Dedman College - Policies and Procedures
The standards herein are applicable to all students at the University and constitute the basic authority and reference for matters pertaining to University academic regulations and records management. Enrollment in the University is a declaration of acceptance of all University rules and regulations.
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 is a federal law that grants to students the right to inspect, obtain copies of, challenge and, to a degree, control the release of information contained in their education records. The act and regulations are very lengthy, and for that reason SMU has issued guidelines that are available at the University registrar’s FERPA website at smu.edu/ferpa.
Policy 1.18 of the University Policy Manual, accessible at smu.edu/policy, also discusses this law.
In general, no personally identifiable information from a student’s education record will be disclosed to any third party without written consent from the student. Several exceptions exist, including these selected examples: 1) Information defined by SMU as directory information may be released unless the student requests through Access.SMU Self-Service that it be withheld; 2) Information authorized by the student through Access.SMU Self-Service may be released to those individuals designated by the student; and 3) Information may be released to a parent or guardian if the student is declared financially dependent upon the parent or guardian as set forth in the Internal Revenue Code. For more information, visit smu.edu/ferpa.
A student’s SMU identification number is an eight-digit number assigned by the University. The SMU ID number should be furnished on all forms when requested, as it is the primary means for identifying the student’s academic records and transactions related to the records.
A student who has a change in name must provide his or her Social Security card or the form issued by the Social Security Administration. Enrollment or records services for the student under a name different from the last enrollment cannot be accomplished without the above documents. All grade reports, transcripts and diplomas are issued only under a person’s legal
name as recorded by the University registrar.
Each student must provide the University registrar with a current home address, telephone number and a local mailing address, as well as the name, address and telephone number of a designated emergency contact. Students enrolling at SMU authorize the University to notify their emergency contacts in the event of a situation affecting their health, safety, or physical or mental well-being, and to provide these contacts with information related to the situation.
Students are expected to keep current all their addresses and telephone numbers, including emergency contact details, through Access.SMU, the University’s Web-based, self-service system. Changes should be reported on the Web form found at smu.edu/registrar. Students may be prevented from enrolling if their information is insufficient or not current.
The University issues all students an e-mail address. Students may have other e-mail addresses, but the University-assigned e-mail address is the official address for University electronic correspondence, including related communications with faculty members and academic units (except for distance education students).
Official University correspondence may be sent to students’ mailing addresses or SMU e-mail addresses on file. It is the responsibility of students to keep all their addresses current and to regularly check communications sent to them as they are responsible for complying with requests, deadlines and other requirements sent to any of their mailing addresses on file or to their SMU e-mail.
The University requests that students provide cellular telephone numbers as they are one means of communicating with students during an emergency. Cellular telephone numbers may also be used by University officials conducting routine business. Students who live in University housing must obtain clearance from the Office of Housing. Students who do not have cellular telephones or do not wish to report the numbers may declare this information in lieu of providing cellular telephone numbers. However, students may be prevented from enrolling if their cellular telephone numbers are not on file or if they have not declared “no cellular telephone” or “do not wish to report cellular number.”
A transcript is an official document of the permanent academic record maintained by the University registrar. The permanent academic record includes all SMU courses attempted, all grades assigned, degrees received and a summary of transfer hours accepted. Official transcripts and certifications of student academic records are issued by the University registrar for all students of the University. Copies of high school records and transfer transcripts from other schools must be requested from the institutions where the coursework was taken.
Transcripts are $11.25 per copy. Additional copies in the same request mailed to the same address are $3 per copy. Additional copies mailed to different addresses are $11.25 per copy. Requests may be delayed due to outstanding financial or other obligations or for posting of a grade change, an earned degree or term grades.
Transcripts should be requested online at smu.edu/registrar. Once on the registrar’s page, click on Transcript Requests and follow the instructions. Requests will be processed through the National Student Clearing House. Telephone and e-mail requests are not accepted. Students may pick up their transcripts in person at the Registrar’s Office service counter, 101 Blanton Building. No partial or incomplete transcripts including only certain courses or grades are issued. Transcripts cannot be released unless the student has satisfied all financial and other obligations to the University.
SMU is permitted, but not required, to disclose to parents of a student information contained in the education records of the student if the student is a dependent as defined in the Internal Revenue Code.
Transcripts may be released to a third party as specified by the student on the Student’s Consent for SMU to Release Information to Student’s Specified Third Party Form accessible at smu.edu/registrar/ferpa/forms.asp.
* Chapter 675, S.B. 302. Acts of the 61st Texas Legislature, 1969 Regular Session, provides:
Section I. No person may buy, sell, create, duplicate, alter, give or obtain; or attempt to buy, sell, create, duplicate, alter, give or obtain a diploma, certificate, academic record, certificate of enrollment or other instrument which purports to signify merit or achievement conferred by an institution of education in this state with the intent to use fraudulently such document or to allow the fraudulent use of such document.
