Printable VPA Graduate Student Handbook [PDF 608KB]

Welcome to Syracuse University

Dear Graduate Student:

Welcome to the College of Visual and Performing Arts, the home college of your degree program at Syracuse University, YOUR college. The Office of Research, Graduate Studies, and Internationalization provides you with additional resources so you can successfully navigate through the graduate school world. While you have been assigned a faculty advisor in your department, this office exists to provide any additional support you may need. We can offer targeted answers to some of your questions or direct you to appropriate administrative offices when the scope of your need is beyond our capacity.

This handbook provides you with detailed information about every aspect of graduate studies in the College of Visual and Performing Arts and highlights some of the issues and topics we believe are most relevant to new graduate students in the disciplines of our college. Syracuse University provides several additional publications, both in paper and online, and they are excellent supplements to this handbook.

Please read these pages carefully and familiarize yourself with our organization, deadlines, advising requirements, and more. If you have any questions or concerns, please call 315.443.7175 or stop by our office in 205 Crouse College.

Welcome and best wishes of a successful, creative, meaningful, and exciting graduate career in the College of Visual and Performing Arts.

Best regards,

Elisa Macedo Dekaney, Ph.D.
Associate Dean for Research, Graduate Studies, and Internationalization


Welcome to Syracuse University’s College of Visual and Performing Arts! 

The College of Visual and Performing Arts at Syracuse University is dedicated to providing a nurturing environment where the faculty helps students develop their creative and scholarly abilities. The college opened in September 1873 as the College of Fine Arts and was the first college in the United States to grant a bachelor of fine arts degree in painting and a degree in music. Together, students and faculty play a vital role in the academic and cultural life of the University as well as the greater Syracuse community.

The College of Visual and Performing Arts is comprised of the School of Art, Department of Film and Media Arts, Department of Communication and Rhetorical Studies, School of Design, the Setnor School of Music, and the Department of Drama.

The School of Art is located in the Shaffer Art Building and the Comstock Art Facility. The Department of Film and Media Arts is located in the Shaffer Art Building.

The School of Design is located in The Warehouse at 350 W. Fayette St. in downtown Syracuse.

The Department of Communication and Rhetorical Studies is located in 100 Sims Hall, adjacent to the Shaffer Art Building.

The Setnor School of Music is located in Crouse College and in the Shaffer Art Building. The Setnor Auditorium in Crouse College hosts the Crouse Concert series and is one of the oldest series of its kind in the United States. Approximately 175 recitals and concerts are held in the Setnor Auditorium during the academic year. The Office of the Dean, Undergraduate Student Affairs, and Financial Affairs Office are also located in Crouse College.

All graduate degree programs at Syracuse University are organized under the Graduate School (with the exception of the College of Law.) All graduate degrees are conferred by the Graduate School, but each degree program is offered by the faculty of one of the University’s other twelve schools and colleges. This organizational structure, not commonly found in higher education, promotes opportunities for cross-fertilization of ideas among disciplines and students. It also recognizes that academic work at the graduate level is highly specialized by nature.

Your application for admission to Syracuse University is processed through the Enrollment Management Processing Center and the Office of Research and Graduate Studies in the College of Visual and Performing Arts. Your permanent file is housed in Student Records at the Office of the Registrar, 106 Steele Hall. The Office of Research & Graduate Studies also maintains a copy of your file in 205 Crouse College. All of your academic paperwork, such as petitions, add/drop forms, proposals for independent study, and any other forms or correspondence relating to your progress and program of study should go to the VPA Office of Research & Graduate Studies, 205 Crouse College. We will forward all required documents you file with this office to Students Records and the Graduate School. If you wish to see your file, you can call 315.443.7175 and make an appointment to meet with our staff.

Syracuse University complies with provisions of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA), which protects the privacy of educational records and your right of access to them. (This policy in its entirety is included in this handbook and in the Syracuse University Bulletin, Graduate Course Catalog, Academic Rules and Regulations.)

Academic Advising

Academic advising is an essential component of a Syracuse University education. The University is committed to providing the individual advice and assistance that students need at every step throughout their degree programs. A successful system of academic advising is highly dependent upon a shared commitment of students, faculty, and staff to the timely processing of accurately information.

Students are responsible for scheduling and preparing for appointments; for seeking out contacts and information; and for knowing the basic requirements of their individual degree programs. Students bear the final responsibility for making their own decisions based on the best information and advice available and, ultimately, on their own judgment.

Advisors are faculty with thorough knowledge of the degree requirements within the students’ program of study and a working knowledge of academic options and resources throughout the University.

The University, through its schools and colleges, supports a campus-wide network of information regarding policies, procedures, resources, and programs. The University also acknowledges the important contribution advisors make to the community through appropriate recognition within the institutional reward system.

