Enrollment Status

Definitions of full-time study, half-time study, and so on are based on federal regulations. Enrollment status impacts eligibility for campus services as well as Washington University's reporting obligations. Alignment with policies in financial aid, international student services, student health insurance, VA benefits, and athletics is critical.

Washington University's definition for full-time graduate study is at least 9 credit-bearing units (semester hours) per term. Units taken under the audit grade option do not factor into enrollment status calculations, so they cannot count toward the 9 units required for full-time enrollment.

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. 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. 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 (PDF) 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. 

Pluses and minuses are used. Each grade earned for a course taken for credit receives a specified number of grade points, and these points are affected by plus and minus grades as well. Symbols used for both options have the following meanings:

Credit Meaning Degree Credit Grade Points Per Unit
A+ exemplary yes 4.0
A exemplary yes 4.0
A- exemplary yes 3.7
B+ good yes 3.3
B good yes 3.0
B- good yes 2.7
C+ marginal yes* 2.3
C marginal yes* 2.0
C- marginal yes* 1.7
D+ unsatisfactory no 1.3
D unsatisfactory no 1.0
D- unsatisfactory no 0.7
F inadequate no 0.0
I course work incomplete** no -
N no grade reported no -
P# pass (pass/fail option) yes -
F# fail (pass/fail option) no -
L successful audit no -
Z unsuccessful audit no -
W withdraw - -

A grade of C (C-, C, C+) in a studio course is considered passing contingent on the cumulative studio course GPA. Refer to the Studio Grade Requirement policy in the individual program's Degree Requirements.


This grade signifies that the student has not completed part of the work for a semester (exclusive of examinations) but has satisfactorily completed the rest of the work. A student must remove a grade of I as discussed in "Incomplete Grades" below.

Minimum Grade Requirement

Students in the Graduate School of Architecture & Urban Design must complete all required courses with a grade of C- or better. This includes required History & Theory, Urban Issues, Urban Design, and Ecological Systems electives.

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 return to repeat the course or studio during 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. 

Pass/Fail Option

Students in the Graduate School of Architecture & Urban Design may take one nonrequired course on a pass/fail basis each semester. Required courses — including History & Theory, Urban Issues, Urban Design, and Ecological Systems electives — do not count toward degree requirements if taken pass/fail.

Incomplete Grades

Students who, following the last day for withdrawal from courses, experience medical or personal problems that make the satisfactory completion of course work unlikely may request a grade of I (incomplete). Students in this situation must take the following steps:

  1. Contact the instructor before the final review, critique or exam to discuss the request.
  2. If the instructor consents, complete an Incomplete Grade Petition signed by both the instructor and the student.
  3. Return the signed petition to the Sam Fox School Registrar's Office for final approval.

The instructor is under no obligation to award a grade of I (incomplete).

Incomplete marks in all architectural design studios must be removed by the first day of classes of the following semester. Failure to remove the I (incomplete) grades will prevent the student from continuing in another architectural design studio.

In all other courses, the grade of I (incomplete) must be removed no later than the last day of classes of the next full semester. Upon failure to make up an incomplete grade within the next semester, the student will automatically receive an F in the course unless explicitly excused by the director of the school. An F grade that is so received may not be changed. Students will not be allowed to continue in courses that require prerequisites if the prerequisite has a grade of I (incomplete). A student who carries more than 9 units of grades of I (incomplete) 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 time.

Repeating a Course

When a student retakes a course, both course enrollments will show on the transcript. If the second grade is equivalent to or better than the first, the first grade will be administratively changed to R to indicate the re-enrollment. If the second grade is lower, both grades will remain on the transcript, with degree credit allowed for only one of the enrollments. This policy only applies to courses taken at Washington University.

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 and the ARCH 300A and ARCH 400A pre-semester studios.

An enrollment above 21 units will be charged at the established university rate per additional unit and must be approved by the director or graduate program chair. Required English language courses and pre-semester studios will not incur additional tuition charges if the student receives a passing grade.

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. 

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 credits required.

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 withdraws from or 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.


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 the School of Continuing & Professional Studies do not count toward degree requirements.

Graduate students may not register for Construction Management courses in the McKelvey School of Engineering Sever Institute 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. Students who enroll in Construction Management courses without admission to the MCM program will be assessed additional tuition for these courses.

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.


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


A changing selection of workshops in materials and graphic techniques is offered regularly. 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 program chair.


Students enrolling in Graduate School of Architecture & Urban Design seminars or workshops without the necessary prerequisites must seek permission from the instructor; registration without this permission does not guarantee placement in the course.

Independent Study

Opportunities for independent study are available to graduate students. Registration in an independent study requires the student to submit a written proposal and obtain the approval of the sponsoring faculty, advisor, and program chair. Approved proposals must be submitted to the Sam Fox School Registrar's Office by the semester course add deadline. Proposals received after the deadline will not be considered.

