Mar 03, 2024  
2013–2015 Undergraduate College Catalog 
2013–2015 Undergraduate College Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Academic Policies & Procedures

Good Academic Standing

A student in their first two semesters at SMU is in good academic standing when the cumulative GPA is above a 1.8 through their first year. A student in their second year and beyond is in good academic standing when their cumulative GPA is above a 2.0. Transfer students entering SMU with more than 23 credits must maintain a minimum GPA of 2.0.

Dean’s List

Superior scholastic performance is recognized each semester by the publication of the Dean’s List. Students qualify for the Dean’s List by earning a semester grade point average of 3.600 or above with a minimum of 12 credits, at least 9 of which are on the A-F grading system, with no grade of CD, D, F, NC or I.

Latin Honors at Graduation

The Bachelor of Arts degree is conferred with honors upon students who have maintained a high level of academic excellence. To be eligible for honors, students must have a cumulative GPA of 3.600 (cum laude), 3.750 (magna cum laude), or 3.900 (summa cum laude) for all university courses (SMU and transfer), for all courses in the major, and for all courses at Saint Mary’s University. Provided all three of the categories mentioned above are at an acceptable honors level, the category having the lowest GPA determines the level of honors at graduation. Honors are awarded with the degree. Students must complete at least 60 credits in residence at SMU and must complete all requirements for graduation to be eligible for honors.

Valedictorian and Salutatorian

The valedictorian of the graduating class is the student(s) with the highest GPA and the salutatorian of the graduating class is the student(s) with the second-highest GPA. If there is a tie for valedictorian, there will not be a salutatorian. The GPA used is the cumulative GPA for all university courses (SMU and transfer). Students must complete at least 60 credits in academic residence at SMU and complete their degree by the May commencement ceremony to be eligible for these honors.

Department Honors at Graduation

Some academic departments provide graduating seniors the opportunity to qualify for departmental distinction or honors. Departmental honors are reserved for students who perform academically at the top level of all graduates from the department. Each department establishes criteria for department honors; minimum standards are a 3.700 major GPA and a 3.300 cumulative GPA. For information about a specific department’s honors, consult that department’s section of the catalog.

Academic Warnings and Penalties

The academic penalties are academic jeopardy, academic probation, extended probation and academic dismissal. In order to support student success, all students with warnings will be monitored by staff in the student success center.

A transfer student’s class standing is determined by the number of credit hours accepted in transfer to Saint Mary’s University.

Academic Jeopardy

A student whose cumulative GPA falls below 2.000, but is above the probation/dismissal standards listed below will be placed on academic jeopardy. A student on academic jeopardy must make an appointment with student success center staff to discuss an academic improvement plan. Students on academic jeopardy are considered in good standing, but are warned.

Academic Probation

Academic probation indicates that a student’s cumulative GPA is below 1.8 for first-year students and 2.0 each term thereafter. A student on academic probation must demonstrate progress toward a cumulative GPA of 2.0. If a student shows improvement, but does not return to good standing, she or he may be placed on extended probation for an additional semester. A student on academic probation must make an appointment with student success center staff to discuss an academic improvement plan.

Extended Probation

A student who is on academic probation may be placed on extended probation for one semester. If she or he has demonstrated improvement, but has not returned to good standing, a student on extended probation must make an appointment with student success center staff to discuss her or his academic improvement plan.

Academic Dismissal

A student enrolled full-time at the beginning of the semester may be dismissed if:

  • she/he fails to earn 6 credits;
  • GPA is less than 1.000; or
  • cumulative GPA is at a probationary level for a second consecutive semester.

A student enrolled part-time at the beginning of the semester is dismissed if the semester GPA is less than 1.000 in any given semester and the cumulative GPA is less than 2.000.

Dismissed students who are allowed to remain or be re-admitted to the College shall be placed on extended probation.

Appeal for Academic Reinstatement

A student who has been dismissed for academic reasons may appeal for reinstatement in writing to the vice president for academic affairs (VPAA). If the VPAA approves the student’s appeal, she/he may return to Saint Mary’s University immediately and must meet with the student success center staff to discuss her/his academic improvement plan. If the appeal is denied, the student has the opportunity to reapply after one or more semesters have elapsed, and be considered for readmission through the readmission committee.