Your First Semester

Undergraduate Transcripts

You must provide documentation that all post-secondary coursework has been completed. Possibly, you were accepted into your program at Syracuse University based on a transcript that did not reflect your undergraduate degree completion. If that is the case, please request that your undergraduate institution send a sealed official degree-bearing transcript that indicates the completion of your baccalaureate degree, or an equivalent international degree, to:

Syracuse University
Graduate Admission Processing PO Box 35060
Syracuse, NY 13225-5060

 by the end of your first semester.

For degrees obtained outside the U.S., students must provide acceptable documentation of the degree, such as a certificate or diploma.

Current Address

It is your responsibility to provide the University with current contact and emergency contact information. MySlice is the University portal that combines content and applications and can be personalized by each user. This is where you will change your address, register for classes, look at your grades, class schedule, etc. Please keep your contact information up to date through MySlice. All communication from the University to you depends on the accuracy of this data.

Activate your NetID and login to MySlice at

Program of Study

What is a Program of Study and why do I need it?

Sometime during your first semester, a tentative Program of Study should be designed with your advisor. Keep a copy as a reference as you prepare to register each semester. A final Program of Study must be submitted to the VPA Office of Research & Graduate Studies at the beginning of your last semester. You cannot be certified unless the signed Program of Study is in your file. A Program of Study form is available online at: or from the Office of Research & Graduate Studies. The Program of Study serves two functions:

  • it provides a clear plan for you to follow to complete your degree,
  • when signed by your advisor and department chair and submitted during your last semester, it is used to certify your degree completion. It is mandatory for degree certification.

As a matriculated graduate student, you are admitted to a specific graduate degree program that is registered with the New York State Department of Education. Although graduate degree requirements allow for a certain degree of flexibility, such as the specific courses you will take and the choice of different completion requirements such as a thesis, faculty guided research project, or a final presentation, you will need to complete certain specific requirements for your degree. Discuss closely with your advisor, the Chair of your department, or your graduate coordinator, to determine the program of study you will need to follow to fulfill your degree requirements.

Multiple Programs or a Change in Programs at SU

Special rules apply to coursework that you would like to count toward more than one graduate degree. If you change your degree program, you must file a new program of study.

Transfer Credit 

What is Transfer Credit?

Transfer credit is any credit not undertaken as a matriculated graduate student at SU that you wish to apply to your current program of study. This includes the following kinds of credit:

  • Graduate coursework taken as an undergraduate at SU and not counted toward your undergraduate degree
  • Graduate coursework taken at SU before you were admitted to your graduate degree program (as a non- matriculated student – this is known as “restricted credit” and transfer is limited to 12 credits)
  • Graduate coursework taken at another institution

General Rules about Transfer Credit

There are limits to the number of credits you may transfer in depending upon your program of study and other factors. A maximum of 30% of a degree’s required credits can be transferred and counted toward your master’s degree at SU. For example, only 18 credits of graduate coursework can be transferred in and applied to your program of study if you are in a 60 credit M.F.A. program. Additionally, the coursework must form an integral part of the degree program. See Sections

38.2  and 46.3 of the Academic Rules and Regulations.

All coursework considered for transfer must be clearly graduate level work with a grade equivalent to a B or better, and it must comply with all time limitations. No transfer credit will be awarded for coursework taken on a pass/fail basis.

How do I File for Transfer Credit?

Provide documentation (transcripts) of all post-secondary coursework that you would like to be considered for transfer credit to SU. Send official degree-bearing transcripts directly to the VPA Office of Research & Graduate Studies. If you completed a degree just prior to admission to SU, have your prior institution send a final transcript to Enrollment Management Processing.

For degrees obtained outside the U.S., students must provide acceptable documentation of the degree, such as a certificate or diploma.

To request transfer credit, submit a Petition to the Faculty signed by your advisor and department chair to the VPA Office of Research & Graduate Studies.

Transfer credit will only be considered with departmental endorsement specifying which courses are to be transferred and the number of credit hours to be granted toward degree requirements.

Points to Keep in Mind about Transfer Credit

  • Application for transfer credit should be filed within your first twelve credits of graduate study at SU.
    • Transfer credit must be listed on your Program of Study along with SU coursework that will count toward your degree program.

Any Semester

Status as a Full-Time Graduate Student

The University publication titled Academic Rules and Regulations is part of the Graduate Course Catalog and can be found online at Your status is often important for deferring educational loans and for becoming eligible for certain privileges at SU. It is critical for international students to maintain full-time status. Below is the excerpt that defines full-time for graduate students.

