May 22, 2024  
2024-2025 Academic Catalog 
2024-2025 Academic Catalog

Undergraduate Academic Regulations

Catalog Rights

Students have catalog rights in the academic year of matriculation, meaning that the graduation requirements in the catalog year of entry remain constant for the student so long as they are continually enrolled (or are on an approved leave of absence) at the College. Major and minor programs may be declared and/or changed by the student throughout the course of academic study. These requirements reflect the current catalog year in which each such program was declared, but will not impact a student’s other graduation requirements. Once a student’s enrollment at the College has been terminated, a student must apply for readmission and their catalog rights will be reset to the academic year of return.

Adherence to Regulations

The undergraduate 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. 


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 first-year students are registered by a team of specialized advising faculty based upon the student’s pre-enrollment questionnaire (PEQ) gathered in the Admissions onboarding process. New transfer students are advised by faculty in their majors, who guide them through the registration process before their first term. Students may make allowed changes in their registration, on a space-available basis, until the day prior to the start of term, after which the Add/Drop period begins.

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 if 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, and some departments or programs have centralized waitlists for some or all of their courses. 

The Add-Drop 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, which must be given by “Add Authorization” through GaelXpress 2.0. Students may drop all but one of their courses during the Add-Drop period. Students wishing to unenroll from all of their courses must submit a Leave of Absence or Withdrawal from the College form. 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 generally through the Withdrawal Deadline of the fall and spring semester, the 2nd day of January Term, and the 2nd day of undergraduate Summer Term. 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 course remains on the student’s record with a W grade, this W grade will not impact a student’s GPA. 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.

Summer Session

Matriculated 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. 

Open Enrollment

Open Enrollment is a program that offers part-time study on a space-available basis to the general public. Matriculated students 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 enroll in up to 8 units per term and up to 16 units per year. Students may not take more than 32 units while in open enrollment status. Extended studies beyond the 32 units limit may be granted by the Registrar. Open Enrollment students may only register during the first week of the term.

Course Auditing

Matriculated part-time and full-time students with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 may audit one course each term in addition to the regular class load, with permission of the instructor. After the add/drop period concludes, the student may not change their enrollment status to receive a grade or to later challenge the course for a grade, but they may register and retake the course again for a grade towards their Core, Major or Minor requirements, so students should consult with their academic advisor before auditing a course. 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. 

Overload Registration

Students are allowed to enroll in up to 36 units per academic year. At most 18 units may be taken during the Fall and Spring semesters, at most 5 units in January Term. Coursework in Summer Term is not included and might incur additional fees. Additional units will be subject to overload fees (See Tuition and Fees  for more information).

Students whose start date was prior to Fall 2022 who maintain a 3.7 GPA may take up to 20 units during the Fall and Spring semesters, and up to 40 units per academic year without overload fees through the end of their initial 4-year time at Saint Mary’s College.

Overload registration requires submission of an Overload Request Form through the Registrar’s Office.

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.
  • Advisor approval required.

Overload registration begins one week after the regular semester registration period and continues through Add-Drop week.

Independent Study and Internship Courses

The College offers undergraduate students several kinds of independent study and internship courses. Independent study courses are taken by students whose educational needs cannot be met by courses available in the regular curriculum, and may also be taken by students conducting independent research. Most independent study courses are numbered 497, however first- and second-year students may instead take a 297 course if the supervising faculty and/or department instructs them to do so. Internship courses are numbered 495, and are ordinarily taken by a junior or senior student who wishes to complement their education with related work experience.

Enrollment in 297, 495, or 497 courses requires satisfactory academic progress. 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). January Term independent study courses with a JAN 297 or JAN 497 number are limited to sophomore, junior, and senior students with a 2.5 or better overall grade point average. No student may apply more than 12 units of independent studies toward graduation requirements without the permission of the Registrar.  The 495 Internship may be repeated at most once for credit, if content varies.

