Academic Policies + Definitions
As an academic and artistic community, RMCAD seeks to support the development of the highest levels of creativity, growth and learning within each individual. It is our community’s belief that this is accomplished by careful, personal transformation effected through the incorporation of academic and artistic integrity, through a focus and attentiveness to process as well as resultant forms and product, and through acknowledging those upon whose work each is informed and inspired. As citizens of this community, each has the right and duty to expect honest and authentic work from self, peers, and all others. Further, RMCAD recognizes that this commitment to integrity is the path to discovering one’s own creative voice and art. Representing the work of others as one’s own damages the creative self and inhibits success toward the goal of authenticity. Thus, RMCAD holds in high esteem this Code of Conduct by which each pledged to abide.
The foundation of a college or university is truth and knowledge. Academic dishonesty is conduct or behavior including, but not limited to cheating, plagiarism, unauthorized possession or disposition of academic materials, falsification, collusion, or other forms of dishonesty affecting the academic environment. Other forms of dishonesty include but are not limited to furnishing false information to any College official, faculty member, or office; forgery, alteration, or misuse of any College document, record, or instrument of identification.
The Code of Conduct also prohibits disorderly conduct in the form of disparagement, harassment, exhibitions of aggression, discrimination, or any behavior that disrupts the learning environment.
Members of the community caught abusing the above standards may be removed from good standing with the organization until the situation has been resolved by the appropriate RMCAD delegates.
Definitions of Academic Dishonesty:
Plagiarism is a form of cheating. To plagiarize is “to steal and pass off the ideas or words of another as one’s own, use a created production without crediting the source, commit literary theft, or present as new and original an idea or product derived from an existing source” (Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 1993). Plagiarism is intellectual theft, a serious academic offense with serious consequences.
Plagiarism extends to self-plagiarism, which is using one’s own previous work in another context without citing it previously used. This can be work created in other classes or for outside college activities. Any deviation from this policy should be addressed in writing by the faculty member;
Cheating is defined as the giving or taking of any information or material with the intent of wrongfully aiding oneself or another in academic work considered in the determination of a course grade or the outcome of a standardized assessment;
Presenting the visual media, intellectual property, or creative efforts of another as your own; or
- Any other form of inappropriate behavior which may include but is not limited to falsifying records or data, lying, unauthorized copying, tampering, abusing or otherwise unethically using a computer or other stored information, violation of any college, state, or federal laws or policies, and any other act or misconduct which may reasonably be deemed to be a part of this heading.
To commit or assist someone in committing academic dishonesty is grounds for disciplinary action and possible suspension or expulsion from the college. Students who observe or become aware of apparent academic dishonesty should report the matter to faculty or administration.
Procedures for Addressing Academic Dishonesty
Faculty members are expected to use reasonable and practical means of preventing and detecting academic dishonesty. If a faculty member has evidence that a student has engaged in an act of academic dishonesty, the faculty member will report the issue to the Committee on Plagiarism. RMCAD faculty reserve the right to submit written works to anti-plagiarism tools to verify the authenticity of student work. If the student admits to the infraction, and the faculty member judges that the preponderance of evidence supports the allegation, the faculty member may then assign an academic penalty.
An initial act of academic dishonesty may result in an “F” for the assignment, at the instructor’s discretion. All incidents of academic dishonesty are reported to the Committee on Plagiarism (COP), overseen by the Dean of Students. The COP will notify the Chair of the department in which the course resides if plagiarism has occurred; depending on the nature of the violation other relevant departments will be notified (ie; Advising, Registrar, Financial Aid). Students will receive advisement from the Committee and referral to resources and information to assist in avoiding subsequent offenses. Three or more reported offenses may result in probation or expulsion from the college. Information about incidents of academic dishonesty is kept on file in the Office of Student Affairs. No further action is initiated unless the incident constitutes a major infraction, the student has a prior record of infractions, or there are subsequent reports of misconduct. If the student disputes the decision of the faculty member regarding alleged academic dishonesty, a hearing may be requested through the Conduct Review Board outlined in the Student Policies + Procedures | Student Information section. The request must be received by the Dean of Students no later than 30 calendar days after the first day of classes of the next term. If no appeal is filed within the time period, then the decision of the faculty member is final.
The Use of Artificial Intelligence
(add May 2023)
RMCAD recognizes that artificial intelligence (AI) technologies are rapidly changing the way artists, designers, scholars + musicians produce work, and carry the potential to impact the creative industries in different ways. Each academic department at RMCAD has established a specific approach to how students may use and incorporate AI generated materials in their coursework, as well as a commitment to discuss the ethics + implications of AI. Students are expected to adhere to the Student Code of Conduct and follow all departmental guidelines and policies regarding the acceptable use of AI at RMCAD.
Please see The Department of Student Advising for more information.
Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design offers students additional Academic Support outside of the classroom. For more information, please see the Student Resources section of the catalog for information about the Library, Student Learning Center, TECHBAR, and more.
Diversity Within the Curriculum
The curriculum at Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design supports the school’s Mission, Vision, Values, Diversity Statement, and Institutional Outcomes. There are no curricular or educational expectations for any student to personally prescribe to the concepts presented in any class; however, RMCAD does expect students to engage in a variety of academic disciplines that are intended to build skills necessary for informed, meaningful, and critical thinking and engagement. RMCAD requires faculty and students to adhere to the institutional, departmental, and course learning outcomes.
Alternative curriculum, presentations, readings, assignments, and discussion prompts are not available based on race, culture, nationality, ethnicity, religion, ideology, personal beliefs, geographic origins, class, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity and expression, disability, age, and/or personal history.
Intellectual Property + Copyright
Students and employees are not permitted to use any materials, or to register, or seek to register, any trademark, service mark, domain name, trade name, or a corporate name that includes or is confusingly similar to any of RMCAD’s trademarks, trade names, service marks, copyrights and copyrightable works, trade secrets, or other proprietary information, or any derivative thereof, in any manner or media, without express written consent from the RMCAD President permitting the use of such Intellectual Property.
For example, students are prohibited from securing, registering, or creating any website, email address, blog, or social media address or account that uses or refers to any RMCAD Intellectual Property; from submitting, sharing, displaying, or uploading any Intellectual Property (including video, graphics, and other content found on public websites maintained by RMCAD and its affiliates) to or on any website, social media website, video-sharing website, or any other media content- sharing website.
Use of College Name and/or Logos
Students, faculty, and staff may use the College name and logos to identify themselves. Only with the express written permission of the College may the College name or logos be used by individuals or entities in a manner that implies College endorsement or responsibility for particular activities, products, or publications for commercial purposes or promotion of individuals or groups.
