Oct 05, 2022  
2017-2018 Graduate Catalog 
2017-2018 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Perkins School of Theology: Enrollment and Academic Records

The standards herein are applicable to all students at the University and constitute the basic authority and reference for matters pertaining to University academic regulations and records management. Enrollment in the University is a declaration of acceptance of all University rules and regulations. A complete University Policy Manual is available at www.smu.edu/policy. Additional information regarding rules and regulations of the University can be found in this catalog. Undergraduate students must follow the University-wide requirements that are in effect for the academic year of matriculation to SMU. The applicable requirements of majors and minors are those in effect during the academic year of matriculation to SMU or those of a subsequent academic year. Students may not follow a catalog for an academic year in effect prior to their matriculation term. Students who are not enrolled for three or more years will return to SMU under the current catalog.

General Policies

Confidentiality of Education Records

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 is a federal law that grants students the right to inspect, obtain copies of, challenge, and, to a degree, control the release of information contained in their education records. The act and regulations are very lengthy, and for that reason, SMU has issued its own FERPA-based guidelines that are available at the University Registrar’s Office FERPA website www.smu.edu/FERPA. Policy 1.18 of the University Policy Manual also discusses this law.

In general, no personally identifiable information from a student’s education record will be disclosed to any third party without written consent from the student. Several exceptions exist, including these selected examples: 1) information defined by SMU as directory information may be released unless the student requests through my.SMU Self-Service that it be withheld, 2) information authorized by the student through my.SMU Self-Service may be released to those individuals designated by the student and 3) information may be released to a parent or guardian if the student is declared financially dependent upon the parent or guardian as set forth in the Internal Revenue Code. Additional information is available at www.smu.edu/LegalDisclosures/FERPA.

Student File Number

The University assigns each student an eight-digit SMU identification number, which is used to verify each student’s identity and is provided without additional charges. The student should furnish the SMU ID number on all forms when requested, as this number is the primary means the University has to verify the identity for each student’s academic records and transactions related to the records.

Name Change

A student who has a change in name must provide to the University Registrar’s Office his or her Social Security card or the form issued by the Social Security Administration. A valid passport may also be used to complete a name change. Enrollment or records services for the student under a name di9fferent from the last enrollment cannot be accomplished without one of the above documents. All transcripts and diplomas are issued only under a person’s legal name as recorded by the University Registrar’s Office.

Email and Mailing Addresses, Telephone, and Emergency Contact

Each student must provide the University Registrar’s Office with both a home and local (mailing) address, both a home and local telephone number and contact information of a designated emergency contact. Students enrolling at SMU authorize the University to notify their emergency contacts in the event of a situation affecting their health, safety, or physical or mental well-being, and to provide these contacts with information related to the situation.

International students are required to provide a residence address (physical street address where they are currently living) as their mailing (local) address.  International students will be prevented from enrolling if a U.S. address is not provided.

Students are expected to keep current all their addresses and telephone numbers, including emergency contact details, through my.SMU, the University’s Web-based self-service system. Students may be prevented from enrolling if their information is insufficient or outdated. Changes to parent information should be reported by contacting records@smu.edu, and the email should include the student’s full name and SMU student ID number.

The University issues all students an email address. Students may have other email addresses, but the University-assigned email address is the official address for University electronic correspondence, including related communications with faculty members and academic units.

Official University correspondence may be sent to students’ mailing addresses or SMU email addresses on file. It is the responsibility of students to keep all their addresses current and to regularly check communications sent to them since they are responsible for complying with requests, deadlines and other requirements sent to any of their mailing addresses on file or to their SMU email.

Cell Phones

The University requests that students provide mobile/cell telephone numbers, as they are one means of communicating with students during an emergency. Mobile/cell telephone numbers may also be used by University officials conducting routine business. Students who do not have a mobile/cell telephone or do not wish to report the numbers should provide this information to the University through my.SMU Self-Service. Students may be prevented from enrolling if their mobile/cell telephone numbers are not on file or if they have not declared “no cell” or “prefer not to report” in my.SMU.


SMU requires that a valid ethnic group category be on file for all students. SMU’s policies and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 protect the confidentiality and privacy of this information. A student’s ethnic group category can be viewed in my.SMU, Self-Service Student Center.

