Students are expected to proceed at a pace which enables them to finish the degree within the appropriate time limit. For MFA students, this is usually four semesters.

Students must maintain a minimum grade point average of 2.70 (B-) or better. Failure to do so places the student on academic probation and may result in dismissal from the program. A grade of B- in Graduate Studio places the student on academic probation. A second grade of B- in Graduate Studio results in dismissal from the program. A grade of C+ or below in Graduate Studio results in immediate dismissal from the program. Work completed with a grade of C+ or below in other course work does not count toward degree requirements.

The unit of credit in the Graduate School of Art is the semester hour and is a measure of the quantity of achievement. One semester hour of credit is assigned for every three hours of graduate studio work, per week, for one semester. A grade point is a measure of quality assigned to, or withheld from, units according to the following system:

Credit Meaning Degree Credit Grade Points Per Unit
A+ superior yes 4.0
A superior yes 4.0
A- superior yes 3.7
B+ good yes 3.3
B good yes 3.0
B- passing yes 2.7
C+ unsatisfactory no 2.3
C unsatisfactory no 2.0
C- unsatisfactory no 1.7
D+ unsatisfactory no 1.3
D unsatisfactory no 1.0
D- unsatisfactory no 0.7
F failing no 0.0
I course work incomplete no --
X examination not taken no --
N no grade reported no --
P# pass (pass/fail option) no --
F# fail (pass/fail option) no --
L successful audit no --
Z unsuccessful audit no --
W withdraw -- --

Grades of I, X and N will automatically become grades of F if the deficiency is not made up within the next semester in residence. The grade point average is determined by dividing the number of grade points earned by the number of semester hours for which grades of A, B, C, D or F have been recorded. Grades of P#, F#, L or Z are not figured into the grade point average and do not count toward degree requirements.

If, following the last day for withdrawal from courses, the student experiences medical or personal problems that make satisfactory completion of course work unlikely, they may request a grade of I (incomplete) from one or more instructors and must take the following steps: 1) discuss the request with the instructor before the final critique or portfolio review; 2) with the instructor's consent, complete an Incomplete Grade Petition signed by both the instructor and the student; and 3) return the signed petition to the director of the Graduate School of Art for final approval.


Upon completion of the first semester of study each student selects a Graduate Committee composed of faculty from the Sam Fox School and the larger university. This committee recommends program content and thesis approval. Admission to candidacy for the MFA degree is contingent upon passing a review by the Graduate Committee at the end of the first year of study. At that time, consideration may be given to the transfer of up to 6 units of graduate credit earned at another institution, provided the student can demonstrate that this would further the achievement of a specific academic goal. A student who fails to achieve degree candidacy prior to the beginning of the second year of residence may be advised to withdraw from the program. If denied admission to candidacy twice, the student will be dismissed.

The thesis requirement for the MFA degree comprises an exhibition of work; a defense of the thesis work and written document; and approval of both by the Graduate Committee.

General Policies

Student Conduct and Academic Integrity

Students are expected to comply with the rules and regulations of the university. Please refer to the Washington University policies and procedures available on the Compliance and Policies webpage for more information. Additional information regarding grading policies and end-of-year committee and panel reviews is available in the Graduate Student Handbook distributed at Orientation.

Retention of Student Work

The Graduate School of Art reserves the right to hold work(s) for exhibition purposes and holds reproduction rights of any work(s) executed in fulfillment of course requirements.

Leave of Absence

A student may request a leave of absence from the school for up to one year. If this is granted, students may re-enroll at the end of one year without going through further admission procedures. A "Request for Leave of Absence Form," available from the Administrative Office, Bixby Hall, Room 1, must be completed before a leave of absence will be granted. In the case of a medical leave of absence, a letter of clearance is required from Student Health Services before a student will be permitted to re-enroll.


Students are responsible for filing an Intent to Graduate form in order to have the degree conferred. The Intent to Graduate is available online through WebSTAC. No degree will be awarded if this form has not been filed by the appropriate deadlines. Students who do not complete their degree requirements by their intended graduation date must re-file for the next graduation date.