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This handbook contains essential advising and policy information for graduate students in the Syracuse University School of Architecture.  Please contact the graduate office if you need assistance or clarification regarding these guidelines.

Michael Speaks
Professor and Dean

Julia Czerniak
Professor and Associate Dean

Brian Lonsway
Associate Professor
Chair of the Graduate Program

Lauren Mintier
Graduate Program Manager



In the United States, most state registration boards require a degree from an accredited professional degree program as a prerequisite for licensure. The National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB), which is the sole agency authorized to accredit U.S. professional degree programs in architecture, recognizes three types of degrees: the Bachelor of Architecture, the Master of Architecture, and the Doctor of Architecture. A program may be granted an eight-year, three-year, or two-year term of accreditation, depending on the extent of its conformance with established educational standards.

Doctor of Architecture or a Master of Architecture degree programs may require a pre-professional undergraduate degree in architecture for admission. However, the pre-professional degree is not, by itself, recognized as an accredited degree.

Syracuse University School of Architecture offers the following NAAB-accredited programs:

  • BArch
  • MArch

Master of Science

The MS in architecture program supports independent, timely, and innovative research projects outside of the professional degree track. As a Master of Science degree, it is not accredited by the NAAB.


The primary goals of the School of Architecture are to promote research into architecture and to educate students for professional practice and other forms of architectural engagement. Faculty instructors challenge students to develop the capacity for understanding the built environment and generating architectural design proposals as a critical response. They assist students in cultivating manifold design capabilities linked to critical intelligence about the discipline and supported by state-of-the-field expertise in representation, technology, structures, theory and history.

A central component of this mission is the cultivation of a learning environment that supports students in the fullest development of their capacities as designers, scholars, professionals, and citizens. Students, faculty and staff are dedicated to the task of working together to foster five fundamental values:

  • mutual respect among all members of the School
  • optimism about the potential for student learning, creativity and contribution
  • collaboration among students, faculty, staff and the broader public in pursuing advances in learning, knowledge, and practice
  • critical engagement with the discipline, the profession and the world
  • continual innovation in teaching, learning, and research

These values inform all of our activities. In the context of classrooms, studios, and other learning environments, they translate into these guidelines:

  • The School encourages students and faculty alike to embrace the design studio and the classroom as places of intellectual and creative exploration and collaboration. The frequently open-ended pursuit of knowledge through design and other forms of learning requires generosity of spirit on all parts, including the recognition that faculty members bring a high level of expertise to their teaching and that students bring a diversity of valuable prior knowledge to their learning. It also requires clear communication, rigorous testing of ideas, and a commitment to excellence on the part of all participants.
  • The School encourages collaboration among students in their academic work and in extracurricular activities, as well as among students, faculty and staff in continually advancing knowledge and improving the ways we work together. It also promotes a culture of engagement in which students develop intellectually, technically and ethically through interaction with problems, opportunities and people within and outside the field of architecture.
  • The School values social, intellectual and disciplinary diversity in its staff, faculty and student population, as well as in its curriculum. In its teaching, research and daily activities, it strives to support and promote each of these kinds of diversity.
  • The School recognizes that balance is a crucial element in the pursuit of excellence, and it encourages faculty to guide students in developing the capacity to reconcile what often seem to be competing imperatives in their work and in their lives. This includes managing expectations so as to minimize conflicts among courses, helping students to manage their time effectively, and promoting an appropriate balance between academic work and the other essentials of life.
  • The School expects students to uphold the principles of academic integrity in their work and ethical conduct in their daily lives. Honesty, trustworthiness and fairness are essential attributes for conduct in class, within the university community, and in academic activities beyond Syracuse. These principles should guide behavior not only in the completion of course assignments, but also in treatment of buildings and equipment; interaction with university staff, systems and procedures; and behavior in the studio and elsewhere.
  • The studios are considered environments for design exploration, creative production and enriching interaction among students, and with their instructors. Studios are open and available to all students on a 24/7 basis. With this privilege comes the obligation to conduct oneself in a responsible and considerate fashion. Actions and behaviors that are not conducive to supporting an appropriate academic environment are strictly prohibited. All students are expected to observe the rules and regulations governing the use of the studios. Any violation will be treated as a breach of this trust and prosecuted accordingly.


We the students, faculty, staff and administrators of Syracuse University will:

Support scholarly learning as the central mission of the University,
Promote a culturally and socially diverse climate that supports the development of each member of our community,
Uphold the highest ideals of personal and academic honesty, and
Maintain a safe and healthy environment for each member of the community.

In all aspects of University life, we will work together to reach these goals.


August 2021

On behalf of the faculty and staff of the School of Architecture, I am delighted that you are a member of our community. We know this will be an engaging and challenging time for you at the School of Architecture.