Artwork and projects created by students as part of a RMCAD course of study are done for educational purposes and represent both the student’s ideas and the influence of the College’s faculty. The college reserves the right to display, retain, and reproduce student work for exhibition, publication, marketing, or any other purpose without the student’s consent. The use of these materials by RMCAD will be limited to promotional and educational activities for the benefit of the school and its students.
Students agree to grant Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design (RMCAD) perpetual license to all materials created in the course of a school project or activity including but not limited to art, i.e.: paintings, drawings, design, illustration, animations, character design, images, video, film, computer media, audio recordings, and other creative work created in the course of a school project or activity.
Students hired to carry out specific tasks that contribute to the Intellectual Property of RMCAD retain no rights of ownership in whole or in part to that Intellectual Property or to the Student’s contribution to that work. RMCAD also reserves the right to use students’ likenesses and/or voices in RMCAD advertising or promotional pieces.
RMCAD is committed to complying with all applicable laws regarding copyrights. As an institution devoted to the creative process, RMCAD supports the responsible, good faith exercise of full fair use rights as codified in federal law at 17 U.S.C. § 107 by faculty, librarians, staff, and students in teaching, research, and service activities. Except as allowed by law, it is a violation of this policy and law for RMCAD faculty, staff, or students to reproduce, distribute, display publicly, perform, digitally transmit (in the case of sound recordings or audiovisual works), or prepare derivative works based upon a copyrighted work without the permission of the copyright owner.
Students who engage in illegal downloading or unauthorized distribution of copyrighted materials using the school’s information technology system are subject to disciplinary action under the Student Code of Conduct up to and including dismissal from their program. In addition, consequences for copyright infringement can include civil and criminal penalties. In general, anyone found liable for civil copyright infringement may be ordered to pay either actual damages or “statutory” damages affixed at not less than $750 and not more than $30,000 per work infringed. For “willful” infringement, a court may award up to $150,000 per work infringed. A court can, at its discretion, also assess costs and attorneys’ fees. For details, see Title 17, United States Code, Sections 504, 505. Willful copyright infringement can also result in criminal penalties, including imprisonment of up to five years and fines of up to $250,000 per offense. For more information, please see the website of the U.S. Copyright Office at www.copyright.gov. Students who engage in illegal downloading or unauthorized distribution of copyrighted materials using the school’s information technology system are subject to disciplinary action under the Student Code of Conduct up to and including dismissal from their program.
As a general guideline, students are permitted to use copyrighted materials in their projects/assignments. However, fair use only permits the use of copyrighted material for coursework/assignments. If a student’s course work contains any copyrighted material, the student is not permitted to use that work in a portfolio, demo reel, website, or anything outside the scope of that specific course assignment.
The information provided above is not intended to provide legal advice but instead clarification of the federal statutes as understood by RMCAD. Faculty and staff should refer to the National Employee Handbook and the Academic Affairs Manual for additional information regarding copyright regulations and requirements.
All courses at RMCAD include assessments of student knowledge, capacities, and skills developed in both academic and studio work. Assessment methods and instruments are appropriate for assessing student knowledge, capacities, and skills, and the stated learning outcomes of undergraduate and graduate education. The College continually examines and adjusts the content and delivery of the curriculum to correspond with the expectations of the knowledge, capacities, and skills of students. The Curriculum Committee (CC), the Program Review and Assessment Committee (PRAC), the Program Department, and the Program Department Advisory Boards are responsible for this review and revision process. RMCAD engages in ongoing self-evaluation and modification, consistent with the nature of the art and design fields. Students have direct access to faculty, Department Chairs, and administration to ensure that student needs are known and addressed. Students entering under the current Catalog are subject to the Policies and Procedures of this catalog regardless of the method of course delivery.
RMCAD - Distance Learning Definition
Distance Learning, also called online learning or e-learning, is a form of education in which a course is conducted over the internet using our Learning Management System (LMS) when an instructor and students are physically separated and any portion of a course is not offered in person. The LMS facilitates the regular and substantive interaction between instructors and students to deliver a distance learning course through lectures, assessments, learning activities, submission of assignments, and other communications. Distance learning courses are most often delivered through asynchronous (not live) activities but may include synchronous (live) activities as indicated by the instructor in the course syllabus.
The distance learning course design and delivery must meet the following minimum regular and substantive interaction standards to meet the federal definition of distance education found in 34 C.F.R. § 600.2.
Providing the opportunity for substantive interactions with the student on a predictable and scheduled basis commensurate with the length of time and the amount of content in the course or competency; and
Monitoring the student’s academic engagement and success and ensuring that an instructor is responsible for promptly and proactively engaging in substantive interaction with the student when needed on the basis of such monitoring, or upon request by the student.
Engaging students in teaching, learning, and assessment is consistent with the content under discussion, and also includes at least two of the following—
- Providing direct instruction;
- Assessing or providing feedback on a student’s coursework;
- Providing information or responding to questions about the content of a course or competency;
- Facilitating a group discussion regarding the content of a course or competency; or
- Other instructional activities approved by the institution’s or program’s accrediting agency
Distance Education Course Design
Student-instructor or student-student regular and substantive interaction is primarily facilitated via the LMS which allows the parties to interact synchronously and asynchronously from separate physical locations. All distance learning courses at RMCAD must be designed to provide for regular and substantive interaction between instructors and students as defined in this policy and federal regulation. At a minimum, a distance learning course must include two types of substantive activities scheduled at regular intervals throughout the course. This intentionality in the distance learning course design enhances an instructor’s ability to engage with students throughout the course of study to provide instruction, support, and supervision of activities. This creates a positive environment in the distance learning classroom which in turn enhances student learning and engagement.
Distance Learning Attendance
Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design is an attendance-taking institution in all course delivery modalities, including distance learning. Attendance is a measure of engagement and interaction that is academically related. Consistent attendance, class participation, and thoughtful engagement offer students the most effective opportunities to gain command of the knowledge, skills, and aptitudes for the course of study; therefore, RMCAD students are required to attend class, be prepared to work, and be on time. The primary goal of attendance is to promote student and faculty engagement, to ensure that students have an opportunity for interaction with faculty and peers regarding academic matters, and to provide students with the opportunity to engage with assignments designed to build skill, knowledge, and learning partnerships.
In a distance learning course, attendance is recorded on days that the student has one of the following attendance activities in the LMS in accordance with 34 C.F.R. § 600.2:
- Attending a synchronous class, lecture, recitation, or field or laboratory activity, where there is an opportunity for interaction between the instructor and students;
- Submitting an academic assignment;
- Taking an assessment or an exam;
- Participating in an interactive tutorial, webinar, or other interactive computer-assisted instruction as assigned by the course instructor;
- Participating in a study group, group project, or an online discussion as assigned by the course instructor; or
- Interacting with the course instructor about academic matters.
