Academic Policies

Academic Policies

The following are summaries of important academic standards and policies of the College.

Unit of Academic Credit

The College apportions academic credit for undergraduate and graduate coursework based on the semester credit hour. Semester credit hour means that a credit is granted for the satisfactory completion of a course that normally requires 15 hours (of 50 minutes each) of instruction and at least 30 hours of supplementary assignments and work.

Lecture and seminar courses assign one credit for every 1 hour of class time and 2 hours of preparation required per week over 15 instructional weeks.

Studio and lab courses assign one credit for every 2 to 3 hours of practice or lab work required per week over 15 instructional weeks.

Academic Integrity

Truthfulness is a core value of the Fei Tian experience. Academic misconduct undermines the educational process and the sense of integrity that characterizes the College community. It is expected that all academic goals will be achieved through honorable means. Specifically, students are expected to support and abide by the provisions of the College’s Academic Integrity Policy, which prohibits cheating, falsification, plagiarism, unauthorized collaboration, engaging in prohibited behavior, and any other conduct that violates academic integrity. Suspected academic misconduct may be reported to the program of study’s chief academic officer through the procedures set forth in the Student Code of Conduct.

Change of Degree Program

The College’s degree programs cover very different types of training and require students’ dedication from the first year. To change degree programs would necessitate starting over with the exception that any general education courses and select electives that the student has already taken may be counted toward the new major’s graduation requirements.

Changing degree programs is available for students who have completed less than 50 percent of their current major’s credit requirements. Students wishing to change majors should consult their major and academic advisors and pick up a Change of Program Form. To complete a change of major, the student must secure the written approval of both departments and submit the completed and signed form promptly to the Office of Admissions and Records.

Class Attendance

Attendance and participation are expected in all class sessions.

Each student is permitted two excused absences from class per course. Any additional absence is deemed unexcused unless it falls within the list of excused absences set forth here:

  • Family emergency
  • Medical emergency
  • Jury duty or other court-ordered summons
  • Official absence for a College-recognized perfor- mance, competition, or scholastic activity
  • Other absence excused by the course instructor

Each unexcused absence in excess of the two permitted absences will result in a reduction of 5 points (on a 100-point scale) of the student’s final course score. College policy allows an instructor to issue a grade of “IA” (insufficient attendance) if a student has exceeded a threshold of unexcused absences.

Students must submit appropriate documentation to the Office of Student Affairs within a reasonable time in order to claim an excused absence and obtain an official excused absence verification card. Students should present the card promptly to the appropriate course instructor(s), in advance of any absence whenever feasible or immediately upon their return to classes, to determine the impact of the absence on academic requirements.

Excused absences only excuse the student from attending class during the approved period of absence. Students have both the right and the responsibility to make up any work missed during their excused absence, to make up examinations given during their absence, and to have the same privileges as other students in the class.

Instructors will, upon proper presentation of an official excused absence verification card, make arrangements to accommodate such absences with an opportunity to make up the work missed.

Instructors shall announce their specific attendance and grading policies and due dates in their course syllabi.


Students are expected to arrive on time to each class session, including from any breaks. Punctuality is a measure of responsibility and arriving late disrupts instruction and interferes with the educational process. Regular tardiness to class may affect a student’s class attendance and result in a reduction of the student’s final course score, as follows:

  • Arriving to class up to 15 minutes late is counted as one late occurrence;
  • Arriving to class more than 15 minutes late is count- ed as one absence;
  • Three late occurrences are counted as one absence.

Class Standing

At the undergraduate level, Fei Tian College structures class standing for students as four levels: freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior. The levels are determined primarily by the number of credits earned toward the degree, including transfer and prior learning credits. Freshmen are those who have earned less than 32.5 credits. Sophomores have earned at least 32.5 but less than 68.5 credits. Juniors have earned at least 68.5 but less than 100.5 credits. Seniors have earned 100.5 or more credits.

Course Auditing

Subject to instructor and department approval, certain courses may be audited. Students wishing to audit a course must notify the Office of Admissions and Records of their intent at the time of course registration or before the end of the Course Selection Period. All students who register for six credits or more are eligible to audit courses of up to one half of the total paid credits.

The privileges of an auditing student are specifically limited to attending class for that course and listening. The auditor assumes no obligation to do any work for the course and is not expected to take any of the instructor’s time. The auditor does not submit any work and is neither eligible to take any tests or examinations nor to receive grades on all or any part of the course. Audited courses do not carry academic credit and do not satisfy any prerequisite requirements for more advanced courses.

Course Load

At Fei Tian College, students typically carry a full-time semester course load of at least 12 credits for undergraduate students or at least 9 credits for graduate students. Full-time status is defined as:

  • Enrollment with a full-time semester credit load (at least 12 credits for undergraduate students or at least 9 credits for graduate students); or
  • Enrollment with fewer credits, with approval for a lesser credit load. The acceptable reasons for such reduction include:

    • A student in his or her final semester can complete his or her program of study with less than a full-time credit load.
    • A student’s workload credits are equivalent to a full-time credit load, but the credit load is numerically less because at least one course does not bear credit.