Students meeting any one of the following criteria will be considered full-time graduate students during a given semester:

  1. Registration for 9 credits for spring or fall (or 6 credits during a given summer session) in a program approved by the student’s graduate advisor.
  2. Appointment as a Teaching Assistantship or by holding a Syracuse University Fellowship.
  3. The student’s academic unit (department, program or college, as appropriate) certifies that the student is pursuing a full-time program of study by virtue of an appropriate combination of activities chosen from among the following: study for preliminary, qualifying, or comprehensive examinations; study to satisfy language or tool requirements; work on a dissertation or thesis; undertaking an internship that equates with at least 9 credits of coursework; other special circumstances, as specified and justified by the academic unit.

Under circumstances (2) or (3) above, if the student is not registered for any coursework, including registration for master’s thesis or doctoral dissertation credits, he/she must be registered for GRD 998 (zero credits) Degree in Progress.

NOTE: Matriculated students must be registered during the fall and spring semesters. If a student is not registered for coursework during a semester, they must register for GRD 998 to maintain their active status. Matriculated students who are not registered during a fall or spring semester will be automatically discontinued.

SUMMER SESSIONS - Full-time status is determined separately for each of the two summer sessions. To be considered full-time over the entire summer, a student must register for a total of 12 credits or satisfy the requirements of (2) or (3) above.

Additional Degree Requirements

The Office of Research & Graduate Studies is responsible for certifying your degree (with the exception of those choosing thesis as an exit option), so be sure that your department notifies the Office of Research & Graduate Studies when you have successfully completed your comprehensive exam, oral examination, faculty guided research project or final presentation. If you have chosen to write a thesis or dissertation, consult the Graduate School website at for special publications regarding deadlines and thesis format. Remember that even thesis students must submit all paperwork to the Office of Research & Graduate Studies. We will then forward it on to the Graduate School.

Applying for a Leave of Absence

It is the responsibility of each graduate student to maintain current registration each semester until graduation. If you plan to suspend work toward your degree for one or more semesters, you must file for a leave of absence.

Keep the following in mind:

  • Your department must approve a leave of absence for a specific period of time that will allow you to return and resume studies.
  • While you are on a leave of absence, you are not permitted to register at SU for any coursework.
  • It is important that you reach an agreement with your department regarding how the leave will affect your timeframe for completing degree requirements. Youmay want to consider recording the terms of your leave on a Petition to the Faculty, signed by your department.
    • If your leave begins before the end of a semester, you will need to make arrangements regarding completion of coursework. Check the semester dates published by the Registrar.
    • Leaves of Absence for Medical Reasons: Students taking a leave of absence from the University for medical reasons must go through the Office of Student Assistance, 306 Steele Hall and obtain approval of Health Services and/or the Counseling Center for a medical leave of absence to take effect. In addition, except in extraordinary circumstances, the student must participate in an exit interview with the Office of Student Assistance, 306 Steele Hall, prior to departure. If extraordinary circumstances exist, then the student may apply to the appropriate unit for consideration of retroactive approval of a medical leave of absence. Such application must be made within 60 days of the student’s last date of class attendance.
      • Upon your return from a leave of absence, you must file a Petition to the Faculty for readmission to your graduate program. This form must be approved and signed by your department and submitted to the Office of Research & Graduate Studies. If your leave was health-related, you must submit medical information to the SU Health Center for readmission to the University.
      • A leave of absence may affect the status of a loan or other financial support. Check with your department, the Financial Aid Office, and the Graduate School.
      • Check the Academic Calendar published by the Registrar. The date your leave of absence is effective is subject to the published financial deadlines.

Credit for Undergraduate Courses

If you are pursuing graduate level study in connection with attendance in an undergraduate level course, you must obtain permission from the instructor to register for the course as an independent study (690) in order to get the graduate credit.

Courses taken at the undergraduate level (400 and below) cannot be applied to your program of study. Make sure your Proposal for Independent Study stipulates the specific activities/requirements that bring the independent study coursework up to the graduate level. That is, when taking undergraduate courses as 690s, one must complete additional work in order to make the study a graduate-level experience. Failure to stipulate and complete additional work will result in the denial of graduate credit.

Zero Credit Registration

All academic units offer the option to register for thesis or final project. There is also a “Degree in Progress” option, numbered GRD 998, available for zero credit. It is appropriate to register for zero credits when you are actively engaged in work toward your final graduate research, thesis, or project, which is not reflected in credit hour registration. Zero credit registration may be the only registration on your record for any given semester, or it may be in combination with other coursework. When registered for “zero” credits, you may be able to maintain a full-time, active student status without tuition cost. This entitles you to use all campus resources, such as the libraries and computer clusters. “Certification of Full-Time Status” form would need to be completed, see the Graduate Recorder in 205 Crouse College. Be sure to consult your principal departmental advisor.

Dropping a Course

By the Financial Deadline

The course will not be recorded on your transcript and will not be included in the calculation of your GPA. You will not be charged tuition for credits dropped before this deadline.