Your success as an architecture student will be based, in part, upon the choices you make over the course of the next several years. With that in mind, we have assembled this document (a.k.a. The Grey Book) to serve as a guide to our facilities, policies, regulations and graduate program requirements. While many of the guidelines contained in this handbook pertain to all architecture students, it has been prepared specifically for graduate students.

We encourage you to read through the handbook and refer to it when questions arise. It will provide helpful insight throughout your time as a graduate, so bookmark it as a valuable reference.

Other helpful University publications—such as Academic Rules, Tuition, Fees and Related Policies Bulletin, and the Syracuse University Student Handbook—are also available online. You are strongly encouraged to become familiar with their contents.

Perhaps the most important and valuable resource that is available to you is the assistance and support that you find from your advisor and from the staff members in the office of Student Services. Our doors are always open to your thoughts, ideas, concerns and accomplishments—please feel free to share them with us at any time.

I wish you all the best for continued success in all your academic endeavors.

Warm regards,

Michael Speaks


University Policies—SEE STUDENT HANDBOOK


Slocum Hall Hours
The building is open Monday through Thursday from 7:00 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Students can only access Slocum Hall during these times. Hours of access to facilities within the building are posted on the entrances of the King + King Architecture Library, computer facilities, laser cutting room, and wood shop. Facilities are closed to non-architecture students and faculty outside of business hours. Anyone not associated with the school should be accompanied at all times.

Building Security
Slocum Hall is intended for the use of School of Architecture students, faculty, and staff only. For safety reasons, all doors must remain closed and locked after hours and personal belongings must be secured when not in use. Security cameras have been installed in stairwells and at all entry doors to aid in deterrence. Please report suspicious activity to the Department of Public Safety at 315-443-2224, #78 (#SU) from your cell phone or by dialing 711 from a campus landline.

Please note that removal of any University property from the building is considered theft and will be reported to the Department of Public Safety as well as to the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities.

Every design student is assigned a personal workspace, and students are responsible for the proper maintenance of their assigned furnishings and the prompt reporting of any problems or damage. Workspaces must not be damaged through cutting or other model-making activities; each studio will have designated cutting surfaces for model building and students should own a plastic cutting surface. Desk repair request forms are available in the Dean’s Suite (204); see Beth Pierson.

Independent partitions in studio, built by students, are not permitted under any circumstances and are subject to removal. For fire safety reasons, all aisles, passageways, and exits must be kept clear of obstructions.

Sound Equipment
In consideration of other students, radios, mp3 players, laptops, CD players, and other types of sound equipment may only be used with headsets; this rule applies 24 hours a day.

Use of Electrical Devices
The use of multiple electrical devices requires the use of a surge protector. All surge protectors must be grounded (3-prongs). For safety reasons, the use of extension cords is prohibited. Violations of these practices create serious fire hazards and are subject to appropriate judicial procedures.

Studio Cleaning and Recycling
During the semester - Custodians are instructed to remove from studios all items that are either in a trash receptacle or on the floor, and they adhere to these instructions strictly. Anything left on the floor will be discarded. Trash accumulated on top of desks and under desks will not be removed. Please deposit trash in the designated receptacles to avoid fire hazards, increase work space, and maintain an orderly environment.

Recyclables (glass, cans, plastic, and paper) should be placed in the appropriate containers, which can be found throughout the building. Used cutting blades, batteries, and aerosol cans should be deposited in the white discard containers located within each studio. Do not dispose of blades in the regular trash as they are hazardous to the custodial staff.

End of each semester - Students must remove all supplies and other belongings from Slocum Hall at the end of each semester as directed by the building coordinator so that studios can be cleaned and maintained. Any items left behind will be discarded (NO EXCEPTIONS). The School will store studio chairs over the winter holidays and over summer break, free of charge.


For minor cuts and injuries, first aid kits and medical supplies are available in all studios, faculty suites on the third floor, the wood shop and in the main office. For more serious injuries or if you are in need of medical transportation, please call 911 or the Department of Public Safety at 315-443-2224, #78 (#SU) from your cell phone or by dialing 711 from a campus landline. The Student Health Services Center, 111 Waverly Avenue (315-443-2666) is available during the day and some evenings. It is closed on Sundays. For off-hour medical needs, several other medical facilities are available in the university area, including Crouse Prompt Care (Irving Ave and Waverly Ave), Crouse Hospital and University Hospital.

Syracuse University students are encouraged to download Rave Guardian, a free mobile app that turns any smartphone into a personal safety device by seamlessly integrating with the campus Orange Alert system.

Hazardous Materials
Slocum Hall is equipped with a ventilated spray booth which is accessible 24 hours a day next to the wood shop on the ground floor. All spraying must be done in the spray booth to avoid damage to property and serious risks to health. Spray painting and use of spray adhesives in other areas inside or outside Slocum Hall (especially the back loading dock and back stairwells) is strictly forbidden. Flammable materials should be kept in the fire closets also found in the Slocum wood shop. Use of these materials outside of the designated area can be extremely dangerous to everyone in Slocum Hall. Any violations are subject to appropriate University disciplinary action.

