What is J Term?

January Term or J Term is designed to provide SMU students with yet another option to pursue their academic goals through a focused learning opportunity and a smaller class size. This concentrated program of study allows motivated students to enroll in one course (most are 3 credit hours) and productively use this “down time” prior to the start of the spring semester.

In 2014, there are more than 50 courses (in both Plano and Taos) from which to choose, and all are taught by regular SMU faculty members or adjunct professors. Please see the course listing for details – and then talk with your academic advisor about which course makes sense for you. J Term courses are separate and in addition to the course load you carry during the fall and spring semesters, and are offered at a discounted tuition rate.

Why take a J Term course?

In addition to the financial incentive, J Term offers SMU students many advantages,
including the opportunity to:
  • accelerate degree completion or stay on track for graduation (in four years)
  • fulfill General Education (GEC) or University Curriculum (UC) requirements
  • earn a second major or minor
  • complete a prerequisite needed for another course or opportunity (SMU Abroad, for example)
  • take a particular course of interest with a distinguished faculty member not normally offered or outside their degree plan
  • meet graduate or professional school admissions requirements
  • improve academic standing/GPA or maintain eligibility (for athletics, scholarships, etc.)

Who can participate?

Any SMU student in good standing is eligible to enroll in a J Term course.  It may also be possible for non-SMU students to be admitted as a visiting or non-degree student and enroll in one J Term course; for details, please visit the enrollment section.

Please note that this is a rigorous undertaking and you should not sign-up unless you are prepared to commit the time and energy necessary to successfully complete an entire course through this intensive format and to attend every class session. Depending on the course, there may be substantial advance reading before the first class meeting, assignments due before and during the two-week period, in-class or take-home exam(s), and final papers or projects due following the last class meeting. Are you up to the challenge?

Can non-SMU students attend J Term?

It may be possible for non-SMU students to be admitted as a visiting or non-degree undergraduate student and enroll in one J Term course. However, circumstances vary, so please contact the following individual for personal assistance:

Claire Brooks
Office of Non-Degree Credit Studies and Visiting Students
Phone: 214-768-1014

When do classes meet?

In January 2014, the academic calendar for J Term will be comprised of eight instructional days spread over a two-week period with one “free” weekend in between. Most classes start on Monday, January 6 and conclude on Wednesday, January 15. Classes typically meet during the day, from 9 a.m. to noon and from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. A few courses will be held in the afternoon and evening, from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. and from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. For courses in Taos, the regular travel day/arrival day is Sunday, January 5, with check-in between 4 to 6 p.m.(with the exception of WELL/PRW II - Mountain Sports which has an earlier arrival day of Thursday, January 2).

How much does a J Term course cost and when is payment due?

Students will pay a reduced tuition rate of only $1,154 per credit hour, the same rate offered during the SMU Summer School program in 2013. The total cost for one 3-credit J Term course is $3,462 and no other fees will be assessed (with the exception of travel costs, housing and special fees for the courses in Taos and CA). Payment is due by Thursday, December 19, 2013 to avoid a late fee of $150.

Are there any scholarships?

A limited number of partial tuition assistance scholarships are available to full-time SMU undergraduate students attending an SMU J Term course. Assistance is limited and is awarded at the discretion of the SMU J Term Tuition Scholarship Committee.

The scholarship can only be applied towards the cost of tuition. The J Term Scholars Award can be combined with other J Term financial aid, not to exceed the cost of tuition. Those receiving staff/dependent benefits through SMU are not eligible for the J Term Scholars award. This scholarship is not applicable to the Meadows New York Colloquium.

Interested students must apply for the J Term Scholars Award by Friday, November 22, by submitting this form to the SMU Financial Aid Office (Blanton 119): 2013-2014 SMU J Term Scholars Award Application

Do merit scholarships/financial aid apply?

Students considering enrollment in a J Term course should contact their financial aid advisor. Most SMU Merit Scholarships (such as the Provost or Rotunda scholarship) are available in pro-rated amounts for courses during J Term.