By the Academic Deadline

The course will not be recorded on your transcript and will not be included in the calculation of your GPA, but you are not eligible for a tuition refund.

By the Last Day to Withdraw From a Course

The course will remain on your transcript with a grade of WD but will not be included in the calculation of your GPA. You are not eligible for a tuition refund.

AFTER the Last Day to Withdraw From a Course

The professor may assign a grade based on the work completed. The grade assigned will be included in the calculation of your GPA. You are not eligible for a tuition refund.

The actual dates of the deadlines listed above shift from year to year. Refer to your current Schedule of Classes located online at for deadlines.

Academic Forms

Petitions are used to serve a number of purposes, some pro forma, others unusual. Pro forma petitions are the:

  • Request for an Incomplete
  • Proposal for Independent Study Courses
  • Add/Drop Forms
  • Petition to the Faculty

There are a number of uses for the Petition to the Faculty. For example, requesting transfer credits for graduate courses taken at another university.

Although Requests for Incompletes and Proposals for Independent Studies do not require the Assistant Dean’s signature, they must be sent to the Office of Research & Graduate Studies, 205 Crouse College, so that copies can be placed in your file before they are forwarded to the Registrar’s office.

Student in Good Standing

Tobe a graduate student in good standing, you must comply with the Graduate Grading Standards which considers passing grades as A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, and C-. The D grade is not an option for graduate students (see Syracuse University Bulletin, Academic Rules and Regulations 39.0).

The minimum G.P.A. for graduate work is 2.8 in the first 30 credits (Academic Rules and Regulations, 43.1).

Certification for an advanced degree requires a minimum average of 3.0 for work comprising the program for the degree and a 2.8 average for all credits earned (Academic Rules and Regulations, 43.2. For petition and exclusion consult the Academic Rules and Regulations, 43.3).

Specific programs in the College of Visual and Performing Arts can require the passing of additional reviews, examinations, and assessments of graduate work for a graduate student to be considered in good standing. Such reviews and assessments can result in continuation without reservations, continuation during a probationary period or termination of student status (see policies specific to each program or area).


You should check your grades carefully at the end of each semester to confirm you were given the correct grade or to confirm that any Incompletes you completed have been removed from your transcript. An Incomplete will count as the predetermined grade indicated on your Request for Incomplete form until it is removed and may affect your academic standing. Check with your departmental advisor to determine the grade point average you must maintain in order to be considered in good standing (it may vary slightly from program to program).

Concurrent or Sequential Programs of Study

In cases where two or more distinct master’s degrees (for example, Museum Studies and Art History) are awarded by Syracuse University to one student, the minimum number of credits needed must be at least 80 percent of the combined total of Syracuse credits normally required for each of the separate degrees. However, two 30-credit master’s degrees requires

a minimum of 51 credits, and three 30-credit master’s degrees for requires a minimum 72 credits. Youmust apply and be admitted to each master’s program. The Program of Study for each of the degrees being earned must be submitted to the VPA Office of Research & Graduate Studies and approved prior to the awarding of either degree. Interested students should consult their department and the Office of Research & Graduate Studies for specific requirements and procedures.

Registration Information

You will need to login to MySlice to:

  • Register for classes
  • Make changes to an existing schedule (see Academic calendar)
  • View registration access appointment (availability varies according to time of year)
  • View holds, including financial holds
  • View or update addresses and other contact information
  • View grades

MySlice Availability for Registration

The MySlice portal is scheduled to be available twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week; however, regularly scheduled system downtimes will occur. Check the ANNOUNCEMENTS on MySlice for advance notification of downtimes. Client services system support is available during regular University business hours.

  • You can access MySlice from any internet-connected computer on or off campus.
  • Web addresses: or the MySlice link from the Registrar’s Office homepage,
  • Review instructions online at the Registrar’s homepage,

After the Schedule Adjustments period, you are a late registrant. At that time, Add/Drop Forms are used to change registration. Schedule adjustments can no longer be completed online on MYSLICE.


SU has four degree-granting dates a year. They are in May, June, August, and December. To initiate your graduate degree certification process, you must first file a diploma request. As soon as you register for your last semester, file a Diploma Request on MySlice. On your Diploma Request, you should specify your name as you wish it to appear on your diploma, the degree and program for which you are currently applying, and a permanent address (good for at least six months after your degree is conferred) to which your diploma can be mailed.

Make sure you have filed a Program of Study and that all other documentation required for your degree has been approved by your department and forwarded to the Office of Research and Graduate Studies. If you are required to write a thesis, check the appropriate Graduate School publications for specific procedures and deadlines. These are available online at and specify in detail the procedures you must follow: Procedures for Graduate Candidates: Steps and Format Guidelines for Theses and Dissertations and Format Guidelines for Theses and Dissertations should be of concern only to students who are writing graduate theses (not final presentations/projects).

