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Academic Credit & Progress Toward a Degree

Satisfactory Academic Progress for Financial Aid

Maryland Institute College of Art recognizes that although the BFA degree is programmatically designed for completion within four years, many students need five years to complete the program. Financial aid funds will be available to students for five years if the student maintains satisfactory progress. Students are responsible for credit accumulation and fulfillment of degree requirements. Earning the minimum number of credits for financial aid does not guarantee completion of a degree.

The following chart represents the minimum number of non-repeat credits to be successfully completed each academic year in order to achieve satisfactory academic progress. In addition to credit requirements, students must maintain a minimum 2.0 cumulative GPA each semester. Failure to complete the minimum number of credits or to maintain a minimum 2.0 cumulative GPA will result in loss of assistance.

YearMinimum annual credit accumulation
1 24
2 48
3 72
4 96
5 126

These are minimum requirements to satisfy financial aid eligibility. A normal course load to complete curricular requirements would consist of 15 credits each semester of the freshman year, and 15-18 credits each semester of the sophomore, junior, and senior years depending on the major department.

Financial Aid Probation

Full-time students who fail to successfully complete 12 non-repeat credits in a given semester or achieve a 2.0 minimum cumulative GPA in any given semester will be placed on Financial Aid Probation for one semester. This allows one semester of additional work to bring the academic record up to the minimum standards. Students will be notified in writing of Financial Aid Probation status and the conditions of the probation.

Financial Aid Suspension

Students who fail to meet the minimum Satisfactory Academic Progress standards after the probation semester will have a suspension of further assistance until standards are met.

Financial Aid Appeals

Students who have not met satisfactory academic progress standards or who have lost scholarship renewal because of failing to meet specific GPA requirements and who have special circumstances (for example, serious health problems) may appeal aid suspension. Students must make appeals in writing, outlining the extenuating circumstances, and summit appeal letters to the Financial Aid Office. An Appeal Review Committee will review the appeal and notify the student in writing of their decision.

Declaring Majors

First-year students are encouraged to attend the Major Café Program, sponsored by the Office of Academic Advising, the Foundation Department, and the Joseph Meyerhoff Center for Career Development, designed to help students explore major choices. Majors are usually confirmed by March 1, just prior to registration for the fall term. Students may remain undeclared until the second semester of the sophomore year, although by doing so they may extend their date of graduation.

Five-Year Double-Major Programs

In order to declare a double major, students must have a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or greater at the time of declaration. Students who select a double major must fulfill the requirements for both majors; they earn one BFA degree.

Students who double major may only count 18 credits toward fulfilling core degree requirements for both majors. Beyond these 18 credits, all courses that fulfill specific core requirements for one major may only count as studio electives for the other. (For example, PH 232 may count as fulfilling a photography major requirement, but may only count as a studio elective for GFA.) If a course is required for both majors (for example Life Drawing), then it is to be included as part of the 18 credits that may be "cross counted." Therefore, the double major will earn between 147 and 159 credits, which is 21-33 credits more than the student who pursues one major.

In addition, students must complete two full years of Senior Thesis work, including exhibition. This means that the senior thesis for one major must be complete (presumably in the fourth year) before beginning the senior thesis work for the second major (in the fifth year).

Changing a Major

Upper-class students who wish to change majors must get written approval of the department chair in the new major, as well as acknowledgement from the department chair of their previous major.

Students who declare or change their major after the freshman year may prolong their expected graduation date. Contact the Office of Academic Advising for further information. All changes must be confirmed and recorded by the Office of Academic Advising at least two weeks prior to registration for the upcoming semester in order to maintain registration priority in the new department.

Liberal Arts Minors and Studio Concentrations

Students in any major may incorporate into their degree plan a liberal arts minor offered in art history or in language, literature and culture, or a studio concentration. See page 48 for detail on requirements for minors. Detail on requirements for studio concentrations may be found beginning on page 52 of the 2009-2011 Academic Bulletin.

Independent Study

The purpose of independent study is to provide for intensive study in an area of special interest with appropriate College faculty. Supervising faculty members guide, evaluate, and grade students on their work. The same quality of work and time invested in traditional class settings is expected of students in independent study courses. Students are limited to two independent study courses per semester (6 credits). Independent study is not equivalent to the junior and senior independent study courses required in each major. Contracts for independent study are available in the Office of Enrollment Services. The contract requires the following: a minimum GPA of 3.0; a complete description of the work to be undertaken; and signatures of the supervising faculty, department chair, and student. The complete contract must be submitted to the Office of Enrollment Services during registration or within the semester's add period.

Continuing Studies Courses

MICA undergraduate students may enroll in courses offered through the College's Division of Continuing Studies, as detailed on page 217 of the 2009-2011 Academic Bulletin.

Academic Standing

Every student's transcript is reviewed at the end of each semester by the Office of Academic Advising. At this time, academic standing is determined according to the following criteria.

