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 occurs 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 the course syllabus and all of the 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 the Sam Fox School of Design & 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 a student has violated the integrity of the academic community, an instructor may recommend that the student be brought before the Committee on Academic Integrity. A list of university policies can be found on the website of the University Registrar.

Attendance

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 canceled, subject to the approval of the director.

Prerequisites

Students enrolling in architecture courses without the prerequisites must seek permission from the instructor; registration without this permission does not guarantee enrollment in the course.

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:

Grade Meaning Points per Unit
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
F# Fail
I Course work incomplete*
W Withdraw
WLA Withdraw (medical leave)
R Repeat
L Successful audit
Z Unsuccessful audit
N No grade submitted

The WLA grade is only for undergraduate students who withdraw from all semester course work with an approved medical leave of absence.

Undergraduate students in architecture must complete all required courses with a grade of C- or better and must have a minimum 2.70 cumulative grade-point average to be eligible for graduation.

In addition to grading under either the regular grade option or the pass/fail option, instructors teaching architectural design courses complete an evaluation form for each student; a copy is made available to the student, and the original is filed in the student's folder in Givens Hall.

Auditing a Course

With prior approval from their academic adviser, students may audit an elective course if the instructor allows.

Pass/Fail Option

Students may take one non-required course on a pass/fail basis each semester.

Incomplete Grades

Students who, following the last day for withdrawal from courses, experience medical or personal problems that make 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 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). Once approval is granted, incomplete marks in all architectural design courses from the 100 level through the 600 level 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 course.

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 architecture. 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 with 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 in which a passing grade has been received, both enrollments will show on the transcript. If the second grade is equivalent to or better than the first grade, the first grade will be administratively changed to R to indicate the re-enrollment. If the second grade is lower, both grades will stand. Credit toward the degree will be allowed for only one enrollment. This policy only 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 the student retakes the course, both grades will remain on the transcript, and only the second grade, if passing, will count toward degree requirements.

Independent Study

Opportunities for independent study are available to undergraduate students. Registration in an independent study requires the student to submit a written proposal and obtain the approval of the sponsoring faculty, adviser, and program chair. An independent study proposal sheet approved by a faculty sponsor must be submitted to the director of architecture at the time of registration. 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 for juniors and seniors and of 1 unit for first-year students and sophomores can be taken per semester. Independent study cannot replace architectural design studios or other required courses. Most proposals granted receive 1 unit.

Study Abroad

Students have an opportunity to study in Florence, Italy, for a semester or over the summer term. These programs are based on a directed curriculum of urban and building analysis and appreciation. For more information, visit the Study Abroad Programs (PDF) on our website.

Architecture students are eligible to participate in the university's study abroad programs.

Summer School

The College of Architecture offers a limited number of courses during the summer.

Minimum and Maximum Loads

First-year and sophomore undergraduates will normally enroll in 15 to 16 units each semester, although enrollment in up to 18.5 units is possible without obtaining the permission of the undergraduate program chair. Juniors and seniors in the architecture degree programs are strongly recommended to enroll in no more than 16.5 units each semester in order to maintain focus on the design studio and major requirements.

Each semester, a changing selection of 1-credit workshops in materials and graphic techniques is offered. Students are encouraged to enroll in these workshops (if prerequisites are met) as a supplement to their general curriculum. No more than one workshop is permitted in any given semester, and no more than three total may be taken throughout a student's program of study without special permission of the director.

An enrollment above 21 units will be charged at the established university rate per hour for the additional credits and must be approved by the director or undergraduate program chair.

Full-time students must be registered for a minimum of 12 units. Partial load enrollment is possible when circumstances warrant it and requires the permission of the director.

Refer to the section of this Bulletin that covers tuition and fees for both the annual tuition rate and the per-credit-unit breakdown applicable to the College of Architecture.

Students are expected to proceed at a pace that enables them to finish their degree within the appropriate time limit. For undergraduates, this is usually eight semesters. Exceptions to these minimum standards may be granted only with the written consent of an academic adviser, the associate dean of students, or the director.

Advanced Placement Credit

A maximum of 15 units of pre-matriculation or non-Washington University transfer credit may be counted toward an undergraduate degree. These units count toward graduation but do not fulfill distribution/general education requirements.

Transfer Credit

Architecture students must complete the required Calculus I and Physics courses at Washington University with a grade of C- or better unless the student has received Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) credit for these courses. A student wishing to transfer credit for courses completed at another institution must bring a full catalog description of the course(s) to the Sam Fox School Registrar's Office for preapproval. 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. No transfer credit will be awarded for courses taken while a student is suspended from Washington University for violations of the University Student Judicial Code or Academic Integrity Policy.

Interdivision Transfer Policy: Transferring Into the College of Architecture

Undergraduate students enrolled in the College of Arts & Sciences, McKelvey School of Engineering, Olin Business School, or the College of Art may apply to transfer into the College of Architecture. Transfer requests must be made in WebSTAC by the last of final exams of the semester before the effective semester. It is strongly recommended that students meet with a four-year adviser in the Sam Fox School prior to registration to ensure that they know what classes to take the following semester and are given waitlist priority. Otherwise, enrollment in the required studios for the semester of entry may not be possible. All Washington University students must spend their first semester in the academic division that admitted them.