Step-by-step Procedures for Your Final Semester

  1. File a Diploma Request on MySlice:
  2. File a final Program of Study that reflects your actual (as opposed to earlier proposed) record of courses. It

should be approved by your department and signed. The original should then be sent to the VPA Office of Research & Graduate Studies for approval.

  1. All Incompletes and missing grades must be resolved. Youshould check your transcripts and make sure there are no Incompletes remaining.
  2. If you are not taking classes during your final semester you must register for zero credit hours to keep your registration current (see below for description of procedures).
  3. All outstanding grades (including independent studies) must be resolved. Check your transcripts!
  4. All petitions must be approved by the Graduate School (time extensions, transfer credits, independent studies, etc.).
  5. All previous degrees must be properly documented, on file, and approved by the Graduate School.
  6. All transfer credit must be properly documented, on file, and approved by the Graduate School.

If you have any questions, call the Office of Research & Graduate Studies at 315.443.7175.

Comprehensive Examinations for Student

Students taking comprehensive examinations must consult departmental procedures and guidelines. These should be available through your departmental advisor.

Two weeks prior to the examination date

  • The oral examination must be scheduled (time, place, and date).
  • DO NOT submit a Request for Examination to the Graduate School.

One week prior to the examination date

Presentation/Research material needs to be submitted to the examining committee.

Upon completion of the examination

The fully signed Report of the Examining Committee must be filed by your area’s director with the Office of Research & Graduate Studies, 205 Crouse College. A final copy signed by the assistant dean for graduate student services will be forwarded to the Graduate School.

Final Presentation/Research Project Registered for 996 (not to be confused with a written thesis)

Students doing a Final Presentation/Research Project (registered for 996) should check with their department for procedures:

Copies of the project/presentation should not be submitted to the Graduate School.


Students defending a thesis (registered for 997) must complete the following procedures:

Before the Graduate School’s Published Deadlines

  • Submit a Request for Examination form to the Graduate School.
  • Obtain approval of thesis format. All theses must follow the style requirements set out in Format Guidelines for Theses and Dissertations. If your thesis does not adhere to the format prescribed in Guidelines, it will not be accepted by the Graduate School.
  • Obtain clearance from the Graduate School to proceed with the defense.

Two weeks prior to the defense

  • Submit final version of thesis to all committee members.

Upon completion of the defense

  • The chair of the examining committee must submit the completed (signed) Examining Committee Form to the Graduate School. This document should not be submitted to the Office of Research & Graduate Studies.
  • Two copies of the thesis approved and signed by the thesis advisor must be filed with the Graduate School, 303 Bowne Hall. Copies of the thesis should not be submitted to the Office of Research & Graduate Studies.

Recitals/Oral Exams

Students in the School of Music doing recitals/oral exams must consult the school’s procedures and guidelines. (Remember that the calendar for initiating and completing all of the above shifts from year to year, so be sure to consult

with your advisor for actual dates.)


It is primarily up to individual academic departments to determine if and how a graduate student will receive merit-based support from the University, but in all cases this support is used for full-time matriculated graduate students. The department nominates students for University Fellowships, teaching assistantships, tuition scholarships, summer fellowships and a variety of grant scholarships that become available each year. It is the responsibility of students to consult their faculty advisor, department chair, graduate program director to find out how their department determines who will be nominated for these types of support.

Syracuse University Graduate Fellowships

These awards consist of a stipend and a full-tuition scholarship (up to 30 credits for the academic year). They are awarded for more than one academic year. Multi-year awards typically include a year of fellowship followed by a year of teaching or graduate assistantship, followed by a third year of fellowship support for 3-year programs. Fellows are appointed annually by the college from among incoming graduate students.

Syracuse University Teaching Assistantships

Assistantships are offered to full-time matriculated graduate students to serve as teaching, instructional, or hourly assistants. Students holding a full assistantship render a service to the University for an average of twenty hours a week during the academic year. The assistant receives a stipend which is determined by the college. Teaching assistants also receive tuition scholarships.

Full teaching assistantship carries a surplus of tuition scholarship credits that may be used in the summer; however, you must request permission to reconfigure the scholarship to accommodate anticipated changes in credit loads. For example, a full assistantship carries 24 credit hours of tuition scholarship and is applied to your account in the following configuration:

9 credit hours during the fall and spring semesters, and 6 credit hours in the summer.

Students may petition to configure the distribution of their tuition scholarship to better suit their needs. All requests to reconfigure credits must be submitted to the Office of Research & Graduate Studies.

Likewise, each half assistantship carries 12 credit hours of tuition scholarship. Typically, 6 credit hours are applied in the fall and 6 in the spring. As with a full assistantship, students may petition to reconfigure the distribution of their tuition scholarship credits to suit their specific needs. (No more than 3 credits can be applied to the summer on a half assistantship)

The number of assistantships available to the college’s graduate students is not determined by the number of graduate students who need support, but rather by the justifiable needs of the college and the resources available to meet those needs.

