Academic Procedures

Grade Information for Undergraduate Students

SMTD undergraduate students will be graded in accordance with the following system:

A+ – 4.0 honor points
A – excellent 4.0
A- – 3.7
B+ – 3.3
B – good 3.0
B- – 2.7
C+ – 2.3
C – fair 2.0
C- – 1.7
D+ – 1.3
D – poor 1.0
D- – 0.7
E – fail 0.0

In addition to standard letter grades, the following system is used:

I – incomplete
X – absent from exam
ED – unofficial withdrawal
Y – course extends beyond one term
Q – unofficial election
S – satisfactory
U – unsatisfactory
P – pass
F – fail
VI – official audit
W – official drop
NR – no grade reported

Grading Criteria for Graduate Students

The faculty of the SMTD have established the following descriptions and criteria for grading at the graduate level:

Excellent: Markedly above average for graduate student
A+ (4.3 honor points) The highest conceivable standard of work
A (4.0 honor points) Genuinely outstanding
A- (3.7 honor points) High standard; strengths far exceed weaknesses

Good: Standard normally expected of graduate students
B+ (3.3 honor points) Above average
B (3.0 honor points) Average
B- (2.7 honor points) Revealing certain weaknesses

Fair: Below average for graduate students
C+ (2.3 honor points) Lacking essential qualities
C (2.0 honor points) Marginally acceptable
C- (1.7 honor points) Need for marked improvement to remain in program

Poor: Not acceptable at graduate level
D (1.0 honor points)
E (0.0 honor points)

Pass/Fail Grades

A student in an undergraduate degree program who has completed thirty semester hours with a 2.0 cumulative grade point average is eligible to take elective courses on a pass/fail basis. Only one course per term may be elected pass/fail. A student may take a total of six courses on a pass/fail basis, but no more than four courses in either music or non-music electives. Requests to change the grading status of an eligible class must be made within the first three weeks of the term. After that time, no adjustments will be allowed.

Non-music courses specified as degree requirements or undergraduate deficiencies cannot normally be elected pass/fail. The only exceptions are courses offered on a full or partial pass/fail basis, and language requirements with the approval of the student’s major department. Courses elected pass/fail under the terms of these exceptions are considered (and counted as) part of this option. Specific courses and distribution requirements in the teacher certification program cannot be elected pass/fail except those courses offered only on a full or partial pass/fail basis.

Any course elected as pass/fail will carry credit but no honor points. Under this option, the Office of the Registrar will translate the instructor’s grades as “A+” through “C-” entered on the transcript as “P,” and grades of “D+” through “E” entered as “F”.

Graduate students in the SMTD are not permitted to elect any courses in the SMTD on a pass/fail basis, including courses taken to make up undergraduate deficiencies. Similarly, courses outside the SMTD elected to satisfy a student’s degree requirement may not be elected pass/fail. Students in music may, however, elect courses pass/fail in theatre and dance when they are not being elected to satisfy requirements. No more than one course may be elected on a pass/fail basis per term, or half-term. If a course is elected on a pass/fail basis, the Office of the Registrar will translate grades of “C” or above as pass, and “C-” or below as fail.

Incomplete Grades

Undergraduate students receiving a mark of “I” or “X” in a course must make up the deficiency within the first four weeks of the next term of enrollment, unless otherwise stipulated by the instructor. If the student is not in residence subsequent to receiving the mark, credit will be allowed only if the deficiency is made up within a calendar year of the official termination of the course.

An incomplete grade may be assigned to a Graduate student only if the unfinished part of work is small, the work is unfinished for reasons acceptable to the instructor, and the student’s standing in the course is a “B” grade or higher. The student and the instructor should discuss the incomplete prior to its conferral. A grade of “I” can be changed to a letter grade only if the incomplete work is made up within the first four weeks of the second full term following the term from which the “I” is given, unless otherwise stipulated by the instructor. If the grade of “I” has stood for two full terms, credit can be earned only by re-electing the course, and completing all coursework and examinations. The grade average will be based on hours or work completed. An incomplete which has been made up according to the above procedure will appear on the student’s transcript as an “I” with the letter grade next to it. A grade of “X” (Absent from Examination) will be recorded as “I”. An “I” grade cannot be used to extend the grace period for presentation of a recital without enrolling.


Students may register for classes during the previous term, beginning on their assigned enrollment appointment date viewable in Student Center under Student Business on Wolverine Access.

