the week preceding the official examinations terminating the Fall and Spring semesters, classes meet, but no major tests should be given. All major reports and assignments should be scheduled to be completed before this week.

Final Examinations

Departure from the published final examination schedule can be authorized only by the Dean of the School for the courses. All final examinations must be administered during the final exam week only.

The only exception to this policy is for graduating students. Graduating students (Fall and Spring semesters) are not required to take final exams during the regularly scheduled final exam periods. Instead, graduating students must have all requirements complete the week prior to final exams. Faculty may wish to assign a final paper, project, take-home exam, or specially scheduled exam for graduating students only during the last week of regularly scheduled classes.

Unit of Instruction (Semester Hour)

The unit of instruction is the semester hour, which is the credit given for one hour a week for one semester. Most courses offered at St. Mary's meet three hours a week, and therefore have a value of three semester hours.

Student Load

The normal course load for fulltime undergraduate students is from twelve to eighteen hours per Fall and Spring semesters, varying with the student's curriculum and scholarship record. To take more than 18 hours, the student must have written permission from the Dean of his or her School.

For part-time students who have full-time employment, the maximum load is two courses with total credit of six semester hours. To carry more, the part-time student must secure written permission from the Dean of his or her School.

The maximum course load for Summer sessions is two courses each session; therefore, the maximum for two (six weeks) Summer sessions is four courses and not more than fourteen semester hours. Courses taken in excess of these maxima must have written permission of the Dean.

Repeated Courses

At times, students may want to repeat a course in order to earn a better grade, improving their GPA. It is possible to do this, but under very specific conditions:
  • the original course must have been taken at St. Mary's University;
  • the repeat course must be taken at St. Mary's University;
  • the repeat course must be exactly the same course number and title as the original course. In the case of Topics Courses, the topic must be the same.
The administrative system will automatically flag repeat courses only if they are courses that can legitimately be repeated for credit. On the student's academic record, a course that is repeated will have an "E" (Excluded) next to the course. The repeated course that replaces it will have an "I" (Included) next to the course. From this semester forward, the Cumulative GPA reflects only the repeated course with the higher grade. In effect, the earlier course remains on the transcript but is no longer included in the cumulative GPA. The change does not affect the academic status (Probation or Suspension) of the original semester.

Transfer Credits

Credit earned by correspondence or by enrollment at another college or university while a student is enrolled for residence work at this institution will not be counted toward a degree unless explicitly approved in advance. This policy applies to Fall, Spring, and Summer sessions.

Note regarding transfer course: Philosophy, Theology, and required Mathematics courses cannot be transferred after a student has matriculated at St. Mary's University.

Change of Courses

During the first week of Fall and Spring semesters, changes to course schedules can be processed online via Gateway without incurring any charges. After the first week of classes, signatures of approval from the Instructor, Academic Adviser, and Dean are required on an Add/Drop form, in order to add a course. There is a charge for each add or drop initiated by the student after the late registration period.

Change of Major

A student wishing to change from one major to another must fill out a Change of Major form in the Registrar's Office. The change is not official until the form has been properly completed and filed with the Registrar's Office.

Dropping of Courses

After the first week of class, to drop a course the student must have the Adviser's signature on an Add/Drop form. During the first half of a Fall or Spring semester, the student may with draw from a course with the grade of W. Thereafter, through the twelfth week, if the student is passing at the time of withdrawal from a course, the grade will be W; if not passing, the grade will be WF.

Courses dropped without notifying the Registrar, and courses from which the student has been dropped by the Instructor for excessive absences, are recorded W or WF, as determined by the Instructor. During the last four weeks of a full semester, courses may not be dropped by a student. Notice to an Instructor of dropping a course does not cancel registration or financial obligations.

Withdrawal from All Courses

It is the responsibility of all students withdrawing from all courses to inform the Office of the Registrar.

Withdrawal from all courses should be effected for a serious reason only. According to time limits stipulated in the Academic Calendar, the student may be entitled to some refund at the time of withdrawal. Withdrawal without proper notice to the Registrar, however, entails failure in all courses for the semester and liability for full payment.

As with the dropping of courses, notice to Instructors of withdrawal does not cancel registration nor financial obligations.

Military Personnel and Reservists

If a student in inactive or reserve military services is required by the military to withdraw from the University due to a military crisis, he or she will be entitled to a full tuition refund. If such a withdrawal is necessary, no academic penalty will be incurred. Students who are using student loans, however, will have to abide by the appropriate regulations. With the approval of the class Instructor, an extension of time may be allowed for completion of courses which are interrupted. Support documentation must be submitted.

