Proficiencies and Experiences

As part of the Common Curriculum at SMU, Proficiencies and Experiences give students the skills they need to succeed in the workplace with diverse colleagues and audiences. Many opportunities for students to fulfill Proficiency and Experience requirements exist within the Division of Student Affairs!


Select the option below that best fits your needs.

Students seeking to fulfill Proficiency and Experience requirements Student Affairs staff interested in proposing activities 


All SMU students on the Common Curriculum must complete each one of the graduation requirements (aka Proficiencies and Experiences) in addition to the General Education requirements (Foundations and Breadth requirements). Unlike Foundations and Breadth requirements, however, students have the option of using either coursework or activities to fulfill Proficiencies and Experiences requirements.

There are two ways to fulfill Proficiency and Experience requirements through your involvement in Student Affairs activities: 

  1. You may propose your own, individualized plan to complete any type of Proficiency and Experience. To learn more about the process to propose, complete and petition to have your Student Affairs-related Individual Activity fulfill any of the seven Proficiency and Experience requirements, visit the Office of General Education Curriculum’s Proficiencies and Experiences webpage.

  2. You may participate in a pre-approved club or organization. As of 2023-2024, the Division of Student Affairs offers 8 pre-approved activities that fulfill various Proficiency and Experience requirements. Current pre-approved activities are listed below. The Division seeks more pre-approvals on a regular basis, so check this list often for updates!

Whether you choose to fulfill Proficiency and Experience requirements by proposing your own or participating in a pre-approved Student Affairs activity, you will need to follow all requirements set forth by the Office of General Education Curriculum’s Proficiencies and Experiences.

Student Affairs Staff

Obtaining Proficiency and Experience pre-approval for your Student Affairs programming is an excellent way to help students meet graduation requirements and connecting their learning in and out of the classroom. Plus, it’s a great way to build buzz for your programs, resources, and services!

In general, the process to obtain pre-approval is as follows: 

The program sponsor (i.e., the staff member proposing an activity for fulfillment of a Proficiency and Experience requirement) completes training to overview the pre-approval application process.

The most up-to-date resources for the Division of Student Affairs can be found in this Box folder, Proficiency Project – Resources for Proposers. In-person informational sessions and training are also offered periodically—check Division events on SMU360 and see the weekly Snapshot, distributed by Student Affairs Administration every Monday to all Division staff, to learn about specific events.


The program sponsor reviews: 

Through this review, sponsors align activities with best-fitting Proficiency and Experiences and determine which proposal form(s)* to complete.

*Note: In most cases, one activity is proposed to fulfill only one Proficiency and Experience requirement. In some cases, however, a sponsor may choose to apply for more than one requirement. In those cases, multiple proposal forms (one for each Proficiency and Experience requirement) may be included with one application.


The program sponsor overviews, drafts and revises the appropriate proposal form(s).

Within the Division of Student Affairs, support for drafting and reviewing Proficiency and Experience proposals is provided by the Director for Student Affairs Assessment and Analytics (, Dr. Kim Nelson Pryor. 

In addition to providing proposal forms and experience rubrics for sponsors to use to propose their activities for pre-approval and then track student involvement to fulfill requirements, staff in SMU’s Office of General Education ( can also provide assistance. 


Once finalized, the program sponsor submits their proposal form(s) online for consideration by the Council on General Education (CoGE)

Convening approximately 10 times per year, the CoGE considers Proficiency & Experience applications four times—twice in the fall and twice in the spring. View the SMU Council on General Education meeting schedule to see upcoming dates.  

Once proposal forms are submitted, the program sponsor receives an initial confirmation emailing and, a few days later, a second email indicating whether or not the proposal form has passed “Administrative Review.” 

After a proposal passes this review, it is placed on the agenda for consideration at the next Council on General Education meeting.


If an activity is not approved, the program sponsor receives constructive feedback from the CoGE and can resubmit an application for pre-approval at a later date.

If an activity is approved, the program sponsor will receive email notification within one week of the decision.

The program sponsor will then meet with personnel in the Office of General Education to develop a Memorandum of Understanding as to how to the activity will operate and track student involvement to fulfill requirements. 

Note: Pre-approval does not go into effect until the semester following proposal approval (so, Spring for Fall submissions and Fall for Spring submissions). 

After drafting the initial MOU, pre-approved activity sponsors/department representatives meet with staff from the Office of General Education at least once per year to touch base on the program fidelity to rubrics and to review data generated from the activity (e.g., survey responses, reflections, training materials, etc.). During some years, more meetings occur to aid in assessment of the Proficiencies and Experiences requirement program. 


Have questions about fulfilling Proficiency and Experience requirements in the Division of Student Affairs? 

Email the Director for Student Affairs Assessment and Analytics, Dr. Kim Nelson Pryor at