General Academic Policies

General Academic Policies

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.

Auditing a Course

Subject to approvals by the course instructor and the department offering the course, certain courses may be audited. The privileges of an auditor are limited to registering in, paying tuition and fees for, and attending classes. The auditor does not complete assignments or take examinations. The auditor will receive no credit for the course and will not fulfill any academic requirements, but the course will be placed on the student’s transcript with the symbol “AUD” (audit).

Students wishing to audit a course should check with their academic advisor. Auditors must notify the Office of Admissions and Records of their special registration status in the course 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.

Class Attendance

Students are expected to attend all classes for each of their courses.

An absence from class may be excused at the instructor’s discretion for reason of personal or family emergency, injury, jury duty, participation in a College-sponsored activity (which is any activity on or off campus, which is initiated, approed, or supervised by the College), or any other reason for good cause.

Students may request an excused absence from class by submitting a completed excused absence form to the Office of Student Affairs in advance of any absence or, if unfeasible, immediately upon their return to class. The form requires the signature of each instructor whose class will be missed. If informed, the Office of Student Affairs will notify faculty of student absence when students are unable to contact their instructors due to an unexpected emergency.

Whether an absence is excused or unexcused, students are responsible for obtaining information and assignments covered during the class periods missed. Instructors will make reasonable arrangements to accommodate excused absences with an opportunity to make up the work missed.

After two unexcused absences in a course, each additional unexcused absence will result in a reduction of 5 points (on a 100-point scale) of the student’s final grade. Instructors are permitted to issue a grade of “IA” (insufficient attendance) if a student has exceeded a threshold of unexcused absences.

Tardiness to Class

Students are expected to arrive on time for each class period. Habitual tardiness to class could impact a student’s class attendance and result in a reduction of the student’s final grade, 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 counted as one absence;
  • Three late occurrences are counted as one absence.

Class Standing for Undergraduates

Class standing defines an undergraduate student’s progress toward graduation. It is primarily based on the number of credits earned toward the degree, including transfer and prior learning credits.

Undergraduate Class Standing Classifications

Classification Credits required
Freshman Less than 32.5
Sophomore At least 32.5 but less than 68.5
Junior At least 68.5 but less than 100.5
Senior 100.5 or more


At Fei Tian College, students typically study on a full-time basis. Full-time status is defined as registering each required semester for a minimum of 12 credits for undergraduate students, or 9 credits for graduate students. Exceptions to the rule exist for students in their final semester who need less than a full load of credits to complete their programs, and for students who register for a courseload that yields the requisite load credits but numerically fewer academic credits.

Part-time status is defined as registering in a minimum of one course per semester but less than full-time status. Students interested in switching to part-time status should check with their academic advisor for information on how their academic standing, financial aid awards, student privileges, and, for international students, U.S. visa status, could be affected.

Course Prerequisites

Certain courses have course or other requirements that must be satisfied prior to registration. Prerequisites are intended to ensure that a student has sufficient preparation for a course.

Credit for Prior Learning

The College offers matriculated students the opportunity to receive academic credit for documented prior college-level learning acquired through previous study or through non-classroom experiences.

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.

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.

Leaves 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 Leave Form to the Office of Admissions and Records for review and acceptance. 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 Leave Form or the date of receipt, whichever is appropriate.

Midterm and Final Exams

Midterms are scheduled at the discretion of instructors on various dates at the midpoint of each course. For courses that span two semesters, midterms are typically given in the final week of the first semester.

Final exams are given at the end of each course. Students are expected to be present for the final exam period and should plan their schedules to accommodate the scheduled exam times. Whether an examination will be rescheduled to accommodate travel or other plans is up to the discretion of each department.

President’s Honor List

Full-time, matriculated 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.

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 describing 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.

Repeating a Course

Most courses can be completed only once for credit (non-repeatable-for-credit courses), whereas, some courses have been designed to be repeated a specific number of times for additional credit (repeatable-for-credit courses).

Courses generally may be taken once more than their limit. In this case, the student cannot earn credit for the last attempt, but GPA calculation will omit the student’s lowest grade in the course. Note that students may not register for a course for which they received transfer credit.

Example 1: LAS303 may be completed only once for credit. Alice completes this course once, earning a “C.” She then takes the course a second time, earning an “A.” She earns no additional credit from the second attempt, but GPA calculation uses only her “A” and disregards the “C.”

Example 2: DAN404R may be completed only twice for credit. Ben attempts this course twice, earning a “B” and an “F.” He then takes the course a third time, earning an “A.” The first and third attempts yield credit. GPA calculation uses only his “A” and “B” and disregards the “F.”