U.S. Citizens or Permanent Residents. Ethnicity is self-determined. Students of multiple ethnic backgrounds may select multiple ethnic group categories. If the ethnic group value is incorrect, the student should go to the University Registrar’s Office in the Laura Lee Blanton Student Services Building and complete an Ethnic/Racial Category Update Form.

International Students Living in the U.S. While Attending School. Selecting an ethnic group category is not required unless the student becomes a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.

Transcript Service

A transcript is an official document of the permanent academic record maintained by the University Registrar’s Office. The permanent academic record includes all SMU courses attempted, all grades assigned, degrees received and a summary of transfer hours accepted. Official transcripts and certifications of student academic records are issued by the University Registrar’s Office for all students. Copies of high school records and transfer transcripts from other schools must be requested from the institutions where the coursework was taken.

Transcripts are $12.25 per copy. Additional copies in the same request mailed to the same address are $3.50. Additional copies mailed to different addresses are $12.25 a copy. PDF transcripts are $16.00 per email address and are available only for students who attended after summer 1996.

Note: No incomplete or partial transcripts, including only certain courses or grades, are issued.

Transcripts cannot be released unless the student has satisfied all financial and other obligations to the University. Instructions for requesting a transcript to be mailed or picked up on campus are available at www.smu.edu/registrar (“Transcript Requests” link). A student may request his or her official transcript through the online my.SMU Student Center. Requests are processed through the National Student Clearinghouse. Telephone and email requests are not accepted. Students or their specified third party can pick up their transcripts at the University Registrar’s Office, 101 Blanton Student Services Building.

Transcripts may be released to a third party as specified by the student on the Student’s Consent for SMU to Release Information to Student’s Specified Third Party form accessible at www.smu.edu/LegalDisclosures/FERPA/Forms.

Note: Chapter 675, S.B. 302. Acts of the 61st Texas Legislature, 1969 Regular Session, provides as follows: Section I. No person may buy, sell, create, duplicate, alter, give or obtain; or attempt to buy, sell, create, duplicate, alter, give or obtain a diploma, certificate, academic record, certificate of enrollment or other instrument which purports to signify merit or achievement conferred by an institution of education in this state with the intent to use fraudulently such document or to allow the fraudulent use of such document. Section II. A person who violates this act or who aids another in violating this act is guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction is punishable by a fine of not more than $1,000 and/or confinement in the county jail for a period not to exceed one year.


The University Registrar’s Office certifies veterans each term for their benefits under federal programs, including the Yellow Ribbon Program. Most academic programs at SMU qualify for U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs benefits, making an SMU education accessible and affordable. Veterans are required to provide specific documents before they can be certified with the VA’s Veterans Benefits Administration. Specific information regarding the certification process is available from the University Registrar’s Office at www.smu.edu/registrar (“Veterans Affairs” link).

Final Examinations

Final course examinations shall be given in all courses where they are appropriate, must be administered as specified on the official examination schedule and shall not be administered during the last week of classes. Exceptions to the examination schedule may be made only upon written recommendation of the associate dean of academic affairs, who will allow exceptions only in accordance with guidelines from the Office of the Provost.

Complaint Procedures for Students With Disabilities

The complaint procedures for students with disabilities are available in the Disability Accommodations & Success Strategies office and online at www.smu.edu/Provost/ALEC/DASS. Additional information is found under Students With Disabilities in the Perkins Graduate Programs Policies and Procedures section of this catalog.

Credit Hour Loads

The unit of measure for the valuation of courses is the credit hour. Based upon the federal definition of a credit hour, each credit hour requires one hour of direct faculty instruction and a minimum of two hours of preparation on the part of students per week for approximately 15 weeks a semester. Most courses are valued for three credit hours, i.e., three contact hours per week and at least six hours of preparation. For three credit hour courses deployed via different course types, modes of delivery, or calendars, total number of direct contact hours should be equal to or greater than 45 hours with the total of out of class work total equal to or greater than 90 hours. Courses that deviate from this standard must provide documentation illustrating how the number of contact hours and/or work outside the course equate to this standard within the term in which the course is offered.

Normally, the maximum course load is 13 credit hours per term. With the permission of the Committee on Student Development or of the associate dean for academic affairs acting for the committee, a student with an average grade of B (3.000) or above may register for up to 14.5 credit hours, and a student with an average grade of A- (3.700) or above may register for as many as 16 credit hours. No student may register for more than 16 credit hours. A student in good standing may register for CM 8012 - Seminary Singers , CM 8013 - Seminary Singers , in addition to 13 credit hours of other coursework, without seeking the permission of the committee.

