Suggestions for Selecting Courses

The suggestions on this page are meant to guide you as you complete page one of your Academic Form, which is the first step in the registration process and should be completed by June 15, 2018. You may also want to refer back to this page in preparation for entrance advising sessions, if necessary for you, which will take place in late June and early July. The Associate Dean of the College, the Registrar, and entrance advising faculty and staff will be registering students for classes over the final weeks of July. Students will not need to take any additional steps unless requested to by phone or St. Michael's email. All students will be notified of their fall course schedule on or around July 30.

You will need access to the following documents as your review this page and complete the Academic Form (available on the New Student mySMC Portal page):

Course Selection Overview

At Saint Michael’s, students typically take four four-credit courses each semester. We also offer a number of half-courses (two credits each). Full-time tuition allows students to take four or four and a half courses each semester, or a maximum of 18 credits. Students who take at least three full courses (12 credits) are considered full-time students. Students need 128 credits to graduate (which is the equivalent of four courses per semester for eight semesters).

If you have taken Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate program courses, you may also want to review our policy for rewarding credit for those courses, as detailed on this Registrar's Office page. In almost all instances, students who receive AP credit for a course should not request to take that course at Saint Michael's.

In their first semester, most students take four courses, though for many reasons students choose to take only three or three and a half. Please let you entrance advisor or the Registrar's Office know if you wish to start with fewer than four courses.

A typical student schedule will include a mix of courses that fulfill major requirements (or potential major(s) if you are Exploratory), those that fulfill core curriculum requirements (more below), and other courses of interest. The best first-semester schedule for you will be one that introduces you to ideas and information that will create a foundation for future success, one that balances modes of academic inquiry (i.e., not all courses in the sciences or not all writing-intensive courses), and, most importantly, one that is interesting and engaging. Follow the guidelines below to work with us in crafting such a schedule for you.

Declaring a Major

Your first step in setting your schedule is choosing the major you plan to pursue at Saint Michael’s. You can review majors and their requirements on this page. If you’re still not sure about a major or want to spend some time as a college student before choosing, that’s great: about one-quarter of first-year students enter Saint Michael’s as Exploratory students. On the Academic Form, choose the major you wish to pursue or choose Exploratory. We will treat the subject you enter on your form as your official major, replacing (or reiterating) the major you submitted on your Saint Michael’s admissions application. (Except for education students, a first-semester student can declare only one major. Students who earn a 3.0 GPA after their first semester (or later) may declare a double major.)

After choosing your major (or exploratory status), review the First Steps in Your St. Michael's Academic Major to see the courses we'll register you for to get started. Exploratory students should look over the courses for majors they are considering, and enter some as elective options on their forms. You can review the descriptions of all those courses in Courses Open to First-Year Students. Some majors have very specific first steps, and others are more flexible. The Registrar and Associate Dean will make sure your first semester courses in your major start you off on the right foot.

First-Year Seminar, Core Curriculum Courses, and Other Electives

Depending on their major, some students will have the majority of their schedule taken up by major requirements, and others will have only one course in their major. Almost every new student will have a First-Year Seminar and one of the college's foundation courses in either Philosophy or Religious Studies. Take a look at the descriptions of all Fall 2018 First-Year Seminars here and find out more about this important class (and our Common Text program) on this page of the SMC website. You should list your top five choices for First-Year Seminar on your Academic Form. And while other requirements or scheduling issues may keep you from taking Philosophy or Religious Studies in your first semester, you should rank all four choices in the foundations section from 1 to 4 on the form. All student will take one Philosophy course and one Religious Studies course within their first three semesters.

We would also like for you to include on the form as many as core curriculum and elective courses you would be interested in taking in your first semester. Review the Courses Open to First-Year Students (descriptions include a note about which curriculum category (or categories) a course fulfills) and submit your choices in order of preference in the electives section of the Academic Form. Try to provide a wide range of classes that might interest you. It is not necessary that all your courses fulfill requirements; all students will be able to complete a major and our core requirements with plenty of "open" electives. So, if you see a course listed that is very interesting to you and which you feel will make your first-semester an exciting one, don't hesitate to include it.

Second Language Placement and Calculus Placement

Calculus Major Requirements and Placement Test

The Calculus Placement Test is an important part of the registration process for any student who wishes to take calculus at Saint Michael’s or for whom calculus is a major requirement. This includes anyone majoring in Biochemistry, Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Data Science, Economics, Engineering, Environmental Science, Mathematics, Physics, Pre-Pharmacy, or Statistics. Business majors should also take the Calculus Placement Test if you have any calculus or pre-calculus experience. Exploratory majors with an interest in the natural and mathematical sciences also need to take the test. In addition, anyone preparing for medical, veterinary, dental, or pharmaceutical school should take the test. There are no negative results of taking the test.

To take the Calculus Placement Test, please go to this page and follow the detailed instructions for accessing and taking practice tests and the official placement test. You should allow at least one hour to take the exam, and you must complete the Calculus Placement test before registration begins in July. No student will be placed in MA-150: Calculus I, MA-130: Elements of Calculus, or CH-110: General Chemistry I until they have taken the placement test.

Second Language Requirement and Placement Tests


Saint Michael's requires students pursuing a Bachelor of Arts to complete or place out of the equivalent of two semesters of college-level language learning. Students can meet the requirement in four ways:

  1. Pass the 101 and 102 courses (or 101/211 in Latin and Greek) at Saint Michael's in any language.
  2. Score a 3 or higher (4 in Latin) on a language Advanced Placement exam.
  3. Achieve the following scores on an SAT Subject Test: Modern Hebrew - 510; Chinese - 590; Italian, Japanese, Latin, or Spanish - 600; French - 610.
  4. Test out of either one or two semesters of the requirement via the Saint Michael's Placement Test (information below).


French and Spanish:

Placement tests in French and Spanish have both online and in-person written components.

Please find the instructions for and access to the placement test on this page. After taking the online portion of the exam for French or Spanish, you may request a preliminary placement at the following levels based on your scores:





FR/SP 101


FR/SP 102


FR/SP 203 (if desired)

370 and above

FR/SP 206 (if desired)


After taking the online component, students who score 240 or above in that system must take a written placement exam after you arrive on campus for Fall Orientation. This will determine your final placement. 

Other Languages:

If you have studied a language other than French or Spanish in high school for three or more years, you should select the second semester course in that language (or higher if you feel very confident in your abilities) on your Academic Form, but this placement must be confirmed via a written test once you arrive on campus. If you studied one or two years, you should request the first semester course. It is possible you will be placed ahead based on testing. The written test is also required if you wish to place-out of your language requirement

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