Independent Studies

Independent academic study projects are available to students who have reached at least Junior status, hold a 3.0 GPA, have obtained the approval of their major Adviser, the Chairperson of their department and the Dean of the school in which the course is taken, and have arranged the delineation of a syllabus with a Professor who knows them and is willing to work on the project.

Review or Deficiency Courses

Review or deficiency courses, in general, are taken by conditionally admitted students to meet admission deficiencies or to better prepare themselves for elementary courses. The courses are measured on a semester-hour basis, but the semester hours from these courses do not apply to University or departmental degree requirements. The first digit of these courses is 0.

Student Education Records

The Office of the Registrar maintains education records for all currently enrolled and former students. Student education records are governed by the provisions of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974, as amended. Information on the rights of student records can be found on the St. Mary's University Registrar's Office website.

Directory Information and Student Confidentiality

St. Mary's University will not disclose any personally identifiable information about students (except directory information listed below) without the written consent of the student. Directory information is that which is regularly made public such as student directory, athletic printed programs, requests made by potential employers, etc. St. Mary's University designates the following student information as directory information:
  1. Name, address, telephone number, e-mail address
  2. Major field
  3. Participation in officially recognized activities and sports
  4. Weight and height of members of athletic teams
  5. Dates of attendance
  6. Degrees, honors, and awards received
  7. The most recent educational agency or institution attended
Each student has the right to restrict the release of this information by submitting the appropriate form to the Registrar's Office. This request will remain in effect while the student is enrolled or unless student rescinds the request. School officials with legitimate educational interests may have access to educational records, without the students' consent if the record is needed in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibilities. School officials are identified as a person employed by the University in an administrative, supervisory, academic or research, or support staff position; a person or company with whom the University has contracted; a person serving on the Board of Trustees; or a student serving on an official committee, or assisting another school official in performing his or her tasks.

Academic Standing

Classification of students:

A freshman is a student who has been admitted upon the satisfactory fulfillment of entrance requirements. A students is also considered a freshmen who has completed less than 30 hours.

A sophomore is one who has completed the prescribed program for the freshman year and has no fewer than thirty semester hours of credit.

A junior is one who has completed no fewer than sixty semester hours of credit.

A senior is one who has completed no fewer than ninety semester hours of credit.

A post-baccalaureate student is one who has already earned a degree, but is pursuing further undergraduate work for personal enrichment or for certification.

A graduate student is one who has been formally admitted into the Graduate School and is pursuing studies in the Graduate School.

A visitor (transient) is one who is still either in actual or technical residence at another school, but has received permission from a Dean to take courses at St. Mary's with the intention of transferring them to his or her own school. A visitor's status is limited to one semester.

A student may register to audit a class at St. Mary's University with permission of his Adviser and the course Instructor during the first week of school in the Fall or Spring semesters and during the first two days of instruction in the Summer sessions. An auditor is required to attend lectures and benefits from all regular services of the course Instructor, but does not receive a final grade or course credit. Upon completion of an audit course, the student receives a grade of AU (Audit). This does not affect grade point average. A student who officially drops an audit class receives a grade of "W." If the student stops attending class, the Instructor may drop the student with an NC (No Credit).

Grades and Scholarship

Grades reflect student performance and achievement in academic courses. Faculty members are responsible for assessing student performance and assigning grades according to the following grade designations: "A," excellent/outstanding; "B," above average; "C," average or satisfactory; "D," minimally passing; "F," failure; "I," incomplete.

These letter grades correspond to the following quality points (grade points) and numerical ranges:
A (4.00 quality points) = 95 to 100
A - (3.67 quality points) = 90 to 94
B+ (3.33 quality points) = 87 to 89
B (3.00 quality points) = 84 to 86
B - (2.67 quality points) = 80 to 83
C+ (2.33 quality points) = 77 to 79
C (2.00 quality points) = 70 to 76
D (1.00 quality points) = 60 to 69
F (0.00 quality points) = be low 60

Other grades:

I (Incomplete) grade indicates satisfactory performance in the course but failure to do a portion of the work assigned. The deficiency must be remedied as prescribed by the Instructor within 30 days of the date of issuing reports. The Instructor then assigns a grade or it becomes a permanent F. An Incomplete grade received by a student in his or her graduating semester must be made up three weeks prior to the date of graduation; otherwise, graduation will be delayed until the next official graduation date. IP is given only for those courses which by their nature require more than a semester to complete (e.g., some senior projects and internships).