Minimum Criteria

The following requirements must be met for an internal transfer into the College of Architecture:

  1. Achieve a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher. Students with GPAs below 3.0 are required to meet in person with Igor Marjanović, chair of undergraduate architecture, for an interview and academic record review.

  2. Present an academic record that supports the conclusion that the student will be able to complete a Bachelor of Science in Architecture or Bachelor of Arts in Architecture degree in a typical time frame. Depending on the student's level at the time of transfer, additional semesters and/or preapproved summer school may be required.

  3. Be in good academic standing.

A portfolio of creative work is not required, but students are invited to bring visual examples of their work when they meet with the associate dean of students in the Sam Fox School (details below).

Each application is evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Meeting these requirements does not guarantee admission into the College of Architecture.

To Begin the Transfer Process

  1. Log into WebSTAC and select "Change WU School" under the "Academics" tab.
  2. Meet with the associate dean of students in the Sam Fox School for an interview and optional portfolio review. Contact information for the associate dean is provided during the transfer request process in WebSTAC.
  3. Complete an exit interview or exit survey with the academic division that is being left.

Satisfactory Academic Progress, Probation and Suspension

Students are expected to proceed at a pace that enables them to proceed at a pace that enables them to finish their degree within an appropriate amount of time. For undergraduates, this is usually eight semesters.

A student whose semester GPA is below 2.0 (a grade of C) or who falls below a pace of 662/3% (for the number of credits earned divided by the number of credits attempted) will be placed on academic probation. If, after the following semester, the semester GPA is still below 2.0 or the if pace is below 662/3%, the student may be ineligible for normal advancement or may be suspended. Although the College of Architecture 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.

Probation serves as a warning that, unless the quality of work improves, the student may be subject to suspension because of academic deficiency. A student suspended for academic deficiency will not be eligible for readmission until they have demonstrated, under the conditions set for each individual case, their ability to do satisfactory work.

A student will be removed from academic probation when their cumulative GPA is above 2.0 and they are meeting the pace of 662/3% for satisfactory academic progress.

In support of the student, the Sam Fox School Registrar's Office will work with the student to develop a plan for success. To succeed, the student must understand the causes of their current situation, identify what needs to change, and implement and review the plan. The student is required to meet regularly with the associate dean of students to review progress. Failure to make these meetings will result in a hold being placed on the student's record.

First Academic Probation: The first time a student qualifies for probation, they are placed on academic probation. Students placed on first academic probation are sent a letter informing them of this action.

Second Academic Probation: The second time a student qualifies for probation, they are placed on second academic probation. Students placed on second academic probation are sent a letter informing them of this action. A copy of this letter is sent to the parent(s)/legal guardian(s).

Special Academic Probation: A student is placed on special academic probation when their earned semester pace or GPA is below the terms of satisfactory academic progress because of outstanding or incomplete grades. Once all grades are received, the student's record is reviewed to determine satisfactory or probationary status.

Academic Suspension: The third time a student qualifies for probation, they will be suspended. A letter is sent to the student and their parent(s)/legal guardian(s) informing them of this action. The student is not allowed to enroll in any classes at Washington University while suspended, including University College. If the suspended student would like to return to the university in the future, they must petition and be approved for reinstatement. If the student fails to achieve and maintain satisfactory academic progress after reinstatement, they will be dismissed.

A student who receives two or more grades of F in a semester will be placed on academic warning for the following semester. The warning serves as a notice that, unless the student passes all courses in the following semester, they will be placed on academic probation.

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.

Leave of Absence

A student may request a voluntary leave of absence for one or two semesters when individual professional, medical, or personal circumstances warrant it. Petitions are reviewed and approved by the Sam Fox School Registrar's Office. Any requests extending beyond one year will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. In addition to a written petition, the student requesting a medical leave of absence must submit a letter of verification from Habif Health and Wellness Center.

A student returning from a leave of absence must submit a written letter stating their intention to re-enroll by July 1 (if returning in the fall semester) or December 1 (if returning in the spring semester). In the case of a medical leave of absence, a letter of clearance is required from Habif Health and Wellness Center before the student will be permitted to re-enroll.

International students requesting a leave of absence must contact their adviser at the Office for International Students and Scholars to discuss how the leave might affect their visa status.

Financial Obligations

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

A written request for a refund must be submitted to the Sam Fox School Registrar's Office for consideration. Approval is required to officially withdraw from the university. Tuition adjustments will be processed based on information received, and refund checks will be issued only after the fourth week of classes. Material fees for architecture courses will not be refunded after the course drop period for the semester. 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 that 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 a minimum of eight students before 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% + 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 No refund

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 withdraw from a course through the 40% tuition refund deadline.

Intent to Graduate

Every candidate for a degree is required to file an Intent to Graduate in WebSTAC in order to participate in commencement. The deadlines for filing are listed in WebSTAC.

Retention of Student Work

The College of Architecture and the Graduate School of Architecture & Urban Design reserve 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 for that work which has been retained for publications, exhibitions, or accreditation reviews. It is highly recommended that students photographically reproduce or electronically store their work to keep a record.