Use of the following hazardous waste materials in Slocum Hall is RESTRICTED to the spray booth:

  • solvents and flammables: mineral spirits, acetone, and turpentine
  • art chemicals: oil-based paint, brush cleaner, pigments, glue, epoxies, and resins
  • oil-based products: varnish, urethane, stain, surface coatings and adhesives
  • aerosol cylinders or pressurized containers of adhesives
  • two-part epoxy resin (sold at Slocum Hall bookstore) only

Drug and Alcohol Policy
In keeping with the University's alcohol policy, the consumption of alcoholic beverages is prohibited in Slocum Hall except at certain School events. No alcoholic beverages may be served to or consumed by anyone under the age of 21 under any circumstances. Similarly, the School does not permit or condone the possession, use, consumption, sale, or distribution of illegal drugs by students or employees on its property or as part of its activities.

Smoking Policy
Smoking and the use of all tobacco products—including cigarettes, cigars, snuff, pipes, chewing tobacco and products that imitate the act of smoking, such as vapor cigarettes—will be prohibited on all property owned, leased, or managed by Syracuse University, including outdoor spaces and University-owned vehicles. This policy applies to all University students, staff and faculty, as well as to vendors and visitors.

Service and Emotional Support Animals
Service and emotional support animals are accommodated through the Center for Disability Resources. Additional information can be found at or by calling 315-443-4498.

In Case of Theft
Report thefts to the Department of Public Safety desk located in Sims Hall. The University is not insured against loss of student personal property. Do not leave valuable items (including books) unsecured in the studios; desks and lockers should be locked when unattended. There is no secure storage available between semesters or academic years; personal belongings left in the building during the mid-year break or during the summer cannot be presumed to be safe.

Removal of any University property from the building is considered theft and will be reported to the Department of Public Safety as well as to the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities.


COVID-related computing changes:

  • The two computer labs discussed below are closed to physical access, but they are available remotely through the school’s RemoteLab.
  • The plot room is open Monday through Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., and is closed weeknights and weekends.
  • The plot room will distribute output through a kiosk; the plot room vestibule and plot room are closed to direct student access.

Computer Lab Policies
The School of Architecture offers 24-hour access to two computer labs in 004 Slocum and 014 Slocum.

  • All users of the computer labs are required to attend a computing orientation session prior to receiving access. Details for obtaining access can be found at
  • Model building of any type is prohibited in the computer labs. The tables and floors in the labs are not to be used for cutting or scoring. Painting, pasting, drafting and gluing must be done in the designated studio and model shop areas in Slocum Hall.
  • Food and drink are forbidden in the computer labs and plot room at all times. Anyone seen with food or drink in these spaces will have their computer account and access to lab computers, plotting and digital fabrication disabled for a minimum of two days.
  • Unauthorized reconfiguration of hardware or software on the lab computers is not permitted.
  • Display or printing of graphic materials that might contribute to an atmosphere of sexual or other forms of social and/or cultural harassment or intimidation is forbidden.
  • Vandalizing or removing any of the computer equipment will result in loss of lab access.
  • Unauthorized use of someone else’s account to login, or loaning one’s account to others is not allowed.
  • Remaining logged into a lab computer while not present is not permitted; unattended computers are automatically logged off after 25 minutes, and unsaved work will likely be lost.

 Plotting Policies

  • The plot room in 013 Slocum is open only when a plot monitor is on duty in the room. Accessing the plot room when it is closed is prohibited.
  • Plot supplies are handled only by designated monitors.
  • Fees are charged for all printing and plotting on school-owned devices. See for the most up-to-date plotting fee structure and procedures.
  • Only architecture course-related items may be printed on the printers and plotters.
  • Your account will be suspended if you change the priority of your print jobs to jump ahead of others on the print queue.

 Studio Computer Use
Students may bring their own computers and use them at their studio workspace (laptops are strongly preferred, and wireless capability is required).

 School-Wide Computer Practices & Recommendations
The School does not distribute or support unlicensed copies of software. Pirated software and cracks may contain malware that can affect the performance of a computer, as well as steal personal information or attempt to infect other machines on the network. Students must keep the original sales receipt of software purchased for their own computer if it is to be connected to the school network. Instructors of course work that use computing media may require students to provide a copy of the purchase receipt(s) for relevant software programs. This requirement is necessary for the School to avoid licensing violations and comply with software copyright laws. Copyright law forbids the copying or 'borrowing' of software programs owned or licensed by the School on lab or other school computers. Any student found copying, attempting to copy or in possession of illegally copied software may face disciplinary action by the School and University, including criminal prosecution.