P and NP are marked for courses taken for "Pass/No Pass" credit. P indicates "pass" and is equivalent to course grade C or better. NP indicates "failure to pass," with the student not entitled to credit for the course or for the hours which had been assigned to it. "Pass/No Pass" (P/NP) and Audit arrangements must be made at the time of registration, and are non-changeable after the first week of class. The P/NP option is mandatory for internships and practice teaching, and for Applied Music and Ensembles (except for Music majors and minors). Other Business courses, Core Curriculum courses, and major and minor courses may NOT be taken P/NP. The P/NP option may be used for electives and is not to exceed 12 hours.

W grade signifies official withdrawal from class; WF withdrawal with failure; WX, withdrawal in the last month by special permission of the Dean of the School.

F grade indicates failure; when this grade has been received, credit can be obtained only by repeating the course at St. Mary's.

NC grade signifies No Credit; registration administratively canceled.

IS indicates that the course is In Session.

The grade the Instructor submits is based on class work, tests, and final examination, combined in such proportion as the Instructor in charge of the course in question may decide. Class standing in the course, moreover, is determined by the regularity of the student's attendance at lectures (and laboratory or other similar exercises), by recitation grades, written assignments, laboratory work, etc.

Grades of F and WF are both equal to 0 quality points and do affect the Grade Point Average.

Grades of I, IP, IS, NC, P, NP, NR, W and WX have no quality points associated with them and, hence, are not included in the computation of the Grade Point Average.

How to Compute Your Grade-Point-Average (GPA)

  1. Assign a quality point to each grade:
    Grade  Quality Points
    A = 4.00
    A- = 3.67
    B+ = 3.33
    B = 3.00, etc.
    Remaining quality points may be viewed above.

  2. Multiply: Quality Points X Number of Semester Hours earned in the course. The second digit of each course number indicates the number of semester hours the course carries: e.g., in EN 1311, second digit is a 3, therefore course is a three-semester hour course.

  3. Add and Divide: The total number of quality points divided by the total number of semester hours earned.
    CourseCredit HoursGradeQuality Points Calculation Total Quality Points
    EN1311 3 B- 2.67 3 x 2.67 8.01
    SMC1301 3 A 4.00 3 x 4.00 12.00
    AR1301 3 B 3.00 3 x 3.00 9.00
    SE1341 3 A- 3.67 3 x 3.67 11.01
    BL1401 4 B+ 3.33 4 x 3.33 13.32
    16 53.34
    (Total # of Quality Points/Total # of Semester Hours) = GPA
    53.34/16 = 3.33 GPA

Grade Points Required for Graduation

A candidate for graduation must present, in addition to the required credit hours, at least a two-point average (2.0) over all courses offered to fulfill graduation requirements in his or her major and minor subjects, and in the total of the remaining courses. He or she must also present a "C" average on the courses taken at St. Mary's and applied to graduation in the major subject, and the total of the remaining courses taken at St. Mary's.

Grade Reports

Mid-semester grades and final semester grades are available on Gateway or in the office of the Registrar upon request.

Quality of Work

The University Faculty wishes to impress on all students the importance of aiming for high quality of work rather than merely minimum requirements. To encourage efforts toward this ideal, there is in operation a system of points and honors as outlined below.

Scholastic Probation and Suspension

Academic Probation:

Students taking 6 or more semester hours in a Fall, Spring or Summer semester whose grade point average (GPA) Falls below 1.70 will be placed on academic probation during their next semester at St. Mary's.

Students taking 6 or more semester hours who earn 2.00 during a probationary semester will be taken off probation. Students who earn 1.70 to 1.99 will continue on probation. Students who earn less than 1.70 are placed on suspension at the close of that semester.

Academic Suspension:

The first suspension is for a period of at least one semester, be it Fall, Spring, or Summer. Extenuating circumstances may be presented to the Dean for review.

A second suspension lasts for a period of at least 12 months.

After the third suspension, a student is no longer eligible to enroll at St. Mary's University. Students placed on suspension for a second or subsequent time may petition for reinstatement to the Dean of their School. They must fill out an application for readmission and request a review of their case.

Any Priority Registered courses will be canceled due to suspension.

Students who take fewer than six semester hours per semester will be subject to a regular audit which will apply Scholastic Probation rules when six or more hour accumulate.

