Advising and Registration


Each degree student is assigned an academic adviser. The student is expected to meet with the academic adviser, who assists him or her in becoming familiar with academic programs of the College, including requirements, electives, and suggested areas of study. The adviser also helps the student plan a curriculum to meet the educational goals of the College while fulfilling the student’s aspirations. Before each term, the student must consult with an adviser who assists in planning a course schedule and who also gives clearance for registration. Although the adviser’s counsel can have great value to the student, it is the student who bears the ultimate responsibility for completing the requirements for graduation.


The catalog year determines the set of general academic requirements the student must fulfill for graduation. Students are held to the requirements of the catalog year in which they enter St. Mary’s College of Maryland as a degree-seeking student.

Students may request change of catalog year status through the Office of the Registrar under the following conditions:

1. Transfer students from a State of Maryland institution of higher education have the option of satisfying St. Mary’s College of Maryland graduation requirements that were in effect at the time the student first enrolled at the original institution. These conditions are applicable to a student who has maintained continuous enrollment at a State of Maryland institution of higher education. Continuous enrollment shall be defined as registration for and completion of at least one course per term in each academic year.

2. Students may not move back to any catalog published before their initial enrollment as a degree student. They do have the option of moving to any catalog published after their initial enrollment as a degree-seeking student, but may not move back after having moved forward. Students should be aware that being granted such permission means they are held accountable for all the requirements in that new catalog. The exception is that if a new minor is introduced in a catalog(s) after their admission to St. Mary’s, students follow the requirements for minors in the new catalog, but complete all other graduation requirements of their original catalog, unless they officially move up to the new catalog year. If a student has declared a minor, and the requirements of that minor change, they are required to follow the catalog requirements for the minor of the catalog year in which they were initially enrolled.

Students are reminded that they should check all graduation requirements (major, minor, Core Curriculum, upper division and over-all) before they decide to elect a change of catalog.


Student registration takes place once each semester for the next semester. Prior to registration, the Business Office must clear the student’s financial account. A registration time is assigned to each student, based on the number of earned credit-hours accumulated. Students must meet with their academic adviser before registration to complete a class-registration form. During the assigned registration time students will register online through their SMCM web Portal. A late fee is charged if initial registration is completed during the schedule-adjustment period. No initial registration will be accepted after the end of the schedule-adjustment period (the first two weeks of classes).


A semester-hour is the same as a credit-hour. A typical course load consists of 16 to 19 credit-hours during a regular semester. A student may enroll for more than 19 credit-hours only during the schedule-adjustment period. The student’s adviser must acknowledge, by signature on the add-drop form, course enrollments of more than 19 credit-hours. To be eligible to live in College housing facilities, a student must enroll in a minimum of 12 credit-hours each semester. A student on academic probation may not enroll in more than 16 credit-hours. The maximum course load for summer session is normally eight semester hours; students willing to take more than 12 credits must obtain permission to do so and will be charged full-time tuition and fees.


Students desiring either advanced placement in a subject or degree credit for work done outside a baccalaureate program may submit the results of tests recognized by the College. Certification of having passed such tests must be in the form of an official report sent directly by the issuing agency to the Office of the Registrar. The chair of the appropriate department, in consultation with the relevant faculty, will determine the number of credit-hours to be awarded for each examination. Credit by examination may be counted only as lower-division credit and may not total more than 45 credit-hours. (For more detailed information concerning transfer of credits from another university or college, see the Transfer of Credit section.) Regulations governing the use of specific types of examinations include the following:

