Requirements

Graduation requirements

General College Requirements
  1. Completion of at least 128 credit-hours (credits), including at least 44 credit-hours of upper-division (300- and 400-level) courses, with a cumulative grade-point average of at least 2.00, both on an overall basis and in those courses that meet major requirements.
  2. At least 30 of the last 36 credit hours of academic work toward the degree must be SMCM courses.
  3. The Core Curriculum requirements.
  4. The requirements for a major field of study.
DEGREE CANDIDACY

To be a candidate for a degree, a student must be enrolled as a degree-seeking student at some time during the 12 months preceding graduation.

PARTICIPATION IN THE COMMENCEMENT CEREMONY

Only students who have successfully completed all coursework and have been verified as complete by the department of their major and the registrar are allowed to participate in the commencement ceremony. In some instances students may have all requirements completed for one major but may be missing requirements for an additional major at commencement. Students will be allowed to participate at commencement with the completed major noted in the commencement program and diploma. The student will be eligible to finish the additional major as long as the student has no more than eight credit-hours of required course work remaining to satisfy the second major requirements and can complete the required coursework in one calendar year.

CORE CURRICULUM REQUIREMENTS

To fulfill the goals of the Core Curriculum, stated at the beginning of this section, all students must achieve competence in four “fundamental liberal arts skills” by the time they graduate. These skills, including a) critical thinking, b) information literacy, c) written expression, and d) oral expression, will be introduced in the First Year Seminars, practiced and honed in increasingly sophisticated ways throughout the Core Curriculum and the majors, and then assessed within the major prior to graduation. Additionally, students are required to successfully complete designated courses in each of the following categories: I) Introduction to the Liberal Arts – Liberal Arts Seminars; II) International Languages; III) Liberal Arts Approaches to Understanding the World; and IV) Experiencing the Liberal Arts in the World. Students transferring with an AA or AS degree from a Maryland community college have fulfilled the Core Curriculum requirements with the exception of CORE 301 (Inquiry in the Liberal Arts) and CORE 350 (Experiencing the Liberal Arts in the World).

I. Introduction to the Liberal Arts – Liberal Arts Seminars

The Liberal Arts Seminars, an integral part of the Core Curriculum, introduce students to the campus community, liberal arts culture, and the excitement of intellectual inquiry. The Seminars are overseen by the dean of the Core Curriculum and First Year Experience and taught by faculty from every department. By completing this requirement, students will be able to:

Students who need additional support in making the transition to college-level writing are also required to take English 101, Introduction to Writing, in their first semester concurrently with a First Year Seminar. Entering students who score below 600 on the Writing Section of the SATs or below a 27 on the Writing Section of the ACTs must take an English Placement Examination, a timed writing assignment, during the summer or during new-student orientation. This exam, administered by the English Department and scored holistically by trained readers, is used to determine which students will take English 101 in their first semester on campus.

To satisfy the requirement for the Liberal Arts Seminar, students must take either CORE 101 or CORE 301. Students must earn a grade of C- or higher in order to satisfy the Liberal Arts Seminar requirement. The First Year Seminar may not be used to satisfy any other Core Curriculum requirements, nor can the First Year Seminar be used to satisfy any requirements within a major or minor. Incoming first year students and students who transfer in with 24 or fewer credits will take CORE 101 in their first fall semester on campus. Students who transfer in with more than 24 credits will take CORE 301 in their first semester on campus.

CORE 101. The First Year Seminar (4F)
The First Year Seminar serves as the gateway course to the honors college. The Seminars will encourage students to engage deeply with an intellectual topic through exercising the four fundamental liberal arts skills (critical thinking, information literacy, written expression, and oral expression). The Seminars are not meant to be introductions to disciplines, nor are they merely orientations to the campus or clinics on study skills. Rather, they focus on a question, an issue, or a group of texts, on which students will write, speak, research, and think critically. Multiple sections of this course will focus on a wide variety of topics.

