Academic Policy

The MFA degree program requires 60 credits of graduate study. Requirements for MFA degree programs and course descriptions are available at  www.pnca.edu. The Graduate program may accept Transfer credit on a limited basis. Changing programs within the Graduate program is only available with the approval of the Academic Dean and the Dept. Chairs. These exceptions may affect a students financial aid package and/or requirements to complete the degree.

The MA in Critical Studies degree program requires 45 credits of graduate study. The MA in Design Systems degree program requires 40 credits of graduate study. Requirements for majors and course descriptions are available at  www.pnca.edu. The Graduate program does not accept transfer credit. Changing programs within the Graduate program is only available with the approval of the Academic Dean and the Dept. Chairs. These exceptions may affect a students financial aid package and/or requirements to complete the degree.

A minimum of 120 credits is required to earn the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree (121 credits if required to take the ‘First Year Seminar course’). For all majors this includes: 75 (76) in studio, 30 in Liberal Arts and Sciences, and 15 in Art History. Of the studio credits, 15 (16)  are required courses in the Foundation program, at least 36 are the required courses in the studio major, and the remainder are available for studio electives. Requirements for majors and course descriptions are available at  www.pnca.edu. A minimum two-year residency at the College is required.

You will choose a major at the end of your Freshman Year. Consult with Area Chairs, Department Heads, and your faculty advisor for more information. In the fall, there is a Majors Week as well as opportunities to meet with Faculty Mentors, Area Chairs and Department Heads to ask questions and gather information about making the best choice.

You may change your major at any time, but due to course requirements within each area, additional coursework may be required, which could possibly extend your time at the College. If you would like to change your major, schedule an appointment with your Department Head in that major to plan a course schedule that will allow you to graduate in a timely fashion. You must submit a Declared/Change of Major form to the Registrar's Office registrar@willamette.edu.

The College expects students to attend all of their scheduled classes. Instructors have the right to lower a student’s grade for absences. Attendance policies and procedures are included on every course syllabus. If you must miss classes due to illness or extenuating circumstances, be sure to inform your instructors and discuss the assignments you have missed to determine whether the work can be made up.

PNCA is on a semester-credit system. One semester-credit represents three hours of work per week for 15 weeks. Each lecture hour of class in Liberal Arts and Science requires a minimum of two hours of work outside of class.

PNCA typically offers 3 credit Studio courses that meet for 6 hours of classroom time and require 3 hours of work outside of class per week.

Liberal Arts, Art History and Science courses offered for 3 credits meet for 3 hours and require 6 hours of work outside of class per week.

Undergraduate students may enroll on a full-time (minimum of 12 and up to 18 credits per semester) or part-time (fewer than 12 credits per semester) basis. Courses taken concurrently at other schools do not count towards PNCA enrollment status. If a student changes to part-time status, their financial aid award will be adjusted accordingly.

Graduate Program students are expected to be enrolled full-time and are considered full-time at 9 credits. However if approved for less than full-time then 7 credits = three quarter-time, 4.5 credits = half- time, and less than that = less than half-time.

Students register for courses through the Self-Service student portal https://portal.willamette.edu/student/Pages/default.aspx each semester during the dates listed in the academic calendar. (see page 5 or the Registration page on Homeroom). Registration is available for returning students before the end of the previous semester. By registering for courses, you are agreeing to pay in full all tuition and fees associated with your schedule, whether or not you attend all classes.

You may add or drop courses during the first two weeks of the Fall and Spring semester through SAGE student portal https://portal.willamette.edu/student/Pages/default.aspx  After the Drop/Add period, you are financially and academically responsible for all classes appearing on your schedule.

