Dec 09, 2018  
2018-2019 Catalog 
    
2018-2019 Catalog

Undergraduate Academic Policies



Return to: Academic Policies  

Expectations and Responsibilities

Columbia College Chicago emphasizes the responsibility of each student to participate in the educational process. This involves the conscientious preparation of assignments and the recognition of the frequent interdependence of students when individual contribution to a group or class effort is required.

Attendance: Students are expected to attend classes and to complete assignments as required by the instructor. They should expect their academic progress to suffer if they miss classes.

Advising: Students are expected to meet regularly with their academic advisor in the College Advising Center. As part of the advising process, students are expected to understand their degree requirements and their academic progress toward the completion of their intended degree.

Co-curricular Activities: The college supports student activities that provide broad opportunity for the exercise of interests and talents. These include participation in the student government association, participation in professional organizations, cultural experiences, social activities, sports clubs, and informal meetings between students and faculty.

The college prohibits the following conduct: All forms of academic dishonesty, including, but not limited to: cheating, plagiarism, knowingly furnishing false information to the college, forgery, alteration or fraudulent use of college documents, instruments, or identification. For more about this see Academic Integrity

Major Declaration

All Columbia students must declare a major by the time they have earned 45 credits. Transfer students with 45 credits or more need to make this declaration at the end of their first semester at Columbia. Certain majors may only be declared via selection by the academic department. Students interested in these majors must follow guidelines set forth by the respective academic department. Double majors are permitted. Students who want to add a second major are encouraged to meet with their academic advisor. A maximum of 6 credits can be shared between two majors.

Change of Major

After major declaration, students wishing to change their major or concentration must meet with an academic advisor. Students are responsible for meeting the most recent major program requirements in effect at the time of the change.

Baccalaureate Degree Programs

Columbia’s undergraduate division offers programs of study leading to a Bachelor of Arts (BA), a Bachelor of Music (BMus), a Bachelor of Science (BS), or a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree in specific programs. In addition to Liberal Arts and Sciences Core Curriculum (LAS Core) requirements, the BA, BMus, BS, and BFA programs may include core requirements and specialized concentrations of courses that enable students to prepare for particular careers.

Bachelor of Arts

The Bachelor of Arts (BA) is a liberal arts degree that allows a student to explore a major in the context of a broad program of general studies at the college level. The BA involves a higher proportion of courses outside the degree program than the BFA, including substantial interdisciplinary opportunities and the option of a minor or a double major in other programs. Students may choose to take additional electives in their major department beyond the required credit hours and may pursue those additional courses in a self-directed manner. The BA requires 120 total credits in the degree: 30 to 45 percent of credits in the major, 35 percent in LAS Core, and 20 to 35 percent in college-wide electives.

Bachelor of Arts Degree Requirements

To qualify for graduation with a Bachelor of Arts degree, students are required to complete:

  • 120 credits with a minimum 2.0 cumulative grade point average
  • 42 credits in LAS Core courses
  • three credits in United States Pluralism designated courses
  • three credits in Global Awareness designated courses
  • completion of a declared major
  • a writing intensive course

Requirements for all majors can be found on the college’s web site.

Bachelor of Music

The Bachelor of Music (BMus) is a professional degree that focuses on intensive work in music and that that is supported by a program of general studies at the college level. It is further distinguished from the BA by a selective application process into the BMus program and a minimum grade point average (GPA) requirement of 3.0 in the major. Students in the BMus are required to complete a senior recital demonstrating their range of skill as a composer and/or performer. The BMus requires a minimum of 128 total credits in the degree: at least 60 percent of the credits in the major field of study, 36 credits of LAS Core coursework, and a small number of college-wide electives.

Bachelor of Music Degree Requirements

To qualify for graduation with a Bachelor of Music degree in Composition; Contemporary, Urban, and Popular Music; or Performance, students are required to complete the following:

  • 128 credits
  • 36 credits of LAS Core requirements
  • 84 credits in music (85 for Performance)
  • completion of the major
  • a minimum GPA of 3.0 in the major
  • a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or better
  • three credits in United States Pluralism designated courses
  • three credits in Global Awareness designated courses
  • a writing intensive course

Bachelor of Fine Arts

The Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) is a professional degree that focuses on intensive work in the major supported by a program of general studies at the college level. It is further distinguished from the BA by a selective application process into the BFA and a minimum GPA requirement in the major of 3.0. Students in the BFA are required to complete a senior capstone project that represents a substantial body of work elaborating a particular theme, idea, or professional area of practice. The BFA requires a minimum of 128 total credits in the degree: at least 60 percent of the credits in the major field of study, 36 credits of LAS Core coursework, and a small number of college-wide electives.

Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree Requirements

To qualify for graduation with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, students are required to complete the following:

  • 128 credits
  • 36 credits of LAS Core requirements
  • completion of the major
  • a minimum GPA of 3.0 in the major
  • a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or better
  • three credits in United States Pluralism designated courses
  • three credits in Global Awareness designated courses
  • a writing intensive course

Bachelor of Science

The Bachelor of Science (BS) is a liberal arts and sciences degree that focuses on intensive work in a major field of study supported by substantial and sustained coursework in science and mathematics and additional general studies at the college level. The BS requires a minimum of 128 total credits in the degree: at least 50 percent of the credits in the major field of study, 39 credits of LAS Core coursework, and a small number of college-wide electives.

Bachelor of Science Degree Requirements

To qualify for graduation with a Bachelor of Science degree, students are required to complete the following:

  • 128 credits
  • 39 credits of LAS Core requirements
  • completion of the major
  • a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or better
  • three credits in United States Pluralism designated courses
  • three credits in Global Awareness designated courses
  • a writing intensive course

Second Bachelor’s Degree

If a student has already earned a bachelor’s degree from Columbia or another accredited institution, they may earn a second bachelor’s degree at Columbia by completing required courses specified by one of the major-granting departments or programs of the college. All other academic requirements are considered fulfilled within the curriculum of the previously granted bachelor’s degree. Credits applied to the original degree cannot fulfill degree requirements; however, specific courses may be waived based on work experiences or courses from the original degree. Not all departments offer second bachelor’s degrees. Please call undergraduate admissions for updated offerings.

