Students are evaluated for all work leading to academic credit. High quality performance is expected from all students. Grades assigned will reflect actual performance while simultaneously maintaining the integrity of the grading system.

The grade of A is superior, B is good, and C is marginal. Grades D and F are unsatisfactory. Grades of S, satisfactory, or U, unsatisfactory, are given for dissertations, thesis, internships, and practica.

Graduate credit at St. Mary's University will be given for grades A through C and S, according to the scale and restrictions listed below. Grades A - F affect grade point average.

Effective Summer 1999

95-100 A 4.0
90-94 A- 3.67
87-89 B+ 3.33
84-86 B 3.0
80-83 B- 2.67
77-79 C+ 2.33
70-76 C 2.0
60-69 D 0
0-59 F 0
  1. Students must achieve a cumulative GPA of 3.0 for all graduate work in order to graduate.
  2. No more than six semester hours of grades below B- will be accepted toward a degree.
  3. The grade of C will be accepted only if balanced by a grade of A.
  4. All graduate work in the major field must have a B average.
  5. All graduate work in the minor field must have a B average.
  6. A minimum grade of B- is required for all core courses in the following majors: Computer Information Systems.
  7. S or U grades are not calculated in the grade point average.

Change of Grade

Once an instructor has submitted a grade to the Registrar's Office, it may only be changed if there has been a recording or computation error or it is changed as a result of the grade appeal process.

Incomplete Grade

An instructor may submit an IP or IC in lieu of a grade when a student has been unable to complete all of the assignments in a course, providing the student's work was otherwise satisfactory. An IP, given only for theses, practica, and internships, remains in effect until the work is completed. An IC is given for a regular course in which the work has not been completed. An IC which is not completed within six (6) months from the ending date of the semester may be assigned a grade, as appropriate. If no grade is assigned, the incomplete will remain on the transcript permanently as IC. As an exception the Academic Dean may extend the six-month period upon request of the Program Director. Generally, an extension for completion of an IC will not exceed six months.

Grade Appeal Procedures

A student who wishes to appeal a sanction imposed for academic dishonesty should refer to the section in this publication pertaining to Charges and Hearings for Academic Dishonesty.
The following process for appeal shall be followed in the event that a graduate student receives a final course grade that is believed to be inaccurately and/or unfairly awarded other than for grades involving sanctions for academic dishonesty:

  1. The student must meet with the instructor within three weeks after receiving the final course grade in dispute to present substantial proof, and where possible, to justify the appeal. If the instructor does not agree with the student's request, the student may forward the appeal, as presented to the instructor, to the Graduate Program Director of the department through which the course is offered. The student shall inform the instructor of the appeal to the Graduate Program Director and of the basis on which it has been taken. The instructor may inform the student and the Graduate Program Director of the instructor's position.
  2. The Graduate Program Director shall convene a review committee consisting of at least two tenure track department faculty members other than the instructor to whom the original appeal was directed. In the event that the Graduate Program Director is the object of the original appeal, the Graduate Program Director will ask the Department Chair, where possible, to convene the committee. In cases where there are an insufficient number of tenure track department faculty members eligible to review the appeal, tenure track faculty members from associated disciplines within the same school may be appointed to the committee. The faculty committee should complete its review of the appeal within thirty (30) days of the original request to the course instructor.
    The task of the appeal review committee is to consider the basis of the appeal, whether it pertains to:
    1. the intellectual content and requirements of the course,
    2. procedural aspects of the course as described in the course syllabus, other general instructions provided by the instructor to all students in the course, and their conformity to university policy, or
    3. evidence of bias against the appellant. If the committee finds that the student's appeal is without substantial merit, the Graduate Program Director will inform the appellant in writing. No further action will be taken on the appeal.
  3. The review committee may not overrule the decision of the instructor to whom the original appeal was directed. After appropriate consultation with both instructor and appellant, it may suggest reconsideration of the instructor's decision on the appeal. If the instructor is unwilling to change a decision that is in substantial conflict with the committee's findings the committee may then:
    1. refer the appeal to the Academic Dean with a recommendation; or
    2. refer the appeal to the Academic Dean as an unresolved matter with no recommendation.
  4. The dean may not ordinarily change a grade decision that is based on the intellectual content of the course, unless the departmental committee has first recommended a change on that basis. The dean may grant relief in cases involving a procedural error in the conduct of the course, flagrant violation of the student appeal process, or evidence of bias against the student.
    The dean's decision is final, and should be rendered within thirty (30) working days of the date of the original notice of appeal to the course instructor. The dean shall inform the student in writing of the decision.

Comprehensive or General Examinations

While certain requirements are stated in terms of credit, the emphasis is always on the acquisition of knowledge and the ability to use it. Mere accumulation of credits is not sufficient to entitle a student to receive a graduate degree.

In addition to the regular course examinations, each candidate must pass a general or comprehensive examination in his/her major field before the degree is conferred. Students are required to demonstrate breadth of knowledge in the discipline, depth in specific areas, and the ability to integrate what has been learned. This examination, however, does not measure simply what is covered in the course work rather it is intended to be "comprehensive" in that it may cover information that is discipline specific. Each program will develop reading lists and study guides to insure that students can adequately prepare for the general examination. Students are responsible for obtaining these study materials from the Graduate Program Director at a date determined by the Director.

