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Academic Support + Policies

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Our policies provide guidance to faculty and staff and work in conjunction with the official university regulations published in the Student Code. Students with questions should consult staff members in the FAA Office of Undergraduate Academic Affairs.

Contact Us

The FAA Office of Undergraduate Academic Affairs is now open to meet with students in person, by phone, or via Zoom. Please note that students are expected to adhere to campus safety policies. Our regular business hours are 8:30 a.m.–5:00 p.m. Monday–Friday. If you have questions, you may contact our office at 217.333.6061 or


All degree-seeking students must be registered in the College of Fine and Applied Arts for at least two semesters.

Students who would like to change their major and do not wish to follow the course recommendations of their current program of study must submit a transition semester form. Generally, only one transition semester is allowed. It is your responsibility to contact the desired program/college to discuss the application details and transfer process so that you can gain approval to transfer into another major. If approval is not granted before the tenth day of classes, the change will not become effective until the following semester.

Consult the official list of minors to see the options and requirements. All students are eligible to select a minor at the end of their freshman year. Fill out the minor declaration form to make your choice. If your circumstances change and you are no longer pursuing that minor, complete and submit the modification of minor form.

If you intend to pursue two degrees you must meet the following requirements:

  • Minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 (approval for two degrees will not be given to students with a GPA of less than 3.0)
  • Sophomore standing (at least 30 credit hours completed)
  • Completion of residency* in both colleges with at least two semesters in FAA; if both degree programs are within FAA, at least two semesters must be spent in the major unit for each degree
  • Completion of a minimum of 30 semester hours beyond the first degree
  • Certification of both degrees for graduation within the same semester

If you are seeking a concurrent degree within FAA you must complete the dual degree request form. This form requests the following information:

  • Semester-by-semester plan of study outlining completion of the requirements for both degrees signed by advisors from each program
  • Statement of interest

If you are a current FAA student seeking a degree in another college, you will need to contact your program of interest to identify the appropriate form for that college. You will need to obtain signatures from both departmental advisors and the signature of an assistant or associate dean from the other college.

* Please note that most FAA scholarships awarded to support the primary major will be withdrawn during semesters when the residency requirement in the other college is being completed.

Course Registration

If you are a continuing student, you will be provided with a registration time ticket that indicates the first date that you may register for the following semester. All students are encouraged to review the Degree Audit System and schedule a meeting with a departmental advisor to discuss program requirements, goals, and future coursework before registration.

A normal FAA course load is no more than 18 credit hours and no fewer than 12 credit hours.

An overload is available only to students who have a 3.0 or higher GPA. If you wish to enroll in classes for more than 18 credit hours, you must submit an overload request form and provide this information:

  • List of all desired courses
  • Total number of credit hours
  • Reason for the request

Students enrolled in fewer than 12 credit hours are part-time students. Part-time enrollment may affect financial aid, visas, and progress toward a degree. If you would like to enroll in fewer than 12 credit hours or drop below 12 credit hours, you must submit an underload/part-time status request. International students must also contact International Student and Scholar Services for approval. Failure to do so may result in the termination of your immigration status.

If you plan to take a course at another institution, you should first determine if the credits are transferable by taking these steps:

  • Check Transferology to see if the course has been evaluated and will be accepted for credit
  • Confirm with the FAA Office of Undergraduate Academic Affairs that the course will transfer before enrolling
  • If the course will be used to complete a general education requirement, discuss this option with the FAA Office of Undergraduate Academic Affairs
  • After completing the course, send a transcript to the Office of Undergraduate Admissions

Many off-campus courses have been evaluated for transfer credit. If a course has not been evaluated before you enroll, save all course material—such as the syllabus, reading list, exams, quizzes, and papers—and bring it to the FAA Office of Undergraduate Academic Affairs.

Reviews are conducted on completed courses only after a transcript has been sent to the University of Illinois.


If you wish to cancel your registration and thus avoid payment of tuition and fee charges, you must drop all of your courses except the last one from Student Self-Service no later than 11:59 p.m. CST on the last day before classes begin and complete the Classic Registration/Cancel Registration step in Student Self-Service.

Once a term has begun, you must contact the FAA Office of Undergraduate Academic Affairs to withdraw from your classes. Students are encouraged to review the academic calendar and the withdrawal schedule while they consider making this decision.

Medical withdrawals are rare and reserved for students who require time away from campus for the treatment of a physical or mental health condition that significantly impacts their ability to function safely or successfully on campus. A student who believes that a medical withdrawal may be appropriate should contact the Office of the Dean of Students for more information.

A retroactive withdrawal—a withdrawal requested after the semester has ended—is appropriate only under extreme circumstances that can be documented. Any student who wishes to seek a retroactive withdrawal should contact the FAA Office of Undergraduate Academic Affairs or a departmental advisor to discuss the petition process.