Students register for classes under Backpack/Registration in Student Center on Wolverine Access. Using the “add” tab, students browse or search for classes to add to their Backpack. To finalize enrollment and reserve a spot in a course, students must select the course from their Backpack, click “Proceed to Step 2 of 3,” then click “Finish Registering.” A green checkmark will be displayed for each course that was successfully added to the student’s schedule. If enrollment in a course was unsuccessful, a red “x” will be displayed, accompanied by a description of the error.

Upcoming dates and additional information regarding Early Registration and Backpack can be found on the U-M Office of the Registrar’s Academic Calendar page.

Private lessons/independent study: When searching for private lessons and/or independent study courses in Wolverine Access, students should always check the box labeled “Include Independent Study Classes” to ensure that all applicable courses are displayed.

Instructor consent: Some courses require instructor consent to enroll. Students interested in joining such courses should contact the instructor of the course directly for permission to enroll.

Waitlisting a course: If a class is full or closed and a waitlist is available, students may add themselves to the waitlist by checking the box labeled “Waitlist Okay if Class is Full” and registering normally. Note: This box cannot be checked directly from the Backpack and must either be checked as the course is added to the student’s Backpack or from the Backpack by first clicking on the course number to show the details of the course.

Overriding a time conflict: Students can override class time conflicts by checking the box labeled “Override Time Conflict” and registering normally. Note: This box cannot be checked directly from the Backpack and must either be checked as the course is added to the student’s Backpack or from the Backpack by first clicking on the course number to show the details of the course.

Degree or Principal Instrument Changes

With approval by the appropriate departments and the SMTD Director of Student Affairs, Students may change the program or degree they are pursuing or add a second program or degree within SMTD. PLEASE NOTE: In some cases an audition is required before a student can change or add degree programs.

Students should email to request a Degree Status Change form and should include any details of their desired degree/concentration change in their email.

Dual Degree with SMTD and Another Program

Students may apply to a dual degree program (Multiple Dependent Degree Program) with another academic unit within U-M beginning in the Fall term of the Sophomore year. Some programs may require a separate application and admissions process with the other school prior to declaring a dual degree. Students who have been admitted to both the School of Music, Theatre & Dance and another academic unit within U-M must complete and submit a Dual Degree Status (MDDP) form in order to finalize their status as a  dual degree student.

All dual degree students will have an academic advisor in both units and must earn both degrees simultaneously upon graduation. Dual degree programs require a minimum of 150 credits for graduation.

Current recognized dual degree programs include:

  • SMTD and the College of Literature, Science and Arts
  • SMTD and LS&A Honors
  • SMTD and the Residential College
  • SMTD and the College of Engineering
  • SMTD and the School of Information
  • SMTD and the School of Art and Design
  • SMTD and the School of Natural Resources
  • SMTD and the School of Kinesiology
  • SMTD and the Ross School of Business

Students should email for more information about adding a dual degree or to request a Dual Degree Status (MDDP) form.

Transfer Credit

Undergraduate Students

High School Dual Enrollment Transfer Credit: High school students who dually enroll for courses at accredited institutions of higher education may receive credit for work taken at these institutions towards undergraduate degree programs at SMTD. College or university credits earned in either on-campus or off-campus programs are eligible for consideration at SMTD.

Acceptance of courses and credits deemed suitable for transfer to the University of Michigan for degree programs in the School of Music, Theatre & Dance is determined in accordance with guidance and evaluation from the Office of Undergraduate Admissions and SMTD faculty. Among factors influencing the determination of acceptability are 1) accreditation status of the institution that offered the course, 2) comparable academic quality, 3) student performance in the course, 4) the basis for student evaluation, and 5) the relationship of the course to other course offerings by SMTD. SMTD’s determination is subject to the overall transfer credit policies of the University as a whole.

SMTD will assess whether individual courses meet our standards for being awarded transfer credit. Students interested in petitioning for the acceptance of transfer credit for any course taken outside of the University of Michigan are encouraged to retain course documents such as the course syllabus along with samples of their work to facilitate SMTD’s evaluation.

While SMTD supports students in making full use of potential transfer credits, SMTD retains the ultimate responsibility and right to determine if individual courses fully meet its standards and expectations, as set by SMTD faculty, for awarding transfer credit.

The evaluation of potential transfer credits is separate and independent from admissions procedures and decisions. Only students who matriculate in an SMTD program can use transfer credits to fulfill SMTD degree requirements.

