Adding Courses

During the 100% refund period (corresponds to the first calendar week of fall and spring semesters or to the first two days of a summer session), changes to course schedules can be processed online via Gateway.

During the 75% and 50% refund periods, signatures of approval from the course instructor, Program Director, and Dean are required on all Add/Drop forms in order to add a course(s) and/or to switch sections within the same course.  If a student wishes to add a course that has closed, he/she must submit an ADD/DROP form to the Registrar's Office with the appropriate signatures as previously indicated.

After the 50% refund period (approximately corresponds to after the third calendar week of classes during the fall or spring semester or after the first calendar week of classes during a summer session or an eight week course), students may NOT add any courses and/or switch sections within the same course except in extremely rare and extenuating circumstances as approved by the instructor of the course and the Dean of the school from which the course is being offered. This Add/Schedule Change policy is in agreement with our current Attendance policy which states that a student may be dropped from a course after missing the equivalent of two weeks of classes.

Dropping Courses

It is the student’s responsibility to drop a course.  The Registrar does not initiate drops for students from courses for non-attendance.  Notifying an instructor or failing to attend class does not constitute an official drop from a course nor does it eliminate the student’s financial responsibility for course payment. 

Drop Policy:

  • A course dropped by the end of the first 5 class days of the semester (Fall and Spring) is not reflected in a student’s transcript.
  • Students may drop a course up to the end of the 12th week of the semester. A grade of “W” will be automatically be issued.
  • Student-initiated withdrawals from a course will not be accepted after the 12th week of the semester.  Students who fail to withdraw by the published deadline will receive a final grade as determined by the faculty member.  However, the grades of “W” or “WF” will not be available as final grade options.
  • After the 12th week of the semester, faculty-initiated withdrawals from a course for excessive absences must be coordinated through the appropriate Dean or Associate Dean for a student to receive a “W” in the course.
  • If a faculty member chooses not to withdraw a student from the course for excessive absences, a final grade will be entered by the faculty member in Gateway based upon the work completed by the student.
  • Please refer to the Academic Calendar for each semester’s calendar date, including shorter semesters (summer, Maymester, etc.), for the specific drop date deadline.

International Students must also inform the Center for International Programs of their intent to withdraw from any course. Student Athletes must also inform the Athletic Department of their intent to withdraw from any course.  Dropping multiple courses or falling below full time status could potentially impact a student’s financial aid award, or visa status.  Please consult with the program director and financial aid adviser for more information.

Withdrawing from All Courses

It is the responsibility of all students withdrawing from all courses to inform the Office of the Registrar.

Withdrawal from all courses should be effected for a serious reason only. According to time limits stipulated in the Academic Calendar, the student may be entitled to some refund at the time of withdrawal. Withdrawal without proper notice to the Registrar, however, entails failure in all courses for the semester and liability for full payment.

As with the dropping of courses, notice to Instructors of withdrawal does not cancel registration nor financial obligations.

Military Personnel and Reservists: If a student in inactive or reserve military services is required by the military to withdraw from the University due to a military crisis, he or she will be entitled to a full tuition refund. If such a withdrawal is necessary, no academic penalty will be incurred. Students who are using student loans, however, will have to abide by the appropriate regulations. With the approval of the class Instructor, an extension of time may be allowed for completion of courses which are interrupted. Support documentation must be submitted.

Auditing of Graduate Courses

Auditors may be admitted to graduate courses with the permission of the instructor and the Graduate Program Director for that discipline. No credit is given. Eligibility, the number of courses an individual may audit, and the number of auditors permitted in a class is established by the Graduate Program Director in consultation with the course instructor. Auditor enrollment may not count toward the minimum class enrollment, exceed the class cap, or be of sufficient number as to affect the quality of the instruction. The tuition for an audit is 1/3 of the regular tuition in effect at the time of enrollment, regardless of degree program or status as a base student.

Employees receiving tuition rebate may audit a graduate course.

Change of Courses

Adding or dropping courses after registration requires the approval of the Graduate Program Director by means of forms provided for that purpose. The refund of fees for dropped courses is regulated by the general rules of the University.

