Javascript is currently not supported, or is disabled by this browser. Please enable Javascript for full functionality.

    May 24, 2024  
Catalog 2012-2013 
Catalog 2012-2013 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Academic Standards and Policies

Placement Tests Procedures

The purpose of the English, mathematics, and reading placement tests is to assess students’ entry-level academic skills and to provide options to strengthen them if appropriate Students have a better chance for success in college if their basic skills are strong enough to meet the rigors of college-level classes. All courses in English and mathematics require that students have completed the appropriate placement tests for placement prior to enrollment, as do many other courses in a variety of disciplines (for example, biology, chemistry, early childhood education, and information technology services). These requirements are listed under prerequisites in the course description section of this catalog. For all of these reasons, students should make it a priority to complete the placement tests as early as possible after admission but no later than the point at which they have accumulated six credits.

No student is denied admission as a result of performance on these tests; however, students whose scores indicate a need for skill development are required to complete the appropriate developmental courses. Students who place in developmental courses in two or more disciplines are: 1) limited to a maximum of 13 credits, or the equivalent, during their first full-time semester; and 2) required to take STU-1010 - College Success Skills (3) .

Skills review materials are available from the Testing Centers. Students may also review for the placement tests by taking STU-7050, an Internet course that reviews math, reading, and English skills. STU-7050 is offered monthly as a continuing education course. Students may also access review materials in the Learning Lab on the La Plata Campus and in the Library on the Prince Frederick and Leonardtown campuses. Additionally, review materials are available online through the college library and Student Success Center websites. Any of the tests may be completed during the registration process. Students should contact the Testing Center on the La Plata, Prince Frederick, or Leonardtown campuses for information or to sign up for the test.

Please note: There are some courses/disciplines which, because of their content, are exempt from the placement test requirement. Students may accumulate credits in these courses with no expectation of having to take the placement tests. These include, but are not limited to: WFS activities courses, ART lab activities, MUS and THE performance courses, OFT skills courses, COM 1040 , COM 1050 , COM 1060 , and COM 1070 .

Retaking of the Placement Tests

A student may re-take the placement test under the following conditions:

  1. The student pays the $25 re-test fee or completes the fee waiver process, which requires evidence of a review or significant change in ability since the initial testing.
  2. The re-test is attempted at least 48 hours after the initial testing.
  3. The placement scores are no longer valid because they are more than two years old. (Note: No fee is required in this instance.)

Waiver of Placement Tests

Students who can document work and/or academic experience that would suggest the ability to do college-level work can provide such documentation to the appropriate division chair for consideration of a waiver of the placement test in English, math, and/or reading.

Automatic waivers are granted for math if a student has a score of 550 or above on the SAT Math; and for English and reading with a score of 550 or above on the SAT Verbal or Critical Reading score. Waivers are also granted in English with a score of 21 on the ACT English; for reading with a score of 21 on the ACT Reading; and for math with a score of 21 on ACT Math.

Placement of Transfer Students

Credits in most disciplines may be transferred regardless of how long ago the courses were taken. Transfer students who have not taken a college-level English or a college-level mathematics course in the last five years may be required to take the English and/or mathematics diagnostic or placement test in order to validate their skills in those areas. Students applying to the nursing programs should refer to the Nursing Programs Admission Information booklet. Students applying to the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) programs should consult with the EMS program coordinator.

College and University Transfer Credits

Credit Transfer Policy

Transfer of credits will be considered on the basis of applicability to the student’s chosen program of study at the College of Southern Maryland. Credits/transcripts will only be evaluated for students who have declared a program at CSM. Students will be given thirty (30) days to appeal their evaluation before it is made official. A student must have an official transcript sent directly from the previous institution(s). It is the student’s responsibility to supply the transcript evaluator with the appropriate catalog or course description if one is not already available. Credit may be awarded if one of the following criteria is met:

