Oral Communication

Students will demonstrate an ability to engage in clear and concise live communication.

Learn more about the Oral Communication graduation requirement.

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The Value of Oral Communication 

Oral communication consists of both extemporaneous  and prepared communication, and is intended to increase knowledge, to foster understanding, or to promote change in the listeners' attitudes, values, beliefs, or behaviors. Oral communication is fundamental to individual, professional, and social growth. It enables the free expression and exchange of ideas, allowing individuals, organizations, and communities to understand and learn from one another through expression. Oral communication is vital, because it is an empowering skill that allows individuals to become “up-standers,” rather than bystanders—people who are confident and neither silent nor afraid to speak at critical individual, professional, and social junctures.

Student Learning Outcome

Students will demonstrate an ability to engage in clear and concise live communication.

Fulfill Oral Communication by:

Students may use pre-matriculation transfer coursework to satisfy Graduation requirements. The coursework must be college-level, credit-bearing work, taken and passed for a letter grade. Students must receive SMU transfer credit for the course.

Courses that transfer in with an SMU equivalent number (for example FREN 2401) will automatically satisfy any Proficiency & Experience requirements fulfilled by the course. The same is true for many courses on the listed on the SMU Transfer Equivalency Guide

Courses that transfer in with generic course numbers (for example, ENGL 10XX) will not automatically satisfy Proficiency & Experience requirements and must be petitioned using the Proficiency & Experience (PE) Fulfillment Verification petition.


Students must submit one petition for each graduation requirement, even if they are using a single course to petition multiple requirements. Students may use a single course to satisfy up to three Proficiency & Experience requirements (assuming the course meets the criteria for all three).  


How to petition generic transfer coursework:

  1. Fill out the Proficiency & Experience (PE) Fulfillment Verification petition, selecting the requirement they are hoping to fulfill and checking the second option that says “A transfer (non-SMU) course that I completed after high school and prior to matriculation at SMU.”
  2. Attach a complete syllabus which includes a daily schedule, grade breakdown, assignments, and assigned readings.
  3. Attach a copy of the Transfer Evaluation Report (TER), showing that the course being petitioned has transferred to SMU for credit. Visit my.SMU > Academics > Request Transfer Evaluation
  4. Attach a brief supporting statement, using the provided template, that explains how the course fulfills the Proficiency & Experience being petitioned.

Petitions are electronic and are usually reviewed within two weeks of receipt. Students should not assume that a petition has been completely processed until they receive a formal notification of approval or denial from the Office of General Education via The Common Curriculum email (theccmail@smu.edu). The formal notification, in cases of approval, follows the formal update to the students Degree Progress Report (DPR), noting that the petitioned requirement is satisfied.

Use the course search options below to find Oral Communication-tagged courses at SMU. Following successful completion of the course, your Degree Progress Report (DPR) will be updated to reflect satisfying this graduation requirement. Learn how to find tagged courses below via one of two means. 

Search courses on the Common Curriculum website:

  1. Go to Course Search on the SMU Common Curriculum website
  2. Click Filter by Graduation Requirements and select Oral Communication

Search courses in my.SMU:

  1. Go to my.smu.edu and select “Students”
  2. Login using your username and password
  3. Once logged into your Student Dashboard, select Class Information on the left-hand side bar
  4. Under Class Information, select Advanced Class Search
  5. In the Search Criteria boxes:
    1. select the term you want to take the class
    2. in Course Attribute, select Common Curriculum P & E
    3. in Course Attribute Value, select Oral Communication
  6. Select Search and the available courses will be displayed

Students may apply to fulfill the Oral Communication requirement through a co-curricular activity. These criteria apply to experiences that meet the Oral Communication curricular requirement and describe the characteristics of the experience, the steps a student must follow to petition the experience for approval, and the number and types of assignments students must submit to satisfy the requirement. Some activities that have been previously approved include:

  • Military services
  • Law Firm internships
  • Presentations and leadership within a Fraternity or Sorority
  • Teaching instrument classes and marching techniques at an ISD

Before the Individual Activity:

  1. Write up a narrative summarizing the plan to fulfill all Oral Communication Experience Criteria requirements.
  2. Submit a Common Curriculum Proficiency and Experience Pre-Approval Petition with your plan.
  3. Once approved, begin the individual activity.
During the Individual Activity:
  1. Activities in fulfillment of this requirement must comprise 15 hours of activity that includes speaking events that provide students with at least 12 minutes of audience-driven speaking. 
  2. Mediated oral communication events (through video recording, Skype, Zoom, etc.) should ideally only count for up to half of the required speaking time.

After the Individual Activity:

  1. Submit EITHER a link to a recording of one presentation completed as part of the activity, or, in cases where that is not possible (such is in cases where an activity is completed prior to matriculation as SMU), a written reflection of at least 1000 words that responds to the following prompt
  2. Please describe in detail the activity you used to complete the Oral Communication requirement. In your reflection, answer the following questions. How did you meet the requirement of completing one prepared and one spontaneous presentation? Who was the audience for your presentations? What resources did you use to understand how best to present to your audience? What supporting materials did you use during your presentations? Who provided feedback on your presentations? How did your ability to communicate information through a presentation improve?

  3. Request third-party verification of hours in the form of a letter, engagement portal screenshot, etc. 
  4. Submit the Common Curriculum Proficiency and Experience Fulfillment Verification petition with the above reflection.

Sometimes students complete, or desire to take, an SMU course which was not tagged with the desired Proficiency & Experience, but after reviewing the Student Learning Outcomes, Supporting Skills, Course Content Criteria, they believe they may have satisfied the requirement. Use this process below to petition credit for the graduation requirement. 

Current SMU students who wish to take an SMU course that they believe has activities that satisfy this Proficiency & Experience, must submit, prior to beginning the course:

  1. The Proficiency & Experience (PE) Pre-Approval petition and request individual activity-based fulfillment.
  2. Attach a complete syllabus which includes a daily schedule, grade breakdown, assignments, and assigned readings.
  3. A detailed supporting statement, using the provided template, of how the activities in the course meet the requirements for Oral Communication.

Upon completion of the course and a posting of the student's grade, students must submit:

  1. A Proficiency & Experience (PE) Fulfillment Verification petition.
  2. A copy of the student's Degree Progress Report (DPR) with the letter grade of the course. 
  3. A complete syllabus which includes a daily schedule, grade breakdown, assignments, and assigned readings.
  4. Related and relevant student assignments completed for the course which demonstrate obtainment of the requirement.
  5. A final supporting statement, using the provided template, on how the course achieved the Student Learning Outcome, Supporting Skills, and Course Content Criteria. Where possible, providing specific examples.