Jun 25, 2024  
2008-2009 Graduate Catalog 
2008-2009 Graduate Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Academic Policies

Student Responsibility

It is the responsibility of each student to take the initiative to plan his/her program and to meet all requirements in accordance with the Graduate Catalogue and the specific requirements of each program.

Academic Integrity

The College exists primarily to sustain the pursuit of knowledge. Scholarship, teaching, and learning are possible only in an environment of academic integrity characterized by honesty and mutual trust. Simply expressed, academic integrity requires that ones work be ones own. It is the responsibility of every member of the College community - faculty members, students, and administrators - to ensure that the highest standards of academic integrity are maintained.

Because violations of academic integrity threaten the intellectual climate central to the pursuit of knowledge, they cannot be tolerated. Violations of academic integrity include the following: plagiarism, unauthorized assistance, interference, and multiple submission. A more detailed explanation of academic integrity violations and the procedures for dealing with violations of academic integrity are presented in the Student Handbook and Code of Conduct.


Students are encouraged to meet with the program director or faculty advisor for advice and assistance in designing programs of study and in understanding program requirements.

General Academic Requirements

Requirements for graduation are measured in terms of semester credit hours. Students spend approximately two to three hours in preparation for each hour of class time. A full-time graduate student carries a minimum of nine or more credits in the fall and spring semesters, and six or more credits in the summer session. The standard full-time load for graduate students is nine to twelve credit hours with maximum enrollment of fourteen credit hours in any session. Special permission from the director is needed for a graduate student to take more than fourteen credit hours in any session.


Registration procedures are outlined in the course schedule sent to students by mail before each semester and are also available on the Web at: www.smcvt.edu/graduate/courses. Students may wish to meet with the appropriate program director or faculty advisor before registering for courses. All course changes, withdrawals, special arrangements, and program termination must be approved by the appropriate program director. Payment in full, or approved deferment arrangement, must be made prior to the first class meeting. Registration will be cancelled for students not satisfying these obligations. Students will not graduate, receive grades or transcripts of records until all financial obligations are met.

Course Additions

A student adding courses must do so before three class hours in the course have passed. To add a class after initial registration, students must have permission of the program director, and must complete the registration process before attending class.

Course Withdrawals

Any student may withdraw from a class up until the end of the drop/add period (normally three class hours) and no notation for that course will be made on the permanent record/ transcript. After that time, students may withdraw from courses up until the mid-point of the course and a grade of “WD” will be assigned, but is not computed in the students average.

After the mid-point of the course, graduate students withdrawing from a course will receive a grade of “WP”, withdrawn passing, or “WF”, withdrawn failing, dependent upon the quality of work completed. “WF” grades do enter into the grade point average (the same as “F”, 0.0 grade points). Two “WF” grades may result in dismissal from the program.

Tuition refunds are based upon the date on which the Registrars Office is notified of the withdrawal. (The tuition refund schedule is noted in the semester schedules and posted on the Web site.) Unofficial drops or withdrawals, or those received after the last class, will result in a failing grade for the course.

The College does not automatically drop students or assign “WD” grades to students who register for a course and then choose not to attend. Formal notification must be given to the Registrars Office.

Withdrawal From a Degree Program

A student must notify the program director in writing of his/her intent to withdraw from a degree program. In year-round programs, if a student does not register for a period of more than one academic year, and does not notify the program director in writing, it will be assumed that the student has withdrawn. It will be necessary to apply for reactivation, and in some cases to reapply to the program, if the student wishes to resume the graduate program. The students curriculum plans may be subject to catalogue changes.

Attendance at Class

Regular attendance at all classes is essential. Each program or instructor may set criteria for attendance.

Grade Reports

Grade reports are issued at the end of each term by the Registrars Office and are mailed to the student at his/her residence. The College reserves the right to withhold grade reports if the student has unmet financial obligations to the College.

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 pertains to student educational records maintained by Saint Michael’s College. The act states that students, and parents of dependent students, can have access to their educational records, and at the same time the act protects the rights to privacy of students by limiting the transferability of records without their consent. The following guidelines are presented to assist all members of the Saint Michael’s community in understanding the provisions of the Act as they apply to Saint Michael’s College.

College Policy on Student Access to Educational Records

All students and former students will have access to their educational records upon written request to the applicable office. Each office will comply with all requests within a reasonable length of time, but not later than forty-five days from the date of receipt of the written request. Educational records include academic records, confidential letters, and statements.

