Current Students Academic Policies Back to top

Academic Policies

Reverse Engineering by Nathan Burke, Landscape Architecture Exhibition 2015

Our policies provide guidance to faculty and staff and work in conjunction with the official university regulations published in the Student Code. Students with questions should consult staff members in the FAA Office of Undergraduate Academic Affairs.

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Departmental Advising Contacts


All degree-seeking students must be registered in the College of Fine and Applied Arts for at least two semesters.

Before changing majors, you should speak with a departmental advisor and an official in the FAA Office of Undergraduate Academic Affairs. Freshmen must remain in their college of admission for one year and follow their curriculum of admission for at least one semester. Transfer students must remain in their college of admission for one semester.

Students who need to complete prerequisites before they are eligible to change majors may submit a petition for a transition semester. Generally, only one transition semester is allowed. You can submit paperwork to change majors at any time. If approval isn't given until after the fifth day of classes, the change will not become effective until the following semester.

Consult the official list of minors to see the options and requirements. All students are eligible to select a minor at the end of their freshman year. To declare a minor you should fill out the statement of intent to pursue a minor, have it signed by the program advisor, and turn it in to the FAA Office of Undergraduate Academic Affairs. If your circumstances change and you are no longer pursuing that minor, complete and submit the minor's modification form.

If you intend to pursue two degrees you must meet the following requirements:

  • Minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0
  • Sophomore standing
  • Semester-by-semester plan of study outlining completion of the requirements for both degrees signed by advisors from each program; if the second degree will be from a different college, an assistant or associate dean from the other college must also sign
  • Equal residency in the two colleges with at least two semesters in FAA; if both degrees are within FAA at least two semesters must be spent in the major unit for each degree
Registration and Course Loads

Continuing students are notified via email when registration for the next semester will begin. Academic advisors and deans in the FAA Office of Undergraduate Academic Affairs are happy to assist you in selecting courses that best fit your goals.

A normal FAA course load is no more than 18 credit hours and no fewer than 12 credit hours.

An overload is available only to students who have a 3.0 or higher GPA. If you wish to enroll in classes for more than 18 credit hours, request permission by email from the FAA Office of Undergraduate Academic Affairs ( with these details:

  • A list of all desired courses
  • The total number of credit hours

Students enrolled in fewer than 12 credit hours are part-time students. Part-time enrollment may affect financial aid, visas, and progress toward a degree. If you must attend the university part-time for more than one semester, complete these steps: 

  • Create a multiple-semester plan of study with an advisor
  • Submit a petition that includes the reason for part-time enrollment and the plan of study

If you plan to take a course at another institution, you should first determine if the credits are transferable by taking these steps:

  • Check Transferology to see if the course has been evaluated and will be accepted for credit
  • Confirm with the FAA Office of Undergraduate Academic Affairs that the course will transfer before enrolling
  • If the course will be used to complete a general education requirement, discuss this option with the FAA Office of Undergraduate Academic Affairs
  • After completing the course, send a transcript to the Office of Undergraduate Admissions

Many off-campus courses have been evaluated for transfer credit. If a course has not been evaluated before you enroll, save all course material—such as the syllabus, reading list, exams, quizzes, and papers—and bring it to the FAA Office of Undergraduate Academic Affairs.

Reviews are conducted on completed courses only after a transcript has been sent to the University of Illinois.

The refund schedule lists the deadlines to receive complete, partial, or no refund of tuition and fees after a withdrawal or cancellation. Students may withdraw without academic penalty until the 13th week of the semester. Beginning the 13th week and continuing through Reading Day, the college may apply an academic penalty and require a petition for re-entry when a student withdraws. Withdrawals are not allowed once finals have started.

Students must contact the FAA Office of Undergraduate Academic Affairs if they wish to withdraw from all courses during the semester. 

Medical Withdrawal

Medical withdrawals are rare and reserved for students with severe or chronic illnesses. A student who believes that a medical withdrawal may be appropriate should contact the Office of the Dean of Students for more information.

Retroactive Withdrawal

A retroactive withdrawal—a withdrawal requested after the semester has ended—is appropriate only under extreme circumstances that can be documented. Any student who wishes to seek a retroactive withdrawal should contact the FAA Office of Undergraduate Academic Affairs or an advisor.

Academic Standing

A student in good academic standing is making satisfactory progress toward a degree, is taking the appropriate courses, and has at least the minimum required GPA. Students who do not meet these standards are either put on probation or have drop status. Probation and drop rules are based on semester and cumulative GPAs.

Probation is a warning that unless your grades improve you may be dropped from the university. If you are on probation you may not register for fewer than 12 credit hours or more than 18 credit hours without permission from an FAA academic dean. Written notification of probationary status is generally sent by the FAA Office of Undergraduate Academic Affairs. You will also receive an academic contract that must be filled out and signed by an academic advisor. 