Cautionary Note: Federal financial aid agencies and some other agencies require a minimum number of hours of enrollment for full-time status and do not make exceptions for internship, co-op or student-teaching enrollments. Students on financial aid should consult a Financial Aid Office adviser regarding minimum enrollment requirements for their situation.

Minimum and Maximum Course Loads. Minimum and maximum course loads allowed are based on the school of record.

Stop Enrollment/Administrative Withdrawal

Insufficient or improper information given by the student on any admission or enrollment form – or academic deficiencies, disciplinary actions and financial obligations to the University – can constitute cause for the student to be determined ineligible to enroll or to be administratively withdrawn.

Transfer Courses From Other Institutions

Additional policies for transfer coursework are found in the Admissions section of this catalog.

Enrollment Policies

Course Scheduling and Enrollment Cycles

When students enter Perkins and into a specific degree program, they are assigned an academic adviser. Students should consult with their adviser or the associate dean for academic affairs for course scheduling, schedule changes, petitions, degree requirements and other such academic concerns. The Perkins director of academic services monitors academic progress and maintains degree plans for all Perkins students. Students should schedule a conference with the Perkins director of academic services prior to their final year as a student to ensure that they are meeting all University and graduation requirements.

Each student is personally responsible for complying with enrollment procedures and for ensuring the accuracy of his or her enrollment. Students are expected to confirm the accuracy of their enrollment each term. Students who discover a discrepancy in their enrollment records after the close of enrollment for the term should immediately complete a Petition for Enrollment Policy Exception. Petitions are to be submitted to the appropriate records office within six months of the term in which the discrepancy appeared; contact information for submitting a Petition for Enrollment Policy Exception can be viewed on the University Registrar’s Office website at www.smu.edu/EnrollmentServices/Registrar/Enrollment/EnrollmentPolicyException. Petitions sub­mitted later than six months after the discrepancy may not be considered.

Schedule Changes

The deadline for adding courses, dropping courses without grade record and changing sections for each enrollment period is listed on the Perkins Academic Calendar, which is available at www.smu.edu/Perkins/FacultyAcademics (“Academic Services” link). Students are encouraged to seek assistance from their advisers when considering whether to add or drop a course. A student may drop a course with a grade of W (Withdrew) through approximately midterm by using the my.SMU Self-Service Student Center. The specific deadline is listed on the Perkins Academic Calendar.

After the deadline date on the Perkins Academic Calendar, the student may not drop a class. All schedule changes must be processed by the deadline date specified on the Perkins Academic Calendar. Note: Schedule changes are not complete for official University record purposes unless finalized in the University Registrar’s Office.

Student-Athletes. Students must consult with the Athletic Compliance Office prior to dropping a course. In the consultation, the student will review the effects the drop might have on his or her athletic participation and financial aid. After the consultation, the Athletic Compliance Office will update my.SMU to allow the student to process the drop, if necessary. The consultation is advisory; students are responsible for their enrollment. For assistance regarding scholarships or other aspects of being a student-athlete, students should contact the Office of the Assistant Athletic Director for Student-Athlete Development.

International Students. Students must consult with the International Student & Scholar Services office prior to dropping a course. If dropping a course will cause the student to be enrolled in fewer than the required number of hours to remain a full-time student, the student’s immigration status could be affected. After the consultation, the International Student & Scholar Services office will update my.SMU to allow the student to process the drop, if necessary. The consultation is advisory; students are responsible for their enrollment.

Students on Merit or Need-based Financial Aid. Students should consult with their financial aid adviser and the director of student services at Perkins prior to dropping a course. If dropping a course will cause the student to be enrolled in fewer than 12 hours, the student’s financial aid status may be affected. After the consultation, the student may drop a course through my.SMU Self-Service. The consultation is advisory; students are responsible for their enrollment. Questions regarding this procedure or financial aid should be directed to the Office of Financial Aid and the director of student services at Perkins.

Withdrawal From the University

Policies on refunds for withdrawal from the University are found in the Financial Information  section of this catalog and in the Financial Information Bulletin, which can be accessed online at www.smu.edu/bursar (“Policies and Forms” link). No refunds are made without an official withdrawal.