Minors

Students who have declared a major in a Bachelor of Arts curriculum are encouraged to include a minor to augment and complement their course of study. Minors consist of 15 to 25 credits and provide an introduction or sequenced specialization in an area of study from either a major or a Liberal Arts and Sciences department. Specific credit and course requirements for each minor can be found on the college’s web site. No more than six credits in the minor may overlap with the student’s major program of study.

Liberal Arts and Sciences Core Curriculum

Columbia College Chicago offers undergraduate students educational opportunities in the visual, performing, media, and communication arts within the context of a comprehensive liberal education. At Columbia, this liberal education occurs in the School of Liberal Arts and Sciences’ Core Curriculum (LAS Core)–a set of curricula required for all undergraduate, degree-seeking students.

The LAS Core seeks to foster a community of teachers, learners, and leaders that is complementary to a student’s major field of study. The courses in the LAS Core are distributed through four rubrics:

Foundations of Communication: Knowledge and Practices
Students read for comprehension and pleasure while developing their critical thinking skills. They learn how to write and speak persuasively and how to make effective use of both academic and non-academic writing styles and formatting conventions. Most importantly, they develop an informed perspective on the relationship between the liberal arts and sciences and fields within the fine, performing, and media arts.

Culture, Values, and Ethics
Students become acquainted with the diversities of human behavior and social institutions. They examine basic ethical questions that confront humankind, as well as various approaches that attempt to answer those questions. They also develop textual literacies and awareness of literary issues by reading, analyzing, and writing poetry, drama, fiction, and nonfiction.

Historical Narratives and Civic Consciousness
Students develop foundational knowledge of the historical periods they study by being exposed to research methodologies commonly employed by historians and by learning to critically consider diverse sources to arrive at conclusions and support various theses. Students also develop an appreciation for historiography and how it impacts their ability to think critically about current events.

The Physical and Material World
Students understand and practice the scientific methods of questioning, analysis, testing, and “proving.” They come to appreciate the cumulative nature of advances in the sciences while developing a level of computational literacy sufficient to function responsibly and effectively in society.
 

Requirements and Total Credits

The number of LAS Core credits an undergraduate student must complete in order to graduate depends on the type of degree. BA students must complete 42 LAS Core credits; BS students must complete 39 LAS Core credits; and BFA and BMus students must complete 36 LAS Core credits. Below is a table that outlines specific LAS Core requirements.

 Rubric

 Credits

 Foundations of Communication: Knowledge and Practices

 BA

 BS

 BFA, BMus

 First-Year Seminar (FY)

 3

 3

 3

 Writing and Rhetoric I and II (EN)

 6

 6

 6

 Oral Communication (SP)

 3

 3

 0

 Culture, Values, and Ethics

 

 

 

 Humanities (HU)

 6

 6

 6/3*

 Literature (HL)

 3

 3

 3

 Social Sciences (SS)

 6

 6

 6/3*

 Historical Narratives and Civic Consciousness

 

 

 

 History (HI)

 6

 6

 6

 The Physical and Material World

 

 

 

 Mathematics (MA)

 3

 3

 3

 Science (SC)

 3

 0

 3

 Science with lab component (SL)

 3

 3

 3

 Total LAS Core Credits

 42

 39

 36

*BFA and BMus students are required to complete 12 total credits in Culture, Values and Ethics by taking either three credits in the humanities and six credits in the social sciences or six credits in the humanities and three credits in the social sciences.

Additionally, degree candidates must complete:

  • six LAS Core credits at the 2000 level or higher.
  • One Global Awareness (GA) course. Global Awareness courses focus on areas outside the United States.
  • One U.S. Pluralism (PL) course. U.S. Pluralism courses focus on diverse communities within the United States

College-Wide Graduation Requirements

College-wide graduation requirements are the standard requirements that students must fulfill for Columbia College Chicago to confer their degrees. These standards ensure that graduates have completed the curriculum as it was developed by the faculty.

Writing Intensive Requirement

In addition to the specific requirements for a major and for the LAS Core, students must also successfully complete a course designated Writing Intensive (WI). WI courses emphasize the further development of student writing skills and are offered throughout the college curriculum. These courses are designated by the code WI in the course catalog.

College-Wide Electives

Courses other than those that fulfill the LAS Core and major degree requirements are considered college-wide electives. A student’s course of study must include as many college-wide electives as needed to achieve the total number of credit hours required for his or her degree. College-wide electives may be selected from any department and program in the college.

Requisites

Prerequisites are courses that must be taken prior to a given course. Course(s) may be listed as prerequisite either because they cover necessary knowledge or skills or because they must be taken in sequence. Co-requisites are courses that may be taken prior to or at the same time as a given course. Concurrent requisites are courses that must be taken at the same time as a given course. Course Requirements are requirements, other than courses, that a student must meet to register for a course. Course requirements may include a specific number of completed credits, a minimum GPA, a minimum grade in a prerequisite course, departmental consent, audition, or portfolio review.

Requirement Codes

 

EN

Writing and Rhetoric I & II

HU

Humanities

SP

Oral communication

 

FY

First-Year Experience

MA

Mathematics

SS

Social Sciences

 

GA

Global Awareness

PL

U.S. Pluralism

WI

Writing Intensive

 

HI

History

SC

Science

 

 

 

HL

Literature

SL

Science with lab component

 

 

Waiver of College-Wide Graduation Requirements

College-wide graduation requirements may only be waived by the provost (or her/his designee) and only under exceptional circumstances. A student who has not met a requirement for graduation may submit an academic petition to the Office of the Provost. Columbia College Chicago does not allow course substitutions or course equivalencies in lieu of a waiver of a graduation requirement.