CORE 301. Inquiry in the Liberal Arts (2)
This course, designed for students transferring to St. Mary’s College of Maryland with more than 24 credits, will focus on the four fundamental liberal arts skills (critical thinking, information literacy, written expression, and oral expression) and emphasize their importance for a broad grounding in the liberal arts.

CORE 401. Peer Mentoring Practicum (3F)
Advanced undergraduate students may apply to be peer mentors to the First Year Seminars (CORE 101). In addition to attending the seminar section to which they are assigned, peer mentors will attend regular practicum meetings designed to address issues related to mentoring, ethics in teaching, teaching and learning theories, as well as issues related to facilitating discussion and helping students develop and hone the four fundamental liberal arts skills. Prerequisites: junior or senior standing and a minimum 2.5 GPA. Students must apply to the dean of the Core Curriculum and First Year Experience to be considered for the Peer Mentor program. Credit/no credit grading. May not be repeated for credit.

CORE 402. Advanced Peer Mentoring (1-2)
Advanced undergraduate students may apply to be peer mentors for CORE 301 (Inquiry in the Liberal Arts), a course designed for students transferring to St. Mary’s College of Maryland as a sophomore, junior or senior. For example, if a student is the peer mentor for two sections of CORE 301, he or she may register for 2 credits of CORE 402. Students may register for a maximum of 2 credits for CORE402. Credit/no credit grading. May not be repeated for credit. Prerequisites: junior or senior standing and a minimum 2.5 GPA. Students may apply to the dean of the Core Curriculum and First Year Experience to be considered for the Advanced Peer Mentoring program.

II. International Languages

Students will take one 3- or 4-credit international language course to satisfy this requirement (see Determining Course Level below). The course must have an ILC designation, such as courses listed in the St. Mary’s College of Maryland course catalog (e.g., ILCC [Chinese], ILCF [French], ILCG [German], and ILCS [Spanish]). Courses not listed in the St. Mary’s College of Maryland course catalog but that receive a 3- or 4-credit ILC designation on a student’s transcript (e.g., courses in Italian, Latin, Thai, among others) may also satisfy the International Languages Core requirement. By completing this requirement, students will be able to:

Determining course level:

Though students may always opt to fulfill the requirement by starting a new language at the 101 level, other levels of placement (course numbers 102, 110, 201, 202, 206) will be determined by one’s score on the web-based Foreign Language Proficiency Test (FLPT). In other words, the course the student places into is the one course the student must take to satisfy the requirement, unless the student begins a new language at the 101-level. Students who wish to take a different course level to satisfy the requirement (for example, a student who places into ILCS 201 but prefers to take ILCS 110) must get approval from the chair of the International Languages and Cultures Department to be placed into the course.

Other ways to meet this requirement:

  1. by providing proof of course work in any foreign language at the College level (including languages not currently taught at St. Mary’s College of Maryland); or
  2. by petitioning the dean of the Core Curriculum and First Year Experience and the chair of the International Languages and Cultures Department for an exemption, such as by demonstrating native or near-native knowledge of a language other than English (that is, international students or anyone else with significant linguistic and cultural background from outside the United States); or
  3. by submitting evidence of a score of a 4 of 5 in an AP foreign language exam or a minimum score of 5 in an IB/HL exam in a foreign language. Students who have already satisfied the International Languages requirement, as detailed above, are still strongly encouraged to continue to develop their proficiency through additional college level work and are encouraged to take the Foreign Language Proficiency Test (FLPT) to determine level of placement.
III. Liberal Arts Approaches to Understanding the World

Students must take one course from each of the following six areas: 1) Arts, 2) Cultural Perspectives, 3) Humanistic Foundations, 4) Mathematics, 5) Natural Sciences with Laboratory, and 6) Social Sciences. The purpose of this requirement is to introduce students to academic disciplines central to the liberal arts (including the particular approaches and assumptions of these disciplines), as well as to reinforce breadth and diversity of experience. Each area of study has its own goals, which are described in further detail below.