International students on an F-1 student visa are required to register with full-time status unless authorized by their international student advisor to carry a temporarily reduced course load.

Part-time status is defined as not full-time and enrolled in a minimum of one course per semester. Students wishing to be part-time should consult their academic advisor for information on how this status could affect their academic standing and normal progress toward completion of their program, tuition bill, financial aid awards, student privileges, and visa status for international F-1 students.

Course Repetition

Each course has its own individual limit to the number of times it may be completed for credit. Most courses can be completed only once for credit. Some courses, however, are designed to be repeated for additional credit.

A student may take a course once more than that course’s limit. In this case the student cannot earn credit beyond what the limit allows, but GPA calculation uses only the student’s highest grade(s). Any additional attempts require the approval of the academic advisor and the chairperson of the department offering the course.

The transcript will include each attempt. Students may not enroll in courses for which they have received transfer credit.

Attempts resulting in a grade of “W” (Withdrawal) represent uncompleted attempts and do not count toward the course’s repeat limit.

When a student attempts a course that is technically the same as one the student previously attempted, but where the course content is substantially different, the new attempt does not count as a repeat.

Credit for Prior Learning


Credit for prior learning provides the option to award academic credit to students who can demonstrate prior college-level knowledge and competencies, or their equivalent. This may include, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Transfer of credit from another institution to Fei Tian College
  • Credit by examination based on exam programs offered by the College Board [including Advanced Placement (AP) and the College-Level Examination Program (CLEP)] or other internationally recognized organizations [including International Baccalaureate (IB)]
  • Credit by examination based on comprehensive exams developed by Fei Tian College
  • Experiential learning that merits the award of academic credit

General conditions on the award of credit for prior learning include the following:

  • The student must be matriculated at Fei Tian College
  • Prior learning must not duplicate nor overlap previous coursework, nor diminish the rigor of the program
  • Credits from prior learning shall not be included in calculating the student’s grade point average
  • The total number of credits awarded based on prior learning may not exceed 50 percent of the total credits required for graduation

Double Counting Credit

Under certain circumstances where doing so would not diminish the requirements of any program, a single course may be used to fulfill more than one requirement either across the curriculum or toward two degrees.

Final Examinations

Final examination schedules are department- or instructor- determined, as befitting the needs of the course. Testing circumstances may vary by department.

Grade Point Average

The grade point average (GPA) is used to indicate a student’s overall academic average. Fei Tian calculates two types of GPAs: a cumulative GPA calculated across all registered semesters and a semester GPA as a single-semester indicator.

Both types of GPA are calculated by dividing the total number of grade points earned by the total number of credits attempted. The number of grade points for a course is found by multiplying the grade’s grade points by the course’s credit weight.

Grades for courses taken at an institution other than Fei Tian College or based on prior learning are not calculated in a student’s grade point average.

Grading System

Fei Tian College uses two grading scales: letter grade and pass/no pass grade. In addition, a grade point average (GPA) measures a student’s overall academic performance.

The basic letter grades are “A,” “B,” “C,” “D,” and “F.” The College gives individual instructors the option to add a plus or minus to letter grades (except “F”), yielding grades such as “A+” and “C–.”

The pass/no pass grades are “P” and “NP.”


It is the student’s responsibility to ensure that all requirements for graduation are fulfilled in a timely manner. The Office of Academic Services and the student’s academic and major advisors will offer the student advice on a regular basis. The Office of Admissions and Records certifies completion of College requirements and clears students for graduation.

Late Assignment Penalty

Conscientious completion and on-time submission of all required assignments is expected in all courses. In fairness to the course instructor and the students who complete their work on time, any assignment submitted late will be assessed a penalty (e.g., a reduction of the assignment grade by 30 percent for every 24 hours it is late) unless stipulated otherwise by the instructor.

Leave of Absence

A matriculated student in good standing who desires to take a temporary leave from the College with the intent to return must consult the Office of Student Affairs and submit a completed and signed Withdrawal/Leave Form to the Office of Admissions and Records. The student bears ultimate responsibility for completing the official leave-taking process and notifying all relevant administrative offices in a timely fashion. Any student who has not registered for one full year or more will not be allowed to maintain matriculation, and must apply for readmission to re-enroll. For academic and financial purposes, the effective date of a leave of absence is the date indicated on the Withdrawal/Leave Form or the date of receipt, whichever is appropriate.

President’s Honor List

Full-time undergraduate students who earn a semester GPA of 3.7 or higher receive the “President’s Honor List” distinction for that semester, provided that the student has no “W” (Withdrawal) or “I” (Incomplete) grade during that semester.