Students should be aware of the difference between a drop and a withdrawal and remember that they have different deadlines and separate financial policies. The deadlines for each are posted each term on the Perkins Academic Calendar. A drop occurs when a student removes one or more courses from his or her schedule and remains enrolled in at least one credit hour for the term. A withdrawal occurs when removing the course or courses will result in the student being enrolled in zero hours for the term.

If a student removes all courses from his or her schedule prior to the first day of the term, the transaction is considered a cancellation and does not result in financial penalty or impact the student’s transcript.

A student who wishes to withdraw (resign) from the University before the end of a term or session must initiate a Student Petition for Withdrawal form and secure approval from his/her school’s records office. The records office will then submit the form to the Office of the University Registrar. The effective date of the withdrawal is the date on which the Student Petition for Withdrawal is processed in the University Registrar’s Office. Discontinuance of class attendance or notification to the instructors of intention to withdraw does not constitute an official withdrawal.

The enrollment of students who withdraw on or before the tenth class day of the fall or spring semester as listed on the Official University Calendar will be canceled. Courses and grades are not recorded for canceled enrollments; however, the student will owe a portion of his/her tuition and fees. Additional information is available in the Financial Information Bulletin, which can be accessed online at www.smu.edu/bursar (“Policies and Forms” link). A student who withdraws after the tenth class day of the fall or spring semester will receive the grade of W in each course in which he or she enrolled.

Medical withdrawals and mandatory administrative withdrawals allow a prorated refund of tuition and fees and have conditions that must be met prior to re-enrollment at SMU. Medical withdrawals can only be authorized by a licensed physician or psychologist counselor in the Dr. Bob Smith Health Center. Mandatory administrative withdrawals can be authorized only by the vice president for student affairs. As a matter of University policy, and in compliance with federal regulations, retroactive medical withdrawals cannot be granted. The last day for a medical withdrawal is the last day of class instruction for the term from which the student is withdrawing.

Withdrawing students living in SMU housing must check out of the residence halls with the Department of Residence Life and Student Housing per established procedures.

Audit Enrollment (Course Visitor)

Individuals desiring to audit (visit) a class, including those concurrently enrolled for regular coursework, must consult with the Perkins director of academic services first and then must process an Audit Permit form. Audit Permit forms must be completed, approved and received in the University Registrar’s Office no later than the last day to enroll for the term. Forms are available at www.smu.edu/registrar (“Forms Library” link). Space must be available in the class. The following regulations are applicable:

1. Classroom recitation and participation are restricted; availability of course handouts, tests and other materials is restricted; no grade is assigned and no credit is recorded; no laboratory privileges are included.
2. The individual’s name does not appear on class rosters or grade rosters.
3. Regular admission and enrollment procedures are not conducted for auditors.
4. The audit fee is nonrefundable.
5. If credit is desired, the course must be enrolled for and repeated as a regular course, and the regular tuition must be paid.

Absence Due to Illness

The Dr. Bob Smith Health Center does not provide documentation for granting excused absences from class. If students are absent for illness, they should talk to their professors about how they might catch up with the material missed. If students are seriously ill and require hospitalization or an extended absence, students should talk to their professors and the associate dean to decide how to deal with the interruption in their studies.

Interpretation of Course Numbers

Each SMU course has a four-digit course number. The first number indicates the general level of the course.

1000–1999 First-year
2000–2999 Sophomore
3000–3999 Junior
4000–4999 Senior
5000–5999 Senior or Graduate
6000–9999 Graduate

The second digit specifies the number of credit hours; exceptions are noted below.

Digit Credit Hours
0 0, .5 or 1.5

The third and fourth digits are used to make the course number unique within the department.

Grade Policies

A student’s grades are available to him or her through my.SMU Student Center.
Additional information is found under Grade Policies for Master’s Programs in the Perkins Graduate Programs Policies and Procedures section of this catalog.

Grade Scale

The grade of a student in any course is determined by the instructor of the course. The following grades are authorized for recording on the student’s official graduate academic record maintained by the University Registrar’s Office.

Grades Description Grade Points per Term Hour
A Excellent Scholarship 4.000
A- Excellent Scholarship 3.700
B+ Good Scholarship 3.300
B Good Scholarship 3.000
B- Good Scholarship 2.700
C+ Fair Scholarship 2.300
C Fair Scholarship 2.000
C- Fair Scholarship 1.700
D+ Poor Scholarship 1.300
D Poor Scholarship 1.000
D- Poor Scholarship 0.700
F Fail 0.000
P, CR Pass, Credit *
I Incomplete *
NC No Credit Received *
X No Grade Received in Registrar’s Office *
WP/W Withdrawal Passing/Withdrew *

Note: Asterisks denote grades not included in a student’s GPA.