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 either the department chair/program director for major/minor courses or  the Core Curriculum Committee chair for core requirements. 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.

Transfer Courses

Some students may choose to enroll in coursework at other accredited colleges and universities 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 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 institution, the student should immediately have official 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 cumulative grade point average (GPA).

Students may transfer up to 74 units of lower division (100 and 200 level) coursework from other institutions, including up to 32 units AP/IB or other non-course equivalency credit. Students may transfer up to 19 units of upper division (300 and 400 level) coursework from other institutions. This includes at least 50% (and no fewer than 6 units) of the upper-division units required by all majors, minors, and certificates.

Courses taken at the lower division (e.g. 100- and 200-level) at other institutions will transfer in as lower division courses (e.g. 100- and 200-level) even if the course content at SMC is taught at the upper division (300+ level), and hence will not automatically satisfy any upper-division requirements.

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. 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. While participating in the program, a student may enroll in at most 12 units at Saint Mary’s. 

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 VA certifying official at Saint Mary’s College for information

Study Abroad Programs

In today’s global environment, study abroad can be a defining element of a 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 the exciting 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 technically off-campus. 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.

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 Center for International Programs by March 1st for fall semester programs or by October 1st for spring semester programs, to determine their eligibility. 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 both semester and 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 advising 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 satisfactory academic progress.

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 30 units of coursework. The College allows students to earn up to 30 units of coursework by passing the College Level Examination Program (CLEP) examinations administered by the College Entrance Examination Board or by challenging Saint Mary’s courses (as described below).

Saint Mary’s will grant a maximum of 30 units 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.

Undergraduate students who receive less than nine-course units 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 submit the Challenge by Exam petition 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.

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.”

College Level Examination Program (CLEP)

The College grants up to a full year of college credit through the College Level Examination Program administered by the College Entrance Examination Board. Credit is given only for the subject examinations, which correspond to particular college courses, not for the general examinations. 

Leave of Absence

Any matriculated student not in probationary status may request a leave of absence from the College. The leave may be for one fall or spring semester, 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 any transfer work completed since leaving Saint Mary’s College. Readmission Applications are accepted for the Fall Semester from February through the end of the first week of June. Applications for Spring Semester are accepted from August through the end of the first week of January.

Once readmitted, The Advising Office 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, 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 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

An undergraduate 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. Graduate program requirements may vary.

Probationary Status

A student who, at the end of fall or spring semesters, fails to maintain satisfactory academic progress is considered to have probationary status. The Academic 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 end of the following semester (be it spring or fall), will be 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

To pursue coursework that may be more in line with a student’s interests or career choices, a student on Probationary status can be petitioned to change their major. This petition needs the approval of the Chair of the Department of intended major. Such a change of a major does not affect academic status, since the cumulative GPA will remain unchanged.

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 fall or spring semester following the establishment of probationary status.

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

  • The student’s cumulative GPA falls below 1.55 at the end of a Fall or Spring semester for all courses taken or accepted for credit.

Students subject to disqualification will be notified promptly, in writing, by the Academic Success Office.  Failure to respond may lead to a student being disqualified automatically. The Academic Recovery 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 Recovery Review Board, whose members include the Registrar, faculty representatives, the Dean of Students, and Academic 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) semester
  • Acceptance by the student of the conditions specified by the Academic Recovery 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 semester will be immediately disqualified. The Academic Recovery 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 Recovery 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 Academic Success or their designee will determine whether to reopen the case on the Academic Recovery 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 restoration of a cumulative 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 Recovery 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.

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.

In the case of documented temporary illness, including mental health illness, that will affect attendance for up to a two week span, students and faculty are encouraged to work collaboratively to address how to keep up during absences that conflict with essential course activities. In case of a longer term illness, if a student is no longer able to complete the course successfully, the faculty should refer students to their Success coach to discuss a leave of absence.

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, Commencement Liturgy). 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. 

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 (Canvas) 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 Canvas.