Advanced Credit and Transfer Credit

Transfer Credit

Columbia College Chicago accepts transfer credit from other regionally accredited colleges and universities and considers transfer credit from select institutions with discipline-specific accreditation.Transfer courses must be completed with a C grade or better and must be similar or equivalent in content to those offered by Columbia. The acceptance of transfer credit is at the sole discretion of the college. To be accepted, official college transcripts, military records, or Advanced Placement test scores must be received, at the latest, by undergraduate admissions before the end of the student’s first semester of attendance at Columbia. Grades and grade point averages do not transfer. All transfer students receive an official transcript evaluation as part of the admissions process.

  • No minimum number of transfer credits is required to transfer to Columbia College Chicago
  • The maximum number of accepted credits earned outside of Columbia College Chicago is 75
  • The final 12 credits required for graduation must be taken at Columbia College Chicago
  • A minimum of 45 total credits toward the degree must be taken at Columbia College Chicago
  • A minimum of 15 credits required for the major must be taken at Columbia College Chicago
  • ESL, adult education, continuing education, workshops, seminars, and developmental courses (those courses usually numbered below 100) are not transferable
  • Topics, independent study, and internships are considered on a case by case basis and may not be transferable

For additional information about the transfer student application or policies, please visit www.colum.edu/transfers.

Information for Illinois Transfer Students

Columbia College Chicago participates in the Illinois Articulation Initiative (IAI) as a receiving institution. The IAI is a statewide agreement that allows transfer students coming from participating Illinois institutions who meet certain criteria to complete the General Education Core Curriculum (GECC) in lieu of the Columbia College Chicago Liberal Arts and Sciences Core (LAS Core). Transfer students who are accepted to Columbia College Chicago and who meet at least one of the following criteria are eligible for the IAI:

  1. Earned associate’s degree from a participating Illinois institution
  2. Completion of the GECC package at a participating Illinois institution
  3. Completion of 30 transferable credits from one or more participating Illinois institutions

Students who meet number 1 or number 3 above who have not yet completed the GECC package are permitted to do so while enrolled at Columbia College Chicago. If the Columbia College Chicago LAS Core leads to faster degree completion, the student may choose it instead of the GECC.

Transfer students who complete the GECC package in lieu of Columbia College Chicago’s Liberal Arts and Sciences Core must still complete the following college-wide degree requirements, which may or may not be fulfilled in transfer:

  1. six credits of 2000-level or higher Liberal Arts and Sciences Core courses
  2. three credits of Global Awareness
  3. three credits of United States Pluralism

In addition, all Columbia College Chicago students are required to complete one course coded as Writing Intensive. Courses coded as Writing Intensive are denoted with a WI in the course catalog and schedule. WI courses may also satisfy major, minor, GECC, or LAS Core requirements.

Transfer students entering Columbia College Chicago from participating Illinois institutions with 29 or fewer transferable credits are required to complete the LAS Core.

For more information on the Illinois Articulation Initiative, please visit www.itransfer.org/IAI/

Articulation Agreements

Articulation agreements are designed to build strong relationships between two-year institutions and Columbia College Chicago so that transfer students understand exactly what courses will and will not transfer when they enroll at Columbia. Not to be confused with course equivalencies that identify whether or not individual courses will apply towards a degree at Columbia, articulation agreements identify how an entire group of courses from an awarded associates degree apply toward a degree at Columbia. For a current list of articulation agreements and established transfer guides with partner institutions, please visit www.colum.edu/transfers.

CLEP/AP Credit

Students desiring advanced standing (transfer credit) based on College Level Examination Program (CLEP) results must have official score reports sent to admissions.

Columbia follows the American Council on Education (ACE) recommendation for the award of CLEP credit. For a list of subjects, accepted scores and equivalencies, please see CLEP-ACE Guidelines.

Qualifying scores on Advanced Placement tests may also be accepted for credit. Official score reports must be sent to admissions for consideration. Credit for CLEP and Advanced Placement tests is applicable only to students with freshman or sophomore standing and is considered inappropriate for more advanced students. For more information about Advanced Placement credit, please see students.colum.edu/ode/pdf/ap-exam-table.pdf.

Life Experience Credit

Under special circumstances, a student may be granted up to 16 credit hours in their major for life and work experience. Applications are available in the Office of the Registrar for evaluation of non-college learning experiences.

International Baccalaureate (IB)

Credit is accepted for test scores of 4 or higher at the diploma or certificate level. For more information, please see International Baccalaureate Guide  .

Cambridge International Examinations IGCSE

Credit is accepted for some A-Level exams with grades of A to C in subjects similar to those offered at Columbia College Chicago.

Military Credit

Veterans may be eligible for active duty and service school credit on the basis of information from official copies of military records. Contact admissions with additional questions.

Continuing Education Credit

Degree-seeking students at Columbia College Chicago may enroll for continuing education credit-bearing courses in Columbia’s Digital Learning division, “Columbia College Chicago Online.” However, these courses are not eligible for financial aid and do not apply toward degree completion. In addition, courses taken through continuing education are documented on a separate academic transcript. For more information, please see an academic advisor.

Registration

Registration for continuing degree-seeking students typically begins in the latter half of each semester for the subsequent semester. Registration is conducted online through OASIS. To participate in registration, students may be required to meet with their academic advisor for an advising clearance. Students should contact their academic advisor for further information. Students must have no outstanding financial, academic, or immunization obligations to the college. (see colum.edu/registrar)

Dropping/Adding/Withdrawing from Classes

The college’s official schedule revision period ends on the first business day in week two of the semester for the regular 15-week term. For official add, drop, and withdrawal dates tied to five-week, seven-week, and eight-week sessions, please see colum.edu/registrar. Students may make changes to their class schedules (i.e., add or drop classes) at any time prior to the end of the official revision period. No classes may be added or sections changed after the add deadline in the 15-week term. Students may drop classes through the first business day in week three and may withdraw through the ninth week during the fall and spring semesters for the regular 15-week term. (Refer to colum.edu/registrar for guidelines on adding, dropping, or withdrawing from fall and spring sub-sessions and summer classes.) If a student drops a course before the deadline, the course does not appear on the student’s academic record. Withdrawals appear on the record as W (withdrawal), which may affect compliance with Satisfactory Academic Progress. Students are advised to consult with an academic advisor in the College Advising Center before deciding to withdraw from a class. Failure to attend a class does not equal withdrawal.