A student is not considered to be in attendance for simply logging into the LMS with no attendance activity as listed above.
Distance Education Attendance Guidelines
Attendance is recorded for distance learning courses based on a student completing or participating in an attendance activity included in this policy.
Distance learning students are required to complete an attendance activity twice per week, one by mid-week and one by the end of the week. Attendance is recorded on the day the activity occurred. A student is considered present for mid-week attendance by completing an attendance activity due that week by Wednesday at 11:59 PM MT. To be considered present for the end-of-week attendance the student must complete an attendance activity due that week after Wednesday at 11:59 PM MT but no later than Sunday at 11:59 PM MT of that week. Attendance must be recorded by faculty by midnight MT on Thursdays and Mondays. Attendance must be recorded for the period that the activity is submitted and not the date that it was due. Attendance is a record of participation during each bi-weekly attendance period.
For the purposes of attendance recording, late assignment submissions will be recorded as attendance during the period of the submission and will count toward the mid-week or end-of-week attendance for the week in which the assignment is submitted, regardless of when it was initially due. Attendance activities that occur outside of the LMS must be recorded within the LMS to count toward attendance.
Failure to meet the requirements for attendance will result in the instructor marking the student absent. There are no excused absences for the purposes of recording attendance. Failure to regularly attend may result in a lower, or failing, grade as distance learning attendance is often directly tied to weighted learning and assessment activities. Failure to regularly participate in a distance learning course may result in being withdrawn from RMCAD.
Students who demonstrate poor attendance, interaction, and engagement will be contacted by their faculty member and/or Academic Program Department Chair, and by the Office of Student Affairs and/or the Office of Financial Aid Advising and/or the Office of Academic Advising.
RMCAD encourages all students who anticipate an absence at any time to contact their instructor(s). If a student is unable to communicate with their instructor(s), they should contact their Academic Program Department Chair and/or their Academic Advisor.
Students should also review their syllabi for additional assignment submission policies which are department-specific.
Definition of Credit Hour
RMCAD utilizes the guidelines of the US Department of Education as the foundation for the definition of a credit hour:
A credit hour is an amount of work represented in intended learning outcomes and verified by evidence of student achievement that is an institutionally established equivalency that reasonably approximates not less than:
(1) one hour of classroom or direct faculty instruction and a minimum of two hours of out-of-class student work each week for approximately fifteen weeks for one semester or trimester hour of credit, or ten to twelve weeks for one-quarter hour of credit, or the equivalent amount of work over a different amount of time; or (2) at least an equivalent amount of work as required in paragraph (1) of this definition for other activities as established by an institution, including laboratory work, internships, practica, studio work, and other academic work leading toward to the award of credit hours. (34 CFR §600.2)
RMCAD courses are offered in an eight-week format for both campus and online programs. RMCAD requires a minimum of 1.875 hours of contact and 3.75 hours of outside work (student study and preparation) per week for eight weeks, or the equivalent, per credit hour.
For on-campus lecture courses, three-credit classes meet on campus for a minimum of 45 hours during a term, with approximately 90 hours of outside work, or the equivalent, and as necessary to achieve the stated course learning outcomes. For on-campus studio courses, three-credit classes meet for a minimum of 87 hours during a term, with approximately 48 hours of outside work, or the equivalent, and as necessary to achieve the course learning outcomes.
For internships and field experience, one term credit hour represents 45 hours of internship or work-related experience. RMCAD does not award credit for short-term workshops or for attendance at meetings sponsored by the college or other institutions or organizations unless such credit is acceptable for specific programs at our institution.
For online courses, the curriculum mirrors the learning outcomes and academic standards of the analogous on-campus course and requires students to complete the equivalent amount and rigor of work. For example, for a 3-credit course, 135 hours of student work, or the equivalent, are required; for a 2-credit course, 90 hours of student work, or the equivalent, are required. For online courses that do not have an analogous on-campus course, the College establishes standalone learning outcomes, and each credit is supported by an equivalent amount and rigor of work as required by College policy and regulatory requirements (45 hours of student learning activities for each unit of semester credit or the equivalent).
The exact number of hours per week an individual student spends on each online course will vary based on the individual’s study styles, technology proficiencies, learning preferences, and prior experience with course topics. Students should plan to spend between 10-25 hours per week in each course reading material, interacting on the discussion boards, writing papers, completing projects, and doing research.
Program Types + Course Types Definitions
Program Types + Elements
(update May 2023)
Major: A Major consists of a sequence of related courses that serve as the student’s primary field of academic focus. The Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) focuses on developing students’ cultural, communication, design, and critical thinking competencies. Each BFA degree is comprised of coursework from Foundations, Liberal Arts, and major-specific studio coursework, which allows students to develop professional skills in their chosen art and design field. Some majors require the completion of an emphasis or a concentration. In these cases, this designation is listed under the BFA Degree Requirements found within the Academic Catalog.
Double Major | Dual Degree: A Double Major is defined as a single degree earned in two academic disciplines. At this time RMCAD curriculum design does not facilitate the completion of double majors as major requirements in all programs exceed what could be completed in the allowable elective credits within the primary major. A Dual Degree is defined as the completion of two separate degree credentials while concurrently enrolled. Dual degree programs must be predefined and determined by the granting institution. RMCAD does not currently have programs defined to support or facilitate the completion of two degrees concurrently. Students may be enrolled in only one degree program at a time. Highly motivated students who wish to complete a second degree may be eligible to do so upon completion of the first degree and upon successful admission to a second degree program.
Minor: A Minor consists of a sequence of related courses that serve as an overview of a specific discipline secondary to the major course requirements. A minor would consist of a minimum of 12% of the total semester credit hours (15-24 semester credits) required to complete a degree. RMCAD does not currently offer minors-see Emphasis instead.
Emphasis: Emphasis refers to a sequence of related courses that serve as a specialized field of academic focus within the Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA). An emphasis must comprise a minimum of 10% of the total semester credit hours required to complete the degree, approximately 12-24 semester credit hours. Some majors, such as Art Education, require the completion of an emphasis. Emphasis course requirements are listed under the BFA Degree Requirements found within the Academic Catalog.
Concentration: Concentration or Specialization refers to a sequence of courses for a total of 6 to 12 credits that serve to provide students with expertise in a focused subject matter supporting the Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA). A concentration or specialization is comprised of less than 10% of the total semester credit hours required to complete the degree requirements.
RMCAD Certificate Programs: RMCAD certificates are designed to offer credentials for professionals or students seeking specialized art and design career training or to enhance skills to advance in a specific art and design career.