Section II. A person who violates this act or who aids another in violating this act is guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction is punishable by a fine of not more than $1,000 and/or confinement in the county jail for a period not to exceed one year.
The fall, spring and summer terms each have an enrollment period during which the formal process of enrollment in the University is completed. Prior to each enrollment period, the University registrar will publish enrollment instructions.
Insufficient or improper information given by the student on any admission or enrollment form, or academic deficiencies, disciplinary actions and financial obligations to the University, can constitute cause for the student to be determined ineligible to enroll or to be administratively withdrawn.
The unit of measure for the valuation of courses is the term hour; i.e., one lecture hour or three laboratory hours per week for a term of approximately 16 weeks (including final examinations).
Enrollment for nine hours of coursework per term is recognized as a full load for persons engaged in graduate studies. In some departmental fields, exceptionally able students may complete all requirements for the Master’s degree during a single academic year, but ordinarily additional work in a summer session is necessary, and in some fields one and a half or two full academic years of work are required. After completion of the required credit-hour requirements, all Ph.D. students should retain their student status until graduation, unless granted a leave of absence. Persons who enroll for fewer than these minimum hours are designated part-time students.
A graduate student working on the completion of a thesis, dissertation or performance recital requirement on a full-time or part-time basis; enrolled in an internship or co-op program; enrolled as a third-year theater major working on the completion of required production projects; or having an instructor appointment as part of a teaching fellowship, but not enrolled for the required number of hours; may be certified as a full-time or part-time student if the student is enrolled officially for at least one course and is recognized by his or her academic dean or the dean for Research and Graduate Studies as working on the completion of the thesis, dissertation or internship requirement on a full-time or part-time basis. In other special situations, a student not enrolled for the required number of hours may be certified as a full-time or part-time student if the student is officially enrolled for at least one course, is recognized by the academic dean as a full-time or part-time student, and such recognition is approved by the provost.
A student who wishes to enroll concurrently in another college or university should first obtain written approval from the Graduate Dean’s Office that the courses taken will be transferable.
Each SMU course has a four-digit course number. The first number indicates the general level of the course: 1 –first year; 2 – sophomore; 3 – junior; 4 – senior;
5 – senior or graduate; 6, 7, 8, 9 – graduate. The second digit specifies the number of credit-hours (“0” for this digit denotes no credit, one-half hour of credit, or
10–15 hours of credit; for theology courses, a “1” denotes one or one and one-half hours of credit.) The third and fourth digits are used to make the course number unique within the department.
Normally all graduate-level courses are numbered 6000 and above. Graduate students may take courses numbered below 6000 if they are part of the program of study or with the approval of the faculty adviser. For the 6000 level or above, the general prerequisite, in addition to admission to graduate studies, is 12 term hours of advanced work in the department, or six term hours in the department and six in a closely related program approved by the major department and the dean for Research and Graduate Studies. If other specific prerequisites are needed, these are stated in departmental listings of courses.
Students already matriculated into a program who were not enrolled in the previous term must file a readmission application. This form must be received in the graduate office no later than three weeks before the enrollment date
for the desired term of re-entrance.
The deadline for adding courses, dropping courses without grade record and changing sections for each enrollment period is listed in the Official University Calendar. Schedule-change forms are initiated in the office of the student’s academic dean or adviser and must be completed for all courses added or dropped and for all section changes. A student may drop a course with a grade of WP (Withdrawal Passing) through the deadline listed in the Official University Calendar. After the deadline, the student may not drop a class. All schedule changes must be processed by the deadline date specified in the Official University Calendar. Schedule changes are not complete for official University record purposes unless finalized in the Office of the University Registrar.
Students desiring to audit (visit) a class, whether or not concurrently enrolled for regular coursework, are required to process an Audit Enrollment Request Form. Forms are available online at smu.edu/registrar. Space must be available in the class. The following regulations are applicable:
- Classroom recitation and participation are restricted; availability of course handouts, tests and other materials is restricted; no grade is assigned and no credit is recorded; no laboratory privileges are included.
- If credit is desired, the course must be enrolled for and repeated as a regular course, and the regular tuition must be paid.
- The student’s name does not appear on class rosters or grade rosters.
- Regular admission and enrollment procedures are not conducted for auditors.
- The audit fee is nonrefundable. Undergraduate students enrolled for 12 or more hours may audit one three-hour course at no charge.
Enrollment for “no-credit” is accomplished in the conventional manner of enrollment, with regular admission and enrollment procedures being required. The student pays the regular tuition and fees, participates in class activities, is listed on class rolls, and receives the grade of NC
upon completion of the coursework. The student must indicate in writing no later than the 12th day of classes (the fourth day during summer sessions) that he or she wishes to take a course for No-Credit. Permission of the instructor or department is required for this type of enrollment. This enrollment is different from audit enrollments, for which no enrollment or grade is recorded.
