Sep 24, 2023  
2022-2023 Academic Catalog 
2022-2023 Academic Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Undergraduate Academic Regulations

Annual Calendar

Saint Mary’s follows a 4-1-4 undergraduate calendar. This includes a fall term of 14 weeks, during which students normally take four courses, ending before Christmas vacation; a January Term of one month, during which students take only one course; and a spring term, again of 14 weeks, during which students normally take four courses.

Courses for the fall and spring terms are described in this catalog. Courses for the January Term vary from year to year and are described in a special catalog available in the fall term. Besides providing an opportunity for students to focus all their energy on a single subject during one month, the January Term provides the opportunity for various experimental courses, off-campus field study, travel courses in foreign countries, and special independent study projects.

One January Term course is required for each year of full-time attendance. Students in the part-time enrollment program are encouraged to take January Term courses. Any part-time student who wishes to be excused from this requirement must petition the Vice Provost for Student Academics to do so.

Requirements for Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science

In order to qualify for the bachelor’s degree, a student must satisfactorily complete 36 course credits, 17 of which must be upper-division level. A minimum of nine courses must be completed at Saint Mary’s College. Fractional course credit courses (e.g., .25, .50), may not cumulatively account for more than three course credits toward the degree. No student may apply more than three courses in independent studies toward graduation requirements without the permission of the Registrar. This regulation does not apply to independent study courses taken during January Term.


Following the general custom of 4-1-4 colleges, Saint Mary’s College awards undergraduate degree credit in terms of “course credits” or more simply, “courses” (as opposed to semester or quarter units). Since 36 course credits are required for the bachelor’s degree, the regular full-time student will enroll in nine courses per year, four each in the fall and spring terms and one in the January Term. Regular courses in the fall and spring terms are designed to require approximately one-fourth of the academic work expected of a full-time student during the term; January Term courses are designed to require all of the academic work of a full-time student during the term. Courses listed under departments are worth one full course credit (1.00) unless specifically indicated otherwise; multi-part courses (e.g., COMM 132 -COMM 133 ) are worth one full course credit for each part. Fractional course credits are specified as .50 after the course number if they are one-half course credit, or .25 if they are one-quarter course credit. Each 1.0 course credit is equivalent to 3.5 semester units. January Term courses are equivalent to 3.5 semester units. Fractional courses are credited as follows: .25 equals 1.0 semester unit and .50 equals 2.0 semester units.

Credit Hour Definition

Saint Mary’s College follows the federal government’s definition for credit hours, as follows: “As an amount of work represented in intended learning outcomes and verified by evidence of student achievement that is an institutional established equivalence that reasonably approximates no less than:

In order to receive one hour of credit for one semester or trimester course, students will engage in approximately 750 minutes of contact time with the instructor of record and approximately 1,500 non-contact minutes.

In order to receive one hour of credit for a quarter term course, students engage in approximately 550 minutes of contact time with the instructor of record and approximately 1,100 non-contact minutes.

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 a credit hour.”

Upper Division and Lower Division

First-years undergraduate students are expected to concentrate on lower-division courses but may sometimes be admitted to upper-division courses if they have the appropriate preparation. Sophomores normally concentrate on lower-division courses, but may begin to take upper-division courses in their major field, especially in the second semester of their sophomore year. Juniors and seniors normally concentrate on upper-division courses in their major field, and frequently include lower-division courses as electives in their program of study.

Lower-division courses, numbered 001-099, are frequently introductory or survey courses. Upper-division courses, numbered 100-199, are characterized by at least two of the following:

  1. They have college-level prerequisites.
  2. They focus on a particular topic or require an in-depth study of a subject rather than a survey or introduction, and require that the necessary introductory study has been completed.
  3. They demand a readiness and maturity characteristic of students with successful prior college experience, with skills in reading, writing, and discussion of demonstrable rigor, and complexity.
  4. They include course objectives, which entail high levels of cognitive, affective, or psychomotor achievement.

Student Classification

Full-time undergraduate students at Saint Mary’s normally take nine full credit courses each academic year, one of which must be a January Term course.

Full-time students carry 3.00 to 4.00 full course credits in the fall and spring terms, and one course credit during the January Term. Full-time enrollment may range from 7.00 to 9.00 full course credits per year. Full tuition covers from 7.00 to 9.00 full course credits per year. Some students may require an alternative minimum credit load to maintain full-time status (i.e NCAA athletes, international students), and should consult with appropriate advisor. 

The availability of full and fractional course credit (.25 or .5 courses) allows students a wide variety of enrollment combinations in completing their full-time schedule. For example, instead of four regular course credit classes, a full-time student might enroll in three full credit (1.00) classes, in one half-course-credit (.5) class, and in two quarter-course-credit (.25) classes, while still completing the same amount of degree credit. Students may elect to take a number of quarter-course credit (.25) courses each year, with approval of their academic advisor. Fractional credit may not cumulatively account for more than 3.00 course credits toward the degree.

Part-time students carry fewer than 3.00 course credits in the fall and spring terms, and less than 1.00 course credit during the January Term. See Part-time Enrollment .

Matriculated undergraduate students are those who meet all entrance requirements, declare their intention of working for a degree, and follow the prescribed curriculum. Generally, full-time and part-time students are classified as being matriculated students.

Special students are normally part-time students enrolled in regular coursework without the intention of pursuing a degree. Such students are not required to meet the normal admissions requirements.