  1. CEEB Advanced Placement Examinations: Credit will be given in the appropriate subject if a score of 4 or 5 is achieved.
  2. CLEP Examinations: Credit is given to students earning scaled scores of at least 55 on a general or subject examination, or at least 65 on the English Composition Examination. Because some CLEP examinations may not be appropriate for fulfilling certain College requirements, a student should secure written approval of a particular test before taking it. The student must secure written approval from the Office of the Registrar prior to taking the exam. If a student does not secure such approval, the College may not grant credit toward fulfilling a given College requirement. Note: Credits earned by successful completion of an appropriate CEEB Advanced Placement Examination or CLEP subject examination may be used to satisfy the corresponding four-credit-hour Core Curriculum requirement.
  3. International Baccalaureate Program: St. Mary’s College of Maryland recognizes the International Baccalaureate Program. College credit will be awarded for IB courses taken at the higher level. A minimum grade of 5 is required. Please consult with the Office of the Registrar for course-by-course equivalencies. No credit shall be awarded for standard-level examinations. Four credits will be awarded for an IB Diploma in recognition of an extended essay and participation in Theory of Knowledge.
  4. In some cases, students may be able to satisfy the prerequisites for upper-division courses by taking an examination on the course content of the lower-division course. To do so, a student must obtain the permission of the appropriate department chair by the second day of the semester and take the examination before the last day of the schedule-adjustment period (the end of the first two weeks of classes). If the department chair, in consultation with the appropriate instructor(s), waives the prerequisite based on the student’s exam performance, no credits will be awarded for that prerequisite course, but the student may enroll in the upper-division class.


Internships for academic credit are designed to help students support their academic and career goals through supervised work experiences. Internships are generally off-campus, but can also be arranged in professional settings at the College, such as the Boyden Gallery. Internships can be used to satisfy the Experiencing the Liberal Arts in the World requirement if approved as such.

  1. Policies
    1. Internships are available to full-time, degree-seeking juniors or seniors who have a cumulative grade-point average of 2.50 or higher. Acceptance into the Internship Program is based primarily on the student’s ability to perform well in the type of internship sought, as indicated by assessment of the student’s intellectual qualities, reliability, personal maturity, and ability to combine an extensive academic assignment with onsite-work.
    2. A maximum of 16 credit-hours of internship credit may be applied toward a degree at St. Mary’s. All 16 semester hours need not be taken in a single semester. Summer internships may carry between four and eight credit-hours. Students who wish to take more than eight credit-hours for a summer internship must obtain written permission from the assistant vice president of academic services. The number of internship credits that may be applied toward fulfillment of a student’s major requirement is determined by the appropriate academic department.
    3. If the contractual agreement has been only partially fulfilled, the student may receive only part of the contracted number of credits, as determined by the student’s faculty sponsor and the director of career development.
    4. The evaluation of the internship will be based on the specifics of the student’s unique learning agreement.
    5. The mode of evaluation will be Credit/No credit. The academic project will be evaluated by the faculty supervisor and assigned a letter grade that will appear parenthetically on the student’s academic record. This grade will not be included in the calculation of the student’s GPA. The academic project must receive a passing grade for the student to receive credit. Credit for the internship will be assigned by the faculty sponsor after consultation with all appropriate parties, including the director of career development.
    6. In general, the policy is that students may not receive both a salary and credit for an internship. However, in certain circumstances related to the nature of a site’s own organizational mandates, it may be possible for an intern to receive both credit and pay. The student should petition the Academic Policy Committee, providing 1) verification of the situation from the site, 2) approval from the Career Development Center, and 3) approval from the faculty internship sponsor, to request permission for an exception to the general policy regarding receiving credit and pay for an internship.
  2. Procedures
    1. Students interested in registering for internships should review the details about the credit internship program available online and then schedule an appointment at the Career Development Center early in the semester prior to the internship placement.
    2. The director of Career Development and the appropriate department chair must approve the site placements of students for any site at which a St. Mary’s student has not previously interned for credit.
    3. The “Internship Learning Agreement” will be prepared by the student, in consultation with the site supervisor, faculty sponsor, and career development staff. It must be submitted to the Career Development Center by the end of the semester prior to the start of the internship.
    4. Both the intern and on-site supervisor will complete written evaluations of the internship for the director of career development before the end of the internship.
    5. The intern will file a copy of the academic project with the faculty sponsor.