A maximum of 3 units can be taken per semester. Independent study cannot replace architectural design studios or other required courses. 

A maximum of 9 units may be applied to degree requirements from the following areas: physical education, lessons and/or independent studies.

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.

Units earned for A46 590 will not be counted toward the total necessary for the completion of any 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 canceled.


Regular attendance at all classes and studio meetings is expected. The instructor of each course is allowed to decide how many absences a student may have and still pass the course. Instructors 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 faculty the reasons for any absences and to discuss with them the possibility of making up missed assignments.

Satisfactory Academic Progress Toward a Degree

The minimum GPA requirements needed to maintain eligibility for Satisfactory Academic Progress are dictated by the specific program of study. In each case, per the requirements of 34 C.F.R. 668.34(a)(4(ii), the federal student aid program requires a minimum of a C average to maintain eligibility for aid, but an individual degree or certificate program may have a higher minimum GPA for federal Satisfactory Academic Progress. 

Students must proceed at a pace that enables them to finish their degree within the appropriate time limit. All students must maintain a "pace" of 662/3% (for the number of credits earned divided by the number of credits attempted).

Academic Probation

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 (SAP) as outlined above. 

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 studio courses.
  • 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 suspended and may be dismissed by Faculty Committee.

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 raised their cumulative studio 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.

Academic Honors and Awards

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."

American Institute of Architects (AIA) Medal. Each year, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Medal is awarded to a member of the graduating Master of Architecture class in recognition of scholastic achievement, character and promise of professional ability. The graduate student so honored receives an engraved medal.

Association of Licensed Architects Student Merit Award. The Association of Licensed Architects (ALA) presents this award to acknowledge a student, chosen by the director of Architecture, who has exhibited exemplary achievement throughout their academic tenure.

Alpha Rho Chi Medal. Alpha Rho Chi, a national social fraternity in architecture, awards a medal to a graduating sixth-year student who has shown an ability for leadership, performed willing service for the Graduate School of Architecture & Urban Design, and demonstrated promise of real professional merit.

Degree Project Book Award. Each Degree Project faculty selects one student to be recognized for achievement in the studio.

Excellence in Craft Award. This award is given to a member of the graduating class, either undergraduate or graduate, to recognize outstanding achievement in craft.

Faculty Book Awards. These awards are given for recognized achievement in individual programs as voted on by the faculty.

Frederick Widmann PrizeIn honor of Frederick Widmann, architect and philanthropist, one graduating member from each undergraduate and graduate class is selected based on merit in design. 

Hugh Feriss Award for Architectural Drawing. This award honors Hugh Ferris (Washington University in St. Louis class of 1911 and Honorable Master of Architecture in 1928), a distinguished architect and renderer. A book award is given to a graduating student, either undergraduate or graduate, who has excelled in architectural drawing in any medium.

James Walter Fitzgibbon Prize. Mrs. James Fitzgibbon and friends of the family established a fund to honor Professor Fitzgibbon's memory and to recall his long and distinguished service on the faculty of Architecture. The annual income from this fund provides for the Fitzgibbon Prize, given to a 300- to 600-level student who has the winning solution to a one-day sketch problem.

St. Louis Community Partnership Award. This award is given to one graduating student in recognition of their deep and reciprocal relationships and partnerships in the St. Louis Community.

Civic Engagement Award. This award is given to one graduating student to recognize deep engagement with systemic social, economic, and/or environmental issues through their work and efforts.

William Tao Prize. Established by William K.Y. Tao (PE, alumnus, emeritus trustee and affiliate professor at Washington University), the William Tao Prize provides an award to a graduating graduate student who has demonstrated excellence in the understanding and application of building systems in architecture, including illumination, electrical and mechanical engineering, and energy-efficient design.

Leave of Absence (LOA)

Graduate students in the Sam Fox School may request a voluntary leave of absence for up to one year (or two semesters) when individual professional, medical, or personal circumstances warrant it. Petitions are reviewed and approved by the student's program chair/director. 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. There is no guarantee that requests received after the deadline will be reviewed.

In the case of a medical leave of absence (MLOA), 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. Additional policy information, MLOA request forms and MLOA reinstatement forms are available on the MLOA page of the Student Affairs website.

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. Withdrawn students requesting readmission must submit a written request and an updated portfolio by the same deadlines.

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/director. Students who are withdrawn from the university for longer than one year must submit an updated portfolio to be reconsidered for admission.

Students who are on a leave or absence for medical, mental health, academic, family, personal or any other reason are not eligible to participate in a registered student group, hold a student group leadership position, or attend/plan a student group sponsored event as a representative of said student group. Depending on the type of leave and any corresponding policy restrictions, students on a leave of absence may or may not be able to attend campus-wide events as a guest of a current Washington University student.

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 are available in WebSTAC.

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