For Current Students

For Current Students For Current Students


Will you try your hand at swordplay or capoeira on campus? Discover the ABC's of adulthood or the great Silk Road from your living room? Scuba dive in Sri Lanka or explore the literature & landscape of Venice?

We know students have a lot of questions about how Jan Term works and we are happy to answer them.

Here you will find information on policies for attendance, class schedules, pass/fail grades, and waitlists, as well as details about travel registration, payments, and much more.

More detailed travel course info can be found on the Jan Term Travel page.

As always, if you have questions, please reach out to us at 





Our on-campus offerings include full and quarter-credit courses, both lower and upper-division to meet your individual academic needs.

Most full-credit courses meet M/Tu/Th/F usually for 2 hrs and 35 mins, while our quarter-credits meet one day a week for 2 to 4 hours, depending on the course. 

Jan Term's classes are as incredibly diverse as the Bay Area itself. Explore the connections between music and social change or try your hand at stand-up comedy! Want to learn the ins & outs of writing a romance novel or try your hand at ceramics? Jan Term gives you the opportunity to try something completely new!

Check out our courses from Jan Term '23!




We want all students to have the opportunity to travel before they graduate! Students have the choice of domestic and international travel courses in January and June. 

Our course offerings are dependent on the faculty who create and propose them. Some like Engaging Christian Art in France and Italy or Globalized Mexico are favorites year after year, while others like Ancient Greek Athletics: Gael Odyssey are completely new!

Each travel course carries an additional travel fee that covers transportation, lodging, meals, and admission fees. 

The Jan Term scholarship makes travel possible for many of our students, covering 75% of the course fee.



We have found that the flexibility of online and hybrid courses lightens the load for many students. These courses cut down on commutes and allow students to be where they need to be!

Jan Term is committed to offering the best possible course structure. Faculty aren't simply shifting in-person classes to Zoom, but are paying attention to how they mold their course together with the unique model of distance learning.

With hybrid courses, make sure to connect with the professor to confirm the dates when you will need to be on campus. 

Jan Term Information & Policies

Registration guarantees students a place only in the first class of January Term. Students who fail to attend the first class session will be dropped from the class list unless they have notified the instructor or the Registrar in advance. Please call the Registrar at (925) 631-4214.

Class attendance is crucial during January Term. Because of the intensity of January Term with each class being a week in a regular semester, class absences are counted at triple the normal rate. 

In accordance with the general attendance policy of Saint Mary's College, excessive class absences can subject a student to academic penalties, including failure of the course. Please note that class absences for remote classes include being unable to log onto the course zoom or having only audio or only video due to computer or internet issues. 

Students are expected to do at least two hours of outside-of-class work for every hour of class or at least five hours of work for every regularly scheduled day of class. Plan accordingly. Formal class instruction begins immediately on the first day of classes.

Students should check class schedules carefully. Most classes meet four days a week, on a Mon, Tues, Thurs, Fri schedule though some meet Mon through Thurs. During the week of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, all regularly scheduled on-campus classes will meet on a Tues through Fri schedule.

Note that classes may have midterm or final exams scheduled on the weekday which the class does not normally meet.

Note that classes may require off-campus field trips or attendance at events on campus outside of regularly scheduled class time. If you have questions about field trips or off-campus events, please contact the instructor directly. 


The Pass/Fail grading option is available to students enrolled in most January Term classes, but it requires the filing of a Special Action Petition form which can be obtained on the Registrar's Office's website. This petition must be filed by the set deadline, usually at the end of the second week of Jan Term. Some courses, especially travel courses, do not allow Pass/Fail grades. Please consult the instructor if you have questions.

Please note: Students are only granted two pass/fail classes during their time at SMC. A C- is required for a Pass grade.

If you are able to register for a January Term course, you may have your name placed on a waitlist for one other course. If you are unable to register for a course, you may have your name placed on the waitlist for up to two courses

If you are wait-listed for a course, and a space becomes available in that class, you will receive an email notification from GaelXpress permitting you to register in the wait-listed course. You will have 48 hours, from the notification time, to register.  If you do not have the prerequisites for the course, you must submit a Course Permission Form to the Registrar's Office.  In this case, you will not be allowed to register for the class and instead need to contact the Registrar's Office to be enrolled.  Failure to register during the allotted time frame will cause you to be bypassed on the wait list, and GaelXpress will notify the next student in line.

If you register in the course, check GaelXpress to view your schedule as confirmation.  If you do not want to have your course registration changed when a space comes open, please do not put your name on a waitlist, or be sure to have your name removed from any waitlist you might be on.

Please contact the Registrar's Office at 925.631.4214 or at with any questions about registration and waitlists.

Independent Study courses in January Term are intended to allow students to pursue a course of learning that is not available in normally scheduled courses or to learn by practical experience in addition to methods more commonly used in college courses. Such courses are generated by students out of their own interest in a particular intellectual question or area of study, and they allow students to work independently to pursue knowledge in the chosen area.



Proposals for full-credit Independent Study courses are restricted to sophomores, juniors and seniors at the time of registration with a cumulative GPA of 2.5 or better. Freshmen may only propose a .25 credit independent study during their first January Term at SMC. In no case are students on disciplinary probation or students whose cumulative GPA is less than 2.5 eligible for Independent Study in January. Students are limited to satisfying no more than 50% of their January Term requirement via an independent study.

Please Note: "At the time of registration" means at the time of registration, not the end of the semester.


Faculty Sponsor

Qualified students work under the guidance of a faculty sponsor who advises the student in the preparation of the proposal, monitors the student's progress, and awards the grade and credit. Students are expected to have regular contact with their faculty sponsor, though the focus on the student's independent work and research means that they will meet less frequently than regularly scheduled courses. Independent study courses are not intended to allow students to take regularly scheduled classes at a different time or location, they are not granted for internships, and they are not tutorial courses in which one faculty member teaches a course to a student or a group of students. It is the student's responsibility to find an appropriate faculty sponsor.

Please Note: Your sponsor must be an SMC faculty member. 


Academic Credit

Academic credit is granted for demonstrated academic learning. Since Independent Study courses earn college credit equal to normal January Term courses, they must have a clear academic focus and educational goal, and they must require the same quality and quantity of work as a regularly scheduled college course. A specific reading list that indicates academic preparation and preparatory work sufficient to make the successful completion of the project likely, as well as a clear means by which the faculty sponsor can evaluate the quality of the student's work, are required parts of a successful proposal. The proposal is the result of close consultation with the faculty sponsor.


Petition Submission

The Independent Study Petition is to be submitted online to the Registrar's Office by 4:30 PM on Saturday, October 29th. Applicants should attach a proposed syllabus to this form as there is insufficient space to fully delineate the projects on the form itself. No late proposals will be reviewed. It is strongly recommended that you register in a regular January Term course in case your independent study proposal is not approved.


Reviewing Proposals

The January Term Committee will review proposals, and students will normally be notified within two weeks of the deadline whether their proposal has been accepted, rejected, or returned for revision. If the proposed independent study involves travel for study off campus (domestic or international), the proposal will also be sent to the Travel Risk Assessment Committee for further review.

Independent Study Petitions may be found on the Registrar's Office webpage.


Director: Claire Williams
Program Services Manager: Melissa Benham

Jan Term Office
South Arcade/Korth Tower Breezeway
Phone: 925-631-4633

Jan Term Travel Office
Dante Hall 110
Phone: 925-631-4245