RMCAD not for credit certificates are designed for professionals who wish to pursue continuing education credit (CEU) to develop or enhance specific industry or professional skills. Not-for-credit certificates are largely self-paced with or without faculty mentoring or oversight. Participants in not-for-credit certificates are not eligible for financial aid. Upon successful completion of the requirements, participants will receive a certification.
Credit-bearing certificates may be completed as stand-alone credentials with the potential for credit applied toward a degree. Participants will be engaged in courses with degree-seeking students. Credit-bearing certificate students may be eligible for financial aid. Those wishing to pursue a certificate program for credit must have a cumulative GPA of 2.5 for all college credits attempted, have obtained a high school diploma or equivalent, and must submit a portfolio, or otherwise provide evidence, to demonstrate that they possess a strong sense of commitment, strong artistic sensibilities and possess the requisite talent to develop high-level competencies as a practitioner upon completion of the credential. Refer to the Admissions Requirements section of the catalog for policy and procedures related to the submission of transcripts. Upon completion of the certificate, students will receive a certification credential. Campus-based international students on an F-1 Student Visa are not eligible to participate in certificate programs.
Lecture: A Lecture is a method of instruction in which students are taught a topic by a faculty subject matter expert (see the “Contact Hours” section of the RMCAD Catalog for credit hour requirements).
Studio: A Studio is a hands-on workshop. Studio courses include lectures, mentorship, and research; however, the primary method of instruction occurs with students’ direct practice and production (see the “Contact Hours” section of the RMCAD Catalog for credit hour requirements).
Independent Study: Undergraduate Independent Study courses are intended to give exceptional upper-level students an opportunity for individualized and specialized study in an area of art or design not offered in the regular curriculum. The purpose is to explore an area of personal interest related to a student’s major field of study, wherein teaching and learning occur outside of a formal classroom setting. A junior or senior-level student with a GPA of 3.5 or higher may petition to take one three-credit Independent Study course as part of the degree program. The Independent Study Proposal Form must be accompanied by a syllabus created by the instructor and student, including a course description, calendar, rationale, goals, and objectives. The course number for all Independent Study courses is 3990; and the prefix reflects the program of study under which the course is instructed (e.g., AN 3990, FA 3990).
Internship: An internship is a structured practical experience in a professional program, supervised by a professional practitioner approved by the Program Department Chair, the Director of Career and Alumni Services, and/or a faculty member. An internship is conducted off-campus at a professional location (see the “Contact Hours” section of the RMCAD Catalog for credit hour requirements).
Lab: A Lab provides a workshop or specific, supplemental resource information to a course. Labs present content with a higher degree of autonomy (see the “Contact Hours” section of the RMCAD Catalog for credit hour requirements).
Portfolio Review: A Portfolio Review is an evaluation of a student’s professional proficiencies and competencies in the programmatic outcomes (see the “Contact Hours” section of the RMCAD Catalog for credit hour requirements).
If a classroom disruption is due to specific student behaviors, faculty have the right to dismiss the student(s) from the class session. If the student(s) refuse to leave upon request, RMCAD Security or the Dean of Students will be called to escort them from the classroom. Instructors are not authorized, however, to remove a student from the course entirely. Student dismissals from a class session will be treated as absences by faculty. The faculty has the authority to enforce consequences for the student’s absence(s), in accordance with the class syllabus. This does not, however, limit the ability of the instructor or a fellow student from reporting or filing formal complaints concerning disruptive behavior occurring within the classroom.
All communications with faculty or other students—whether in class, face-to-face, on paper, or by telephone, email, or other electronic means—are subject to the same standards of conduct, behavior, and discipline as classroom behavior. Standards of conduct are outlined in the Student Code of Conduct including – Disorderly Conduct, Threatening Behavior, Harassment + Discrimination, Interference, Obstruction, or Disruption, Online Conduct + Written Communication.
Liberal Arts Policy
RMCAD students are scheduled for courses based on the program sequence that is designed by the Office of the Registrar and the Academic Program Chair. The program sequence was written to distribute liberal arts, foundations, and core program requirements over the lifetime of a student’s program in order to create a well-rounded student learning experience both online and on campus. The program requirement sequence also ensures that students establish the necessary skills and knowledge to succeed in courses throughout the development of their degree program. RMCAD strongly believes that the liberal arts and foundations coursework are as important to the development of strong artists as their core program coursework. Students are encouraged to follow degree sequence plans as closely as possible. Students deviating from the prescribed sequence may not be able to progress in their program until key requirements are fulfilled.
Transfer students are also required to complete all liberal arts coursework in a timely manner. RMCAD requires 33-45 credit hours of liberal arts coursework and transfer students may often transfer in some of the required courses. Students are encouraged to follow degree sequence plans as closely as possible. Students deviating from the prescribed sequence may not be able to progress in their program until key requirements are fulfilled.
RMCAD students enrolled in the BFA, art, and design programs are required to pass a minimum of two portfolio reviews as a part of RMCAD’s regular assessment of student outcomes.
Sophomore/Freshman Portfolio Review The first portfolio review is managed by the program department before the student has earned 60 credits. Transfer students must complete the Freshman/Sophomore Portfolio Review prior to the completion of their second semester. Transfer students will be required to complete a Portfolio Review regardless of the number of transfer credits awarded. The Freshman/Sophomore Portfolio Review has been established in compliance with NASAD accreditation requirements to ensure that RMCAD art and design students demonstrate strong potential for professional success. The sophomore portfolio reviews may be included within required major courses or as stand-alone courses. Students prepare and present a portfolio demonstrating foundational art and design skills. Successful completion of the review is required for students to continue with the course requirements in their degree program. The Freshman/Sophomore portfolio review must be successfully completed prior to the completion of 60 credits unless an exception is approved by the Program Department Chair.
Students who fail Freshman/Sophomore Portfolio Review must schedule and retake the portfolio review the next time it is available. Students who fail will be notified by their Instructor and Program Department Chair regarding issues and required areas of improvement and will be required to complete a Retake Plan to prepare for successful completion of the second attempt. Retake planning will be guided by the Program Department Chair with support from Academic Advisors, Financial Aid Advisors, and registration Schedulers. The Retake Plan is a tool for supporting student success and may include requirements to redo work, complete specified courses, and engage with tutors or other activities to assist the student in preparing for success. Students who fail a second attempt must register for the portfolio review in the next semester and will not be allowed to advance into upper-level coursework in the major until they pass.
Junior + Senior Portfolio Reviews All BFA students are generally required to complete a second and third, major-specific portfolio review during the student’s junior and senior years. Junior and Senior portfolio reviews may be included within required major courses or as stand-alone courses. When included within a course there is a notation in the course description in the Academic Catalog. Please see the major-specific course descriptions.
