A+D Student Handbook

A+D Academic Policies and Information

Upper-Level vs. Lower-Level Courses

Lower-level courses are those with course numbers of 2000 or lower. Upper-level courses are those with course numbers of 3000 or higher. Within the BFA 88-credit studio requirement, each student must complete a minimum of 24 credits in upper-level studio coursework and an 8-credit Senior Project.

Semester Course/Credit Load

To graduate within four years – eight semesters in the Purchase system – we urge students to maintain course loads of 16 credits per semester. The minimum course load per semester for full-time matriculated students is 12 credits. Students wishing to pursue fewer than 12 credits per semester are considered part-time. Students are only eligible for on campus housing if they maintain an average of 14 credit hours per semester for an academic year.
A student who has “lost” credit hours through transfer or has had a semester with fewer than 16 credits will need to take summer courses or spend additional semesters in study. The maximum number of credits taken during a semester without overload approval is 18. A credit overload may be granted by a faculty advisor based on a demonstrated history of rigorous study and performance. A CGPA of 3.5 or better is expected of any student wishing to carry more than 18 credits in one semester.
A student should not carry more than 14 studio credits in a semester: a schedule in excess thereof is likely to compromise the quality of work in any one course. Note that the weekly studio commitment is two hours of independent preparation for every hour spent in class, or 12 for 6 in one four-credit course.

Undergraduate Advising

Faculty advisors are available for counsel on all academic issues; in some cases the School of Art+Design Coordinator or Director is consulted as well. Still, the responsibility for fulfilling the requirements for graduation rests solely with the student. Failure to meet these requirements may necessitate extra semesters of study.
Students are strongly encouraged to meet with their advisors regularly throughout the semester for opportunities to reflect on current course activity and performance, and on long-term educational goals. Rather than trying to force meetings amid the rush of Registration, students should try to make appointments earlier in the term during the advisor’s regular office hours to allow time for more substantive conversation.

First Year Advising

In their freshman year students will be advised for their second semester registration in the Art+Design Freshmen Seminar class. Before Advising Week in their second semester, all freshmen will be assigned a faculty advisor within the BoS that they have indicated an interest in pursuing. This faculty advisor will meet with the student in order to determine the best available schedule for the student’s first semester of their sophomore year.

Transfer Students

Students transferring to Purchase from other accredited institutions will have their academic credits evaluated and will be advised by a team of faculty representatives from the Boards of Study prior to their first semester. Credits will be awarded based on a comparison to our Art+Design program, and only those studio credits (with a grade of “C” or better) or art history credits considered applicable to the BFA degree at Purchase College will transfer.   

Change of Advisor

A student may elect at any time to change his or her advisor. A Change of Advisor form is available online or outside the School of Art+Design Office. It must be signed by the student and the new advisor, and then submitted to the Registrar's office.

Advising Week

Advising takes place the week before Registration begins for a given semester.  Students should arrange appointments with their faculty advisors during advising week to review their course progress and select courses for the coming semester. This is especially important for courses that require a Special Course Contract.
Students must obtain official advisor approval in the form of an AAC code before they may register.

Special Courses

The courses described below require a Special Course Contract form (to be signed by the faculty advisor) or an IAC code for registration. Though these experiences are intended for juniors and seniors, freshmen and sophomores may request special permission to register. Students on academic probation may not register for special courses.

Learning Assistant*/ Teaching Assistant*

Working with a faculty member in a particular class, the student will have first-hand experience with preparation and presentation of course material. Creating course plans, class assignments, performing demonstrations, and running critiques – all under the close supervision of the faculty member – are part of this experience. Please note the credit hour restriction for this type of class below. Please note the credit hour restriction for this type of class below. (2 credits are earned for serving as a Learning Assistant for a 4 credit class, and 1 for serving for a 2 credit class)

Studio Assistant*
(VDE, VDR, VIS, VPH, VPR, or VSC. 3950.XX)

(2 credits) Studio, shop, and/or lab assistants learn the practice of maintaining a productive work space through mini-apprenticeships to technical support staff or faculty members. Students prepare course plans, perform demonstrations, and run critiques, all under close supervision. They also supervise the shops and labs in the ab¬sence of faculty and support staff. Please note the credit hour restriction for this type of class below.

