Helpful College Terms

Student Success and First Generation Initiative Center
Academic Adviser

Your first adviser is your Anchor Course (FYE101) or your Lasallian Honors (LH110) instructor. To assist with career development, you will meet with your adviser several times outside of class to understand transitions to Saint Mary’s, to move toward possible major declarations, and to encourage career thinking.

Academic Advising

Academic Calendar

The official academic calendar is available online, along with calendars for sports and events.

Academic Calendar

Academic Dismissal

A student may be academically dismissed from Saint Mary’s for failure to make satisfactory academic progress. Requirements are defined in the student handbook.

Academic Dismissal Policy

Academic Probation

A warning that the student’s performance falls below the institution’s requirement for good academic standing.

Academic Probation

Access Services

The Student Success and First Generation Initiative Center provides support and assistance for students with documented disabilities in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Access Services

Add/Drop Period

Occurring at the beginning of each semester, this is a time during which the student may make changes to their schedule without any academic or financial consequences. The academic calendar outlines the add/drop period for each term.

Academic Calendar

Class Attendance

Attending class is a key priority for your success and contributes significantly to student learning and development. All efforts should be made to attend class, including scheduling of medical appointments and family events. A number of classes build in important work time for group projects or discussions. Missing an exam or not turning in a paper may result in a zero grade or other deduction, depending on course policy, so make sure to communicate with faculty regarding unavoidable absences.

Class Attendance Policy


Website platform in which students can access their classes, homework, assignments, grades, etc.

SMUMN Canvas


The graduation ceremonies held each May. Saint Mary’s does not hold a formal commencement in December.



Official ceremonies celebrating major university events, including the College Convocation where the new class is officially welcomed and the academic year formally begins.

Course Catalog

Sometimes called the College Catalog, this is an important tool for understanding the college’s course offerings and academic and administrative policies and procedures. The Saint Mary’s catalog is available online (most up-to-date) and as a PDF file.

College Catalog

Course Withdrawal

After the add/drop period, students can withdraw from a semester-long course through the 12th week by submitting a withdrawal form to the registrar’s office.

Course Withdrawal Policy

Credit Hour

Courses are usually measured in credit hours, with the average being three or four per course. A credit hour is equivalent to about one hour of class time per week with about three hours of out-of-class study. Credit hours are awarded to a student upon passing a course. At Saint Mary’s, a typical course load is around 15 credit hours per semester, with a minimum of 12 and maximum of 18 without special permission. Students need at least 122 credit hours, 45 upper division, to graduate.


Someone traditionally in charge of a major area of a college. For example, the dean of the School of Education or the dean of the School of Business and Technology.

Dean’s List

The dean’s list is produced each semester and is a list of students who have high grades or meet a certain academic standard. It is the college equivalent of an honor roll. At Saint Mary’s, a student must earn at least a 3.60 GPA for the semester to make the dean’s list.

Elective Courses

Courses which are not required to fulfill the liberal arts core or major requirements. These are courses that students elect to take because of personal interest.

Federal Work-Study

A federally funded program in which students take campus jobs as part of their financial aid package. To participate in a work-study program, students must complete the FAFSA.

Need-Based Financial Aid and More

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is a federal law which protects the privacy of student educational records. Although FERPA gives parents certain rights regarding their child’s educational records, it is important for parents to realize that these rights transfer to the student once they turn age 18 or attend a school beyond high school.

Saint Mary’s FERPA Information

Final Exams

Final exams are given during the final week of each semester. The dates and times may be different than regular class times and are listed in the course schedule or the instructor’s syllabus.

First Generation Initiative (FGI)

The First Generation Initiative (FGI) was established in 2010 to ensure academic success for first-generation college students, or those who are the first generation in their family to attend a postsecondary institution. Its office(s) are currently located in the Student Success Center (SSC).


Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

An application form administered by the U.S. Department of Education and used to determine a family’s eligibility for federal student aid programs and, in some cases, institutional, state, and other private aid sources. A FAFSA must be completed and filed before each year a student attends college.

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

Saint Mary’s Financial Aid and Scholarships

Full-Time Status

Full-time students must be enrolled in 12 or more credit hours per semester, usually three to five classes. Students enrolled in 15 or more credits are more likely to graduate in four years.

General Education

Comprised of courses which must be completed by all degree candidates regardless of major. In a liberal arts setting, the core curriculum is intended to provide exposure to courses in the arts, humanities, sciences, and mathematics.

Gostomski Fieldhouse (The RAC)

Pronounced “rack,” this is an indoor fitness facility with a pool, weight lifting equipment, cardio equipment, an indoor track, and courts for basketball, tennis, volleyball.

Recreation and Athletic Complex

Grade Point Average (GPA)

Sometimes referred to as the cumulative grade point average, the GPA is a calculation of the college student’s overall grade average on a 4-point scale with an A equal to 4.

Hall Director (HD)

Hall directors oversee the resident assistants and are responsible for managing the overall well-being of the residence hall. Hall directors often live in an apartment in the residence hall.

Holiday Breaks

Classes are in session the day before a break begins; every effort should be made to avoid absences during class sessions or final exams.