Students who fail the junior and/or senior portfolio will be required to retake the course when it is next available and complete it successfully to fulfill graduation requirements. Students who fail will be notified by their Instructor and Program Department Chair regarding issues and required areas of improvement and will be required to complete a Retake Plan to prepare for successful completion of the second attempt. Retake planning will be guided by the Program Department Chair with support from Academic Advisors, Financial Aid Advisors, and registration Schedulers. The Retake Plan is a tool for supporting student success and may include requirements to redo work, complete specified courses, and engage with tutors or other activities to assist the student in preparing for success.
Grading + Student Progress
Grading + Evaluating Student Progress
Cumulative Grade Point Averages
Grade reports reflect standard letter grades. RMCAD uses a 4.0 scale to calculate cumulative grade point averages.
||Grade Point Value
The policies on late submission of assignments and grading criteria vary by the academic department and are clearly stated in the course syllabus distributed during the first week of classes. Every course undertaken at RMCAD is included in computing the grade point average, except those in which an AU (audit), P (pass), R (repeated course), or W (withdraw) is posted.
GRADING SCALE POINT DISTRIBUTION + PERCENTAGES
Students are graded on the basis of prompt and satisfactory completion of assignments, attitude, attendance, and individual progress as outlined within the course syllabus. Students are expected to have the materials and supplies necessary for the successful completion of assignments.
|Exceptional: Extremely dedicated effort, superior results, and progress.
|Above Average: Dedicated effort, creditable results, progress, strong participation, generally focused and on time.
|Average: Average effort and results, fulfillment of all requirements, little participation, or inattentiveness.
|Marginal: Little to no evidence of effort, participation, achievement; or evidence of cheating.
|Failure / Fail: No evidence of effort, participation, achievement; or evidence of cheating.
||(59 or below)= no credit
|FN (Fail Non-Attendance)
||(60/100)= credit awarded*
* credits not used to calculate GPA but counted toward graduation.
No grades are given in a Pass/Fail course; instead, students will either receive a “P” for passing the class (a 60% equivalent or above) or an “F” for failing the class (a 59% equivalent or below). “P” (passing) grades are not available as an option for grade substitutions and are used only for courses approved to be offered on a Pass/Fail basis (indicated in course descriptions).
RMCAD allows students to repeat a class in which they have received a failing grade (F, FN) or have withdrawn from the course (W). Students are required to take the class again in the next term that it is available. Credit is earned for the course only once and students will keep the highest grade obtained when repeating a class. The lower grade for the particular course will be removed from the GPA calculation but will remain on the transcript and the retaken course annotated with the grade suffixed with “**”—ex: C**.
Additionally, the credits will be included in the total attempted credits that may impact a student’s satisfactory academic progress. Students who are using Financial Aid and/or VA benefits will be impacted after the third attempt according to the federal guidelines which state students receiving Financial Aid and/or VA benefits can only have 3 attempts in the same course. If the student enrolls in a repeated course for a fourth time, this course will not be eligible for Financial Aid and tuition must be paid in cash. This rule applies whether or not the student received aid for earlier enrollments in the course. This will in most cases affect the student’s graduation date. Students that are on their second attempt will receive a warning from the Financial Aid Department prior to the start of their attempt. Additionally, these students will be required to meet with the Student Learning Center (SLC) to ensure they have the proper academic support.
Students receive midterm and final term grades via RMCAD’s online student portal. Final grades are posted to the student portal within one week of the end of the term. Students who are unable to access their grades by the end of the first week of the following term should contact the Office of the Registrar. The Financial Aid Office notifies Academic Advising of Unsatisfactory Academic Progress.
Grade Appeal Procedure
Faculty are responsible for stating clearly the instructional objectives of the course at the beginning of each term and for evaluating student achievement in a manner consistent with the stated objectives. Students are responsible for maintaining standards of academic performance established in the syllabus for each course in which they are enrolled.
The grade appeal procedure provides a formal process for students to request a review of final cumulative course grades they think were incorrectly awarded. Individual assignment grades are not eligible for this appeal procedure. The student must formally petition for a grade appeal to the instructor in writing, using the RMCAD Grade Appeal Form. The required form is available from the Office of the Registrar.
The burden of proof rests with the student to demonstrate that the cumulative grade assigned for the course was made on the basis of any of the following conditions:
- A grading decision was made on some basis other than performance and other than as a penalty for academic dishonesty.
- A grading decision was based on standards unreasonably different from those which were applied to other students.
- A grading decision was based on a substantial, unreasonable, or unannounced departure from the course objectives and assignments.
Grade appeal petitions will only be considered for the final cumulative grade awarded for the course. Grade appeals will not be considered for individual assignments within courses.
Grade appeal petitions may result in a lower grade than initially awarded by the individual instructor.
The student must submit a grade appeal, in writing, to the instructor who issued the grade, no later than 30 calendar days after the first day of classes of the next term.
If, after subsequent consultation with the instructor, the student is not satisfied and wishes to pursue the issue, or if the instructor is not available or does not respond within 14 days, the student should submit an appeal, in writing, to the Department Chair in which the course was taught. Documentation supporting the grade change based on the appropriate category(ies) set forth above is to be submitted with the appeal. If no appeal is filed with the Department Chair within 45 calendar days after the first day of classes of the next term, the grade shall be considered final.
The Department Chair will discuss the matter with the student and with the instructor and will document the appeal and the Chair’s response.
If the student is not satisfied with the Department Chair’s response and wishes to pursue the matter further, the student should submit an appeal in writing to the Instructional Affairs Committee (IAC) within 14 days from the receipt of the Chair’s response. Again, all documentation supporting the appeal should be included. The IAC may request additional information from the student, faculty member, and Chair. The IAC will review the submitted documentation and recommend approval or denial of the appeal.
The IAC will document the decision and provide copies to the student, the instructor, and the Chair.
This decision of the IAC is submitted to the Dean of Students for communication and processing approval. This decision of the IAC is final.
The result and documentation of the review will be compiled by the Registrar and placed in the student’s academic file.
If the student deems the final decision and accompanying evaluative comments are inaccurate, misleading, or a violation of the privacy or other rights of the student, the student may insert a written comment in the record.
In extenuating circumstances, an “I” grade may be assigned by the instructor with permission from the Department Chair, and in accordance with the eligibility requirements set forth below. Students may request an “I” grade for more time to complete the required coursework, which the student was prevented from completing in a timely way due to non-academic reasons. Students will be asked for documentation to justify the request, though it is important to remember that such documentation does not automatically validate the request. Other circumstances may be taken into consideration, such as the pattern of performance and participation in the course, and any additional factors that the instructor deems relevant. To be eligible for an “I” grade, students must be passing the course at the time of the request and must have completed at least 75 percent of the coursework up to week 6 as specified in the syllabus. The Incomplete Grade Petition form must be submitted to the Office of the Registrar after the withdrawal period has ended and by the end of the term for which the student is requesting the incomplete grade.