The School of Architecture assumes NO responsibility for theft or damage of equipment left unattended in studios or computer labs. Students must secure their machines by using lockers or other lockable methods. Students who wish to have insurance should seek personal policies or check for coverage under existing policies. Students are reminded, as with all studio security, to take collective responsibility for excluding people who don’t belong in the studio. All problems should be reported to staff in 201 Slocum and/or the Department of Public Safety at 315-443-2224, #78 (#SU) from your cell phone or by dialing 711 from a campus landline.

Note: These regulations are subject to change as the School’s computing environment and practices evolve. Refer to the latest Computing Acceptable Use Policy and Practices: Students engaged in one or more prohibited computing practices may have their accounts suspended, removed and/or face disciplinary action through the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities.


Students must be registered for a summer architecture course or employed by the School of Architecture in order to use the School’s facilities over the summer. This includes the computer labs, plot room, laser cutters, CNC, woodshop, etc. Working for a faculty member without being paid by the school does not qualify. Working on a competition, taking a summer course at another university or college, or working on thesis also do not qualify. This is a matter of University policy and relates to questions of legal liability.


Email is the School and University’s primary means of communicating with students. All official email from University and School officials is through each student’s [netid] email account. Students may have accounts through other systems. However, all students and faculty are required to check their email address regularly. Students can do this through SUmail at


The Slocum Hall Fabrication Lab is closed when classes are not in session or when monitors are not available. The shop is for school-related projects only.


After a two-hour basic training / orientation session arranged by faculty, the students are free to use the facility and receive additional training as needed. Students must abide by the shop rules and seek training from the staff before attempting to use unfamiliar tools and equipment. Failure to do so could result in injury, machine damage or restricted use of the shop.

Safety Policies

  • Shop technicians must be consulted regarding safe and proper methods.
  • Eye protection must be worn while using the lab.
  • Hearing and respiratory protection must be worn where needed.      
  • Open-toed or high-heeled shoes are not allowed in any machine shop.
  • Long hair, loose clothing and jewelry present a hazard; take precautions.
  • Use all safety devices supplied with machines where applicable.
  • Do not work while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Other Shop Policies

  • Student materials may not be stored in the lab for more than 10 days.     
  • Materials must be free of chemicals, finishes, hardware or debris.
  • Masonry items such as concrete, plaster, clay or stone are prohibited.
  • Do not attempt to alter machine settings if you do not know how.
  • Do not remove tools or machine parts from the lab.
  • Clean and return all hand tools as soon as you are finished with them.
  • Clean off machine surfaces and the areas where you were working.


University Academic Rules—SEE COURSE CATALOG


The University's philosophy, policies, and procedures on Student Rights and Responsibilities are defined in the SU Student Handbook, available in 310 Steele Hall and online at The School of Architecture requires students to become familiar with the Code of Student Conduct as well as the University's Judicial System, which has jurisdiction over all matters relating to student behavior.


Syracuse University’s Academic Integrity Policy reflects the high value that we, as a university community, place on honesty in academic work. The policy defines our expectations for academic honesty and holds students accountable for the integrity of all work they submit. Students should understand that it is their responsibility to learn about course-specific expectations, as well as about university-wide academic integrity expectations. The policy governs appropriate citation and use of sources, the integrity of work submitted in exams and assignments, and the veracity of signatures on attendance sheets and other verification of participation in class activities. The policy also prohibits students from submitting the same work in more than one class without receiving written authorization in advance from both instructors. Under the policy, students found in violation are subject to grade sanctions determined by the course instructor and non-grade sanctions determined by the School or College where the course is offered as described in the Violation and Sanction Classification Rubric. SU students are required to read an online summary of the University’s academic integrity expectations and provide an electronic signature agreeing to abide by them twice a year during pre-term check-in on MySlice. For more information and the complete policy, see

Students in the School of Architecture are expected to conduct themselves in a manner that reflects the ethical ideals of the profession of architecture. Any breach of academic integrity is a violation of an assumed trust between the School and the student.

It is important to remember that the Academic Integrity Policy applies to all academic work. In studio the student may not copy, paraphrase, or reuse outside sources or the work of other students unless credit is clearly given. All media--including text, images and video, whether scanned from a book, downloaded from the internet or obtained by any means--must be properly credited in all presentations. If a student receives help in the execution of the design presentation (i.e., assistance in preparing drawings, images, digital or physical models, animations, or work of any kind), proper credit must be given at the time of presentation. Proper credit must be given if work is the result of a collaboration. Students at all levels are not permitted, under any circumstances, to offer compensation for assistance by other individuals in the preparation of any project.

Presenting someone else’s work, in any medium, as one’s own work is plagiarism, and will be considered by the School to be as serious a breach of academic integrity as cheating on exams.

