Common Questions

Advising Questions: 

  • What is a credit?
    • The basic unit of measurement for courses taken at Saint Mary’s. Most classes fall in the 1.0, 0.5 or 0.25 credit categories. For more information, click here

  • How many credits can I take?

    • A student can take up to 4.25 credits per long-semester, and 1.25 credits during January Term

  • What is overloading?

    • Overloading is taking more credits than described above, for an extra fee. For more information, click here. 

      • Students who qualify for the Expanded Studies Program (3.7 cumulative GPA and some other requirements) might take up to 5.0 credits per long semester without incurring additional costs. For more information, click here

  • How do I overload?

    • Overloading requires advisor approval, a 3.0 cumulative GPA, and at least a sophomore standing (at least 9 credit worth of courses completed). It is done by completing the overload form. For more information, click here. 

  • How do I research a course?

  • How do I register for classes?

    • You register for classes using GaelXPress. A video walkthrough can be found here.

  • Are there registration deadlines?

    • Yes. Course registration for January term classes happen in early fall, for Spring courses late fall, and for Fall courses late Spring. The exact dates can be found in the Academic Calendar. 

  • What is Add/Drop? 

  • How can I withdraw from a course?

    • You can withdraw from one or two courses during a long semester up to the 10th week of instruction by filling out the Withdrawl Form, and getting approval from your academic advisor and the instructor in the course. The exact deadline of withdrawal can be found in the academic calendar.

  • Do I need to take a placement test?

    • Placement tests are needed only for Math and Language courses. Based on previous course work or AP test results, placement exams might not be required. A student can find out their current Math Placement level at the bottom of their academic evaluation. Information about their English and Foreign Language placement can be found here.
  • How can I transfer my AP or IB Courses?

  • What is the Core Curriculum?

    • Saint Mary’s College has an extensive core curriculum that students from all majors must complete to ensure their well-rounded, Lasallian education rooted in the Liberal Arts. Students engage with this material throughout their time at Saint Mary’s College, and the core curriculum is integrated into their 4-year academic plan. For more information about the core curriculum requirements, see the Core Curriculum website and the relevant sections of the Course Catalog.

  • What is GaelXpress?

    • GaelXPress is the interactive website through which students can search, register, wait-list, and drop courses, keep track of their academic progress and in general interface with the university. For more information, click here.

  • How can I find out who my academic advisor is?

    • It is listed on the top of the academic evaluation.
  • Where can I find my academic evaluation?

    • The academic evaluation can be found in GaelXPress; an Academic evaluation walkthrough can be found here.

  • How can I get a 4 year plan?

    • Students can create a 4 year plan in cooperation with their academic advisor. This plan can change to adapt to the changes of the student’s goals, and ensures that the student is on the right track for a 4-year graduation.

  • What is FYAC?

    • First Year Advising Cohort is a course designed to help students transition from high-school to college life. In this course you can form a bond with your fellow students and lean on the help of a professor (who serves as your academic advisor for the first year) and a peer mentor (an upper class student) to learn about life at Saint Mary’s College, and receive help with any issues you might come accross. For more information, click here

  • How do I declare my major and/or a minor?

  • How do I change my major or cancel a minor?

  • How do I change my academic advisor?

    • During the first academic year, students are advised by their FYAC instructor. During their first summer, they will be assigned to an instructor who matches their academic plan to provide help for the rest of their time at Saint Mary’s College. In order to change your advisor, please contact the Advising Office at tao@stmarys-ca.edu
       
  • How can I study abroad?

    • In cooperation with their academic advisor, students can prepare a 4 year plan supporting a semester studying abroad. For more information, see the Study Abroad website.

  • How do I register for a course if I don’t have the prerequisite in my academic evaluation? 

    • Courses should only be taken after the required prerequisites have been met. The prerequisites are in place to ensure smooth progression through the material.

    • The list of prerequisites can be found for each course in GaelXPress. The system itself will not let students to register for classes without the required prerequisites.

    • In certain rare cases GaelXPress might not contain the prerequisites for a given class (for example, during Spring registration GaelXPress will not have the prerequisites for fall classes if the student intends to take the prerequisites during the summer). In cases like this, students can gain permission to enter the course by filling out the Course Permission Form. Please note that the form takes several days to process so make sure to submit several days before your registration period.

  • How do I transfer courses from other institutions to SMC?

    • Prior to any such enrollment for transfer credit, students should secure the approval of the Registrar’s Office to have that credit accepted toward the degree at Saint Mary’s. At the end of each term at the transfer college, the student should immediately have official transcripts sent to the Registrar’s Office at Saint Mary’s so that the transfer credit can be recorded. Transcripts from the institution must be official and sealed. 

    • List of pre-approved courses can be found here.

    • For classes not on the above list, a Transfer Credit Approval Form must be filled out. For more information, click here

  • What is a hold on my account, and how can I clear it?

    • Various college departments can place a hold on a student’s account. This can come from many different sources, for example having an outstanding balance or not adhering to health regulations. While a student has a hold on their account, they are unable to register for classes.

    • Students can check if they have holds on their account on GaelXPress. If a hold exists, GaelXPress will contain more information about how to remove it. For more information, click here.

  • What if my academic evaluation does not accurately reflect my courses?

    • Contact your academic advisor immediately. After a discussion with them, you need to contact the registrar’s office.
       
  • What should I do if I’m failing a course?

    • Your first point of contact is the course instructor. Make sure you attend office hours. If you are unable to make office hours, contact them for alternative arrangements.

    • Saint Mary’s also offers tutoring services that you can utilize alongside with help from the faculty member.

    • For more about student resources: https://www.stmarys-ca.edu/international-students/resources

  • How do I find my finals schedule?

    • The day and time for all final exams is centrally set based on the meeting time of the class. This list can be found here

  • What are the requirements for graduation?

    • 36 institutional credits
    • 17 upper division credits
    • All core requirements
    • All major requirements
    • 2.0 GPA in the major
    • 2.0 cumulative GPA
    • 7 out of the last 9 courses must be taken at SMC
    • the majority of the major courses/requirements must be completed at SMC
       
  • What should I bring to my advising appointment?

    • List of questions?​​​​​​