In searching for an assistantship, investigate opportunities in your academic department first. This way you have the best chance of finding an opportunity related to your program of study. If there are no opportunities there, your faculty advisor, graduate program director, or department chair may be able to advise you of other departments or administrative offices on campus where students in your department have been appointed as graduate assistants in the past.

If you are interested in administrative assistantships outside of your department, you will need to conduct your own search for offices on campus that have such vacancies. Other resources include the Human Resources Job Opportunities website at

However, many do not send notices, so it may be necessary to contact offices directly to determine where opportunities exist.

Tuition Scholarships

Tuition Scholarships are awarded by the Graduate School upon the recommendation of the college in recognition of a student’s academic merit. Scholarships are awarded to full-time graduate students toward the cost of tuition, which is credited directly to the student’s bursar account. Scholarships do not include a stipend. These awards carry with them the expectation that students will maintain a minimum academic standard (3.0 grade point average each term) and make satisfactory progress toward their degrees as full-time graduate students. Students seeking more information about these awards should contact their department chairperson or faculty advisor.

As with the tuition scholarship portion of assistantships, students may petition to reconfigure the distribution of their tuition scholarship credits to suit their specific needs.

Future Professoriate Project

Areas of the college have instituted a program aligned with the Graduate School’s Future Professoriate Project. Participants are designated as teaching associates and, in consultation with their faculty mentors, undergo a series of teaching/learning experiences that culminate in the award of the Certificate in University Teaching. Information on the Future Professoriate Project is available from each area’s primary liaison. Detailed information about the program can be found on the Graduate School’s website:



Check your mail box as often as possible. Important information, documents, etc. are delivered to you through campus mail. If for some reason you have not been assigned a mailbox, please contact your department office.


You are automatically assigned an SU email account through the University’s Computing and Media Services. If your primary email address will be other than your SU account, please go to to learn how to forward your SU email account.


You should be automatically be added to the VPA Graduate Student Listserv once you are on campus. If you are not receiving listserv messages, you should subscribe at or contact the Office of Research & Graduate Studies. Once on the list, please check listserv messages to stay apprised of important deadlines and upcoming events. If your primary email address will be other than your SU address, please refer to the online instructions for forwarding your email account mentioned above.

Syracuse University I.D. Card

Always carry your Syracuse University I.D. card with you. It is necessary for identification in the library, the bookstore, health services, athletic facilities, dining centers, residence halls, and some computer clusters.

How Your University I.D. Card Works

Your University I.D. card works much like cards used at automatic teller machines. Electronic card readers are found in each dining center, selected snack bars, Bird Library, and all North Campus residence hall entrances. When the card is inserted, the information in the magnetic stripe is quickly scanned. The card reader confirms or denies your eligibility for entrance into the building.

Graduate Student Information Sources 

It is a good idea to be familiar with the publications listed below to consult when you have a question/problem that goes beyond the scope of this publication. Please note that these publications are available on the web.

Time Schedule of Classes

Available at

Syracuse University Bulletin: Graduate Course Catalog (includes the Academic Rules and Regulations)

Available at

Syracuse University Bulletin: Tuition, Fees and Related Policies Available at

Syracuse University Graduate Financial Aid Guide Available online at

Other Campus Resources

The Coalition of Museum and Art Center, Syracuse University

The mission of the Coalition of Museum and Art Centers (CMAC) at Syracuse University is to celebrate and explore the visual and electronic arts through exhibitions, publications, public presentations, education, and scholarship.

Visit their website at for more information.

Crouse Concert Series and other VPA Events

The Crouse Concert Series is one of the oldest performance formats of its kind in the United States. Since 1889 faculty artists and faculty-directed student ensembles have enriched the cultural life of Central New York with performances at Crouse College. The school’s ensembles regularly perform at these concerts.

Approximately 175 recitals and concerts are held in Setnor Auditorium during the academic year. Many performances are broadcast on local radio stations.

Light Work/Community Darkrooms

Light Work/Community Darkrooms ( are collaborative organizations that provide programming and services in photography and electronic media to the University community. Community Darkrooms is a public access photography and computer lab facility that is open to both the University community and general public. The Darkrooms provides access to equipment for individuals to make color and black and white prints and use Macintosh computers equipped with flatbed and film scanners, CD-ROM and DVD recorders, film recorders, and image and video processing software. High quality digital output services are provided offering photo-quality dye-sublimation prints and large format archival inkjet prints up to 40” x 60”. Light Work is a non-profit organization and programming affiliate of Community Darkrooms that provides museum quality programming at the Darkrooms and other venues on campus and includes exhibitions, publications, artist residencies, and a collection of over 2000 photographs made by artists who have participated in Light Work’s programs since 1973. LW/CD is located in the Robert B. Menschel Media Center, 316 Waverly Avenue.