Independent Study
(VIS.1900.XX, VIS.3900.XX or VIS.5900.XX)

Independent Study is an opportunity for students capable of working at an advanced level with limited supervision to engage in a special project that cannot be accomplished through regular course activity. To register for this course, a student must be a junior or senior in good academic standing. Any student registered for a Senior Project cannot also register for an Independent Study with their Senior Project advisor. The workload for this experience is approximately 3 hours per week for each credit hour earned.

(VIS.2900.XX, VIS4900.XXor VIS.5900.XX)

Tutorial study is study for a small group of students who meet regularly with a faculty member to discuss a specific topic. The meeting will include periodic as well as final evaluations of student performance. One credit hour is assigned for each contact hour per week of regularly scheduled instructional sessions. For each contact hour students are expected to complete at least two hours of independent work.

(Course # assigned by the Career Development office)

Students may pursue an internship in their major area of study to augment the practical training received in their studio courses. Spon¬sored by an Art+Design faculty member, these internships require 3 hours of contact time with the sponsor per week for every credit hour earned, and are graded on a pass/fail basis. Interested students should meet with the Career Development Office early in the planning stage.  

n o t e s

* A student may earn:
>> 2 hours of Learning/Teaching Assistantship (LA/TA) credit for assisting a 4 hour class
>> 2 hours of studio assistantship (SA) credit for 6 hours a week of Studio Assisting through the course of a semester
>> 6 hours of credit total for SA/LA/TA study during the entire course of their studies at Purchase (All six hours of SA/ TA/LA credit cannot be of one type)

Applying for Graduation

It is the student’s obligation to apply for graduation in the second semester of their junior year.  In order to apply for graduation, be sure to follow these instructions.

Senior Project

The Senior Project is the culmination of undergraduate studies at Purchase. It carries eight credits and is equally heavily emphasized within the culture of the School. The areas often divide the Project’s credits evenly between fall and spring semesters of the student’s final year.

More about Senior Project:

The Senior Project is the vehicle for every BFA candidate’s development of a coherent body of personal work within a discipline, or between or among disciplines. It is considered an extension and refinement of work which is already three years underway. Each Senior Project consists of a body of artwork elaborated by a thesis paper of at least 1500 typed words and appropriate documentation of the project. The paper serves as close analysis and broad reflection: a student recognizes his/her influences and the context in which he/ she is working, draws on relevant art-historical and contemporary issues, and outlines his or her premise, its evolution, and the results of the project. The format of the paper is described more precisely on the following pages.

Each area retains the authority to review for approval every senior project proposal in its area. Students solicit faculty sponsorship during the semester preceding the one in which they intend to begin the project. They generally seek the guidance and collaboration of teachers with whom they have had significant prior contact. A meeting is held, ideas are proffered, a plan is hatched, and a student commences (or continues) labor on both artwork and written statement. A first draft must be given to the sponsor one month before the end of the semester. Each student must discuss the time frame for intermediate drafts of the paper with his or her sponsor.

The second reader brings a fresh eye and a different perspective to the review of the project. A second reader must be a Purchase College faculty member or other professional approved by the project sponsor and selected prior to the beginning of the final semester of the project. The sponsor and second reader will critique the completed project and the written paper. Some areas may require a formal review of each project by the entire faculty membership of the area. Each senior is responsible for obtaining approval from both the sponsor and second reader of the thesis paper.

For information on Senior Project formatting and submittal to the Library, please follow this link

Grading Philosophy

All students’ work is evaluated throughout the semester, with a final grade assigned at the completion of each course. Each grade is determined by the teacher alone, and reflects not only the documented accomplishments of the student, but also his or her attitude and approach to the course.
It is expected that each student will not only perform at a given level but will also show a trajectory of growth through the semester. Grades, then, are not based in comparisons to other students but are personal evaluations of an individual’s potential and progress. The faculty challenges the students to demonstrate clear and passionate commitment to continued study in this professional program.

Art History Credits as Studio Credits for BFA Students

After completion of the minimum credit requirement for your major (12 for BFA, 16 for BSVA) up to eight credits of Art History may be counted as Visual Arts studio elective credits.
Interested? Be sure to look into a minor in Art History.

Performing Arts Conservatory Credits as Studio Credits

Up to six credits of majors level studio work from the Performing Arts Conservatories may be applied as Visual Arts studio elective credits

LSCE Studio Credits as Visual Arts Studio Credits

Any studio courses taken through the Division of Continuing Education and not taught by a regular A+D faculty member must be approved by the appropriate Area Head and the Director in order to receive credit toward graduation in the School of Art+Design.