SMTD advising staff can offer advice and insight into the potential of courses for transfer credit and will facilitate credit transfer evaluations.

Transferring credit completed prior to enrollment: Some or all credits completed by undergraduate transfer students at another college or university may be accepted for transfer. The Undergraduate Admissions Office evaluates non-music academic credits and the SMTD evaluates all professional credit. Previous courses may grant equivalent course credit if they correspond closely to a U-M course, or grant departmental credit in a general subject area.

Transferring credit from another institution while enrolled in the SMTD: College credits earned for courses taken elsewhere will generally be accepted for transfer credit if they correspond to a U-M course offering and they have been taken for credit with an earned grade of “C or better. Courses in music and dance that have been applied to a degree completed elsewhere are not applicable toward the completion of a degree in the SMTD. The final decision on the acceptability of transfer credit is made by the SMTD. Acceptable course credits earned in other institutions are recorded on the student’s academic record at U-M, but grades earned in those courses are not transferred or recorded by the University. This system assumes that a student’s original transcript will carry the previous academic record adequately. Thus, only grades earned at U-M are used in computing the final grade point average. Consequently, the transcript of each institution that the student attends constitutes the basic record of academic achievement.

A maximum of 75 hours of transfer credit can be applied toward a bachelor’s degree in the SMTD. A maximum of 62 hours may be transferred from an accredited two-year college. Students who have transferred 62 credit hours or more may only transfer additional hours from a four-year accredited college.

No more than 15 hours of extension or correspondence credit earned in other fully accredited institutions will be accepted. A student may present work from the Academic Outreach Program of the University, however, to a maximum of 30 hours. Of these 30, not more than 15 hours may be taken in correspondence study. A maximum of 30 semester hours may be accepted for correspondence credit earned while in military service. This may include work taken through USAFI in which there was a satisfactory end-of-course test. Each application for transfer credit is considered individually. Adjustment of transfer credit is made at the request of a student after enrollment in the SMTD.

Masters Students

With the permission of the Associate Dean, up to six credit hours earned at another institution may be transferred to a student’s graduate record, provided:

  • The courses were not used to meet the requirements of another degree.
  • The courses were approved for graduate credit at the institution offering them, and that institution is accredited to offer graduate degrees.
  • A grade of “B” or higher was received.
  • The courses were completed not more than five years prior to the term of initial enrollment in the graduate division of the SMTD and not more than six years prior to the awarding of the graduate degree sought in the SMTD.
  • Written approval of the student’s major department is provided.
  • The student has completed at least eight hours of work in the graduate division of the SMTD with an average grade of “B” or higher. Extension credit from other institutions will not be transferred.

Course Drop/Add and Term Withdrawals

SPECIAL NOTE for the Fall 2020 and Winter 2021 semesters: All undergraduate courses will use a modified version of traditional grading in which the regular A-C grading system is maintained but students who earn D or E grades will receive a “No Record Covid (NRC)” which will not affect the GPA. Students receiving a NRC will be able to request that it be converted to a letter grade if desired.

The SMTD has also instituted a more flexible withdrawal policy, allowing students to withdraw from a course at any time up until the end of classes and not have the course appear on their transcript. The “W” will appear on the unofficial transcript, but the University Registrar’s Office will expunge the “W” from the official transcript.

These temporary changes are made with the understanding that the COVID-19 pandemic is creating inequitable circumstances for students to pursue their coursework and demonstrate their learning, and many students are managing very challenging personal situations as they work toward earning their degree.

For questions, please contact Standard SMTD Registration policies remain listed below.

Students may make changes to their class schedule, including modifications to grading status or credit hours, through the end of the third week of classes in a full term. Any changes made in the fourth, fifth or sixth week require approval from the appropriate instructor and the SMTD Director of Student Affairs. All late drop requests must include a last date of participation provided by the instructor.

After the sixth week of classes, the SMTD does not expect further changes to a student’s schedule. It is the School’s policy that no changes will be permitted with the exception of documented medical reasons, and provided that an Incomplete grade is unacceptable to the instructor. If changes remain necessary, the student must submit a late Drop/Add petition. Please note: unsatisfactory progress, failing grades or being too busy are not considered acceptable reasons for dropping a course after the sixth week.

Students should email to request a Late Drop/Add Petition form and should include the subject, catalog number, and section number of the relevant course(s) in their email.