Graduate Students may sign up for Undergraduate Courses for Graduate Elective Credit only with approval from the pertinent Graduate Chair and by making arrangements with the Course Instructor.  Chair decisions are based on a thorough vetting of course material to determine suitability, and by determining whether this course material fits with the student’s academic plan.  In addition, Course Outcomes for each Undergraduate course must be adjusted by the Course Instructor, in conversation with the pertinent Graduate Chair and Area Chair, to ensure they fulfill the expectations of Graduate-level coursework

This form must be completed by the end of the Add / Drop period in order to receive Graduate Elective credit for the Undergraduate Course.  Return completed form to Registration Office. registrar@willamette.edu.

https://willamette.edu/offices/registrar/pdf/forms/graduate-student-elective-approval-form.pdf


After the Add/Drop period, your schedule is final and you are financially and academically responsible for all courses on your schedule. You may, however, withdraw from a course up through the tenth week of the semester. To withdraw from a course, https://willamette.edu/offices/registrar/pdf/add-drop-process-for-students-sage.pdf 

There will be an option to submit your withdraw from a class.

You should carefully consider withdrawing from a course, and should meet with your department head, and a Financial Aid Office staff member beforehand. Withdrawing from a course may affect your eligibility for financial aid contact finaid@willamette.edu

Auditing a BFA course for non-credit is an option for students who are not interested in obtaining credit. Auditing a course is allowed on a space-available basis and with the permission of the instructor. https://willamette.edu/offices/registrar/pdf/add-drop-process-for-students-sage.pdf

There will be an option to submit your Audit request for the class

Audited courses do not count as credits earned toward a degree, nor do they affect the student’s GPA. You may want to consult with your department head about your desire to audit a course for non-credit.

No additional tuition will be charged for full-time students.

If you fail a required course, you must repeat it. If you fail a non-required course, you have the option of repeating it. Studio courses above the Foundation level can be taken again as studio electives. In all cases, the original grade remains on your transcript for the semester in which it was given, and the new grade is recorded on your transcript for the semester in which it was given.

If you cannot access a particular kind or level of class through the existing PNCA course offerings, you may propose an Independent Study. The purpose of an Independent Study is to provide undergraduate students with studies that are not available through the regular courses offered within the PNCA curriculum. Independent Study is for Junior or Senior students only. You may take no more than one Independent Study per semester. Each credit represents three hours of work per week for the 16-week semester. An Independent Study must first be approved by your Area Chair and the Academic Dean. A faculty member has the option to decline an independent study. To propose an Independent Study, you should do the following:

  1. Independent Study Contract forms are available in the Registration office.
  2. Request approval for your proposal from your Department Head. In your proposal, state your specific goals and the projects, methods of evaluation, and number of credits for your Independent Study.
  3. Department Head will work with you to further develop your proposal and select an appropriate Faculty supervisor. The Department Head, Faculty supervisor, and Academic Dean must sign the form.
  4. Submit your completed Independent Study Contract to the Registration Office.

The Registration office will officially register you for the Independent Study. These steps must be completed before the Add/Drop deadline for the semester.

A studio independent study is typically 3 credits, but can be fewer in the case of making up partial units. You may not exceed a total of 6 independent study credits in all (only upon approval of Academic Dean).

https://willamette.edu/offices/registrar/pdf/forms/independent-study-contract.pdf

Graduate program students: Independent Study requires approval of your Department Chair. Independent Study Forms are available in the Registration office.

https://willamette.edu/offices/registrar/pdf/forms/independent-study-contract.pdf

An internship is a high quality, art or design-related work experience that supplements and enhances your academic training and formal education at PNCA. Internships introduce you to a specific field, bridge the gap between the academic environment and employment, and provide a unique opportunity to gain valuable professional experience before graduation. All students are encouraged to complete an internship. In order to be eligible, you must have completed a minimum of 60 credits and be in good academic standing. Internships can range from one to six credits, although the average number of credits is three. Each credit equals 45 hours of work (two credits equals 90 hours, six credits equals 270 hours). You may not exceed six Internship credits. Internship information is available in the BridgeLab Career Center. You should speak with the Director of the BridgeLab Career Center, faculty members, and department chairs to find an ideal internship. Once you have secured an internship, meet with the Director of the BridgeLab Career Center to complete the necessary paperwork. Finally, make sure to register for your internship on Self-Serve (Course number ND301) to receive credit. Internships for Communication Design and Illustration majors are distinguished by the title Design Arts Internship (Course number DA441). Design Arts students are required to complete at least one 3 credit Design Arts Internship OR DA445 Center for Design (C4D). An internship is to be arranged through the BridgeLab Career Center. All internships are graded on a Pass/No Pass basis.