Independent studies provide a means for students to pursue subjects in greater depth than otherwise provided by the curriculum. With the exception of independent studies that are approved to fulfill the CORE350 requirement, independent studies cannot be used to satisfy Core Curriculum requirements.

  1. Instructors must have full-time faculty status.
  2. To register for an independent study, a student must complete a learning contract. An official form for such contracts is available in each administrative office found in the academic buildings or in the Registrar’s Office. The level of study (that is, 100, 200, 300, or 400) is determined by the faculty supervisor. The learning contract must be approved by the appropriate department chair and filed with the Office of the Registrar, ordinarily by the last day of the schedule-adjustment period.
  3. Independent studies may not be substituted in place of courses offered on a regular basis in the College curriculum. In cases of unusual need, exception may be granted by the appropriate department chair.
  4. A maximum of eight credit-hours of such work may be applied toward fulfillment of the student’s major requirements. Independent study taken to fulfill major requirements must be taken for a letter grade.
  5. Inasmuch as first-year students are encouraged to pursue basic courses, only sophomores, juniors, and seniors are normally allowed to register for independent study. First-year students wanting to take an independent study should petition the appropriate department chair, offering evidence of sufficient academic preparation.
  6. A student may not take more than eight credit-hours of independent study or field study during any semester, and the student is limited to a maximum of four credit-hours of independent study during a summer session.
  7. To be eligible to enroll for independent study, a student must be in good academic standing.
  8. As a condition for independent study, the student and the instructor must contract to meet no less than twice during the session (in addition to the first and final meetings) to discuss and assess the progress of the project.
  9. The details of the independent study are determined by the faculty mentor who works within the guidelines of departmental requirements for independent studies. The underlying requirement is that the academic work must be of the same quality and quantity as a regular course of the same number of credits and level (200, 300, 400).
  10. An independent study project is contracted for a specific period of time and is assessed at its contracted date of completion. The grade category “Incomplete” is assigned to a student carrying independent study only when extenuating circumstances have made substantial completion of the project impossible.


Some departments at St. Mary’s offer courses in Classroom Assistantships. Students work with a faculty member in conjunction with a course offered by that faculty member. Credits received in a Classroom Assistant course cannot be used to satisfy the Core Curriculum requirements. Students should contact individual departments to register for a Classroom Assistantship. Departments should follow the policies listed below:

  1. Instructors for Classroom Assistantships must have full-time faculty status.
  2. Students may earn a total maximum of eight semester hours for a Classroom Assistantship. If a student wants to continue working as a Classroom Assistant after completing eight semester hours, the student may receive pay, but not credit.
  3. To be eligible for a Classroom Assistantship, students must be a junior or senior or must have completed two courses of 200 level or above in the discipline of the course in which the student is the Classroom Assistant.
  4. Students may not take more than four credits of a Classroom Assistantship during any semester.
  5. Students must have a minimum overall GPA of 2.5.
  6. Students registered in a Classroom Assistantship must abide by all of the course policies set by the instructor.
  7. While students registered in a Classroom Assistantship may review class assignments and make preliminary marks, the professor holds the ultimate authority and responsibility in assigning grades for all assignments.
  8. While students registered in a Classroom Assistantship may lead review sessions, the faculty instructor must be present if the Classroom Assistant is assuming the role of teacher.
  9. All other details related to a Classroom Assistantship are negotiable between the faculty member and the student.


