How we grade
In the first year, faculty may grade solely on examinations or may also consider class participation when assigning the final grade.
In upper-level elective and seminar courses, your academic work may be graded entirely by an exam or paper; or the professor may factor with the exam or paper grade, any of the following or combination of the following:
- in-course assignments
- classroom participation
Evaluations are made in accordance with the following system:
CR (credit for the course)
NC (no credit for the course)
IP (in progress)
All grades will appear on the permanent record.
Computation and Grade-point Average
A grade-point average (GPA) is calculated on the basis of the following quality points:
A = 4.0
A- = 3.7
B+ = 3.3
B = 3.0
B- = 2.7
C+ = 2.3
C = 2.0
C- = 1.7
D+ = 1.3
D = 1
F = 0.
The grades of CR, NC, I, W, and AU do not enter into the computation of the grade-point average. The GPA is computed on the basis of all courses taken at St. Mary’s College for which a letter grade has been received. The grade-point average is computed on both a semester-by-semester basis and on a cumulative basis. Transfer credits are excluded from the GPA computation.
Classification of Students
Number of Hours Classification
0-24 First-Year Student
90 and Above Senior
Change of Grade
A change of the final grade in a course may occasionally be justified for extraordinary reasons, such as computational error. Such a change may be initiated by either the instructor or the student. A request initiated by a student must be a formal one, submitted in writing with justification to the instructor by the end of the fourth week of the following semester. Any changes initiated or approved by the instructor must be approved by the department chair and submitted to the Office of the Registrar by the end of the sixth week of the subsequent semester. The registrar will record the grade change on the student’s permanent record.
If a student’s work in a course is unsatisfactory at mid term, the instructor submits a report to the registrar, who sends a copy to the student and faculty adviser.
A student may elect to repeat any course in which he or she wishes to improve the grade. (If a course is designated “May be repeated for credit”. then it can be repeated for a better grade only if the topic is the same as the topic of the original course.) If the course is repeated at St. Mary’s College, the grade earned on the latest attempt, not the original grade, will be used in the computation of the grade-point average. The original grade remains on the permanent record. Furthermore, if the original grade was a passing grade, and the grade received on the latest attempt is a failing grade, then credit for that course will be rescinded.
A student may elect to repeat a course at another institution. To do so, the student must file a pre-approval of transfer credit for with the Office of the Registrar. If the grade received at the other institution is C or better, the student will be awarded transfer credits and the original grade will be removed from the computation of the grade-point average. The transfer grade is not calculated into the grade-point average. A student may not repeat a course after earning a degree from the College.
There are two situations in which a student may receive a Credit/No credit evaluation in lieu of a letter grade. These situations are specified separately in (a) and (b) below:
a. Courses in which letter grades are normally assigned: A student in good academic standing may elect to take, on a credit/no credit basis, a course in which letter grades are normally assigned. In order to do so, the student must file the appropriate form with the Office of the Registrar no later than the last day of the fourth week of classes. When the student has completed the course, the faculty member will assign a letter grade for that student that will be recorded officially as CR if the letter grade is D or higher, or NC if the grade is F. These courses may not include any that are required in a student’s major program nor those used to satisfy general education requirements. A maximum of 16 semester-hours elected on the credit/no credit basis can be applied to graduation. For students transferring into St. Mary’s College with 64 semester-hours or more, a maximum of eight semester-hours elected on the credit/no credit basis can be applied to the degree.
b. Courses in which letter grades are not assigned: In certain courses the assignment of a letter grade is not feasible. These courses are offered only for credit/no credit evaluation by the instructor. Such courses are approved by the provost of the College on recommendation of the appropriate division and the Curriculum Committee and are identified in the course descriptions in this catalog. There is no limit on the number of such courses that a student may take; however, these courses may not be used to satisfy general education or major requirements, with the exception of credit internships approved by the appropriate department.