Standards of Classroom Behavior

Classrooms and laboratories are important venues where Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota carries out its mission of teaching and learning; every participant in the learning community contributes to this. Faculty maintain a safe and professional classroom environment that facilitates study, clarity of thought, focused attention, and fruitful dialogue in an atmosphere free from distraction and disorder. Students are expected to have high standards of behavior in the classroom and rules of reasonable behavior must be observed. Inappropriate classroom behavior may include:

  • Speaking while the instructor or another person is talking.
  • Words or gestures openly dismissive or contemptuous of another student’s or the instructor’s opinion or contributions.
  • Repeated questions or interruptions which interfere with an instructor’s or another student’s presentation.
  • Overt inattentiveness (e.g., sleeping in class; loud yawning or other gestures indicative of disengagement or boredom; reading the newspaper or other non-class material during class activities or presentations).
  • Texting, reading or sending e-mails, or other use of a cell phone or disruptive or unauthorized use of technological devices during class.
  • Refusal to comply with classroom instructions or laboratory safety protocols.
  • Inappropriate or unwelcome words or gestures of physical affection.

When an instructor judges that a student’s behavior is interfering with the learning of others or compromising the instructor’s ability to conduct class in an orderly and respectful manner, the instructor should warn the student either verbally or by email within 24 hours, making specific reference to the behavior and the expected correction. Students whose behavior is egregious may be dismissed from a particular session and asked to leave the classroom immediately; if the student refuses to leave, the instructor should contact campus safety. Prior to returning to class the student must meet with the instructor. Repeated incidents from the same student may result in dismissal from the course (see below).

More Serious Offenses

Disruptive behaviors which will trigger more severe sanctions include (but again, are not limited to) objectionable language; coming to class or lab impaired by the use of alcohol or other substances; theft or sabotage of instructional equipment; harassment; verbal, physical or emotional abuse; and acts or threats of physical violence directed toward oneself or another. These behaviors will result in the student’s immediate dismissal from the classroom for the duration of the class session, and may result in dismissal from the course. The department chair and the dean of the school in which the course is housed are to be immediately apprised of these cases; where appropriate (particularly in cases of violent behavior or destruction of property), the instructor should call campus safety immediately, then the dean of students, and contact the dean of his/her school.

Conditions attributable to physical or psychological disabilities are not considered as a legitimate excuse for disruptive behavior.

Sanctions and Appeals

An instructor who judges a student’s behavior to be intentionally, persistently or seriously disruptive of the classroom learning environment, or to threaten the wellbeing of the instructor or another student, should report the incident(s) to the dean of the respective school where the course is housed, together with a description of the incident(s) and any intermediate warnings given to the student. The dean will work with the student and instructor to resolve the issue. Sanctions may include a grade penalty for the course reflecting missed work, dismissal from the course with a grade of F, up to dismissal from the university. If the issue is not resolved, the dean will refer the matter to the vice president for academic affairs. Students may appeal decisions or sanctions to the student judicial council under its regular procedures.

Academic Integrity

When one comes to Saint Mary’s, one joins an academic community whose core values are fairness, mutual respect, trust, and honesty. To accomplish its mission to awaken, nurture and empower learners to ethical lives of service and leadership, the Saint Mary’s community depends on the personal responsibility and integrity of all its members. Academic integrity should not be understood as merely following certain rules; rather, it is a way of acting based on shared values that lies at the heart of any academic endeavor. A commitment to academic integrity facilitates the pursuit of knowledge and understanding by providing a framework for the open, honest and respectful exchange of ideas and information. It fosters creativity and critical thinking; it allows students to develop the self-confidence that comes from acquiring academic skills; it provides correct information to instructors so that they can give appropriate feedback in the essential relationship between students and teachers; and, ultimately, it ensures the integrity of the Saint Mary’s degree.