Class Designations

First-years = fewer than 9 course credits completed
Sophomores = 9 course credits completed
Juniors = 18 course credits completed
Seniors = 27 course credits completed

Course Audits

Matriculated part-time and full-time students with a B average may audit one course each term in addition to the regular class load, with permission of the instructor. However, not all courses or all subject matter fields lend themselves equally to being audited. Students may audit only those courses that have adequate space and facilities to accommodate them. An auditor may not participate actively in coursework or take finals, and therefore does not receive credit. The audited course will be included on the permanent record with the mark “Z”, which signifies the course was audited. Once the course has been audited, the student may not take the course again for a grade towards their Core, Major or Minor requirements. Students enrolled in the Open Enrollment Program (part-time enrollment) must pay an audit fee.(please see the Open Enrollment form located on the Office of the Registrar website under “Forms” for fee information)

Open Enrollment

Open Enrollment is a program that offers part-time study on a space-available basis to the general public. Students matriculated admitted to the College are not eligible to participate in the Open Enrollment program. Open Enrollment students may enroll in a maximum of 2 courses per term. Open Enrollment students may only register during the Drop/Add period, which is the first week of the term. Students may enroll in a total of 4 courses maximum per year and 8 courses maximum for the program. Extended studies beyond the 8 course limit may be granted in special circumstances by approval of the Registrar. For additional information, contact the Registrar’s Office.


Registration Process

Returning undergraduate students register online through GaelXpress 2.0 with advisor registration approval. If departments impose size limits on certain classes, those classes are closed to further enrollment immediately upon reaching the specified maximum. New students admitted for the fall term are advised during the summer, and registered at that time. Approved changes in student registration can be made until the day prior to the start of term. 

Course Waitlist

After online registration takes place and prior to the start of a term, a waitlist option is offered on GaelXpress 2.0 for courses that are full. This option allows a student to add their name to the waitlist so when a spot does become available, the next student on the waitlist will be notified via email and offered a spot. They have 48 hours from the time of the notification to register. If their window expires, they lose this opportunity and the next student on the waitlist will be offered an opportunity to register. Please note that not all courses have waitlists. 

Summer Session

Undergraduate and non-matriculated students may enroll in courses during the undergraduate Summer Sessions on a per course basis. Registration occurs in late spring. See the Summer Session webpage for specific information. 

The Drop-Add Period (Course Enrollment Changes)

The add-drop period is the first week of semester classes and the first two days of Jan Term. Students wishing to add courses do so by contacting the instructors for approval. The instructor can grant “Add Authorization” through GaelXpress 2.0. Students may drop themselves from courses during the add-drop period. Some academic departments may impose additional procedures for course changes within their departments. Students are financially and academically responsible for all courses in which they are enrolled at the end of this period.

Withdrawal from a Course Without Academic Penalty

A student may withdraw from a course without academic penalty through the 10th week of instruction. Students should consult the academic calendar that is posted on the Office of the Registrar’s website to confirm the deadline. The student submits an online petition to withdraw from a course on the Office of the Registrar’s website. The date of submission of the form is considered the last date of attendance. The Office of the Registrar will send out the petition for consideration to the instructor and the student’s academic advisor and will notify the student of the decision. The course remains on the student’s record with a W grade. Failure to submit the request by the deadline will result in the earned grade that is submitted by the instructor after finals week. For billing information, refer to the College Refund Policy. If a student decides to repeat a course from which the student withdrew, the student must pay tuition for the course again.

Overload Registration

Overload registration permits a student to register for more than the allotted number of courses per semester. Undergraduates are allowed to register for the following credit amounts (any combination of full credit and partial credit) without triggering the overload limit:

  • 4.25 (Fall Semester) + 1.25 (Jan Term) + 4.25 (Spring Semester)*

In order to qualify for overloading, students must meet the following criteria:

  • Must have a cumulative grade point average of a 3.0 or higher.
  • First-year students are not permitted to overload.
  • Advisor approval required. 

Overload registration is permitted only after the completion of the initial registration period. Overload courses may incur additional charges, so please consult the Business Office with questions. See also the Expanded Studies Program, below.  

*Applies to all undergraduates who matriculated in the Fall 2019 semester or later. For all other matriculation years prior to Fall 2019, please contact the Registrar’s Office regarding the overload limits. 

Expanded Studies Program

The Expanded Studies Program rewards outstanding undergraduates with opportunities for added study at the College, tuition-free, enabling them to take up to 5.0 course credits in a long semester at no additional cost. Participants are encouraged to explore academic disciplines beyond their declared major field(s) of study, to enrich their major studies with additional or complementary courses, or to pursue a minor, double-major, certificate, etc. While the program has the student’s intellectual development primarily in view, the College benefits by a “multiplication” of ESP students’ presence in the classroom.

Students eligible to participate have met the following requirements:

  1. have a cumulative SMC grade point average (only includes courses taken at Saint Mary’s College) of at least 3.70;
  2. be enrolled as a full-time undergraduate at Saint Mary’s College;
  3. have reached at least first-term sophomore status (9 credits taken or accepted for credit at Saint Mary’s College;
  4. have declared a major field of study.

For further information, please consult with your Academic Advisor.

Independent Study and Internship Courses

The College offers students three kinds of independent study undergraduate courses: A 199 course (Honors Study) is ordinarily taken by an upper-division student with a 3.0 (B average) in the field of his/her major; a 197 course (Independent Study) is ordinarily taken by a student whose educational needs cannot be met by courses available in the regular curriculum; a 195 course (Internship) is ordinarily taken by an upper-division student who wishes to complement his/her education with related work experience. The 195 Internship may be repeated at most once for credit, if content varies.

Enrollment in 195 or 197 courses requires good academic standing (2.0). First-years are precluded from taking an independent study during their first term at SMC, unless they have previously completed college coursework elsewhere for a letter grade (i.e., not including AP or IB courses). 1.0-credit January Term independent study courses are limited to sophomore, junior, and senior students with a 2.5 or better overall grade point average. No student may apply more than three cumulative credits in independent studies toward graduation requirements without the permission of the Registrar. The three-credit maximum may be reached with three 1.0 credit courses or any number of 0.25, 0.50, and/or 1.0 courses that add to 3.0 credits total. This regulation does not apply to independent study courses taken during January Term.

Undergraduate students may arrange with individual instructors to undertake independent study courses during the summer. As during any other term, an independent study petition must be completed and approved by the instructor and department or Core Curriculum Committee chair. Students should register for summer credit at the Registrar’s Office by early June. At that time the approved petition must be filed, and tuition arrangements settled with the Business Office. Work should be completed and grades reported to the Registrar by early August.