Removal of probation after a suspension is governed by the readmission conditions.

The GPA for a semester includes all courses taken for credit. Therefore, in addition to courses passed with a grade of A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, or D, the GPA includes those with F, WF, and TF. Not included are zero courses, "Pass-No Pass" courses, those taken as an Auditor, and courses with grades of W, WX, NC, NR, I, IP, IS, or CR.

The above policy does not govern eligibility for financial assistance. Contact the office of Financial Assistance for specifics.

Minimum Academic Standards for Students Receiving VA Educational

Benefits (Four-Year Programs)

Note: The criteria listed below do not necessarily agree with the academic averages required by St. Mary's University. All students must meet the requirements of the University. The paragraphs below are the V.A. guidelines to determine satisfactory progress.

Satisfactory Progress

Students who are receiving VA educational benefits must make satisfactory progress toward the completion of their approved degree plan; otherwise, they risk the possibility of the suspension of their benefits. VA students must maintain satisfactory academic progress according to the policies that apply to all St. Mary's University students.


A student who is receiving VA educational benefits and who fails to achieve the required GPAs based on the hours attempted shall be placed on probation. The policies for probation that apply to all St. Mary's University students will apply to VA students.

Unsatisfactory Progress

A student who fails to maintain the prescribed standards of progress shall be reported to the VA Regional Office as making unsatisfactory progress and thereby risk benefit payments' being discontinued. The policies for unsatisfactory progress that apply to all St. Mary's University students will apply to VA students.

Satisfactory Conduct & Attendance

In order to receive VA educational benefits, VA students must maintain satisfactory conduct and must maintain satisfactory attendance. Satisfactory conduct and satisfactory attendance are the regularly prescribed standards and practices that apply to all St. Mary's University students.

Athletic Eligibility

The student athlete must maintain the same academic standing as other students at St. Mary's University. If a student athlete earns a grade-point average below a 1.70, he or she will be on probation during the next semester at St. Mary's University. If the student earns a 2.00 grade point average in the following semester, he or she will be taken off probation. If the student earns between a 1.70 and 1.99, he or she will remain on academic probation, but will retain athletic eligibility. If the student does not earn a 1.70, he or she will be placed on suspension, making the student ineligible to compete as a student athlete. Furthermore, the student athlete must meet the "satisfactory completion" provision of the NCAA requirement by maintaining a grade point average that places that individual in good academic standing, as established by the institution for all students who are at an equivalent stage of progress toward a degree. To fulfill the "satisfactory progress" provision of this requirement, a student athlete [who enters a Division II institution after the 1998-1999 academic year] must achieve the following cumulative minimum grade point average at the beginning of the Fall term or at the beginning of any other regular term of the academic year, based on:
  1. the completion of 24 semester hours: 1.800
  2. the completion of 48 semester hours: 1.900
  3. the completion of 72 semester hours: 2.000
  4. the completion of 96 semester hours: 2.000


All former students who have been away from St. Mary's for one Fall or Spring semester, or more, must file a formal application for readmission. If a student, during his or her absence from St. Mary's has attended any other institution, he or she must submit an official transcript reflecting such attendance; regulations governing transfer students shall apply. A student who leaves St. Mary's on scholastic probation or suspension will be readmitted on scholastic probation even if he or she has attended another institution during the period of absence. A student on probation at another school will be placed on probation at St. Mary's.

Dean's List

To earn the honor of being on the traditional Dean's List at St. Mary's, different criteria apply to different schools of the University.

In the undergraduate schools, the Dean's List for the Fall and Spring semesters contains three categories: Highest Honors (3.90 to 4.00 GPA), High Honors (3.80 to 3.89 GPA), Honors (3.60 to 3.79 GPA). Only full-time students are eligible for the Dean's List.

Graduate School students who rank in the top ten percent, have accumulated eight hours of graduate study with a minimum semester cumulative GPA of 3.75, and were enrolled in at least six hours are selected for the Dean's List.

In the School of Law, a full-time student whose semester academic average is in the top ten percent of the entire student body of the School of Law, is eligible for the Dean's Honor List.

Graduation Honors

To be eligible for graduation honors, a student seeking a baccalaureate degree must enroll in and complete a minimum of 45 undergraduate semester hours at St. Mary's University, not counting Pass/No Pass or credit by exam courses, preceding graduation. The grade point average (GPA) of all college hours attempted, excluding transfer hours, must equal that required here for the appropriate category of honors.

