Dec 13, 2019  
2019-2020 Graduate Catalog 
    
2019-2020 Graduate Catalog

Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences: 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 1.10 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 Student Homepage that it be withheld, 2) information authorized by the student through my.SMU Student Homepage 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/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 different 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.

Preferred Name

Students who wish to use a name other than their legal name can add a preferred name to their file in addition to their primary/legal name, or update a preferred name already on file, using the self service functions in the my.SMU Student Homepage. The University will make efforts to use the preferred name in communications and in the course of university business. However, there are situations that due to business practices, legal requirements or system limitations the use of a primary/legal name will be used.

SMU has many offices that keep records with student names and many data systems used for specific applications. In addition to updating their preferred name in my.SMU, students may need to notify some offices regarding their use of a preferred name.

A preferred name is a first, middle and/or last name that may be chosen to be used instead of legal first, middle and last name. There is no documentation required to create or change a preferred name. Students are advised that if they choose to use a preferred name, they should use it consistently and resist changing it frequently. Students also are advised that the use of a preferred last name can lead to confusion with employers and organizations in attempting to match official educational records with applications and it is recommended that students provide both their preferred and legal names on applications.

Here is a partial list of standard name usage:

Display name – my.SMU Student Homepage Preferred name, if provided
Instructor Class Roster Preferred name, if provided
Instructor Grade Roster Preferred name, if provided
Canvas Preferred name, if provided
Global Directory of email addresses Preferred name, if provided
SMU online directory Preferred name, if provided
SMU ID Card Primary (legal) name – under review
Financial Aid related forms and documents Primary (legal) name
Official Academic Transcript Primary (legal) name
Diploma Primary (legal) name or derivative
Degree Verifications Primary (legal) name
Housing / Residence Life Preferred first name, Primary last name
SEVIS Reporting (international students) Primary (legal) name

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 using the self-service functions in the my.SMU Student Homepage. 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.

Students who enroll in an arranged section course will be asked to provide the University Registrar’s Office with an off-campus study address. This is the physical location the student is living while enrolled in this course.

When a student applies for graduation and becomes a candidate they can provide a diploma address (address to which they would like their diploma mailed) to the University Registrar’s Office. 

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 Student Homepage. 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.

Ethnicity

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, Student Homepage.

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 $12.50 per copy. Additional copies in the same request mailed to the same address are $3.50. Additional copies mailed to different addresses are $12.50 a copy. PDF transcripts are $16.25 per email address and are available only for students who attended after summer 1996. (*updated* 9/26/2019)

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 Homepage. 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.

Veterans

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/EnrollentServices/Veterans.

The University complies with Title 38 United States Code Section 3679(e) which states that any individual who is entitled to educational assistance under chapter 31 (Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment) or chapter 33 (Post 9/11 GI Bill®) benefits will be permitted to attend or participate in the course of education during the period beginning on the date on which the individual provides to the educational institution a certificate of eligibility for entitlement (or “Statement of Benefits” obtained from the Department of Veterans Affairs’ website – eBenefits, or a VAF 28-1905 form for chapter 31 authorization purposes) for said entitlement and ending on the earlier of the following dates: a) the date on which payment from VA is made to the institution; or b) 90 days after the date the institution certified tuition and fees following the receipt of the certificate of eligibility. SMU will not impose any penalties, including the assessment of late fees, the denial of access to classes, libraries, or other institutional facilities, or require that a covered individual borrow additional funds to meet his/her financial obligation due to delayed disbursement funding from VA under chapter 31 or 33. However, if the anticipated funding from VA will not cover all tuition and fees, then the student is responsible for paying the difference immediately. Failure to do so may result in late or past due fees. Students who wish to be certified under chapter 31 or 33 must request in writing each semester that they wish to be certified and provide an updated statement of benefits. Additional documents are required to be submitted to the University upon initial request to be certified.  See our website at www.smu.edu/enrollmentservices/veterans.

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 chair of the department sponsoring the course and with the concurrence of the dean of that school, 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 and Success Strategies office, Loyd Center, Suite 202, and online at www.smu.edu/Provost/ALEC/DASS.

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 per week of preparation on the part of students for approximately 15 weeks a term. 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.