To accommodate physical distancing we have developed some additional ways to earn internship credits. Please contact BridgeLab for more information.

Graduate program students: Graduate Internship (Course number HF501) internships are graded on a pass/fail basis. Please contact BridgeLab for more information.

Evaluations of student performance are linked to the stated objectives of each course. At the onset of each course and on the course syllabus, instructors explain:

  • How evaluation of student performance is linked to the course objectives
  • How each element/assignment in the coursework will be considered in assigning the final grade
  • The criteria used for evaluation
  • The policies on attendance, make-up work, and extra credit, and the grading implications of those policies

Grades are available in Self-Service https://portal.willamette.edu/student/Pages/default.aspx at the end of each semester.

PNCA BFA Grade Values:

A+.............................

4.00.........................

Excellent

A................................

4.00.........................

Excellent

A-..............................

3.67......................... .

Excellent

B+..............................

3.33..........................

Above Average

B................................

3.00.........................

Above Average

B-...............................

2.67..........................

Above Average

C+..............................

2.33..........................

Average

C................................

2.00.........................

Average

C-................................

1.67..........................

Average

D+...............................

1.33........................ .

Below Average

D................................

1.00........................ .

Below Average

D-..............................

0.67......................... .

Lowest Passing Grade

F.................................

0.00.........................

Failing

W...............................

0.00........................ .

Withdrawal (not included in GPA)

I..................................

0.00.........................

Incomplete

P.............................

0.00.........................

Pass

NP.............................

0.00.........................

No  Pass

Incomplete Grade: In certain situations, you may request an Incomplete grade for a course. Often this is when an emergency situation has occurred after week ten of the term (week 5 in Summer). You may petition for an Incomplete if your situation meets both of these conditions:

  1. An extenuating circumstance (illness, family emergency) has occurred and it has prevented you from completing coursework.
  2. You are currently in good standing in the class.

An Incomplete should be viewed as a response to a recent, unexpected, and dramatic event in your life, such as an illness or family emergency. An Incomplete is not simply an extension of time to complete work for a class. It is your responsibility to obtain an Incomplete Form from the Registration Office and to present the request to your instructor. The decision to grant an Incomplete is up to the instructor, and an Incomplete may not necessarily be appropriate in all situations or for all types of courses. The instructor may deny the request if the circumstances do not meet the above criteria, or if the amount or type of work does not lend itself to completion outside the classroom. For example, a Life Drawing class requires a model, and some classes are based on group critiques. An instructor will tell students what assignments, projects, or tests are required to receive a passing grade. If an Incomplete is granted, you must complete the required work within three weeks after the end of the term. At the end of these three weeks, the instructor will submit the new grade to the Registration Office.

The grade of I will stand for Incomplete. This grade may be given only in cases where all but a minor portion of the course work has been satisfactorily completed, and the instructor determines there are legitimate reasons to grant the student an extension of time. Instructors must submit a Report of Incomplete Grade form to the Registrar's Office within two weeks following the grading deadline for the semester in which the incomplete grade is submitted. The deadline for students to submit work to be graded to replace grades of I will be the fifth Friday of the subsequent semester. This deadline may be extended by a maximum of one semester, if the student successfully petitions the Academic Status Committee by the date on which the outstanding coursework is due (the fifth Friday of the subsequent semester). All grades of I will be accompanied by a contingency grade, in the computation of which the instructor has considered work not completed as a zero or an F. The contingency grade will be recorded on the permanent record (transcript) until that time when the Registrar receives the final grade. If a replacement grade is not submitted, the contingency grade will be retained as the final grade.

