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VPA Office of Student Success VPA Student Handbook 2017-18 PDF 345KB

Questions? Call 315.443.2517

General Information

As a student in the School of Art, Department of Communication and Rhetorical Studies, School of Design, Department of Drama, the Setnor School of Music, and the Department of Transmedia, your "home" college is the College of Visual and Performing Arts (VPA), an independent college within the Syracuse University system not operating under the auspices of any other college.

Course Requirements

Course requirements vary from program to program and major to major within VPA, but all undergraduates completing a degree will end up with one of the following:

  • Bachelor of Science (B.S., minimum 120 credit hours)
  • Bachelor of Arts (B.A., minimum 126 credit hours)
  • Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A., 120 -129 credit hours, depending on program)
  • Bachelor of Music (B.MUS., 126 -136 credit hours, depending on program)
  • Bachelor of Industrial Design (B.I.D., 150 credit hours)

A maximum of 66 credit hours may be transferred from a junior college or other two-year school, and a maximum of 90 hours in total may be transferred towards a bachelor’s degree at Syracuse University; transfer credit (see page 15) and pass/fail credit (see page 12) are not used to compute grade point average (see page 18). For students on academic probation, transfer credits will not be seen until a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or higher is reached.

Successful completion of all degree requirements, and a minimum 2.0 cumulative grade point average (GPA) in all SU coursework is required in order to graduate.

Student Status

In order to qualify as a full-time student, you must take between 12-19 credit hours per semester.

The number of credit hours you have successfully completed determines your class standing:

  • Freshman 0 - 23 credit hours
  • Sophomore 24 - 53 credit hours
  • Junior 54 - 83 credit hours
  • Senior 84+ credit hours

It is not unusual to qualify for one class standing within the University and another within your program. This happens when you declare a major after you have earned a number of credits in a different area (for example, if you are a transfer student, or brought in any AP credits).
To be a student in good standing, you must maintain a minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 2.0. 

Part-time students

Part-time students carry a load of 11 credits or less, and are matriculated through University College University College. Contact University College with any questions you may have about part-time study. For students who wish to finish their course of study with a part-time load, they may do so as a main campus student at main campus per-credit rates.

Transfer Students

A transfer student is any student who transfers in or out of a program in VPA. Students may transfer either from or to a different program within our college (change of major), from or to another school or college within Syracuse University (IUT -Intra University Transfer), or into VPA from outside of Syracuse University (External Transfer). This may be done at any point in your studies, but naturally, the later you transfer in your academic career the longer it will take to successfully complete the course requirements in your new program (for more on transfers, see page 15).

Shared Responsibilities

We share in the responsibility to see that you efficiently move towards the completion of your degree. We acknowledge our responsibility to have a thorough knowledge of this institution and to put you in touch with institutional resources that will best support your needs.

You are responsible for keeping us informed of your needs in a timely fashion as they arise. In addition, you must:

  • Keep the University informed of your most current and complete local and permanent addresses, phone numbers, and emergency contacts. You can do this in MySlice
     through the “Personal Information” link in the Personal Services application once you are logged in.
  • Know any and all deadlines affecting progress towards your degree.
  • You must be proactive and know your program requirements, request and attend advising appointments, and attend classes.

Deadlines for the current year are always published in the current Academic Calendar on the Registrar’s website.

VPA Office of Student Success


The VPA Office of Undergraduate Student Success is located in room 200 of Crouse College. Please let us know if we can be of assistance to you at any time during your undergraduate career. Our primary mode of communication with you will be through your syr.edu email address. We will also send messages through the VPA Undergraduate listserv to remind you of important announcements and deadlines, internship opportunities, career development information, and other items that may be of interest.
We are here to help you make the most of your experiences at Syracuse and look forward to meeting you.

Meet the Office of Student Success Staff.

Permanent Student

File Your permanent student file is housed in the Office of Student Success (200 Crouse College). This file contains general transcript information, petitions, documentation of exceptions, and correspondence relating specifically to you. You are an adult and therefore have privacy rights: Syracuse University complies with provisions of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, which protects the privacy of educational records and your right of access to them. If you want your parents to have access to your records, you must provide a FERPA release (contact our office for a copy of it). For more on this subject, see the “Student Privacy Rights, F.E.R.P.A” link on the Registrar website.

Money Matters

Our office does not directly deal with your financial aid or bursar account; you must contact those offices if you need particular information. However, we can tell you that besides tuition, a program fee is charged to all students in the College of Visual and Performing Arts. For more information on the program fee, see the Tuition and Fees and Related Policies Bulletin. You must register for your classes during your appointment time. If you fail to do that, a late registration fee of $50.00 will be charged to all students who initially register for a term on or after the first day of classes.

Financial Deadline for Dropping Courses

After the financial deadline for dropping courses has passed (see calendar for each term), you are financially responsible for the credit hours you carry at that time, as well as any credit hours you may add after that day, whether or not you drop the course. For examples related to this policy, please refer to SU’s Add/Drop refund policies in the Tuition and Fees and Related Policies Bulletin for the current academic year.