A student who wishes to withdraw (resign) from the University before the end of a term or session must initiate a Student Petition for Withdrawal form, obtain
approval from his or academic dean, and submit the form to the Division of Enrollment Services – University Registrar. The effective date of the withdrawal is the date on which the Student Petition for Withdrawal is processed in the Registrar’s Office. Discontinuance of class attendance or notification to the instructors of intention to withdraw does not constitute an official withdrawal.
Reduction of tuition and fees is based on the schedule listed in the publication Financial Information: Southern Methodist University
, which is found at smu.edu/bursar, and is determined by the effective date of the withdrawal. This information is also available online at smu.edu/registrar. Students receiving financial aid should refer to the Financial Information section of the catalog.
The enrollment of students who withdraw on or before the fifth day of regular classes as listed in the Official University Calendar will be canceled. Courses and grades are not recorded for canceled enrollments. A student who withdraws after the fifth class day will receive the grade of W
in each course in which enrolled.
Medical withdrawals provide a daily pro rata refund of tuition and fees, and have conditions that must be met prior to re-enrollment at SMU. Medical withdrawals must be authorized by the medical director; psychiatric director; counseling and testing director; dean of Student Life, or vice president for Student Affairs. Authorization must be obtained no later than the University’s withdrawal date for the term.
Students who live in University housing must obtain clearance from the Office of Housing.
Failure to meet established minimum acceptable standards of academic or disciplinary performance can result in probation, suspension or dismissal. Information regarding disciplinary action may be found in the University Life section of the catalog.
Graduate students must maintain a cumulative grade point average of 3.0. If in any term the student falls below this GPA, the student will be placed on probation for one term. If at the end of the term of probation the cumulative GPA is not up to 3.0, the student will be removed from the program.
The status of academic probation is a stern warning to the student that satisfactory progress toward graduation is not being made. A student on probation is considered in “good standing” for certification purposes and is eligible to enroll. No entry is made on the permanent academic record.
Academic Suspension and Dismissal.
These are involuntary separations of the student from the SMU school of record. Suspension is for a set period of time. Dismissal is permanent. A student is not in good standing in the suspending or dismissing school and is not eligible to enroll as a student in that school during the suspension or dismissal period. “Academic Suspension (or Dismissal)” is recorded on the permanent academic record.
The grade of a student in any course is determined by the instructor of the course. The following grades are authorized for recording on the student’s official graduate academic record maintained by the University registrar.
* Grades not included in grade point average.
A student may receive a grade of I
(Incomplete) if at least 50 percent of the course requirements have been completed with passing grades, but for some justifiable reason, acceptable to the instructor, the student has been unable to complete the full requirements of the course. At the time a grade of I
is given, the instructor must stipulate in writing to the student and to the University registrar the requirements and completion date that are to be met and the grade that will be given if the requirements are not met by the completion date. The maximum period of time allowed to clear the Incomplete grade is 12 months. If the Incomplete grade is not cleared by the date set by the instructor or by the end of the 12-month deadline, the grade of I
will be changed to the grade provided by the instructor at the time the Incomplete grade was assigned or to a grade of F
if no alternate grade was provided. The grade of I
is not given in lieu of a grade of F
, or other grade, each of which is prescribed for other specific circumstances. If the student’s work is incomplete and the quality has not been passing, a grade of F
will be given. The grade of I
does not authorize a student to attend the course during a later term. Graduation candidates must clear all Incomplete grades prior to the deadline in the Official University Calendar, which may allow less time than 12 months. Failure to do so can result in removal from the degree candidacy list and/or conversion of the grade of I
to the grade indicated by the instructor at the time the grade of I
A failure is graded F
. After such a grade, credit may be obtained only by repeating the course.
The grade of D
represents performance below average expectations. Students receiving a D
in a course that is a prerequisite to another course should consult with their adviser about repeating the course so they will be adequately prepared for work in the following course.
The grade of W
cannot be recorded unless completion of official drop or withdrawal process has occurred by the applicable deadline during the term of enrollment
. Only the grade of W
may be recorded if the student has officially dropped courses from the schedule or withdrawn (resigned) from the University. The grade of W
may not be revoked or changed to another grade, as the act of officially dropping/withdrawing is irrevocable.
The student’s grades are available to the student through Access.SMU.
Grade Point Average
This average is computed by multiplying the term hours of each course attempted by the grade points earned in the particular course and then dividing the total number of grade points by the total number of hours attempted, excluding those hours for which grades are shown with an asterisk.
Grades of P or F may be given for graduate-level readings, research and dissertation courses at the 7000 and 8000 level, with the faculty member’s decision concerning use of the option to be stated at the first meeting between the student and the faculty member. Students enrolled in dissertation courses may receive a grade of S for satisfactory progress pending completion of the dissertation.
