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The Academic Standing Committee (ASC), along with the student’s Department Head or Graduate Program Director for graduate students, reviews the academic performance of all students at the end of the Fall and Spring semesters.

The committee also reviews the performance of students who attended the Summer Experimental & 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 policy (e.g. enrolling for less than full-time credit load, walking at Commencement with unfinished degree requirements, etc.)

This committee meets regularly during the academic year. Students may file requests for an Exception to Academic Policy with the Registrar’s Office.  The Academic Standing Committee includes elected faculty and representatives from Student Affairs and the Registrar's office. Decisions rendered by the Academic Standing Committee are final. The ASC decision cannot be overruled. As such, there is no further avenue for appeal after the decision is made.

Good Academic Standing

Good academic standing is maintained by meeting the standards for credits completed and for grade point average. A student must complete a minimum of 12 credits in the Fall and Spring semesters and register for 3 credits each Wintersession.

Courses graded Audit (AU), Withdrawn (W), Failure (F, IF, UW), and No Credit (NC) do not count as completed credits. Failure of an international student to be enrolled full-time in a required semester/term is a violation of F-1 Visa status and will result in the student losing immigration status. The student will be required to leave the U.S. immediately.


Undergraduate 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

Graduate Students:

Must earn a semester grade-point average that meets the following minimum standard:

  • 2.00 First-year M.ARCH candidates

  • 2.70 First-semester MLA candidates

  • 3.00 All graduate students, except first-year M.ARCH candidates and first-semester MLA candidates

The minimum cumulative grade-point average required for graduation is 3.00, except for M.ARCH and MLA candidates who need a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.750.


The Academic Standing Committee reviews the academic performance of all students at the end of each semester. Students are expected to meet the minimum academic standards, not only for each semester but also cumulatively. In Fall and Spring, any student completing fewer than the required minimum number of semester credits, or earning a semester grade-point average of less than the published standard, will be subject to Academic Probation. Additionally, in Wintersession, every student is required to register for a minimum of 3 credits to remain in full-time status and to remain in good academic standing; failure to do so will be subject to Academic Probation.

Two successive semesters or three non-consecutive semesters of substandard performance/probation will normally result in the dismissal of the student from the College for a minimum of one year. Students academically dismissed for a second time are institutionally withdrawn and are not eligible for future reinstatement. Even if a student has not been at RISD for multiple semesters so could not already have been placed on probation, the Academic Standing Committee (ASC) could determine that mandatory leave or dismissal from the College is appropriate when the student's academic performance is below the required minimum Grade Point Average (GPA), or when a student fails too many prerequisite courses to be allowed to register for the sequential courses in the upcoming semester. Similarly, the ASC could make this determination for a student in the first semester of a new major or degree program when the GPA is below the minimum or when a student fails too many prerequisite courses to be allowed to register for the sequential courses in the upcoming semester. The ASC considers such determinations upon the recommendation of the Department Head and Divisional Dean for undergraduates, or the Department Head, Graduate Program Director, and Divisional Dean for graduate students.     

Once a student is placed on probation, they 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.  Dismissed students, returning from a leave of absence, will continue on probation for the semester they return.

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 a warning of academic probation or a warning of academic dismissal (as appropriate) until the I grade is made up by the completion of required work by the published deadline.

Foundation (First-year Program) Evaluation

At the end of the first semester and at any time during the second semester of the undergraduate 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 Experimental & Foundation Studies Faculty, the EFS 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 Experimental & Foundation Studies may be required to re-apply for admission through the Admissions Office rather than be eligible for the reinstatement procedure.

Academic Appeals & Exception to Academic Policy

Students may request an exception, for cause, to academic standards or regulations using the ‘Request for Exception to Academic Policy’ form.  In order to consider a student’s request for an exception, the Academic Standing Committee (ASC) requires the following:

  • A ‘Request for an Exception to Academic Policy’ form from the student, which includes a clear, detailed explanation and detailed reasoning for the exception. The student’s plan to complete degree requirements and their current academic progress. Cases are reviewed based on the information submitted.

Recommendations may be required, when applicable, from the following:

  • A recommendation from a course instructor

  • A recommendation from the student’s Academic Advisor

  • A recommendation from the student’s Graduate Program Director (graduate students only)

  • A recommendation from the student’s Department Head

  • A recommendation from the student’s Division Dean

  • A recommendation from the Dean of Liberal Arts when the request is in regard to Liberal Arts, or from the Dean of the Division offering the course if the course is outside the student’s program division

  • A recommendation from Disability Support Services when applicable

  • A recommendation from International Student and Scholar Affairs, if a student is on an F-1 Visa

Students will receive instructions from the Registrar’s Office for submitting their Exception to Academic Policy requests. Note, there are specific deadlines for filing some requests. Check the Registrar’s Office website for more information. The ASC meets monthly. Students should take this timeframe into account when requesting exceptions for items that need a timely response. The student will be notified of the Committee decision via their RISD email.