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 (FERPA) 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 Identification 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
|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 email@example.com, 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.
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. For more information, refer to the Registrar’s Office website at www.smu.edu/enrollmentservices/veterans.
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
Each “credit hour” awarded generally reflects work over a 15 week period, including a period for exam review. It is the Dedman School of Law policy that each “credit hour” awarded reflects an amount of work equivalent to approximately 1) 50 minutes of direct faculty instruction or examination and 2) 120 minutes of out-of-class student work including study, preparation of assignments, review, or other course related activities. Seminar courses, clinics, externships and other courses involving substantial out-of-class required activities may have fewer minutes of direct faculty instruction per credit hour. The senior associate dean for academic affairs will periodically review faculty and adjunct syllabuses to assess compliance with this policy.
Enrollment for nine credit hours of coursework in the fall/spring terms and eight hours of coursework in the summer term is recognized as a full load for students engaged in J.D. and eight credit hours for LL.M. graduate studies. Individuals who enroll for fewer than these minimum hours are designated as part-time students.
Per ABA Standard 310, the Dedman School of Law requires that for every credit hour, the student will be do an amount of work that approximates 42.5 hours of in and out of class work. Often for course-based work, that will take the form of one hour of classroom or direct faculty instruction and two hours of out-of-class work per week for 15 weeks, including the final exam. In calculating the time required, fifty minutes suffices for one “hour” of classroom or direct faculty instruction, but an “hour” for out-of-class student work is sixty minutes. Other credit-awarded work requires at least an equivalent amount of work.
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 for the Office of Research and 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
Information about transfer credit is found in this catalog in the Courses Outside the Dedman School of Law section and in the Grades and Credits section under Credit for Work Completed at Other Schools.
The deadline for adding courses, dropping courses without grade record and changing sections for each enrollment period is listed on the Dedman School of Law Calendar. Students must seek the professor’s permission to drop a class. Students have until noon of the last day of instruction to drop a class and receive a grade of W. The specific deadline is listed in the Dedman School of Law Calendar.
After the deadline date on the Dedman School of Law Calendar, the student may not drop a class. All schedule changes must be processed by the deadline date specified on the Dedman School of Law 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 Self-Service. The consultation is advisory; students are responsible for their enrollment. Questions regarding this procedure or financial aid should be directed to the Office of Financial Aid.
Withdrawal From the University
Policies on refunds for withdrawal from the University are found in the Financial Information section of this catalog and in the Financial Information Bulletin . 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 Dedman School of Law Calendar at www.smu.edu/Law/Academics/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.
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 obtain approval from the assistant dean for student affairs. The assistant dean will then submit the form to the school’s Registrar’s Office. 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 Dedman School of Law 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.
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 assistant dean for student affairs to decide how to deal with the interruption in their studies.
Policies for transfer credit are found in this catalog in the Courses Outside the Dedman School of Law section and in the Enrollment and Academic Records section under Credit for Work Completed at Other Schools.
An All-University Commencement Convocation is held in May for students enrolled and on schedule to complete degree requirements during the spring term. Students enrolled and on schedule to complete all degree requirements during the following summer session may also participate in the University Commencement Convocation, although their degrees will not be conferred until August. Students may also participate in departmental or school ceremonies according to the policies of the departments or schools.
An All-University December Commencement Convocation is held each year for students completing degree requirements during the fall term. Students who completed degree requirements during the previous summer session may also participate. Students on schedule and enrolled to complete all degree requirements during the following Jan Term (January) intersession may also participate in the December ceremony, although their degrees will be conferred in January.
A student may participate once in either the All-University Commencement Convocation in May or the All-University December Commencement Convocation for a given degree, but not both.
Dedman School of Law Policies and Procedures
To be a visiting student at the Dedman School of Law, an applicant must be in good standing at an accredited law school and have permission to visit. Students who meet these requirements will be admitted so long as space is available. Visiting student applicants must submit a visitor application via LSAC’s application service, a dean’s letter of good standing and permission to visit and a statement articulating the reasons for wanting to visit the Dedman School of Law.
Nondegree Enrollment and Auditors
An attorney holding a valid U.S. license to practice law or a graduate of an American Bar Association-approved law school may enroll for credit in a course at the Dedman School of Law, though not seeking a degree, on a space-available basis with the permission of the instructor. A nondegree enrollee must participate in class and complete all work required of degree students in the course. A grade will be awarded and placed on a transcript. Applicable tuition and fees must be paid at enrollment. Credit earned in this category cannot be applied to a Dedman School of Law degree program. Information on course availability can be obtained through the school’s Registrar’s Office.