Grade of Incomplete
I (Incomplete) indicates that work is satisfactory, but, due to reasons beyond the student’s control, some portion of the required work has been left incomplete. The instructor assigning the grade of I stipulates to the student in writing, at the time the grade is given, the conditions under which the I may be removed. Forms for this are available from the Office of the Dean. Forms for changing the grade of I are initiated by the course instructor and authorized by the dean for Research and Graduate Studies.
For graduate students, a maximum of two (six hours) concurrently held grades of I (Incomplete) in courses other than thesis is allowed. If this maximum is reached, the student will be allowed to take only one three-hour course per term until the Incomplete total is reduced. Students who accumulate a total of three grades of I (Incomplete) in courses other than thesis or dissertation will be put on probation and not allowed to enroll further until the total is reduced.
Changes of Grades
Changes of grades, including change of the grade of I
, are initiated by the course instructor and authorized by the academic chair and by the academic dean of the school in which the course was offered. If a student requests a grade change, the instructor may ask the student to provide a written petition requesting the change of grade, which may become an official part of any further process at the instructor’s discretion. Changes of grades may be made only for the following authorized reasons: to clear a grade of I
, to correct a processing error or to reflect a reevaluation of the student’s original work. A change of grade will not be based on additional work options beyond those originally made available to the entire class.
Changes of grades of I
should be processed within a calendar year of the original grade assignment. Other changes in grade must be processed by the end of the next regular term. No grade will be changed after 12 months or after a student’s graduation except a grade successfully appealed, provided that written notice of appeal is given within six months following graduation, and in extenuating circumstances authorized by the academic dean and approved by the registrar.
Grades for Repeated Courses
Students who enter the University directly from high school may repeat up to three courses for which grades of D+
or lower were received, provided these courses were completed before or during a student’s first two consecutive regular terms following matriculation (regardless of the student’s enrollment or withdrawal). “College prep” courses completed a summer prior to matriculation are NOT eligible to be repeated under this rule. The grade from the repeated course, even if lower, will be the grade used to calculate the student’s grade point average. A course may be repeated only once under this policy, and it must be repeated within the next two regular terms (regardless of the student’s terms of enrollment or withdrawal, but not counting a term of academic suspension) following the term in which the course was initially taken. Exceptions to the two-term restriction may be requested from the University registrar if the course is not taught again within that period. The student must declare which courses he or she will repeat under this policy with his or her academic dean by the 12th day of classes. Only the repeated course and not the initial credit hours count toward the number needed for graduation. Both the initial and the second grades are shown on the student’s permanent academic record. Students are cautioned that for some purposes, such as admission into an academic program, both grades may be used.
In all other cases, students will be allowed to repeat courses according to the following rules: Both the initial and the second grades will be on the student’s permanent academic record. Both grades will be included in the calculation of the grade point average and in the determination of academic probation, suspension, honors and graduation. Only the repeated course and not the initial credit hours count toward the number needed for graduation.
The courses a student can repeat are determined by the school of record:
Dedman College and the Cox School of Business.
Students can repeat courses in which the original grade was D+
Meadows School of the Arts and Lyle School of Engineering.
Students can repeat courses in which the original grade was a C-
or below. Such courses can be repeated only once.
Appeal of Grades
A student who feels that an assigned grade is other than the grade earned must first discuss the matter with the course instructor to determine if the discrepancy is caused by error or misunderstanding. At the time of the initial discussion, the student may be asked to provide a written petition requesting the change of grade.
A student who is not satisfied by the instructor’s denial of a request for a grade change, and who maintains that the original grade was capriciously or unfairly determined, may appeal to the chair of the department in which the course was offered (or, in the case of a nondepartmental course, to a faculty agent designated by the dean for the course). After discussing the matter with the student, and bearing in mind that the final authority in matters of academic judgment in the determination of a grade rests with the course instructor, the chair (or faculty agent) will consult with the course instructor, who will subsequently report to the student the disposition of the appeal.
A student who is not satisfied by the disposition of the appeal may appeal the decision to the dean of the course. The dean will take action as he or she deems appropriate. A student may appeal the dean’s decision to the provost. In their actions, the dean and the provost must respect the principle that the determination of a grade rests with the course instructor.
Several Master’s degree programs require theses for completion; several others leave theses as an option. The Doctor of Engineering program requires the completion of a praxis. Dissertation is required of all Ph.D. programs.
A final copy of the thesis/praxis/dissertation will be electronically submitted as partial fulfillment for degree requirements. A microfilm copy will be housed in the University’s library and can be copied and made available to the University community, and to other individuals and institutions upon request, all at the discretion of the Central University librarian at Southern Methodist University.