Withdrawing from a Course and Withdrawing from the College

Students who are planning to withdraw from a course are encouraged to speak with the College Advising Center and Student Financial Services prior to withdrawing. Withdrawing from a course can impact the student’s financial standing with the college and can also impact the student’s academic standing.

If a student completely withdraws from courses through the 60 percent point of the term (or session if not enrolled for the full term) and was awarded Title IV aid (federal financial aid) they will have their financial aid award prorated based on the last date of attendance. Award adjustments may result in an outstanding student account balance.

If a student decides to withdraw from the college, they must return all school property and make necessary financial arrangements with Student Financial Services prior to their departure. Please note, failing to attend classes does not constitute an official withdrawal from the college. All accounts are considered active until the effective date of the official withdrawal.

Administrative Withdrawals

Columbia College Chicago recognizes there may be extenuating and mitigating circumstances affecting student academic progress. A student may petition for a TOTAL administrative withdrawal from ALL classes after the end of the official withdrawal period by submitting a petition supported by appropriate documentation. An administrative withdrawal after the end of the semester is not permitted if the petition is submitted later than 30 calendar days following the last date of the semester in question. Petitions for administrative withdrawals are evaluated and approved or denied by the Exception Committee. The committee will decide if any academic and/or financial exceptions related to the student’s petition will be granted. Students may appeal a denial of petition to the registrar and the assistant vice president of Student Financial Services, whose decision is final. Approval of a petition for administrative withdrawal may preclude any future approvals of petitions for administrative withdrawals.

Mitigating circumstances that qualify for consideration of an administrative withdrawal include:

Medical

  • The student submits documentation from a medical professional confirming that the student will be/has been hospitalized and the length of the hospitalization and necessary recovery time is a minimum of seven consecutive calendar days during the term (excluding scheduled breaks such as winter break or spring break);
  • The student submits documentation from a medical professional indicating that it was impossible for the student to attend classes for 14 consecutive calendar days or a greater period during the term due to a medical condition (hospitalization not required);
  • The student submits documentation from a medical or counseling professional confirming that the student is a danger to self and/or others and therefore must discontinue enrollment; or
  • The student submits information from a health care provider certifying that the student is unable to complete a course(s) due to a medical condition.

Documentation for medical conditions must explicitly state why the student is or was unable to complete the course(s) and whether the medical condition prevents the student from completing all courses or just particular courses for which academic progress is impeded by the medical condition.

Non-medical

  • The student provides documentation of being called to military service during the term;
  • The student provides documentation of being incarcerated for a minimum of seven consecutive calendar days during the term;
  • An immediate family member of the student’s passes away during the term. Immediate family members include the student’s mother, father, brother, sister, spouse, or child. If a non-immediate family member living with the student passes away (for example, a grandparent), an exception may also be considered; or
  • The student is a victim of a violent crime during the term.

The following circumstances do not qualify for consideration of an administrative withdrawal:

  • Failure to properly drop or withdraw from a course during the add/drop or withdrawal period
  • Inability to afford courses for which the student has registered
  • Non-attendance with failure to properly drop the course

Students who have questions regarding the administrative withdrawal process should consult with their academic advisor.

Mandatory Attendance Process

Students are required to attend class regularly. Failure to attend class in the first two weeks of the term negatively impacts financial aid. If an instructor reports that a student failed to attend and participate in class during the add/drop period, a grade of NS (no-show) is entered on the student’s record for the course. Please note that students are charged tuition and fees for any course for which they receive a NS grade. For more information on non-attendance please visit the Student Financial Services website.

Religious Holiday Observance

Columbia College Chicago respects the right of all students to observe the religious holidays associated with their faith. If a student will be absent from class due to religious holiday observance, she/he is expected to contact the instructor as soon as possible to make appropriate arrangements to complete coursework.

Grading System

Grades reflect the instructor’s evaluation of a student’s achievement, improvement, effort, and motivation within the framework of this system. Columbia’s grading system is as follows:

 

Grade 

Description

Grade Points Awarded

 

A

Excellent

4.0

 

A-

 

3.7

 

B+

 

3.3

 

B

Above Average

3.0

 

B-

 

2.7

 

C+

 

2.3

 

C

Average

2.0

 

C-

 

1.7

 

D

Below Average

1.0

 

F

Failure

0.0

 

P

Pass

0.0

 

I

Incomplete

0.0

 

W

Withdrawal

0.0

 

NS

No Show

0.0

Treatment of W, NS, I, NG, P, F, and Grades Reported

  • Course withdrawals (W), courses dropped after the add/drop period, are not included in the GPA calculation but are considered in the completion rate and maximum time frame calculations.
  • Non-attendance (NS) grades are issued for undergraduate courses when a student fails to attend within the first two weeks of the term. The NS grade is not included in the GPA calculation but is considered exactly like a withdrawal in the completion rate and maximum time frame calculations.
  • Incomplete (I) grades are not included in the GPA calculation but are considered in the completion rate and maximum time frame calculations. Students must apply for an I grade and their request may be approved or denied by the college. The incomplete grade may be issued when a student makes definite arrangements with the instructor to complete course work outside class. If medical excuses are part of the student’s documentation for requesting an incomplete grade, these must be submitted during the semester in which the incomplete is requested. A student may not complete the work for a course in which an incomplete was received by enrolling in the same class in the next semester. An incomplete can only be issued for an undergraduate student who has met one of the following criteria:
  • The student has successfully completed all course requirements to date but is faced with unexpected circumstances during the final weeks of the semester resulting in the inability to complete course requirements by the end of the semester. The student must have, in the instructor’s estimation, the ability to complete missed course requirements outside of class and by the end of the eighth week of the following semester. The instructor must agree to evaluate the student’s work and replace the incomplete before the end of the following semester. A Student-Faculty Agreement on Incomplete Grade  form, specifying work to be completed and a due date, must be signed by both instructor and student and approved by the department chair. In the event that an instructor is no longer employed by the college, a program coordinator, director, or the department chair can evaluate the work and assign the course grade.
  • An external supervisor for an internship has failed to submit a final report and grade recommendation by the deadline for grade submission, or the internship conclusion date falls beyond the end of the grade submission deadline. The internship coordinator/faculty member is responsible for obtaining the final evaluation and submitting a letter grade to replace the incomplete by the eighth week of the following semester. An agreement specifying the need for the final evaluation from the external supervisor must be signed by both instructor and approved by the department chair. In the event that an instructor is no longer employed by the college, a program coordinator, director, or the department chair can evaluate the work and assign the course grade.
  • Unreported grades (NG) are not included in the GPA but are considered in the completion rate and maximum time frame calculations. Once the grade is reported, the student’s grade point average is updated accordingly.
  • Pass (P) grades are not included in the GPA calculation but are considered in the completion rate and maximum time frame calculations. The pass/fail option must be declared by the deadline by completing a form obtained on the Office of the Registrar website. The instructor’s approval is required. Once this form is submitted the decision cannot be reversed.
  • Failure grades (F) are included in the computation of the grade point average, and they are considered in the completion rate and maximum time-frame calculations.
  • Grades of A, B, C and D (including pluses and minuses) are included in the grade point calculation and are considered in the completion rate and maximum time frame calculations.