Please note: Graduate program students must maintain at least a 3.00 (B) grade point average (GPA) in graduate courses taken in the degree program. Grades of D+ or lower for graduate courses are not accepted for graduate credit but are computed in the GPA. A Graduate program student has the right contest a grade by petitioning the Graduate Chair and Academic Dean in writing.

PNCA Graduate Program Grade Values:

A+.............................

4.00.........................

Excellent

A................................

4.00.........................

Excellent

A-..............................

3.67......................... .

Excellent

B+..............................

3.33..........................

Above Average

B................................

3.00.........................

Average

B-...............................

2.67..........................

Below Average

C+..............................

2.33..........................

Below Average

C................................

2.00.........................

Below Average

C-................................

1.67..........................

Below Average

D+...............................

1.33........................ .

not accepted for graduate credit

D................................

1.00........................ .

not accepted for graduate credit

D-..............................

0.67......................... .

not accepted for graduate credit

F.................................

0.00.........................

Failing

W...............................

0.00........................ .

Withdrawal (not included in GPA)

I..................................

0.00.........................

Incomplete

P.............................

0.00.........................

Pass

NP.............................

0.00.........................

No  Pass

Undergraduate students who do not achieve a grade point average of at least 2.0 (C) in a semester will be placed on academic probation the following semester. Probation is limited to one semester. To regain good academic standing, the student must register for at least six credits and maintain a GPA of 2.0 or higher. Students on probation must have an academic advisor approve their registration before re-enrolling. If the student does not achieve a 2.0 GPA or better in the probation semester, he or she will be dismissed from the College at the end of that semester. If dismissed for unsatisfactory work, financial aid eligibility will be revoked. Appeals of decisions regarding probation and dismissal are handled through the Grievance Resolution Process. (See Student Grievance Resolution Policy.)

Seniors who are on probation may not register for any 400-level courses. They may, however, register for other coursework that applies to their degree. Seniors on probation must petition Academic Policy Review Committee at academicaffairs@pnca.edu to register for any 400-level courses. Additional restrictions on the academic status of seniors are described in the Catalog and in the Thesis Handbook.

Formal program assessment and evaluation of student achievement and progress occurs throughout the duration of each of the Graduate program according to program-specific scheduling. Formal program assessment occurs specifically through:

  • First Year Review
  • Course and Faculty Evaluations
  • Mentor/Student Evaluations
  • Thesis Proposal Presentations
  • Thesis Exhibition and Oral Defense

Consult with your Department Chair for program-specific formats for each of these types of assessment.

If at any point in time during MFA/MA program an MFA/MA candidate drops below a cumulative 3.00 grade average they will be placed on probation for the following semester. The candidate should consult with their Department Chair to create a plan for improvement in the next semester. Probation is limited to one semester and if the MFA/MA candidate does not increase their grade point to a 3.00 or above average by the end of the probationary semester the candidate will be dismissed from the College.

You may take a leave of absence for up to two years, return without reapplying, and retain the degree requirements from your major at the time you initially enrolled (Note: some programs may have limits as to which semester you may return). If you wish to take a leave of absence, you should complete the Withdraw from College/Leave of Absence Form available at the Registrar’s Office registrar@willamette.edu before the semester in which the leave is to begin.

To be eligible to enter the thesis year, you must have completed all lower-division coursework; completed 90 credits; have a cumulative grade point average of 2.0 or better, with a minimum grade point average of 2.0 in the required classes for the major; have completed one full year of residence at PNCA, either as a full-time student or the equivalent as a part-time student; and may not be on probation. Students declared ineligible to enter the thesis year may appeal for review to the Academic Policy Review Committee at academicaffairs@willamette.edu. The review process must be completed before the end of the semester in which eligibility is determined. A more detailed account of the senior year process is covered in the Thesis Handbook.