Students may not present the work of others either as their own academic work or without proper citation in any context, including coursework, but also the preparation of a portfolio, website, or presentation outside the confines of an academic course. Such acts will be considered plagiarism, and treated as a breach of the Academic Integrity Policy.

Theft of Intellectual Property: Credit to Collaborators
Design and production collaborators for academic projects, thesis assistants, and work produced for a firm must be credited specifically. Credit must appear on sample pages and portfolios, or posted on the wall during thesis reviews.


  • Design collaboration with J. Doe. All images produced by T. Wang unless otherwise noted
  • Design and production collaboration with D. Park
  • Thesis Assistants – K. Okonjo, model. P. Rodriguez, rendering
  • Rendering produced for Samson Architects

Students who believe they have observed a violation of the Academic Integrity Policy should report the case to their instructor or the associate dean immediately. Students who believe they have observed a violation outside the confines of an academic course should report the case to the associate dean. It is the duty of the faculty and administrators at the School to bring cases of suspected violations to the University’s Center for Student and Learning Success for adjudication within five days.


The School of Architecture conducts student evaluations of all courses each semester. Course evaluations are online at the end of each term and are anonymous. Faculty are able to review the forms only after grades have been submitted.

The evaluation process is an essential function of the School and provides an opportunity for every student to contribute to that process. Therefore, it is important that students complete the online evaluations each time they are asked to participate.


Student work is officially the property of the student. It is, however, School policy to reproduce selected projects for educational purposes. Originals will be returned to the student, and the student may borrow the copy negatives. The cost of making reproductions of selected student work will be covered by the School. If student work is used after completion of the course in which it was created, it will be listed anonymously, or the student’s written permission will be secured if the student’s name is to be used.


In those instances where an individual is requesting a waiver of School policy, a review of an academic action, or special consideration, it is necessary to file a Petition to the Faculty form. This standard form is available at and should be completed and signed by the student. Any supporting documentation should be attached to the form. Petitions are submitted via email to the Graduate Student Advisor to be reviewed by the Architecture Graduate Program Chair.


The School of Architecture and Syracuse University fully comply with the Federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act and its implementing regulations, each as amended (collectively, FERPA), and with guidelines recommended by the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admission Officers. Please refer to University Academic Rules or for more detailed information.


Grading Chart

The following chart shows the grading system currently in effect throughout the University.

A= 4.0
A-= 3.6667
B+= 3.3333
B= 3.0
B-= 2.6667
C+= 2.3333
C= 2.0
C-= 1.6667
D= N/A
F= 0

For complete explanations of additional grading symbols such as WD (withdrew), NR (not required) and NA (did not attend), see the section regarding Academic Rules in the Graduate Course Catalog.

Advanced Standing and Credit Evaluation Exams

MArch applicants who have completed or are about to complete an undergraduate degree in a non-professional program in architecture or environmental studies may apply for advanced standing in design. Advanced standing is determined at the time of admission after a complete review of the applicant’s portfolio by representatives of the faculty. Students who are accepted with advanced standing will receive credit for ARC 604, ARC 605, ARC 621, ARC 681, and ARC 650.3, along with 1 history elective, 2 professional electives, and 2 open electives

Credit evaluation exams in the areas of Architectural History, Building Technology, and Structures are offered during the orientation week prior to the first week of classes. Students who receive a grade of “B” or better on these exams will receive equivalency credits in these subject areas that can be applied to the total number of credits required to graduate. Students entering with advanced standing who receive a grade of “B” or better will be able to waive specific courses in these subject areas, but will need to substitute elective credits, as 76 credits is the fewest credits with which the MArch degree can be completed.

Global Programs

The School of Architecture offers a variety of opportunities for off-campus study. To participate in off-campus programs, students must be in good academic standing, with a GPA of 2.5 or higher.

Scholarship is available for Global Programs, however, students must be registered for their program by April 15 in order to be considered for any scholarship for the upcoming summer (programs offered between May and August).

While every attempt will be made to accommodate accepted students for the semester of their choice (spring and/or summer), the School of Architecture reserves the right to apportion students among semesters to create balanced enrollments.

Graduation and GPA Requirements

All graduate students at Syracuse University must achieve a 2.8 GPA in the first 30 credit hours of graduate work in order to maintain matriculated status. Equivalent credit is not included in the computation of the GPA for graduation.

Students must also maintain a GPA of 2.8 for any one semester or they will be placed on academic probation

Students on academic probation who do not achieve a GPA of 2.8 in their probationary semester will be required to take a one year leave of absence from the program. Details on academic probation appear elsewhere in this handbook.

Students in the MArch program must maintain a design GPA of at least 2.8 for the first two consecutive studios in the curriculum (ARC 604, 605 OR ARC 606, 608). Otherwise, one of the two studios must be repeated and completed with a grade sufficient to achieve the 2.8 average.