A full-time load in the fall and spring terms is 9 credit hours for a graduate student. For the summer term (all sessions in the summer term combined) a full-time load is 6 credit hours for a graduate student. On request a graduate student can be certified as full-time for the first or second session of the summer term at 3 credit hours. Individuals who enroll for fewer than these minimum hours are designated as part-time students.

A graduate student

  • working on the completion of a thesis, dissertation or performance recital requirement on a full-time or part-time basis;
  • enrolled in an internship or co-op program;
  • enrolled as a third-year theatre major working on the completion of required production projects;
  • or having an instructor appointment as part of a teaching fellowship, but not enrolled for the required number of hours;

may be certified as a full-time or part-time student if the student

  • is enrolled officially for at least one course and
  • is recognized by his or her director or academic dean or the dean of graduate studies as working on the completion of the thesis, dissertation or internship requirement on a full-time or part-time basis.

In other special situations, a student not enrolled for the required number of hours may be certified as a full-time or part-time student if the student is officially enrolled for at least one course and is recognized by the academic dean or director as a full-time or part-time student, and if such recognition is approved by the provost.

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 summer, internship, co-op or student-teaching enrollments. Students on financial aid should consult an adviser in the Financial Aid Office regarding minimum enrollment requirements for their situation.

Likewise, international students on an F-1 or J-1 visa should consult an adviser in the International Student & Scholar Services office 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

Policies for transfer credit are found under Transfer of Credits in the Degree Requirements section  of this catalog.

Enrollment Policies

Course Scheduling and Enrollment Cycles

When students enter their school of record and into a specific degree program, they are assigned an academic adviser. Students should consult with the adviser for course scheduling, schedule changes, petitions, degree requirements and other such academic concerns. The Office of Research and Graduate Studies, located in Perkins Administration Building, Suite 101, monitors progress for all graduate students in Dedman College. Upon admission to the school and prior to their final term, students should check the Graduate Catalog  and the Graduate Studies website (www.smu.edu/graduate), as well as schedule conferences with their academic advisers, to ensure that they are meeting all University and graduation requirements.

Each fall, spring and summer term has an enrollment period during which the formal process of enrollment in the University is completed. Prior to each enrollment period, the University Registrar’s Office will publish enrollment instructions.

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 Office of Research and Graduate Studies (Perkins Administration Building, Suite 101) 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.

Undergraduates Enrolling for Graduate Courses

Accelerated Pathway Programs

The Accelerated Pathway Programs policy applies to undergraduate students who enroll in one of SMU’s Accelerated Pathway Programs. Institutional aid may be eligible for covering tuition costs associated with graduate courses as described below.

Students may not enroll for any graduate level course work to be applied toward their master’s degree, prior to the accumulation of 90 credit hours toward their baccalaureate degree. Students must apply and be admitted as a graduate student at least one fall or spring term prior to receiving their master’s degree having had their baccalaureate degree conferred prior to that term. Students must enroll and be in good standing as a full-time status graduate student for at least one fall or spring term prior to receiving their master’s degree.

Graduate hours earned as an undergraduate are included in the determination of full-time status for the term. Graduate hours and grades earned as an undergraduate that count towards their baccalaureate degree are included in the undergraduate scholastic totals and the graduate scholastic totals. Graduate hours and grades earned as an undergraduate that do not count towards that baccalaureate degree are excluded from the undergraduate scholastic totals but are included in the graduate scholastic totals. The maximum number of graduate hours (up to 30 hours) that may be taken in the final year of the baccalaureate degree is mandated by SMU’s accrediting agency. The number of graduate hours which may be counted toward the baccalaureate degree is determined by the school to which the master’s degree belongs.  An undergraduate is limited to earning a maximum of 30 graduate hours as an undergraduate student after the completion of 90 credit hours towards their baccalaureate degree. A student must earn a minimum 150 combined hours to be conferred both a baccalaureate and master’s degree.

Students considering an Accelerated Pathway Program should consult with the Office of Financial Aid about its effect on federal, state and institutional aid.