  1. The institution is accredited by a commission on higher education approved by the United States Department of Education. To verify accreditation, CSM uses “Accredited Institutions of Postsecondary Education” published by the American Council on Education.
    1. CSM recognizes the following regional accreditation associations: Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, New England Association of Schools and Colleges, North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, and Western Association of Schools and Colleges. Credits may not be accepted from schools that are candidates for regional accreditation and not fully accredited.
    2. The institution is legally authorized to grant standard college degrees and is accredited by an accrediting agency recognized by the United States Department of Education. The college may award transfer credit based upon course equivalencies, expected learning outcomes and applicability to the college’s curricula, standards, and course offerings.
  2. CSM has an approved articulation agreement with a high school, business or industry. Articulation agreements specify award of credit for meeting certain criteria and presenting certain documents.
  3. The American Council on Education (ACE) has reviewed the training and recommended award of college credit. See “Credit for Service Schools and Other Non-collegiate sponsored Instruction” for more information. CSM uses ACE recommendations as guidelines. The following guides list ACE recommendations: “Guide to the Evaluation of Educational Experiences in the Armed Services,”; “National Guide to College Credit for Workforce Training,”; and the “National Guide to Credit by Examination.”
  4. The course(s) in which a grade of “D” or better was obtained from accredited public two-year and four-year colleges within the state of Maryland, provided the student has earned a cumulative grade point average of at least 2.0. (Otherwise, only credit for courses in which a grade of “C” or better was earned are transferred.) Credits earned at accredited institutions outside the state of Maryland will be transferred only for courses in which a grade of “C” or better was obtained. Only the credits (not the grades) for courses completed at other institutions are transferred to a student’s record at CSM. Therefore, grades earned at other institutions may not be used to erase grades earned at CSM or to improve a student’s grade point average. CSM will convert courses taken at institutions operating on the quarter system to semester hours if the credit transfers. Quarter hours are multiplied by .667 to equate to semester hours. CSM does not automatically honor course waivers or exemptions granted by other institutions. Students seeking such waivers must provide the original basis for the exemption and request an official evaluation. The Programs of Study section of this catalog indicates the number of credits allowable to transfer for each curriculum.
  5. International transcripts have been evaluated by the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO), International or World Education Services (WES) There is a fee for this service.

Students having questions regarding transfer policies should contact the Advising Office for further information, or refer to the Maryland Higher Education Commission Student Transfer Policies printed in Appendix III .

Credit for Prior Learning

There are several ways in which students may receive college credit for subject matter or skills they have mastered, including the following:

  1. Tech Prep and other articulated high school courses
  2. Advanced Placement (AP) examinations
  3. Credit for service schools and other noncollegiate-sponsored instruction
  4. Credit by nationally standardized examinations
  5. Credit by departmental assessment

Students may earn up to 30 credits toward a degree through prior learning assessment. No more than 15 of these credits may be earned through departmental assessments (portfolio, certifications, or departmental examinations) toward a degree. Students should be aware of any restrictions on these credits imposed by the institution to which they intend to transfer.

Credit earned by prior learning may not be counted as institutional credit.

Tech Prep Articulated High School Courses

Tech Prep is a means to begin a technical course of study while in high school. Tech Prep courses are taught in the high school and can be applied toward college credit. In a Tech Prep program, a high school student can begin his or her course of study in high school and continue to the College of Southern Maryland. These courses coordinate high school and community college programs, assuring that graduates acquire the technical knowledge and skills required in today’s complex workplace for a particular program. Tech Prep students complete a planned sequence of courses in high school, which articulate to CSM and can be applied to designated letters of recognition, certificates, and associate of applied science degrees in a career field.

For further information on Tech Prep articulation agreements follow this link.

Advanced Placement (AP) Examinations

Eligible students may receive credits for Advanced Placement Examinations administered in the high schools. See Appendix IV  for acceptable disciplines and scores with their college course credit equivalencies.

Credit for Service Schools and Other Noncollegiate - Sponsored Instruction

Credits granted for noncollegiate-sponsored instruction are limited to those courses that the college determines to be applicable to its degree and certificate programs. Transcripts from each school or agency attended must be submitted to the Admissions Office. These credits will not be posted on the student’s transcript until the student successfully completes at least six institutional credits, unless the courses are part of an articulated program.

The college grants credit for applicable noncollegiate-sponsored instruction, which has been evaluated by the American Council on Education (ACE). Formal military training evaluations are published in The Guide to the Evaluation of Educational Experiences in the Armed Services. The evaluation of other noncollegiate-sponsored instruction is published in The National Guide to Educational Credit for Training Programs. No credits are granted for instruction not recommended in the ACE publications.

Credit by Nationally Standardized Examinations: CLEP and DSST (formerly DANTES)

A student may attempt to earn college credit in some areas by examination. The credit-by-examination program is an option for those who have strong academic high school backgrounds or who have studied on their own. These comprehensive examinations are administered by appointment in the college’s testing centers. Prior to taking any one of these exams, students pay the required test registration/fees.