Courses from Other Colleges

Some students may choose to enroll in coursework at other accredited local colleges while they are attending Saint Mary’s during the regular academic year, or they may take summer work elsewhere. Prior to any such enrollment for transfer credit, students should check the Transfer Equivalency Portal on the Office of the Registrar’s website to ensure that that the course is a pre-approved transferable course. If the course is not pre-approved, a Transfer Credit Approval form must be submitted to have that credit approved toward the degree at Saint Mary’s. At the end of each term at the transfer college, the student should immediately have office transcripts sent to the Registrar’s Office at Saint Mary’s so that the transfer credit can be recorded. All transfer credit accepted by Saint Mary’s College is included on the student’s Saint Mary’s transcript and is computed into the student’s total college grade point average.

Students must take the majority of their major courses at Saint Mary’s College. Some departments have particular requirements, and they are listed under the individual departments in this catalog. Only course grades of C- or above are acceptable toward meeting graduation requirements.

Graduation Requirements

In order to graduate from this College, undergraduate students must have both a cumulative grade point average of 2.0 (C average), computed on all courses taken or accepted for credit at Saint Mary’s College, an institutional cumulative grade point average of 2.0 (C average), computed on all courses taken at Saint Mary’s, and a grade point average of 2.0 (C average) in courses required for their program or their major (or minor). The College reserves the right to withhold or rescind a degree.

In Residence Requirement, Senior Year

The “in residence” requirement for the undergraduate degree is ordinarily four academic years at Saint Mary’s College or equivalent transfer credit from some other college or university. However, the “in residence” requirement for the senior year is 7.0 course credits. This consists of either taking seven 1.0-credit courses, or a combination of 1.00-credit courses and partial credit (.25 and .50) courses at Saint Mary’s College. Students who transfer to the College in their senior year will be required to take a full load of nine course credits, of which at least seven courses must be upper division, in order to receive the degree from Saint Mary’s. All holds and balances must also be resolved prior to being cleared for graduation. At least two courses in the minor must be taken at Saint Mary’s.

Graduation Procedure

At the beginning of the senior year, each student must complete an Application for Commencement by March 1. These forms are available online using GaelXpress. The Registrar’s Office reviews all such petitions, checks the prospective graduate’s record of completed coursework, and notifies students of their eligibility to participate in the commencement ceremony. Seniors who will not have completed all degree work by commencement may participate in commencement exercises provided they have no more than two courses or course credits remaining to complete, and are in good standing. All seniors are assessed a graduation fee, whether or not they plan to participate in commencement exercises.

Participation in the commencement ceremony does not automatically mean a student is cleared for graduation, as there could be outstanding courses or grades missing from the student’s record. A representative from the Office of the Registrar will notify all students of pending requirements and provide a deadline by which all requirements must be met. Beyond that deadline, the student could be subject to administrative withdrawal.

Exchange Course Program

At present, Saint Mary’s College participates in an undergraduate exchange enrollment program with members of the Regional Association of East Bay Colleges and Universities. Among others in the association are UC Berkeley, and California State University, East Bay, as well as Holy Names University, and Mills College in Oakland. The program enables a full-time student enrolled at any one of the participant colleges to take up to one course per term at any of the institutions during the fall or spring semesters only. The program is designed to broaden the range of classes available to students of these colleges and should normally be used only to take courses that are not offered at their home institutions. In order to participate, a student can enroll in only three courses at Saint Mary’s College.

Exchange enrollment is on a tuition-free basis, with full tuition paid to the student’s home school; however, special course fees (laboratory, studio, etc.) are payable directly by the student to the exchange institution. Information and exchange enrollment forms are available from the Registrar’s Office.

Students who are interested in participating in the ROTC at other Bay Area institutions should contact the Registrar at Saint Mary’s College for information

Study Abroad Programs

In today’s global environment, study abroad can be a defining element for every student’s undergraduate degree. Many companies and organizations increasingly desire leaders with the ability to live successfully in a variety of countries, and work with people of various cultural backgrounds. Students have a unique opportunity during undergraduate study to explore the world through Saint Mary’s College Study Abroad Exchange programs or non-Saint Mary’s programs. Saint Mary’s offers opportunities to study for a semester in college-sponsored programs in Australia, China, Costa Rica, England, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, Poland, South Africa, and Spain. These programs provide students an opportunity to study and live in another culture while maintaining a close affiliation with the home campus. Individual study options can include both Saint Mary’s coursework and courses from the affiliated host institution. Participants in College-sponsored programs are able to apply their Saint Mary’s financial aid toward the cost of their study abroad program as well as Pell and Cal grant aid. Students are considered to be “in residence” even though they are overseas. Students are also able to participate in an out-of-network program, and can apply their government financial aid. For further information on international study options, please contact the Center for International Programs or refer to their services in this Catalog.

Students applying for all semester or year-length programs (whether sponsored by Saint Mary’s or another institution) must submit a completed Application for Study Abroad to the CIP by March 1st for fall semester programs or by October 1st for spring semester programs. All students must submit an online application to determine whether they are eligible to study abroad. Study Abroad approval is necessary to receive direct academic credit from Saint Mary’s and the ability to retain certain kinds of financial aid.

General requirements for semester/ year-length programs are:

  1. A 2.8 minimum grade point average (both in major and cumulative GPA), although some programs have a higher specific GPA requirement.
  2. Foreign language proficiency: Some programs call for a minimum of two semesters of college-level study in the language of the host country. While abroad, students are encouraged to study the language of the host country if they do not have proficiency in the language.
  3. Two letters of recommendation from faculty.
  4. An essay outlining reasons for study abroad, and how the proposed program of study will further the student’s educational and personal goals.