Once a semester has ended, students in good standing or on probation have the option of "stopping out" for a time without initiating any formal request with the FAA Office of Undergraduate Academic Affairs. Students may choose to stop out for one or two semesters, as needed. If students have registered in advance for the subsequent semester, it is their obligation to clear these course enrollments through the cancellation process. Students are also encouraged to contact University Housing to separately address cancellation of a housing contract, if necessary.

If you leave the university with good academic standing or while on probation, you are eligible to return to the university with your same major by contacting the FAA Office of Undergraduate Academic Affairs. You must send an email message stating the term that you would like to re-enter prior to the start of the term. Once this email has been received, your netid will be reactivated and you will receive a time ticket for registration. If you were majoring in dance, music, or theatre and have been away from the university for more than one academic year, you may need to audition again. 

If you were dropped by the university, you must submit a drop status petition/petition to re-enter. Petitions are due to the FAA Office of Undergraduate Academic Affairs by November 30 for readmission during the spring semester, April 30 for the summer semester, and July 31 for the fall semester.

Academic Standing

A student in good academic standing is making satisfactory progress toward a degree, is taking the appropriate courses, and has at least the minimum required GPA. Students who do not meet these standards are either put on probation or have drop status. Probation and drop rules are based on semester and cumulative GPAs.

Probation is a warning that unless your grades improve you may be dropped from the university. If you are on probation you may not register for fewer than 12 credit hours or more than 18 credit hours without permission from an FAA academic dean. Written notification of probationary status is generally sent by the FAA Office of Undergraduate Academic Affairs. You may be required to complete an academic contract with your departmental advisor before your probationary semester begins. 

The college may choose to drop a student for the following reasons:

  • Not meeting academic probation requirements
  • Repeatedly failing required courses
  • Not making satisfactory progress toward a degree

Detailed information on the university's drop policies can be found in section 3-110 of the Student Code.

Course Policies

A grade of incomplete allows you to have additional time beyond the end of the semester to finish assignments. This extension is granted to assist you under specific circumstances—a lengthy illness for example—and is not intended to provide extra time to improve your work on assigned material. An incomplete grade is given only with the instructor's approval. A qualifying student should submit the I grade request form to the FAA Office of Undergraduate Academic Affairs.

Under certain circumstances you can repeat a course to replace a low grade. Please note that a replacement grade does not remove the previous grade from your transcript. It changes your cumulative GPA only. You may replace up to 10 hours of credit or four courses. Check section 3-309 of the Student Code for more information. If you wish to use the grade replacement option, you must meet with an advisor or academic dean to discuss grade replacement. You then must file a grade replacement form during the first half of the term in which you are repeating the course. For example, you must indicate your desire to use the grade replacement option by the eighth week for a full-semester course or by the fourth week for a half-session course.

If you are in good academic standing, you may select the credit/no credit grading option for electives. You must submit the credit/no credit option form during the first eight weeks of the semester. Detailed information on the process is available in section 3-105 of the Student Code.

Courses may be added only during the first two weeks of the semester or during the first week of summer session 2. If you want to enroll in courses after the deadline, you must obtain approval from the department offering the course and submit the late course change form to the FAA Office of Undergraduate Academic Affairs. 

Late Drop or Late Credit/No Credit Request
(After the Academic Deadline and before the Last Day of Class)

Students may choose to drop a course in Self-Service before the published academic deadline. Please be aware that a change in credit hours may impact financial aid, visas, or progress toward a degree.

Only in rare instances will you be permitted to drop a class or elect for credit/no credit grading after the published academic deadline. A bad grade is not a valid reason to drop a course late in the semester. You must be able to demonstrate that extraordinary extenuating circumstances, particularly those after the official academic deadline, have impacted your academic ability.

Students who seek to drop a course or elect for credit/no credit grading after the academic deadline are encouraged to meet with a departmental advisor and submit a student petition to request a late drop or credit/no credit grading. This petition must be submitted by the last day of class during the relevant term.

For full consideration, please submit this required information along with your student petition:

  • A detailed explanation of your situation
  • Supporting documentation (for example, a letter from a health professional, legal paperwork, or an obituary)
  • Late drop/instructor feedback report

Retroactive Late Drop or Late Credit/No Credit Request
(After the Term Has Ended)

Students who seek to drop a course after the term has ended must meet with a departmental advisor and submit a student petition to request a retroactive late course drop or credit/no credit grading. Poor performance in a course is not a justifiable reason for a retroactive late course drop or a retroactive change to credit/no credit grading. You must be able to demonstrate that extraordinary extenuating circumstances impacted your academic ability. There is no deadline for submission of the student petition and accompanying materials.

For full consideration, please submit this required information along with your student petition:

  • A detailed explanation of your situation
  • Supporting documentation (for example, a letter from a health professional, legal paperwork, or an obituary)

Special topic courses and open seminar courses—most often sections of 199 courses—generally count as elective credit toward a degree. If you wish to substitute credit from a special topic course for a required class, you must submit a student petition. Only 12 hours of credit from these courses may be used to fulfill graduation requirements.