The transcript will include each course attempt. An attempt resulting in a grade of Withdrawal (“W”) represents an uncompleted attempt and does 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. Examples include a second independent study on a different topic and repeating a major instrument course on a different instrument.

Satisfactory Academic/Artistic Progress

Students are expected to remain in good standing at the College and be making satisfactory academic and artistic progress in their programs.

Generally, satisfactory academic and artistic progress is determined on the basis of:

  1. registering for the minimum required courseload each semester for enrollment;
  2. satisfactorily completing at least 75 percent of the credits attempted each semester. All grades except AUD, including I and W grades, contribute towards this measure. For the purposes of this standard, repeating a course counts towards credits attempted.
  3. achieving and maintaining the required grade point average. Undergraduate students: Each student must have a cumulative GPA of at least 2.0 at the end of freshman class standing, and for the remainder of the student’s undergraduate studies thereafter. This GPA is calculated from all of the student’s undergraduate-level credits attempted at the College. Graduate students: Each student must have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 at the end of the student’s first semester of graduate studies, and for the remainder of the student’s graduate studies thereafter. This GPA is calculated from all of the student’s graduate-level credits attempted at the College and (if applicable) all of the student’s undergraduate-level credits attempted while enrolled in a graduate program at the College.
  4. attempting at most 150% of the minimum number of credits that the student’s program requires. For example, a student enrolled in a program that requires a minimum of 130 credits may attempt at most 195 credits.
  5. making satisfactory artistic progress in the student’s program, in the determination of the department.

Failure to make satisfactory academic/artistic progress can result in sanctions including, but not limited to, the revocation of financial aid.

Academic Sanctions

Failure to maintain satisfactory academic and artistic progress can result in a variety of academic sanctions for students, as detailed below.

Academic Warning A student who is making only marginal academic and/or artistic progress in the determination of the instructor may receive an oral warning.

Academic Probation A student demonstating unsatisfactory academic/artistic progress may be placed on academic/artistic probation for the next semester. During the probationary period, financial aid will still be available. But if the student fails to demonstrate satisfactory academic/artistic progress the next semester, the financial aid will be revoked. Students on academic probation are subject to courseload requirements and must earn a minimum semester GPA of 2.5 to be returned to good standing. Those who do not achieve good standing during the probationary period will move to academic suspension, dismissal, or a second semester on academic probation, to be determined by the College.

Academic Suspension A student may face immediate academic suspension for a particularly severe case of unsatisfactory academic and artistic progress. During the suspension, the student shall be excluded from classes and other College privileges or activities, including access to the College campus and College-sponsored activities off campus. The duration and conditions of academic suspension are to be determined by the College on a case-by-case basis. A student may reestablish standing in the College by requesting reinstatement to probationary or good standing after completing the suspension period.

Academic Dismissal A student may face academic dismissal from the College if (1) (s)he has spent at least one semester on academic probation and has not regained good standing; (2) (s)he has spent at least one semester on academic suspension and have not fulfilled the conditions of the suspension; or (3) the severity of the case otherwise warrants dismissal from the College. Decisions on academic dismissal are made by the College on a case-by-case basis. Academic dismissal generally results in a student’s permanent separation from the College.

Good Standing

Students who are making satisfactory academic and artistic progress in their programs are deemed to be in good standing at the College if they additionally:

  • have paid any and all College bills in a timely manner;
  • have not been placed on academic or disciplinary probation or suspension; and
  • are abiding by the laws of the United States.

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.

Time Limits for Degree Completion

Baccalaureate degrees must be completed within seven years of initial enrollment, and master’s degrees must be completed within five years of initial enrollment.

Periods of official leave of absence are excluded from the time limits set for completion of degrees. Extension of time limit must be initiated by the student through a formal petition for a program variance and requires the approval of the student’s major department and the Department of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Withdrawal from the College

A student’s withdrawal from the College is a permanent separation. Reasons why a student may withdraw from the College includes to transfer to another institution or to leave the College without a definite plan to return.

A student who seeks to withdraw from the College in good standing must ordinarily complete an exit interview at the Office of Student Affairs and complete the exit procedures, which include submitting a completed Withdrawal Form to the Office of Admissions and Records for processing, and promptly notifying all student services offices. For a withdrawal from the College that occurs before the fifth week of the semester, no courses or grades for that semester will appear on the student’s transcript. For a withdrawal that occurs in the fifth week of the semester or later, a final grade of “W” (withdrawn) will be entered for all registered courses.

Administrative withdrawal is a College-initiated withdrawal that occurs when students, by the middle of a semester, have failed to attend class or have not registered for any courses, and have not been granted a leave of absence.