The application and required supplemental forms to complete are listed on the study abroad website ( All applications are reviewed and approved by the Center for International Programs and faculty committee. The Center for International Programs staff advise and guide students through the pre- and post-travel period.

For summer study abroad, the Center for International Programs provides advisement and has a number of SMC approved options in Europe. Summer travel programs may also be available through Summer Session. Locations vary each year.

The January Term also offers domestic and international travel courses. Domestic travel courses are open to all students, and international travel courses are open to all sophomores and above who are in good academic standing.

Credit by Examination

In order to encourage superior undergraduate students to develop the capacity to direct their own studies, and to work independently, the College provides an opportunity to pass by examination up to nine regular courses, either by passing the College Level Examination Program (CLEP) examinations administered by the College Entrance Examination Board or by challenging Saint Mary’s courses.

Saint Mary’s will grant a maximum of 30 units (nine courses) of College credit to undergraduate students passing CLEP examinations at the median level or above as compared to regular college students. Credit will be given only for the subject examinations that correspond to particular College courses, and not for the general examinations.

A undergraduate student who receives a maximum of nine course credits for passing the CLEP examinations is not eligible to challenge by examination any courses offered by Saint Mary’s. However, undergraduate students who receive less than nine course credits for passing the CLEP examinations may challenge by examination as many Saint Mary’s courses as will equal a maximum of nine courses passed by any kind of examination, whether the CLEP examinations or Saint Mary’s examinations.

A matriculated part-time or full-time undergraduate student with a B average may take by examination current catalog courses in which they feel adequately prepared on account of private study, personal experience, on-the-job training, or work at a non-accredited college. It is to be understood, of course, that not all courses-for example, laboratory courses, seminars and seminar-type courses-can be suitably passed by examination.

In order to take a course by examination an undergraduate student must make a formal application that is approved by the instructor of the course being challenged, the department chair of the department concerned, and the Registrar, and pay the scheduled fee of $50.

Students will not be allowed to challenge a course by examination if they had been enrolled in it for all or part of a term, if they had the requirement waived, or if they audited it during the previous term.

Courses passed by examination cannot be counted toward the fulfillment of residency requirements; however, they may be included in the total number of courses required for graduation.

Grading for a challenged course shall be the same as for a regular course; however, the student’s transcript will indicate that the former course was “passed by examination.”


Midterm Grades

During a one-week pre-announced period near the middle of the fall and spring terms, faculty who wish to do so administer midterm examinations, which are held at the usual class hours. The assignment of midterm grades is mandatory for all faculty. The only grades used at midterm are S (satisfactory progress), D and F (deficiency grades), where appropriate. The grades of Z (audit) and W (withdrawn from course) also appear as midterm grades. Midterm grades are available online for students.

Final Grades and Grade Changes

Fall and spring undergraduate terms conclude with a week of specially scheduled examinations. Faculty report final grades to the Registrar’s Office. Final grades are available online for students. Grades are released directly only to the students themselves.

Saint Mary’s College employs the following final grades: A, excellent; B, very good; C, satisfactory; D, barely passing; and F, failing. All final grades affect grade point average computation (on an A = 4 points scale), and P (passed), Z (audit), I (incomplete), and W (withdrew) do not affect grade point average computation. Plus/minus grading is permitted. A plus or minus changes the point value of a grade by 0.3 grade point upward or downward respectively (e.g., B+ carries 3.3 points; B-, 2.7); there is no A+.

Final grades are considered permanent and not to be changed except in case of an error in computing, recording, and evaluating a student’s work, subject to the approval of the Registrar. When necessary, faculty may secure grade change petitions from the Registrar’s Office. Students wishing to appeal a specific grade assigned by an instructor may do so under the Academic Appeals Process. Information on this process may be obtained from the Office of the Vice Provost for Student Academics. Grade changes for prior terms may not occur more than one year from the initial posting of the grades.

Satisfactory / Pass / Fail Grading

Satisfactory/pass/fail (S/D/F) grading is offered as an option to the undergraduate student for certain elective courses. Courses required for a student’s major, minor, and courses taken to satisfy the requirements of the Core Curriculum in the areas of Habits of Mind, Pathways to Knowledge, Engaging the World and language proficiency (see Program of Study) may not be taken on an S/D/F basis. In courses taken on this basis, the satisfactory grade (the equivalent of C- or higher on the regular grading scale) will not affect the student’s grade point average. THE D AND F GRADES WILL AFFECT THE GPA IN THE USUAL MANNER. Students may not take more than three courses during their four years on the S/D/F basis; in any one term they may not take more than one such course. Petitions for S/D/F grading, which require the instructor’s permission, are available from the Registrar’s Office and must be filed by the end of the 10th week of instruction.

Incomplete Grade

Students must meet with the instructor in order to request an incomplete grade, on grounds of unavoidable circumstances. Requests must be approved by the course instructor, prior to the deadline for the submission of term grades, and the instructor must verify that the student had reasonable attendance throughout the withdrawal period (through the 10th week in instruction), and was passing the course when the circumstances prompting the petition arose. An instructor may originate an I (incomplete) grade only if the student is incapable of appearance on campus, and has specifically requested an I (incomplete) grade from the instructor. The student must satisfactorily complete the coursework, and the instructor’s change of grade (if any) must be submitted to the Registrar’s Office prior to the end of the midterm examination period (the 7th week of instruction) during the next long term. An I (incomplete) grade not changed by the due date will be changed by the Registrar to F (failure). An extension of the due date, not to exceed one long term, may be requested for extraordinary grounds. Students may not re-enroll in a course in which they have an uncleared I (incomplete) grade.

Repeating a Course

A course may be repeated at this College or at another college for credit. Only the most recently earned grade and grade points shall be used in computing the grade point averages; the course will not be counted a second time toward graduation. If a student repeats a course, the student must pay tuition for the course again. There is no limit on the number of times a course can be repeated.