The minimum passing grade for graduate students is “C-”, however, the minimum passing grade for Visiting Critic Studio (ARC 608 & 609) is “C”.

In order to graduate, students must achieve a 3.0 GPA overall, excluding transferred credit.

The grade of incomplete is granted only for unusual circumstances beyond the student’s control, and must be petitioned by the student on the official form available on the Office of the Registrar webpage, The petition must be approved and signed by the course instructor and the Chair of Graduate Programs no later than the last day of classes. A maximum of one year is allowed for removal of the incomplete. An Incomplete equals zero towards the GPA until the final work is submitted and the faculty member submits a new grade. If the final work is not submitted by the assigned date, the grade defaults to that specified by the instructor in the petition and is calculated as such into the GPA

A student may be required to complete or repeat certain elements of a course to remove an incomplete grade. Students should not register for the course a second time; incomplete grades are not removed by re-registering for the course.

Audited courses are non-credit, do not meet any degree requirements, and are not counted toward enrollment status. Auditing a class is free for graduate students who are taking nine or more credit hours during the fall and spring semesters. If a student is taking fewer than nine credits, tuition for the course is 60% of the normal cost. Courses audited in the summer are charged 60% of normal cost regardless of the amount of credits registered.

Grade Appeal Policy

The following set of statements is aligned with normal practice at Syracuse University for a student seeking resolution to a grievance of a course grade.

  1. The assignment of grades at SU is the responsibility of the faculty; once assigned by a member of the faculty, a grade cannot be changed without his or her consent, except by due process as detailed below. In cases where the instructor of record is not a member of the faculty, the faculty member charged with oversight of that instructor is ultimately responsible for the assignment of grades.
  2. A course grade is based upon the instructor’s professional assessment of the academic quality of the student’s performance on a body of work. Such assessments are non-negotiable, and disputes about them do not constitute valid grounds for an appeal. Valid grounds can arise, e.g., when an instructor fails to provide or implement uniform and consistent standards, or bases an assessment on criteria other than academic performance.
  3. Unless there are issues of a personal nature, the appeal process for a grade dispute begins with the instructor of record. Failure to comply with this may be grounds for denial of subsequent appeals. Any appeal beyond the instructor of record must be initiated in writing to the department chair before the last day of classes of the academic semester immediately following the one in which the aggrieved grade was received by the Registrar. This written appeal should describe the basis for the grievance, the informal steps taken to resolve the dispute, and the remedies sought.
  4. If satisfaction is not obtained at this or any subsequent level, the appeal always moves to the next level of authority. The levels in succession are: the instructor of record, faculty member in charge of the course, the department chair and the associate dean of the School.
  5. At each level of appeal, a fair and thorough hearing of all views is sought before a decision is made. This may, but need not, require a face-to-face meeting of the parties directly involved in the dispute. A decision may be reached if both student and instructor agree. If such a decision cannot be reached, a panel designated by the college for this purpose shall hear the case.

    1. The panel shall have a quorum of three faculty members.
    2. All voting members of the panel shall be tenured faculty.
    3. No member of the panel shall hear a case who has been involved in a previous stage of the appeal.
    4. Membership of the panel shall be fixed and made public in a given academic year, though replacements may be made in the event of resignations.
    5. Membership of the panel shall be approved by the faculty of the school or college, or by a representative group of the faculty, in each academic year.
    6. The Senate Committee on Instruction shall approve the manner of selection and charge of a school or college’s panel before its first case. The committee shall also approve any subsequent changes in the manner of selection or charge of each college or school’s panel. The panel may, at its discretion, meet with the aggrieved parties either separately or together. The decision of this panel, either to deny the student’s original appeal or to authorize the Registrar to change the grade, shall be final. The panel shall inform both the student and the instructor of its decision in writing. The panel shall also summarize the case and its outcome in a written report to the Senate Committee on Instruction. Said committee may include summary statistics on grade disputes in its final report to the Senate.

  6. The only grounds for any further appeal shall be irregularities in the above procedures.
  7. In such cases, either party may appeal the final decision of the faculty panel to the Senate Committee on Instruction. The Senate Committee on Instruction may either deny the appeal or insist that the procedure begin anew at the point the irregularity occurred.
  8. All stages of the appeal process shall be kept confidential to the maximum extent possible, consistent with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.

Repeating Courses

Any course in which a student has received a grade of “C+” or lower may be repeated. Graduate courses may be retaken only once. (The exception is Thesis, which may be retaken twice). A repeated course replaces the original course on the student’s degree program of study, but both the original course and the repeated course will appear on the student’s transcript and both courses will calculate, unless the original course is flagged.