Course Load

Graduate students are categorized as full time or part time based on their credit hour enrollment and length of semester or term. Part time students are considered half time or less than half time.

Credit Hours Semester or Term Status
8 or more 16 weeks Full Time
6 or more 8 weeks Full Time
3 or more 5 weeks or less Full Time
4-7 16 weeks Half Time
3-5 8 weeks Half Time
2 5 weeks Half Time
1-3 16 weeks Less Than Half Time
1-2 8 weeks Less Than Half Time
1 5 weeks Less Than Half Time

Upon request, the Registrar will certify students as "full time" during the semester in which they intend to graduate if they are enrolled in the number of hours required to complete the degree, irrespective of the number of hours involved. Students enrolled in 3 hours of dissertation are full time students.

Graduate Credit

Courses beginning with numerals 1 or 2 are not applicable for graduate credit. Certain courses beginning with 3, 4, or 5, referred to as G courses, may be taken for graduate credit; however, if these courses have been taken for undergraduate credit, they may not be repeated for graduate credit.

Graduate credit is not granted for correspondence courses, CLEP examinations, or Special Examinations.

Maintaining Registration

Any student working on a thesis must register each semester by registering for Thesis Extension until the thesis is approved. All students must be enrolled in course(s) during the semester in which the General Examination is taken or registered by Maintaining Matriculation. A Theology or Pastoral Administration student must be enrolled in courses or Practicum or Project Extension until his/her project, requirement of three major papers, or practicum is approved. The student maintains matriculation by registering for a course numbered 6000GX. The respective department's prefix would be added: e.g., PA6000GX.


  1. Prerequisites for an academic program are listed in the section containing the description and requirements for the program. Prerequisites, for purposes of financial aid, are considered part of a student's degree program. However, prerequisite hours cannot be credited toward or substitute for any graduate degree program course requirements.
  2. It is desirable that students complete prerequisites before beginning work on the graduate core.
  3. Full time students must complete prerequisites by the end of the third semester.
  4. Part time students must complete prerequisites by the end of the fourth semester.
  5. Ordinarily, students with deficiencies complete the required undergraduate or graduate prerequisites by taking the courses at St. Mary's University.
  6. Undergraduate prerequisites may also be completed by examination provided the student has not taken the course and received a grade less than C:
    1. An undergraduate prerequisite may be satisfied by CLEP or DANTES administered by the University Testing Center when it is equivalent to the prerequisite course. The Registrar maintains the minimum standard score. A department may set higher standards. An administrative fee is charged by the Testing Center. A record of the test score is maintained in the student's file in the Graduate Admissions Office. If the exam is failed, the student must take the course.
    2. An undergraduate prerequisite may also be satisfied by Special Examination when there is no equivalent CLEP or DANTES. The minimum passing score is 70%. A department may set higher standards. There normally is a fee for these exams unless the student fails the exam. If the exam is failed, the student must take the course. A record of the test and the test score is maintained in the student's file in the Graduate Admissions Office.
  7. If the student takes the graduate course prior to completing the prerequisite, the prerequisite is still required. Prerequisites are required for two reasons:
    1. to ensure that those earning the degree have acquired a certain common body of knowledge; and,
    2. to provide the foundation for optimizing learning in the graduate course
  8. Graduate level prerequisites must be completed with a grade of either A or B. Graduate Level prerequisites may not be counted as core or elective requirements for the degree.
  9. For course work already completed elsewhere:
    1. Credit from four year institutions:
      An undergraduate prerequisite may be satisfied by a specific course or its equivalent if completed with a grade of C or better while a graduate level prerequisite must be completed with a grade of B- or better.
    2. Credit from two year institutions:
      A prerequisite may be satisfied by a specific course or its equivalent if:
      completed with a grade of C or better, and if the St. Mary's prerequisite is a lower division course, i.e. 1000 or 2000 level course.
      An upper division prerequisite, 3000-5000 level course may be accepted for credit only if validated by an exam over the St. Mary's 3000-5000 level course. The minimum passing score is 70%. A record of the test and the test score is maintained in the student's file in the Graduate Admissions Office.
  10. Prerequisites may be waived by the Dean upon recommendation by the Program Director.