Records not covered by the act include any record received prior to January 1, 1975, financial records of parents, private notes of faculty and administrative officers, law enforcement records, and medical and psychiatric records. A physician or psychiatrist may review medical or psychiatric records if requested by a student.

Students may waive, in writing, access to recommendations and evaluations. A waiver must be filed with each individual office. The act does not provide for blanket waivers of access to all educational records.

A student who requests access to an educational record is expected to present valid identification.

Students may request unofficial copies of an educational record at no cost; official copies sent directly to other institutions are sent at the cost of $5.00. Immediate requests are processed for a fee of $10.00.

College Policy on Release of Confidential Records

The College will not release any educational record concerning any student or former student unless a written statement authorizing such a release is received from the student or former student. Exceptions to this policy are:

  1. Faculty and staff members who have legitimate educational interests in the record.
  2. Authorized federal and state officials in the process of administering educational programs.
  3. Requirements of administration of the Financial Aid Program.
  4. Accrediting organizations in carrying out the accrediting function.
  5. Parents providing documentation that the student is a dependent.
  6. Directory information (see below).
  7. Organizations conducting studies on educational programs provided that the identity of the student is not revealed.
  8. In an emergency situation involving the health or safety of the student or other persons.

The College will advise all recipients of student records that only authorized persons may see the records. Each College office will keep a record of all individuals requesting or receiving student records except as noted in item number one above.

Students who wish to give a blanket authorization for the college to share information from the educational record with parents, legal guardians or other designated persons may file a form with the Registrars Office.

Gender Neutral Language

The mission statement of Saint Michael’s College demands that we respect the dignity of each human person. The Colleges non-discrimination clause furthermore mandates fair treatment regardless of gender. In light of these objectives, faculty, staff, administrators, students, trustees, and friends of Saint Michael’s are encouraged to communicate in a gender-neutral manner.

Directory Information

The College will, in the course of the school year, release to the public certain information regarded as directory data. If a student does not want this information publicized, he/she must request in writing on an annual basis that such information not be published. Saint Michaels College considers the following to be “Directory Information”:

  Name and Address   Honors (including Dean’s List)
  Telephone Number   Enrollment Status
  E-mail Address   Dates of Attendance
  Date/Place of Birth   Degrees (including dates) and Awards Received
  Class   Previous School Attendance


A student may challenge any educational record that he/she feels to be inaccurate, misleading, or a violation of privacy. This policy does not apply to academic grades received for course work except when there is reason to believe that an error was made in recording grades to the transcript.

When a student desires to challenge a record, every effort should be made to resolve the question with the office involved. If this is not possible, the student must submit in writing to the coordinator of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 a statement outlining the alleged inaccurate, misleading or inappropriate data or statement contained in the record. The coordinator will appoint an impartial college official who will conduct a hearing within forty-five days of receipt of the written request. The results of the hearing will be transmitted in writing to the student, and all other parties involved. The student may appeal the decision to the president of Saint Michael’s College. The presidents decision will be final.

The above policy statement is subject to amendment from time to time and is also subject to approval by the Board of Trustees.

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act Coordinator: John Sheehey, Registrar, Founders Hall 112, 802.654.2571.

Services for Students With Disabilities

Services for students with disabilities are coordinated through the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs. The College Engineer deals with facility accessibility issues and supports the services coordinated by Student Affairs. The Liaison for Students with Special Needs coordinates academic services for students with disabilities. Any questions or concerns about such services should be directed to:

Michael D. Samara
VP for Student Affairs
Alliot Hall 102
  David Cutler
Director of Physical Plant
Salmon Hall 105
  Antonia Messuri
Liaison for Students with Special Needs
Klein 111

Learning Disabilities Policy

Saint Michael’s College is committed to providing support services for all students, including students with disabilities. Students wishing to disclose a learning disability and who are in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, Sec. 504, may receive additional support. A clear understanding of strengths and weaknesses in learning and of the influence of the disability on current and past educational processes will afford a broader assessment of abilities. To ensure the provision of reasonable and appropriate accommodations for students having learning disabilities, students needing such accommodations must provide current and comprehensive documentation, including a copy of a psycho-educational evaluation completed within the past three years that includes a measure of cognitive functioning, a documentation of the learning problem(s), and current measures of reading, math, and written language achievement. The testing must be conducted by a certified professional, must address the nature of the disability and should provide suggestions for reasonable accommodations. The earlier the information is received, the better prepared we will be to address specific needs.