All “I” grades require an Incomplete Grade Petition specifying the remaining coursework required for completion and the timeline for removal of the “I” grade. This agreement is subject to the approval of the instructor and the Chair of the department or program. Instructors should post the earned numerical grade for the course at the time they submit the Incomplete Grade Petition. If the coursework is not completed within the prescribed time frame, the “I” will change to the earned grade in the course, including the outstanding coursework. The maximum time in which students must complete all coursework is no later than the Friday of week four of the next term. Students cannot have more than one outstanding “I” before enrolling in the next session.
A student who has suffered a death in the family or other personal event of sufficient seriousness to prevent the student from completing coursework and who has successfully completed 75% of the coursework up to week 6 as specified in the course syllabus, is eligible to petition for the grade of incomplete to the instructor. An eligible student must follow the procedures stated below or negate eligibility.
Because of federal financial aid rules, students who are on academic probation cannot petition for or receive a grade of Incomplete under any circumstances.
Students who are graduating seniors cannot receive a grade of Incomplete and graduate. An incomplete grade automatically postpones graduation.
No extensions or second incomplete petitions can be accepted in relation to the original agreement. In the event that the instructor and Chair deny the petition for an incomplete grade, the student may submit a petition to the Dean of Students. The Dean will confer with the instructor and Chair and may require additional documentation and information to substantiate the petition over and above what was previously submitted and will render a final decision.
The student must formally petition the instructor in writing for the grade of Incomplete, using the RMCAD Incomplete Grade Petition form. The required form is available through the Office of the Registrar. The petition is a contract stating the make-up work to be completed and the completion date and must be signed by the instructor, the student, and the Department Chair.
It is the student’s responsibility to initiate the petition and obtain the signatures required. The student must submit the completed form to the Office of the Registrar for approval of the Incomplete.
Approvals are not granted to incomplete or late RMCAD Incomplete Grade Petition forms.
Students must complete and submit to the instructor all work by the Friday of week four of the next term.
The instructor must submit the final grade to the Office of the Registrar by the Friday of week five of the following term. All due dates stated on the incomplete petition must be met. If they are not, the “I” grade will automatically change to the earned grade in the course. There will be no exceptions.
RMCAD approves policy appeals under rare and extraordinary circumstances. To request a policy appeal, students submit the Policy Appeal Form, including the appropriate situational evidence and/or documentation, available through the Office of the Registrar and submitted no later than the end of the following term. The College does not guarantee the approval of policy appeal petitions. All policy appeals are reviewed by the Dean of Students. Decisions are final and binding.
In order for a student to graduate from a bachelor’s degree program at Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design the student must:
- Complete all required courses in a given program of study.
- Have at least a 2.0 cumulative grade point average (2.5 for Art Education majors).
- Have earned a minimum of 120-126 term credits, depending on their program, for a bachelor’s degree. A minimum of 30 credits must have been earned at RMCAD, including the final 15 credits of study, which must be completed at RMCAD (active military students are exempted from the residency requirement).
- Have completed a minimum of two portfolio reviews for the BFA degrees.
- Have an acceptable body of work for a graduation exhibition for the BFA degrees.
In order for a student to graduate from a Master of Arts degree program at Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design the student must:
- Complete all required courses in a given program of study.
- Have at least a 3.0 cumulative grade point average.
- Have earned a minimum of 30 credit hours for a Master of Arts Degree (refer to specific degree requirements). At least 24 credit hours including capstone courses such as thesis, portfolio, or applied project must have been earned at RMCAD. A maximum of 6 semester hours of transfer credit will be accepted toward completion of graduation requirements.
Undergraduate students who maintain a high level of scholastic excellence throughout their college career receive the earned degree with honors. Honors are determined by the student’s cumulative grade point average.
Cum Laude: 3.5 – 3.6 Cumulative GPA
Magna Cum Laude: 3.61 – 3.79 Cumulative GPA
Summa Cum Laude: 3.80 – 4.0 Cumulative GPA
Graduate students who maintain a high level of scholastic excellence throughout their college career receive the earned degree with honors. Honors are determined by the student’s cumulative grade point average.
Passed with Distinction: 4.0 GPA
Honors designations on transcripts are based upon the student’s complete academic record at RMCAD. Only credits earned at RMCAD are used to determine a student’s grade point average. Students whose grade point average qualifies them for graduation with honors the term before they graduate will be recognized at the commencement ceremony.
One Valedictorian will be chosen to represent their graduating class (per academic year) as the student who best symbolizes RMCAD academically. The Valedictorian will be a student who has achieved a 4.0 GPA, or who has achieved the highest cumulative GPA among their graduating class.
In the event there are multiple students who fit these criteria, the student with the most credits earned at RMCAD will be awarded the honor. Should multiple students have the same CUM GPA and credits earned at RMCAD, the student’s conduct, civic engagement, and community involvement history will be reviewed. The student with a demonstrable history of campus and civic engagement and a history clear of conduct violations will be selected as valedictorian.
Eligibility for Participation in Graduation Events
BFA Students are eligible to participate in commencement exercises and the RMCAD Graduation Exhibition only if they have completed all of the degree program requirements and are officially graduating in the same term. Students are added to the graduation list when they have attended the Mandatory Grad Meeting and have completed the requisite paperwork and submitted relevant information, found within the Mandatory Grad Meeting, provided by the Office of the Registrar. Each semester, all on-campus graduating BFA students have the opportunity to participate in an on-campus exhibit. The BFA Graduation Exhibition is a college tradition and a privilege that brings all students, faculty, staff, and community together for a celebration of the talent and hard work of the graduates. Participating students must be present for the installation and exhibition of the show. Online students who are unable to participate in the on-campus exhibition are invited to have their work included in an online exhibition that will also be exhibited in the on-campus exhibit.
The current retention rate for Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design is 60% percent for full-time first-time freshmen who started in the fall term of 2019. This retention rate is comparable to that of other schools of similar size and focus.
The current six-year average graduation rate for Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design is 43% percent for full-time first-time freshmen who started in the fall term of 2013. This graduation rate is comparable to that of other schools of similar size and focus. The four-year average for the Student Right-to-Know completion or graduation rate calculation is 42%.
Undergraduate students must be enrolled full-time to be eligible for honors. Students who begin a term as full-time but withdraw from one or more courses resulting in less than full-time status for a term are ineligible.