Holds

If you have any outstanding debts to the University, you will not be able to register for the next semester; a bursar hold message will appear as you attempt to enroll for classes. You will need to settle all outstanding charges in order to proceed with registration. The hold message will direct you to one or more of the following locations: Bookstore, Bursar, Student Debt Management, Library, or Parking.

Registration Matters 

First-year students indicate their course choices through the First Term Enrollment process on MySlice during the summer. Schedules are made for incoming students based on their course selections and course catalog availability. After the first semester, students are responsible for their own course registration on MySlice.


First-time transfer student registration may take place during either the summer or Syracuse Welcome weekend. Every transfer student is unique.


Registration for each semester takes place during the prior semester. (October for Spring classes and April for Fall classes) Students are required to meet with their academic advisor every semester to select appropriate courses, and must get their advising hold lifted before they may register for classes. Always refer to the academic calendar for each semester’s schedule.


The first thing you need in order to register for courses is a basic understanding of MySlice, Syracuse University’s web portal. You will also need to know your NetID and password to sign onto MySlice. Please visit Net ID services if you need assistance with this information. An online tutorial for MySlice is available at MySlice help. If you do not have access to a computer, you can call the Office of Information Technology and Services’ support line at 315.443.2677 for the locations and hours of computer labs on campus. Familiarize yourself with MySlice before registration begins.


If you need additional assistance: •Call the Registrar’s MySlice help line at 315.443.2677.•Seek help from your peer advisor.•Call the VPA Office of Student Success at 315.443.2517, or visit at 200 CrouseCollege.
The Registrar’s Office will notify you via email as to when you should check MySlice for your enrollment appointment. Your enrollment appointment is the earliest date and time you can register for classes, provided that you have no holds on your account. Make sure you meet with your academic advisor to plan your schedule before your enrollment appointment begins. Give some thought to your schedule and make an appointment with your academic advisor to review your plans. Together, you will complete an advising form. This form, signed by your advisor, must be turned in to your department administrative assistant, and will serve to lift your advising hold. Keep the student copy of the advising form for your records, so you know what classes to register for. 

Academic Advising


Throughout your career in VPA, you will have an academic advisor, who will guide, counsel, and inform you about matters relating to you and the pursuit of your degree. Your advisor will be either a faculty member or professional staff in your area of study. Please understand that both kinds of advising take place within the context of a relationship between advisee and advisor. Advising is a two-sided relationship: you, as a student, are just as accountable for the quality of advising as your advisor.

Academic Advisor’s Role:

  • Inform: An advisor may inform advisees about degree requirements, resources for study, educational or career opportunities, etc.
  • Deliberate: An advisor may discuss with advisees about which courses to take, career goals, progress toward completion of degree, course scheduling, and extracurricular activities.
  • Advocate: An advisor may be an advocate for advisees by writing letters of recommendation for jobs, internships, or graduate schools. An advisor also engages in the petition process with advisees and works behind the scenes on behalf of the advisee.
  • Refer: An advisor may refer an advisee to a person or office when the advisee's needs extend beyond the reach of her or his professional expertise. Examples include adjustment problems, assessing learning disabilities, personal crises, andgrievances.
  • Keep records: When appropriate, an advisor may keep records, notes, degreeprogress checklists, etc. to facilitate advising.

The student’s responsibilities:

  • Know and fulfill your degree requirements.
  • Be familiar with this VPA Undergraduate Handbook, DegreeWorks, and Orange SUccess.
  • Be proactive, which includes knowing your advisor’s office hours, contact information, and how appointments are set. You should reach out to your advisor to schedule meetings if you can’t meet during posted office hours. Make sure you schedule meetings well in advance of deadlines, and ask for information/advice/assistance when you need it. Be respectful of your advisor’s time: come to meetings prepared.
  • Speak up: your advisor cannot help you unless you tell him or her that there is a problem.
  • Keep records.

Barriers to Enrollment

Several issues can get in the way of moving smoothly through enrollment. Some of them are referred to as holds on your MySlice account. Any of the following hold messages may appear as you attempt to register, and will prevent you from enrolling for classes. You must clear the hold with the appropriate office in order to be able to register for classes.


An advising hold automatically appears and remains on your record until it is lifted by the administrative assistant that handles your completed advising form. This form must be signed by your academic advisor.

  • Bursar hold:  You will need to settle all outstanding charges in order to proceed with registration. The hold message will direct you to one or more of the following locations: Bookstore, Bursar, Student Debt Management, Library, or Parking.  
  • Health Center hold: Proof of measles, mumps and rubella immunity is required for all full and part-time undergraduate and graduate students born after January 1, 1957. Proof of re-immunization is also required for all students who were inoculated for measles and rubella before the age of one year or who were inoculated before 1968. If you have a health center hold, you cannot enroll until you submit proof of immunization to Health Services (111 Waverly Avenue, 315.443.9005, or health@syr.edu). health@syr.edu.
  • SRR hold: If there are any judicial matters affecting you, the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities can place a hold and prevent a student from attempting to enroll until any outstanding actions are settled. For more information, contact the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities (310 Steele Hall, 315.443.3728).
  • Miscellaneous holds: library, parking, etc. These hold must resolved in the appropriate offices. Failure to resolve these holds can impact your ability to register for courses and even graduate.

