To receive the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, students must meet the requirements of the College of Art and take academic courses with other undergraduates. Work in art can be combined with studies in architecture, business, humanities, natural and social sciences, and the other arts. Students may take these courses for educational and intellectual enrichment or in direct correlation with their primary interests. Courses in University College do not count toward degree requirements.

No more than 15 units of pre-matriculation or transfer credit from all sources — Advanced Placement (AP) examinations, International Baccalaureate (IB), British Advanced (A) Levels — will be awarded.

Students wishing to transfer credit for course work completed at another institution must bring a full catalog description of the course(s) to the Sam Fox School Registrar's Office for pre-approval. Only with pre-approval, and upon receipt of an official transcript indicating a grade of C or better, courses will be considered for transfer. Grades for transfer courses will not appear on the student's Washington University record and will not figure into the student's GPA. College courses taken to earn credit for high school graduation will not be considered for transfer. Washington University does not transfer credits for courses taken online. Non-Washington University courses do not count toward the 48 units of academic credit required for the degree. No transfer credit will be accepted for courses taken while a student is suspended from Washington University for violations of the University Student Judicial Code or Academic Integrity policy.


The College of Art allows the professor of each course to decide how many absences a student may have and still pass the course. Professors are expected to give reasonable consideration to unavoidable absences and to the feasibility of making up work that has been missed. Students are expected to explain to their professors the reasons for any absences and to discuss with them the possibility of making up missed assignments.

Units and Grades

In the College of Art, one semester unit of credit is assigned for every two hours of work completed in class and one hour of work completed outside of class per week for one semester. A student's undergraduate grade point average is determined by dividing the number of grade points earned by the number of semester units for which grades of A, B, C, D or F have been recorded. Grades of P# and F# received for courses taken on the pass/fail option are not figured into the grade point average. A grade of C- or better must be received in major classes during the second, third and fourth year to count toward degree requirements. Students must maintain a minimum 2.0 cumulative grade point average to graduate.

A grade point is a measure of quality assigned to units according to the following system: 

Grade Meaning Points per Unit
A+ 4.0
A 4.0
A- 3.7
B+ 3.3
B 3.0
B- 2.7
C+ 2.3
C 2.0
C- 1.7
D+ 1.3
D 1.0
D- 0.7
F 0.0
P# Pass (P/F option)
F# Failing (P/F option)
I Course work incomplete
W Withdrawal
R Repeat
L Successful audit
Z Unsuccessful audit
N No grade submitted
X Examination not taken

Grades of I, X and N will become grades of F if the deficiency is not made up within the next two semesters of residence. For a course repeated, students earn credit and grade points based on the second grade received.

Incomplete Grades

If, following the last day for withdrawal from courses, a 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 should 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.
  3. Return the signed petition to the associate dean of students for final approval.

Pass/Fail Option

A student may take one non-art course per semester on a pass/fail basis (exclusive of courses that must be taken pass/fail). Any additional courses taken pass/fail in a given semester will not be counted toward the degree. All courses with an F10, F20 and X10 department number must be taken for credit, unless otherwise noted. CWP 100 College Writing 1 also must be taken for credit.

Repeating a Course

If a student retakes a course, both registrations will show on the transcript. The symbol R will appear next to the grade for the first enrollment; the grade and units in the second enrollment will be used to calculate the GPA. No student may use the retake option to replace a grade received as a sanction for the violation of the Academic Integrity Policy. A retaken course must be taken for the same grade option as the original course. Courses completed at institutions other than Washington University are not applicable under this policy.

Academic Probation and Suspension

Students are expected to proceed at a pace which enables them to finish their degree within the appropriate time limit. For the Bachelor of Fine Arts, this is usually eight semesters.

A student whose semester grade point average is below 2.0 (grade of C) or who falls below a "pace" of 66 2/3 percent (number of credits earned divided by the number of credits attempted) will be placed on academic probation. If, after the following semester, the semester grade point average is still below 2.0, or if the pace is below 66 2/3 percent, the student may be ineligible for normal advancement or may be suspended. While the College of Art desires to give all students the opportunity to prove themselves, it is not in the best interest of either the students or the college to permit students to continue indefinitely in educational programs in which they are not producing satisfactory results.

Major Declaration and Transfer

A student declares a major simply by registering for one using the university's online registration system (WebSTAC). A student must declare a major no later than the beginning of the spring semester of the sophomore year. Once the student has selected and registered for a major in the College of Art, they must obtain written permission to change to another major within the College. Students requesting to change their major must be in good academic standing. Credit transfers between majors are at the discretion of the accepting major faculty.

Study Abroad

The Sam Fox School and Washington University offer many undergraduate study abroad programs. For more information, visit our website.

Leave of Absence

A student may request a leave of absence from the college for one semester at a time, up to one year. If this is granted, the student may re-enroll at the end of that time without going through further admission or readmission procedures. A Request for Leave of Absence form, available in 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 the student will be permitted to re-enroll.

Digital Technologies

Technology plays a critical role in the educational experience. The College of Art is committed to the integration of relevant technology into the curriculum. Students entering the sophomore year are required to have a specified computer and software. Supplemental purchases (monitors, scanners, tablets, etc.) may be necessary as students advance and declare a major. Information is available on our website.

Retention of Student Work

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