A passing grade on an examination is recorded with a grade of “P” on the permanent record. While the credits count toward graduation, neither the credits nor the grade is used in the calculation of the student’s grade point average. Examinations that are attempted but not passed are not recorded on the student’s permanent record. Passing scores on nationally standardized examinations or departmental assessments cannot be used to replace grades earned for CSM courses taken previously.

To receive an up-to-date list of courses available through credit by examination, and to register to take an examination, contact the Testing Center or log on to the Student Success Center web site at Students pursuing a program of study at CSM should begin the process by speaking to an academic advisor. Course descriptions in this catalog also indicate if the course is available through credit by examination. Students who fail an examination may attempt most examinations again after six months. (See Appendix V  for a list of the subject exams.)

Credit by Departmental Assessment

An academic department may award course credit to students who document learning comparable to that required in specific college courses. To be eligible for credit by departmental assessment, students must be admitted to the college. Students interested in pursuing credit for prior learning should begin the process by speaking to an academic advisor. The advisor will assist the student in determining if credit by departmental assessment is appropriate to the student’s needs. There are two ways learning can be evaluated: departmental examination and portfolio assessment/certification.

Departmental Examination

A departmental examination is created by the appropriate college department and is typically administered by appointment in the Testing Center. Prior to taking a departmental exam, the student pays the required tuition/fees. Departmental exams must be taken within thirty (30) days of registering for the exam. Fees are not refundable.

A passing grade on a departmental examination is recorded with a grade of P on the permanent record. While the credits count towards graduation, neither the credits nor the grade is used in the calculation of the student’s grade point average. Examinations that are attempted but not passed are not recorded on the student’s permanent record. Students who fail an examination must wait a minimum of two weeks to re-take most exams. Specific departmental exams may have longer wait periods between re-tests or required remediation activities, so re-takes also require the permission of the chair of the academic division responsible for the departmental exam.  Tests may only be re-taken once.

Please refer to the Appendix for a list of courses for which departmental exams are offered. If you wish to take a departmental examination, schedule an appointment with an academic advisor. For the most up to date information on available tests and testing procedures, please see:

Portfolio Assessment/Certification

Credits may be awarded to students who document evidence that course objectives, as outlined in the course syllabus, have been mastered. Such evidence might include professional certificates, examinations, written materials, or other supporting documentation. Students interested in pursuing credit for prior learning should begin the process by speaking to an academic advisor. The advisor will assist the student in determining if credit for prior learning is appropriate to the student’s needs. A one-credit course (STU 1201 ) is required to assist students in the development of a portfolio. Students must pay a fee for each credit assessed.

Course Selection

Courses are offered at times and locations considered most appropriate for their intended audiences. Since all programs are not offered during both day and evening hours, students should review their intended curriculum to ensure that it is available at acceptable times as well as at an accessible location. An annual schedule is available online. Students should use this information to plan the following academic year.

Schedule of Classes

The college distributes schedules of classes and lists class schedule on the web ( Students should be aware that not all courses are offered every semester, nor are they offered at all locations. (Every effort has been made to indicate schedule restrictions in the appropriate course descriptions in this catalog.) Some courses are offered irregularly due to inconsistent demand. Students interested in a course that is offered irregularly should inform the appropriate department chair of their interest.

Prerequisites and Corequisites

Many course descriptions contain statements of prerequisites or corequisites.  Prerequisites tell the student the criteria that must be met prior to admission to a course and corequisites tell the student of criteria that must be met during the same or previous semester.  Prerequisites or corequisites may include specific college courses, certification from a particular organization or agency, employment in a certain field, etc. The intent of prerequisites or corequisites is to ensure that students have the level of skill and knowledge that will assure them a reasonable expectation of success in the course. 

In certain circumstance a prerequisite or corequisite may be waived.  A prerequisite or corequisites waiver request must be initiated in one of the advising offices and must be approve by the appropriate Academic Division chair prior to the student’s enrollment in the course.  If the student does not satisfy the prerequisite or corequisite criteria prior to the start of the higher level course, the College has the right to remove the student from the higher level course.

Full and Canceled Classes

Seats in classes are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Students should plan to register early to ensure that they are able to enroll in the course and section of their choice. Occasionally, seats will become available in a class that has been filled. Students can monitor seat openings through Online Services. If a seat becomes available, students can add the class through Online Services or in person. In the event that a course or section is canceled, all enrolled students are notified immediately. Those students may elect to enroll in another open course or section, or they may request a refund.