Semester honors are available only during the Summer and Fall semesters. For purposes of determining Summer semester honors, the semester GPA is calculated from both the grades during the Summer semester in question and the grades during the year-long LAS courses, where the LAS courses’ grades contribute only 50 percent of their credit weight towards the Summer semester GPA. Similarly, for Fall semester honors, the semester GPA is calculated from Fall grades and from 50 percent of the credit weight of the year-long LAS courses’ grades.

 Program Variance

Students may petition for an academic program variance from a particular College policy or course requirement if adequately supported through a written statement de- scribing the rationale for the variance and information as requested. Petitions may be submitted to the office of the Vice President of Academic Affairs (for undergraduate students) or the Graduate Chair of the Department (for graduate students). Final decisions are at the discretion of the program of study’s chief academic officer.

Satisfactory Academic Progress and Good Standing

Fei Tian College reviews the academic progress of students throughout the year. To be making satisfactory academic progress, students generally must satisfy the following criteria:

    • attempt enough of a credit load to be on track to complete the program within 150 percent of the program’s normal duration;
    • satisfactorily complete at least 75 percent of the credits attempted per semester;
    • maintain grades that are on track to meet the pro- gram’s major GPA requirements. Additionally, students must maintain an overall annual GPA of at least 2.0; and
    • make satisfactory artistic progress.

Extenuating circumstances that may affect a student’s academic performance will be taken into consideration by the academic and major advisors and/or the Office of Admissions and Records in the review process.

Students making satisfactory academic progress toward program completion are deemed to be in good standing if, in addition, they:

    • pay all College bills in a timely manner; and
    • comply with the law and College policies.

Academic Sanctions

Failure to make satisfactory academic progress toward pro- gram completion can result in a variety of academic sanctions, as detailed below, depending on the severity of the situation.

Academic Warning: Students who make only marginal academic progress in the determination of an instructor or advisor may receive an oral warning.

Academic Probation: Students who make unsatisfactory academic progress may be placed on academic probation. Students are reviewed after one term on academic probation. Those who satisfy the requisite course load requirement, which may be reduced at the discretion of the program of study’s chief academic officer, and earn a minimum semester GPA of 2.5 will return to good standing. Those who do not achieve good standing during the probationary term will move to academic suspension, dismissal, or a second term of academic probation, as determined by the College.

Academic Suspension: Students may face academic suspension for severe cases of unsatisfactory academic progress. Suspension is defined as exclusion from classes and other College privileges or activities, including access to the College campus and College-sponsored activities off campus. The College will determine the duration and conditions of academic suspension on a case-by-case basis. Students must meet with their academic and major advisors after fulfilling their term of academic suspension. They may reestablish their standing in the College by requesting reinstatement to probationary or good standing and obtaining approval.

When a student whose failure to make satisfactory academic progress due to extenuating circumstances is able to prove that those circumstances have ceased to exist, he or she will be reinstated in good standing. Otherwise, the student will be reinstated in probationary standing.

Academic Dismissal: Students may face academic dismissal when (1) they have spent at least one term on academic probation and have not regained good standing; (2) they have spent at least one term on academic suspension and have not fulfilled the conditions of their suspension; or (3) the details of their case otherwise warrant dismissal. Decisions on academic dismissal are made by the College on a case-by-case basis. Academic dismissal generally results in permanent separation from the College. Students who are dismissed from the College may, after a one-semester hiatus, seek formal reinstatement to the College.

Special Accommodations

Fei Tian coordinates reasonable special accommodations for qualifying individuals with disabilities, including temporary disabilities due to injury. Students must request special accommodations through the Office of Student Affairs and should notify their course instructors promptly thereafter of accommodations made for their courses.

Withdrawal from the College

An official withdrawal occurs when a student completely separates from the College. Such a withdrawal may be initiated by the student or the College. A student who wishes to withdraw in good standing must consult the Office of Student Affairs and submit a completed and signed Withdrawal/Leave Form to the Office of Admissions and Records for review and acceptance.

The student bears ultimate responsibility for completing the official withdrawal process and notifying all concerned administrative offices in a timely fashion. A student may appeal to the program of study’s chief academic officer for an exception to this withdrawal policy due to verifiable extenuating circumstances. For academic and financial purposes, the effective date of a withdrawal is the more appropriate of either the date indicated on the Withdrawal/Leave Form or the date of its receipt.

For an official withdrawal that occurs before the end of the Course Withdrawal Period of a semester, no courses or grades for that semester will appear on the student’s transcript. For a student-initiated withdrawal that occurs after the Course Withdrawal Period of a semester, a final grade of “W” (Withdrawal) will be entered for all registered courses.

For administrative withdrawals, a final grade of “F” or “NP” will be entered for all registered courses. Administrative withdraw- al applies to students who, by the middle of a semester, have failed to attend class; or have not registered for any courses at all, and have not applied for or been granted a leave of absence

If an international F-1 student withdraws from the College, the student’s SEVIS record will be promptly terminated and his or her F-1 status will immediately be in jeopardy.