Transcripts of credit earned at Saint Mary’s College (including exchange credit) should be requested at the Registrar’s Office. Although transfer credit accepted toward the degree at Saint Mary’s is shown on the transcript, it should not be regarded as a complete or official record of that credit. Exam scores (SAT I, ACT, GRE) and high school records are not included in the Saint Mary’s transcript; they must be requested separately from the original school or test firm.

The transcript fee is $5 per copy for regular service (3-5 business days), $15 for next day service and $25 for same day service. Transcript requests must be submitted online at A maximum of 3-5 working days is allowed for processing.

Students must submit requests for final transcripts of any work in progress at the end of the term. There is no “work in progress” transcript available.

Academic Honors

The Dean’s List

Each term, the names of those full-time undergraduate students attaining a scholastic average of 3.50 or better for that term are inscribed on the Dean’s List.

The Saint Mary’s Honors Program

To participate in and receive recognition for completing the Honors Program, a student must have earned a cumulative grade point average of 3.50 and must have earned at least 150 Honors points (see the Program’s website for details about earning points: A student may complete the Honors Program “with High Honors” by earning 175 points, and may earn the Honors Medallion, the Program’s top award, by earning 200 points.

Honors at Graduation

Summa Cum Laude
A student must have earned a cumulative grade point average of 3.85 for all college work.

Magna Cum Laude
A student must have earned a cumulative grade point average of 3.70 for all college work.

Cum Laude
A student must have earned a cumulative grade point average of 3.50 for all college work.

To qualify for graduation with honors, transfer students must complete at least nine courses at Saint Mary’s with a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.50.

Awards at Graduation

Eligibility for candidacy for all commencement awards (Valedictorian, De La Salle, school or departmental awards, etc.) is determined by cumulative and/or major grade point averages of 3.7 for college work completed (both at Saint Mary’s College and at other institutions through transfer credit) on March 1 of the year in which the student is scheduled to participate in the commencement exercises. The student must submit an Application for Commencement form no later than March 1.

De La Salle Award

An award named in honor of Saint John Baptist de La Salle, the founder of the Brothers of the Christian Schools, awarded annually by the College, in memory of J. A. Graves of the class of 1872, to the student in the senior class holding the highest record for scholarship and general excellence. This award is the highest honor at Saint Mary’s College.

Other Graduation Awards

James L. Hagerty Award (School of Liberal Arts)

Arthur S. Campbell Award (School of Science)

Brother U. Jerome Griffin Award (School of Economics and Business Administration)

Henry Rand Hatfield Award (Department of Accounting)

Julie A. Pryde Award (Allied Health Science Program)

Brother Kyran Aviani Award (Department of Art)

Margaret Mead Award (Department of Anthropology)

Carlos Freitas Award (Department of Biology)

Linus Pauling Award (Department of Biochemistry)

Earl W. Smith Award (Department of Business Administration)

Joseph P. McKenna Award (Department of Chemistry)

Saint Augustine Award (Department of Classical Languages)

Byron Bryant Award (Department of Communication)

Adam Smith Award (Department of Economics)

Brother Leo Meehan Award (Department of English and Drama)

John Muir Award (Environmental and Earth Science Programs)

Sin Fronteras (Ethnic Studies Program)

Dag Hammarskjöld (Global and Regional Studies Program)

John Dennis Award (High Potential Program)

Professor Ben Frankel (Department of History)

Saint Thomas Aquinas Award (Integral Program)

bell hooks Award (Justice, Community and Leadership Program)

Mens Sana in Corpore Sano Award (Department of Kinesiology)

Brother Alfred Brousseau Award (Department of Mathematics and Computer Science)

Louis LeFevre Award (Department of Performing Arts)

St. Albertus Magnus Award (Department of Philosophy)

Galileo Galilei Award (Department of Physics and Astronomy)

Thurgood Marshall Award (Department of Politics)

Frederick Whelan Award (Department of Psychology)

Jane Addams Award (Department of Sociology)

John XXIII Award (Department of Theology and Religious Studies)

Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz Award (Women’s and Gender Studies Program)

Dante Award (Department of World Languages and Cultures)

George R. McKeon Scholar-Athlete Awards (Athletics; awarded to one male and one female student, distinguished as both outstanding athletes and scholars.)

George Robert Milliken Award (for student service)

Leave of Absence

Any matriculated student not in probationary status may request a leave of absence from the College. The leave may be for a minimum of one fall or spring term, or up to a full academic year. The student must submit a request to go on a leave of absence to the Registrar’s Office no later than the fourth week of the term in which the leave takes effect. The submission date of the leave of absence will be the date used for the last date of attendance.

Students on leave will be kept informed of pertinent College activities and deadlines, especially registration information for the next term. Any enrollments at other post-secondary institutions should be reviewed for transferability and applicability of the credit. Readmission is guaranteed assuming the student resumes enrollment at the College within the specified time. No additional applications are needed for students to return. Returning students will receive a registration time and will need to meet with their advisor to be cleared for registration. Students who do not return from leave within one academic year will be withdrawn from the College, and required to apply for readmission.

Withdrawal from the College

Any non-graduating student who terminates their enrollment at Saint Mary’s during or at the end of any term must submit a request for withdrawal from Saint Mary’s College form to the Office of the Registrar. The submission date of the withdrawal from the college form will be the date used for the last date of attendance. All financial obligations to the College must still be met.

Administrative Withdrawal

Students who do not attend classes for the term that follows the last term of enrollment will be administratively withdrawn from the College. The last date of the term of the last term attended will be used as the last date of attendance. All financial obligations to the College must still be met.


A student who has withdrawn from the College or been inactive for more than one year must submit an application for readmission to the Office of the Registrar. When applying for readmission, the student should present transcripts of all transfer work completed since leaving Saint Mary’s College. Readmission Applications are accepted for the Fall Term from February through the end of the first week of June. Applications for Spring Term are accepted from August through the end of the first week of January.