An attorney holding a valid U.S. license to practice law or a graduate of an American Bar Association-approved law school may audit a course at the Dedman School of Law on a space-available basis with the consent of the instructor. The instructor will determine the extent, if any, of permitted participation in class discussion. An auditor may not submit a research paper, sit for an exam or receive academic credit. Audited courses are not recorded or placed on a transcript. An auditor must pay the applicable per hour tuition and fees in full prior to attendance. Information on course availability can be obtained through the school’s Registrar’s Office. In special circumstances and with the consent of the instructor, the assistant dean for student affairs and the senior associate dean for academic affairs, other students may be permitted to audit a course in accordance with the above requirements and any other requirements imposed by the instructor, the assistant dean for student affairs or the associate dean for academic affairs.
The times for enrollment are announced by the Dedman School of Law Registrar’s Office. Students who fail to enroll during the announced enrollment period will be charged a late enrollment fee.
Minimum and Maximum Hours
Generally, except for those students enrolled for a reduced course load, first-year students are required to take 16 credit hours in the fall term and 16 credit hours in the spring term. Beyond the first year, a student normally will take no fewer than 12 and no more than 17 credit hours in a regular term and no more than eight credit hours in the May term, Summer term, and August term combined. Students may take more than 16 credit hours in a regular term only with permission of the assistant dean for student affairs. Under no circumstances will a student be permitted to take more than 17 credit hours in a regular term.
Adding and Dropping a Course
A student may add or drop a course during the periods set forth in the Dedman School of Law Calendar.
Dropping a Course: Grading – A student may withdraw from a course at any time with the permission of the instructor. Students enrolled in required first-year courses (found in this catalog under The Curriculum) must also obtain the permission of the assistant dean for student affairs to withdraw from a course. If the student withdraws from a course before noon on the last day of classes, the student will ordinarily receive no grade for the course. If a student withdraws from a course after noon on the last day of classes, the student will ordinarily receive a failing grade for the course.
Withdrawal From the Dedman School of Law
Withdrawal – Withdrawal means the student’s enrollment is canceled and the student is no longer enrolled for any classes. If a student is enrolled for only one course, dropping this course constitutes withdrawal from the Dedman School of Law and is subject to the penalties. The student must contact the Dedman School of Law Registrar’s Office in writing to withdraw. The effective date of the withdrawal is the date the Student Petition for Withdrawal is processed in the Registrar’s Office. This date is the date used for credit or refund purposes. Information on the consequences of withdrawal on grading and readmission is found under The Juris Doctor Program in the Withdrawal, Re-entry and Readmission section.
Credit or Refund – A credit or refund will be issued if notification is received prior to the close of the business day according to the following schedules:
||Fall and Spring Terms
|Prior to first day of term
|1st–5th day of term
|6th–10th day of term
|11th–15th day of term
|16th–20th day of term
|After the 20th day of term
|Prior to first day of term
|1st–2nd day of term
|After the 2nd day of term
Classroom Work, Attendance and Examinations
Classroom Work and Assignments
Students are expected to prepare all assignments and to participate in classroom discussions. The instructor may exclude a student from a course for poor classroom performance, for failure to meet attendance requirements, for improper conduct in the classroom or for failure to prepare assignments. In such cases, the student will receive a failing grade in the course.
Regular and punctual class attendance is necessary to satisfy residence and class hours requirements.
Rescheduling of Examinations
The assistant dean for student affairs may reschedule a student’s examination in the event of an emergency. Two or more examinations in close time proximity do not constitute an emergency.
Use of Laptop Computers on Examinations
The use of laptop computers during examinations, using specially provided software, is allowed subject to any restrictions imposed by the instructor.
Accommodations in the Classroom and on Examinations
If a student is requesting academic accommodations for a disability, he or she must first contact the Disability Accommodations and Success Strategies Office (DASS) at the Altshuler Learning Enhancement Center to verify the disability and to establish eligibility for accommodations. Once registered with DASS, the student must then provide the letter of accommodation to the Dedman School of Law’s assistant dean for student affairs to put accommodations in place at the law school. Reasonable accommodations will be offered to students with disabilities, upon request.
Grades and Credits
Methods of Grading
Students enrolled in the Dedman School of Law receive letter grades:
Minimum Passing Grade
The minimum passing grade is D or 1.0, and an average grade of C or 2.0 is necessary for graduation. Detailed information is found in this catalog under The Juris Doctor Program in the section Requirements for Degree: Hours and Grades.
