The academic year is divided into fall and spring terms. In addition, Perkins holds a summer term and a January interterm. All course requirements for the M.Div., C.M.M., M.S.M. and M.T.S. degrees may be satisfied during the regular academic year, although courses fulfilling certain requirements in these programs are normally available in the summer term as well.
Most courses carry three term hours of credit. Normally, the maximum course load is 13 term hours per term. With the permission of the Committee on Student Development, or of the associate dean for Academic Affairs acting for the committee, a student with a grade average of B (3.0) or above may register for up to 14.5 term hours, and a student with an average of A- (3.7) or above may register for as many as 16 term hours. No student may register for more than 16 term hours. A student in good standing may register for CM 8012, 8013 Seminary Singers, in addition to 13 term hours of other coursework, without seeking the permission of the committee.
The maximum course load for the summer term is six term hours. The maximum for the January interterm is three term hours.
Students holding pastoral charges or other employment requiring 20 hours or more per week should consider carefully, with their academic advisers, the advantages and disadvantages of a reduced course load. A load of nine term hours per term may be advisable in such circumstances. Students considering any further reduction in course load should keep in mind, among other things, the effects of such a reduction upon their overall curricular planning, and the time limit established in each degree program for the completion of all degree requirements.
In considering course load, students should be guided by the principle that the number of hours of a student’s time to be devoted to any course per week should be approximately four times the number of term hours of credit assigned to the course. For example, a three-term-hour course should occupy about 12 hours of the student’s time each week, counting the time spent in class. Assignments are made accordingly.
Regular attendance is expected in all classes. In the event of unavoidable absences, students are responsible for securing from their colleagues any information about lectures or assignments missed, and, if their absence is unexcused, they assume the risk of missing quizzes or other graded in-class work. A student who anticipates an unavoidable extended absence from school should notify the associate dean for Academic Affairs, who will in turn notify the instructors involved. An excessive number of unexcused absences may result in a reduction in the student’s grade or failure of the course, despite successful completion of all the assigned reading and written work. In no case will a student be allowed credit for a seminar if she or he is absent for as much as 25 percent of the seminar sessions, even if the absences are excusable.
All course assignments are to be completed on time. Work submitted late may be accepted at the instructor’s discretion and may incur a penalty in grade. Students are advised to consult the instructor in advance if circumstances make it impossible to meet an assignment deadline.
The calendar calls for a designated reading and writing period at the end of each term, during which time formal classes will not be held. This period is an integral part of the term’s work, and students are expected to use it for research, writing and study in connection with the term’s courses.
Final examinations are held on the dates indicated in the calendar. An examination schedule is published toward the end of each term. According to University regulations, no student may take a final examination ahead of the scheduled date. If it is not possible for a student to take an examination at the regular time, a postponement may be granted by the Committee on Student Development, or by the associate dean for Academic Affairs acting for the committee, if the student submits to the associate dean a written request approved by the instructor.
Each student at Perkins is expected to adhere to rigorous standards of academic honesty. Plagiarism and other acts of academic dishonesty are regarded as serious offenses and are treated accordingly. The faculty has adopted a statement on academic responsibility for the general guidance of students in these matters; a copy is outlined in the student handbook. Students are advised to consult with their course instructors if they have any questions about expectations and procedures in this regard.
Students with disabilities, including learning disabilities, should know that their instructors at Perkins welcome being informed of the situation, particularly as it might bear upon their coursework. Upon request, and within reasonable limits, alternative arrangements may be worked out between instructor and student regarding examinations and other assignments, when that seems appropriate. A written statement from a health professional attesting to the disability is required. A student who wishes to pursue this possibility should notify the instructor(s) concerned well in advance. For further information and counsel, students should consult the associate dean for Academic Affairs and the coordinator of services for Students with Disabilities Office at Southern Methodist University, 214-768-4557.
An alpha grading scale of A to F is employed for course grades. A cumulative grade average of C (2.0) or above is required for graduation in the M.Div.; C.M.M. and M.T.S. programs; and a B (3.0) is required for the M.S.M. program. Students with course grades below 2.0 are in serious difficulty. (See the “Academic Probation” section.)
Students may graduate with honors if they achieve one of the following minimum grade averages: 3.5 (cum laude), 3.7 (magna cum laude) or 3.9 (summa cum laude).
In addition to the alpha grades, three other markings are used: I for incomplete, WP for withdrawal-passing and P for passing. I indicates incomplete, the failure to do some major portion of the required work in the course. Incompletes are granted by the Committee on Student Development, only on written request by the student. The student’s written request must be submitted to the registrar no later than the deadline specified in the school’s official calendar for the submission of all written work. The grade I is allowed only on rare occasion when the student has suffered a serious illness or has experienced some other untoward hardship that the committee judges to be adequate grounds. If the request is granted, a time limit for completion of the work will be set (not to exceed 30 days) in consultation with the instructor. If the work is not submitted by the date agreed upon, then the grade will become an F.
WP stands for Withdrawal-Passing and carries no grade value. Students desiring to withdraw from a course must make their intention known to the registrar before the last day for withdrawing as indicated in the University calendar. Any request for an exception to this rule must be addressed, with supporting evidence, to the associate dean for Academic Affairs.
A student who fails a course or whose cumulative or fall- or spring-term grade average falls below C will be placed on academic probation. In this circumstance, the student will receive written correspondence from the chair of the Committee on Student Development outlining a plan of study designed to improve his or her academic performance. Such a plan of study may include, in addition to a reduced course load, a reduction in nonacademic activities; special tutoring; remedial work in reading or writing; or such other provisions as may seem appropriate in each case. The student is required to follow this plan of study until he or she is removed from probation.
Students on probation must reduce their academic course load and may be required to take a noncredit reading/study skills course. A student who, while on probation, fails a course or fails to achieve a minimum G.P.A. of C on his or her work in any given term shall be liable to dismissal from school. Likewise, a student with a pattern of recurring probation shall be liable to dismissal. The student is automatically removed from probation upon successfully completing an academic term in which he or she does not fail any classes and his or her cumulative or fall- or spring-term grade average is C or higher.
Perkins students may register for graduate-level courses in other schools of the University after consultation with the registrar. M.Div. students may register for a total of nine credit hours and M.T.S. students for six credit hours.
It is possible, in exceptional situations, to register for a reading course. Ordinarily, no more than one reading course may be taken during a student’s program of study. The student must have completed the required coursework in the pertinent field, the course must be on a subject not covered by regularly scheduled courses and the procedure for application must be completed by the end of the advance registration period in the term preceding that in which the reading course is to be taken. Further information may be obtained from the registrar.
After matriculation at Perkins, a student may take one or more courses at another Association of Theological Schools member school and have the credit transferred to her or his Perkins degree program. However, these courses must be approved in advance by the Committee on Student Development or by the associate dean acting for the committee. In the interest of preserving the integrity of the Perkins degree programs, the committee will normally consider granting permission for no more than four such courses (12 credit hours). The total number of hours transferred to a Perkins degree program from courses taken before and after matriculation should not exceed the maximum allowed for students transferring from another institution (See the “Admission by Transfer” section.).
The faculty has invested the Committee on Student Development with authority to act upon all requests for exceptions to these regulations and for any variation from regular academic procedures. All requests are to be addressed in writing to the committee and submitted to the registrar.