Once readmitted, The Advising Office (TAO) will reach out to the student to update their Academic Evaluation, discuss options for completing the degree, and assign them to an academic advisor for continuing support with academic planning and graduation in their intended degree program. Students in good academic and student conduct standing who return to the College will be readmitted to the current catalog year, and the student will be responsible for completing the current major and Core Curriculum requirements for graduation. 

If a student’s major degree program is no longer offered at the College or has substantially changed in its requirements, the readmitted student may have their coursework applied to a new major program or may pursue an individualized major under the direction of a faculty advisor. Individualized majors for readmitted students are approved by the Chair of the Undergraduate Educational Policies Committee (UEPC), the relevant academic Dean(s)’ Office(s), and the Registrar. Core Curriculum requirements should not be waived, but previous coursework, independent studies, and professional experiences outside the College may be approved for substitution by the Chair of the Core Curriculum Committee (CCC) based upon alignment with the learning outcomes.

Academic Standing

Saint Mary’s College recognizes two regular categories of academic standing: Satisfactory Academic Progress and Probationary Status.

Satisfactory Academic Progress

A student who maintains a cumulative grade point average of at least 2.00 (C average) in all courses taken or accepted for credit at Saint Mary’s College is considered to be making satisfactory academic progress.

Probationary Status

A student who, at the end of fall or spring, fails to maintain satisfactory academic progress is considered to have probationary status. The Student Success Office will notify students in probationary status and their academic advisors and success coaches, in writing, that failure to achieve satisfactory academic progress no later than the close of the next long (i.e., fall or spring) term will subject students in probationary status to academic disqualification from further study at Saint Mary’s College.


In the event that a student withdraws from Saint Mary’s College after final grades are posted, the Academic Standing policy will still apply. The process will continue (as outlined) and notations may be added to a student’s official transcript.

Major Change

Students on any Probationary status can change their major, with the approval of the Chair of the Department they intend to major in for the purposes of pursuing classes that may be more in line with a student interest and/or career choice. However, it is important to note that the change of a major will not affect academic status (cumulative GPA will remain the same regardless of academic program).

Subject to Academic Disqualification

A student is subject to academic disqualification from further study at Saint Mary’s if:

  • A student is already in probationary status and fails to resume satisfactory academic progress by the end of the semester of probation.

A student who is not in probationary status may be subject to disqualification if:

  • The student’s cumulative GPA falls below 1.55 for all courses taken or accepted for credit.

Students subject to disqualification will be notified promptly, in writing, by the Student Success Office. Students are responsible for their academic standing after grades are posted, and for responding to the notification within one week. Failure to respond may lead to a student being disqualified automatically. The Academic Probation Review Board has the authority to uphold the disqualification or grant Special Academic Probation for extenuating circumstances.

Special Academic Probation

Special Academic Probation may be granted at the discretion of the Academic Probation Review Board, whose members include the Registrar, faculty representatives, the Dean of Students, and Student Success Office representatives. In addition to the information contained in the student’s petition, the board may seek the advice of the student’s instructors, academic advisor, school dean, and others when appropriate. Special Academic Probation is granted pursuant to the following conditions:

  • Filing of a timely appeal against disqualification for cause (e.g., existence of serious personal or health factors, or other special circumstances, which have substantially impaired the student’s ability to successfully meet the demands of the College’s academic programs);
  • Demonstration in the appeal of the reasonable expectation that the student can achieve satisfactory academic progress by the close of the next long (i.e., fall or spring) term;
  • Acceptance by the student of the conditions specified by the Academic Probation Review Board, which will lead to the resumption of satisfactory academic progress by the close of the next long term.

Students who fail to meet the conditions of the Special Academic Probation by the end of the next long term will be immediately disqualified. The Academic Probation Review Board exercises sole authority in cases of Special Academic Probation.

In extraordinary circumstances, a student may appeal a disqualification or other decision by the Academic Probation Review Board. This appeal must be made within 90 calendar days of notification of disqualification and will be considered only if there is strong and compelling evidence of incorrect procedure, error, or new information. The Vice Provost for Student Academics or their designee will determine whether to reopen the case on the Academic Probation Review Board.

Students disqualified from the College may reapply for readmission through the Office of the Registrar if they take Saint Mary’s courses in summer session or present work from another college or university that is acceptable for transfer credit, and that credit is sufficient to signify satisfactory academic progress, and a grade point average of 2.00 or higher. A decision on readmission to Saint Mary’s College is made by the Registrar at the recommendation of the Chair of the Academic Probation Review Board.

Class Attendance

Class attendance is an important obligation and an essential condition for successful academic progress. Absences may seriously jeopardize the satisfactory completion of a course.

Faculty are responsible for establishing and communicating the attendance policy for a given course. Faculty should indicate dates associated with significant or essential components of their courses - such as exams, papers, projects, and field trips - on their course syllabus. Absences do not excuse students from their academic responsibilities. Students are expected to meet all course expectations on time, including any work assigned during an absence. Academic penalties for absences depend upon the nature and the amount of work missed, of which the faculty member is the sole judge.

The program, department, or faculty have the right to determine the maximum number of absences that a student may have and pass the course. This maximum should correspond to the number of absences that the program, department, or faculty deems will make it impossible for the student to be able to achieve, or demonstrate achievement of, the course’s learning outcomes. This maximum number of absences is to be stated in the syllabus.

A student who misses the first session of a course, even if pre-registered, may be administratively withdrawn from the course to allow waitlisted students to enroll. Excessive absence can be a cause for dismissal from the College.

Attendance at Religious Functions

Attendance at Chapel is not required of any student at the College. Students, including those who are not members of the Roman Catholic Church, are invited to attend collegiate religious functions (e.g., Mass of the Holy Spirit, Founder’s Day Mass, Baccalaureate Mass). Such functions are understood not to be merely sectarian exercises but ecumenical expressions of the values on which the College is founded.

Student Athletes

During the competition season, student-athletes are authorized to be absent from class meetings for official athletic competitions. Students participating in intercollegiate competitions are considered representatives of the College. Student-athletes and the Athletics Department are responsible for providing official and timely documentation of competition dates to course instructors.