Educational Fees and Expenses

Saint Michael’s Graduate Programs publish all fees and expenses in the semester course schedules. Please call 802.654.2100 or 1.800.SMC.8000 to receive a course schedule.

Graduate Grading System

In the graduate programs, grades are reported and recorded by the letters that have numerical equivalents and the following grade point values:





Qualitative Equivalent






  Above average grad.-level work  





  Above average grad.-level work  





  Above average grad.-level work  





  Average grad.-level work  





  Average grad.-level work  





  Below average grad.-level work  











      Withdrawn Passing   0.0


      Withdrawn Failing  


To determine the grade points for a course multiply the qualitative points for the letter grade received by the credit hours assigned to the course. To arrive at the Grade Point Average (GPA) add the grade points for all courses and then divide this sum by the number of credit hours attempted.

A “B” or 3.0 average must be maintained to continue work in a graduate program and to receive a master’s degree or certificate. Students whose grade point average falls below 3.0 will be subject to review by the Graduate Academic Review Board. The Review Board will determine whether or not the student will be allowed to continue in the program.

Incomplete Grades

A grade of “I” (Incomplete) is assigned only in the case of a student who, for illness or circumstances beyond his/her control, has missed a final examination or major assignment. A student must gain approval from the program director and course instructor who will submit a signed form to the Registrar. If an “I” grade is not made up within six weeks of the beginning of the semester following the assignment of the notation (not counting summer session), a “WF” grade is assigned.


A grade of “XT” (Extended for Thesis Work) is given at the end of the semester to a student enrolled in a thesis course when work on the thesis will continue into the following semester. In addition to the semester following enrollment in the course, the student may petition for continuance of the “XT” to the program director. Students will be charged one credit for each “XT” semester.


A graduate student may audit a course with the approval of the instructor and program director. The student receives no credit or grade and does not complete assignments, or take examinations. The student may not claim credit at a later date. The charges for auditing are listed in the course schedule with tuition fees.

Academic Conflict Resolution Procedure

A student who believes that course work has been unfairly evaluated, or who has another conflict regarding academic matters less than Academic Probation/Dismissal or the Academic Integrity Policy, should use the following procedure:

1.   As soon as possible, no later than the end of the sixth week of the following semester, the student must approach the faculty member to discuss the issue (when possible). In the event of a grade dispute, the student should seek an explanation of the method of evaluation and seek a determination that no error has been made.

2.   If the student is not satisfied with the results of this conference, or if a meeting with the faculty member was impossible or unadvisable, the case must be presented in writing with supporting documentation to the graduate program director.

3.   If, after consultation with the faculty member (when possible) and after a review of the written evidence, the program director finds legitimate cause for complaint, he or she will try to work toward an equitable solution with the student and faculty member. If this fails, he or she will bring the matter to the Dean of the College. If the program director concludes there is no cause for the complaint, the student may approach the Dean of the College, who will confer with the faculty member and the student.

4.   If a student is still not satisfied with the outcome of the conference with the Dean, the student may formally appeal the grade. The grade will be reviewed by a panel consisting of the Vice President for Academic Affairs, the faculty member who gave the original grade, and a member the Curriculum and Educational Policy Committee, selected by that committee’s chair. If for some reason the original faculty member is unavailable, the program director may appoint a substitute. The majority decision of this three-person panel will be final. If the decision is made to change the grade, the program director from that field of study will be consulted by the VPAA to help determine the final grade.

Academic Disqualification

Only two “C” grades are allowed. Graduate students will be academically disqualified and not permitted to continue their graduate studies if they earn a third “C.” One “F” grade automatically disqualifies a graduate student from further study.

Transfer of Credit

Students may request the transfer of credits for graduate study completed at another institution. With the approval of the program director, typically no more than six graduate credits may be accepted. For graduate degrees requiring more than fifty credits, a program director may allow more than six transfer credits. The only course credits considered for transfer will be those that are applicable to the student’s program in which a grade of “B” or better was attained. The seven-year statute of limitations applies to all transfer credits, and thus no transfer credits can be applied toward a degree if the credits were obtained more than seven years prior to completion of one’s degree program. Transfer credits will be recorded only after completion of at least twelve credits, or upon the granting of candidacy which occurs by or before completing twelve credits. Students will be charged $10.00 per credit for requested transfer credits.

Modification or Waiver of Requirements

Students who wish to waive or modify a course or academic requirement must gain the approval of the program director. Waiving a course does not grant credit, but means that the student does not have to enroll in the course and may substitute an elective course if needed. Students should review individual program requirements and policies.