An “I” (Incomplete) may be given by the instructor only at the request of the student when extraordinary circumstances, such as extended illness or other serious emergency beyond the control of the student, prevent the student from completing a course within the academic term. To qualify for an Incomplete, the extraordinary circumstances must have occurred near the end of the term and the student must have been attending the course regularly throughout the term up until that point. To assign an Incomplete, the instructor must discuss with the student the work that must be completed and the deadline for submission of that work. In addition, the instructor will indicate the reason for the Incomplete by checking the appropriate box on the “Incomplete Request Form” submitted to the registrar at the time grades are due for that semester. The instructor will also indicate the grade the student should receive if the conditions for completion of the course work are not met by the appropriate deadline. If no grade is specified on the Incomplete Request Form or if the reason for the Incomplete is not checked on the form, a grade of “F” will be recorded on the student’s transcript. The student must submit all designated work to the faculty member by the end of the fourth week of the following semester. The deadline for submitting the grade change to the registrar is the end of the sixth week of that semester. Any Incomplete that is not removed prior to that date will revert to the grade specified by the contract granting the Incomplete. The instructor may extend the deadline for submission of work until later in the semester if the student requests such an extension in writing. However, the Incomplete must be removed by the last day of classes of that semester, or the grade reverts to the grade specified by the contract granting the Incomplete. No Incomplete may remain on a graduating senior’s transcript, and graduating seniors are ineligible for Incompletes in the semester that the degree is conferred.
Withdrawal from a Course
A student who formally withdraws from a course after the last day of the schedule-adjustment period but before the end of the tenth week of regularly scheduled classes receives a grade of W for that course. A student may not withdraw from a course after the tenth week of classes unless the student is withdrawing from the College. The associate provost for academic services may grant exceptions to this latter provision in unusual circumstances and following consultation with the instructor and the Academic Policy Committee. The schedule-adjustment period and final date of withdrawal for courses that do not follow the regular academic schedule will be published in the academic calendar. For half-semester courses, this date is usually at the end of the fifth week of regularly scheduled classes.
Enrollment as an Auditor
A student who wishes to show that he or she has attended a course regularly but who does not wish to earn credit for the course may register as an auditor with the consent of the instructor. The following policies govern such registrations:If attendance has been regular, the instructor will assign AU as a grade, but no credit (either attempted or earned) is entered and no quality points are calculated.
1. If the instructor deems that attendance has not been adequate, this will be indicated in the “remarks” column of the grade roster and no record of the course will appear on the student’s grade report or permanent transcript.
2. A change from credit to audit or audit to credit may be made only with the consent of the instructor and no later than the last day of the schedule-adjustment period (the first two weeks of classes).
3. Part-time students must pay for audited courses at the same rate charged for credit courses.
4. Audited courses will not be included in determining the total academic load of the student.
5. Regular attendance at class is expected of the auditor, but he or she is not required to write papers or take quizzes, tests, or examinations.
At the end of each semester and summer session, the Office of the Registrar evaluates every student’s record to determine his or her academic standing.
1. A student whose cumulative grade-point average is 2.00 or higher is in good academic standing.
2. A student who earns a grade-point average of less than 2.00 in any single semester is given an academic warning, which will appear on the grade report.
3. A student whose cumulative grade-point average falls below 2.00 is either placed on academic probation or is dismissed from the College, as specified in the sections below.
A student is placed on academic probation if his or her cumulative grade-point average (GPA) falls in the range specified in the table below:
0.5 – 17 0.00 – 1.99
18 – 29 1.40 – 1.99
30 – 42 1.60 – 1.99
43 – 55 1.80 – 1.99
56 and above less than 2.00
Probationary status is indicated on the permanent record as well as on the grade report. A student on academic probation may not register for more than 16 semester-hours for any regular semester during the term of the probation. In addition, the following extracurricular programs are available only to students in good academic standing: varsity sports, campus media, student government offices, student club offices, drama productions, and music ensembles. (Music ensembles and drama productions are not prohibited to those students on academic probation who are taking them for credit as part of their academic load of 16 or fewer semester-hours.)