Academic Dishonesty

Students at Saint Mary’s University are expected to maintain the highest standards of academic integrity. Academic dishonesty, in any form, will not be tolerated and will subject the student to disciplinary sanctions up to and including dismissal. Academic dishonesty comes in a variety of forms. The most common forms are plagiarism, fabrication, abuse of internet sources, cheating, lying and academic misconduct.

  • Plagiarism is the presentation of someone else’s words, ideas or data as one’s own. When a student submits work for credit that includes the words, ideas or data of others, the source of that information must be acknowledged through complete, accurate and specific references, as well as quotation marks if verbatim statements are included. By placing his/her name on work submitted for credit, the student certifies the originality of all work not otherwise identified by appropriate acknowledgments. Examples of plagiarism include: copying someone else’s previously prepared material such as lab reports, class papers, etc.; copying a paragraph or even sentences from other works; and self-plagiarism (turning in for new credit your own work from a previous class without authorization).
  • Fabrication is the intentional use of invented information or the falsification of research or other findings with the intent to deceive. Examples include: the citation of information not taken from the source indicated; submission in a lab report of falsified, invented or fictitious data; submitting as the student’s own work prepared by another, including purchasing or downloading from the Internet; and falsely representing hours or experience in a field experience or internship.
  • Abuse of Internet sources is the acquisition or presentation of information obtained by purchase or downloaded for free from the Internet without explicit written acknowledgment of the source. Examples include: submission of a paper prepared by other persons or agencies, including commercial organizations; and the combination of passages from various sources presented as one’s own thoughts or analysis.
  • Cheating is an act or attempted act of deception by which a student seeks to misrepresent that he/she has mastered information on an academic exercise that he/she has not mastered. Examples include: copying from another student’s test; allowing another student to copy from a test paper; taking a test for someone else; collaborating during a test or assignment with another student by giving or receiving information without the instructor’s permission; or using notes when disallowed.
  • Lying is giving false or misleading information to gain an academic advantage such as requesting an extension on a quiz/exam, paper or other assignment or for missing a class.
  • Academic misconduct is the intentional violation of university policies by tampering with grades or taking part in obtaining or distributing any part of an administered test. Examples include: accessing academic files without appropriate permission; duplicating computer software that has been copyrighted; and forging another person’s signature.

If an instructor has reason to believe a student has committed an act of academic dishonesty, an instructor should investigate the situation. As part of the investigation, the instructor should meet with the student to provide a fair opportunity for response to the allegation. If an instructor determines that there has been an instance of academic dishonesty, she/he must file an incident report with the dean of the respective school in which the alleged offense occurred. The incident report may include a suggested sanction: a failing grade for the assignment or the course; or in egregious circumstances, dismissal from the university.

Upon referral, the dean of the respective school will also investigate the charge of academic dishonesty. The student will be provided the opportunity to respond to the allegation. The dean will render judgment and impose sanctions. The student may appeal the judgment or sanction to the student judicial council. The basis for the appeal and the procedures that will be followed are as specified for disciplinary matters. In cases where academic dishonesty has been established, the student may not withdraw from the course. A final appeal may be made to the vice president for academic affairs. No further appeal is possible.

Class Attendance

Students are expected to attend all scheduled sessions of courses for which they are registered, including class sessions, labs, lessons, etc. Absence from any course activity weakens the learning experience. Saint Mary’s class attendance policy empowers students to cultivate mature judgment in making and being accountable for academic, leadership and service commitments. Academic advisors mentor students in managing priorities throughout the changing circumstances of their academic careers, and in sequencing and scheduling courses to minimize absence for students whose regular participation in university-sponsored activities may affect attendance.

It is the student’s responsibility to communicate with instructors about any circumstances that conflict with class attendance. The student is expected to manage class absence using the following guidelines, which apply equally to all types of courses. False representation of the circumstances related to an absence in order to avoid academic penalties constitutes academic dishonesty and will be addressed accordingly.