Academic Calendar


Integrated General Education Program since FA18, students will take a series of courses on their selected “track” and graduate with one of the five following minors: “Environmental Sustainability,” “Creativity and Inquiry,” “Global Diversity and Social Justice,” “Self, Society, and the Sacred,” or “Lasallian Honors.” Students starting as first-time freshmen in Fall 2023 will no longer be completing Integratus courses. 

IGEP Minors

IT HelpDesk

Provides assistance with computer and internet software and hardware issues. The office is in the lower level of Hendrickson Center. You can also call 507-457-7800.

Information Technology

Lasallian Catholic

Describes the charism (work and philosophy) of the international Roman Catholic teaching order, Brothers of the Christian Schools, also known as De La Salle Christian Brothers, which inspires the educational philosophy of Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota.

Office of Mission

Lasallian Honors Program

An alternative general education program for select students which uses the Great Books seminar process to develop advanced skills in analytical reading, writing, critical thinking, and oral communications.

Lasallian Honors Program

Liberal Arts

In a liberal arts institution, the core curriculum is intended to provide exposure to courses in the arts, humanities, sciences, and mathematics.


A subject or career field that serves as the focus of study in a degree program.

Undergraduate Programs

Mid-Term Exams

During the middle of each semester, instructors may give midterm exams to test students on the material covered up to that point.


A secondary concentration in a specific subject or career field.

Undergraduate Programs


Online learning management system that allows professors to post course materials, share lecture videos, and communicate with students outside of the classroom.

Pell Grant Program

The largest federal grant program. Eligibility and award amounts are determined by the College based on established federal guidelines.

Financial Aid and Scholarships

Perkins Loan Program

Federally insured loans funded by the federal government and awarded by the school. The loans feature a low interest rate and are repayable over an extended period.

Financial Aid and Scholarships

Prereq or Prerequisite

Prerequisites are courses that students are required to take prior to registering for a particular course. Some courses have no prerequisites while others do.


A senior administrative officer at the university.

Office of the Provost

Resident Assistant (RA)

Resident Assistants are trained student leaders responsible for supervising a group of resident students. They can assist with questions, social issues, roommate issues, or other problems that might arise. They also assist in enforcing college policies within the residence halls.


College official who registers students for classes and is responsible for keeping permanent records, maintaining student files, and forwarding copies of students’ transcripts to employers and schools.



Near the end of each term, you will work with your adviser to develop a course schedule for the next term that will assist in major exploration, skill development, and life development.

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)

To remain eligible for financial aid at Saint Mary’s, an undergraduate student must maintain what is called satisfactory academic progress (SAP). To demonstrate satisfactory academic progress, a student’s academic performance must meet two main components, including a sufficient grade point average (GPA) and appropriate credit completion.

Satisfactory Academic Progress Documentation


Scholarships are awarded based on any number of criteria, such as academics, achievements, talents, affiliations with various groups, or career aspirations. They are grants that do not have to be repaid.


        Undergraduate Scholarships


A semester is one-half of an academic year.

St. John Baptiste de La Salle

1651-1719, French priest, saint, and founder of the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools, oftentimes a speech or service will end with the following intercession/prayer: “Saint John Baptiste de La Salle, PRAY FOR US.”

        History and Heritage

Student Success and First Generation Initiative Center (SSFGIC)

One-stop academic shop that offers free tutoring, career services, help with study skills, disability services, and writing support. The SSFGIC can help pair you with a tutor, discuss and explore career and major options, establish accommodation for a disability, and provide writing help for students at any point in the writing process.

Student Success Center

Stafford Loans

Loans, both subsidized (need-based) and unsubsidized (non-need-based), guaranteed by the federal government and available to students to fund education.

Need-Based Financial Aid and More

Study Day

The day after classes end and before finals begin to allow students time to prepare for final exams.


The syllabus is a written contract for your course, providing course objectives, assignments, and a due date calendar. The syllabus often includes requirements, objectives, textbook information, contact information for the instructor, and a schedule of assignments and topics. Students are encouraged to read the syllabus carefully and refer to it often throughout the course.


Referring to the order taken and class selections within a given major or minor. May fluctuate/be altered depending on class availability, requirements, bringing in AP credits, etc.


This is a list of all the courses a student has taken with the grades that the student earned in each course. The official transcript is maintained by the registrar.

Request Transcripts

Truncated Schedule

Adjusted class times (usually shortened) to accommodate a university-wide event.


The amount of money charged for instruction. It does not include room, board, and special fees.

Tuition and Fees


A degree-seeking student at a college or university who has not yet earned a bachelor’s degree.

Upper division courses

Courses coded as 300 or higher. A minimum of 45 upper division credits are required for graduation. Most have prerequisites and are often taken junior or senior year.

Wellness Center

Physical and mental health services, located in Saint Mary’s Hall. The Wellness Center provides free nurse appointments and mental health counseling by appointment.

Wellness Center

Withdrawal from the University

Means you formally remove yourself from all classes for a semester or longer. There are established procedures for doing so with possible financial costs.

University Withdrawal Form

Leave of Absence Form

Griffin 70
700 Terrace Heights
Winona, MN 55987

Phone: 507-457-6994

Monday - Friday
8 a.m. - 5 p.m.