BFA seniors must maintain at least a 2.0 (C) grade point average during both semesters of the senior year. Being on academic probation is not allowed during the senior year. Students must also achieve at least a 2.0 (C, not C-) grade, in their Thesis Critique Seminar in the first semester, and in their Thesis Studio class in the second semester. Students who receive an unsatisfactory grade in any of the above classes must petition the Academic Policy Review Committee at academicaffairs@willamette.edu in order to re-enroll and repeat those classes. The Thesis Handbook, given to each thesis student, contains more information about the thesis process.

Seniors who have successfully completed all required coursework for the degree are eligible to participate in the commencement exercises. If a senior has three or fewer outstanding credits, they may submit a petition to the Academic Policy Review Committee at academicaffairs@pnca.edu before the end of the 10th week of the semester, requesting an exception. Students who have completed their Thesis coursework but still have outstanding requirements have a maximum of 2 years to complete this work at either PNCA or another accredited institution in order to remain under their current academic requirements. If the student does not complete their work within this time frame, they will be responsible for any curricular updates made since they started their program. It is recommended that students contact an academic advisor at PNCA for advice on how best to complete any remaining credits. The student’s graduation date will be the end of the semester in which all degree requirements are completed and official transcripts have been received by the Registrar. They would then be eligible to participate in the next commencement exercises.

In the semester before their final semester, the academic advising office will give students preliminary notice of their credit status for graduation. Students take part in planning the commencement program, including distributing the announcements and voting for their graduation speaker. If you have an outstanding balance on your account you will not receive your diploma until all financial obligations to the College have been met.

MFA Graduate Degree Requirements: The MFA degree program requires 60 units of graduate study. Graduate students must maintain at least a 3.00 (B) grade point average (GPA) in graduate courses taken in the degree program. Grades of D+ or lower for graduate courses are not accepted for graduate credit but are computed in the GPA.

MA Graduate Degree Requirements: The MA degree program requires 45 units of graduate study. Graduate students must maintain at least a 3.00 (B) grade point average (GPA) in graduate courses taken in the degree program. Grades of D+ or lower for graduate courses are not accepted for graduate credit but are computed in the GPA.

The Registrar in collaboration with your Department Chair will give students preliminary notice of credit status for graduation in the semester preceding their graduation semester. You and your classmates will take part in planning your commencement program, including the distribution of announcements. If you have any outstanding balance on your account you will not receive your diploma until all obligations to the College have been satisfied. This includes all outstanding fees.

MFA/MA Program Chairs will nominate a graduate commencement speaker each year.

The Dean’s List recognizes academic excellence for full-time undergraduate students who achieve a grade point average of 3.85 or above for the semester. Each semester Dean’s list students are recognized publicly for their achievement

To officially withdraw from PNCA at Willamette University, you must complete and submit the Withdraw from College Form contact the Registrar’s office registrar@willamette.edu

Student Accounts Refund Policy

https://willamette.edu/offices...

In the case of a personal emergency, you may petition for a Special Circumstance Withdrawal from a course. This withdrawal is only granted in the case of a dramatic and extenuating event that is unexpected, disabling, and outside your control, such as sudden illness or death in the immediate family. (see section PETITION FOR AN EXCEPTION TO AN ACADEMIC POLICY).

If you are dismissed for unsatisfactory academic progress, you must enroll as a full-time student at another accredited institution for a minimum of one semester or two quarters, and achieve a GPA of at least 2.0. Courses taken during this time should support PNCA coursework. To be readmitted after fulfilling the above requirement, you must write a letter of petition to the Registrar requesting readmission, and have official transcripts sent from the institution you attended. Readmission will be determined by the Dean’s Office in concert with the appropriate academic programs at PNCA. Additional steps will be necessary to regain your financial aid eligibility. Please contact the Registration Office (registrar@willamette.edu) and the Financial Aid Office (financialaid@pnca.edu) for additional information.

If you would like to request an exception to an academic policy, you may petition the Academic Policy Review Committee. You must explain in writing what special circumstances caused you to be unable to meet the policy or deadline at issue.