Department Of Recreation Services

The Department Of Recreation Services’ ( primary purpose is the management of the recreational programs, facilities, activities, and services at Syracuse University. Such programs include the Aquatics Program, Intramural Program, Club Sports, Fitness and Leisure Programs, Wellness Programs, the Outdoor Education Program, the Neighborhood Youth Recreation Program, Late Night at the Gym, casual or drop-in recreation, and other special recreation events. The department manages Archbold Gymnasium, Flanagan Gymnasium, the Women’s Building, the Skytop Recreation Area, the Tennity Ice Skating Pavilion, Brockway Fitness Center, Goldstein Fitness Center, Marion Fitness Center, outdoor playing fields, tennis courts, and other selected facilities.

University Information Desks

University Information Desks are located in the atrium of both the Schine and Goldstein Student Centers, and function as general information and referral service to help members of the University community and campus visitors. The Schine Information Desk phone number is 315.443.1985.

The Schine Box Office

The Schine Box Office is the ticket agent for many events on campus as well as in the Schine Student Center. They provide tickets to any event for student organizations, academic units and administrative departments, including banquets to concerts. In addition, they provide ticketing services for many University venues, such as dance parties or concerts.

See the Schine Box webpage at

University Events Scheduling

University Events Scheduling is the place to reserve space for non-academic events on campus including conference rooms, auditoriums, or classrooms. The staff is familiar with all University facilities and can help you with alternate venues if your first choice is not readily available. See their webpage at

University Policies 

(For the purpose of this handbook, the following policies are included. The Syracuse University Bulletin, Academic Rules and Regulations 2010-2011, contain all University Policies.)

Policies on the web:

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act

Syracuse University fully complies with the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and with procedures recommended by the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers. This legislation gives students the following rights with respect to their education records:

  • The right to inspect and review the student’s education records within 45 days of the day the University receives a request for access.
    • Students should submit to the University Registrar (106 Steele Hall, Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY 13244-1120) written requests that identify the record(s) they wish to inspect. The University Registrar will make arrangements for access and will notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected.
  • The right to request the amendment of the student’s education records that the student believes are inaccurate or misleading.
    • Students may ask the University to amend a record that they believe is inaccurate or misleading, although this does not include challenges to the accuracy/fairness of grades in courses or any other assessment of academic performance. They should write the University official responsible for the record, clearly identify the part of the record they want changed, and specify why it is inaccurate or misleading. If the University decides not to amend the record as requested by the student, the University will notify the student of the decision, of his or her right to a hearing regarding the request for amendment, and of the hearing procedures. Additional information regarding the hearing procedures will be provided to the student when notified of the right to a hearing.
  • The right to consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information contained in the student’s education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent. Specific exceptions include:
    • School officials with legitimate educational interest. “School official” means:
    • a person employed by the University;
    • a person, company, or agency with whom the University has contracted for a service; or
    • a student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee, or assisting another school official in performing his or her tasks.

“Legitimate educational interest” means an educationally related purpose which has a directly identifiable relationship to the student involved and is consistent with the purposes for which the information is maintained. A school official has a legitimate educational interest if, in the judgment of the data custodian responsible for requested information, the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibility. The information sought and provided must be pertinent to and used within the context of official University business and not for a purpose extraneous to the official’s area of responsibility. Release of a student’s education record to a school official having legitimate education interest does not constitute institutional authorization to transmit, share, or disclose any or all of the information to a third party, within or outside the University.

  • Officials of another school in which a student seeks or intends to enroll, upon the request of such officials.
  • Parents of a dependent student as defined by the Internal Revenue Service. A “parent” is a parent, guardian, or someone acting as a parent who meets the IRS standard. Undergraduates at Syracuse University are assumed to be dependents of the parent(s) they list on application materials unless they prove otherwise. Divorced or separated parents will be provided equal access unless the University is provided with evidence of a court order, state law, or legally binding document that specifically revokes those rights. Graduate students will be presumed to be independent of their parent(s) unless the parent(s) provide their most recent IRS tax return with evidence to the contrary.
  • Appropriate parties in connection with an emergency if knowledge of the information is necessary to protect the health or safety of the student or other individuals.

[Note: Students should refer to their individual school/college(s)’ policies concerning parental notification in cases of academic misconduct and academic performance issues.]