Those receiving SMU Need-Based Grant or Opportunity Awards may be eligible for grant funding of $150 per credit hour; however Federal and State funds are not available for J Term.

Students receiving SMU Tuition Benefits are not eligible for additional scholarship funding for J Term; please contact SMU Human Resources regarding your J Term tuition benefits.

Interested students must apply for J Term Merit Scholarships/Financial Aid by Friday, November 22, by submitting this form to the SMU Financial Aid Office (Blanton 119): 2013-2014 SMU UG J Term Financial Aid Application

For more information about the Financial Aid Office, please visit the SMU Financial Aid website or call 214-768-3417 for assistance. Financial Aid Advisors are assigned alphabetically by last name.

Where is SMU-in-Plano? What about parking?

Directions to SMU-in-Plano are available online. SMU-in-Plano offers plenty of free parking and no decal is required.

Just 20 miles north of the hilltop, the Plano campus is located off the North Dallas Tollway at 5236 Tennyson Parkway in the Legacy Business Park near several major corporate headquarters. This location is easily accessible from all points throughout the DFW metroplex and will prove especially convenient to many SMU students who reside in North Dallas, Richardson, Plano, Frisco and other parts of Collin and Denton counties.

SMU-in-Plano is close to numerous restaurants ranging from fast-food to gourmet. The campus is also close to major malls, including Stonebriar Centre and The Shops at Willow Bend; upscale ‘lifestyle’ centers such as The Shops at Legacy and Lakeside Market and various entertainment venues like Angelika Theater, Dr. Pepper StarCenter and Dave & Buster’s.

Will housing be available in Plano?

Please note that there are no residence hall at the SMU-in-Plano campus and that the residence halls on the main campus are closed during the first week of J Term. (Hawk, Martin, Moore, Daniel House, and the SMU Apartments are the only communities open over the break.) Therefore, students enrolled in J Term will be responsible for their own housing during the first week of the program. SMU Residence Halls will re-open for the Spring Term on Sunday, January 12, at 9:00 a.m.

We have secured a block of hotel rooms at very favorable rates at the TownePlace Suites by Marriott-Plano located just a mile away at 5005 Whitestone Lane, Plano, TX 75024. To make your reservation, please call: 972-943-8200 (or 1-888-236-2427) and mention the group name "SMU J Term." The cut-off date for reservations is Tuesday, December 31, 2013 or use this link.

  • Studio Suite $69 per night (plus applicable taxes)
  • Two-bedroom Suite $89 per night (plus applicable taxes)
  • Hotel Amenities: 
    • Complimentary continental breakfast
    • Fully-equipped kitchen, including refrigerator, conventional oven, microwave, dishwasher and coffee-maker
    • Free high-speed internet access wireless in the rooms and all common areas
    • Business Center features computer and printer/copier
    • Fitness room and free passess to LA Fitness and Gold's Gym
    • Guest laundry room
    • Complimentary shuttle service, Monday - Friday, 7:30 a.m. - 9:15 p.m.

What about housing at SMU-in-Taos?

For the first time ever, SMU-in-Taos is excited to offer several J Term courses, including Wellness/PRW II Mountain Sports with skiing and snowboard instruction at the famous Taos Ski Valley!

Since 1973, SMU-in-Taos at Fort Burgwin has been an educational center of Southern Methodist University. Our beautiful setting in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains — surrounded by the Carson National Forest — provides a unique backdrop for the enrichment of body, mind and spirit. The campus is located approximately eight miles south of Taos on New Mexico Highway 518. The physical address is: SMU-IN-TAOS, Fort Burgwin, 6580 Highway 518, Ranchos de Taos, NM 87557. For directions to Taos, please visit the "Getting to Taos" section on the Taos campus page.

The campus is comprised of twenty-four structures, including ten adobe dormitories (casitas) which house a total of 108 students. Each casita has a sleeping area with bunk beds and a closet and drawers for every student. Electrically heated and "winterized," the casitas also include bath and shower facilities and a large common area with a wood-burning fireplace.

