This page answers many questions that students regularly ask, but not all!
If you need to know something, or cannot figure out how to do something, or are lost, puzzled and confused, ask your dean.
If the question you have is not addressed here, please either consult the section of the Smith College Bulletin titled "Academic Rules and Procedures" or stop by during your dean's office hours to ask your question, e-mail her, or make an appointment to see her.
Requests for exceptions to the Academic Rules and Procedures are sent to the Administrative Board.
How do I register?
Registration for most courses is online through BannerWeb. You must have a discussion with your adviser and obtain your Registration Code before registering for classes.
When do I register?
Web registration occurs twice a year, in November for the spring semester, in April for the fall semester. Check the registrar's Web site for exact dates at the beginning of each term (fall, January, spring).
Can I change my registration at the beginning of the semester?
Yes. All students can change their registration on line for the first 10 business days of each semester. Check the list of registration deadlines for exact dates.
Please note: Enrollment on Moodle does not mean that you are officially enrolled in a course. If your name appears on a Moodle class list and you do not see the course on BannerWeb you are not registered.
You may ADD a class between the end of the second week and the end of the third week of the semester with the ADD/DROP form. You will need the signatures of your instructor and your adviser on the form.
You may DROP a class until the end of the fifth week with the ADD/DROP from, assuming that you remain in 12 credits for the semester. You will need the signatures of your instructor and your adviser on the form before you submit it to the Class Deans' Office.
What do I do if I cannot find my adviser or he/she is on leave?
If you have declared your major you should consult with the chair of your department.
If you have yet to declare your major and your adviser is away from campus or unavailable, you should consult with your class dean.
Can I set up an independent study with a faculty member?
Yes. Students may set up independent projects called special studies with faculty for amounts of credit that vary by department or program (check the Bulletin). The special studies form may be picked up at the registrar's office, the Class Deans Office or downloaded here.
The form must be signed by the instructor who will supervise it and the chair of the department in which it will take place. Regulations about special studies vary by department and should be discussed with the potential instructor. Each special studies needs a title. The title will appear on your transcript, so be accurate and concise.
Students may take up to 16 special studies credits during their eight semesters.
The number of credits in a special studies cannot be changed after the fact, so plan carefully!
Only in very unusual circumstances will the Administrative Board allow for a change in the number of credits for a special studies once it has begun. Poor planning is not a reason to change the number of credits in a special studies.
What is a free drop?
A free drop allows a student to drop a class from her record up until the end of nineth week of the semester.
How many free drops do I get?
Students are allowed two opportunities to free drop a course during their time at Smith. The first free drop may be used only in the first year. If you do not use your first-year free drop during the first year it disappears.
The second free drop opportunity may be used in any semester after the first year. The deadline for free drops is firmly enforced; no late forms will be accepted. You may not free drop a course if doing so will result in your being enrolled in fewer than 12 credits.
How do I free drop a course?
The student must pick up the Free Drop Form from the Class Deans Office, consult with both the instructor of the course, her adviser, and the appropriate class dean in order to use the free drop option.
What is the normal course load?
The normal course load is 16 credits: Four 4-credit courses. The minimum course load to stay enrolled is 12 credits. Students who fall below 12 credits in a semester will be required to withdraw the following semester.
What about courses with fewer or more than 4 credits?
We encourage you to explore the many 1- and 2- credit courses in the catalog. They are a great way to discover new areas of interest and earn a bit of extra credit. If you know that you may have a very intense semester in your future (because of student teaching, senior seminars, sports commitments, etc.) you may wish to build up a little bank of extra credit so that you could register in fewer than 16 credits in the difficult semester you anticipate. (Note: you may not use AP credit to take a reduce course load.)
Some language and science courses earn more than 4 credits.
How do I know for sure what I am registered for?
Enrollment on Moodle does not mean that you are officially enrolled in a course! If your name appears on a Moodle class list and you do not see the course on Banner you are not registered!
You will also be sent emails by the registrar at several points in the semester informing you what you are registered in. Please read these emails carefully! If you are not registered in the courses you think you should be registered in speak to your class dean immediately.
How do I know if I am short of credit?
Below are the amounts of credit a student should have earned by the end of each semester.
1 semester = 16 credits
2 semesters = 32
3 semesters = 48
4 semesters = 64
5 semesters = 80
6 semesters = 96
7 semesters = 112
8 semesters = 128
The class deans monitor students who develop shortages during the course of their studies. We send reminder notices and may require students with shortages to earn credit in summer school.