Wait Lists

Students trying to register for a class section that is full may choose the “wait list” option. This option allows students the opportunity to register for a class section if a seat becomes available. Notices of available seats are e-mailed automatically every morning, Monday through Friday. The student has until midnight of the day the notice is received to enroll in the section. If a student does not enroll in the section, his or her name will be dropped from the wait list and the seat will be offered to the next person.  Students having difficulty registering from the wait list should email between the hours of 8:30 am to 6:00 pm Monday thru Thursday and 8:30 am to 3:30 pm on Fridays.

Change In Class Schedule

Students may make changes in their schedules according to the dates reflected in the schedule of classes for the respective semester. To accomplish a change in their schedule, students can use online services or file a Change in Class Schedule form available from the Information Counter at the La Plata Campus or one of our four campus locations. Contact the Registrar’s Office for information.

Course Substitutions of Required Courses

There may be exceptional instances in which students are excused from taking a required course in their program of study.  A substitution of a course does not reduce the number of credits needed to complete a program of study.  Also, a course substitution is not automatically transferred to any other program of study.  If the student chooses to change programs, all course substitutions must be reevaluated for applicability.  A course substitution must be initiated in any advising office and approved by the Division of Academic Affairs.

Course Substitution Policy for Students with Disabilities

Students who wish to petition for a course substitution based on the presence of a disability may do so through the Disability Support Office on the La Plata Campus. The course substitution policy, procedures, and request forms are available from the coordinator, Disability Support Services, on the La Plata Campus or the assistant, Disability Support Services, on the Leonardtown and Prince Frederick campuses.


Registration dates and schedule adjustment dates are listed in the college calendar in the schedule of classes. Students may take advantage of mail-in (continuing education only), fax-in (continuing education only), on-site, online, or advance registration as outlined in the schedule of classes. During the credit priority registration period, the first day is reserved for current students who have attempted or completed 45 credits or more; the second day is for current students who have attempted or completed 30 credits or more; and the third day is for current students who have attempted or completed 15 credits or more.

An applicant whose high school or college record and placement test results indicate a need for a reduced academic load may be restricted to a maximum of 13 or fewer credits per semester, and/or required to enroll in developmental courses. Such students are advised to supplement their progress by taking courses during the summer session.

Registration of Full-Time Students

All full-time students (students taking 12 or more credits) should meet with an advisor early on in their program of study. Students may register for up to 19 credits of course work in the fall and spring semesters, or up to 10 credits in summer sessions. Students wishing to register for course loads in excess of the above limits must have the approval of the director of Advisement and Career Services.

Registration of Part-Time Students

Part-time students (students taking fewer than 12 credits) should be aware that it may be necessary to take one or more placement tests during the registration process, depending upon the number or type of courses taken. (Refer to the Placement Procedures section of this catalog for complete information.)

Note to Students with Disabilities

The College of Southern Maryland is committed to making it possible for individuals with disabilities to be full participants in its programs, services, and activities in compliance with Title II of the Americans with Disabilities/ADAA, Section 504 of the Vocational Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and all of its pertinent laws.

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend the college and take any courses desired, so long as the prerequisites are met. Services and reasonable accommodations such as interpreters, extended time for tests, etc., are provided for students with disabilities. Students are encouraged to meet with the Academic Support ADA/staff on their campus. See additional information under the Student Success Services  section of this catalog.


A student may request to audit any class other than a science lab. Students receive no credit for an audited class. One may change from credit to audit or audit to credit, with the instructor’s permission, at any time before the end of the withdrawal period. Failure to complete the instructor’s outlined requirements will result in a grade of “WD” for the course. Students must have this form signed by the instructor and division chair before it will be processed by the Registrar’s Office. Students should be aware that changing a credit course to an audit can affect their financial assistance.

Audited courses require the same tuition and fees as regular courses. Audited courses do not meet prerequisite requirements. Audited courses are noted on the transcript as having a grade of “AU.” The AU grade is not calculated in the GPA.

Advising Requirement

It is important that all students seeking a degree or certificate from CSM, or planning to transfer from CSM to another college, consult (e-mail, phone, or in person) an advisor concerning their career and educational goals. The college recommends that students meet with an advisor prior to beginning a program of study and at least twice during their program to ensure that their courses are appropriate for their career and educational goals. These meetings must take place prior to a student registering for more than 18 credits and again at 36 credits. In addition, all students must consult an advisor if they are considering changing their program of study or are applying for graduation.

