Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts Grievance Procedures

The dynamic and creative studio culture at the heart of the Sam Fox School strives to be safe and inclusive for all members of our community. Our faculty, staff, and students join together in their commitment to creating learning environments of mutuality and respect. When concerns or disagreements arise about conduct, grading, or other matters in the Colleges of Art and Architecture, policies exist for pursuing proper resolution.

Grade Dispute Policy

The Sam Fox School aims to provide each student with a fair assessment of their academic work and studio. Students have the right to dispute their overall course grade (not individual assignments) if they believe that grade does not accurately reflect the quality of their work. A grade dispute must be submitted to the faculty member who assigned the grade within 30 days of receipt of the grade. The Sam Fox School stresses that every effort to resolve such a dispute be made by the faculty and student involved. A student’s eligibility for advancement in sequential course work requires timely resolution of the grade dispute. If the student is a graduation candidate, the dispute process must comply with the Intent to Graduate submission deadlines set forth by the Office of the University Registrar or else the degree conferral will be delayed by one semester or until resolved.

In general, the dispute process will occur and be resolved as follows:

  1. The student presents their question about the grade in writing to the faculty member and clearly states the reasons for questioning the grade.
  2. The faculty member and the student review the grading procedures as stated in syllabus and discuss the determining factors of the student’s grade.
  3. If the case is not resolved between the student and the faculty member, the student may put forth their complaint in writing with supporting evidence to the chair* of the academic program, with a copy given to the faculty member involved with the dispute. The student should provide all of the course syllabus and materials relevant to the assigned grade within two weeks of the complaint. If a conflict of interest exists between the student and the chair (e.g., the chair is teaching the course), the case will be referred to another chair in the Sam Fox School or to the director of the college.
  4. The chair of the academic program will review the materials. The chair will resolve the dispute by working with the faculty member and the student to arrive at a determination.

Integrity and Ethical Conduct

Washington University and Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Arts are committed to the highest ethical and professional standards of conduct and consider these to be integral to their mission of the promotion of learning. To maintain these standards, the university relies on each community member’s ethical behavior, honesty, integrity, and good judgment. Each community member should demonstrate respect for the rights of others, and each community member is accountable for their own actions. Washington University policies state that members of the university community can expect to be free from discrimination and harassment. Students, faculty, staff, and outside organizations working on campus are required to abide by specific policies prohibiting harassment, which are posted on the Compliance and Policies page of the university’s website. Should a situation arise in which a member of our community believes they have cause to file a grievance, there are two categories of grievance to consider: academic and non-academic. Academic grievances can either be when a student challenges a course grade or when a fellow student or faculty member feels a matter of academic integrity is at issue. Student grievances filed to challenge a grade that the student feels has been given incorrectly must follow the procedures outlined in the Grade Dispute Policy above. Academic integrity grievances are made when a faculty member or fellow student feels a student has compromised the environment of honesty and ethics in the school. Academic integrity infractions follow the procedures laid out in the Sam Fox School and University policies and are managed in the Sam Fox School by the Academic Integrity Officer, Assistant Dean Cris Baldwin. Please refer to Washington University’s Academic Integrity Statement for additional information.

Non-Academic Concerns

If a member of our academic community feels that the ethical and safe environment of the classroom has been compromised, for whatever reason, they may seek guidance through the school’s Faculty-Student Mediator, Professor Jeff Pike. Students may also consult Washington University’s Grievance Policy and Procedures for Allegations by Undergraduate Students Against Faculty. In addition, University Resources available for support include the following:

Academic Integrity

Students and members of the faculty of the university have an obligation to uphold the highest standards of scholarship. Plagiarism and other forms of cheating will not be tolerated. When the student has violated the integrity of the academic community, an instructor may recommend that the student be brought before the Committee on Academic Integrity.

Student Conduct

Students are expected to comply with the rules and regulations of the University. See the University Student Conduct Code and the Graduate School of Architecture & Urban Design Studio Culture Policy for more information.

Units and Grades

A unit is the amount of credit given for one hour of lecture or up to three hours of studio work per week for one semester. Students in the Graduate School of Architecture & Urban Design may take one nonrequired course on a pass/fail basis each semester.

Grade Scale Grade 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

Minimum Grade Requirement

Students in the Graduate School of Architecture & Urban Design must complete all required courses with a grade of C- or better. Students who receive grades lower than a C- in a required course or studio may be required to take a leave of absence before being allowed to repeat the course or studio in the following academic year.

Minimum Grade-Point Average

Master's students in the Graduate School of Architecture & Urban Design are required to have a minimum grade-point average of 2.7 to graduate. Doctoral students are required to have a minimum grade-point average of 3.0 to graduate.