To aid students in meeting attendance and absence management obligations, during the first week of classes and in each course syllabus instructors will refer to this class attendance policy, and incorporate all complementary course policies she or he may find necessary (e.g., means of absence notification, delivery of work due during an absence, making up missed in-class work, late work, and consequences for unexcused absences).

Absence Related to University-Sponsored Co-Curricular Commitments:

Faculty and staff affirm that co-curricular life is an integral aspect of the Saint Mary’s learning experience. For an absence due to participation in such activities, the student is responsible for notifying the instructor at least one class period prior to the missed class. Typical university-sponsored activities that may conflict with class attendance include:

  1. Students representing the institution at competitive events on behalf of one of the university’s National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division III athletic teams.
  2. Students participating in artistic productions - e.g., ensembles, concerts, plays, gallery installations.
  3. Student senate officers representing the student body at professional meetings.
  4. Students representing specific programs at events which promote the university - e.g., research symposia, professional conferences, annual Day at the Capitol events.
  5. Immaculate Heart of Mary seminarians who are required to serve in liturgical events in their diocese - e.g., Holy Week services.

Accommodation of Absence Related to University-Sponsored Co-Curricular Commitments:

Students who provide the required prior notice of an absence due to participation in university-sponsored activities:

  • Will be responsible for submitting before the absence any graded work due the day of the absence, unless the instructor’s published policy provides an alternative strategy.
  • Will not lose participation points, if those points are based solely on attendance.
  • Will have the opportunity to make up work missed during the absence when it can be done by authentic, fair and practical means.

Documentation of Absence Related to University-Sponsored Co-Curricular Commitments:

Once each week, typically Wednesday morning, sponsoring offices send faculty e-mail notice(s) about university-sponsored events for the following week, to include:

  1. Travel party names
  2. Date and time of requested release for departure
  3. Date and time of return to campus
  4. Nature of the event
  5. Location of the event
  6. Follow-up contact information

Exception: When the event necessitating the absence is rescheduled due to weather, students and sponsoring offices will notify instructors as soon as a rescheduled date is set, with a goal of providing information at least 18 hours prior to affected classes.

Instructors may not require student participation in an activity which necessitates the absence of the student from regularly scheduled academic activities (other than the instructor’s own) except with the approval of the appropriate dean. Once approved, the activity is considered university-sponsored. Documentation and accommodation rules apply to the resulting absence in either of the conflicting academic activities.

Absence Related to Personal Health and Well-Being:

Faculty and staff value students’ personal health and wellbeing. Typical absences related to health and well-being may include:

  1. Responsible rest and seclusion during acute infectious illness, as indicated by a fever and / or diagnosis of cold, flu or other contagious illness by health care professionals at the Jay Johnson Wellness Center or other health care facility.
  2. Medically recommended activity limitations due to acute injury, to manage a chronic condition, or to accommodate side-effects of prescribed treatment for an injury or illness, such as pain medication.
  3. Participation in funeral or memorial services related to a death in one’s immediate family.
  4. Participation in ordered emergency responder or military training or service.
  5. Participation in observances of their faith - e.g., Ramadan, Passover.
  6. Unavoidable engagement of residence life staff in their duties - e.g., attending to emergency situations.

Accommodation of Absence Related to Personal Health and Well-Being:

Accommodations such as make-up work, due date extensions and exemption from a performance related to such absences are not required, but may be requested at the discretion of the student and granted at the discretion of the instructor. Students and instructors are encouraged to consider such requests in the context of the specific situation, including the student’s overall demonstrated commitment to success in the course and the availability of authentic, fair and practical means of accommodation.

Documentation of Absence Related to Personal Health and Well-Being:

A request for accommodation should be made in advance when possible, and when not possible, should be made as soon as practical after the absence. The student is responsible for notifying the student success center of the absence, and must provide any documentation that office may require to confirm that the absence is or was necessary for the student’s health and well-being. When so confirmed, the student success center will electronically submit the confirmation form to instructors when a student requests accommodation of the absence. The confirmation will include:

  1. Student name
  2. Date(s) of absence
  3. Statement confirming the absence is/was reasonably necessary for health and well-being
  4. Date of anticipated return to campus, if appropriate

An instructor receiving the accommodation request will respond to the student in a timely fashion with notice of his or her decision, and if not previously specified in the syllabus, what accommodation will be provided.