By the end of their experiences in courses that fulfill the “Liberal Arts Approaches to Understanding the World” category of the Core Curriculum, students will, at a level appropriate for an introductory course, be able to:

A student will take one course from each of the following six areas: 1) Arts, 2) Cultural Perspectives, 3) Humanistic Foundations, 4) Mathematics, 5) Natural Sciences with Laboratory, and 6) Social Sciences. The six courses must be from six different disciplines. In other words, only one course with any given prefix—such as ANTH, MUSC, POSC or TFMS—may be counted among a student’s six Liberal Arts Approaches to Understanding the World courses.

1. Arts: The Arts include courses whose primary focus is the study and/or practice of artistic creation in literature, the visual arts, music, dance, theater and film. Courses in the arts examine how art forms express ideas and experiences. Some of these courses focus on the history of art forms, the contexts of their production and reception, and the theories used to interpret them. Other Arts courses focus on students making, writing, or performing artistic creations. By studying the arts, students learn to attend carefully to the structure and details of creative works, to understand these works in their social and historical contexts, and to express their creative and critical intentions clearly and effectively.

The following courses satisfy the Arts requirement:

Four 1-credit MUSA courses at the lower division level may also satisfy the Arts requirement in the following ways: 1) Students taking lessons (at the 200 level) may accumulate credits only on one instrument (or voice) across four semesters. 2) Students may participate in an ensemble (at the 100 level) across four semesters. 3) Credits may also accumulate through a combination of lessons (in only one instrument or voice) plus any mixture of ensembles for a total of four credits.

Lessons that can be used to fulfill this requirement:

Ensembles that can be used to fulfill this requirement:

2. Cultural Perspectives: Courses in this category are designed to help students better recognize the ways their own culture shapes their thinking and the ways in which culture more generally shapes an individual’s world view. Courses include those in which the primary object of study is cultures and languages using the methodologies of diverse disciplines as well as interdisciplinary methodologies. Courses might examine theories of race and ethnicity, explore the experiences of people and societies in various cultures, or investigate diverse issues related to both globalization and the variability of experiences within particular cultures.

The following courses satisfy the Cultural Perspectives requirement:

3. Humanistic Foundations: Courses in this category take as their primary objects of study the constitutive events, ideas, beliefs, and practices that have shaped, and continue to shape, the human condition. Methodologically, they focus on the analytical investigation of human experience in general; of the experience of particular individuals; and of the links between the particular and the general—thus recognizing both the individual and also the way in which every individual’s experience is shaped by larger systems and paradigms. Courses may address the fundamental question of what it means to be human in the world, thereby providing students with the analytic tools to critically reflect on their place on earth. In the process, students will also become familiar with the key topics, questions, issues, and methodologies central to the disciplines of philosophy, history, religious studies, and women, gender, and sexuality studies.

The following courses satisfy the Humanistic Foundations requirement:

4. Mathematics: Mathematics is a discipline that studies quantitative aspects of the world. The courses within this section introduce the student to basic mathematical skills and concepts, sometimes through the elements of computer programming. Students are expected to learn methods and techniques of problem solving and to develop facility in the mathematical mode of thinking. They are expected to become acquainted with the major areas of current interest in mathematics, with the primary achievements of the past, and with the fundamental problems of number, space, and infinity.

The following courses satisfy the Mathematics requirement:

5. Natural Sciences with Laboratory: The natural sciences are academic disciplines that study the natural world, including biological, chemical and physical structures and phenomena. Courses in the natural sciences present major scientific concepts and theories and teach students to apply investigative methodologies to explore scientific questions. Students will learn to analyze scientific literature and to write and speak using the languages of these disciplines. All courses in this area include the required laboratory component.