Academic Progress Reports (APRs)

During week six and seven of the fall and spring terms, Columbia College Chicago requests each faculty member to submit academic progress reports (APRs) for undergraduate 15-week courses*. The primary intent of the APR process is to identify students who are at-risk of failing the course or are not meeting the minimum grade required. When a student is identified as at-risk of failing a course, they will receive an email notification regarding their academic progress with suggestions and options for how to proceed. The APR process was established to provide students with feedback on their progress and to offer additional support to our students.

The APR process is a critical component in Columbia’s commitment to student success. While the APR is not a final grade and does not impact the grade point average, it is a valuable indicator of student performance in the course to date.

When a faculty member submits the APR, they can indicate that each student in their class meets one of the three following criteria:

  • Exceeds basic expectations: Demonstrating performance at a very high level in the course, typically shown as earning high grades on assignments and displaying a deep engagement with course content.
  • Meets basic expectations: Demonstrating behavior proven to produce success in college, such as consistent attendance, class participation, and on-time completion of assignments.
  • Does not meet basic expectations: Demonstrating behaviors known to put students at risk for failure, such as excessive absences, lack of class participation, and missed or incomplete assignments.

While the academic progress report is not a final grade and does not impact the grade point average, it is a valuable indicator of student performance in the course to date. Columbia provides students with this report as part of its commitment to student success. Reports are delivered via the official college email during week six, and students are encouraged to discuss them with their instructor(s). 

*Certain courses are exempt from the academic progress reporting process, such as private lessons, internships, independent projects, directed studies, tutoring, and courses that have not met or have ended during the reporting time-frame.

Satisfactory Academic Progress

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) is a federal requirement for Title IV (federal financial aid) recipients. SAP refers to academic requirements that federal financial aid recipients must meet to retain eligibility for federal financial aid, which includes federal grants and loans. If a federal financial aid recipient fails to meet these requirements the student will lose eligibility for federal financial aid at Columbia.

Columbia’s policy for academic standing requires all undergraduate students meet the standards outlined below regardless of if they are Title IV recipients. If an undergraduate student fails to meet the SAP requirements, the student will be prohibited from registering for future courses at Columbia unless the student successfully appeals, as outlined below.

All previous SAP policies that students may have in their possession are no longer valid, and students will not be “grandfathered” under old policies.

Staying in SAP Compliance

To maintain SAP compliance, all undergraduate students must meet the following requirements each semester they are enrolled, including summer term, even if they are not receiving financial aid for that semester.

  • Maintain a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 2.0 or above
  • Successfully complete at least two-thirds (67 percent) of their attempted credit hours, and
  • Complete their degree program within the maximum time frame, which is 150 percent of the length of their academic program in credit hours.

The above standards apply even if a student has changed majors. All coursework completed under the prior major will be included in the SAP calculation.

If a student is completing a second bachelor’s degree at Columbia, only the coursework required for the second bachelor’s degree will be evaluated for SAP and the student will be given a maximum time frame that is 150 percent of the number of credit hours required to complete the second bachelor’s degree.

Maximum Time Frame

Students whose attempted credit hours, including transfer credit hours, exceed 150 percent of the length of their academic program in credit hours lose eligibility for federal financial aid and cannot register for future courses (Financial Aid Suspension/Academic Dismissal). Additionally, if it is determined through the SAP review that a student is not on track to complete the academic program within 150 percent of the length of the academic program in credit hours, the student will be placed on financial aid suspension/academic dismissal. A student can appeal the maximum time frame, and if the appeal is successful, the student is placed on an academic plan that holds the student accountable for degree completion within a specific time frame.

To calculate maximum time frame, students should multiply the length of their academic program in credit hours by 150 percent. For example, if a student is completing a BA degree that is 120 credit hours in length, the student’s maximum time frame is 180 credit hours (120 x 150 percent = 180).

Treatment of Grades Reported

Grades of A, B, C, and D, as well as failing grades (F), are counted toward a student’s grade point average, completion rate, and maximum time frame. This is true whether an F grade is received due to nonattendance or due to poor academic performance.

Grades of incomplete (I), unreported (NG), pass (P), course withdrawal (W), and no show (NS) are not counted toward a student’s grade point average but a re counted toward completion rate and maximum time frame.

Grade Changes

When a grade change is reported to the Office of the Registrar, the student is evaluated for SAP compliance at that time. If the student is not in compliance with the standards of SAP based on the grade change, the student will be notified and the below policy and procedures will apply.

Remedial Coursework

Columbia does not offer remedial courses, nor does it accept remedial courses as transfer credit. Therefore, remedial coursework taken at another institution has no impact on SAP at Columbia.