Other Graduate Course Enrollment by Undergraduate Students

In addition to the Accelerated Pathway Programs, with the written permission of their academic dean and permission of the dean of the graduate courses, an excelling undergraduate student may enroll for graduate level coursework that will be part of their undergraduate record, count towards the undergraduate degree and be included in the undergraduate scholastic totals. The undergraduate student must have accumulated 90 credit hours toward their baccalaureate degree. Graduate hours enrolled as an undergraduate are included in the determination of full-time status for the term. An undergraduate is limited to earning a maximum of 30 graduate hours as part of their undergraduate record.

Schedule Changes

The deadline for adding courses, dropping courses without grade record and changing sections for each enrollment period is listed on the Official University Calendar (www.smu.edu/registrar). 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 Student Homepage. The specific deadline is listed on the Official University Calendar.

After the deadline date on the Official University Calendar, the student may not drop a class. All schedule changes must be processed by the deadline date specified on the Official University 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. (Contact isss@smu.edu for consultation.) 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 prior to dropping a course. (See www.smu.edu/EnrollmentServices/FinancialAid for information regarding your financial aid counselor.) 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 financial aid status may be affected. After the consultation, the student may drop a course through my.SMU Student Homepage. 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.

Withdrawal From the University

Policies on refunds for withdrawal from the University are found in the Financial Information  section and in the Financial Information Bulletin . 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 Official University Calendar at www.smu.edu/registrar. 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 . 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 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 professionals in the Dr. Bob Smith Health Center, Dean of Student Life, or Vice President for Student Affairs. The last day for a medical withdrawal is the last day of class instruction for the term from which the student is withdrawing. Retroactive medical withdrawals cannot be granted.

Mandatory administrative withdrawals occur when a student is not suspended but current and/or future enrollments are canceled or withdrawn. A student’s academic record is annotated with “mandatory administrative withdrawal” and the effective dates for this withdrawal. Mandatory administrative withdrawals allow a prorated refund of tuition and fees and have conditions that must be met prior to re-enrollment at SMU. Mandatory administrative withdrawals can be authorized only by the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Vice President for Student Affairs or Dean of Student Life.

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, are required to 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/EnrollmentServices/Registrar/FormsLibrary. 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.

No-Credit Enrollment

Enrollment for no credit is accomplished in the conventional manner of enrollment, with regular admission and enrollment procedures being required. The student pays the regular tuition and fees, participates in class activities, and receives the grade of NC upon completion of the coursework. The student must indicate in writing no later than the 12th day of classes (the fourth day of classes in summer sessions; the second day of classes in intersession terms) that he or she wishes to take a course for no credit. Permission of the instructor or department is required for this type of enrollment, and the student is listed on class rolls. This enrollment is different from audit enrollments, for which no enrollment or grade is recorded.

Class Attendance

Regular class attendance is required. At the beginning of the course, the instructor announces policies regarding the effect of class attendance and tardiness on the student’s standing in the course via the course syllabus. These policies may include dropping a student from the course for nonattendance or tardiness as described below.

All reasons for absence or tardiness should be submitted at once to the instructor.

The satisfactory explanation of absence may release a student from disciplinary action but does not relieve a student from responsibility for the work of the course during his or her absence. A student who misses an announced test, examination or laboratory period in a regular course of study and has the permission of the instructor may be given an opportunity to make up the work at the instructor’s convenience. The instructor determines in all instances the extent to which absences and tardiness affect each student’s grade.

Students who miss two successive class meetings during the official add-drop period at the beginning of each term are subject to being dropped from the course. To avoid this possibility, students should contact the instructor or the department immediately following such a series of absences.

Students may be dropped by a course instructor or academic dean for nonattendance or tardiness with a grade of W until the University deadline to drop . Department chair approval is required. After the deadline, students must remain enrolled in the course.

Students may also be dropped by a course instructor for extreme inappropriate classroom behavior. The instructor must submit the Administrative Drop Request to drop a student from the course by the University deadline to drop a course  indicated in the official Academic Calendar. Department Chair approval is required. After the deadline, the student must remain enrolled in the course and receive a final grade of F.

Students are charged an administrative fee for instructor initiative drops for attendance, tardiness and disruptive behavior.