Changing a Program

Students who wish to change their program of study at any time during their enrollment must speak with an academic advisor to make the appropriate adjustments. Previous credits will be reevaluated at this time.

Student Progress and Academic Records


By completing a course successfully, a student earns the number of credits assigned to the course. In the section of this catalog entitled Course Descriptions, the number of credits awarded for each course appears in parentheses following each course title. Credit is not awarded for some of the classes offered by the college.


Grades are the means by which students assess their progress in course work. Students can expect to be graded frequently and in a variety of ways in each course. Grades are not assigned in many continuing education classes.

Final grades will be available through Online Services within one week of the completion of the semester. Students who need a written grade report may request a transcript through the Registrar’s Office or any administrative office at the Leonardtown or Prince Frederick campuses or the Waldorf Center for Higher Education.

Grading System and Reporting

The following grading system is used:

Grade Evaluation Grade Point Value
A Excellent 4
B Good 3
C Average 2
D Below Average 1
F Failure 0
I Incomplete 0
AU Audit 0
WD Withdrawn 0
P Average or Above 0
NG No grade given by instructor 0
FX Failure, non-attendance 0
Grade Evaluation Grade Point Value
P Passed 0
IP In progress 0
F Failure 0
I Incomplete 0
AU Audit 0
WD Withdrawn 0
NG No grade given by instructor 0
FX Failure, non-attendance 0

In-Progress Grade

The in-progress grade, or IP, designates a student’s status in a developmental course when the objectives are not completed in the semester for which the IP grade is given. The student must re-register for the course and repay all tuition and fees. Ordinarily, the IP grade may be given only once for any one course, so the student must complete the course the second time he or she registers.

FX Grade

An FX grade designates a failure due to never having attended or ceasing to attend class at or before the midpoint of the course.

Incomplete Grade

The decision to award an incomplete in a class is at the discretion of the instructor in conjunction with the division chair.  An incomplete (“I”) is a non-punitive grade which may be requested only if:

  1. The student is passing the course
  2. The student has a compelling and justifiable reason for not completing work due after the date when he or she can withdraw without penalty, and
  3. The student and instructor are in agreement regarding work to be completed and have signed the Incomplete Request Form specifying remaining work and due dates for completion.  Due dates may not extend beyond 120 calendar days. 

Removal of “I”

Upon completion of remaining course work the instructor will change the status of “I” to the final grade in accordance with grade change procedures in place at the time.

Failure to complete the agreed-upon work by the due date(s) specified will result in the grade of incomplete automatically being converted to the grade that the student would have been awarded based on the work completed prior to the incomplete being granted. Such grade will be indicated on the Incomplete Request form signed by the faculty member.

Grade Calculation

When an incomplete is recorded in a semester, the calculations for the semester grade point average will not include the credits for the incomplete class and no credit points will be recorded for the incomplete. The incomplete will appear as an “I” on the student record and transcript. For the purpose of calculating the grade point average, the credit will not appear in the total credits attempted or earned. When the incomplete is resolved, the calculation for the semester will be updated.

Grade Point Average

The grade point average (GPA) is computed by multiplying the number of credits for a course by the grade point value of the grade received for that course (see grade point values under the Grading System and Reporting section of this catalog). All grade points for all courses taken at the college are then added together and divided by the total number of credits attempted.

An example follows:

Course Credits Grade Grade Point Value Grade Points
ENG 1010 
3 B (3) 9
MTH 1100 
4 C (2) 8
BIO 1010 
4 C (2) 8
WFS 1100 
1 B (3) 3
Totals 12     28
GPA = 28 divided by 12 = 2.33

Continuing education courses, transfer courses, credit for prior learning, articulated credit from high schools, and the grades of W, IP, P, and AU are not included in the computation.

Requesting a Grade Review

A student wishing to protest a grade given in a course may do so according to the procedures set forth in the Reevaluation of Academic Work section published in the Student Handbook. Students must request a reevaluation of academic work within 30 days of receipt of a course grade.

Withdrawing from Classes

Withdrawal from a course is, for the student, as important as registering for a course, for it can affect academic standing, financial assistance eligibility, and program completion dates. Students should speak to the instructor of the course and an advisor prior to withdrawing from a course.