Grade of F, W, and Missing/Blank

Failing is graded F. If the student’s work is incomplete, poor quality and not acceptable, a grade of F will be given. After such a grade, credit may be obtained only by repeating the course.

The grade of W carries no grade value. Students desiring to withdraw from a course must make their intention known to the Perkins director of academic services before the last day for withdrawing as indicated in the Perkins Academic Calendar. Any request for an exception to this rule must be addressed, with supporting evidence, to the associate dean for academic affairs.

The grade of W cannot be recorded unless completion of the official drop or withdrawal process has occurred by the applicable deadline during the term of enrollment. Only the grade of W may be recorded if the student has officially dropped courses from the schedule or withdrawn (resigned) from the University for the term. The grade of W may not be revoked or changed to another grade because the act of officially dropping/withdrawing is irrevocable.

The grade of X is a temporary administrative grade used when an official grade has not been received from the instructor. The grade of X will be changed to F if a grade is not received within 60 days of the end of the term. Graduation candidates must clear all X’s prior to the deadline on the Official University Calendar, which may allow less time than 60 days. Failure to do so can result in removal from the degree candidacy list and/or conversion of the grade of X to the grade of F.

A missing or blank grade also indicates an official grade has not been received from the instructor. Graduation candidates must receive a grade for all course enrollments prior to the deadline on the Official University Calendar. Failure to do so can result in removal from the degree candidacy list and/or the assignment of a grade of F.

Grade of Incomplete

A student may temporarily receive a grade of Incomplete (I) if a substantial portion of the course requirements have been completed with passing grades, but for some justifiable reason acceptable to the Committee on Student Development, the student has been unable to complete the full requirements of the course.

The grade of I is granted by the committee only on written request by the student and only on the rare occasion when the student has suffered a serious illness or has experienced some other untoward hardship that the committee judges to be adequate grounds. The student’s written request must be submitted to the associate dean for academic affairs no later than the deadline specified in the school’s official calendar for the submission of all written work.

The grade of I is normally changed to a final grade within 30 days. At the time a grade of I is given, the instructor must stipulate in my.SMU the requirements and completion date that are to be met and the final grade that will be given if the requirements are not met by the completion date.

The maximum period of time allowed to clear the Incomplete is 30 days. If the Incomplete grade is not cleared by the date set by the associate dean for academic affairs or by the end of the 30-day deadline, the grade of I will be changed to a grade of F.

The grade of I is not given in lieu of a grade of F or W, or other grade, each of which is prescribed for other specific circumstances.

The grade of I in a course does not authorize a student to attend or enroll in the course during a later term. Graduation candidates must clear all Incompletes prior to the deadline on the Official University Calendar, which may allow less time than 12 months. Failure to do so can result in removal from the degree candidacy list and/or conversion of the grade of I to the grade of F.

Grade Point Average

A student’s grade point average (cumulative GPA) is computed by multiplying the credit hours of each course attempted by the grade points earned in the particular course and then dividing the total number of grade points by the total number of hours attempted, excluding those hours for which grades are shown with an asterisk on the grade chart. The GPA is truncated, not rounded, at three decimal places.

Grade Changes

Changes of grades, including change of the grade of I, are initiated by the course instructor and authorized by the associate dean of academic affairs. If a student requests a grade change, the instructor may ask the student to provide the request as a written petition, which may become an official part of any further process at the instructor’s discretion. Changes of grades may be made only for the following authorized reasons: to clear a grade of I, to correct a processing error or to reflect a re-evaluation of the student’s original work. A change of grade will not be based on additional work options beyond those originally made available to the entire class.

Changes of grades of I should be processed within a calendar year of the original grade assignment. Other changes of grades must be processed by the end of the next regular term. No grade will be changed after 12 months or after a student’s graduation, except in cases where a grade is successfully appealed – provided that written notice of appeal is given within six months following graduation – and in extenuating circumstances authorized by the academic dean and approved by the University Registrar’s Office.