  • The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by Syracuse University to comply with the requirements of FERPA.
    • The name and address of the office that administers FERPA is:
      The Family Policy Compliance Office
      U.S. Department of Education 400 Maryland Avenue, SW Washington, DC 20202-4605 
  • The right to prevent disclosure of any and all types of personally identifiable information that Syracuse University has designated as “Directory Information.”
  • Syracuse University has designated certain items of students’ education records as “Directory Information,” which may be disclosed under FERPA without students’ permission (asterisked items are printed in the University’s telephone directory): Name* Class/Level*

Current Address* SU School/College(s)*

Current Phone Number* Major(s)/Degree Program(s) Permanent Address* Degree(s) Earned & Date(s) Permanent Phone Number Academic Awards & Honors SU E-mail Address* Prior Postsecondary

Dates of Attendance Institutions Attended Full-/Part-Time Status Athletic Participation

  1. “Directory Information” may be made available through the following media: 1. the University’s annual printed telephone directory,
    1. electronic and Internet directories,
    2. telephone or written responses to requests from external/third parties,
    3. announcements of academic achievements released by the Office of Public Relations to students’ hometown newspapers, and
    4. the annual Register of Graduates, and
    5. the Department of Athletics
  2. To prevent disclosure through the media represented in items 1-4, students must file a Request to Prevent Disclosure of Directory Information form with the Office of the Registrar, 106 Steele Hall. Such requests may be filed at any time and will remain in effect permanently (including after departure from the University) or until changed by students.

In order to prevent asterisked items from appearing in the University’s annual printed telephone directory, students must file the Request form within the first two weeks of classes in the fall semester. Requests filed after this deadline in the fall semester will prevent designated Directory Information from appearing in subsequent telephone directories.

Students who wish to allow Directory Information to be released through items 1-3 above but who want to prevent hometown news releases (item 4) and/or listing in the annual Register of Graduates (item 5) must submit separate written requests: for preventing hometown news releases to the Office of Public Relations, 820 Comstock Avenue, Syracuse,

NY 13244-5040; for preventing listing in the Register of Graduates to the Office of Special Events, 820 Comstock Avenue, Syracuse, NY 13244-5040. Student Athletes who wish to prevent disclosure of information related to athletic participation should contact the Department of Athletics.

Syracuse University assumes that a student’s failure to specifically request blocking access to any element of “Directory Information” constitutes approval for disclosure.

Questions about FERPA, students’ privacy rights, and Syracuse University’s compliance procedures may be directed to the Office of the Registrar, 106 Steele Hall, Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York 13244-1120.

Academic Standards

Syracuse University students shall exhibit honesty in all academic endeavors. Cheating in any form is not tolerated, nor is assisting another person to cheat. The submission of any work by a student is taken as a guarantee that the thoughts and expressions in it are the student’s own except when properly credited to another.

Violations of this principle include giving or receiving aid in an exam or where otherwise prohibited, fraud, plagiarism, the falsification or forgery of any record, or any other deceptive act in connection with academic work. Plagiarism is the representation of another’s words, ideas, programs, formulae, opinions, or other products of work as one’s own, either overtly or by failing to attribute them to their true source.

Sanctions for violations will be imposed by the dean, faculty, or Student Standards Committee of the appropriate school or college. Documentation of such academic dishonesty may be included in an appropriate student file at the recommendation of the academic dean. Public Communications Any piece of work bearing a student’s name is assumed by the school to guarantee that the thoughts, expressions, editorials, and photographic material not credited to another are literally the student’s own.(Section 1.0 Academic Rules and Regulations)

Sexual Harassment University Policy

Sexual harassment corrodes the values most central to the mission of the University. Federal law, state law, and the new Syracuse University policy and procedures on sexual harassment prohibit its occurrence. Education is the first step in preventing sexual harassment in the University community.

Syracuse University defines sexual harassment as unwelcome behavior of a sexual nature that relates to the gender or sexual identity of an individual and that has the purpose or effect of creating an intimidating or hostile environment for study, work, or social living.

Institutions of higher learning across the country have adopted similar policies in response to court actions that recognize two forms of sexual harassment under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964:

Quid pro quo

The “quid pro quo” (literally, “this for that”) claim involves harassment in which a supervisor or teacher demands sexual favors in exchange for job or academic benefits over which that person has some control or influence.

Hostile Environment

The “hostile environment” claim involves unwelcome behavior of a sexual nature that creates an intimidating environment for study, work, or social living. This claim includes intentional behavior, as well as behavior that has the reasonably foreseeable effect of interfering with an individual’s ability to work or study.

This policy is consistent with the University’s strong commitment to academic freedom and to social interaction between faculty members and students. Both inside and outside the classroom, the University welcomes discussion of controversial subjects and expression of ideas with which some or most members of the community strongly disagree.


Grading Chart



Points per Grade


















The grade of D may not be assigned to graduate students





Grade Points per Credit



Not counted No credits earned





Did not attend and did not withdraw

Not counted


Not Required

Not counted



Not counted



Not counted


Variable length course–grade not yet due

Not counted



Not counted

  • No labels