Students may withdraw by using Online Services. If a student is withdrawing at a campus, the student must complete and submit a withdrawal form at the Information Counter or any student service office at the other campuses by the last day for withdrawing from classes (published in the Academic Calendar in this catalog). If a course is dropped before the withdrawal date, a grade of “WD” will be recorded for the final grade. After that date, students will receive the earned grade of “A” through “FX” for all courses in which they are enrolled.

In the event of medical or personal emergencies, the student may telephone or write the Registrar’s Office for assistance in the process. However, the withdrawal form must be processed by the specified date. (See the Academic Calendar for withdrawal dates.)

A student who receives a failing grade for a course as a result of academic dishonesty may not subsequently withdraw from the course.

Involuntary Withdrawal Policy

An involuntary withdrawal may qualify a student for a partial refund or credit of tuition and course fees after the normal refund deadline. In order to be eligible for a refund or tuition credit, the student, or next of kin, must submit an appeal form and appropriate substantiating documentation to support such a withdrawal request prior to the end of the course. (All fees must be paid prior to receiving a refund or tuition credit). A withdrawal is considered involuntary if it results from one of the reasons described below:

Military Duty

  1. Student must have entered active duty involuntarily, or have been transferred involuntarily.
  2. Student must provide a copy of military orders signed by the individual’s commanding officer or other appropriate official.
  3. Be a dependent of a military person who has been transferred involuntarily.


  1. Student must have certification from a physician stating that the student’s medical condition required hospitalization for 72 hours or longer, and/or that the medical condition requires the student’s withdrawal.
  2. Required certification:
    1. must be an original letter on official letterhead (no photocopies), and
    2. must specifically state that the student’s medical condition required hospitalization for 72 hours or longer, and that the medical condition requires the student’s withdrawal from class, and
    3. must give the date on which the hospitalization began.


  1. Withdrawal is considered involuntary if the death of the student or immediate family member of the student has occurred. Immediate family members include the following: spouse, parent, child, sister, or brother.
  2. Appropriate required documentation:
    1. an official death certificate, or
    2. a copy of a newspaper obituary notice, and
    3. a letter from a physician (or other appropriate medical professional) verifying the student’s relationship to the deceased. (If relationship is not evident, additional documentation may be required.)

Other Extreme Situations

Requests for an involuntary withdrawal based on other extreme situations will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Requests will only be considered for the current semester or one prior semester.


Students requesting an involuntary withdrawal must complete the appeal form found on the web site at and submit it to the associate vice president of Enrollment Management. The form must explain in detail the nature of the appeal and any specific circumstances (e.g., illness, death in the family, military transfer, etc.) that may support the appeal.

The following is the procedure for appeals for other than military duty, hospitalization, or death:

  1. The appeal form must explain in detail the nature of the request, list any specific circumstances that may support the request, and provide available documentation.
  2. If the request involves academic concerns, the letter is forwarded to the vice president of Academic Affairs or the vice president of Continuing Education and Workforce Development for investigation.
  3. If the request involves situations other than academic concerns, the associate vice president of Enrollment Management will investigate the situation and will forward the request to the Student Services Appeals Committee for consideration. If the committee determines that a refund is justified, then it may authorize, as appropriate, a full or partial refund. The associate vice president of Enrollment Management will inform the student in writing of the decision.
  4. A student may appeal the decision of the committee or the vice president, in writing, to the vice president of Student and Instructional Support Services. The student’s letter must explain the nature of the appeal and include any supporting evidence. The appeal must be initiated within 14 calendar days of notification to the student.
  5. A written response shall be given to the student within 14 calendar days. The decision of the vice president of Student and Instructional Support Services is final.

Repeated Courses

Students may attempt a course for credit no more than 2 times.  While all grades will appear on the student’s transcript if a course is repeated, only the last grade earned for the course will be calculated into the student’s grade point average.  Students may request an appeal of this policy with an academic advisor.

Freshman/Sophomore Class Standing

A student who has earned from 0-29 credits is a freshman. A student achieves sophomore class standing after successfully completing 30 credits.

Academic Standing

At the end of each semester a student’s academic performance is reviewed to determine if the student is in Good Academic Standing. The review is based on the cumulative grade point average (GPA) for all academic work attempted at the College of Southern Maryland.