Honors are not conferred on combination degrees or on second degrees.

Summa Cum Laude3.90–4.00
Magna Cum Laude3.80–3.89
Cum Laude 3.60–3.79
To be named a Distinguished Graduate, Graduate Students must meet all of the following requirements:
  1. Students who have not received a grade of U or a grade below B, even if they have repeated the course with a grade of S, B, or A;
  2. Students who graduate with a cumulative GPA of 3.90 or higher. If no graduating students in a program achieve a cumulative GPA of 3.90 or higher, then the graduate with the highest GPA in that program may be designated the Distinguished Graduate.
  3. Students who receive a favor able recommendation from their Graduate Program Director.

Undergraduate Graduation Check List

  1. When registering with your Adviser, take this opportunity to check the progress toward your degree and proposed graduation date. Check Gateway (student web access) to be sure the graduation date and other information listed is correct. It is your responsibility to know the required courses for your degree, number of hours you have completed, and your proposed graduation date, and to ascertain that you are registering for the proper courses. If you are not sure, ask your Adviser. If you still have questions, ask the Chairperson in your major department. You may also verify degree requirements in the Registrar's Office. Degree Plan outlines are obtainable from your Adviser or the Registrar's Office. Make sure you follow the proper degree outline. For school and degree requirements, be sure to check the catalog of the year you entered St. Mary's University.
  2. If you change your major, fill out the proper Change of Major Form in the Registrar's Office. A new Adviser will be assigned to you. Familiarize yourself with your new degree plan. Be sure to follow the catalog degree requirements for the year you change major.
  3. Graduation Semester: When you register for your final semester, fill out an Application for Degree card. These are available through your Adviser or in the Registrar's Office. The Application for Degree card will be used to conduct a final degree audit to ascertain that all degree requirements have been fulfilled. Please make sure you have fulfilled the following:
  4. Complete the total hours required for the degree, including CORE, major, and minor (if applicable). Most Bachelor of Arts degrees require 120 hours, whereas Bachelor of Science degrees require more.

    Meet the residence requirement of 45 hours.

    Achieve at least a 2.00 GPA in major, minor, and other St. Mary's University courses. Achieve the specific GPA of your Department, if different; for example, Psychology, Engineering, and Education require a higher GPA.

    Complete at least twelve advanced hours, in your major, with 2.00 GPA at St. Mary's University.

    Complete at least six advanced hours of Writing Intensive courses in your major.

    Complete ND 0101.

Commencement Participation Policy

St. Mary's University offers a Fall and a Spring commencement. Students completing degree requirements and meeting all graduation checklist obligations in the Summer One, Summer Two, or Fall semesters are invited to participate in the Fall Commencement. Students completing degree requirements in the Spring semester are invited to participate in the Spring commencement.

If a student is unable to attend the appropriate commencement due to a medical reason or to participation in a St. Mary's University-sponsored activity, a request to participate in the immediate subsequent ceremony may be granted. The following items must be adhered to:
  1. Students wishing to attend a subsequent commencement ceremony due to a health-related reason or to participation in a St. Mary's University-sponsored activity must provide proper documentation to the Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs.
  2. If approved, students are eligible to participate only in the immediately subsequent commencement ceremony.
  3. The desire to participate in the immediate subsequent commencement must be communicated to the Office of the Registrar at least 30 days in advance of the ceremony.
  4. Students will be listed in the Graduation Program appropriate to the semester in which degree requirements are completed.
  5. Names of those attending subsequent ceremonies will be read on stage, but will not appear on the printed Graduation Program for that graduation.

Junior College Transfers

The maximum credit transferrable from a junior college, or any combination of junior colleges, is 66 semester hours. A student who has attained junior standing—that is one who has completed 60 or more semester hours—may return to a junior college for an additional six (or eight) semester hours, with the appropriate Dean's prior approval (provided the total hours transferred from junior colleges do not exceed 66).

Information Change

All information changes must be made in writing to the Registrar's Office either in person, by mail, by e-mail, or by fax along with the student's signature requesting this change. Information changes cannot be accepted by telephone.

Address Change

Students are required to report both their local and permanent addresses and phone numbers to the Registrar's Office at the time of registration and to report any changes afterwards. The University maintains several addresses for each student:

Permanent Address:

The address at which you reside when the University is not in session.

Local Address:

The address at which you reside when the University is in session.