Disenrolling from Courses/Withdrawing from All Courses

To withdraw from all courses and receive a full refund of tuition, students must contact the Central Campus Registrar’s Office before the first day of classes in the term from which they wish to withdraw. To withdraw from all courses after the first day of classes in a term, students must obtain a signed Term Withdrawal Notice from the SMTD Director of Student Affairs and present the form, with photo identification, to the Central Campus Registrar’s Office. Students withdrawing before the end of the sixth week of classes (third week in a half term) may be eligible for a partial refund of tuition and fees.

Individual courses dropped after the third week of classes in a full term will remain on the student’s record with a grade of “W” even if the student never attended class. This “W” does not affect GPA.

Course Waivers and Substitutions

Students who wish to substitute an alternative course for a required course or waive a required course must complete a Request for Course Waiver or Substitution form. The form must be signed by the appropriate advisor and department chairs, as well as the Associate Dean for Academic and Student Affairs or the Associate Dean for Graduate Studies, Equity, and Inclusion. Petitions must be submitted no later than the last day of classes in the term preceding the requested substitution or waiver (i.e. the last day of Winter classes for a Fall submission). Requests received after this time will not be considered. No degree credit is granted for waived courses.

Students should email Deedee Ulintz or Ben Thauland to request a Request for Course Waiver or Substitution form. In the email, students should note the requirement in question, as well as details of any course(s) elected as a substitution.

Independent Study

Students may propose an independent study course with an SMTD faculty member when a particular topic or area of study is not covered by regularly scheduled course offerings. If the faculty member agrees, details of the proposed independent study should be discussed and an Independent Study Proposal form should be submitted prior to the start of the term in which the independent study will take place. Note: faculty members are not required to sponsor independent study courses. Students wishing to use an independent study to fulfill a specific degree requirement should consult an academic advisor prior to registration.

Students should email to request an Independent Study Proposal form and in their email should include the name and department of the SMTD faculty member with whom they are proposing the independent study.


Application for Private Instruction or Secondary Lessons

Guidelines, Notification, and Registration Information

*Please note: In order to view the application form, Students must log in with their U-M account information only (uniquename and kerberos password). Students who are also logged-in to another email account may receive an error message.

Studio assignments are generally expected in the first week of term.

Unless noted below, students are required to complete the application for each term in which they are requesting private instruction.

Students from the following categories should apply:

  • Non-SMTD (LSA, Engineering, Business, e.g.) students requesting private instruction in any instrument or voice.
  • Non-candidate for degree (NCFD) students
  • Dance or Theatre student requesting private instruction in any instrument or voice.
  • Music Performance major or principal requesting instruction in a secondary performance area for which you have not auditioned.

New or continuing Music Performance majors or principals, new transfer students and Musical Theatre students electing voice lessons should not apply.

Non-SMTD Students: There will be a $250.00 course fee attached to Music Performance 150 & 500 courses. No exceptions will be made.

Non-SMTD undergraduate students, regardless of level, will be assigned to the 150 course in the chosen instrument. (150 denotes Non-SMTD student; it is not an indicator of proficiency.) 150 is the only option open to Non-SMTD undergrads; it is a 30-MINUTE LESSON AT 2 CREDITS PER TERM. Graduate students will be assigned to the 500 course number in the chosen instrument.

Please use the “ADDITIONAL INFORMATION” boxes to include relevant information. Department faculty do read and assess these applications, so students should be sure to add anything they feel is important. Responses should be succinct.

Students who have been accepted for private lessons will receive an override notice to their email account. Students will NOT automatically be enrolled in the course, and must REGISTER for the studio on Wolverine Access. After registering, students should contact their instructor to confirm and arrange a lesson time.

Please note that not all applicants can be placed. Available teacher-hours are limited, and priority is given to School of Music performance majors. Some departments may not be able to accommodate all applicants. Students who do not receive a studio override by the 2nd week of the term were not placed in a studio but may apply again before the start of next term.

Students who are seeking lessons in the winds or strings must have access to an instrument. Instruments will not be provided.

Please contact with questions regarding applying for private instruction or secondary lessons.

DMA & PhD Exam & Committee Forms

Students in DMA & PhD programs can use their Forms Dashboard to submit required forms and keep track of their status with respect to their General Prelims, Oral Prelims, Dissertation, and committees. Please contact the Graduate Coordinator at