At the end of each semester, students are evaluated for dismissal from the College. Any student whose cumulative GPA falls below the minimum requirements listed in the table below will be academically dismissed from the College and will not be permitted to register for credit courses either as a degree or non-degree student (through the Continuing Education Program). However, students are given their first semester at St. Mary’s as a grace period before these requirements are applied. Students are dismissed at the end of the fall semester only under certain special circumstances (i.e., when they have been allowed to return for the fall semester under a special agreement, but have not fulfilled the terms of the agreement).
|Semester-hours Completed||Minimum Cumulative St. Mary’s GPA|
|56 and above||2.00|
Appeal for exemption from dismissal may be granted by the associate provost for academic services in unusual circumstances and following consultation with the Academic Policy Committee. Students whose appeals are granted will be readmitted to the College for one semester on a provisional basis. Failure to comply with the conditions specified in the letter allowing them to return to the College will result in their dismissal at the end of the provisional semester, if their minimum GPA for retention is not attained. Students receiving financial aid and/or scholarships from the College must meet the minimum required academic performance and enroll in the minimum number of semester-hours required for retaining their aid and/or scholarships.Students who have been academically dismissed from St. Mary’s may apply for re-admission after one year by writing to the Academic Policy Committee no sooner than the end of the second semester after their dismissal. The application for re-admission should include the following information: educational goals; past academic difficulties and steps taken to address these difficulties; plans for ensuring future academic success; and transcripts of academic work taken at other institutions during the period following dismissal. Academically dismissed students who wish to continue their education at St. Mary’s should remove deficient grades by taking courses elsewhere until their cumulative GPA at St. Mary’s is at least 2.00. (See “Computation of Grade-point Average” elsewhere in the “Academic Policies” section.)
In evaluating an application for re-admission, the Academic Policy Committee will consider evidence of the student’s growth and maturity that will indicate the student now has an increased probability of being academically successful. Re-admission of dismissed students is not automatic and will be granted by the associate provost for academic services in consultation with the Academic Policy Committee only in cases where the student is clearly capable of fulfilling the rigorous requirements of the honors college curriculum. Students who are re-admitted to the College will be permitted to attend as degree students or to register as non-degree students through the Continuing Education Program. A student re-admitted after being academically dismissed will be placed on a status of provisional admission for the semester after re-admission. Re-admitted students must meet with the associate provost for academic services to discuss their academic plans, and must meet all of the conditions specified in their letter of re-admission, or face dismissal at the end of the provisional semester if they have not attained a cumulative GPA of at least 2.00. Any student who has been re-admitted and whose record following re-admission leads to a second dismissal will be ineligible for further re-admission.
Withdrawal from the College
A student may withdraw from the College at any time during the semester on or before the last day of classes provided the student is not under temporary suspension. To withdraw from the College, the student must receive the approval of the vice president and dean of the College. A student suspended on an interim basis or against whom a temporary suspension or expulsion may be initiated may not withdraw from the College before the conclusion of his/her judicial case. A student who withdraws from the College or is suspended or expelled will be assigned a grade of W in each course for which he or she is currently registered. It is assumed that students who withdraw from the College do not plan to return.
Leave of Absence
A student may take a leave of absence from the College at any time during the semester on or before the last day of classes provided the student is not under temporary suspension. Any degree student may be granted leaves of absence up to a total of three semesters during his or her College career, including the semester in which the leave is initially taken. In cases of unusual need, degree students may be granted additional leaves of absence by the associate provost for academic services following consultation with the Academic Policy Committee. If a student is academically dismissed or expelled from the College during the semester preceding the semester for which a leave of absence is conditionally granted, the approval of the leave is canceled automatically. When a student on leave of absence returns to the College, he or she is reinstated as a degree student and retains the rights to the provisions of his or her prior catalog. Applications for leaves of absence are available in the office of the associate provost for academic services and the office of the vice president and dean of the College and must be filed by the student no later than the last day of classes in the semester in which the leave of absence is to begin. Credit earned at another institution during a leave of absence will be transferable to St. Mary’s College under the same provisions as other transfer credit.
1. If a student pays a deposit and subsequently is granted a leave of absence before the deposit deadline, the deposit, at the student’s discretion, may be held until such time as the leave of absence is terminated.
2. A student who requests a leave of absence after the deadline forfeits the deposit.
3. A student who does not return at the conclusion of the leave of absence will forfeit the deposit.
4. A student who does not return at the conclusion of the leave of absence, but who subsequently wishes to return, must reapply to the College through the Office of Admissions. Re-admission under these circumstances would be under the catalog of the year in which the student returned.