Special Arrangements

The courses Independent Research, Independent Study, Directed Readings, Practicum, and Internship are special areas of graduate study provided for students in degree programs to undertake a project, study, or reading effort in an area usually not covered through any existing courses in the regular curriculum. Students must meet with the appropriate program director for planning and approval before registering for one of these special arrangements.

Time Limit

There is a seven-year Statute of Limitations requirement. The student must complete the master’s degree program within seven years from the start of the first semester of course work. Certificate programs may have different requirements, and students should consult individual program information. Only under special circumstances may students petition for an extension.

Continuous Enrollment

Part-time graduate studies are encouraged. However, once admitted into a degree or certificate program, it is important for a student to show regular and continuous progress toward the degree (or certificate). In general, this is taken to mean no fewer than six graduate credits in a given academic year, fall/spring/summer. If students do not show continuous enrollment and do not contact their program director or the Registrar’s Office as to their status, the College reserves the right to change students to an “inactive” status. 

Inactive Status

If students do not show continuous enrollment in their degree or certificate program, the College will change their status in the Registrar’s Office from “active” to “inactive.”  Students with an inactive status will need to contact their program director or advisor before re-enrolling in classes.  Students who do not enroll continuously may be subject to new program requirements and a review of course recency and transfer credit.

Completion of a Degree Program

A student is eligible to graduate upon completion of all degree requirements (refer to individual program areas) and with an overall 3.0 grade point average.

Students may graduate at any one of three times during the year: May, August, or December. Graduation ceremonies are held once each year, in May. Students who complete degree requirements in August or December are invited to participate in ceremonies the following May. Upon completion of all degree requirements, students are sent an unofficial copy of their transcript. This normally is sent within one month after the semester ends. Diplomas are usually available within eight to twelve weeks after the end of the semester. At the beginning of the academic year in which a candidate plans to complete a master’s degree program, he/she should:

1. Meet with the program director to review coursework and student file to date, and to review requirements remaining for completion of the degree.

2. Submit an “Intent to Graduate” form to the Registrar’s Office, indicating intended graduation date. The deadlines for filing this form are:

August graduation:  July 1
December graduation:  November 1
May graduation:*  February 1
* Ceremony conducted

Graduate Financial Aid

Financial aid to graduate students is offered on the basis of financial need. Some of the factors that are taken into consideration in determining the student’s financial strength are income, assets, number of dependents, other educational expenses, debt, and unusual circumstances.

All aid recipients must apply for financial aid each year. As student circumstances and/or availability of funding change, so may the amount of distribution of financial aid. The main source of funding is Federal Stafford Loans.

In order to receive/retain funding, the graduate recipient must have at least a “B” average or its equivalent, or academic requirements consistent with the requirements for graduation, as determined by Saint Michael’s College. A graduate student must also be enrolled at least half-time per semester; i.e. six credits, to be considered for these aid programs.


There are two loan programs, the Federal Subsidized Stafford Loan Program and the Federal Unsubsidized Stafford Loan Program. Students applying for any loan must file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which is available in the Office of Financial Aid or on the Web site, www.fafsa.ed.gov to establish eligibility for the loan. Students must also submit to the Office of Financial Aid a signed copy of their Federal Income Tax Return and a SMC Financial Aid Application. In some cases, the amount of a student’s need may limit the size of the loan. For detailed information on these loans, contact the Saint Michael’s College Office of Financial Aid at 802.654.3244 or at finaid@smcvt.edu.

Please note: Most federal, state, and college aid for post-secondary education is available primarily to undergraduate students. Graduate students often need to look outside of traditional sources to foundations, special grants, employer education funds, etc., to find financial assistance. To do a scholarship search, visit www.fastweb.com.

Indirect Aid
Graduate Assistantships

Graduate assistantships provide a limited stipend for service to an academic or administrative department. Typically, an assistant’s responsibility may include carrying out research for a professor or administrator, editing, assisting in instruction or administrative duties, producing written reports or documents, or carrying out other appropriate duties as assigned by a professor or administrator; however, it differs per graduate program. Normally, a graduate assistantship will consist on the average of fifteen to twenty hours of work per week. Tuition reimbursement is normally provided to the recipient for up to nine credits of course work each semester.

An applicant for a graduate assistantship should be an admitted student for the graduate program that he/she plans to pursue. Additionally, assistants should present exemplary personal and professional records. For some assistantships, evidence of special skills may be required. To apply for a graduate assistantship, persons should contact the program office.