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Academic Policies

Academic policies are subject to change. Students are notified of changes through official college publications.

Students may petition the Dean of Academic Affairs to make an exception to academic policies. Requests will be considered on their educational merits. Petitions require the signature of the faculty advisor who will help the student determine whether an inquiry has merit. The Dean of Academic Affairs’ decision on any petition is final. The Academic Appeal and Petition form is available in the Registrar’s office. Please note that successful appeal of an academic policy does not automatically reinstate financial aid eligibility or overrule financial aid policy and procedure. Students who receive financial aid must follow the governing policy and procedures of the Financial Aid Office and may be required to submit a separate appeal.

OCAC accepts Advanced Placement (AP) credit for exams with a score of 4 or 5 and International Baccalaureate (IB) credit for Higher Level (HL) exams with a score of 5, 6, or 7. Each exam is accepted as 3 semester credits. Official scores must be received directly from the testing service.

As a member of the Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design (AICAD), OCAC participates in the AICAD Exchange Program, which provides an opportunity for students from art and design colleges throughout the United States to study for one semester at another participating member institution in the U.S. or Canada. The experience of living in a different region and studying with new faculty are among the benefits the program offers. The program is open to full-time students in their junior year, are in good standing, and meet the eligibility requirements of their specific program. Students select an AICAD affiliate institution to attend, however the host institution retains sole discretion to accept or deny individual applications and to determine the total number of AICAD Exchange students accepted in a given semester. See the AICAD website at for general information and the OCAC Student Services Coordinator for complete program information.

Academic progress is linked to attendance in class. Students are responsible for the entire content of their courses and can expect attendance to influence the evaluation of their performance.

Any student may audit one or more classes on a space-available basis. Students may change from credit to audit or vise versa during the change of registration period. Appropriate tuition and fees apply. Students may not change to audit in classes with a waitlist.

A student admitted to the College is eligible to challenge courses that contain material the student has previously learned for which either credit was not awarded or was not accepted in transfer. To challenge 100-level courses a student must demonstrate to the instructor a skill level equal to students completing the course by presentation of a portfolio or by passing an examination. A student may challenge 100-level courses for a maximum of six credits in the major area of study and an additional six credits in studio electives or foundation courses. Credits earned through the challenge process are not calculated into the student’s GPA. To challenge any courses at 200 level or higher, a student must petition the Dean of Academic Affairs. A student must provide the dean with documentation that he or she has: 1) the support of the instructor, and 2) a skill level equal to students completing the course by presentation of a portfolio or by passing an examination. Students will be charged a per-credit assessment fee regardless of the outcome of the challenge.  

Students may change their registration (add and/or drop classes) through the second week of the semester by submitting a Change of Registration form to the Office of the Registrar. Adding a class after the start date requires instructor permission, and students  are responsible for completing any missed work in a timely manner. Dropping a class after the start date does not cancel all tuition and fees (see Refund Deadlines.) After the second week of the semester, students may withdraw from classes until the withdrawal deadline. A grade of W will be recorded on the transcript for each withdrawn class. After the withdrawal deadline, students who stop attending a class will receive the grade earned.

Each semester, full-time degree- or certificate-seeking undergraduate students who achieve a grade point average of 3.7 or greater (with no Incompletes) are recognized for outstanding work by the President and the Dean of Academic Affairs with a letter of commendation. Only classes taken at OCAC are used in determining the qualifying GPA.

100-299: Lower division coursework; normally taken by first and second year undergraduates
300-499: Upper-division coursework; normally taken by third and fourth year undergraduates
500-699: Graduate-level coursework

STUDIO COURSES: Studio courses require up to four weekly hours per credit, usually including two class instruction hours and two outside-of-class hours for undergraduate programs. Graduate programs may meet for fewer class instruction hours and require more outside-of-class hours to support individual and independent creative practice and academic research. Three-credit beginning to intermediate studio courses usually meet for six hours per week of class instruction, either in one six-hour or two three-hour class sessions; these courses require six additional hours of work outside of class. Three credits are awarded for 12 hours of work per week in a beginning to intermediate studio class, usually six hours in the studio with instruction and six hours of work per week outside of class. Three-credit advanced studio courses in undergraduate programs may require 12 hours of work per week total - fewer number of class instruction hours and more number of outside of class hours. An intensive amount of time is required per credit in studio courses because of the skill-based learning and rigorous conceptual development of the curriculum. A focus on making, which is at the core of the OCAC programs, requires the attainment of skills and intellectual knowledge that is best developed through providing intensive instruction in working with materials and the opportunity for students to develop their own artistic expression.