Excused Absences for University Extracurricular Activities and Religious Holidays

Students who participate in officially sanctioned, scheduled University extracurricular activities or observe a religious holiday should be given an opportunity to make up class examinations or other graded assignments missed as a result of this participation or related travel. The manner in which examinations or other assignments missed because of these activities are to be made up is left to the discretion of each individual faculty member. However, students should not be penalized in any way for these excused absences and should be informed by the instructor at the beginning of the term, preferably in writing, of the instructor’s makeup policy. It is the responsibility of the student to make arrangements with the instructor prior to any missed scheduled examination or other missed assignment for making up this work, and to obtain any class notes or other course material missed due to absence prior to taking any subsequent examinations or submitting any subsequent graded assignments.

This statement of University policy applies for all students. To minimize the difficulties caused for both student-athletes and their instructors by excused absences due to University-sanctioned athletic activities or related travel, the Athletic Department shall 1) make available to all student-athletes and their academic advisers prior to registration a copy of the student’s activity and travel schedule for the upcoming term, so as to facilitate the student’s enrollment in class sections that will minimize activity and travel conflicts; and 2) require all student-athletes to provide a copy of that term’s activity and travel schedule, and a copy of this Statement of University Policy, to each of their instructors at the first class meeting of the term.

Other University colleges and departments whose students will miss classes because of their participation in officially sanctioned, scheduled University extracurricular activities, related travel, or observing of religious holidays are encouraged to adopt similar procedures to minimize the difficulties caused by such absences.

A list of religious holidays for use in requesting excused absences is available on the Official University Calendar. Students must notify the class instructor in writing by the 12th day of the term of any such absences that will occur during that term. Accommodations are to be made without penalty. More information can be found in the University Policy Manual, available at www.smu.edu/policy.

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 Office of Student Life 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 10-15
1 1 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 Homepage.

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, S Pass, Credit, Satisfactory *
I Incomplete *
NC, U No Credit Received, Unsatisfactory *
X No Grade Received in Registrar’s Office *
W Withdrew *

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

Grade of F, D, W, X 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 D represents performance below average expectations. Students receiving a D in a course that is a prerequisite to another course should consult with their advisers about repeating the course so that they will be adequately prepared for work in the following course. Courses passed with a grade of D, D- or D+ will generally not count toward major or minor requirements.

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 final official grade must be recorded for each enrollment.  An F will be assigned for 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 instructor, the student has been unable to complete the full requirements of the course.

The grade of I is normally changed to a final grade within one year but no later than the time of graduation.

At the time a grade of I is given, the instructor must stipulate 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 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 . Failure to do so can result in removal from the degree candidacy list and/or conversion of the grade of I to the grade indicated by the instructor at the time the grade of I was given.

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.

For assistance estimating your GPA see the GPA calculator on the SMU website. 

Grade Changes

Changes of grades, including change of the grade of I, are initiated by the course instructor and authorized by the academic chair and by the academic dean of the school in which the course was offered. 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 unless the grade is for thesis work. 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.

Grades for Repeated Courses

Students will be allowed to repeat courses according to the following rules: Both the initial and the second grades will be recorded on the student’s permanent academic record (transcript). Both grades will be included in the calculation of the student’s cumulative GPA and in the determination of academic probation, suspension, dismissal, honors and graduation. Only the repeated course and not the initial credit hours count toward the number of hours needed for graduation.

Pass/Fail Option

Students should consult with their advisers before declaring the pass/fail option for any course, as some courses may not be taken pass/fail.

Grade Appeals

A student who feels that an assigned grade is other than the grade earned must first discuss the matter with the course instructor to determine if the discrepancy is caused by error or misunderstanding. At the time of the initial discussion, the student may be asked to provide a written petition requesting the change of grade.

A student who is not satisfied by the instructor’s decision on a request for a grade change, and who maintains that the original grade was capriciously or unfairly determined, may appeal to the chair of the department in which the course was offered (or, in the case of a nondepartmental course, to a faculty agent designated by the dean of the school offering the course). After discussing the matter with the student, and bearing in mind that the final authority in matters of academic judgment in the determination of a grade rests with the course instructor, the chair (or faculty agent) will consult with the course instructor, who will subsequently report to the student the disposition of the appeal.