Removal of I Grades and Changes in F Grades

If, following the last day for withdrawal from courses, the student experiences medical or personal problems that make the 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, which is signed by both the instructor and the student; and (3) return the signed petition to Sam Fox School Registrar's Office for final approval.

The instructor is under no obligation to award a grade of Incomplete. The chair of the student's program must review each request before a grade of Incomplete will be granted. Once granted, an Incomplete will become a grade of F if the deficiency is not made up within the next semester of residence or by the date agreed.

Incomplete marks in all architectural design studio courses from the 300 level to the 600 level must be removed by the first day of classes of the following semester. Failure to remove the I grade will prevent the student from continuing in another architectural design course.

In all other courses, the grade of I must be removed no later than the last day of classes of the next full semester. Upon failure to make up for an I grade within the next semester, the student will automatically receive an F in the course unless explicitly excused by the director. When an F grade is so received, it may not be changed. Students will not be allowed to continue in courses requiring prerequisites if the prerequisite has an I grade. A student who carries more than 9 units of incomplete work may be declared ineligible to re-enroll.

F grades for a semester may be changed only through the last day of classes of the following semester and then only in extraordinary circumstances. The director will approve no changes of F grades after this interval.

Retaking a Course

When a student retakes a course, both enrollments for the course will appear on the transcript. If the second grade is equivalent to or better than the first, the first grade may be changed to R, indicating the re-enrollment. If the second grade is lower, both grades will stand. Credit toward the degree will be allowed for only one of the enrollments. This policy applies to courses taken at Washington University.

In the case of a grade sanction for an academic or professional integrity violation, the normal course retake policy does not apply. If a student retakes a course, both grades will remain on the transcript; only the second grade, if passing, will count toward degree requirements.

Maximum and Minimum Course Loads

Graduate students are not permitted to enroll in more than 18 credits per semester. Increased credit waivers are granted for required English language courses.

An enrollment above 21 units will be charged at the established university rate per hour of the additional credits and must be approved by the director or graduate program chair. Required English language courses will not incur additional tuition charges.

Students must be registered for a minimum of 12 units. Partial load enrollment is possible when circumstances warrant it and requires permission of the director. Although students may be approved to enroll for fewer than 12 units during their final semester, full-time tuition will be charged.

Adjustment of Admission Placement

At the time of admission, students are placed into a program level by the Admissions Committee. In exceptional cases, this placement may be reviewed by appeal to the Executive Committee. Such an appeal can only be made after the student has completed a body of work in the school. The Executive Committee may adjust the student's placement, advancing the student within the design sequence and reducing the total number of unit requirements.

English Language Support Courses

All incoming international students will be automatically enrolled in English Language Support courses. Students will be reviewed during the first week of classes and the course waived by the instructor if deemed unnecessary. Any student who needs continued support in the spring semester will be enrolled in additional workshops. These courses are required, but they do not count toward degree requirements. These courses are free of charge to the student; however, any student who fails a needed course will be billed additional tuition.

Transfer Credit

The Graduate School of Architecture & Urban Design does not award transfer credit at the graduate level. Instead, graduate students who have already completed part of the professional curriculum at another institution are placed at the appropriate level of the professional curriculum by the Admissions Committee.

Electives

Master's Programs

In order to count as elective credit in the Graduate School of Architecture & Urban Design for master's programs, a course must be at the 300 level or above. Courses in University College do not count toward degree requirements.

Graduate students may not register for courses in the McKelvey School of Engineering unless they have been admitted to the Master of Construction Management (MCM/MArch) dual degree program. The only exception is T64 CNST 573 Fundamentals in Construction Management, which can be taken as an elective by any student in the Graduate School of Architecture & Urban Design.

Before registering for an MBA course, students must submit a "Request for Non-MBA Student to Take an MBA Course" form to the the Olin Business School.

Doctoral Program

In order to count as a required elective for the Doctor of Sustainable Urbanism program, a course must be at the 400 level or above. Required electives must be approved by the student's academic advisor.

Undergraduate courses (399 and below), University College courses, and courses taken with the pass/fail or audit grade option do not count toward the cumulative units required for the degree.

Seminars

The maximum enrollment in seminars (unless otherwise noted) is 12 unless approval is granted by either the graduate program chair or the director.

Workshops

Each semester, a changing selection of workshops in materials and graphic techniques is offered. Students are encouraged to enroll in these workshops as a supplement to their general curriculum. No more than one workshop is permitted in any given semester, and no more than 3 total units of workshop credit throughout a student's study program are allowed, unless special permission is granted by the graduate program chair.