Minimum Standards for Good Standing

Total Credits Attempted
Minimum Cumulative GPA
6 - 18 1.50
19 - 31 1.75
32 - 44 1.85
45 or more 2.00

Students failing to maintain these standards are placed in the following categories:

Academic Probation (P13)

A student who – at any point after six credits (or two developmental courses) are attempted – falls below the prescribed Minimum Standards for Good Standing is placed on academic probation. Students on academic probation may not register for more than 13 credit hours during any semes­ter in this status. Students on academic probation must meet with an advisor prior to registration each semester until they are off of academic probation. A student on academic probation must achieve a 2.00 or higher semester GPA every semester while in this status.

Academic Restriction (P7)

Academic restriction results when a student on academic probation fails to reach the Minimum Cumulative GPA and does not to achieve a 2.00 semester GPA. Students on academic restriction, with the approval of an academic advisor, may register for up to two courses plus a STU 1010 or STU 1030 course. Courses must be selected from those that an advisor has approved. Students who fail to achieve the Minimum Cumulative GPA but who achieve a 2.00 or higher semester GPA will return to an academic probation (P13) status.

Academic Dismissal

Academic dismissal results when a stu­dent on academic restriction fails to achieve at least a 2.00 GPA during the current enrollment period. Academic dismissal precludes registration for any courses for a period of at least one semester (fall or spring semester) unless the student has previously been dismissed from the college. A student dismissed for academic reasons a second or subsequent time is not permitted to register for any courses for one full calendar year. Students returning to the college after being dismissed for academic reasons will be placed on academic restriction (P7) upon their return.

Note: Students receiving federally backed financial assistance may be required to meet stricter academic standards to maintain their financial assistance. These guidelines appear in Appendix II. Students in the Nursing and Physical Therapist Assistant programs are required to maintain higher academic standards and must meet specific criteria in clinical practice. See the programs handbooks for complete information.

Attempted Credits

Attempted Credits refers to the number of credits attempted at the institution. An attempted credit includes graded credits (“A”, “B”, “C”, “D”, “F”, “FX”, “IP” or “P”), withdrawn credits (“WD”), incomplete credits (“I”), no grade credits (“NG”), and audited courses (“AU”). Only those credits that are dropped by the institution are not considered attempted.

To calculate the percentage of credits completed, total all attempted CSM credits and total all completed CSM credits. Then, divide the number of completed credits by the number of attempted credits.

Appeal of Academic Standing

Students who are placed on academic probation, academic restriction or academic dismissal may appeal their academic standing to the vice president of Academic Affairs whose decision is final. Appeals must be in writing and must be received no later than two weeks prior to the start of the semester in which re-enrollment is sought.


A student who has been dismissed from the college for academic reasons will be reinstated after the proscribed period of time (one semester or one calendar year). Upon reinstatement, the student will be placed on academic restriction (P7), and other requirements such as re-taking one or more placement tests, may be established. Students on academic restriction, with the approval of an academic advisor, may register for up to two courses plus a STU 1010 or STU 1030 course. Courses must be selected from those that an advisor has approved.

Academic Clemency

Students may request to have up to 16 previously earned credits in which grades of D or F were received designated AC next to the section on their transcripts. Such credits must have been earned at least five years prior to the date of the request. Students may not request academic clemency more than once.

A student must be currently registered, and the request for academic clemency must be approved prior to the submission of the application for graduation. The student, with the assistance and approval of an academic advisor, determines which courses are most appropriate for this request. Students are encouraged to consider among these 16 credits courses that cannot be repeated because they are no longer in the college catalog. Upon approval of the vice president of Academic Affairs, the Registrar’s Office will mark AC by the courses on the student’s transcript and recalculate the grade point average. The original grades will not be removed from the transcript but will be removed from the GPA calculation.  The registrar will forward a copy of the revised transcript to the student. It is anticipated that this process will be completed within six weeks.

Permanent Record Information Policy

The College of Southern Maryland maintains records for each student who attends the college. The Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), as amended, affords students certain rights with respect to their education records. For more information on these rights, see Appendix VI , Disclosure of Student Information and Rights of Students under FERPA. A complete copy of the current college policy on students’ rights under FERPA can be found on the college’s web site at

All students have the right to see their own records and to challenge any documentation that they feel is erroneous. A copy of the college’s procedures for challenging file or record contents is available, upon request, from the Registrar’s Office. Records cannot be released without the student’s written authorization, with certain exceptions permitted by FERPA. (Some student information is designated as public or directory information. The institution may disclose such information for any purpose, at its discretion. For more information, see Appendix VI , Disclosure of Student Information and Rights of Students Under FERPA.)