Treatment of Transfer Credit

Columbia accepts transfer coursework from eligible institutions. Grades from accepted transfer coursework are not included in the Columbia grade point average (GPA). Accepted transfer coursework is included in a student’s calculation of completion rate and maximum time frame.

Retaking Course Work Not Designated as Repeatable for Credit

Students are permitted to attempt a course a second time to improve their earned grade, provided the course is not designated repeatable for credit. Students may retake a course to improve their grade no more than once (total of two attempts) unless they receive special approval from the academic department. Official withdrawals from a course (W grade) are not included in the total of two attempts.

The retaken course must be the same as, or equivalent to, the original course, and students will pay tuition and fees for the retaken course. The grade achieved in the retaken course (whether higher, lower, or the same) is included in the computation of the grade point average, and the course is included in the completion rate and maximum time frame calculations. The original course title and original grade remain on the student’s academic record. Any credit earned in the first attempt will be replaced by any credit earned in the second attempt; credit can only be earned once for courses not designated as repeatable for credit. The student’s academic record will reflect the current academic transaction and SAP compliance for each semester of enrollment. Federal and state financial aid may only be used for one retake of a course in which a passing grade (D- or above) was previously earned.

Courses Designated as Repeatable for Credit

Students may register in successive semesters for skill-building, special topics courses, and workshops classified as repeatable for credit courses on the Course Schedule. The number of times a repeatable for credit course may be taken varies, and students should always consult their Academic Advisor prior to registration for these courses. Grades received for courses designated as repeatable for credit will appear separately on the transcript. Tuition and fees are paid each time the course is taken. Courses designated as repeatable for credit may not be retaken to improve a grade.

Notification of SAP Status

At the end of each term (fall, spring, summer) each student’s cumulative GPA, completion rate, and maximum time frame will be evaluated. Students who do not meet these standards will be notified of their SAP status by the Office of the Registrar.

These notifications include the following four statuses: financial aid warning (academic warning), financial aid suspension (academic dismissal), financial aid probation (academic probation), financial aid probation continuance (academic probation continuance).

The Office of the Registrar notifies students of their SAP status and the impact on financial aid eligibility via their Loop email account at the end of each semester immediately following the grading period. Students who have met the SAP requirements are considered in good standing and do not receive a written notice.

Financial Aid Warning (Academic Warning)

Students who do not maintain a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or above or do not meet the minimum completion rate after one semester will be placed on financial aid warning. Additionally, any student who has attempted 165 credit hours or more and has not completed their degree program will be placed on financial aid warning. Students who receive this notification should meet with the College Advising Center for counseling before registering for the subsequent semester. Students are eligible to continue receiving financial aid and to register for future courses while on financial aid warning.


Financial Aid Suspension (Academic Dismissal)

Students who do not maintain a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or above or do not meet the minimum completion rate after a semester on financial aid warning will be placed on financial aid suspension. Additionally, students who were previously placed on financial aid warning due to maximum time frame and did not complete their degree program during the semester on financial aid warning will be placed on financial aid suspension. Students on financial aid suspension are prohibited from registering for future courses and are not eligible for financial aid.



Students who are on financial aid suspension may be eligible to appeal their standing and should speak with their academic advisor about the appeal requirements and process.

Financial Aid Probation (Academic Probation)

Students who complete the appeal process and are approved will be placed on financial aid probation. While on financial aid probation, students are eligible to register for courses and receive financial aid. Students on financial aid probation status must meet the terms outlined in their academic plan. Failure to regain SAP eligibility or to meet the terms of their academic plan after this subsequent grading period will result in the student being placed on financial aid suspension and being prohibited from registering for future courses and receiving financial aid.

Financial Aid Probation Continuance (Academic Probation Continuance)

Students who failed to meet the minimum SAP requirements but who adhered to their academic plan may be eligible for financial aid probation continuance. Students on financial aid probation continuance maintain eligibility for financial aid and are considered in good academic standing once they renew their academic plan with the College Advising Center. A financial aid probation continuance appeal must be submitted by the established deadline for the appropriate term and is subject to approval.

Students who do not submit an appeal or whose appeal is denied are placed on financial aid suspension and are prohibited from registering for future courses and are not eligible for financial aid.

SAP Appeals

Columbia recognizes there may be extenuating and mitigating circumstances affecting student performance. Columbia allows students to appeal their SAP status by submitting a satisfactory academic progress appeal/academic standing appeal with appropriate documentation to the College Advising Center for consideration if any of the following circumstances exist:

  • Death of a relative; and/or
  • Physical or mental health illness or injury; and/or
  • Extraordinary and unusual change in personal circumstances that affected academic performance; and/or
  • Demonstrated significant academic progress while on academic warning.

The student’s appeal must describe why the student didn’t maintain SAP, provide reasonable documentation of that circumstance, and explain how the student will maintain SAP in future terms.

An appeal committee made of professionals from the College Advising Center and Student Financial Services reviews all SAP appeals. Because Columbia’s academic standing policy and SAP policy are the same, students submit one appeal for both standards and the decision of the committee applies to both the student’s financial aid eligibility and the student’s ability to continue pursuing a degree at Columbia. If the appeal committee denies a student’s appeal or a student declines to submit an appeal, the student is no longer eligible for financial aid and is prohibited from registering for future courses at Columbia.

Deadlines to Appeal:

Fall SAP suspension: 15 days after notification of financial aid suspension

Summer SAP suspension: 7 days after notification of financial aid suspension

Spring SAP suspension: 30 days prior to the start of fall enrollment

Students who do not submit an SAP appeal by the established deadline and/or whose appeal is denied will be ineligible to receive financial aid and prohibited from registering from future courses at Columbia.

Regaining Eligibility

Because Columbia’s academic standing policy is the same as its SAP policy, students who do not complete an appeal or whose appeal is denied must sit out from Columbia for at least two semesters. During this time, the student must attend another college or university and demonstrate academic progress at that institution for at least two semesters prior to applying for readmission at Colombia and submitting a new SAP appeal. Students interested in readmission should speak with the College Advising Center.

If a student is granted readmission to  Columbia and the SAP appeal is approved, the student is placed on financial aid probation and the above policy applies.