A student may receive a grade of I (Incomplete) if, for some justifiable reason acceptable to the instructor, the student has been unable to complete the requirements of the course. The maximum period of time allowed to clear the grade of I (Incomplete) is 12 months. If the Incomplete grade is not cleared by the date set by the instructor or by the end of the 12-month deadline, the grade of I will be changed to the grade provided by the instructor. If no alternative grade is provided, the grade of F will be recorded.
The grade of I is not given in lieu of a grade of F (Fail), W (Withdrew) or other grade, each of which is prescribed for other specific circumstances. The grade of I does not authorize a student to attend the course during a later term. Graduation candidates must clear all Incomplete grades prior to the deadline in the Official University Calendar, which may allow less time than 12 months. Failure to do so can result in removal from the degree candidacy list.
The senior associate dean for academics may, with the instructor’s permission, waive the 12-month time period of this policy under extraordinary circumstances.
Method of Computing Averages
The grade in a course will be weighted by the credit hours in the course. The computation will include marks from all courses in which the student has taken the final examination or received a final grade, regardless of whether credit in a particular course is necessary to meet the requirements for graduation. When a course is repeated, both grades will be used in the computation. A course may not be repeated if the student has previously received credit for the course. Only Dedman School of Law courses will be used in the computation.
Credit for Work Completed at Other Schools
Official college transcripts are required for all college-level work attempted, regardless of transferability. Military transcripts are also required for students receiving VA benefits; more information is available at www.smu.edu/registrar (“Veterans Affairs” link). Students are responsible for making sure a transcript of all transfer work attempted is sent to the University Registrar’s Office immediately following completion of the work.
Dedman School of Law will not grant credit for any coursework completed prior to a student’s matriculation in a J.D. program at an American Bar Association-approved or Association of American Law Schools-approved law school. While enrolled at the Dedman School of Law, students may earn up to eight credit hours at other ABA-approved law schools outside the Dallas-Fort Worth area during the summer. Students interested in this option must make application through the school’s Registrar’s Office to the assistant dean for student affairs and may be charged an administrative fee.
In extraordinary circumstances, a student may be granted permission to attend another law school for his or her final term or year of law school while still receiving an SMU degree. Permission to apply to another school must be obtained through the school’s Registrar’s Office from the assistant dean for student affairs. Permission will not be granted without evidence of compelling personal circumstances that require a student’s relocation. The Dedman School of Law reserves the right to designate the schools to which a student may apply, to approve the courses taken at the other law school, to limit the number of students to whom permission is granted and to charge an administrative fee.
The school will consider student applications to study abroad at internationally recognized law programs. Each student’s application will be considered on a case-by-case basis and must meet all the requirements of the ABA criteria, with particular emphasis on the need for the student’s proposed course of study abroad to further his or her legitimate academic or career objectives.
Six residence credits are required for graduation. One residence credit will be given for each term in which the student passes at least 12 credit hours. Three-quarters of a residence credit will be given for passing nine to 11 credit hours. One-half of a residence credit will be given for passing six to eight credit hours. One-quarter of a residence credit will be given for passing three to five credit hours. On-half of a residence credit will be given for successfully completing five credit hours at the Oxford Summer Program. Credits taken in the May term, Summer term, and August term will be combined for residence credit purposes.
The full-time study of law is designed to require substantially all of the student’s time during the academic year. Excessive employment may lead to academic disappointment or failure. Hence, the Dedman School of Law encourages full-time law students to limit outside employment to no more than 20 hours per week. First-year students should not work at all, but if employment is absolutely necessary, they should limit their hours to 10 per week.
Withdrawal From the Dedman School of Law
In Good Standing. A student may voluntarily withdraw in good standing from the Dedman School of Law before noon on the last day of classes in a term or summer session. In this event, no credit will be given. A student who is failing a course, either because of academic work or because of poor performance at the time of withdrawing from school, will receive either a failing grade or no grade, at the discretion of the instructor. Additional information is found in this catalog under Enrollment and Academic Records.
Additional information is found under Withdrawal From the University.
Re-entry or Readmission
Students Who Left in Good Standing
Re-entry. Students who withdraw while in good standing after completing at least one term in this law school may re-enter to continue their studies without re-examination of their entrance credentials if such re-entry is approved by the assistant dean for student affairs and re-entry occurs within 24 calendar months after the date of withdrawal. Students who have completed only the first term at the Dedman School of Law may re-enter only in the spring term. The 24-calendar-month deadline for re-entry is extended by any time spent after withdrawal in active U.S. military service.
Readmission. Students who withdraw and do not meet the requirements for re-entry may apply to the admissions committee for readmission. If readmission is granted, these students must meet the graduation requirements in effect at the date of readmission.