Concerns Related to Absence or the Accommodation of Absence:

Person-to-person conversation between a student and instructor is the most effective way to prevent or quickly resolve any concerns related to absence or accommodation of absence. When such conversations fail to resolve a concern, it may be helpful to involve a collegial third party to aid in reaching resolution - e.g., the department chair, the dean (if the involved faculty member is a chair), or student success center staff.

The student should be aware that excessive absence may affect course enrollment, eligibility for financial aid and continued enrollment at Saint Mary’s. Consistent with instructional best practices, any student whose pattern of attendance seems likely to interfere with academic success may be referred to the student success center. Consistent with federal financial aid requirements, instructors track attendance and refer to the student success center any student who does not attend a course within the first week of classes, or is absent for more than one full week at any point during the term without contact. Once such a referral is made, the student success center will follow up with students.

Course Substitutions and Waivers

Students may appeal to the department chair for a course substitution or a course waiver for a required course in a major or minor. The department chair (if the substitution or waiver is being allowed) should obtain the Substitution/Waiver form from the registrar’s office, fill it out, obtain the signature of the chair and the appropriate dean, and return it to the registrar’s office. Students may not pick up and should not submit these forms.

Independent Study Projects

Independent study projects offered at the university are available for credit only to Saint Mary’s University students. Post-Secondary Enrollment Option (PSEO) students are not eligible for independent study courses. Independent study projects may be individually designed projects or they may be catalog courses pursued as independent study projects. However, no catalog course may be pursued as an independent study project in the same semester in which that course is offered in the regular schedule of classes. Independent study projects may, with approval, be used to fulfill general education requirements, major requirements, or elective credit requirements. Students may take up to four independent study projects (for a total of no more than 12 credits) during their undergraduate career. Students are limited to one such project (for a total of no more than 6 credits) in any given semester. Students should avoid taking several independent study projects from the same instructor. Independent study courses are not available to students whose cumulative GPA is less than 2.000. Procedures and necessary forms for approval of independent study projects may be obtained in the registrar’s office. The independent study form must be submitted for approval to the dean of the school in which the student’s major is housed before the end of the add/ drop period.

Final Examinations

At the end of each semester, there is a period devoted to final examinations. Instructors must hold an exam or educational experience during the examination period. No student may be required to take more than two examinations on any one day in the final examination period. If none of the instructors scheduling an examination in such an instance is willing to adjust the examination time for the student, the instructor giving the middle examination(s) on that day must examine the student on another day. Instructors are not required to give the examination prior to the scheduled date in such instances.

Copyright Law

Copyright is a form of protection provided by the laws of the United States (title 17, U.S. Code) to the creators of “original works of authorship,” including literary, dramatic, musical, artistic and certain other works. Protection is available to both published and unpublished works, but the work must be fixed in a tangible medium of expression. The owner of the copyright is given the exclusive right to make copies, to create derivative works based upon the original work, to distribute the work to the public, to perform or display the work publicly, and, for sound recordings, to perform the work publicly by means of digital or audio transmission.

All employees and students of Saint Mary’s University must conduct their activities, including, but not limited to, any research or writing activities, in such a fashion as to meet and comply with all the requirements of U.S. copyright laws. Violations of copyright laws could subject a student or employee to civil and criminal penalties as well as disciplinary action under university policies.

Review of Research Using Human Participants

Saint Mary’s University, in support of its mission to empower learners to ethical lives of service and leadership, encourages the research conducted by students, faculty, and staff that makes use of human participants and reviews it so that the projects are designed in an ethical and technically competent manner. Review for projects originating within the undergraduate College is coordinated through academic departments and also the College’s Human Participants Review Board. Projects that originate from outside the College that make use of faculty, students or staff as participants are also subject to review. All projects must be reviewed and approved prior to data collection. In this manner, all proposals affiliated with the College are evaluated to determine if they are ethically sound, treat the participants fairly and respect the participants’ ability to provide informed consent and make sound decisions regarding their participation.