Honors are determined by the term grade point average requirements as follows:
- Dean’s Honor Roll: 3.5–3.99
- President’s Honor Roll: 4.0
Registration | Enrollment
Transferability of RMCAD Credits
Decisions concerning the acceptance of credits by any institution other than the granting institution are made at the sole discretion of the receiving institution. No representation is made whatsoever concerning the transferability of any credits to any institution.
Students considering continuing their education at, or transferring to, other institutions must not assume that credits earned at this College will be automatically accepted by any receiving institution. An institution’s accreditation does not guarantee that credits earned at that institution will be accepted for transfer by any other institution. Students must contact the Registrar or appropriate department of the receiving institution to determine what credits if any, that institution will accept.
Accreditation of the Sending Institution - Undergraduate and Graduate Credit
Previously earned post-secondary credits may be considered for transfer if they were earned at an institution accredited by:
- an agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education (a current list of such recognized agencies can be found at https://www2.ed.gov/admins/finaid/accred/accreditation_pg3.html#RegionalInstitutional);
- certain programmatic accrediting agencies that oversee programs with content similar to those offered by RMCAD (such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation); or
- international equivalents to the agencies mentioned above.
In all cases, RMCAD will review the prior coursework and, among other factors, utilize the recommendations of The American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO) when making its decision. Transfer credit considerations include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Comparability of credit to be transferred to the destination program at RMCAD;
- The level of the previously earned credit (100 or 200 level, graduate, etc.);
- Applicability of the credit in relation to the programs offered at RMCAD; and
- Regulatory limitations on the number and type of credits that can be accepted for transfer.
In all cases, RMCAD reserves the right to determine the acceptance of previously completed academic credits. Additional questions about the transfer credit review process, including required documentation, should be directed to the Registrar’s Office.
Undergraduate Transfer Credit Evaluation
(update May 2023)
Applicants who have attended prior higher education institutions will have their credits evaluated for transferability by the Office of the Registrar. The Office of the Registrar will review unofficial transcripts, but official college transcripts are required prior to any transfer credit posting. Up to 90 credits can be earned from external sources, including transfer credit, Advanced Placement (AP), College-Level Examination Program (CLEP), and International Baccalaureate (IB), and credit is given through a portfolio review evaluation. The final 33-35 (depending on the program of study) credits must be earned in residency at RMCAD. Students enrolled as Non-Degree Seeking are not eligible to receive transfer credit. Certificate students may transfer up to a maximum of six semester credits from external sources, not to exceed 25% of the total program credit requirements. Please refer to the Enrollment Agreement for specific certificate programs regarding any additional limitations on portfolio-based transfer credits.
No transfer credit is accepted for the final term of study. Grades for external credit are not calculated into the RMCAD cumulative grade point average. Evaluations are good for the current academic year. Students who defer their start date to a new catalog are subject to re-evaluation at that time.
Courses are considered for transfer credit based on the following:
1. Appropriateness + Equivalency of Courses
Course equivalency is determined by a course description review, depends on the nature of the course, and how it compares to similar courses offered at RMCAD. Liberal Arts courses that have been found equivalent will be accepted in transfer when grades of “C” or better have been earned. Studio courses (foundations and department-specific courses) that have been found equivalent will be accepted in transfer when grades of “B” or better have been earned. Remedial courses, or courses not offered at the college level, are not transferable. RMCAD has access to an extensive library of course catalogs and course descriptions from most schools across the nation and we will attempt to locate course descriptions for prior courses in order to determine course equivalency. It is helpful, however, for prospective students to submit course syllabi and descriptions for prior coursework whenever possible, as it is ultimately a student’s responsibility to provide information as it relates to prior schooling.
2. Antiquity Policy
There are no antiquity limitations on Liberal Arts courses.
Digital media and other computer- or technology-based courses are considered for transfer provided they were completed within the last five years prior to the date of matriculation. Once the five-year period has lapsed, credit is contingent upon the evaluation of the Department Chair to determine if the course satisfactorily meets current standards and practices in the discipline.
Appeal Process for Credit of Transcript Evaluation
Students who wish to appeal for additional credit after their initial transfer credit review should contact the Registrar’s office. This appeal must be requested within 8 weeks of their matriculation date, or if the student is enrolled in the course they wish to appeal, before the end of the add/drop period for that class. Appeals can be made based on the content of the course using course descriptions and syllabi.
Transfer credit for studio-based courses may also be appealed with a portfolio. Portfolios should consist of 10-15 images that address the RMCAD course outcomes and should be submitted directly to the Office of the Registrar. The Registrar’s Office will then facilitate the review of each portfolio with the relevant Program Department Chair. Department Chairs make the official decision regarding the portfolio and their decision is final. Additional information regarding the transfer credit appeal process is available through the Office of the Registrar.
Art History Study Abroad Transfer Credits
Art History credits may be considered for transfer if they are earned through study abroad programs offered by accredited institutions. The Liberal Arts Chair will individually evaluate these credits. Art History prerequisites apply.
Information about current articulation agreements is available at rmcad.edu. Contact the Office of the Registrar for more information on specific transfer and articulation agreements.
Quarter Unit to Semester Credit Conversion
Credits at Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design are semester credits. A student transferring from a college on the quarter system will receive two-thirds of a semester credit for every quarter unit rounded to the nearest semester credit.
Continuing Students Seeking Transfer Credit
Current RMCAD students seeking transfer credit while attending RMCAD must obtain written approval from the Registrar prior to registering at the other institution. Students must submit official transcripts with final grades from that institution to the Office of the Registrar immediately upon completion of the course(s). Official transcripts are due by the end of the first 8-week term.
Students who have a prior Associate of Arts, Bachelor’s Degree, or Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from an institutionally accredited college or university in the United States will be granted up to 33 credits of Liberal Arts satisfying this requirement for BFAs in Animation, Fashion Design, Fine Arts, Game Art, Graphic Design, Illustration, and Photography and up to 30 credits for Art Education and Interior Design. Art History, foundations, and major-specific courses are evaluated separately.
Associate of Science or other degrees not specified here, as well as degrees from schools outside the U.S., are evaluated based on individual course equivalency. Art Education students have up to 3 major specific Liberal Arts requirements that may not be satisfied by the prior degree policy. This prior degree policy applies to Art Education majors only after all state requirements are met.
Evaluation of Advanced Placement (AP) Credit
Advanced Placement gives students the chance to complete college-level work in high school, and to gain valuable skills and study habits for college. Students who earn a minimum qualifying grade of 4 are awarded 3 credits towards the equivalent RMCAD course. For equivalency information please contact the Office of the Registrar. In order to evaluate and award credit, RMCAD requires a copy of the grade report no later than 30 days prior to the start of the term in which the student matriculates. Prospective students should contact The College Board or visit their website at www.collegeboard.org for procedures for requesting AP transcripts.