Class Standing

Class standing for undergraduate students pursuing a Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Music, Bachelor of Science, or Bachelor of Fine Arts is classified by the number of credits earned:

 

Standing

BA, BMus, BS, or BFA

 

Freshman

0-29

 

Sophomore

30-59

 

Junior

60-89

 

Senior

90 and above

Academic Forgiveness

Failure to Meet the Minimum Grade Requirement

Students may progress in major or minor course sequencing or level by earning a minimum grade of C. In all other courses students must earn a minimum grade of D.

Students who fail to earn a minimum grade in any course not designated as “repeatable for credit” (see below) may attempt the course one more time in an effort to earn a higher grade.

Retaking Course Work not Designated as Repeatable for Credit

Students are permitted to attempt a course a second time to improve their earned grade, provided the course is not designated repeatable for credit. Students may retake a course to improve their grade no more than once (total of two attempts). Official withdrawals from a course (W grade) are not included in the total of two attempts.

The retaken course must have the equivalent course number and title as the initial course, and students pay tuition and fees for the retaken course. The grade achieved in the retaken course (whether higher, lower, or the same) is included in the computation of the grade point average, and the course is included in the completion rate and maximum graduation time frame calculations. The original course title and original grade remain on the student’s academic record. Any credit earned in the first attempt is replaced by any credit earned in the second attempt; credit can only be earned once for courses not designated as repeatable for credit. The student’s academic record reflects the current academic transaction and satisfactory academic progress compliance for each semester of enrollment.

Federal and state financial aid may only be used for one retake of a course in which a passing grade (D or above) was previously earned.

Courses Designated as Repeatable for Credit

Students may register in successive semesters for skill-building, special topics courses, and workshops classified as repeatable for credit courses on the course schedule. The number of times a repeatable for credit course may be taken varies, and students should always consult their faculty advisor prior to registration for these courses. Grades received for courses designated as repeatable for credit appear separately on the transcript. Tuition and fees are paid each time the course is taken.

Courses designated as repeatable for credit may not be retaken to improve a grade.

Academic Options and Opportunities

The Honors Program

The Honors Program community brings together creative thinkers, intellectuals, writers and communicators who seek to share ideas while studying and learning at the highest level. Honors Program students pursue deeper academic and creative challenges with some of Columbia’s most engaged faculty members through a rich array of specially-designed courses on subjects ranging from Vertebrate Paleontology to Victorian Poetry to Quantum Physics and dozens of other topics. Honors classes include students from all of Columbia’s majors in the visual, performing, media and communication arts, creating opportunities for collaborations and relationships that transcend the classroom. Many Honors courses fulfill Liberal Arts and Sciences Core requirements, and the upper level Honors Undergraduate Research Mentorship Initiative (URMI) course provides one-on-one research opportunities with faculty across the College and can be taken for up to 3 hours of Honors Program credit.

Students can become eligible for the Honors Program in two ways:

  • Students are considered for the Honors Program upon admission to Columbia. If admitted to the Honors Program, students receive an invitation with the admission letter. Students who complete fifteen Honors course credits and maintain a 3.5 GPA in all of their courses will receive the designation ‘Honors Program Graduate” on their transcripts.
  • All students with a Columbia GPA of 3.5 or higher are also eligible to enroll in Honors courses and may declare into the Honors Program at colum.edu/honors

The Honors Program is distinct from Latin Honors, which is based solely on GPA. Contact Honors Program Director Robin Whatley with any questions at honors@colum.edu or visit colum.edu/honors

Undergraduate Research Mentorship Initiative (URMI)

The Undergraduate Research Mentorship Initiative (URMI) connects talented students with junior standing and at least a 3.0 GPA who are interested in conducting academic research with faculty members involved in scholarly projects in their areas of expertise. Students who participate in an URMI project can earn a maximum of 3 credits. Honors URMI coures can also be taken for up to 3 credit hours toward the Honors Program requirement. Proposals for URMI projects are due from the faculty and student prior to the project semester. For more information, contact your School Dean’s office, visit colum.edu/urmi, or write to the Honors Program at honors@colum.edu

Independent Projects

Independent projects are advanced, student-driven learning experiences involving substantial student independence in project design and project execution. Independent projects are appropriate for students who wish to explore a subject on their own beyond what is possible in regular courses offered by the college. An Independent project must not be equivalent in content to courses currently offered by the College. An Independent project must be approved by a faculty advisor who also evaluates the final results and awards a grade. Credit for an Independent project cannot be applied toward the student’s LAS Core Curriculum requirements. 

Independent Project Cover Sheet  

Directed Studies

Directed studies are learning activities involving student independence within the context of regular guidance and direction from a faculty advisor. Directed studies are appropriate for students who wish to explore a subject beyond what is possible in regular courses or for students who wish to engage in a subject or activity not otherwise offered that semester by the college. Directed studies involve close collaboration with a faculty advisor who assists in development and design of the project, oversees its progress, evaluates the final results, and submits a grade.  

Directed Study Cover Sheet  

Internships

The internship program integrates classroom theory with practical work experience by placing students in training positions related to their academic studies. The Career Center works with students and employers to ensure that students are offered a worthwhile learning experience closely related to the academic program. More detailed information about requirements and credit fulfillment can be secured from the Career Center.

Study Abroad

Columbia College Chicago strongly encourages students to spend a term abroad. Whether it is a summer, J-term, semester, or full-year program, there are numerous options for students to earn credit while seeing the world. In a global society, the true professional artist needs an international consciousness. Through International Programs, the college offers students the opportunity to challenge their cultural assumptions and develop as artists and world citizens.

Through Columbia’s cornerstone college-wide international exchanges, students can spend a full semester abroad studying at one of the college’s partner institutions. With Columbia’s departmental programs, students have the opportunity to participate in a Columbia faculty-led program specific to a course of study run at varied sites and time periods (J-term, summer, and semester-long). Lastly, Independent Study Abroad allows students who are interested in a location, course of study, or time-frame that is not offered by Columbia programming to select an option from outside the college, and with proper approval, via the Study Abroad Agreement, receive credit and federal financial aid.