Schedule Adjustments

The schedule adjustment period is available during set times, beginning on the first day of classes and running through the add deadline, which is one week after the first day of classes (check that calendar again). Be sure to consult your academic advisor about any schedule change you might wish to make, as it may impact your degree progress and delay your graduation date.

Audit and pass/fail grading options may be selected or rescinded by using the proper grading option form during the first two weeks of a term. These forms are available in the Student Success office (200 Crouse College).

From the Add Deadline on, you may no longer adjust your schedule on MySlice. Instead, an Add/Drop form is needed, which requires the signatures of your instructor and academic advisor, and a stamp from the Office of Student Success. It is your responsibility to deliver the completed form to the Registrar’s Office (106 Steele Hall). After the Academic Drop Deadline you can no longer drop a course, but you may elect to withdraw from it. 

If dropping a course will affect your tuition charge, you must submit your Add/Drop form before the Financial Deadline for Dropping Courses to obtain a refund. Tuition charges are assessed according to the date your form is received by the Registrar’s Office.


A special add/drop situation in VPA exists for applied music courses. Adding and dropping applied music courses must be done in the Setnor School of Music Office (208 Crouse College). The deadline for adding or dropping applied music courses is the financial deadline for dropping courses.

You may withdraw from a course until the published withdrawal deadline. A “WD” will appear on your transcript but will not be counted in determining your grade point average.

To withdraw from a course:

  1. Download a Petition to Faculty Form from the Registrar’s website.
  2. Complete the petition, including all relevant course information. You do not need to give a reason for withdrawing from a course; a simple sentence such as thefollowing is enough: "I am requesting permission to withdraw from... (Subject andcatalog number, class number, section, course title, and semester).”
  3. Obtain the following signatures: the instructor of the course from which you arewithdrawing, and your academic advisor. Then get an approval stamp from theVPA Office of Student Success.
  4. Take the approved petition to the Registrar’s Student Records Office (106 SteeleHall) before 5:00 p.m. by the withdrawal deadline. Withdrawal petitions will notbe accepted after the deadline.

Dropped and withdrawn courses may impact your financial aid.

Peer Advising

As a first-year or transfer student, you will have a Peer Advisor assigned to you to help with your transition. Peer advisors are selected and trained by the Office of Student Success to share information with you about everything from your program requirements to general campus life. Attendance You are expected to attend each class punctually and remain for the entire class period. You must inform your instructor in advance if you expect to miss a class or leave before the end of class. It is one of your responsibilities to notify the Office of Student Success when you are, or expect to be, absent from class for an extended period of time (three days or more) due to illness, personal emergency, a death in the family, or other reasons. 


Attendance policies are clearly stated in each course syllabus. If you miss class, the instructor may excuse your absence; however, the instructor may require a doctor's certificate or other evidence in order to excuse an absence. It is the professor’s discretion to excuse or not excuse your absences. If you have been absent from class and fail to submit an excuse to your instructor, or if your excuse is not accepted, your absence will be considered unexcused. Even if your absence is excused, you are still responsible for the work associated with the class you missed.

Academic Options

A variety of academic options are available to you as you pursue your studies.

Degree/Program Combinations

Combined, dual, and double degree/programs and minors are types of program combinations designed to meet the needs of students with special interests and/or particular career goals. Academic Rules, found in the Undergraduate Course Catalog, explains specific requirements for each combination.

A combined degree/program refers to two programs pursued in two different colleges of the University, leading to different career objectives. Two degrees are conferred, with two diplomas awarded. You must fulfill degree requirements in both colleges, and permission of both college deans is needed.

The dual degree/program is also pursued in two different colleges of the University. One degree is conferred, with one diploma given, which is certified by the deans of both colleges (permission of both deans is required). To complete a dual major, you must meet all degree requirements in both colleges. VPA offers formally established dual degree programs in conjunction with the School of Education in music education and art education.

If you wish to pursue other dual or combined degree programs, you must obtain the written approval of each undergraduate program dean or assistant/associate dean from the two colleges involved. For both combined and dual degree/programs, you must be admitted to both colleges. Be aware that acceptance in one degree program does not guarantee acceptance in the other.

A double program of study (also called a double major) is two programs of study (majors) pursued simultaneously in the same college or in two different colleges. One degree (one diploma) is conferred, signed by the dean of the primary college. Two majors appear on your transcript. Completing the double program of study requires you to fulfill all requirements for both major programs. Additional support courses may be required. Double majors are not available in all areas of the University; please inquire with our office about your particular plans. 

Minors

Minors exist in many areas of the University and are encouraged if you plan an in-depth study of a subject you may not have space in your program to major (or double major) in. The approved minors are listed in the Course Catalog within each school or college. Minors usually require 18-21 credit hours of coursework with a minimum of 12 credit hours of upper division work. If you think you want to pursue a minor, see your academic advisor to discuss its feasibility and proper procedure. Courses counting toward the minor may not be taken pass/fail. A maximum of three credit hours from another institution may be transferred toward your minor at SU. Minors at SU are usually declared after 30 credits hours are earned.