Students who wish to have their records forwarded to other colleges or to prospective employers must complete a written release form before the college can honor the request. The following is a list of the types of educational records maintained by the college:

Type of Records Location/Office Title of Responsible Official
Permanent Academic Registrar’s Office Registrar
Admission Application Admissions Director, Admissions
Placement Tests Admissions Director, Admissions
Veterans Registrar’s Office Registrar
Financial Assistance Financial Assistance Director, Financial Assistance
Continuing Education Registrar’s Office Registrar
Certificates Registrar’s Office Registrar
Disciplinary Division of Student and Instructional Support Services Vice President, Student and Instructional Support Services
Continuing Education Record Registrar’s Office Registrar

Transcripts, Diplomas, Certificates, and Letters of Recognition Documents

Students and former students may request academic record transcripts from the Registrar’s Office or any student services office.

No transcripts will be released if any financial obligations to the college have not been met. Transcripts will not be issued to a third party without the written authorization of the student.

The cost of a diploma or certificate for the completion of a credit program is included in the graduation fee.

Student Conduct

A community of higher learning can make its maximum contribution only if high standards of integrity, courtesy, and accomplishment are maintained by every member of the college. Responsibility for achieving this goal falls upon students, faculty, and administration alike.

The college reserves the right to discipline any student for any behavior, on college premises or in connection with college-sponsored activities, which is judged as detrimental to the aim and objectives of the college. The individual student is responsible for understanding specific regulations set forth in the Student Code of Conduct appearing in the Student Handbook.

Academic Honesty

Students are expected to perform their own academic work. Plagiarism and other forms of academic dishonesty are considered extremely serious offenses. Students are personally responsible for understanding the various forms of academic dishonesty as they are explained in the Student Code of Conduct in the Student Handbook. Ignorance of any requirement for academic honesty will not constitute an excuse from disciplinary proceedings.

Requirements for Graduation

Each program description in this catalog lists the requirements for graduation in that curriculum. At the time of application for graduation, students will declare the catalog under which they intend to graduate. (The program of study should be declared at the time of admission to the college.) They will follow the requirements of a catalog of one academic year during which they were registered and attended classes at the college.

Should a student’s enrollment at the College of Southern Maryland be interrupted by a break of at least five years, the catalog in effect when the student re-enters the college will be considered the year-of-entry catalog. If a student changes his/her academic program during the course of study, he/she must choose the current catalog for the newly selected academic program.

Unless required courses have been officially waived, all students must meet the course requirements of their program to graduate. They must also meet the grade requirements for a degree, certificate, or letter of recognition stated below, and must make an appointment with an advisor to complete the application for graduation.

Students have the opportunity to move progressively upward through CSM’s degree options (i.e., letter of recognition course requirements may fulfill certificate requirements; letter of recognition and certificate requirements may fulfill associate’s degree requirements).

Associate’s Degrees

To qualify for graduation with an associate’s degree, all students must pass all courses required in their curriculum and must have a grade point average (GPA) of 2.00 for all work at the college. The Associate of Arts in Teaching (AAT) requires a 2.75 GPA.

Certificates of Proficiency

To qualify for graduation with a certificate, students must pass all required courses and must have a 2.00 grade point average for all courses required by the certificate program.

Letters of Recognition

A letter of recognition is a sequence of credit courses designed with discrete goals and objectives for a specific population. At the completion of the sequence, the student may apply for an official letter of recognition by the college.

A letter of recognition credit course sequence consists of 6 to 11 credits. Currently available letters of recognition are included in this catalog. Students must follow the requirements of the letter of recognition in the catalog of a year during which they were registered and attended classes at the college. To be eligible for the letter of recognition, students must earn a C or better in each credit course in the sequence. Students must apply with an advisor for a letter of recognition.  The letters of recognition are processed in accordance with the current graduation cycles at the end of the spring, summer and fall semesters.

Application for Graduation

Students must make an appointment with an advisor to complete the graduation application.  The last date to apply for graduation to ensure participation in the winter or spring ceremony or to only receive a diploma is stated on the college website. Graduation applications are accepted at any time but diplomas are issued at the end of the spring, summer and fall semesters.  There is no graduation fee; however, students must purchase their cap and gown through the College Store.