Prerequisites

Students who want to enroll in seminars or workshops without the necessary prerequisites must seek permission from the instructor. Students from outside of Architecture seeking enrollment in furniture design courses or 1-credit workshops must have the permission of the instructor; registration without this permission does not guarantee placement in the course.

Independent Study

Graduate students who wish to enroll in an independent study must submit a petition and written proposal to their sponsoring faculty member, their adviser, and the program chair. Approved proposals are due to the Sam Fox School Registrar's Office by the course add deadline for the semester. Proposals submitted past the deadline will not be considered.

Independent studies may be completed for 1, 2 or 3 units of credit. A student may be enrolled in a maximum of 4 units of independent study per semester. Independent study courses cannot replace architectural design studios or other required courses.

Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

Students in the Graduate School of Architecture & Urban Design may only participate in CPT internships during the summer. CPT internships will not be approved during the fall and spring semesters.

Students participating in CPT must be enrolled in A46 590 Training and Development in Practice. Students who receive a failing grade are not eligible to participate in CPT during subsequent summers.

Credits earned for CPT courses will not be counted toward the total necessary for completion of the MArch, MUD, or MLA degree. Students interested in registering for CPT should contact the Office for International Students and Scholars (OISS) and the Sam Fox Registrar's Office.

Course Enrollment Minimums

Each course must have a minimum enrollment of eight students or it will be cancelled.

Absence Rule

Regular attendance at all classes and studio meetings is expected. If, in the opinion of the instructor, any student has accumulated absences to such an extent as to preclude the possibility of satisfying the course requirements, the student's registration in that course will be cancelled, subject to the approval of the director.

Satisfactory Academic Progress Toward a Degree

Master's Programs

Students are expected to proceed at a pace that enables them to finish their degree within the appropriate time limit. All students must maintain a "pace" of 6623% (for the number of credits earned divided by the number of credits attempted).

Doctoral Program

Students in the Doctor of Sustainable Urbanism (DrSU) program have five calendar years to complete the degree requirements. Students are expected to proceed at a pace appropriate to enable them to finish within this time limit. Students may not carry more than 6 units of Incomplete, N or X grades at any time. Students with more than 6 unfinished units may be denied permission to register.

Progress toward the DrSU is contingent upon passing General Examinations Part One and Part Two.

After three years of study, students who cannot identify three members of the faculty who are willing to serve on their Dissertation Defense Committee will be considered not to be making satisfactory academic progress.

Academic Probation

Master's Programs

A master's student in the Graduate School of Architecture & Urban Design will be placed on academic probation under any of the following circumstances:

  • The student has a cumulative GPA below 2.70.
  • The student has a semester GPA below 2.50.
  • The student receives a studio grade below B-.
  • The student fails to make satisfactory academic progress. 

This policy applies to any semester, including summer, in which a student is enrolled in either a studio or at least 9 units.

Students on academic probation must successfully complete all courses for which they are enrolled and earn a semester GPA of at least 2.70. Successful completion is defined as follows:

  • The student must earn a B- or above in a studio course.
  • The student must earn a C- or above in all non-studio courses.
  • Incomplete (I) and withdrawal (W) grades after the drop deadline are not considered successful completion.

Additional academic expectations will be determined on an individual basis by the chair of the student's program. A student on academic probation who fails to meet the minimum established academic expectations will be reviewed by a faculty committee and may be dismissed.

A student will be removed from academic probation when all of the following criteria are met:

  • The student has raised their cumulative GPA above 2.70.
  • The student has no outstanding Incomplete grades.
  • The student has successfully retaken and passed all courses for which non-passing grades were previously received.

Doctoral Program

A doctoral student in the Graduate School of Architecture & Urban Design will be placed on academic probation under any of the following circumstances:

  • The student has a cumulative GPA below 3.00.
  • The student has a semester GPA below 2.70.
  • The student receives a non-passing grade.
  • The student fails to make satisfactory academic progress. 

Students on academic probation must successfully complete all courses for which they are enrolled and earn a semester GPA of at least 3.00. Successful completion is defined as follows:

  • The student must earn the minimum passing grade for each course.
  • Incomplete (I) and withdrawal (W) grades after the drop deadline are not considered successful completion.

Additional academic expectations will be determined on an individual basis by the chair of the student's program. A student on academic probation who fails to meet the minimum established academic expectations will be reviewed by a faculty committee and may be dismissed.

A student will be removed from academic probation when all of the following criteria are met:

  • The student has raised their cumulative GPA above 3.00.
  • The student has no outstanding Incomplete grades.
  • The student has successfully retaken and passed all courses for which non-passing grades were previously received.

Graduate Honors

Graduate Honors may be awarded to students receiving the Master of Architecture, Master of Landscape Architecture, or Master of Urban Design degree as determined by academic performance. Such students will receive the degree "with honors."