How can I make up a shortage of credit?
There are multiple ways to make up credit.
If the shortage is not very big, you can add 1- and 2-credit courses to your schedule.
There are also a limited number of Smith courses for credit during interterm Jan term course schedule. Hampshire and Mt. Holyoke also offer interterm courses that you can register for during the November registration period. Be sure that you check to be sure that they are acceptable for transfer credit, as not all 5-college courses are transferable. NOTE: Umass courses are not part of the 5 college tuition exchange in Jan. term. Registration for interterm courses stays open from November registration until the class begins in January, so that you may register for interterm courses after the normal registration period.
You may take summer school or interterm courses (where available) and transfer the credit on to your Smith record. Any student wishing to transfer in summer or interterm credit should fill out a Transfer of Credit form and attach a description. You should always have the course approved before you register for it to be sure that credit can be transferred.
You may transfer credit from any accredited degree granting institution of higher learning, including community colleges. Courses that you hope to count towards your major should be cleared with your major adviser.
Online courses are not acceptable for transfer credit.
Students are limited to 12 summer school credits on their Smith record.
What is pre-matriculation credit?
Enrolling at an institution of higher learning is called matriculating. Any college credit (or the equivalent — AP, IB, Abitur, A-levels, etc.) you earned before your arrival at Smith as a first year is called pre-matriculation credit. For transfer students, pre-matriculation credit is credit earned before you began your studies at your first institution of higher learning.
If you have pre-matriculation credit you wish to add to your record you may report it to the registrar. However, this credit is not applied directly to your record. It will be added to your record with an asterisk, and does not count in your Smith college credit total.
How can I use pre-matriculation credit?
This credit can only be applied to your record in three situations: should you fail a course, drop one for medical reasons, or choose to accelerate—that is, to graduate in fewer than 8 semesters. You may not use any form of pre-matriculation credit to reduce your course load.
Transfer students who enter Smith with credit shortages will have available prematriculation credit applied to their records to make up the shortage. Even if this credit appears on your record at your previous institution, you must report it again to the Smith registrar by sending a new transcript directly to the Smith registrar.
Smith requires you to complete one major in order to graduate—minors, concentrations and second majors are matters of choice. You may wish to pursue a second major, minor or concentration, but you are not required to do so.
How do I find a major adviser?
Usually students ask a professor whose class they have enjoyed in the field they wish to pursue. If you are unclear whom to ask, or if for some reason a professor is not able to take you on as an advisee (because of sabbaticals, etc.) you should talk to the chair of the department or the director of a program in which you wish to major or your class dean for other suggestions for professors who could serve as advisers.
Remember, your adviser will be a continuing resource for you during your time at Smith, so it's worth taking time to build an advising relationship; it can be hard to make the time to speak to people whom you do not know, but it is worth the effort. Don't forget that you can speak to your pre-major adviser about potential advisers in your major, even if they are not in that field.
If you wish to have more advice, you can discuss possible majors, major advisers, the pros and cons of adding a second major or a minor, etc. with your class dean.
What do I do if I need accommodations for a disability? Who should I speak to if I suspect I might have an undiagnosed learning disability?
Get in touch with the Disability Services Office.
Please remember that if you need temporary access to services because of an injury or a medical condition disability services can help you with the access van or other resources.
Exceptions to the Rules
What do I do if what I want to do appears to be impossible?
The Class Deans Office has a Petition Form that takes care of most mundane exceptions to the rules, such as entering special studies in the first year, seminars before the junior year, adding a year-long class at midyear, etc. Petitions need to be signed by you, your adviser and in some cases the chair of the department in question. The Administrative Board makes all decisions about exceptions to academic policy.
For situations that appear beyond the reach of the Petition Form you should consult with your adviser and your class dean about ways of accomplishing what you wish to do. We will certainly try to help you.
Can I register for two courses with a time conflict?
No. You will be registered in only one course. Then you will need to petition the Administrative Board for permission with the Petition Form. Keep in mind that the board is unlikely to allow you to take courses with time overlaps of more than 10 minutes.
If you wish to study abroad, please consult with the Office of International Study in the Global Studies Center. Credit will only be given for Smith programs and Smith-approved programs. There is a specific process to get a program approved for Smith credit. For more information see the advisers in the Office of International Study.
If you wish to study elsewhere in the United States during term time, you should consult first with your class dean.