Academic Probation
Students in the School of Architecture will be placed on academic probation when their fall or spring semester GPA is less than 2.8, and will be advised of this action in a letter from the Chair of Graduate Programs. Grades received during the summer, including study abroad, are not included in this policy. Students with a GPA of less than 2.8 for two consecutive fall and spring semesters will be required to take a minimum one-year leave of absence. Re-admission after such a leave of absence will be on a two semester trial basis during which the student must take a minimum of 12 credit hours per semester and satisfy the minimum academic GPA requirements mentioned above to remain in the program. Students in the latter stages of the program who satisfy the previously mentioned criteria, but have a cumulative GPA below 3.0, will be required to submit a plan for attaining the 3.0 GPA required to graduate. For more information on policies and procedures, please refer to the section, Academic Rules, in the Graduate Course Catalog.

Leave of Absence
Students can initiate a leave of absence for financial, health, or personal reasons. This is usually granted for a maximum of one year. The official Leave of Absence form requires a description of conditions of re-admittance into the program, determined by the chair of graduate programs, or the dean, and agreed to by the student. If the leave is for health reasons, submission of a medical statement is required. Students receiving financial aid must inform the Office of Financial Aid. To initiate re-admittance, the student must file a Petition to Faculty form,, with the graduate program and the graduate school. The effective date of any leave of absence is recorded on the student’s transcript.


Timetable for Degree Completion

University policy states that master’s candidates have seven years to complete their degree from the date of first registration.

Graduation Procedures

Students are required to complete a Diploma Request Form, available on their MySlice portal, Student Home/Academics, and a Program of Study form for submission to the Graduate School by the designated date of their final semester. The Schedule of Dates is posted each semester. These forms are completed in consultation with the Graduate Programs Office. Please contact Jennifer Klemenz at or 315-443-6783 with any questions.


COVID-related advising policies:

  • Students are able to meet with their academic advisor remotely.
  • Students will use the Orange SUccess Virtual Kiosk to sign in for a drop-in remote advising session.
  • Absolutely no in-person, drop-in advising appointments will be allowed.
  • In situations where meeting with an advisor in person is critical, students may request an in-person appointment in advance.  Appointments are accepted through Orange SUccess.

Academic Advising

Academic advising is required for all MArch and MS Architecture program students and is conducted by the chair of graduate programs and the Office of Student Services. Meetings are to be arranged prior to each semester’s registration to agree on the academic sequence, credit hour load, and class choices. Students should be prepared to present an updated academic plan at each advising session.

Submitting Official Degree Bearing Transcripts

Students entering the MArch and MS Programs who have completed their undergraduate studies during the prior spring semester, must request that their undergraduate institution submit an official degree bearing transcript to Syracuse University by the end of their first fall semester. If the official degree bearing transcript is not received by the Syracuse University Graduate School by the end of the fall semester, registration will not be permitted for courses for the coming spring semester. Please note that students who are dependent on federal financial aid will need to provide their official degree bearing transcript before the start of their first semester in order to receive federal financial assistance (including Federal Direct student loans).

Degree Works
Syracuse University uses Degree Works ( to help students track degree progress. Students can access Degree Works through MySlice, Student Home/Advising. It is each student’s responsibility to review this information and discuss any discrepancies with an academic advisor to ensure all program requirements are fulfilled.

Orange SUccess

Orange SUccess is a web-based advising tool available to students through their MySlice and Blackboard accounts. Find and click the link in the Student Home/Advising tile of MySlice or the ‘tools’ panel of Blackboard. After signing in, see the Orange Success icon on the screen. Your Home page includes access to a customizable profile and personalized channels connected to faculty and advisors. Orange Success is used in the graduate program to schedule advising meetings and report advising issues and for mid-semester progress reports in select courses. It is sometimes also used to report other academic or non-academic concerns. For more information, login to Orange SUccess.

Professional and Open Electives
Professional electives consist of elective courses taken within the School of Architecture. A list of current offerings is posted each semester before registration begins. Any architectural history course or elective can also be considered a professional elective. Any graduate level course (with a number of 500 or greater) within the University related to the study of architecture may be taken as an open elective. Selection and registration for electives outside of the School of Architecture require permission of the Chair of Graduate Programs with Petition to Faculty form ( Any architectural history or professional elective can be considered an open elective.

Graduate students typically can only receive credit toward their degree from courses numbered 500 or higher. However, upper-level undergraduate courses may be taken as open electives with the permission of both the Chair and the course instructor. To do so, students must register for the course with an Independent Study form and, in consultation with both the Chair and the course instructor, devise assignments in addition to those required in the course syllabus (see “Independent Study” below).

Professional Internships
Professional internships do not count as credit towards the MArch or MS degrees. International students completing professional internships to fulfill Curricular Practical Training (CPT) requirements must register for (ARC 670) “Experience Credit” which does not qualify as credit towards the degree but will apply towards the overall cumulative GPA. Experience Credit forms are located on the Registrar’s Office website:

A faculty sponsor must be secured in order to register for ARC 670 “Experience Credit.” Internships require a sponsor at the place of employment to submit a letter in advance outlining the nature of the experience to be gained and stating his/her agreement to evaluate the student’s performance.