International Programs serves as the central point for all the various options to earn credit abroad. Please visit the website at: www.colum.edu/InternationalPrograms for more information.

Students are required to obtain approval from International Programs before their participation in any study abroad program. This office reserves the right to determine deadlines and other requirements. No transfer credit from study abroad programs is awarded to students who have not received official International Programs approval in advance.

International Programs provides:

  • The determination of how credits will be accepted by Columbia.
  • Access to Student Financial Services for programs abroad.
  • Ensuring continuing status as a Columbia student while abroad.
  • Assistance throughout the application process.

Columbia College Chicago students wishing to study abroad must apply through the International Programs website. Approved programs include all Columbia College Chicago exchanges as well as programs through Columbia’s affiliated providers (AIFS, Athena, CEA, and CIS Abroad). Combined, these programs cover a wide range of subjects and destinations.

Any student wishing to get approval for a program not on the list of exchanges and partner programs must submit a request, in writing, to the International Programs office, located at 600 S. Michigan Ave., 8th floor. For spring, summer, and J-term programs, this request must be submitted by September 1. For fall programs, this deadline is March 1.

NOTE: Submitting a request does not guarantee approval. The acceptability of study abroad programs is made at the sole discretion of International Programs. Requests received by the deadline above will be approved or denied within three weeks and the requestor will be notified. All decisions are final.

To request that an external program be approved, students must write a brief essay to explain why this program is necessary for their educational goals and why none of Columbia’s exchange or partner programs will suffice. Any request for an external program to be approved should address the criteria below. Additionally, all requested programs will be reviewed by International Programs for issues of safety and general operations. 

An approvable external program must:

  • Be in a location that is not offered by any of our partner programs or exchanges, at which the student has a compelling reason to want to study;
  • Offer an area of study that is not offered by any of our partner programs or exchanges, and that relates to the student’s area of study at Columbia;
  • Be a demonstrably unique program that is sufficiently distinct from Columbia’s exchanges and partner programs; or
  • Be some combination of the above, in a way that demonstrates the necessity of the student studying at that particular program.

Graduation Audit and Posting of Degrees

Students must complete an online application for graduation from the graduation application link on the students tab in OASIS. The application must be submitted one academic year before the expected graduation date. (For example, if a student intends to complete degree requirements at the close of the Spring 2019 semester, they should submit their graduation application in the Spring 2018 semester.) Once grades are certified for the final semester of enrollment, a final degree audit is completed by the Office of the Registrar and the degree is posted if all requirements are met by the student. Once the degree is posted, the transcript of a student’s academic record at Columbia College Chicago will not be changed. Attendance at the commencement ceremony does not constitute degree completion or graduation. The diploma and official transcript cannot be issued until all financial obligations to the college are settled.

Assessment of the Graduation Fee

Columbia College Chicago assesses a modest graduation fee to help defray the costs of graduation-related expenses. These include but are not limited to diploma printing and mailing, degree audit maintenance and evaluation, and commencement ceremony and regalia. 

Degree-seeking undergraduate students are assessed the graduation fee once they have earned 90 total credits (senior level status). Second BA students are assessed the graduation fee once upon completion of the graduation application.

The $175 graduation fee is nonrefundable.

Academic Distinction

Dean’s List

Students are eligible for the Dean’s List if they are full-time, degree-seeking students (12 or more credits per semester) and have an earned grade point average of 3.75 or higher for the term. The Dean’s List for each school of the college is posted at colum.edu/registrar, and the Dean’s List designation is reflected on the student’s transcript.

Graduation Cum Laude

Students whose final cumulative grade point average is between 3.75 and 3.79 graduate cum laude (with praise).

Students whose grade point average is between 3.8 and 3.89 graduate magna cum laude (with high praise).

Students whose grade point average is 3.9 or higher graduate summa cum laude (with highest praise).

Academic Grievances

A student has the right to appeal academic decisions that affect his or her record at Columbia related to grade changes, attendance penalties, and incomplete grades.

Academic Petitions

Columbia College Chicago has established clear and reasonable academic requirements, and students must meet these requirements to remain in good academic standing. Under extraordinary and exceptional circumstances, the student may present a written petition to the dean of the appropriate school requesting an exception to a departmental academic requirement. Exceptions are made only on rare occasions and are based on the specific circumstances of the case at hand. A designated representative of the dean reviews the petition and determines whether an exception to an academic requirement is appropriate. That decision is final. For more information on academic petitions, see an academic advisor in the College Advising Center.

Grade Changes

Only an instructor can change a grade. The request for a grade change must be submitted by the end of the semester following the term for which the original grade was awarded. Both the department chair and the dean of the appropriate school must approve the change.

Procedures for Grade Grievance

The faculty member and chair of the department in which the disputed grade was awarded resolve grade grievances. Every attempt should be made to resolve the grade grievance through consultations between the student and the instructor or among the student, instructor, and the department chair (or subject-area coordinator when that person is charged with resolving grade grievances). In the event that these consultations fail to resolve the grievance, an appeal procedure is available to students. Appeal procedures require written documentation. All documents must be dated.

The grading and evaluation policies outlined in the course syllabus form the basis for resolution of all grade grievances.

  • A grade grievance occurs when a student protests a grade awarded on the final grade roster. The grievance must be filed within three weeks of the student’s receipt of the grade.
  • Every grade grievance must be submitted in writing by the student to the instructor who awarded the grade. The student must copy the department chair when the original grievance is submitted to the instructor.
  • The instructor will respond in writing to the student and send a copy to the department chair.
  • If the response from the instructor is not satisfactory to the student, a written petition of appeal to the department chair (or, in some departments, to the subject-area coordinator, designated by the chair) must be submitted.
  • The chair or coordinator will respond to the student’s petition of appeal.
  • If the decision of the chair or coordinator is unsatisfactory to the student, they may appeal to the dean of the appropriate school, whose decision over every substantive, procedural, or related issue will be final and cannot be appealed.

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