Academic Standing, Probation, and Dismissal

Good academic standing is maintained by meeting the standards for credits attempted and for grade point average. A student must attempt a minimum of 12 credits in the Fall and Spring semesters and 3 credits each Wintersession. Courses graded Audit (“AU”) and Withdrawn (“W”) do not count toward the attempted minimum credit loads. Students must also earn a semester grade-point average at or above the minimum standard of 2.00. In order to graduate, the minimum cumulative grade-point average required is 2.00.

The Academic Standing Committee reviews the academic performance of all students at the end of each term. Students are expected to meet minimum academic standards, not only for each term, but also cumulatively. Any student attempting fewer than the required minimum number of credits, or earning a term grade-point average of less than the published standard, will be subject to Academic Probation. Two successive semesters or three non-consecutive semesters of substandard performance will normally result in dismissal of the student from the College for a minimum of one year.

In cases of really poor academic performance, the Academic Standing Committee may decide at any time that a student should be dismissed from the College for academic reasons. This decision may be made upon the recommendation of the student’s Division Dean and Department Head.

Once a student is placed on probation, he or she will remain in that status until the end of the next semester, at which time the Academic Standing Committee will review the student’s academic record.

For purposes of academic review by the Academic Standing Committee, a grade of I (for incomplete) is computed in the grade point average as an F. Students may be subject to conditional academic probation until the I grade is made up by completion of required work.

Foundation (First-Year) Evaluation: At the end of the first semester and at any time during the second semester of the student’s Foundation year, there may be a review of any student whose performance indicates a probable inability to meet the requirements of the College. After review by the Foundation faculty, Foundation Dean, and a member of the Academic Standing Committee, the student may be academically dismissed. A student who desires to return to RISD after being dismissed from Foundation Studies may be required to re-apply for admission through the Admissions Office rather than be eligible for the readmission procedure.

Foundation studies courses are prerequisites to the courses within a major. A student who receives an F or W in one or more of the three Foundation Studios: Drawing, Studio: Design, or Studio: Spatial Dynamics must make up that course. There are 2 ways to do so: (a) Summer Foundation Studies at RISD or (b) retake the course in the division of Foundation Studies within 12 months.

Foundation Studies requirements and substitutions must be approved by the Dean of Foundation Studies in order for a student to move on to sophomore status. A provisional approval will be given if an I, F or W is present, with a final approval necessary once the course is completed.

Any other student who fails a required Foundation Studies course must repeat the course within 12 months after the end of the academic year in which the failure was recorded.

 Academic standing committee

The Academic Standing Committee (ASC), along with the student’s department head, reviews the academic performance of all students at the end of the Fall and Spring terms. It also reviews the performance of students who attended the Summer Foundation Studies Program as successful completion of that program may be specified as a condition of acceptance to RISD.

This committee also hears requests from students seeking exceptions to academic policies (e.g. enrolling for less than a full time load, late course adds or drops, walking at commencement when degree requirements are not yet met). This committee meets regularly during the academic year. Students may file requests for exceptions with the Registrar’s Office. The Academic Standing Committee is chaired by the Vice Provost. Additional members are a faculty member elected by the Instruction Committee from its membership, two faculty members elected by the Faculty, the Registrar, the Dean of Students, and the Coordinator of Academic Advising.

 Advanced standing

In limited circumstances in some departments, a student may be advanced from one course level to another based on a portfolio review, and the student will be waived from the lower level course. The portfolio review usually occurs at the end of the first semester of study at RISD and is done by the student’s department head at the student’s request. Granting of advanced standing does not mean that course credit is granted, and the student must make up the credit from the missing lower level course by taking an elective. Students should check with their department to learn whether a portfolio review is offered. Advanced standing that is unaccompanied by additional credit transfer may not reduce the number of semesters needed to complete degree requirements.  E-mail the Registrar ( for more information.