Students taking one 3-credit-hour course will stay on the Taos campus for 11 nights at a total cost of $1,045 for full room and board, including three meals per day. Arrival is on Sunday, January 5, between 2 and 6 pm, and departure is on Thursday morning, January 16.

Students who are ALSO taking the Mountain Sports course (Wellness/PRW II), will stay on the Taos campus for 14 nights at a total cost of $1,330 for full room and board, including three meals per day. Arrival is on Thursday, January 2, between 2 and 6 pm, and departure is on Thursday morning, January 16.

Room and board is due, along with J Term tuition, by Thursday, December 19, 2013, to avoid paying late fees.

PLEASE NOTE: Do not purchase your airline ticket to NM until you have received a confirming email after Thanksgiving that your J Term application has been accepted and you have course permission to officially enrolled through Access.SMU.

When is the deadline for submitting the J Term application form?

Please note that J Term 2014 courses are not initially available for registration through Access.SMU. There is a special J Term application and enrollment process as follows:

You should first meet with your advisor to select your preferred J Term course and up to two (2) alternates. Then, complete the J Term application form where you will be asked to list up to three (3) courses in priority order. Some courses may be cancelled due to insufficient enrollment or for other reasons, thus the need for you to identify up to three choices; if you don't have other course options, leave blank.

The J Term application form should be submitted electronically or using the PDF version of the form. For best consideration, submit your application no later than 4:00 p.m. on Friday, November 22, 2013. After this date, late applications will still be considered although some courses will not be available or may have been cancelled due to insufficient enrollment.

PDF/paper application forms may be dropped off to the University Registrar Service Center on the first floor of Blanton or taken upstairs to the Taos/J Term office on the third floor of Blanton (Room 338), faxed to 214-768-1166, or sent to:

Once you have received the J Term email granting you course permission(s), you will need to immediately register through Access.SMU to secure your seat in the course. If your plans change and you no longer wish to participate in J Term, please send an email to and we will cancel your course permission. Permissions that are not picked up promptly will be cancelled.

When will I hear back about my J Term course and be able to officially enroll?

J Term application forms will be reviewed and processed in the order in which they are received. During the week after Thanksgiving, you will be notified by email of your final course selection and given permission to go into Access.SMU to officially enroll yourself for one (1) J Term course (plus Wellness/PRW II in Taos, if applicable). Any personal or financial ‘holds’ on your account will need to be cleared in order to register online and complete the enrollment process. Payment is due by Thursday, December 19, 2013.

What if I have to drop my J Term course? Will I get a refund?

Yes, you will receive a refund of 100% by providing written notification of your drop/withdrawal (send email to no later than 4:00 pm on Friday, January 3, 2014 (BEFORE the start of classes). You will receive a refund of 50% by providing written notification of your drop/withdrawal no later than 4:00 pm on Monday, January 6, 2014 (the FIRST day of class). Due to the intensive nature of J Term, NO refunds will be issued after this time. Once we receive your written notification, we will complete a withdrawal/cancellation form on your behalf and submit to Enrollment Services/Bursar for processing.

What are the J Term drop/withdrawal deadlines?

Not attending class does NOT drop you from the course. You will need to provide written notification of your drop/withdrawal; send email to (not your advisor). If received on or before Tuesday, January 7 (the second day of class), the course will not appear on your transcript. If received between January 8 and January 14, the course will appear on your transcript with a grade of “W”. After January 14, a grade of “F” would appear on your transcript if you then decide to drop/withdraw from your J Term course.

When will I know my J Term grade?

As many courses will require the submission of final papers/projects following the end of J Term, faculty will post grades during the first week of the spring semester. Check Access.SMU to view your final course grade.

Who should I contact if I have any other questions?

For questions about J Term, please send an email to: or visit the 'contact us' section for information regarding the key SMU program administrators in charge of the program: Kate Livingston and AB Aston. For academic questions related to a J Term course in which you are enrolled, please contact the faculty member directly.
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