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A Culture of Care

Read Smith’s UPDATED plans as of August 5, 2020,
for an entirely remote fall 2020 semester.

Smith College A Culture of Care

Academic Planning

Academic Planning

All fall 2020 classes will be delivered remotely to enable student learning from any location. Faculty members will use a variety of approaches to optimize learning in virtual communities. This remote delivery will extend to classes in the Five College system.

Quick Facts

  • New students may request a deferral to enter Smith in fall 2021 by writing to the dean of admission at by August 17. Deposits will be held for the following year. Returning students may apply for a personal leave of absence this fall by contacting by August 28.
  • Smith students may attend Five College courses remotely. Similarly, Five College students may attend Smith courses remotely. 
  • Students may elect to take three—versus four—courses in the fall term, for a total of 12 credits, and will have the opportunity to take an additional four-to-six credits during a six-week January/February interterm.

Academic Planning FAQ

How will remote instruction be different from last spring?
Smith’s move to a full-remote spring semester occurred in a short period of time, without advance preparation, and using the resources at hand. In contrast, faculty have now been working all summer with the Sherred Center for Teaching and Learning and the COVID-19 Digital Support team to develop and support robust, engaging teaching models tailored to remote delivery. Further, the move to a full-remote semester (vs. a multimodal semester with students learning both in-person and remotely) will allow faculty to focus their efforts on a single, consistent mode of delivery.

Will there be any changes to the academic calendar?
At this time, there are no further changes to the academic calendar.

Can community members or alumnae audit courses?
No. Auditors will not be permitted in courses for the 2020-21 academic year. 

Are students limited to only taking 12 credits in the fall?
No. During August registration, you may register for up to 19 credits in the fall semester and up to 4 credits during interterm. These credit caps will be raised during the add/drop period to allow you to register for up to 24 credits in fall and 6 credits in interterm. However, you may not exceed a combined total of 30 credits in fall 2020 and interterm 2021.

How can students request remote learning support?
Digital support requests for remote learning can be submitted via the COVID-19 Digital Support website by clicking the green “Request Help” button then click the “Submit COVID-19 Digital Support Request” button.

Will students have to re-register for all classes?
No. Students should check their schedules on BannerWeb to see which courses have been canceled or rescheduled. Re-registration is only required for courses that do not appear as registered or web registered, or new or rescheduled courses that you are adding to your schedule.

Are there changes to the fall catalog? How can students find out which classes are canceled?
Yes. Course information is available through the BannerWeb Browse Classes and Register for Classes views and the online Course Catalog/Course Search. The Course Catalog/Course Search updates automatically as changes are made in Banner.

Will the school still have the add/drop period?
Yes. There will be a two-week add/drop period, Tuesday–Monday, September 1–14. REG codes are required and must be obtained from your adviser.

Is there any change to the Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory (S/U) policy?
Yes. Due to continued disruption from the COVID-19 pandemic and changes to instruction and residency, a student will be allowed an additional 12 optional S/U credits for use during the 2020–21 academic year. A student may not carry these additional credits into future academic years, and students electing to take more than 12 optional S/U credits in 2020–21 will draw on the 16 credits provided in the Code. Students must declare the grading option by the last day of classes/instruction as defined on the official academic calendar.

Will the spring semester mandatory S/U grading policy be carried into the fall?
No. Courses will no longer be mandatory S/U.

Can students attend Five College classes?
Yes; however, the Five College institutions have decided that students may enroll in interchange courses remotely only. Students will have access to the updated Five College courses offerings by August 1and may request Five College courses via BannerWeb during August 10–14 registration.

Will the six-week January/February interterm be offered in-person?
No. Interterm courses will be offered fully remotely. Four-credit courses will be offered in addition to 1- and 2-credit courses. Students may register for a maximum of 6 credits during interterm but may not exceed a combined total of 24 credits in fall 2020 and interterm 2021.

How can students in different time zones participate in remote learning?
Courses will be scheduled to increase access to real-time participation to the extent possible. Additionally, many courses will include a blend of synchronous and asynchronous activity to enable students in different time zones to engage in coursework.

Deferment and Leave

Can students defer their admission or take a leave of absence?
New students may request a deferral to enter Smith in fall 2021 by writing to the dean of admission at by August 17. Deposits will be held for the following year. Returning students may apply for a personal leave of absence this fall by contacting by August 28.

Can students take a semester leave or do they need to take a full year?
Students can take a single semester as a personal leave. If you have questions about taking a personal leave of absence, please consult the Class Deans webpage.

Can I keep my Smith health insurance if I take a personal leave this fall?
Yes. A Continuation Plan has been made available due to the unique circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic. Please visit the Student Financial Services website for more information.

If I take a leave of absence in the fall, can I take January/February interterm classes?
No, the January/February interterm is part of the fall semester this year.

Will there be any penalty for taking a leave of absence? Do students keep their housing assignment and priority? Will they lose their financial aid?
If you are approved to take a personal leave, you will not be penalized.

How are STRIDE/other scholarships handled with a leave of absence?
Merit-based awards will continue upon a student’s return.

If an entering first-year student defers, are they allowed to take classes at a local college in the meantime? Will those credits be transferred?
If students defer admission, they may take one or two courses locally. College credits earned before coming to Smith will not automatically count towards the 128 credits required to graduate. Courses that meet the criteria for pre-matriculation credit will appear on the transcript without credit but can still be used to count for pre-requisites or courses inside or outside the major. The registrar’s website provides detailed information.

If a current Smith student (not a first-year) takes a leave of absence, can they transfer courses from another college?
Courses must be pre-approved for transfer credit by the registrar’s office for domestic study or the Office of International Study for courses abroad.

What is the status of 2020-21 study-abroad programs?
All study-abroad programs for fall 2020 have been canceled. A decision has not been made yet for spring 2021.

What options has Smith made available for international students in light of recent ICE guidance on remote coursework?
International students, along with U.S. residents or citizens residing outside the U.S., may be granted exceptions to study abroad locally at universities or programs in their home countries and to apply for transfer of the credits to Smith.

Are there any changes to the approval process for study abroad that starts in spring 2021?
No decisions about spring study abroad have been made. However, as long as the U.S. Department of State keeps its Global Level-4 Health Advisory in place, the college will be unable to support study abroad. Because of this, the study-abroad approval process has been delayed. The college will continue to monitor the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Travel Recommendations. Study abroad will not be approved in any country where a CDC level-3 Travel Health Notice remains in place. Should the global situation improve, the Office for International Study will proceed to notify students of their study abroad approval.