Academic Probation, Dismissal, and Readmission or Re-entry (Dismissed Students)
In this section, “term” includes the summer session. Information on the method of computing grade averages is found in this catalog under Enrollment and Academic Services.
Dismissal After the First Term
Dismissal After the First Term. A student whose overall grade average at the end of the first term at the Dedman School of Law is less than 1.0 is automatically dismissed.
Dismissal After Two or More Terms. A student whose overall grade average at the end of two or more terms is less than 1.8 is automatically dismissed.
A student whose overall grade average at the end of any term at Dedman School of Law is 1.8 or more but less than 2.0 shall be on probation.
A student who is placed on probation is automatically dismissed unless at the end of the next term the student’s overall grade average is 2.0 or more or unless the student obtains a grade average for that term of 2.3 or more.
Re-entry and Readmission of Dismissed Students
Re-entry. A student who is dismissed for unsatisfactory academic performance may petition the admissions committee for re-entry. Petitions for re-entry are granted only in extraordinary circumstances. A petition for re-entry, if granted, permits a student to continue his or her legal education at the point he or she was dismissed. A copy of the re-entry guidelines established by the admissions committee is available from the Dedman School of Law Registrar’s Office and on the Academic’s page of the Dedman School of Law website.
Readmission. A student who is dismissed for unsatisfactory academic performance may petition the admissions committee for readmission. Petitions for readmission are granted only in extraordinary circumstances. A petition for readmission, if granted, permits a student to begin his or her legal education from the beginning. A copy of the readmission guidelines established by the admissions committee is available from the Dedman School of Law Registrar’s Office and on the Academics page of the Dedman School of Law website.
Mandatory Academic Counseling
A student with a cumulative GPA below 2.7 is required to consult with the assistant dean for student affairs or the director of academic success prior to each fall, spring and summer enrollment regarding the student’s proposed schedule. The assistant dean for student affairs or the director of academic success may require the student to enroll each term in up to three courses that are tested on the Texas bar examination.
Academic Success Program
The Academic Success Program (ASP) provides skills training and support for students at all stages of their law school education. The program is focused on helping students maximize their potential for learning the law while acquiring effective study skills as well as aiding students in developing their ability to perform legal analysis.
Six residence credits are required for graduation. Detailed information is found under The Juris Doctor Program in the Enrollment and Academic Records section. Information on the requirements concerning attendance at other law schools is found under The Juris Doctor Program in the Admission With Advanced Standing section and in the Visiting Students section.
Hours and Grades
Candidates must earn 87 credit hours of credit (with grades of D or 1.0 or higher) with an overall average grade of C or 2.0 or more. All credit hours must be earned at this school, except for students admitted with advanced standing and students approved to study at other law schools. All students must earn a minimum of 58 credit hours of credit at this school. Additional information is found in this catalog in the section Enrollment and Academic Records.
The following requirements must be fulfilled: LAW 6405 - Civil Procedure ; LAW 6366 - Constitutional Law I ; LAW 8311 - Constitutional Law II ; LAW 8290 - Contracts I ; LAW 8390 - Contracts II ; LAW 8341 - Criminal Law ; LAW 8375 - Legal Research, Writing, and Advocacy I ; LAW 8376 - Legal Research, Writing, and Advocacy II ; LAW 6365 - Legislation and Regulation ; LAW 6404 - Property ; LAW 7350 - Professional Responsibility ; LAW 6403 - Torts ; an edited writing seminar; the general writing requirement; and the experiential learning requirement. If a student fails to receive a minimum passing grade in a required course, the student must repeat the course the next time it is offered.
Public Service Requirement
All students must complete a minimum of 30 hours of law-related public service to be eligible to graduate. Students may perform this service after they have completed two semesters of law study. All such service must be performed at an approved service placement. The Dedman School of Law’s Public Service program director is charged with arranging for approved public service placements for students. Public service used to fulfill this requirement cannot be compensated work nor can it be work for which academic credit or student organization points are awarded.
All requirements must be met in the Dedman School of Law, or another approved law school, within 60 months or five years from commencing law school. In computing the period, any time during which the candidate was in active U.S. military service shall be excluded.
Effects of Changes in Requirements
A student must meet the residence and grade requirements in effect at the time that the student enters. The student will not be affected by later changes in these requirements. Other requirements may be changed from time to time with such applicability as the faculty determines.
Waivers of requirements may, for good cause, be granted by the assistant dean for student affairs. Requests should be made in writing, with all relevant information and reasons, to the assistant dean for student affairs.
The Order of the Coif is a national law-school scholastic honor society. Not more than 10 percent of all graduates during the academic year may be elected to membership by vote of the faculty.