LECTURE COURSES: Three-credit lecture courses usually meet for three hours per week of class instruction, either in one session or over two class sessions; lecture courses require six additional hours of work outside of class for a total of nine hours of work per week for a three-credit course. The time required in lecture classes allows students to develop their writing and communication skills, and to gain an understanding of artistic and cultural context, which are essential corollaries to their studio work. 

UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS: Students enrolled in 12 or more credits in a semester are classified as full-time. Students enrolled in fewer than 12 credits are classified as part-time. Students in the BFA, Certificate, or Post-Baccalaureate program must be enrolled for at least 6  credits per semester.
GRADUATE STUDENTS: Student enrolled in 9 or more credits in a semester are classified as full-time. Students enrolled in fewer than 9 credits are classified as part-time. Students in any MFA program must be enrolled in at least 6 credits per semester. For students in the MFA in Craft and MFA in Industrial Design, registration below 12 credits in the fall or spring semester requires written approval by the program chair. Students in the MFA in Applied Craft and Design are required to maintain full-time status.            

Letter grades have the following point values: 
A 4.00 |  A- 3.70  |   B+ 3.30  |  B   3.00  |   B-  2.70  |  C+ 2.30  |   C   2.00  |  C-  1.70  |  D 1.00  |  F   0.00 
The following marks are not calculated in the Grade Point Average (GPA)
AU:     Audit
I:     Incomplete
P/NP:     Pass/No Pass. Pass is equivalent to a grade of C or better for undergraduate classes and B or better for graduate classes. 
Pass/no pass grading is available only in specific classes offered pass/no pass only.
W:     Withdrawal

A: The student completes assigned work with initiative, originality, and a thorough mastery of the subject matter.
B: The student completes assigned work with originality of moderate degree and does some independent work.
C: The student completes assigned work adequately and acquires the basic content of the course.
D: The student has acquired the bare essentials of the course, but performance is less than satisfactory. 
F: The student has not acquired the minimum essentials in a course that is required for the completion of their program. Not applied to any degree requirement.

A, A-: The student completes assigned work with initiative, originality, and a thorough mastery of the subject matter.
B+, B: The student completes assigned work adequately and acquires the basic content of the course.
B-: The student has acquired the bare essentials of the course, but performance is less than satisfactory.
C, D, F: Performance not acceptable for graduate credit. Not applied to any degree requirement.

GRADE CHANGE: A grade cannot be changed once it has been recorded in the Office of the Registrar unless an error was made in assigning the original grade. An error refers to incorrect data entry, miscalculation or failure to consider all coursework submitted before the grading deadline. If a grading error was made, the instructor must notify the Office of the Registrar by submitting a Change of Grade form no later than the end of the semester following the grade submission. To protect records integrity, all grade changes must be submitted in writing and be signed and dated by the instructor and the department head. For an error discovered more than one semester after grade submission, the grade change must be approved by the Dean of Academic Affairs and supported by documentation (e.g., grade books, papers, examinations) from the instructor or department head.

GRADE APPEAL: Students who question a grade must appeal first to the faculty member who issued the grade. The majority of grade appeals can be resolved with good communication. In an institution such as OCAC, where academic freedom is in practice, the administration respects the right of faculty to their evaluative judgments, so long as these are within norms recognized by the profession; however, where the grade is questioned as resulting from unfair conduct, it may be appealed through due process. Grade appeal forms are available from the Office of the Registrar. Grade appeals are made to the Dean of Academic Affairs. Students appealing a grade have until the end of the second week of the following semester to begin grievance procedures.

An Incomplete may be given in exceptional cases due to illness or an extreme personal emergency in which the student is unable to complete requirements for a course. Incompletes may not be given to make allowances for poor use of time or the inability to balance school with personal matters. An Incomplete is appropriate only for cases beyond the control of the student. If an Incomplete is given for a class, the work must be completed by the deadline set by the instructor, even if the student is not registered in other classes at that time. This deadline is made at the discretion of the instructor, with a maximum allowed deadline of 30 days after the end of the semester. In extreme cases, students may petition the Dean of Academic Affairs for an extension. The Dean’s ruling is final. A leave of absence does not automatically extend an Incomplete. Students and instructors fill out an “Incomplete Contract” that is submitted to the Office of the Registrar. If the Incomplete is not cleared by the deadline, the default grade set in the contract will be recorded. If not noted in contract, a grade of “F” is issued.