For more information, please consult your department chair or contact the Human Participants Review Board.

Declaring a Major

A major is a sequence of courses clustered within a particular discipline or set of disciplines, which includes both lower- and upper-division courses and which is offered by a department.

A student may declare a major as early as the first semester; however, a student must declare a major before registering for classes for the first semester junior year. Any change in the major during subsequent semesters or the addition of a major must be approved by the department chair of the new major. Students may declare additional majors (a maximum of three majors may be declared) prior to their graduation; however, a course may not be counted toward more than one major unless both majors specifically require that course. When students have an option in selecting courses to complete a given major, they cannot utilize courses which comprise part of another major. If a course appears in two majors as one of several courses that may be selected, that course can be applied only to one major. The only exception is a research project, which may be allowed as an elective or requirement in two majors. This policy applies also for courses used in a major and a minor or more than one minor.

Students must achieve a major GPA of 2.000 or higher at Saint Mary’s University. Courses “taken” is defined as all courses attempted, including those in which the student received grades of F.


A minor is a sequence of courses clustered within a particular discipline, sub-discipline, or limited set of disciplines, which includes both lower- and upper-division courses and which is offered by a department, program or institute. A minor is more limited in scope than a major, and may have a somewhat different focus and objective that make it appropriate for students whose principal concentration is in another discipline. Students may not create individualized minors.

The undergraduate College also recognizes multidisciplinary minors created from related courses located in a number of departments, programs or institutes. These multidisciplinary minors combine content and skills from several fields, enhancing the understanding of those fields and how they intersect. In so doing, the multidisciplinary minor promotes the kind of synthetic learning important for graduates who will work, study or serve within increasingly diverse and interconnected communities.

Students may declare up to three minors, although students are not required to complete a minor. Students must achieve a minor GPA of 2.000 or higher.

Application for Graduation and Commencement

Degrees are awarded in May, August and December; there is one commencement ceremony in May. An application for graduation and commencement must be filed with the registrar prior to completion of all degree requirements. The following is the College policy for participation in the commencement ceremony:

  • Students who will complete all graduation requirements by the May commencement are eligible to participate in the May commencement ceremony.
  • Students who have 9 or fewer credits remaining and who will complete all graduation requirements by the following August must seek approval from the vice president for academic affairs to participate in the May commencement ceremony. Approval to participate will be granted if it is apparent that the student will complete all graduation requirements by the following August.
  • Education students who have completed all other graduation requirements by either May or August and who will be student teaching (certification requirement) during the following fall semester must seek approval from the vice president for academic affairs to participate in the May commencement ceremony. Approval to participate will be granted if it is apparent that the student will complete all graduation requirements by the following August except student teaching which will be completed by the following December.

Second Bachelor’s Degree

A student who wishes to attain a second undergraduate degree after receiving a baccalaureate degree must apply to and be accepted by the office of admission. Transcripts will be evaluated at the time of admission to determine any course deficiencies. Applicants must complete a program of study in the undergraduate College that includes:

  • A minimum of 32 credits;
  • A major program in a distinctly different field from the initial degree;
  • A minimum of 12 credits in the major field;
  • A minimum 2.000 cumulative GPA and a minimum 2.000 major GPA in courses taken for the second degree; and
  • The completion of an additional course that fulfills the outcomes of the Lasallian Core Traditions program.

There is no upper-division course credit requirement. A student who has completed the necessary degree requirements must complete the application for graduation and commencement available from the registrar’s office. After a final audit of requirements by the registrar, the second degree will be awarded to the student at the end of the semester.

Additional Major or Minor after Completing Degree

B.A. graduates of Saint Mary’s University who wish to complete a minor or an additional major may do so by submitting a plan of study to the dean of student success and receiving approval from the department chair. When the requirements are satisfied, the student completes the appropriate form available from the registrar’s office. The student’s transcript is updated to indicate the additional major or minor; an additional degree is not granted.