Billing Address:

The address to which bills should be sent. Unless otherwise specified, this will be either the local address, if bills are mailed while classes are in session, or the permanent address, if the bills are being mailed during a period most students are not attending classes. Billing address changes must be requested in the Business Office in StLH Room 24.

Name Change

To change a legal name to a new legal name, the student must fill out an Information Change form in the Registrar's Office and submit it with a copy of the signed court order showing the authorized new legal name. To change a last name after marriage, the student fills out an Information Change form and presents a copy of the marriage certificate. A female student who wishes to discontinue the use of her married name in order to resume the use of her maiden name or a different name must present a divorce decree or signed court order showing court restoration of the maiden or acceptance of another name. The previous name appears on the transcript header.

Social Security Change

To register a Social Security number, mail or bring a copy of your Social Security card to the Registrar's Office so that we may update your records.

Change of Major/Minor

  1. Obtain the proper Change of Major/Minor Form in the Registrar's Office, StLH Room 105.
  2. Complete the form in full and obtain the requested signatures.
  3. Return the completed form to the Associate Registrar in StLH Room 105. A Degree Audit will be prepared. Please note that the change is not official until the form is submitted.


Students enrolled at another college must forward an official transcript; Service personnel with Military and DANTES credit must forward evidence of their record to the Director of Admissions.

Students already enrolled at St. Mary's must furnish an official transcript of record for courses taken by extension and/or correspondence from a college or university offering non-resident courses. Enrolled students, moreover, must furnish a transcript for courses authorized to be taken at another college. No credit will be granted by St. Mary's unless the enrolled student has had permission in advance to pursue such extension, correspondence, or "visitor" courses.

Individuals may obtain an official transcript of their work completed at St. Mary's University provided they have satisfactorily met all university obligations. Transcripts are normally issued within one working day except during busy periods—registration and graduation.

Requests must be in writing. Written requests are accepted on forms available in the Registrar's Office or by letter. Telephone requests are not accepted. The request should include name, social security number, approximate dates of attendance, graduation date, etc. Accompanying each request must be a three-dollar ($3.00) fee per transcript. St. Mary's University does not provide copies of transcripts of work done at other institutions.

Freshman Requirement

All incoming freshmen, including transfer students with fewer than twenty semester hours of actual (i.e., not high school Advanced Placement courses) university credits, must take ND 0101 in their first Fall or Spring semester at St. Mary's University.

Time Limitation

The provisions of the catalog for the year during which a student first enrolls at the University will apply until his/her graduation, provided graduation occurs not more than seven years after enrollment. The degree program of the student who changes his/her major shall be governed by the degree requirements in effect at the time the change of major becomes effective.

Semester Hour

The word "hour" in this publication designates a "semester hour" of credit, which is earned by attending class one hour a week for 15 weeks. A candidate for a degree must have no fewer than 120+ semester hours of credit, chosen in accordance with the requirements of the University.


A major covers four years of work in one subject, and is sometimes referred to as the major concentration in the student's degree program. This concentration, unless otherwise specified, includes the courses which are prescribed for the particular subject of the major, plus six additional courses of three or four semester hours each in the same subject, for a total of 24 or more hours. Of this total, twelve semester hours must be in advanced courses — in courses numbered 3000 and up. Six hours of writing-intensive course work at the advanced level is required for all majors. Three hours should be taken in the junior year, and three hours in the senior year.


A minor or minor concentration usually covers three years of work, usually 18 semester hours, in a subject related to the major. It includes the courses prescribed in the general education part of the degree, plus further courses. At least 6 hours must be advanced-level work and in residence.

Teaching Field

A teaching field consists of at least 24 semester hours (12 must be advanced) in a state-approved program of studies in a designated subject for students who are seeking secondary teacher certification.


Courses not taken as prescribed courses and not included in the student's major and minor sequences may be chosen, within restrictions given below, as free electives to complete hours required for graduation.

Advanced Work

Of the total degree required hours (i.e. 120 hours for most degrees), at least thirty must be in advanced work, that is, selected from courses numbered 3000 and up. Of these advanced hours, at least twelve must be in the major and six in the minor.


One is recommended for a degree only on the following conditions: at least forty-five (45) semester hours of resident study at St. Mary's, twelve of which must be advanced in the major subject, and satisfactory fulfillment of all specific requirements for a degree. Of the last thirty hours offered for the degree, 24 should be taken at St. Mary's University.

Application for a Degree

Formal application for the degree must be filed when registering for the final semester.