All students enrolled in a Collegiate Seminar course or in a 100- or 200-level WRIT course are required to submit their final versions of all essay assignments within the Canvas 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 Academic Success, 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)
• three members of the Committee on Undergraduate Advising, as chosen by the Director of Academic Advising;
• 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 Academic Success within one month from the beginning of the next long term. 

  2. The student is expected first with discuss their appeal to the course instructor, dean, or office administrator involved. If the student is not satisfied with the outcome, they should next take the appeal to the department chairperson or program director, or to the appropriate academic administrator (dean, vice provost, vice president). 

  3. If the matter is not resolved in step 2, the student will file a written statement of appeal with the Vice Provost for Academic Success. The Vice Provost will notify the appropriate instructor, department chairperson or program director, and the School Dean or vice president/provost that an appeal has been filed. 

  4. If the student decides not to pursue the appeal, they must advise the Vice Provost for Academic Success 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 Academic Success 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 Academic Success gives written notification of the Committee’s decisions to the principals. 

Baccalaureate Degree Requirements

In order to qualify for the bachelor’s degree, a student must complete the minimum of 124 units and either a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science requirements, and the Core Curriculum. Of the 124 units, at least 50 units must be upper division (300- and 400-level) and at least 31 of these upper-division units must be taken at Saint Mary’s College. At most, 9 graduate-level units at the College may be counted toward the baccalaureate degree. In most cases, students will have remaining units to pursue curricular enhancement. 

To graduate, undergraduate students must have a cumulative, institutional, and major grade point average of 2.0.

Residency Requirements

At least 31 units of upper-division (300-400-level) credit earned must be completed at SMC. This includes at least 50% (and no fewer than 6 units) of the upper-division units required by all majors, minors, and certificates.

Graduation Procedure

Students intending to graduate should complete an Application for Commencement by March 1st. These forms are available online using GaelXpress 2.0. The Registrar’s Office reviews all applications, checks the prospective graduate’s record of completed and registered coursework, and notifies students of their eligibility to participate in the commencement ceremony. Seniors may participate in commencement exercises provided they have no more than 2 courses or 10 units remaining toward their degree requirements and have submitted a plan to complete those requirements and are achieving satisfactory academic progress.

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. The Advising Office will reach out to students and advisors regarding remaining requirements towards degree completion, and updates will be processed by the Registrar’s Office via the appropriate form. 

Academic Honors

The Dean’s List

Each term the names of those full-time undergraduate students attaining a grade point 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 30 units at Saint Mary’s with a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.50.

Awards at Graduation

Student must have a cumulative and/or major grade point averages of 3.7 on March 1st of the year in which the student is scheduled to participate in the commencement exercises to be considered for the various commencement awards (Valedictorian, De La Salle, school or departmental awards, etc.). The student must submit an Application for Commencement form no later than March 1.

College-Wide and School Award

Students are eligible for College-wide and school academic awards with grade point averages of 3.70 for college work completed (both at Saint Mary’s College and at other institutions through transfer credit) on March 1st of the year in which the student is scheduled to participate in the comment 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.

Valedictorian Award

An award to the student who most embodies the essence of the graduating class through distinguished academic achievement, leadership, and meaningful involvement in the SMC community. This student is given the honor of delivering the valedictory address at the commencement ceremony.

School 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)

Department Awards

Students are eligible for departmental academic awards with major grade point average of at least 3.70 and a cumulative grade point average of 3.50 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.

Henry Rand Hatfield Award (Department of Accounting)

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)

Grace Hopper Award (Computer Science Program)

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)

Julie A. Pryde Award (Health Science 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)

Campus Community Awards

Students are eligible for Community awards with grade point averages of 3.00 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.

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)

John Dennis Award (High Potential Program)

Mission and Ministry Awards

Sister Clare Wagstaffe, CHS, PhD, AFSC, Award

Brother Mel Anderson, FSC, Award