You will need to have the courses approved by the dean for transfer to your Smith record. Any course you wish to use towards major requirements will also need to be approved by your major adviser. You may have courses approved by filling out a Transfer of Credit Form and attaching course descriptions. No online courses are acceptable for transfer credit.
Smith aid will not apply to study elsewhere in the United States except in the case of the 12-College Exchange . You may consult with Student Financial Services about a consortial agreement that will help you temporarily transfer federal grants and loans.
Does Smith have exchange programs with other colleges?
Smith has an active exchange with the 12-College Exchange.
How do I apply to enter the honors program in my department?
The first step is to speak to your adviser and to whomever you would choose to have as your thesis adviser. The key to a successful honors project is a well-defined question developed early.
You can find further information about the process on our Departmental Honors page.
Completing the Degree Early
Can I earn a Smith degree in fewer than 8 semesters?
Yes. It is possible to accelerate in order to graduate a semester or a year early. If you think you would like to do so you should certainly discuss this with both your adviser and your class dean.
Special Questions for Ada Comstock Scholars and Transfer Students
What do I do if I think I should have more credit than appears on my evaluation of transfer credit letter?
Speak to the registrar. It can be difficult to know what some course titles mean and the registrar may wish to see a more detailed course description or a syllabus before awarding credit.
Can I stay at Smith for an extra semester?
No. As a transfer you are awarded a certain number of semesters in which to complete your Smith degree. You will need to plan to complete your degree in the time awarded.
If you need help in planning how to make up your credit you should speak to your adviser and your class dean.
However, it is never a good idea to load up on credit in your first semester as a Smith student whether you are a first year or a transfer student. You need to acclimate yourself to the pace of Smith academics – you can add credits later.
How do I find an adviser when I don't know many faculty?
You may always ask the chair of the department of your chosen major to serve as your adviser even if you are not sure whom you wish to ask to be your permanent major adviser. If you then wish to change advisers later you may.
Academic Standing: GPA/Academic Review/Probation/Withdrawal
Students are expected to maintain at least a 2.00 (C) grade point average (GPA). Grades above a 2.0 GPA are considered satisfactory; students whose GPA is above 2.00 are in good standing. Anything below a C- (D+, D, D-, E) is unsatisfactory. Students on probation are not in good standing.
An E is a failing grade at Smith; there are no F's.
D's are passing—you receive credit—but unsatisfactory grades.
You may repeat a class which you failed for credit, but you cannot repeat a class in which you received a grade for credit.
How can I figure out my GPA?
The registrar calculates your GPA per semester and cumulatively when your record is complete for each semester. These are posted on Banner.
If you wish to calculate your GPA independently you may use the GPA sheet.
What happens if my GPA dips below 2.00?
Students whose records show a GPA (either for the semester or cumulatively) below 2.00 at the end of a semester are reviewed by the Administrative Board and placed on probation. Probation is a warning about unsatisfactory academic status.
Students on probation are meant to focus first on academics and are not allowed to hold appointed or elected office or participate in team sports. They are also required to meet regularly with the deans. See the Student Handbook.
Probation is not made public or noted on the transcript, but parents and guardians will be informed of the change of status.
Every student on probation has her academic record reviewed at the end of the probationary semester. A student whose GPA remains below 2.00 (whether for the semester or cumulatively) for two or more semesters may be required to withdraw by the Administrative Board.
What happens if the Administrative Board requires me to withdraw?
A student who is required to withdraw for one or more semesters can normally apply for readmission in the semester indicated in her withdrawal letter. She applies for readmission through the registrar's ffice, with the Request for Readmission Form.
A student who wishes to spend more time away from campus may certainly do so.
Withdrawn students may be required to earn transfer credit before returning to Smith, and are often encouraged to earn such credit. As always with transfer credit, the student should have the classes she intends to take approved for transfer credit before she registers for them.
The Administrative Board expects withdrawn students to return and complete their Smith degrees when they are able to focus on their academics.
What is the Administrative Board?
The Administrative Board, known as the Ad Board, is a committee composed of the Dean of the College, the Class Deans Office, the Office of the Registrar, and three faculty members, one from each academic division of the college. The Ad Board reviews all requests for exceptions to academic regulations, and reviews the academic records of all students with low GPA's or credit shortages.
How can I pay for summer school/special projects/emergency expenses?
There are a number of funding sources to help out with expenses. See The Center for Work and Life for Smith Funding sources.
If you are unsure whether you qualify for them speak to your class dean.