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.
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.
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.
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
||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
||Primary (legal) name or derivative
||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 firstname.lastname@example.org, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 course examinations shall be given in all courses where they are appropriate, must be administered as specified on the official examination schedule.
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, winter, spring and summer terms is 9 credit hours. Individuals who enroll for fewer than 9 hours are designated as part-time students. Although classified as “part time students”, MS in Data Science students are encouraged to enroll in either a 5-term or a 7-term track, and are fully meeting expectations for academic progress at less than 9 credit hours.
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
Transfer credits from other institutions are limited to 6 credit hours.
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.
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. Studens should contact the program office for assisitance with this process 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.
The deadline for adding courses, dropping courses without grade record and changing sections for each enrollment period is listed on the MSDS Academic Calendar . 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 MSDS Academic Calendar.
After the deadline date on the Official MSDS Academic Calendar, the student may not drop a class. All schedule changes must be processed by the deadline date specified on the Official MSDS 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. (Contact email@example.com 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 MSDS 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 the MSDS Associate Director. The Associate Director 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 last day of add/drop as listed on the MSDS Academic Calendar will be canceled. Courses and grades are not recorded for canceled enrollments; however, the student will not be eligible for tuition reimbursement after the last day to enroll, add a course, or drop a course as indicated on the MSDS Official Dates for Terms. Additional information is available in the Financial Information Bulletin . A student who withdraws after the add/drop period will receive the grade of W in each course in which he or she enrolled and is not eligible for a refund in accordance with the MSDS Academic calendar.
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)
Data Science courses cannot be audited.
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 MSDS 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 MSDS Academic 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.
||Senior or Graduate
The second digit specifies the number of credit hours; exceptions are noted below.
||0, .5 or 10-15
||1 or 1.5
The third and fourth digits are used to make the course number unique within the department.
A student’s grades are available to him or her through my.SMU Student Homepage.
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.
||Grade Points per Term Hour
|P, CR, S
||Pass, Credit, Satisfactory
||No Credit Received, Unsatisfactory
||No Grade Received in Registrar’s Office
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 instructor and the student sign the Incomplete Grade Agreement form, with a copy of the form given to the student and to MSDS Associate Director and with the instructor retaining the original form.
The maximum period of time an MSDS instructor may give the student to clear the Incomplete is until the end of the next term. If the Incomplete grade is not cleared by the date set by the instructor or by the end of the next term, the grade of I will be changed to the grade provided by the instructor at the time the Incomplete was assigned or to a grade of F if no alternate grade was provided. If the student does not clear the Incomplete grade at the end of the term, the student can appeal for an extension up to 1 year dated from the end of the original course end date, but no later than the time of graduation.
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 must be resolved by the instructor who gave the grade and using the resources of the course in which the student was enrolled. A student working to complete a grade of I is not authorized to attend or enroll in the course again during a later term. Graduation candidates must clear all Incompletes prior to the deadline on the MSDS Academic 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.
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.
Students should consult with their advisers before declaring the pass/fail option for any course, as some courses may not be taken pass/fail.
Written grade appeals must be initiated by the student within fourteen calendar days of the initial grade being posted. Exceptions to deadlines set forth herein for students in unusual circumstances (e.g., Spring Break, Christmas Break, studying abroad) may be granted in writing by the Managing Director. 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. This petition can come in the form of an email describing the student’s reasons for the appeal along with any evidence that is germane to their experience for review.
Within seven calendar days of receiving a decision on the grade appeal from the faculty member, 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 Managing Director or Department Chair. The Managing Director will designate a faculty agent to review both the faculty response and student appeal. The faculty agent will have 3 business days to review all materials and provide their decision in writing to the Managing Director, faculty member, and student. The decision of the faculty agent is considered final and appropriate action will be taken at that point unless otherwise appealed by the student.
Within seven calendar days of receiving a decision on the grade appeal from the faculty agent, a student who is not satisfied by the disposition of the appeal may appeal the decision again to the Associate Provost of SMU Global and Online. The Associate Provost will take action as he or she deems appropriate, but the action taken must respect the principle that the determination of a grade rests with the course instructor. The Associate Provost will report in writing to the student, faculty, and Managing Director the final disposition of the appeal within seven calendar days.
These provisions are the sole rules that govern the Master of Science in Data Science program course grade appeals at Southern Methodist University.
Academic Advising and Satisfactory Progress Policies
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.
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 the MSDS 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 the MSDS program and successfully finish the degree. The first step to effect a leave of absence is for the student to arrange an appointment to meet with MSDS Associate Director and MSDS student support, who will assist the student with the process.
Students in good standing may take a leave of absence for up to 12 months by sending a written notice to MSDS graduate student services staff. To be in good standing, a student must have a cumulative GPA of 3.000 or higher, must have earned eight or more hours, and must have a clear student financial record. Students seeking to re-enroll after a leave of absence must notify the Associate Director of the MSDS program in writing. A leave of absence does not affect the statute of limitations established by the initial enrollment. Any former student with less than the criteria outlined herein for good standing must reapply to the program. Students who have not enrolled for more than 12 months must follow the guidelines for readmission.
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.
Academic Probation, Scholarships, and Academic Dismissal
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 including enrollment holds placed on their account and mandatory academic advising sessions. Students who remain on academic probation for multiple consecutive terms will be subject to increased remediation standards and may ultimately be suspended from the program if their academic standing cannot be successfully resolved.
In addition, any student with a scholarship who goes on academic probation will have one term to raise the cumulative GPA above 3.000 to retain the scholarship. If the student does not raise the cumulative GPA above 3.000 and remains on academic probation at the end of the term, the scholarship may not be allocated for the following terms.
MSDS graduate students on academic probation are not permitted to serve in any student leadership position of any organization representing either MSDS or SMU. A student on academic probation is not permitted to enroll in a directed study.
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 managing director and associate Director of the program at firstname.lastname@example.org. The program director will then submit the form to the Office of the University Registrar.
Apply to Graduate
Students must file their completed degree plan with their academic advisor no later than the secone week of the semester prior to their graduation semester, i.e. if a student is graduating in spring they must file the completed degree plan no later than Friday of the 2nd week in the previous fall term. The deadline to apply for graduation once the MSDS department has made a student eligible is noted on the Official University Calendar. Applications are filed through my.SMU Student Homepage,
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.
SMU has three degree conferral periods for most programs: fall (December), spring (May) and summer (August).
Prior to approving a student for degree conferral, MSDS faculty and administration will consider any documented judicial or disciplinary complaints on record and audit the student’s academic standing, including satisfactory completion of all required aspects of the MSDS program.
The MSDS program holds a departmental ceremony each year in conjunction with the University-wide commencement program. To participate in either a ceremony, a student must apply online and file an Application for Candidacy to Graduate or Intent to Participate Form with the university
Statute of Limitations for Degree Plans
The maximum length of time for degree completion in graduate degree programs is six calendar years. All course and degree requirements must be completed in this time period, which begins at the time of initial enrollment, with no absence greater than three consecutive calendar years.