Student FAQs

  1. You can contact us at
  2. You can attend our Zoom walk-in hours
  3. You can attend our in-person CC Pop-Ups
    • Fondren Library (next to Starbucks)
    • Wednesdays 2-4pm on the following dates:
      • 8/31/2022
      • 9/14/2022
      • 9/28/2022
      • 10/12/2022
      • 10/26/2022
      • 11/9/2022
      • 11/30/2022


 In general, Foundation courses are limited to those offered by the departments of English, Mathematics, Statistics, World Languages and Literatures.  Foundations are entry-level, Freshman courses, offered to all students, and they meet the requirements for specific Foundation requirements (Quantitative Reasoning, Second Language, and Writing and Reasoning).  One exception to this is WRTR 1313 courses, which focus on critical reasoning.  The Department of English has developed a template for these courses and is developing training to allow other faculty to propose and teach sections of these courses.  This option will become available in AY 2021-2022, and more information will be available at that point

The Common Curriculum contains two sets of requirements, General Education requirements and Graduation requirements. You should complete your General Education requirements during your first two years of study at SMU. You may complete your Graduation requirements at any point during your four years at SMU. Courses toward both General Education and major and minor requirements may also fulfill graduation requirements.

No. All students at SMU are required to complete all General Education and all Graduation requirements in order to graduate.

Yes, but it depends on the requirement. A single course may only fulfill either one Foundation or one Breadth requirement. However, a single course may fulfill multiple Graduation requirements, or may fulfill one Foundation requirement in addition to Graduation requirements OR one Breadth requirement as well as Graduation requirements. Much depends on the course.

Individual faculty members, in consultation with their departments, request that their courses fulfill certain requirements. A faculty member seeking to have his or her course fulfill a requirement make a proposal to the Council on General Education, which is a committee of faculty from across the university. In that proposal, a faculty member must prove that their course fulfills the learning outcomes and content criteria for the requirement they are asking for. The Council on General Education reviews the request and the syllabus for the course and decides whether the course can fulfill the requirement. No course may fulfill a Common Curriculum requirement unless it is approved by the Council on General Education to do so.

No, students may not propose courses for Common Curriculum requirements, nor can students use courses that have not been approved to fulfill Common Curriculum requirements. Only the faculty member who teaches the course may propose his or her course, and only the Council on General Education can approve a course to satisfy a requirement.

I took several AP/ IB courses in high school and received AP/IB credits by exam. May I use these credits to fulfill General Education requirements?

Students may fulfill certain Common Curriculum requirements with AP or IB credit. The Quantitative Reasoning Foundation Requirement and the Second Language Foundation Requirement may both be fulfilled using AP/IB credit. Students may also fulfill up to three Breadth requirements with AP or IB credit. In order to determine which scores and which exams may be used for these requirements, please consult the SMU credit by exam page.

SMU awards credit hours for dual credit courses, but dual-credit courses may not be used toward the fulfillment of Foundation or Breadth requirements, except for TRN students (students who transfer to SMU from another college or university and who transfer in 24 or more credit hours worth of post-high school credit). Please refer to the Common Curriculum Test and Transfer Credit guidelines for details.

Yes. The Math department offers an exam that allows students to place out of certain levels of math and fulfill the requirement through an exam. This placement exam was made available to you during orientation your first year at SMU. The Department of World Languages and Literatures offers a proficiency exam that can be used to satisfy the Second Language Requirement. There is a cost associated with this exam, and it does not yield credit hours, although it can be used to satisfy the requirement. Please contact Professor Scott Norris in Mathematics ( for details on the Math placement exam. Please contact Tana Smith, the Second Language Advisor, for details on the Second Language Proficiency Test (

No. Although students are allowed, using the Advanced Approval Form, to petition to take courses at other universities for credit, these courses may not be used to satisfy Common Curriculum Foundation or Breadth requirements. Post matriculation courses can only be used for free elective credit and, where allowed, credit toward the major. Students must request permission to take these courses, and must receive permission to take these courses before enrolling. Students may only request permission to take courses at other comprehensive colleges or universities, not at community college (institutions that award primarily Associates or Bachelor of Applied Science degrees).

Yes, students may fulfill the TAS requirement by taking an additional ES Breadth course.  Students must take both the lecture and lab components of the course, if both are offered, in order to satisfy the requirement.  This is the only substitution allowed in the Common Curriculum.

No.  All of these courses satisfy Foundation requirements.  Courses used to satisfy Foundation requirements can’t be used to satisfy any other CC requirements.
Yes, current SMU students who wish to fulfill proficiency requirements with an activity must request pre-approval using the Pre-Approval Request for Alternative Fulfillment of Proficiency and Experience Requirements (Common Curriculum)Students must do this whether they are using a pre-approved activity or an individual activity.  Upon approval, students may start the activity.  When the activity is complete, students must submit the Petition for Alternative Fulfillment of Proficiency and Experience Graduation Requirement along with all required documentation and the required writing assignments in order to receive credit for the requirement petitioned.

Students who completed an activity prior that meets the criteria for one of the proficiency requirements prior to enrolling at SMU (but completed after high school graduation) may use the  Petition for Alternative Fulfillment of Proficiency and Experience Graduation Requirement to request credit.  Students must include independent confirmation of completion of the activity (a letter from a supervisor, a certificate of completion, etc.) and a statement that details what the activity was, what the student’s role was, and how the activity fulfills the learning outcome and activity requirements for the Proficiency requirement.  Learning outcomes and requirements are available on the rubric for each Common Curriculum requirement and can be found here:

Students who took and passed a college-level course with a passing, letter grade prior to enrollment at SMU may petition that course to satisfy proficiency requirements.  Students should first verify that the course in question meets the criteria for one of the proficiency requirements and then they should submit the  Petition for Alternative Fulfillment of Proficiency and Experience Graduation Requirement to request credit.  Students must include a full syllabus from the course they took (a full syllabus includes the name of the course, the name of the instructor, the daily schedule for the course, assignments, assigned readings, and the grade breakdown) along with any other required materials along with the petition.  Students must submit a separate petition for each proficiency requirement they are petitioning, even if they are requesting these from a single course.  A single course may satisfy no more than three proficiency requirements. 

Academic petitions require a complete syllabus, including the name of the course, the name of the instructor, the daily schedule for the course, assignments, assigned readings, and the grade breakdown.  Complete information is required to evaluate a course for CC requirements.  Petitions that include only catalog descriptions or incomplete syllabi will be rejected.