Leave of Absence (LOA)

Graduate students in the Sam Fox School may request a voluntary leave of absence for up to one year (two semesters) when individual professional, medical, or personal circumstances warrant it. Petitions are reviewed and approved by the student's program chair. Any requests extending beyond one year will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

Students must submit a written request for a leave of absence no later than three weeks prior to the start of the upcoming semester. The deadlines for the 2020-21 academic year are August 3 for fall and December 29 for spring. There is no guarantee that requests received after the deadline will be reviewed.

In the case of a medical leave of absence, approval is required from the Habif Health and Wellness Center before a student will be permitted to take a medical leave of absence and return. International students requesting a leave of absence must contact their Office for International Students and Scholars (OISS) advisor to discuss how the leave might affect their visa status.

Students returning from a leave of absence must submit a written request stating their intention to enroll by April 15 for fall and November 15 for spring.

If a student decides to take a leave of absence without first having received approval, they will be considered withdrawn from Washington University. If a withdrawn student wishes to return within one year, they must submit an official request for readmission to the appropriate program chair. Students who are withdrawn from the university for longer than one year must submit an updated portfolio to be reconsidered for admission.

Individual Program Policies

Additional policies applicable to specific graduate programs (e.g., comprehensive studio grade requirements, degree project grade requirements, thesis studio grade requirements, study abroad requirements can be found on the website of the Office of the University Registrar.

Financial Obligations

The University reserves the right to change the fees stated or to establish fees at any time without prior written notice. Whenever changes or additions are made, they become effective with the next payment due.

Students are responsible for fulfilling their financial obligations to the university. If a student account becomes overdue, a late payment fee will be assessed, and a hold will be placed on the account. Students with a poor payment history may be restricted from utilizing certain payment options or receiving tuition remission until course credit has been earned. Non-payment of tuition and other expenses due to the university will be cause for exclusion from class or refusal of graduation, further registration, or transfer credit. In addition, students are liable for any costs associated with the collection of their unpaid bills, including but not limited to collection agency costs, court costs, and legal fees. Past due amounts can also be reported to a credit bureau.

Withdrawals and Refunds

Students wishing to withdraw for any reason from the Graduate School of Architecture & Urban Design before the end of the semester should consult in person with the associate dean of students. No such withdrawal will be official until the request in writing has been approved and the appropriate changes have been made in the student's record.

A written request for a refund must be submitted to the Sam Fox School Registrar's Office for consideration. Tuition adjustments will be processed based on information received and according to the schedule below. Tuition refund checks will be issued only after the fourth week of classes each semester. Materials fees for Graduate School of Architecture & Urban Design courses will not be refunded after the fourth week of classes. For any student whose medical condition makes attendance for the balance of the semester impossible or medically inadvisable, the university will make a pro rata refund of tuition as of the date of withdrawal when the date occurs prior to the twelfth week of classes, provided that the condition is verified by the Habif Health and Wellness Center or a private physician. The date of withdrawal may correspond to the date of hospitalization or the date on which the medical condition was determined.

Withdrawal Date Refund
Within 1st or 2nd week of classes 100%
Within 3rd or 4th week of classes 80%
Within 5th or 6th week of classes 60%
Within 7th or 8th week of classes 50%
Within 9th or 10th week of classes 40%
After 10th week of classes 0%

Summer Withdrawals and Refunds

The Sam Fox School reserves the right to cancel a course if it has not enrolled enough students by the first day of class. If a course is canceled, all enrolled students will be notified and dropped from the class, and they will not be charged tuition and fees.

If a course is not canceled, a student may be released from their obligation to pay full tuition and fees by canceling their registration according to the schedule below:

Withdrawal Date Refund
Prior to the first class meeting 100% tuition + fees
Prior to 15% of published meeting dates 100%
Prior to 30% of published meeting dates 80%
Prior to 45% of published meeting dates 60%
Prior to 60% of published meeting dates 40%
After 61% of published meeting dates 0%

Requests for refunds must be made in writing to the Sam Fox School Registrar's Office.

Students may drop a summer course without penalty through the 80% tuition refund deadline, and they may withdraw from a course through the 40% tuition refund deadline.

Retention of Student Work

The Graduate School of Architecture & Urban Design reserves the right to retain any student work submitted for course credit. Normally this work will be returned to the student at the end of the semester, except that which has been retained for publications, exhibitions, or accreditation reviews. It is highly recommended that students photographically reproduce or electronically store their work in order to keep a record of their work.

Intent to Graduate

Every candidate for a degree is required to file an "Intent to Graduate" in WebSTAC in order to participate in Commencement exercises. The deadlines for filing can be found on the University Registrar's website.