Course Overload

As a junior or senior who has a 3.5 GPA or higher, you may wish to carry an overload, which means enrolling for more than 19 credit hours in a given semester. To carry an overload, you must submit a Petition to the Faculty form any time before the add deadline. Have the petition signed by your academic advisor and department/program chairperson, then take the completed petition to the Office of Student Success (200 Crouse College) for processing. If you receive permission to carry an overload, you may request not to be charged tuition for credits over 19 if you meet all of the following criteria: a 3.5 or higher cumulative GPA; no outstanding incomplete grades; and you must have been registered as a full-time student at Syracuse University for the preceding two semesters. If you meet these criteria, include on your original Petition to the Faculty that you request not to be charged tuition given these circumstances.

First-year and incoming transfer students may not carry an overload. Under exceptional circumstances a sophomore may be permitted to petition for an overload. Refer to the Undergraduate Course Catalog for information on carrying more than 19 credit hours.

Honors students wishing to carry an overload need to call or visit the Honors Program Office (Bowne Hall Room 306, 315.443.2759) for guidance. For financial information on overloads, see Tuition and Fees and Related Policies Bulletin.

Grading Options

Pass/Fail (P/F): This option allows you to take a course in which the grade on your permanent record will be recorded as "pass" or "fail" as opposed to a letter grade. A "pass" entitles you to get credit for the course, but the passing grade will not be calculated into your GPA. A "fail" will be recorded as a grade of F and is counted in your GPA. Only academic elective courses may be taken pass/fail. This option cannot be used for courses required for your major, minor and/or specific college requirements. Studio art or applied music courses may not be taken pass/fail. The pass/fail option may never be requested after the deadline nor may it ever be reversed. Pass/fail courses cannot count towards a minor. No more than 24 credit hours of courses taken pass/fail may be applied towards your undergraduate degree. Some courses are automatically graded pass/fail unless you request a letter grade in the course when going through the pass/fail option procedure; these courses are indicated by P/F next to their titles in the Schedule of Classes. To take a course pass/fail, do the following:

  1. Enroll for the course as you normally would.
  2. During the schedule adjustment period, pick up a Grading Option application in the VPA Office of Student Success (200 Crouse College).
  3. Fill out the form, and have it stamped in the VPA Office of Student Success.
  4. Submit the completed form to the Registrar, Student Records Office (106 SteeleHall) within the first two weeks of the semester.

Auditing (AU):

The purpose of auditing a course is to further your knowledge without being held responsible for fulfilling academic requirements for the course. Naturally, you will not receive academic credit for the course. Audited courses appear on grade reports and transcripts with zero credit hours and a grade of AU, which means no academic credit has been earned. Audited courses do not affect your GPA, and do not count towards hours for graduation, or full time enrollment status.

You need to decide during the schedule adjustment period if you wish to audit a course. You may not rescind your selection to audit after the Add Deadline. You may drop or withdraw from an audited course just as you would from any other course. Full-time students are not charged for auditing. Part-time students pay for audited courses at the regular per-credit-hour tuition rate. Applied music instruction and studio courses offered by VPA may not be audited. To audit a course, follow the same procedure you would to request the pass/fail option; you need the course instructor's signature on the application instead of the stamp required for pass/fail. It is up to the instructor of the class to approve or deny this option.

Change of Major within VPA

If you are changing your major within the College, pick up a change of major form from the Office of Student Success (200 Crouse College). You must meet with the program coordinator in your intended major to be evaluated for acceptance and subsequently advised. Please be aware that changing majors might extend your time at SU, as you will need to fulfill all requirements in your new major. The new program coordinator must sign your change of major form as proof of acceptance. Please note that there are special instructions and requisites that vary with different departments in VPA. Approval for change of major is not guaranteed; it depends on space availability, grades, and an interview with the program coordinator. 


If you declare/change majors to (or from) art education or music education: Meet with an academic advisor in the new major. Download an intra-university transfer application form, available through the Registrar’s website. Get the application signed by the School of Education, 111 Waverly Ave. #230, and drop off your completed application with the VPA Office of Student Success (200 Crouse College).

If you are interested in changing to a major at SU that is outside of VPA, you will use the Intra-University Transfer application (see below).

Intra-University Transfer (IUT) and External Transfer

Another option available to you is transferring in and out of programs and colleges (both within and outside of Syracuse University) during the course of your academic career. If you make any of these moves, you are referred to as a transfer student. Students transferring into VPA from outside of SU are called external transfer students. Intra-university transfer (IUT) refers to movement in and out of colleges within the Syracuse University system (including University College, SU's division for part-time study). If you transfer between departments/programs within VPA, you are changing your major (more information can be found on page 12). Transferring may affect the amount of time you stay at SU, as program requirements are different for every major. Contact Hannah Nast at hbnast@syr.edu for more information concerning academic requirements, transfer credit articulation, and the IUT process.

To transfer out of VPA into another college at Syracuse University, do the following:

  1. Discuss the requirements of the program you wish to enter and the possibility of yourmaking the transfer with the appropriate faculty or staff in your college of interest.Most schools and colleges have posted IUT required sessions that you must attend.Check with each college for particular dates/times.
  2. Complete an Application for Undergraduate Intra-University Transfer, and submit toyour college of interest, along with any other necessary application materials.