These authorized absences do not excuse student-athletes from their academic responsibilities, and student-athletes are expected to meet all course expectations. Student-athletes and faculty are encouraged to work collaboratively to determine accommodations for authorized absences that conflict with essential course activities. Faculty are not required to schedule additional contact hours in order to accommodate authorized absences. The faculty member is the sole judge of the appropriateness of an accommodation, as well as the academic penalty for any missed work or participation that cannot be reasonably accommodated. If, in the opinion of the faculty, the absences will interfere with the student’s ability to perform successfully in the course, the student-athlete might be advised to drop the course.

Student-athletes may not miss class to attend team practices or workouts; this is explicitly stated in and supported by NCAA policies. Faculty have no responsibility to allow the makeup of missed work or participation due to practice, workouts, or any reason that is not an official athletic competition.

Following the general attendance policy for all students, the program, department, or faculty have the right to determine the maximum number of absences that a student may have and pass the course. Since the maximum is based on achieving the course learning goals, the maximum number of absences - the total of authorized and unauthorized absences - is the same for student-athletes and non-student-athletes.

Academic Honor Code

Saint Mary’s College expects every member of its community to promote and abide by ethical standards, both in conduct and exercise of responsibility towards other members of the community. Academic Honesty must be demonstrated at all times to maintain the integrity of scholarship and the reputation of the College. Academic dishonesty is a serious violation of College policy because, among other things, it undermines the bonds of trust and honesty between members of the community and betrays those who depend upon the College’s academic integrity and knowledge.

As an expression of support for academic integrity throughout the Saint Mary’s learning community and as an administrative tool to discourage academic dishonesty, Saint Mary’s has implemented the Academic Honor Code. The Academic Honor Code has been approved by the Associated Students, the Faculty Academic Senate, the Provost and the President of Saint Mary’s College.


All students, whether undergraduate or graduate, agree to the following pledge, the Academic Honor Code, by accepting their admittance to the College and not having read the Code is not an excuse for violating it. The pledge reads as follows: 

As a student member of an academic community based in mutual trust and responsibility, I pledge: 

  • To do my own work at all times, without giving or receiving inappropriate aid; 

  • To avoid behaviors that unfairly impede the academic progress of other members of my community; and 

  • To take reasonable and responsible action in order to uphold my community’s academic integrity. 

All students, whether undergraduate or graduate, are expected to commit themselves to the Academic Honor Pledge and abide by the Academic Honor Code. Students affirm this commitment when they accept admission to the College; not having read the Code is not an excuse for violating it. The Pledge reads as follows: 

As a student member of an academic community based in mutual trust and responsibility, I pledge: 

  • To do my own work at all times, without giving or receiving inappropriate aid; 

  • To avoid behaviors that unfairly impede the academic progress of other members of my community; and 

  • To take reasonable and responsible action in order to uphold my community’s academic integrity.

Any work that a student undertakes as part of the progress toward a degree or certification must be the student’s own, unless the relevant instructor specifies otherwise. That work may include examinations, whether oral or written, oral presentations, laboratory exercises, papers, reports, and other written assignments. Whenever possible, an instructor should specify the rules that students are to follow in completing these assignments, and students should consult with instructors when they are uncertain about the rules for an examination, proper attribution of written material, or any other aspect of the academic process. In written work other than examinations, students must clearly indicate the sources of information, ideas, opinions, and quotations that are not their own. Under the Academic Honor Code, a student takes responsibility for the correctness and authenticity of all work submitted by that student.

Detailed regulations concerning the Academic Honor Code and the penalties for breach of academic honesty, which may include dismissal from the College, may be found here. Each student is held responsible for being acquainted with these regulations.

Turnitin Policies and Procedures

Saint Mary’s College uses the Turnitin service. The following policies apply to students:

Turnitin is integrated into the Saint Mary’s learning management system (Moodle) as a course activity, where faculty set up links for students to submit written work.

Any student requested to do so by his/her instructor must submit written work to a specified Turnitin link within Moodle.

All students enrolled in a Collegiate Seminar course or in English 004/004C, or ENGL 005/005C are required to submit their final versions of all essay assignments within the Moodle courses Turnitin link.

Turnitin Directions for students may be found here:

If students need assistance using Turnitin, they can visit the Tech Bar located on the first floor of the library, or contact the IT Service Desk: or (925) 631-4266.

Academic Appeals

Academic Appeal Process for Undergraduates

The Committee on Academic Appeals is a faculty/student committee which hears appeals from undergraduate students regarding decisions concerning academic regulations and standards affecting them individually. A standing committee, it is convened and chaired by the Vice Provost for Student Academics, at the request of the student: 

  • To hear appeals regarding decisions of the Dean of the School or of the Registrar (and approved by the Dean of the School) concerning courses, standards, academic regulations and requirements for graduation; 

  • To hear appeals regarding grades given by instructors. 

The Committee consists of up to ten members, including: 

  • Vice Provost for Student Academics (ex officio and nonvoting) 

  • at least three (3) ranked faculty members appointed by the Chair of the Committee on Committees; 

  • three (3) ranked alternates (but also including Christian Brothers currently teaching at the College), one each from the Schools of Liberal Arts, Science, and Economics and Business Administration, appointed by the Vice Provost for Student Academics; 

  • at least three (3) students appointed by the AS President for one-year, renewable terms and confirmed by the Executive Council of that group. 


  1. When the student expects to appeal a decision by the Dean of their School or the Registrar, or to appeal a grade given by an instructor (see 1 and 2 above), the student must file a notification to that effect with the Vice Provost for Student Academics within one month from the beginning of the next long term. 

  2. The student is normally expected first to take their appeal to the instructor or administrator involved. If the student is not satisfied with the outcome, they should next take the appeal to the department chairperson or to the appropriate academic administrator. 