LEAVE OF ABSENCE                                                
Eligible students may take leave of absence for up to one calendar year (two consecutive fall/spring semesters.) To be eligible for leave of absence, students must be in academic and disciplinary good standing, have no unresolved incomplete grades, and have satisfied all financial obligations to OCAC. Students on a leave of absence retain current student status but may not participate in college activities or use studios space. Students considering a leave of absence should consult their faculty advisor to discuss options and develop a plan for re-entering the college. Students should be aware that course sequencing may limit their ability to re-enter after a single semester, and re-entry to programs with limited seats will be on a space-available basis. To apply for leave of absence, students meet with the Director of Enrollment Management and Alumni Affairs, who will assist the student in completing all necessary steps and submitting a Leave of Absence form to the office of the registrar. Students returning from leave should notify the office of the registrar at least 30 days before the beginning of the semester in which they will resume studies. Students not returning within one year will be administratively withdrawn from the college.

MEDICAL LEAVE OF ABSENCE: Medical leave of absence may be granted regardless of standing with appropriate medical documentation. The medical provider must indicate the necessity of granting the leave.  

MILITARY LEAVE OF ABSENCE: Students called to active duty while enrolled at the College should contact the Registrar’s office to request military leaves of absence. Students are eligible to return with the same academic standing as when last in attendance at the College, provided they have been absent no more than five years.  Upon completion of service, students should notify the Registrar of their intent to enroll and be aware that degree requirements may have changed.

BFA or Certificate in Craft students in good-standing who have completed 60 or more credits toward the degree or certificate may take classes at another college or university to fulfill requirements for graduation. Students must request prior approval from their advisor, the dean of academic affairs, and the registrar and must submit an Outside Study form. Classes taken through outside study will be recorded as transfer credits and accepted only with a grade of C or better. Students should be aware that the destination institution makes all decisions regarding admission and course availability.

OCAC is a member of the Oregon Alliance of Independent Colleges and Universities. With prior approval, full-time undergraduate students in good standing are eligible to cross-register at another Alliance institution for one course per semester in fall and spring at no additional cost. Courses taken through cross-registration will be recorded as transfer credits and accepted only with a C or better. Contact the registrar for more information.

Information about registering for classes is disseminated to all students each semester by the registrar.. Registration for classes and changes in registration are official only when recorded in the Office of the Registrar.

Students wishing to repeat a course for grade improvement must retake exactly the same course (course number and credits) as the original. Both grades will be reflected on the transcript, but only the instance with the better grade will be calculated in the credit totals and grade point average. Certain types of courses and grades are not subject to the repeat policy, including courses transferred from another college or university, courses applied toward a conferred degree or certificate, and courses with a mark of W (withdrawal) or I (incomplete).

ACADEMIC PROBATION: Students will be placed on academic probation if their semester GPA falls below 2.0 for undergraduates or 3.0 for graduates. Students on academic probation are ineligible to participate in internships, AICAD Exchange, OCAC Summer Intensive courses, consortia, or exchange programs. Students will be returned to good standing if they meet the minimum GPA requirements in the subsequent semester of enrollment.
ACADEMIC SUSPENSION: Students on probation who earn a semester GPA below 2.0 for undergraduates or 3.0 for graduates in their subsequent semester of enrollment may be placed on academic suspension. Students on academic suspension may not take classes, participate in student activities, or use studio space. After one year on academic suspension, students may petition the Dean of Academic Affairs to return to OCAC. A student placed on academic suspension has the right to appeal the decision within 30 days of notification (see Academic Appeals.)

ACADEMIC DISMISSAL: If a graduate student is failing to meet program standards of progress, the program will warn the student in writing. Continued failure to meet the standards may result in dismissal from the program at the discretion of the department head. Any appeal of the dismissal must be made to the Dean of Academic Affairs within 30 calendar days of the dismissal notice.

Designated Studio School classes may be taken on a for-credit bases for 1 semester credit. Undergraduate students may take up to three Studio School classes for credit (3 credits total) and apply those credits to their degree or certificate requirements. Students taking Studio School classes for credit must register for the course through the Office of the Registrar as well as through Studio School.