Independent Study (690 course suffix)

Students may elect to pursue an Independent Study as part of their academic program, successful completion of which will be credited towards their professional or open elective requirements. The form, Proposal for Independent Study Courses may be found at .

It must be completed and submitted by the student in advance of the semester in which the work will be done. The proposal should define a clear topic, intended contact with faculty advisor, expectation of results, and terms of evaluation. It must be approved and signed by the chair of graduate programs and the faculty member advising the work. Graduate students who take an undergraduate class as an open elective are required to petition to take the class as Independent Study. See Section 5.5 Petitioning Process. The Proposal for Independent Study Courses should be completed and, in consultation with the chair of graduate programs and the course instructor, graduate-level assignments devised in addition to, or to replace, those required in the course syllabus.


Registration for the following term occurs approximately one month before the end of each semester. Descriptions of courses offered by the School of Architecture are emailed to students and posted on the academic bulletin board near the second-floor elevator.

It is the student’s responsibility to track progress and meet the requirements of the program. An extensive and personal counseling network exists to assist in realizing the maximum educational benefits available within the School and the University. Students are strongly encouraged to take advantage of this network. Information on University advising and counseling services is found at

Dropping/Adding Courses
Important academic deadlines are published in the University Academic Calendar. The academic calendar can be found at

The deadline to add or drop a course on MySlice is one week from the first day of classes. Students may drop courses after the MySlice ADD/DROP deadline with a drop form which is available in the Student Services Office, room 201 Slocum Hall. However, tuition refunds are given only until the financial drop deadline, after which there is no refund. For graduate students, the financial drop deadline for each semester is three weeks from the first day of classes. Instructor and chair approval are required to drop a class with the drop form. Please refer to the academic calendar on the SU Registrar Office webpage for these important dates.



Graduate Assistantships (GAs) are appointed in the areas of teaching and research. GAs in teaching (teaching assistants, or TAs) are awarded for academic merit and demonstrated excellence in a core area of study: Design, Media, History, Theory, Technology, Structures, or Computing. GAs in research (research assistants or RAs) are awarded for academic merit and capacity to assist a particular faculty member in his/her area of research. TAs in design are awarded on an annual basis in a student’s final year, while TAs in other fields are awarded at the beginning of the academic year. A GA in the School of Architecture requires a commitment of between 10 to 20 hours per week and provides between six and 12 credit hours of remitted tuition and a stipend each semester. Students must maintain a 3.0 GPA, and may not be enrolled in more than 13 credits during the terms in which they serve as a TA. This may have the impact of extending a student’s program by one semester. All new TAs are required to attend an orientation program administered by the Graduate School, and all new and continuing TAs are required to attend a School of Architecture orientation. GAs are assigned by the Chair of Graduate Programs and are administered by the School of Architecture graduate program office.


TA positions are generally awarded to continuing Masters students, with rare exceptions made for outstanding first-year students should the need arise.

Students assigned TAships may not register for more than 13 credits during the academic year terms in which they are serving as a TA. (International TAs who are required by the graduate school to enroll in English language coursework in parallel to their TA assignment must register for no more than 13 credits total, including the language coursework.)

Students must maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA to maintain eligibility for a TA assignment.

To be eligible for a TA appointment for a course, a student must have successfully completed with a grade of B or better, have received equivalent credit from the school's equivalent credit evaluation process, or have transferred equivalent graduate coursework from another institution for the course in question or the MArch equivalent of the BArch course.

Students must have held and successfully completed at least one three-credit course TA assignment to be eligible for a TA assignment in the ARC 107/108 studio sequence.

End of term student evaluations and faculty assessments of TA performance are weighed heavily in the assignment of TA positions.

Students must not be on probation for Academic Integrity or Student Conduct Violations. 

Additionally, students are expected to inform the school of any open Academic Integrity or Student Conduct investigations at the time they are applying to a TAship, and if violations are confirmed during their contract.


Research and Design Internships are awarded each semester to provide an opportunity for students to assist faculty with their scholarly and creative work outside of the RA program. These are positions that require a smaller time commitment than an RA, and do not include a tuition award or stipend. Research and Design Interns (RIs) are paid an hourly rate for up to 10 hours per week. In advance of each semester, the graduate office solicits applications from students and faculty.

While all graduate students are eligible for program-sponsored RIships, we prioritize the awarding of RIships to academically qualified students who are not already assigned research or teaching assistantships. Teaching assistants who apply for an RIship are considered on a case by case basis to help ensure the integrity and quality of the RI program. It is strongly recommended students enroll in no more than 13 credits while assigned a Research Intern position.


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