  3. If the matter is not resolved in step 2, the student will file a written statement of appeal with the Vice Provost for Student Academics. The Vice Provost will notify the appropriate instructor, department chairperson, and the School Dean that an appeal has been filed. 

  4. If the student decides not to pursue the appeal, they must advise the Vice Provost for Student Academics that the appeal is withdrawn. 

  5. The appeal must be brought to the Committee on Academic Appeals before one long term has elapsed since the term in which the cause for appeal occurred. 

  6. The Committee will not consider an appeal until and unless all the above avenues of informal resolution have been pursued. 

  7. The Vice Provost for Student Academics serves as the nonvoting Chair for each appeal hearing. Representatives of the two principals (a faculty member chosen by the student-a Christian Brother on staff may also serve this role-and a ranked faculty member chosen by the other principal, or in the case of an appeal of a decision by the Registrar’s Office, a representative of that office not involved in the original decision) will present to the Committee the respective arguments of the two principals whom they represent. The two principals do not attend the meeting unless requested to do so by the Committee. 

  8. Minutes of the proceedings will be taken and kept on file in the Office of the Vice Provost. All proceedings and correspondence, and the minutes are confidential and will not be maintained in the student’s permanent academic record. 

  9. In hearing an appeal, the Committee has authority to: 

    1. set time limits on presentation by representatives of the two principals; 

    2. request written statements from the principals, if necessary; 

    3. determines if the principals are to appear before it; 

    4. consider during its deliberations all documents and any records considered by the initiating instructor or administrator; oral and/or written argument of both principals; additional evidence the Committee deems appropriate. 

  10. The Committee, upon reaching a majority decision, has the authority in the individual case to instruct the Registrar to waive an academic regulation or requirement, make an exception to an academic standard, or to change a grade. 

  11. The Vice Provost for Student Academics gives written notification of the Committee’s decisions to the principals. 

Academic Appeal Process for Graduate and Professional Program Students

The academic appeal process provides students with an opportunity to have their appeals heard in a predictable, timely and fair manner. Students are free to pursue any other right or remedy provided by law, but this policy sets forth the exclusive procedures to be followed by a student seeking an administrative resolution to an appeal.


An academic appeal is a dispute that involves the application of, or compliance with, the academic policies and procedures of Saint Mary’s College. Appeals governed by this process generally include outcomes directly related to policies described in the Graduate and Professional Student Academic Policies section of this Handbook. An appeal shall not include challenges to or attempts to change state or federal law, or policies or procedures of Saint Mary’s College. Appeals may involve any of the following:

  • The interpretation of admissions criteria regarding a particular student’s application,

  • Probation or disqualification,

  • The determination of the number of units taken in residence at Saint Mary’s College,

  • The determination of transfer course or unit eligibility for degrees at Saint Mary’s College,

  • Grades,

  • Determinations associated with the continuous enrollment/ leave of absence policy,

  • Determinations regarding the deadline for completion of degree,

  • Determinations regarding the approval of a second master’s degree,

  • Determination of degree candidacy and conferral of degree,

  • Or, any other situation related to academic policies (other than the Honor Code).


A student who elects to file an appeal shall follow the steps described below within the determined time frame.

At each step of the appeal procedure, a colleague or faculty member may accompany the student. Because the appeal process is not a legal process, the student shall not be accompanied or represented by an attorney.

Neither the student filing an appeal nor any faculty member or colleague accompanying the student will be disciplined or discriminated against for participating in the appeal procedure.

After a formal, written appeal has been filed, the issues of the appeal shall not be added to or altered except with the written permission of the dean of the school. If the process reveals that different or additional issues must be part of the appeal, then the changed appeal must be initiated anew.


A student who wants to appeal an academic issue should first discuss it with the involved faculty member (in the case of a grade) or the program director (on other matters) in order to try to work out a satisfactory solution in an informal manner. If a solution satisfactory to all parties is not accomplished through informal discussion, then the appealing student may file a formal appeal.

If an informal resolution cannot be reached, the student must submit a written appeal to the Dean of the respective school. If the involved faculty member is the dean of the school, the appeal should be submitted directly to the Vice Provost for Student Academics, who will carry out the actions attributed to the dean. The written appeal should include a statement of the issue and the desired remedy.

No later than 10 business days after receiving the appeal, the dean shall convene an Appeals Committee.


The Appeals Committee shall consist of two full-time faculty members (appointed by the dean), the associate dean, who shall act as chairperson of the committee, and a student appointed by the dean to serve on the committee for a particular appeal. The dean also shall appoint two full-time faculty members as alternates to the committee to be called upon in cases when a faculty member of the committee is disqualified or is otherwise unavailable.

A student who is concerned that a faculty or student member of the Appeals Committee may be biased concerning that student’s appeal may communicate this concern to the dean in writing. A committee member who feels a bias concerning a student’s appeal may request that the dean appoint an alternate faculty or student member to serve. The dean shall determine if there is an actual or potential bias problem with a faculty or student member of the Committee and shall appoint an alternate when appropriate.

Appeals Committee members:

  • Shall review the formal written appeal and all subsequent documentation generated through the Appeal Procedure,

  • Shall provide all parties to an appeal the opportunity to be heard by the Committee,

  • May conduct interviews and make inquiries in order to receive additional information to assist in its evaluation of the appeal,

  • May interpret established policy as it applies to the specific circumstances of the appeal,

  • May engage in additional fact-finding and suggest future policy changes to the administration of the College,

  • Shall come to a consensus in its decision,

  • Shall keep all proceedings of the Committee confidential to the extent possible while carrying out their assigned duty,

  • Shall keep minutes and documents pertaining to the appeal in a confidential file separate from the student’s regular file.

  • The chair of the Appeals Committee shall notify the dean and student in writing of the committee’s decision. The decision of the Appeals Committee is final.

Adherence to Regulations

The student will be held responsible for adherence to all regulations issued by the College administration, and published in the Academic Catalog and the Student Handbook. Students are also urged to observe notices published in the student newspaper or posted on bulletin boards around campus.