First-Year Students

The academic standing of students who earn less than a 2.00 GPA for one or both semesters of the freshman year will be determined at this time, and such students may be placed on probation or dismissed.

Upper-Level Students

  • Students earning a semester grade point average of less than 1.00 will be academically dismissed.
  • Students on academic probation who fail to earn a semester 2.00 GPA in the consecutive semester of attendance will be academically dismissed.
  • Students whose overall cumulative GPA or semester GPA is less than 2.00 but higher than 0.99 will be subject to academic probation.
  • Students having less than 30 credits remaining to complete their degree and who earn a semester grade point average less than 2.00 will be subject to academic probation.

Appeal Procedure for Academic Dismissal

Students who have been academically dismissed may appeal as follows:

  • Dismissal may be appealed to an Academic Review Board. The appeal must be in writing, explain the reasons why the board should reconsider the dismissal, and be addressed to the Academic Review Board, via the Office of Academic Advising. All such appeals will be considered within the time set by the Academic Review Board. Recommendations are made by the Academic Review Board to the Office of Academic Advising, which reviews for approval the proposed course of action.
  • If the Academic Review Board upholds the dismissal, the student may confer with the Office of Academic Advising, which will outline a proposed course of action for\ potential readmission, according to the readmission policy. This process may involve successfully completing coursework at another college.

Withdrawal/Temporary Leave of Absence from School

Students of record are eligible to take a leave of absence or withdraw from the College. A student of record is defined as one who has a permanent MICA record of enrollment (a transcript). Any student wishing to withdraw permanently or take a temporary leave of absence must meet with the Office of Academic Advising and complete the proper paperwork.

Readmittance Policy

Students in good academic standing who are returning from an official leave of absence may file an application for readmittance through the Office of Academic Advising. Application deadlines are December 1 for spring readmittance, April 1 for summer and July 15 for fall. Students who are academically dismissed from MICA must also petition for readmission to the College. All readmitting students will register in the period between semesters.

In order to be accepted for readmittance, students must have no outstanding financial obligations to the College and must be current on all student loans. Official transcripts from each college or university attended since the last enrollment at MICA must be submitted. Students applying to return after an absence of more than three years will be eligible for readmittance on a space-available basis, and will be expected to fulfill the degree requirements of the year in which they are readmitted.

Academic Requirements for Veterans

Veterans enrolled at Maryland Institute College of Art or students eligible for veterans' benefits should read and understand the following guidelines set by the Veterans Administration in the State of Maryland and Maryland Institute College of Art.

  • All undergraduate and graduate students who receive veterans' benefits must carry 12 credits to maintain full-time eligibility. Veterans have 30 calendar days to drop classes. After 30 days, all drops must be reported to the Veterans Administration Officer
  • Certified veterans are to notify the Office of Enrollment Services immediately upon terminating or changing their student status.
  • Students must maintain at least a 2.0 cumulative GPA to remain in good standing. Certified veterans with a GPA below a 2.0 for any given semester will be notified of their academic probationary status. A veteran student is not eligible for VA benefits for more than one probationary semester and must receive counseling and approval from the Veterans Administration before the College can re-certify him/her.
  • Students not making satisfactory progress during the course of any given semester assume the responsibility of contacting the Office of Enrollment Services prior to
    registering for the following semester of study. This change in status will result in less financial aid from the Veterans Administration. The Registrar will notify the Veterans Administration of such changes within 30 days.
  • The Veterans Administration's demands on students are reasonable but perhaps slightly more rigid than those of the College. There are many resources available to support and help students in their scholastic pursuits. The objective of these guidelines is to remind veterans to stay in touch with the Registrar if their good standing status seems threatened.

GraduationGraduation honors are determined by the student's cumulative GPA upon completion of degree requirements:

For the graduating Class of 2018 and beyond, the following GPA requirements have been approved and implemented:

  • Summa cum laude 3.90
  • Magna cum laude 3.80
  • Cum laude 3.70

The present GPA requirements, as listed in the Academic Bulletin, will continue to be used for the graduating Classes of 2015, 2016, and 2017:

  • Summa cum laude 3.85
  • Magna cum laude 3.75
  • Cum laude 3.50

It is each student's responsibility to understand and track progress toward completion of degree requirements by review of transcripts, degree plans, and meetings with designated advisors. Questions or perceived discrepancies should be brought immediately to the attention of the Office of Enrollment Services.

A minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0 is required to obtain the BFA degree. MICA confers degrees in May, August, and December. Students are eligible to participate in the May Commencement ceremony if they have met all degree requirements for the May confer date, or have a 2.0 or higher GPA and 6 credits or fewer to complete their degree requirements.

All students who meet these requirements must submit an application for graduation to the Office of Enrollment Services by March 15. No exceptions are made.

Participation in the Commencement Exhibition is approved by the student's department chairperson.

Students will receive their diploma immediately following the May ceremony if their financial obligations to MICA have been met. December graduates will receive their diploma through the mail during the winter.