Candidates for the J.D. degree having superior grades may by vote of the faculty be awarded the degree cum laude, magna cum laude or summa cum laude. The average grade shall be based on work done in this school only, but, to receive the degree with honors, a transfer from another law school must have at least an average grade of B in law courses at the school previously attended. Beginning with the graduation of Spring 2023, graduating students with a cumulative GPA placing them in the top 35% of their class will receive Latin honors at graduation as follows:
- Top 2%: Summa Cum Laude
- Next 13%: Magna Cum Laude
- Next 20%: Cum Laude
All students who are tied at the margin of a percentage required for Latin honors will be deemed to have achieved the required percentage for the appropriate honors. Students graduating before Spring 2023 should refer to the catalog they matriculated under for honors designations that apply to them. Students who transfer with credit from another law school should refer to the corresponding catalog for the year in which they would have matriculated if they had enrolled at SMU Dedman School of Law as a first-year law student.
- The award of a grade is a matter solely within the academic discretion of the faculty member. A student who believes that the assigned grade is incorrect must first discuss the matter with the faculty member who awarded the grade.
- A faculty member may change a grade that has been submitted to and recorded by the Dedman School of Law registrar only for reasons of mathematical error. A faculty member who wishes to change a grade for reasons of mathematical error shall submit the proposed change along with a brief statement of the reasons for the change to the senior associate dean for academic affairs, who shall approve all grade changes for mathematical error and report them to the Dedman School of Law registrar.
- A faculty member who wishes to change a grade for reasons other than mathematical error must seek the permission of the faculty, which grants such requests only in extraordinary circumstances.
- If the faculty member decides not to seek a grade change, the student may petition the senior associate dean for academic affairs for a review of the faculty member’s decision. The senior associate dean may not change a grade, even with the consent of the faculty member who awarded it. If, after discussion of the matter with the senior associate dean, the faculty member decides to seek a grade change, he or she may proceed as described in paragraph 2 or 3, as appropriate. The senior associate dean will then report the faculty member’s decision to the student.
- If, after discussion of the matter with the senior associate dean, the faculty member decides not to pursue a grade change, the student may petition the dean for a review of the faculty member’s decision. The dean may proceed as he or she deems appropriate. The dean may not ask another person to review the grade without the permission of the faculty member who awarded it. The dean may not change a grade even with the consent of the faculty member who awarded it. The dean may bring the matter before the faculty. However, the faculty may not change the grade without the consent of the faculty member who awarded it. If, upon reconsideration, the faculty member decides that the grade was not accurately determined mathematically or is incorrect for any other reason, he or she may proceed as described in paragraph 2 or 3, as appropriate.
- If there is evidence of unethical or incompetent behavior on the part of a faculty member in the award of a grade, the dean or faculty may refer the matter to the Committee on Ethics and Tenure of the Faculty Senate, with a request that the committee may recommend to the dean or faculty whatever action it considers appropriate. The faculty may change a grade without a faculty member’s consent only upon the recommendation of the Committee on Ethics and Tenure of the Faculty Senate.
- Should the student be convinced that his or her complaint has not been fairly decided by the dean or the faculty, he or she may bring the matter to the attention of the provost. The provost may proceed, as he or she deems appropriate. However, the provost may not ask another person to review the grade without the permission of the faculty member who awarded the grade. The final authority in matters of academic judgment in the determination of a grade rests with the individual faculty member.
- A student who wishes to institute a grade appeal must file a formal appeal request in writing with the senior associate dean for academic affairs no later than 60 days after the grade in question is posted to the student’s transcript. No grade appeals will be considered unless this written appeal is delivered within this 60-day period.
- These provisions are the sole rules that govern the Dedman School of Law course grade appeals at Southern Methodist University.
Courses Outside the Dedman School of Law
Graduate-level courses that are offered in other graduate or professional schools of the University and are relevant to the student’s program may be taken with approval of the assistant dean for student affairs, who shall also determine Dedman School of Law credit equivalents to be awarded for such study. Except with respect to students in joint degree programs, no more than six hours may be awarded toward Dedman School of Law hours required for graduation. Additional information is available from the school’s Registrar’s Office.
Courses at Other Law Schools
Information about transfers from other law schools is found in this catalog under The Juris Doctor Program in the section Admission With Advanced Standing. After entry into the Dedman School of Law, summer courses in other law schools may be taken for transfer of credits with prior approval of the assistant dean for student affairs. Transfer credits may be earned in regular terms only in extraordinary circumstances of demonstrated special need. Detailed information is found under Enrollment and Academic Records. Additional information is available from the school’s Registrar’s Office.