Independent Study / Experience Credit

Independent study or experience credit is available to students who wish to explore a special problem or area of study for which a formal course does not exist. Independent study is usually a research project or academic work guided by a faculty sponsor.

Experience credit is associated with fieldwork or other work experience in your program of study. The following guidelines apply:

  1. In general, only juniors and seniors may enroll for independent study or experience credit. Under exceptional circumstances, qualified first-year students and sophomores may enroll in lower-division independent study course work.
  2. You must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5 to enroll for either independent study or experience credit, with no outstanding incompletes or missing grades.
  3. You must plan ahead for both independent study and experience credit. Prior to enrollment, you must discuss the option with your academic advisor and fill out the proper proposal (instructions below), as you will be enrolled by the Registrar’s Office (not through MySlice). You cannot register for an independent study/experience credit after the work has started. No retroactive proposals will be approved.
  4. A combination of a total of 12 credits of independent study, experience credit or internship credit may count towards completion of your degree.
  5. Either a letter grade or pass/fail grade may be given for independent study. In some cases, letter grades may be required.

To apply for independent study/experience credit, you need to submit a proposal:

  1. Download an Independent Study form from the Registrar Forms website.
  2. Secure the approval of a full-time faculty member (Faculty Sponsor) who will assist you in planning your work, oversee your progress, and grade your final work. Teaching assistants, graduate students, and adjunct/part-time faculty may not superviseindependent study and experience credit projects.
  3. Write your plan on the Proposal for Independent Study Course form and have it approved by your faculty sponsor, academic advisor, and department/program chairperson. Be detailed in your descriptions. Make sure you discuss with your facultysponsor how your academic performance will be assessed, what work is expected, and the due date to submit said works.
  4. Return the completed and signed form to the Office of Student Success. This needs to be done by the published Add Deadline. Incomplete proposals will not be accepted. Final proposal is at the discretion of the Office of Student Success.
  5. The signed form serves as your enrollment form for independent study or experience credit. The Office of Student Success will forward the approved proposal to theRegistrar’s Student Records Office, and the course will be added to your schedule.

Internship Credit 


Internship credit may be granted to students who seek to further their knowledge through an internship experience that mimics a real job in their area of study. An internship is a great way to explore career fields, learn new skills, and gain hands-on experience. This is usually an immersion opportunity that takes place during the summer. In addition to summer internships, students can earn academic credit for participation in local internships during the fall or spring semester.

You must be a junior or senior with a GPA of 2.5 or higher to apply for internship credit. You may take one to six hours of internship credit per semester. A maximum of 12 credit hours earned through combined internship, independent study and/or experience credit may be applied towards your degree. Credit may be awarded on a pass/fail basis.

Consult with the staff located in the Center for Career Services (235 Schine Student Center) and your academic advisor, and for more information, visit the Career Services website pages about internships. It is highly recommended that students seek out internship experiences before they graduate, regardless of credit earned.

Transfer Credits 

Transfer credit refers to applying credit towards your degree in requirements for courses you take at other accredited colleges or universities. There are three different ways of receiving credit for classes you have successfully completed outside of SU:

AP credit:

You can earn academic credit while in high school if you take Advanced Placement Courses and successfully complete the appropriate examinations administered by the Advanced Placement Program of the College Entrance Examination Board (CEEB), an independent entity. Scores from examinations are sent by this agency directly to the University. Award of credit for AP courses depends on your major, and not all AP credit is accepted by SU. You should contact the Office of Student Success for more information. The table of acceptable Advanced Placement Examinations, which includes minimum scores for acceptance, credits awarded, and course equivalencies, can be found in the academic rules section of the Undergraduate Course Catalogue. The courses listed there are the only ones accepted for AP credit. There are no exceptions.

College-level credits earned while in high school:

If you registered for college-level classes while in high school, we must receive an official transcript from the institution. We cannot accept an opened envelope or a copy. The classes must have been taken at an accredited institution with a grade of C or higher.

External credit from another institution while matriculated at SU:

If you plan to take courses at another institution that will transfer back into your SU degree (maybe during the summer), you must obtain your home school/college’s approval before enrolling. You will need to fill out a petition to pre-approve transfer credits courses form (available in our office) in order to receive approval before taking credits at another institution. Check with the Office of Student Success to see if the institution of your choice is appropriate (accredited) for transfer of credits.

