Policies: Attendance, Grading, etc.

Because of its unique nature January Term has a set of specific policies regarding attendance, scheduling, enrollment and more.



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.


Class Schedule

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, Monday, January 6, 2020

Students should check class schedules carefully. Most classes meet four days a week, on a Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday schedule OR a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday schedule for classes beginning at 2:45 PM. In the week of the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday every year, all regularly scheduled on-campus classes will meet on a Tuesday through Friday 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.

Also note that the January Term Committee regards the viewing of feature-length films (as well as listening to musical performances and viewing TV or theatre productions, etc.) as analogous to the reading of books -- as work to be done in preparation for class rather than as part of class time. Hence, many classes will schedule communal film viewing sessions outside of normal class time. Other classes might accommodate this by beginning at 8:00 AM or extending class time by more than an hour.


Major/Educational Requirements

Students who have a special need to apply a January course for credit toward their major may do so if the chairperson of the major department and the Registrar approve their petition. Both students and departments are discouraged from exercising this option for many reasons, especially the one noted above: Jan Term should free you to explore what most calls to your heart, independent of fulfilling other requirements. We are determined to keep this one area of the academic life at Saint Mary's College free from the utilitarian constraints of fulfilling requirements other than the Jan Term requirement itself.

Jan Term courses may not be used to fulfill the basic two religious studies courses required for graduation. Similarly, the School of Science will not accept any current Jan Term courses to satisfy the Area B requirement.

Courses that have departmental listings (e.g., German 001 and Math 014), in addition to fulfilling a student’s Jan Term requirement, may also be used to satisfy the area requirement that a course in that department would normally satisfy. No special petition is required. These classes are clearly marked in the catalog.


Pass/Fail Grading Guidelines

The Pass/Fail grading option is available to students enrolled in most January Term classes, but it requires the filing of a petition form which can be obtained at the Registrar's Office. This petition must be filed in the Registrar's Office by January 17, 2020 Some courses, especially travel courses, do not allow Pass/Fail grading. Please consult the instructor.


Upper-Division Courses

Freshmen and sophomores who have the indicated prerequisites may enroll in upper-division courses. Very few lower-division courses allow for upper-division credit by petition for advanced-level work. (More work of a lower division nature does not satisfy this criterion.) These petitions are considered only from seniors truly needing upper-division credit in order to meet their graduation schedule and for whom appropriate upper-division courses are not available. 



If you are able to register for a January Term course, you may have your name placed on a waitlist in 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 in 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.

You may contact the Registrar's Office at 925.631.4214 or at regoff@stmarys-ca.edu