A student who is not satisfied by the disposition of the appeal may appeal the decision to the dean of the school offering the course. The dean will take action as he or she deems appropriate. A student may appeal the dean’s decision to the provost. In their actions, the dean and the provost must respect the principle that the determination of a grade rests with the course instructor.

Academic Advising and Satisfactory Progress Policies

Academic Advising

For an effective advising relationship, the student must be prepared when meeting with the adviser. The student must initiate the advising appointment. The adviser will give assistance to the student, but the student has the final responsibility for the accuracy of the enrollment, the applicability of courses toward the degree requirements, and his or her academic performance.

Students are assigned an academic adviser by their academic dean’s office, records office or major department. A student who enrolls without first meeting with his or her assigned academic adviser may be subject to sanctions including, but not limited to, cancellation of the term enrollment and restriction from the self-service enrollment functions.

Leave of Absence

A leave of absence is a temporary leave from the University – a kind of “timeout” – that may be necessary during an academic career. Students may elect to take leaves of absence for a variety of reasons, including 1) medical reasons due to accident or illness, 2) family crises or other personal situations that require an extended absence from school, 3) financial issues that may take time to resolve, and 4) academic difficulties that may best be handled by taking time to refocus on college work.

Typically, a leave of absence is for one term or one academic year. A student may extend a leave of absence by contacting his or her academic department representative. The process to return to SMU after a leave-of-absence period can be an easy one, especially if the student has gone through the steps to file for a leave of absence and planned ahead for the return. Following SMU’s leave-of-absence guidelines helps 1) assure that the degree requirements per the catalog of record when the student initially matriculated at SMU still apply upon return, 2) assist with financial aid processing, and 3) provide the support needed to return to SMU and successfully finish the degree.

The SMU Leave of Absence Policy provides students with a formal process to “stop out” of SMU for either voluntary or involuntary reasons. Typically, a leave of absence is for a temporary departure from the institution; however, intended permanent withdrawals from SMU will also be processed under the Leave of Absence Policy.

The first step to effect a leave of absence is for the student to arrange an appointment to meet with his or her academic adviser, who will then assist the student with the process.

Academic Progress

Failure to meet established minimum acceptable standards of academic or disciplinary performance can result in probation, suspension or dismissal. Information regarding disciplinary action can be found under Code of Conduct in the Student Affairs section  of this catalog.

Graduate students must maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.000. If in any term the student falls below this cumulative GPA, the student will be placed on probation for one regular term. If at the end of the term of probation the cumulative GPA is not up to 3.000, the student may be removed from the program at the discretion of the dean’s office.

Definitions: Academic Probation, Academic Suspension, Academic Reinstatement and Academic Dismissal

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 suspension if he or she does not clear academic probation.

Academic Suspension. Academic suspension is an involuntary separation of the student from SMU. Academic suspension is for at least one regular term. The term of suspension might be for a longer period depending on the policy of the school of record or the terms of the individual student’s suspension. Students suspended from one school are suspended from the University.

The status of academic suspension is recorded on a student’s permanent academic record. While on academic suspension, a student is not in good academic standing for certification purposes and is not eligible to enroll at SMU. Students who have served their suspension and who are eligible to return may not enroll for any intersession terms without permission from their school of record.

Credits earned at another college or university during a term of suspension may not be applied toward an SMU degree. A grade point deficiency must be made up through enrollment at SMU.

Academic Reinstatement. A student who has been on academic suspension once may apply for reinstatement to SMU. If reinstated, the student may enroll in classes, and he or she is considered in good academic standing for purposes of certification. A student who is reinstated remains on academic probation until the conditions of academic probation are satisfied.

Academic Dismissal. A second suspension results in an academic dismissal from the University. 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 Office of Research and Graduate Studies, located in Perkins Administration Building, Suite 101. The Graduate Studies Office will then submit the form to the Office of the University Registrar.

Transfer Coursework

Policies for transfer credit are found under Transfer of Credits in the Degree Requirements section  of this catalog.

Graduation Policies

Apply to Graduate

Students must file an Application for Candidacy to Graduate 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 Student Homepage 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 University Registrar’s 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).

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. Psychology Ph.D. 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 departmental or school ceremonies according to the policies of the departments or schools. 

Doctoral candidates may participate in commencement only after all degree requirements are complete.

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.

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.