Note the following guidelines that apply to this academic option:

  1. You must have a 2.0 overall GPA to qualify for transfer credit.
  2. The following are not accepted as transfer credit:•Remedial/developmental course work (including ESL courses or English Language courses at a foreign institution)
    1. •Internship credits
    2. •Experience credit
    3. •Independent study credits
    4. PED (physical education) classes
  3. Required courses may not be taken for transfer credit without prior department and college approval.
  4. Only credit hours are accepted. Grades earned at other institutions are not calculated in your SU grade point average.
  5. Courses you wish to repeat to raise a grade must be taken at SU (cannot use a transferred class).
  6. A minimum grade of C (2.0) is required in courses considered for transfer. C minus does not qualify.
  7. Pass grades (in a course taken pass/fail) must be certified to be at least a C.
  8. No more than 66 credits can be transferred as a combination of credits from a two-year college, including AP exams or experiential learning.
  9. No more than 90 credits will be accepted in transfer towards your degree program.
  10. Exemptions or waivers granted by another university are not automatically granted at SU. You may apply for such waivers or exemptions after you arrive on campus.
  11. In order to get transfer credit, you need to request an official transcript of your credits to be sent directly to: 
    1. Syracuse University VPA Office of Student Success 200 Crouse College, Syracuse, NY 13244
  12. Transfer credit accepted by another institution will not be accepted from the secondary transcript. All transcripts must be originals.
  13. All transfer credit is evaluated based on your particular degree program. Only applicable credits will be accepted and awarded.
  14. If a student subsequently takes a course at SU for which the student has previously received transfer credit, the transfer credit will be removed.

Leaves Of Absence, Withdrawal, and Readmission

A Leave of Absence from the University is a voluntary, planned interruption in your studies initiated by you, the student. An Administrative Withdrawal is initiated by the University and is usually associated with academic suspension or a disciplinary action. If you decide to take a leave of absence, contact the VPA Office of Student Success to complete the appropriate forms.

If you leave school before the Academic Drop Deadline, all courses will be automatically removed from your transcript. Only the effective date of your leave of absence will be recorded on the transcript.

After the academic drop deadline, courses for which you are enrolled remain on the transcript, and grades of WD are recorded. After the Withdrawal Deadline, a grade of F is recorded for all courses. Incomplete grades are not given for leaves of absence; only grades of WD and F can be recorded on transcripts.

You may apply for readmission if you have taken a leave of absence or are withdrawn from the University. You can request an application for readmission from the Office of Student Assistance (Steele Hall Room 306) or in the VPA Office of Student Success (200 Crouse College). If you are not on campus, call 315.443.2517 to request an application for readmission. Readmission is contingent upon both your eligibility to return and availability of space in the college and program of your choice.

Petitions to the Faculty

A petition to the faculty is a generic form used for a variety of reasons, including requests for exceptions and substitutions to your degree program and documentation in support of your requests. Blank petitions are available for download from the Registrar’s website.

Clearly state on the petition what you want and why, and attach supportive materials such as transcripts, course descriptions, letters from faculty, etc. Depending on the nature of your request, different signatures are required; ask someone in the VPA Office of Student Success who should approve and sign your particular petition. Submit the petition to your academic recorder for review, and for an approval signature. Copies of your petition remain with you, your academic advisor, and in your permanent file.

Common uses for the Petition to the Faculty include:

  • Substituting one required course for another
  • Substituting a major course from another school for one at SU
  • Withdrawal from a course
  • Any other deviation not covered by a different procedure 

Special Programs / Study Abroad

Departmental policies and practices may restrict your ability to participate in some of the following programs. Be sure to discuss your plans thoroughly with your academic advisor.

The Renee Crown University Honors Program is open to academically qualified VPA students. It is designed to provide a challenging intellectual opportunity for students who demonstrate a high degree of academic achievement. In the majority of cases, if you qualify, you will be admitted to the University Honors program when you are admitted to SU. For more information about the program, contact the Honors Program (306 Bowne Hall, 315.443.2759).

The Syracuse University Study Abroad program (SU Abroad) offers you the chance to spend time studying in another country or US city. Some of the unique opportunities for VPA students include:

  • Drama in London
  • Design in London
  • Music Industry/Music Entertainment in London
  • Music Performance in Strasbourg
  • Tepper Semester (Drama in NYC)
  • Music Entertainment in Los Angeles
  • Studio Art in Florence, Italy
  • Film in Prague, Bologna (Italy), or Los Angeles
  • Art Photo in Florence

Because studying abroad often requires a portfolio review or audition, and always requires a good deal of preparation, it is best to start planning for this experience early, usually in your sophomore year. You will be required to have a credit check in the semester prior to going abroad.

For more details about studying abroad program options, including costs and financial aid, call or stop by the SU Abroad Office at 106 Walnut Place, (315.443.3471 or 800.235.3472). While studying abroad, registration for the following semester takes place online through the SU Abroad Centers.

For more details about studying abroad program options, including costs and financial aid, call or stop by the SU Abroad Office at 106 Walnut Place, (315.443.3471 or 800.235.3472). While studying abroad, registration for the following semester takes place online through the SU Abroad Centers.

Grades and Academic Excellence

VPA and Syracuse University grade on a four-point, plus and minus system. Grading symbols, their worth, Grade Point Average (also referred to as GPA) and academic standards of excellence are as follows:

GradeMeaningGrade Points per Credit Hour
ASuperior Range4.0
A-
3.667
B+
3.333
BGood Range3.0
B-
2.667
C+
2.3337
CAverage Range2.0
C-
1.667
DBarely Passing1.0
FFail0
PPassingNot Counted
IIncomplete0 (Figured like an F in GPA)
WDWithdrawalNot Counted
AUAuditNot Counted
NRNot RequiredNot Counted
VVariable-length Course (Grade not due yet)Not Counted
NADid not attend and did not withdrawNot Counted
RMRemedialNot Counted


To calculate your semester GPA, multiply the number of credits given for the course (usually 3) by the number of grade points given for the grade you received (see above). For example, a 3-credit course in which you received a B would earn you 9 grade points for that course. Add all of the grade points you received in the semester, and divide by the number of credits you carried. To calculate your cumulative GPA, add all of your semesters' grade points together, and divide by the total number of credits you have carried. There is also a GPA calculator available on MySlice.