St. Mary’s College of Maryland encourages its students to study abroad. Study abroad makes available to the College’s students unique educational and cultural opportunities not offered at St. Mary’s. The College offers three categories of international education: (1) Approved study-abroad programs offered through other colleges and universities; (2) Study abroad through institutions with which St. Mary’s has a contractual relationship; and (3) Study tour programs that are offered through a course at St. Mary’s College of Maryland. These international education programs are governed by the following academic policies:

  1. Students must have a minimum cumulative grade-point average of 2.5 in order to be eligible for study abroad. Students must petition the Academic Policy Committee for a waiver to this requirement prior to the end of the 10th week of the semester, supplementing their petition with current information from professors about their academic progress at that point in time.
  2. Students who wish to study (for credit) in other institutions’ study-abroad programs that have not previously been approved by St. Mary’s College must secure written permission on a study-abroad request form available from the Office of International Education.
  3. For any study-abroad program, the student must file a Pre-Approval Form for Study Abroad with the Office of International Education. Each course a student plans to take must be evaluated and approved by the Office of the Registrar in consultation with the chair of the department most closely related to the content of the course. The Office of the Registrar or department chair will indicate on the form the transfer equivalency at St. Mary’s College. The student is responsible for filing the study-abroad request forms with the Office of International Education by the appropriate deadline in the semester before the study-abroad program begins (October 15th for spring programs and March 1st for summer and fall programs).
  4. If a student does not follow the procedures outlined in item 3 above, the College may refuse to grant credit for study-abroad courses taken by the student, regardless of the program in which they were taken.
  5. Credits earned in study-abroad courses and programs offered by another institution and approved by St. Mary’s College will be transferred to the student’s transcript when an official transcript is received from the other institution. Credits transferred from NSE and institutions abroad follow the policies as outlined in the next section, Transfer of Credits from Other Institutions


A student enrolled at St. Mary’s College may enroll in another institution or take a correspondence course and subsequently transfer the credits to St. Mary’s College. If a student does not secure written permission before taking courses at another institution, the College reserves the right to refuse to grant credit for such courses. The student should secure this prior written permission on a “Pre-Approval of Transfer Credit” form from the Office of the Registrar. The Office of the Registrar will indicate on the form the transfer equivalency at St. Mary’s College. The student is responsible for filing the written permission with the registrar. This policy includes courses taken during the summer, while on leave of absence, or while concurrently enrolled as a student at St. Mary’s College of Maryland.

Transfer students who are admitted to the College will receive an official evaluation of their transfer credits after the College has received official transcripts for all college work attempted and the student has confirmed their acceptance with a paid deposit. Any course taken more than 10 years ago, although possibly acceptable as transfer credit, might not fulfill Core Curriculum or major requirements. The determination of which requirement(s) such a course fulfills shall be made by the chair of the department in which the course is normally offered.

Credit earned from other institutions is acceptable for transfer to St. Mary’s under the following conditions: (1) The institution must be accredited by the appropriate regional accrediting association. (2) The course must be approved by the College as being congruent with its liberal arts program. (3) A minimum grade of C- for courses taken at an out-of-state college or D for courses taken at a Maryland public college is required for transfer credit. A course in which credit has been earned but no letter grade given will be accepted for transfer only if the student was not allowed to take the course for a letter grade, or if the student can verify that the letter grade equivalent was C- or better. (4) Credits for technical (career) programs will be evaluated on a course-by-course basis. (5) The maximum number of credits that can be transferred from a two-year institution is 70 credit-hours, and 90 credit-hours from a four-year institution. The maximum total number of credits that can be transferred from any combination of institutions is 90 credit-hours. (6) Credits that are transferred will be excluded from the computation of the grade-point average at St. Mary’s College. For further information, see Computation of the Grade-point Average. (7) At least half of the credits applied towards the student’s major must be completed at the College. For a minor, all 300- and 400-level courses must be completed at the College, and no more than half of courses applied towards the minor at the 100- and 200-level can be transferred to the College from another institution. (8) Students transferring from Maryland public colleges are entitled to the rights set forth in the Student Transfer Policies of the Maryland Higher Education Commission. St. Mary’s College complies with these policies. Consult the Appendix for the full text of these policies. Regardless of the number of credits transferred, every student must conform to all degree requirements at St. Mary’s in order to obtain a degree.