The Committee grants such petitions if the student can document “extenuating circumstances.” Extenuating circumstances are typically unexpected, disabling, and beyond the student’s control, such as serious illness or death in the family. The committee may ask for supporting documentation, such as a letter from a health care provider. If appropriate, the petition should include a plan for avoiding similar circumstances in the future.

Please contact registrar@willamette.edu to request a form

They will convene the committee and respond to you with their decision.

PNCA students are responsible for meeting the standards of academic performance established by their faculty at the beginning of each semester in each course in which they are enrolled. The course requirements and the instructor’s expectations for performance should be clearly stated in each course syllabus. Students should request clarity if they have questions and have the right to be heard by instructors. Appropriate staff members can be consulted in cases where there are lingering questions regarding instructor judgment on grading.

You have the right to question a grade and should first contact your instructor, since clerical errors are sometimes made in the grading process. If you still feel that you have not received an appropriate grade after discussion with your instructor, you should contact the department chair, or if the grading was done by a department chair, follow up with the Academic Dean. If this step does not lead to resolution, the following formal procedure is available

to challenge your grade. All documents required for the procedure will be kept in your academic file in the Registration Office. Write a statement of your grievance and submit it to the appropriate department chair and Academic Dean as soon as possible following your receipt of the grade you want to contest. Please provide detail and evidence of why the grade was incorrectly given. The department chair or Dean will, within one week of receiving your statement, follow up with you. The next step will likely be a meeting with you and the instructor to facilitate a meeting with the Chair and/or Dean. The department chair or Dean will make a decision and write a summary of the meeting, sharing that with all parties involved.

Course evaluations are essential to BFA, MFA, and MA program development program development. The evaluation process provides you with the opportunity to anonymously provide feedback about the quality of instruction facilities, and equipment in your classes. Evaluations are completed at the end of each semester and are reviewed to continue to improve academic quality.

If you have significant experience with digital design tools and media, you may challenge the Visual Elements: Digital Tools class. For more information, contact the Foundation Department chair.

A student may choose to challenge placement prior to the beginning of the semester. A challenge to placement must be brought by the student to the department chair responsible for that course, and be reviewed by the department chair. Such a challenge to placement must be completed and approved prior to the 2nd week Add/Drop deadline for classes if you need to replace challenged credits hours with a new course or courses in order to maintain full-time status for the semester (12 credit hours). It is best practice to have this completed prior to the semester to allow you to find a replacement course before the end of the Add/Drop deadline.

PNCA may grant you a course waiver for one of the following reasons:

  1. You demonstrate, by portfolio or examination, a level of competence equivalent to the expected learning outcomes for the course.
  2. The range of your other accomplishments indicates an ability to quickly master the course material. This is decided on a case-by case basis.
  3. A course waiver does not alter credit requirements. Receiving a waiver is not the same as receiving credit; the credits still need to be completed.

    by taking a course within the same category (Studio, Liberal Arts or Art History) that has the same number of credits as the waived course. A course waiver requires approval from the Chair of the Department in which the course is offered and approval of your Department Head in your major. The course waiver must be completed and approved prior to the 2nd week Add/Drop deadline for classes if you need to replace challenged credits hours with a new course or courses in order to maintain full-time status for the semester (12 credit hours). It is best practice to have this completed prior to the semester to allow you to find a replacement course before the end of the Add/Drop deadline.Contact an Academic Advising / Registration registrar@willamette.edu for more information.

    You may challenge a course prerequisite or take a prerequisite concurrently with the sequenced course in some cases. An exemption from a course is not a waiver and, if granted, the credit hours will need to be completed. Contact your or the Department Head in which the course is offered for more information.

    Full-time BFA, MFA and MA students may take Community Education classes or workshops on a space-available basis contact PNCA Community Ed. (Community Ed. has discretion to limit courses offered for benefit). Course tuition and credit fees are waived. However, students must pay the department fees and any other course-related costs.

    Full-time BFA, MFA and MA students may take summer classes on space-available basis, provided they were enrolled full-time at PNCA during the previous spring semester and are registered full-time for the upcoming fall semester.