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) affords eligible students certain rights with respect to their education records. (An “eligible student” under FERPA is a student who is 18 years of age or older or who attends a postsecondary institution at any age.) These rights include:
1.    The right to inspect and review the student's education records within 45 days after the day the Oregon College of Art and Craft (OCAC) receives a request for access. A student should submit to the registrar a written request that identifies the record(s) the student wishes to inspect. The school official will make arrangements for access and notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected. If the records are not maintained by the registrar, the registrar shall advise the student of the correct official to whom the request should be addressed.
2.    The right to request the amendment of the student’s education records that the student believes is inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the student’s privacy rights under FERPA.
A student who wishes to ask OCAC to amend a record should write to the registrar, clearly identify the part of the record the student wants changed, and specify why it should be changed.
If OCAC decides not to amend the record as requested, OCAC will notify the student in writing of the decision and the student’s right to a hearing re­garding the request for amendment. Additional information regarding the hearing procedures will be provided to the student when notified of the right to a hearing.
3.    The right to provide written consent before OCAC discloses personally identifiable information (PII) from the student's education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent.
OCAC discloses education records without a student’s prior written consent under the FERPA exception for disclosure to school officials with legitimate educational interests. A school official typically has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an educa­tion record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibilities for OCAC.
OCAC classifies the following as school officials:
Any person employed by the college in an administrative, supervisory, academic, research, or support position.
Any person employed by any agency with which the college has had a cooperative enrollment agreement that offers OCAC classes.
School officials of any institution with an active co-enrollment agreement with the college.
Any person elected to the college Board of Trustees.
Students employed by the college in any capacity (e.g., work-study).
Students, alumni, or volunteers serving on an official college committee.
Students, alumni, or volunteers performing tasks in support of the work of the college under direct control of a college employee.
Students and alumni who are officers of a recognized student organization.
Any person employed or contracted by the college on a temporary basis to perform a specific task under direct control of the college (e.g., attorneys, auditors).
Any person or entity employed or contracted by the college to perform professional or support services that would otherwise be performed by college employees (e.g., SIS programming and support) and who is under the direct control of the college.

Upon request, the school also discloses education records without consent to offi­cials of another school in which a student seeks or intends to enroll.
Under FERPA, OCAC may disclose designated “directory information” without written consent at the discretion of the registrar. Directory information can be included in university publications or reported to outside agencies as per university policy. OCAC has designated the following information as directory information:
telephone number
email address
place of residence (both local and permanent)
student enrollment status
major/area of study
degrees, honors and awards
dates of attendance, and
If you do not want OCAC to disclose directory information from your education records without your prior written consent, you must notify the registrar in writing. Contact the registrar for more information.
4.    The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by OCAC to comply with the requirements of FERPA. The name and address of the office that administers FERPA is:
Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 2020

Official transcripts are ordered through the Office of the  Registrar.  Official transcript requests require the student’s signature and fee payment.

OCAC considers coursework for transfer that was completed at a college or university accredited by one of the regional accrediting bodies or by any national accrediting body recognized by CHEA or the U.S. Department of Education. OCAC also evaluates credit from foreign post-secondary institutions recognized and approved by the local Ministry of Education as degree-granting institutions. Transferability is determined based on evaluation of official transcripts. For undergraduate courses, a grade of C or better is required. A grade of Pass will be accepted if a grade of C or better is required to earn a Pass. For graduate courses, a grade of B or better is required. A grade of Pass will be accepted if a grade of B or better is required to earn a Pass. Non-graded classes and continuing education units are not accepted. Transfer grades are not computed in the OCAC GPA. Refer to the transfer policy at for additional details.
WITHDRAWAL FROM THE COLLEGE                         
Students may initiate formal withdrawal by meeting with the Director of Enrollment Management and Alumni Affairs. Students withdrawing from school at any time during the school year must complete an exit interview with the Director of Enrollment Management and Alumni Affairs  and submit an Official Withdrawal from the College form to the Office of the Registrar.  A withdrawn student desiring readmission should contact the admissions office. Applications for readmission should be filed no later than one month prior to the semester the student desires to return.    
Students who fail to register for classes, attend classes and/or make arrangements with the business office for payment of tuition by the change of registration deadline for a given semester will be administratively withdrawn from the college. Standard refund and repayment procedures apply.