Second Bachelor Degree

To obtain a second bachelor degree the candidate shall:
  1. have completed all the requirements for the first degree;
  2. apply for a different degree;
  3. complete a different major from that used for the first degree;
  4. complete thirty hours not used for the first degree, at least twelve of which are advanced.
    (A proportionately larger total will be required when the second degree is one that normally takes more than 120 hours.)
  5. fulfill 45 hour residency requirement at St. Mary's University.

Course Numbering

Courses are identified by department and number. Four-digit numbers are used, but only the first two digits are significant to the student:
  • The first digit of a course number designates the scholastic level. All courses with a first digit of zero are either review or deficiency courses and carry no semester hour value. All courses with a first digit of 1 are at the freshmen level, those with a first digit of 2 are at the sophomore level, and all courses with a first digit of 3, 4, or 5 are advanced-level (junior or senior) courses.
  • The second digit designates the semester hour credit of the course.
  • The third and fourth digits designate the departmental sequence of each course.
Thus, EN 1311 is a freshman-level course of three semester-hour value.

Texas Common Course Numbering

St. Mary's University participates in a statewide common course numbering system designed to facilitate the transfer of coursework among Texas institutions of higher education, both public and private. The course prefix and number appearing in parentheses, ( ), after the course title designate the common course number. Identical numbers are referenced in the catalogs of other participating Texas institutions, and may be used to establish transfer equivalents for St. Mary's University courses.

Graduate Courses

In exceptional cases, an undergraduate student may be permitted to enroll in a graduate course for undergraduate credit and for undergraduate tuition rates. Required for this exception is the prior written permission of the Graduate Dean, the appropriate undergraduate Dean, the graduate department chair person, and the instructor. The student must also secure from the Registrar an undergraduate course number. Graduate courses taken for undergraduate credit may be used only for undergraduate degrees. Such courses may not subsequently be used for graduate credit.

Degree Requirements: General

Degree Plans
Direction and assistance in arranging degree plans and schedules are available in the office of the Registrar, in the counseling and departmental offices -- especially at times of registration -- and most specifically in the undergraduate course listings. Students are responsible for availing themselves of these aids to know requirements and thus avoid errors and omissions in their degree programs.

Academic Areas of Special Consideration

Critical Studies Program

The Critical Studies Program provides entering (non- conditional) freshmen whose performance on the California Critical Thinking Skills Test (given at orientation) is below average the opportunity to enhance their reasoning, reading, and writing skills. IS1300W is a required course for these freshmen. (See below) Students may not drop the course without the authorization of the CSP Director. The goals of this program are to help students improve their reasoning, reading, and writing skills, to critically evaluate their education objectives in pursuing a college degree, and to investigate their roles and responsibilities in the learning process.
IS1300W Interdisciplinary Studies
Interdisciplinary Studies is a 3-credit hour interdisciplinary* course that provides entering freshmen with the opportunity to enhance and further develop essential critical intellectual skills in three areas: reading, writing, and reasoning. The instructors for this course are faculty members who teach in majors in each of the three undergraduate fields of study (see below). They draw upon the work students do in other university classes and upon readings and assignments selected to complement this academic work to improve students' abilities to read and understand college-level texts, to communicate effectively, and to apply methods of reasoning to enhance understanding. The course fulfills three semester hours of elective credit. Strict adherence to the university's attendance policy, including weekly participation in small-group study sessions led by peer tutors, is necessary to complete this course. The course is offered only in the fall semester and may not be repeated without special permission of the Critical Studies Program Director.
*Interdisciplinary means that the learning materials include all general fields of study at a university, i.e. sciences, humanities, social sciences.

Academic Enrichment Program (AEP)

Under the authority and supervision of the Learning Assistance Center, the Academic Enrichment Program (AEP) is designed to meet the needs of conditionally admitted students who have some areas of academic need. For conditionally admitted students, attendance in this program is required as part of their admission acceptance.

Requirements: AEP Program students are required to take the Interdisciplinary Studies (IS 1300) and Math Skills (MT 0401) courses, along with ND 0101 and two credit courses. If advised by the AEP director, students may take up to a maximum of three-credit courses in addition to IS 1300, MT 0401 and ND 0101. Students performing below this standard by the end of the program are subject to suspension from the spring semester by the AEP Evaluation Committee.

Two additional courses from the fall schedule are chosen to bring the total number of course hours to thirteen including the ND0101 course.