Grade Appeals

By University regulations, final authority in the determination of grades lies with the course instructor. With this understanding, a student may appeal a grade by following these procedures:

  1. The normal procedure for grade appeals is to begin with the course instructor. The student should make an appeal in writing to the instructor indicating what it is that is being appealed and the rationale for that appeal. Evidence or information to support the appeal should be provided. The appeal must be initiated no later than the end of the following long term.
  2. The instructor will review the appeal and provide the decision to the student in writing.
  3. If the student is not satisfied with the outcome, the student may appeal in writing to the Associate Dean. This appeal should indicate the nature of the appeal, the rationale and all relevant documentation.
  4. The Associate Dean will review the case individually with the student and the instructor, and, if desirable to both student and instructor, will hold a joint meeting with both parties. The Associate Dean may also ask the Committee on Student Development for a consultation on the matter. The goal is to be certain that both parties have a clear understanding of the issue and access to all relevant information.
  5. Final authority in the determination of the grade rests with the instructor.

Satisfactory Progress Policies

Academic Probation

Academic probation is a serious warning that the student is not making satisfactory academic progress. A student on academic probation is still eligible to enroll and is considered in good standing for enrolling in classes and for certification purposes. Academic probation is not noted on the permanent academic record; however, a student on academic probation may be subject to certain conditions during the period of probation and will be subject to academic dismissal if he or she does not clear academic probation. For academic probation periods and guidelines, students should see the Academic Probation sections below under the appropriate school of record.

A student who fails a course or whose cumulative, fall or spring term grade average falls below a grade of C will be placed on academic probation. In this circumstance, the student will receive written correspondence from the chair of the Committee on Student Development or the associate dean for academic affairs suggesting a plan of study designed to improve his or her academic performance. Such a plan of study may include, in addition to a reduced course load, a reduction in non-academic activities, special tutoring, remedial work in reading or writing, or such other provisions as may seem appropriate in each case.

Students on probation may be required to reduce their academic course load and may be required to take a noncredit reading/study skills course. A student who, while on probation, fails a course or fails to achieve a minimum GPA of C on his or her work in any given term shall be liable to dismissal from school. Likewise, a student with a pattern of recurring probation shall be liable to dismissal. The student is automatically removed from probation upon successfully completing an academic term in which he or she does not fail any classes and when his or her cumulative or fall or spring term grade average is C or higher.

Academic Dismissal

Academic dismissal is final, with no possibility of reinstatement or readmission to the University. Academic dismissal is recorded on the student’s permanent academic record.

Academic Petitions and Waivers

Petitions and/or requests for waivers concerning University requirements, graduation requirements and the evaluation of transfer work should be submitted to the associate dean’s office or Perkins director of academic services.

Transfer Coursework

Policies for transfer coursework are found in this catalog in the Admissions section and under Transfer Courses From Other Institutions in the General Policies section.

Graduation Policies

Apply to Graduate

Students must file an Application for Candidacy to Graduate with their school’s records office no later than the last day of the first week of the term in which they will complete all degree requirements. Applications are filed through my.SMU Self-Service Student Center by the deadline date on the Official University Calendar.

Students who file an application after the published deadline may be required to pay a nonrefundable late fee. Late applications may be denied after the start of the next term, and the Application for Candidacy to Graduate applied to the next conferral date. Students taking coursework at another institution and transferring the course(s) back to SMU are responsible for ensuring that the Perkins director of academic services office receives their official transcript in order for their degree to be conferred for the anticipated graduation term.

SMU has three degree conferral periods for most programs: fall (December), spring (May) and summer (August). In addition, students who complete their degree requirements during a Jan Term (January) will have their degrees conferred at the conclusion of the intersessions.

Commencement Participation

An All-University Commencement Convocation is held in May for students enrolled and on schedule to complete degree requirements during the spring term. Students enrolled and on schedule to complete all degree requirements during the following summer session may also participate in the University Commencement Convocation, although their degrees will not be conferred until August. Students may also participate in the afternoon ceremony at Highland Park United Methodist Church following the University commencement.

An All-University December Commencement Convocation is held each year for students completing degree requirements during the fall term. Students who completed degree requirements during the previous summer session may also participate. Students on schedule and enrolled to complete all degree requirements during the following Jan Term (January) intersession may also participate in the December ceremony, although their degrees will be conferred in January.

A student may participate once in either the All-University Commencement Convocation in May or the All-University December Commencement Convocation for a given degree, but not both.