To be eligible to take the examination the student must:

  1. be maintaining registration or enrolled during the semester during which the exam is attempted;,
  2. not be on suspension;
  3. have a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or higher;
  4. have completed all prerequisites; and,
  5. have completed all course work, or be enrolled in last semester, exclusive of practica and internships.
  6. be advanced to candidacy.

For programs requiring a thesis or a final degree project, the examination must be partly oral and may be wholly so. Thesis students are examined over the thesis and the course work. Ordinarily one-half of the exam is over the thesis and one-half over the course work. For non-thesis programs the examination must be partly written and may be wholly so.

The examining committee may permit the student who fails the examination to repeat the examination or may deny this permission. Normally the repeat examination will take place at the end of the same or following semester depending upon the program's policies. A student failing the comprehensive examination may be permitted to repeat the examination only once.

Under certain circumstances and on an individual basis, if a student does not pass the second examination, the Graduate Program Director and General Examination Committee may approve remedial work such as taking additional courses or the research and writing of one or more papers, or some combination of academic remedies, as a condition of passing the exam.

Independent Studies and Directed Readings

Independent studies and directed readings are available to graduate students on a very limited basis. Students wishing to enroll in an independent study must obtain an application in the Registrar’s Office and must seek the approval of the Instructor, Graduate Program Director, and appropriate Dean. The application for independent study and directed readings must include justification, a syllabus, course assignments, project, or information for which the student is responsible, process of gathering information, scheduled meeting times, and other relevant information.

Students will not be early registered in an independent study course without the Dean's approval.

A student enrolled in an independent study is required to meet with the professor 6 hours weekly or 30 hours total during a Summer Session, or 2 hours weekly or 30 hours total during the Fall or Spring Semesters. The purpose of this requirement is to ensure that tutorials achieve the graduate level scope, depth, and intellectual rigor of regular graduate courses. Because of the demands placed on the instructor for tutorial instruction and because tutorials are usually conducted as an overload, enrollments are extremely limited in order to maintain standards of quality.


Academic Standing - Probation and Suspension

Master's Program Students


If the student fails to achieve at least a B- average for any semester of resident study, the Graduate Program Director concerned will be notified in writing by the Office of the Registrar that the student's work is unsatisfactory and the student is automatically put on probation.

In order to be removed from probation a student must achieve a grade point average of 3.0 or higher during the subsequent semester of matriculation. This can only be achieved by attempting graduate level courses required by the student's degree program.


If a student is on probation and fails to achieve a B- average in the next semester, he/she is automatically dismissed from the Graduate Studies. In addition any combination of nine hours of grades below B- will result in dismissal. A student may not graduate while under suspension.

Doctoral Students


If the student fails to achieve at least a B average (3.0 GPA) for any semester, the Graduate Program Director will be notified in writing by the Office of the Registrar that the student's work is unsatisfactory and the student is automatically put on probation.


Students receiving a grade of D or F or students on probation and failing to achieve a B (3.0 GPA) average in the next semester are automatically dismissed from the Graduate School. In addition, any combination of nine hours of grades below B will result in dismissal. Students who are dismissed are not matriculated, cannot complete degree requirements, and cannot graduate.

Professional Review of Students in the Department of Counseling and Human Services

The full time Counseling Faculty evaluates the performance of students throughout their academic program. A formal review is conducted at the end of each semester. However, if, at any time, the full time Counseling Faculty identifies academic or non-academic weaknesses or problems in a student, and it is the judgment of the full time faculty that the student is not capable of or does not have the potential for rendering the desired counseling or therapeutic care to a client, the Chair of the Department of Counseling and Human Services will notify the student and the student's site supervisor that the student's internship or practicum privileges have been revoked. If the student is not enrolled in an internship or practicum, the Chair of the Department will notify the student that internship or practicum assignments have been restricted and that suspension is imminent.

The Chair of the Department will notify the Dean within two working days of the student's removal from internship or practicum sites or revocation of internship or practicum privileges. The Dean will review the decision by the faculty within 10 working days. Unless the Dean remands the decision back to the faculty for further consideration the student will be suspended.

Readmission of Suspended Students

If placed on academic suspension a graduate student must petition the Dean for readmission within thirty days of notification. Ordinarily, students are not readmitted unless there are mitigating circumstances and they can show that conditions have changed so that if they are given another opportunity for graduate study, they will succeed. Students who have been dismissed may be readmitted for further graduate study after one or more semesters have elapsed only if the Dean approves the petition for readmission. The Dean will stipulate the conditions for readmission. A student who reenters under these circumstances, but fails to satisfy the conditions stipulated for readmission or fails to maintain the standards for continuing in Graduate Studies, will be permanently dismissed from the University.

Readmission Policy Other Than for Probation and Suspension

All former graduate students who have been absent from St. Mary's for more than one calendar year must file a formal application for readmission through the Registrar’s Office. If students, during their absence from St. Mary's, attended another institution they must submit an official transcript reflecting this attendance. In this case the rules governing transfer credit will apply. Students leaving St. Mary's on academic probation or suspension, if readmitted after filing the requisite application, shall be readmitted on scholastic probation even if they attended another institution during their absence. Students on probation at another university will be admitted under the normal admission standards of the program in question and, if admitted, will enter on probationary status.

Students must also consider that being absent from their graduate studies may also cause them to extend their studies beyond the time limits set for degree completion. If this is the case, then the student (in consultation with their program director) may also wish to request an extension of time to degree. This consultation must also include any implications the extension may have for the contents of the comprehensive examination.