The following courses satisfy the Natural Sciences with Laboratory requirement:

6. Social Sciences: The social sciences are a group of academic disciplines that study human aspects of the world. The courses within the social sciences take human behavior—individual, in groups, or in societies—as its object of study. They emphasize the use of scientific methodologies in the study of humanity, including quantitative tools and narrative approaches. The goal of the social sciences is to make students aware of the forces that have shaped and are shaping the modern world in order to enable them to think critically about the global society in which they live and to write and speak effectively about that society. Students who study the social sciences will have a wide-ranging appreciation of the functioning of a broad spectrum of social systems and will appreciate how the methods of social science can help interpret human behavior.

The following courses satisfy the Social Sciences requirement:

Courses may be added to or removed from the six categories in the Liberal Arts Approaches to Understanding the World pending approval by the dean of the Core Curriculum and First Year Experience and the Core Curriculum Committee.

IV. Experiencing the Liberal Arts in the World

In this element of the Core Curriculum, students will bridge the gap between their academy and the world beyond, transcending the theory-praxis divide and giving extra meaning to their academic courses by applying their developing knowledge base to life experiences outside the boundaries of the college campus. By completing this requirement, students will be able to:

This requirement can be satisfied in several ways. However, each option requires that students complete the form to register for CORE 350 by the end of the Add/Drop period in the semester the student plans to fulfill the requirement, and b) complete a reflective paper by the last day of classes in the semester the student fulfills the requirement. The reflective paper is described more fully under CORE 350 (see below). Both the registration form and the reflective piece must be turned in to the Office of the Core Curriculum at corecurriculum@smcm.edu.

There are four general options for satisfying the Experiencing the Liberal Arts in the World requirement:

  1. Study Abroad: Students may satisfy the Experiencing the Liberal Arts in the World requirement by participating in at least four credit hours of study-abroad coursework. Study-tour courses and semester or longer study-abroad programs count towards this requirement.
  2. Internship: Students may satisfy the Experiencing the Liberal Arts in the World requirement by participating in a credit-bearing internship of at least four credits (contact the Career Development Center for more information). Students who wish to use a non-credit internship to satisfy this requirement must submit a petition to the dean of the Core Curriculum and First Year Experience for approval prior to beginning the internship.
  3. Independent Study or Directed Research With a Community Focus : Students may satisfy the Experiencing the Liberal Arts in the World requirement under faculty direction with on and off-campus experiences in the world of work or community service not typically associated with an internship placement. Students opting to satisfy the Experiencing the Liberal Arts in the World requirement through this option must submit a proposal for at least four credit hours of independent study or directed research at the 300 or 400 level to the dean of the Core Curriculum and First Year Experience for approval prior to beginning the experience.
  4. Experiential or Service Learning Course: Students may satisfy the Experiencing the Liberal Arts in the World requirement by taking a course that has a significant experiential or service learning component. Students may select from the following courses to satisfy this 4-credit requirement:
    • EDUC 206: The Child in America
    • EDUC 210 & 211: Reflective Leadership in Human Services Part I and II
    • EDUC 296: Language Acquisition and Phonemic Awareness
    • EDSP 336: Exceptionality: An Introduction to Special Education
    • EDUC/PSYC 368: Educational Psychology
    • HIST 430: Maryland Research Seminar
    • POSC 312: State and Community Politics
    • PSYC 410: Service Learning in Psychology
    • TFMS 392: The Teaching of Theater in the Schools
    • TFMS 460: Creative Movement and Dance in Education
    Courses may be added to or removed from this category pending approval by the dean of the Core Curriculum and First Year Experience and the Core Curriculum Committee.

CORE 350. Reflection on Experiencing the World (0E)
In order to complete the Experiencing the Liberal Arts in the World requirement, students must participate in an approved activity as described above (e.g., study abroad, internship, experiential coursework) and submit a reflective paper based on their experience. This course is a co-requisite for any experience that a student uses to satisfy this requirement of the Core Curriculum. Students will receive a grade of “Pass with Distinction,” “Pass,” or “Fail.” Students who receive a grade of “Fail” will be invited to revise and resubmit their reflective paper.