Credits transferred from other institutions are not calculated into your GPA; use only SU credits and grades in your calculations. A grade point is never rounded up or down.

Academic excellence is recognized on a number of different levels of achievement and at different times in your academic career. On-going, cumulative recognition of academic excellence includes your designation as:

  • Student in good standing: having a GPA of 2.0 or better
  • Dean’s List: If you achieve a GPA of 3.4 or better while carrying a minimum of 12 credit hours of graded coursework, exclusive of pass/fail, you will be placed on the Dean's List for the completed semester. A Dean's List card will be sent to your permanent address if you become eligible. The following honors are conferred at graduation and noted on your diploma: Cum Laude (with honors), for a GPA of 3.4 or better Magna Cum Laude (high honors), for a GPA of 3.6 or better Summa Cum Laude (highest honors), for a GPA of 3.8 or better You must complete a minimum of 60 graded credit hours at Syracuse University to be eligible for conferred honors.

The following honors are conferred at graduation and noted on your diploma:

  • Cum Laude (with honors), for a GPA of 3.4 or better
  • Magna Cum Laude (high honors), for a GPA of 3.6 or better
  • Summa Cum Laude (highest honors), for a GPA of 3.8 or better

You must complete a minimum of 60 graded credit hours at Syracuse University to be eligible for conferred honors.

Incompletes and Missing Grades

An Incomplete is given only if you can demonstrate that it would be unfair to hold you to the normal time limits of a course. A common reason for taking this action is extended illness or a similar exceptional circumstance. If you must take an incomplete, download the form from the Registrar’s website and complete it with your instructor. Make sure specifics on the projects to be completed, as well as a due date, are included. The form must then be approved by the VPA Office of Student Success before it gets sent to the Registrar. This form becomes a contract between you and your instructor that specifies the reasons for granting the incomplete, and the conditions and time limit agreed upon for its removal.

An “I” will appear on your transcript and is calculated as an F in the grade point average until the instructor submits the final grade. An incomplete may result in academic probation status for the semester in which the “I” is given. Do not re-enroll for a course in which you wish to remove an incomplete. (You may graduate with outstanding incompletes, provided that your cumulative grade point average is equal to or greater than 2.0 with the incomplete figured in as zero grade points, the incomplete is not needed for graduation and, finally, on the condition that you register with your Recorder your intent to never remove the incomplete). If it is impossible to contact the original instructor, obtain permission from the department/ program chairperson to make arrangements to complete the course.

Missing Grades

Missing grades are grades not reported by your instructor and are disregarded in calculating your GPA or progression towards your degree completion. You should contact your instructor immediately to determine why a grade is missing from your record. If you cannot locate your instructor, see the chairperson of the department/program in which the course was taught. You cannot graduate with a missing grade in your transcript.  

Improving your GPA

You may repeat a course to raise your grade by enrolling for and retaking the same Syracuse University course. This is referred to as flagging a course. Make sure the course prefix and number are exactly the same as the course you took before. Equivalent courses taken at other institutions are not counted as repeated courses at SU and cannot be used to raise your grade. No courses may be repeated more than once to raise a grade (unless it is required for your degree), and no courses may be repeated to raise a grade after your degree has been conferred.

  • You may repeat an academic elective course in which you have received a grade of D or F.
  • A studio course may be repeated only when a grade of F has been received.
  • Failing a required course will affect your progress towards graduation. Most courses are the pre-requisite for the following semester/year course, so if you fail one course you will not be allowed to continue with upper level courses until you receive a passing grade.

A course that has been repeated will count only once toward the hours carried and passed for graduation. Your transcript will note that the course has been repeated. Both grades will appear, but only the second grade (whether higher or lower than the first grade) will be calculated into your GPA.

Another form of flagging a course can occur at the time of transferring from one SU college to another. If you transfer into VPA and have accumulated courses that cannot be included in your new program of study, you may request to have these courses flagged for exclusion from your GPA (see your recorder in the VPA Office of Student Success). Flagged courses and grades are not deleted from your transcript. You may not flag courses to make yourself eligible to transfer; flagging occurs only after you have been admitted to a program. You should be aware that when you request to flag courses from your previous program, you must flag all courses that do not apply to your new program, not just courses in which you received a low grade. In turn, this action could affect your eligibility for some financial aid awards in either a positive or negative way. See your financial aid counselor to discuss this option before you request flagging a course or courses.

Grade Appeals

If you receive a grade that you believe to be grossly undeserved, there is a very specific protocol for questioning a grade. SU Policy for grade appeals outlines the steps you may take ranging from the necessary initial conversation with your instructor through the grade appeal process.