The college may choose to drop a student for the following reasons:

  • Not meeting academic probation requirements
  • Repeatedly failing required courses
  • Not making satisfactory progress toward a degree

Detailed information on the university's drop policies can be found in section 3-110 of the Student Code.

If you leave the university with good academic standing or while on probation, you are eligible to return to the university with your same major by applying for re-entry. Contact the FAA Office of Undergraduate Academic Affairs to reactivate your netid and receive a time ticket for registration. If you were majoring in dance, music, or theatre and have been away from the university for more than one academic year, you may need to audition again. 

If you were dropped by the university, you must submit a petition to re-enter. Petitions are due to the FAA Office of Undergraduate Academic Affairs by November 30 for readmission during the spring semester, April 30 for the summer semester, and July 31 for the fall semester. 


A grade of incomplete allows you to have additional time beyond the end of the semester to finish assignments. This extension is granted to assist you under specific circumstances—a lengthy illness for example—and is not intended to provide extra time to improve your work on assigned material. An incomplete grade is given only with the instructor's approval. A qualifying student should submit the I grade request form to the FAA Office of Undergraduate Academic Affairs.

Under certain circumstances you can repeat a course to replace a low grade. Please note that a replacement grade does not remove the previous grade from your transcript. It changes your cumulative GPA only. You may replace up to 10 hours of credit or three courses. Check section 3-309 of the Student Code for more information. If you wish to use the grade replacement option, you must meet with an advisor or academic dean to discuss grade replacement. You then must file a grade replacement form during the first half of the term in which you are repeating the course. For example, you must indicate your desire to use the grade replacement option by the eighth week for a full-semester course or by the fourth week for a half-session course.

Courses may be added only during the first two weeks of the semester or during the first week of summer session 2. If you want to enroll in courses after the deadline, you must obtain approval from the department offering the course and submit the late course change form to the FAA Office of Undergraduate Academic Affairs. 

If you are in good academic standing, you may select the credit/no credit grading option for electives. You must submit the credit/no credit option form with an advisor's signature to the FAA Office of Undergraduate Academic Affairs during the first eight weeks of the semester. Detailed information on the process is available in section 3-105 of the Student Code.

You may drop courses until the midpoint of the semester without academic penalty, but a change in credit hours may impact financial aid, visas, or progress toward a degree. Each student considering dropping a course should meet with an advisor. 

Only in rare instances will you be permitted to drop a class after the published deadline. A bad grade is not a valid reason to drop a course late in the semester.

Special topic courses and open seminar courses—most often sections of 199 courses—generally count as elective credit toward a degree. If you wish to substitute credit from a special topic course for a required class, you must submit a petition. Only 12 hours of credit from these courses may be used to fulfill graduation requirements.  

Rights and Procedures

The College of Fine and Applied Arts is committed to fostering an open and honest educational community. Each person should be treated with respect and have the freedom to learn, express opinions, and search for truth.

All students are expected to adhere to the highest standards of integrity in their work in classrooms, studios, performance spaces, and all other areas of their intellectual and creative life on campus. Academic integrity infractions include but are not limited to

  • Cheating
  • Plagiarism
  • Fabrication
  • Bribes
  • Academic interference

Students who violate university policy may receive a warning, have a grade lowered, or be dismissed. The full academic integrity policy is available in section 1-402 of the Student Code.

To request an exception to a college requirement, you may submit a petition. The petition form should state the exact nature of the request and include any appropriate documentation. You will be notified by email or letter when the final decision has been reached.

The student petition form should be used for the following situations:

Any student may ask for reconsideration of a college decision or an exception to unit, college, or university academic policies. To make an appeal, you should submit a signed statement that includes all relevant and supporting information. The appeal should be attached to a copy of the original petition and should provide additional or clarifying information. Restating a plea or submitting multiple requests with no new information will not change the original decision. Only one appeal will be considered for each petition.

If you have a conflict about an academic matter and feel you have been treated unfairly, you are entitled to file a grievance—a formal complaint—with the college. First consult with your advisor or an academic dean so that you can determine your best course of action. If you decide to file a grievance, submit a formal statement outlining the problem to the FAA Office of Undergraduate Academic Affairs. All grievances will be addressed promptly.

Capricious grading is one example of a situation that might lead to a formal grievance. If you feel you were held to more difficult or demanding standards than other students in the same class on an assignment or for the entire course, you may wish to submit a complaint. See section 3-107 of the Student Code for an overview of the general grievance process. Consult with an advisor or academic dean about capricious grading and your rights.