Transcripts of a student’s academic record are issued to other institutions or authorized persons upon completion of a “Transcript Request” form receipt, available from the Office of the Registrar, or by notifying the Office of the Register in writing. The Office of the Registrar will accept a written request for transcripts by fax but not through e-mail. The College does not fax or e-mail official transcripts. All requests for transcripts must include:
1. the signature of the student,
2. student ID number or social security number,
3. dates of attendance,
4. daytime phone number,
5. number of transcripts (official or unofficial),
6. address where transcripts are to be sent.
Credit Hour Definition
State of Maryland
COMAR 13B.01.01.09 Instructional Programs.
3) Credit Hours.
(a) Each school using credit hours shall use either semester hours or quarter hours.
(b) Schools that are authorized to measure instructional time in credit hours are required to convert clock hours to credit hours using a consistent formula.
(c) In converting clock hours to credit hours, the school may use either the following formula or a formula required by the U.S. Department of Education:
(i) One semester credit hour is the equivalent of 15 hours of classroom contact when the lecture instruction method is employed. Each hour of classroom instruction shall be at least 50 minutes in length.
(ii) One semester credit hour is the equivalent of 30 hours of laboratory contact when the supervised laboratory method of instruction is employed. Each hour of laboratory instruction shall be at least 50 minutes in length.
(iii) One semester credit hour is the equivalent of 45 hours of instructional situations such as shop, practica, and internships. Each hour of these instructional situations shall be at least 50 minutes in length.
U.S. Department of Education
CFR, Title 34: Education, Part 600.2
Credit hour: Except as provided in 34 CFR 668.8(k) and (l), a credit hour is an amount of work represented in intended learning outcomes and verified by evidence of student achievement that is an institutionally established equivalency that reasonably approximates not less than—
(1) One hour of classroom or direct faculty instruction and a minimum of two hours of out of class student work each week for approximately fifteen weeks for one semester or trimester hour of credit, or ten to twelve weeks for one quarter hour of credit, or the equivalent amount of work over a different amount of time; or
(2) At least an equivalent amount of work as required in paragraph (1) of this definition for other academic activities as established by the institution including laboratory work, internships, practica, studio work, and other academic work leading to the award of credit hours.
St. Mary’s College follows a semester system with fall and spring semesters consisting of a minimum of 15 weeks. Summer courses are usually 3 and 6 weeks and adhere to the policy relative to the meeting times and amount of out of class work required.
The faculty and department chairs are responsible for developing, maintaining, and evaluating the curriculum. Assignment of credit hours for courses is determined within the academic department based on faculty expertise and course learning objectives. Department chairs and the Provost monitor and ensure that existing courses adhere to the state and federal credit hour regulations. New courses are approved through a department review and are then submitted to the Curriculum Review Committee for recommendation to the Faculty Senate and the Provost. The Provost recommends approval to the President and the Board of Trustees.
Courses are submitted to the Office of the Registrar to be included in the Academic Catalog. Every semester, courses are compiled in the class schedule that is constructed in blocks of time that ensures meeting times conform to the federal guidelines. Any discrepancies are solved through collaboration between the Registrar and Department Chair.
Types of courses
Lecture and Seminar – these are courses with multiple students under the direct supervision of a faculty member. 1 credit = 750 minutes of classroom contact + 1500 minutes of out of class work.
Laboratory – courses in which students perform substantive work in a laboratory setting. 1 credit = 1500 minutes of lab contact + 750 minutes of out of class work.
Independent Study/Directed Research/Guided Reading – these are courses that are arranged between a faculty member and the student to cover course outcomes in a non-traditional meeting schedule. The faculty member will regularly interact with the student and direct student outcomes with periodic contact. Credit for these courses conform to the credit assignment criteria for meeting times and out of class work.
Internship – students may pursue internship credit by establishing a learning agreement through the Career Center. This is a formal process that aligns the student with a faculty mentor and a site supervisor. Credit is awarded through a combination of learning objectives, time on site serving as an intern, and assignments. https://dev.smcm.edu/careercenter/current-future-students/internships/internships-for-credit/