To participate in a ceremony, a student must apply online and file with their school’s records office an Application for Candidacy to Graduate or Intent to Participate Form.

Statute of Limitations for Degree Plans

A student who has been readmitted to the University following an absence of more than three years will be expected to meet all requirements for graduation current at the time of readmission.

Perkins Graduate Programs Policies and Procedures

The Academic Year

The academic year is divided into fall and spring terms. In addition, Perkins holds a summer term and a January interterm. All course requirements for the M.Div., M.A.M., M.S.M., M.T.S. and Th.M. degrees may be satisfied during the regular academic year, although courses fulfilling certain requirements in these programs are normally available in the summer term as well.

Course Loads

Students holding pastoral charges or other employment requiring 20 hours or more per week should consider carefully, with their academic advisers, the advantages and disadvantages of a reduced course load. A load of nine credit hours per term may be advisable in such circumstances. Students considering any further reduction in course load should keep in mind, among other things, the effects of such a reduction upon their overall curricular planning and the time limit established in each degree program for the completion of all degree requirements.

In considering course load, students should be guided by the principle that the number of hours of a student’s time to be devoted to any course per week should be approximately four times the number of credit hours of credit assigned to the course. For example, a three-term-hour course should occupy about 12 hours of the student’s time each week, counting the time spent in class. Assignments are made accordingly.


Regular attendance is expected in all classes. In the event of unavoidable absences, students are responsible for securing from their colleagues any information about lectures or assignments missed, and, if their absence is unexcused, they assume the risk of missing quizzes or other graded in-class work. A student who anticipates an unavoidable extended absence from school should notify the associate dean for academic affairs, who will in turn notify the instructors involved. An excessive number of unexcused absences may result in a reduction in the student’s grade or failure of the course, despite successful completion of all the assigned reading and written work. In no case will a student be allowed credit for a seminar if she or he is absent for as much as 25 percent of the seminar sessions, even if the absences are excusable.

All course assignments are to be completed on time. Work submitted late may be accepted at the instructor’s discretion, and the student may incur a penalty in grade. Students are advised to consult the instructor in advance if circumstances make it impossible to meet an assignment deadline.

The calendar calls for a designated reading and writing period at the end of each term, during which time formal classes will not be held. This period is an integral part of the term’s work, and students are expected to use it for research, writing and study in connection with the term’s courses.

Final examinations are held on the dates indicated in the calendar. An examination schedule is published toward the end of each term. According to University regulations, no student may take a final examination ahead of the scheduled date. If it is not possible for a student to take an examination at the regular time, a postponement may be granted by the Committee on Student Development, or by the associate dean for academic affairs acting for the committee, if the student submits to the associate dean a written request approved by the instructor.

Grade Requirements

A cumulative grade average of C (2.000) or above is required for graduation in the M.Div., M.A.M., M.T.S. and Th.M. programs, and a grade of B (3.000) is required for the M.S.M. program.

Students with course grades below 2.000 are in serious difficulty. Additional information is found in the Grade Policies section of this catalog.

Academic Responsibility

Each student at Perkins is expected to adhere to rigorous standards of academic honesty. Plagiarism and other acts of academic dishonesty are regarded as serious offenses and are treated accordingly. Students are advised to consult with their course instructors if they have any questions about expectations and procedures in this regard. Each student is required to adhere to the Honor Code as referenced in the Student Rights and Responsibilities statement.  The faculty has adopted the following statement on academic responsibility for the general guidance of students in these matters:

Each course at Perkins School of Theology has different requirements.  Sometimes the differences are merely those of quantity, e.g., the number or length of papers and exams. Other differences are more subtle, such as the acceptability of submitting the same piece of work to more than one course. Some instructors insist that work done in their course be original to that course. Others, however, will permit relevant work done for another course to be submitted, with appropriate modifications, to theirs. It is the student’s responsibility in pertinent cases to determine the preference of the instructors involved and to abide by it.

We in the Perkins community have become increasingly aware in recent years that there are many who do not understand what is meant by academic dishonesty and that there are others who understand but who have become lax in maintaining the necessary standards and disciplines. The following paragraphs are intended to set forth clearly this institution’s understanding of academic honesty and to spell out in detail what is meant by plagiarism, to provide some relative resources and procedures for dealing with such issues.

What is academic dishonesty?