Any exception to the published major requirements for a catalog year will require a course substitution. The College of Fine and Applied Arts does not waive requirements or total hours toward a degree. Course substitutions are granted in rare and unusual circumstances only. Students who seek a course substitution must first consult with an academic advisor to initiate this request. The course substitution form must be filed by an academic advisor and must provide evidence of special circumstances that would warrant approval of the request.

Rights and Procedures

The College of Fine and Applied Arts is committed to fostering an open and honest educational community. Each person should be treated with respect and have the freedom to learn, express opinions, and search for truth.

All students are expected to adhere to the highest standards of integrity in their work in classrooms, studios, performance spaces, and all other areas of their intellectual and creative life on campus. Academic integrity infractions include but are not limited to

  • Cheating
  • Plagiarism
  • Fabrication
  • Bribes
  • Academic interference

Students who violate university policy may receive a warning, have a grade lowered, or be dismissed. The full academic integrity policy is available in section 1-402 of the Student Code.

To request an exception to a college requirement, you may submit a student petition. The form should state the exact nature of the request and include any appropriate supporting documentation. You will be notified by email or letter when the final decision has been reached.

A student petition should be used for the following situations:

  • Late credit/no credit (requires the credit/no credit option form)
  • Late drop/retroactive late drop
  • Retroactive withdrawal (not related to a medical withdrawal)
  • Other exceptions

Any student may ask for reconsideration of a college decision or an exception to unit, college, or university academic policies. To make an appeal, you should submit the academic decision appeal form. The appeal should provide additional or clarifying information. Restating a plea or submitting multiple requests with no new information will not change the original decision. Only one appeal will be considered for each petition.

If you have a conflict about an academic matter and feel you have been treated unfairly, you are entitled to file a grievance—a formal complaint—with the college. First consult with your advisor or an academic dean so that you can determine your best course of action. If you decide to file a grievance, submit a formal statement outlining the problem and the resolution you're seeking to the FAA Office of Undergraduate Academic Affairs. All grievances will be addressed promptly.

Capricious grading is one example of a situation that might lead to a formal grievance. If you feel you were held to more difficult or demanding standards than other students in the same class on an assignment or for the entire course, you may wish to submit a complaint. See section 3-107 of the Student Code for an overview of the general grievance process. Consult with an advisor or academic dean about capricious grading and your rights. 

Be sure to complete all the steps on this checklist during the semester you intend to graduate. Download the FAA commencement guide for more information and to find contact information for your unit's convocation ceremony.

  • You must notify FAA of your intent to graduate by adding yourself to the graduation list no later than the tenth day of classes. Visit Self-Service and click the "Graduation" tab.
  • Check your degree audit report to determine if you have met all requirements. Contact your academic advisor or the FAA Office of Undergraduate Academic Affairs if you have questions or concerns.
  • The university-wide commencement ceremony and your unit's convocation ceremony are handled separately. Make sure that you sign up for both events if you'd like to attend them both.
    • Note: Bachelor's degree candidates with 13 or fewer hours left to complete and who expect to finish in August may participate in the commencement ceremony held in May. Their names will not appear in the printed university-wide commencement program until the following May.
  • Be sure to check and update the diploma address information in Self-Service as needed.

For details about graduation activities, see the Commencement at Illinois website.

For questions about your diploma, see the information from the Office of the Registrar.


Benefit from an internship with a professional in your field to deepen your involvement in classroom work and foster a network for future employment or study. Many FAA graduates land jobs where they interned or meet artists they collaborate with over a lifetime.

Landscape architecture and theatre studies majors must complete an internship to earn a degree. Students in other majors can shape their own internships by choosing a faculty member, determining the number of academic credit hours, and deciding on a project (such as a final paper, a performance, a planning diagram, or a piece of art). Credit is earned in either a designated internship course (ARTD 399 or THEA 490) or an independent study with the faculty member. Discuss your options with an advisor—and bring your own ideas.

Strong StArt Program

The Strong StArt Program offers support for selected incoming freshmen in FAA. It was designed to help new students make a smooth transition from high school to college life.

Undergraduates are selected on the basis of various academic factors and recommendations from the FAA Recruitment and Admissions Office. Students are also able to self-select and participate.

As a Strong StArt participant, you can expect these services:

  • Workshops to help you get acquainted academically with life on campus and gain a strong understanding of the resources available.
  • Additional advising support to discuss interests and personal experiences on campus.
  • Monthly email updates highlighting campus support services, events, and academic deadlines.

Complete the online Strong StArt participant agreement by Friday, July 31, 2020.

Attend the Strong StArt Welcome on Saturday, August 22, 10:00–11:00 a.m. (location and format to be determined).

If you have questions about the Strong StArt program, please contact the FAA Office of Undergraduate Affairs at 217.333.6061 or

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