International Education Programs

In consideration of the importance that international education plays to day in the personal and professional development of students, and in partial fulfillment of its Mission to endow all students with a global education, St. Mary's University encourages students to participate in any of the international programs abroad available to them. Juniors, sophomores and selected second semester freshmen are encouraged to participate in the fall semester in London, England, the spring semester in Madrid, Spain. There is also a summer semester in Innsbruck, Austria. The fall semester in London and the spring semester in Madrid are sponsored by the Academic Vice President's Office and course offerings are determined by the disciplines of the faculty members selected as Field Director and Associate Field Director. Faculty members can be from any discipline in the University. The summer semester in Montpellier is a French language program and is also sponsored by the Academic Vice President's Office. The Innsbruck program is sponsored by the Bill Greehey School of Business and its offerings are normally related to the business curriculum, although students from across the university that can benefit from participation may attend.

A St. Mary's student who earns academic credit from a university outside the United States will have that credit transferred back to St. Mary's University provided a satisfactory grade was earned. The credit earned will be posted to the student's St. Mary's University transcript as 'credit earned' and will be applied to satisfactory degree progress. The grade earned by the student while attending the university outside of the United States will only appear on the student's transcript of that university.

Writing Across the Curriculum

St. Mary's emphasis on academic excellence in all scholarly areas commits the university to an integrated approach to teaching those skills essential to the acquisition of knowledge. Writing is a necessary part of this learning process and a valuable communication skill. In addition to core curriculum requirements, all departments at the university require participation in writing-intensive courses in both the junior and senior years. A writing-intensive course meets the following criteria:
  1. At least 50% of the course grade is based on written assignments;
  2. Course requirements include one or more formal written assignments totaling at least 2500 words in which the professional quality of the work is an explicit factor in the final evaluation;
  3. Opportunities to revise or rewrite -- activities crucial to the improvement of writing skills -- are provided.
Courses and/or sections designated with a "Writing Intensive" attribute in the course schedule meet the writing intensive criteria.

Foreign Languages Across the Curriculum

Recognizing the need for graduates to show proof of their abilities in foreign languages without being either a Language or MOS major, St. Mary's has instituted a "Foreign Languages Across the Curriculum" program. To be certified students who wish to participate in the program must have completed sophomore level proficiency in the language targeted. By taking special additions to courses offered in their majors, or other interests, students may earn credits towards "Advanced Foreign Language Competency in (Language)" designation on their transcripts upon completing six units under this program. Students may take courses offered entirely in the target language for three (3) or two (2) units. They may also take LN courses of one (1) unit of credit which are attached as "trailers" to courses conducted in English in virtually all the disciplines. Introduction to Computer Science, e. g., might have a "trailer" attached to it entitled "LN 1133 Computer Science Terminology in Spanish" giving one unit of Advanced Foreign Language Competency (as well as one semester hour of credit) for certification. The Language Department administers the program and keeps a file on each participant. After a student has completed six FLAC units, the Chair sends a form to the Dean of Humanities & Social Sciences, who certifies the individual and in forms the Registrar of this fact.

Pre-Professional Curricula

In addition to the various degree programs offered by the Schools of the University, St. Mary's also offers curricula that are pre-professional in scope and that are tailored for acceptance by professional schools.


In addition to the five four-year Engineering programs offered at St. Mary's, the University offers a two- year pre-engineering program which incorporates the core curriculum of the Texas State Coordinating Board. Successful completion of this program makes students eligible for acceptance by schools of engineering to which they may apply. Requirements for the freshman and sophomore years are outlined in the Engineering Department of the School of Science, Engineering and Technology.


A completed bachelor's degree is required for entrance into the St. Mary's University School of Law as candidate for the Juris Doctor degree. The pre-law student may choose his/her degree, whether from the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, the School of Science, Engineering and Technology or from the Bill Greehey School of Business and may make his/her own choice of major and minors.

Health Sciences

The University, through its Departments of Biological Sciences and Chemistry, offers a variety of pre-professional programs in the health sciences: pre- medicine, pre-dentistry, pre-optometry, pre-pharmacy, pre-physical therapy, pre-podiatry, pre-veterinary medicine, and medical terminology. Details of these programs may be obtained Department of Biological Sciences n the catalog.

For some degree programs, it is possible for the student to complete three years at St. Mary's and then receive a degree upon the completion of a fourth year in an accredited health science program, such as medical technology. See Combination Degree and Dual Degree and Dental Early Admission Program under Biological Sciences.