Your Transcript

Your transcript is the official record of the classes you have taken and the grade you have earned in each. You may request, in person or in writing, an official copy of your transcript from the Registrar’s Office (Steele Hall Room 106). The VPA Office of Student Success cannot give you a copy of your transcript or copies of transcripts from other institutions.

Academic Problems

When your grades are very low, or you are not making progress towards your degree, you will be placed on probationary status.

Probation

Probation is a warning that you need to pay more attention to and put more effort into your academics. Probation as an academic action should not be unexpected. If your performance in a course is poor, your instructor may speak with you directly, and/or may decide to raise a flag through Orange SUccess. If this happens, or if you are having difficulty with a class, you should have a conversation with your instructor as soon as possible. The sooner you take action, the better your chances are of improving your grade.

All decisions about academic probation and subsequent suspensions are made by the academic standards committee of VPA. Your academic advisor, or other members of the university community who may have special insights into academic standards and processes, may be invited to sit with the committee as non-voting participants. The VPA Office of Student Success is empowered by the college to impose probation actions described in the Academic Rules and Regulations section of the Undergraduate Course Catalog. Be aware that if you are under any academic probation your financial aid may be impacted. Below are the different types of probation and their criteria:

  • College Probation results from a semester GPA below 2.0 with a cumulative GPA above 2.0, or from excessive NAs, incompletes, or failure for other reasons to make normal progress towards your degree.
  • Academic Probation results from a cumulative GPA below 2.0, or failure to make progress towards your degree (for more than one semester).
  • Probation, One-SemesterTrial results from serious deficiencies in progress toward your degree requirements, usually including a cumulative GPA below 2.0. You will receive a letter specifying that certain requirements be met by the end of the term. Failing to meet these requirements may result in suspension.

Academic Suspension

As you are placed on probation, the Academic Standards Committee establishes reasonable criteria that you must meet to get off of probation. If you fail to meet the minimum criteria to get off of probation, or otherwise depart from standards required to be a student in good standing in VPA, you may be placed on Academic Suspension. Academically suspended students are officially withdrawn from the University.

In some cases, you may appeal academic suspension decisions by submitting a letter stating your grounds for appeal. Appeals must be based on evidence regarding your academic status that was not originally considered by the Academic Standards Committee. The appeal letter must reach the VPA Office of Student Success by the date given in your notification letter. Your academic advisor, or other members of the University community who may have special insights into academic standards and processes, may be invited to sit with the committee as non-voting participants in the appeal process.

If you are suspended from VPA for academic reasons, you will not be allowed to take any coursework at the University; your next semester’s registration will be canceled. You may apply for readmission after at least one calendar year from the date of your suspension. Your first step in this process is to send a letter to the VPA Office of Student Success requesting readmission, describing in the letter how you spent your year away from school.

Other reasons for being suspended from the University include giving or receiving aid in examinations, committing plagiarism, falsifying any University academic record, or being found guilty of any form of academic dishonesty. The University’s Academic Integrity Policy and Procedures are available to review online. For your own protection, please review the student resources located on this website and seek clarification if you are unsure about what constitutes academic dishonesty.

Getting Ready to Graduate

Junior Credit Check

In the spring semester, juniors should meet with their academic recorder in the Office of Student Success (200 Crouse College) for a credit check. Students that have not met with a recorder by the end of their junior year may do so during the fall of their senior year (preferably in the first two weeks, in case there is need to adjust their schedules). Recorders are responsible for signing off on your degree and can answer any questions you have about your credits or degree progress. Your recorder will help you determine what degree requirements you have left to complete. To make an appointment with your recorder, please call 315.443.2517.

Degree Works is a new web based tool designed to help students monitor their degree progress. This will not take the place of face-to-face meetings with advisors or recorders, but it will facilitate the process.

Juniors that are planning to study abroad in the Spring semester must have their credit check in the Fall, prior to going abroad.

Diploma Request

The diploma request is essentially an order for your diploma. Students that intend to graduate should file their diploma request on MySlice. A diploma will not be ordered for you, nor will you receive notice of commencement activities, until you have submitted your diploma request. You should file your diploma request in the fall of your senior year to make sure you are included in commencement materials and mailings. Questions should be directed to the Diploma Office (315.443.2222).

Last Semester Senior Rate Exception

If as an undergraduate you have completed eight regular semesters of academic work as a full-time student on the Main Campus, and you have eleven or fewer credits to complete towards the baccalaureate degree, you may petition through the dean of VPA to take these credits during your last semester at the University College tuition rate and still receive your degree from VPA. Undergraduates enrolled in a five year program must have completed ten regular semesters of academic work as full-time students on main campus to qualify for the rate exception. If you complete your degree requirements in fewer than eight regular semesters you are not eligible for this rate exception.

Graduation and Commencement

When you have satisfactorily completed all degree requirements, you are eligible to participate in commencement. The lists of degree recipients and honors conferred are tentative until degrees are certified following the ceremonies in May. If it is reasonable to assume that you will complete degree requirements in summer sessions immediately following May commencement, you may participate in those commencement activities. December graduates attend commencement the following May.