According to the Constitution of the SMU Honor Council, academic dishonesty includes (but is not limited to) the following:

  1. Academic Sabotage - Intentionally taking any action which negatively affects the academic work of another student.
  2. Cheating -  Intentionally using or attempting to use unauthorized materials, information, or study aids in any academic exercise.
  3. Fabrication - Intentional and unauthorized falsification or invention of any information or citation in an academic exercise.
  4. Facilitating Academic Dishonesty - Intentionally or knowingly helping or attempting to help another to violate any provision of the Honor Code.
  5. Plagiarism - Intentionally or knowingly representing the words or ideas of another as one’s own in any academic exercise.

What is Plagiarism?

The general principles for all honest writing can be summarized briefly.  Acknowledge indebtedness:

  1. Whenever you quote another person’s actual words.
  2. Whenever you use another person’s idea, opinion, or theory, even if it is completely paraphrased in your own words.
  3. Whenever you borrow facts, statistics, or other illustrative material – unless the information is common knowledge.

Plagiarism also encompasses the notions of citing quotations and materials from secondary sources that were not directly consulted in the preparation of the student’s work, and copying the organizational and argumentation structure of a work without acknowledging its author.  [The Constitution of the Honor Council of Southern Methodist University, last revision July 1, 2008, http://www.smu.edu/StudentAffairs/StudentLife/StudentHandbook/HonorCode (accessed July 1, 2010)].


In addition to the required academic honesty online tutorial on Canvas, students are urged to consult the following resources for examples of plagiarism and suggestions for ways to avoid it:

What happens if a student is involved in academic dishonesty?

The Faculty of Perkins School of Theology has established the following procedures for dealing with incidents of academic dishonesty:

  1. When an instructor determines that a student has committed an act of academic dishonesty on a course assignment (see “What is Academic Dishonesty”), the instructor will normally (a) assign a grade penalty for the offense and (b) notify the associate dean of the incident. The normal penalty for a first offense is a zero on the assignment, though in the case of a particularly flagrant offense a more severe penalty, up to failure in the course, can be assessed. A second offense can be grounds for dismissal.
  2. The student involved can appeal the decision of the instructor to the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs. After consulting with the instructor, the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs may arrange a meeting with the student and the instructor to discuss the case. The student can appeal the decision reached through this review to the faculty, through its Committee on Student Development, which will establish a procedure for review appropriate to the nature of the incident. In any case, final authority in the determination of grades rests with the instructor.  Adopted by the Perkins faculty, February 28, 1986; revised May 5, 2008

Students With Disabilities

Students with disabilities, including learning disabilities, should know that their instructors at Perkins welcome being informed of the situation, particularly as it might bear upon a student’s coursework. Upon request, and within reasonable limits, alternative arrangements may be worked out between instructor and student regarding examinations and other assignments, when that seems appropriate. A written statement from a health professional attesting to the disability is required. A student who wishes to pursue this possibility should notify the instructor(s) concerned well in advance. For further information and counsel, students should consult the associate dean for academic affairs and SMU’s Office of Disability Accommodations and Success Strategies Office at 214-768-1470.

Special Courses

Perkins students may register for graduate-level courses in other schools of the University after consultation with the associate dean for academic affairs. M.Div. students may register for a total of nine credit hours and M.T.S. students for six credit hours.

It is possible, in exceptional situations, to register for a reading course. Ordinarily, no more than one reading course may be taken during a student’s program of study. The student must have completed the required coursework in the pertinent field, the course must be on a subject not covered by regularly scheduled courses and the procedure for application must be completed by the end of the advance registration period in the term preceding that in which the reading course is to be taken. Reading courses do not count toward the 24 hours of study on campus in Dallas required of students enrolled in the Houston/Galveston program. Further information may be obtained from the registrar.

After matriculation at Perkins, a student may take one or more courses at another Association of Theological Schools member school and have the credit transferred to her or his Perkins degree program. However, these courses must be approved in advance by the Committee on Student Development or by the associate dean, acting for the committee. The total number of hours transferred to a Perkins degree program from courses taken before and after matriculation should not exceed the maximum allowed for students transferring from another institution. Additional information is found under Admission by Transfer in the Admission section of this catalog.

Exceptional Cases

The faculty has invested the Committee on Student Development with authority to act upon all requests for exceptions to these regulations and for any variation from regular academic procedures. All requests are to be addressed in writing to the committee and submitted to the associate dean for academic affairs.