Evaluation of College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) Credit
The College-Level Examination Program® or CLEP provides students of any age with the opportunity to demonstrate college-level achievement through a program of exams in undergraduate college courses. RMCAD grants credit for CLEP exams that meet the minimum qualifying score of 50 for exams that are equivalent to RMCAD courses. For equivalency information please contact the Office of the Registrar. RMCAD requires a copy of the CLEP transcript in order to evaluate and award credit. Contact the College Board or visit their website at www.collegeboard.org for procedures for requesting CLEP transcripts.
RMCAD does not provide credit for experiential learning.
International Baccalaureate (IB) Credit
The International Baccalaureate is a comprehensive course of study for academically talented high school students in select high schools throughout the world. Decisions for or against awarding credit are based on individual scores on exams that are equivalent to a RMCAD Course. For more equivalency information please contact the Office of the Registrar. In order to evaluate and award credit, RMCAD requires the official transcript no later than 30 days prior to the start of the term in which the student matriculates. Transcripts must be requested in writing (by mail, fax, or email). Be sure to use the full name under which you originally registered, provide your seven-digit IB candidate code, give the name of the IB high school you attended, and include your month and year of graduation and your date of birth. For more information, contact: International Baccalaureate North America, 475 Riverside Drive, 16th Floor, New York, NY, 10115. Phone: 212.696.4464, Fax: 212.889.9242, Email: email@example.com.
Graduate Transfer Credit Evaluation
Applicants must arrange to have copies of official transcripts from all post-secondary institutions they have attended sent to the Graduate Admissions Department. Official transcripts for courses completed at colleges outside of the United States must be submitted to the College and to an approved evaluation agency before transfer credit will be evaluated by RMCAD (refer to the International Transcript Evaluation section of this catalog. A student who does not list all colleges attended on their application may have their admission rescinded. Credit will be considered for courses in progress at another institution so that students may be notified of potential transfer credit. In these cases, an official transcript documenting enrollment is required. Credit may not be awarded at a later date from colleges not listed on the application.
For all graduate programs, credit may be transferred in with the approval of the Department Chair. No more than 6 graduate level, semester credits will be accepted in transfer. Transfer credit is not guaranteed. Each case is assessed individually and based on a combination of factors including course equivalency. Course equivalency is determined by a combination of course description review and portfolio review, depending on the nature of the course and how it compares to similar courses offered at RMCAD. RMCAD has access to an extensive library of course catalogs and course descriptions from most schools across the nation and we will attempt to locate course descriptions for prior courses in order to determine course equivalency. It is helpful, however, for prospective students to submit course descriptions for prior coursework whenever possible, as it is ultimately a student’s responsibility to provide information as it relates to prior schooling. For courses eligible for transfer, a B or better must have been earned, and the course(s) grade will not be included in the calculation of the cumulative grade point average.
RMCAD Graduate Antiquity Policy
Courses that are deemed equivalent to graduate-level (5000 or above) RMCAD courses are considered for transfer credit provided they were completed within the last five years prior to the date of matriculation. Certain digital media and other technology-based courses that are deemed equivalent to RMCAD graduate courses must have been completed within the last two years prior to the date of matriculation.
Once the two- or five-year period has lapsed, credit is contingent upon the evaluation of the Department Chair to determine if the course satisfactorily meets current standards and practices in the discipline.
Graduate Portfolio Credit
Portfolio credit equivalencies at the graduate level are determined by the Department Chair.
Returning Graduate Students Who Have Prior Transfer Credit
Returning students who have not attended RMCAD for over one year (three consecutive terms) must initiate their return through the Graduate Admissions Office. The RMCAD catalog that is in place during the term the student returns indicates degree requirements. Therefore, returning students who have prior transfer credit may be required to have their transfer credit reevaluated prior to re-enrolling. This is true particularly if students are declaring a different major.
Credit to be evaluated includes credits taken before initial acceptance to RMCAD and any credits taken since last attending RMCAD. Returning students who have attended RMCAD within the last year may re-enroll through the Office of the Registrar, and external credit will not be re-evaluated.
Adding/Dropping or Withdrawing from a Course
Students must contact their assigned Academic Advisor to initiate the add, drop, or course withdrawal process in collaboration with the Office of the Registrar. Requests will be approved or denied by the Office of the Registrar. Add and drop deadlines are published in the Academic Calendar section of this Catalog. Course additions must be received by 11:59 PM MT on the day of the add deadline or the request will be denied. Course drop requests must be received by 11:59 PM MT on the day of the drop deadline or the course change will be processed as a “Withdrawal.” Exceptions to add and drop deadlines will not be considered.
Add and drop requests may result in a change to a student’s financial aid package and/or billing. The student is responsible for reaching out to their Financial Aid Advisor prior to initiating an add or drop request for information on how a course change may affect their funding.
Withdrawals are only accepted before the published deadline of the term (see the Academic Calendar ); they are considered non-punitive and are not computed into the grade point average.
Credit Overload Policy
Registration for more than 18 credit hours, whether online or on-campus, in a 16-week semester is not permitted. The recommended maximum credit load for a full-time student is 12 - 15 credit hours. Overloads are discouraged, except in exceptional circumstances.
Students wishing to request a credit hour overload must have completed 30 or more credit hours at RMCAD, have a 3.0 cumulative GPA, and petition the Department Chair and the Dean of Students. Students will be asked to present evidence of academic preparation and demonstrate the ability to meet course load obligations. Final authorization of any credit load exception is subject to Department Chair and Deans’ approval.
The recommended maximum credit load for a full-time graduate student is 12 credit hours per semester. Overloads are discouraged, except in exceptional circumstances. Students will be asked to present evidence of academic preparation and demonstrate the ability to meet course load obligations. Final authorization of any credit load exception is subject to Department Chair and Deans’ approval.
Planning a Schedule + Registering
RMCAD is a year-round institution of higher education and offers classes during three semesters: Fall, Spring, and Summer. Students register annually for a complete year, and it is recommended that students complete a minimum of 30 credits per year (36 credits per year enables students to graduate in less than 4 years). The Office of the Registrar will create a schedule for each student. Students will have the option to prioritize their electives using the Liberal Arts Elective form and the Program Elective form. Schedule change requests should be initiated through the assigned Academic Advisor.
(Add August 2023)
RMCAD waitlists are primarily used by the Office of the Registrar and Academic Operations as an administrative process to manage section enrollments and provide an opportunity for students to be enrolled in a full course if a seat becomes available. Students who may be waitlisted will be added to sections based on who was enrolled on the list first once seats become available. Waitlist status does not count as enrollment, and does not count toward any type of financial aid enrollment status. RMCAD works to ensure that enrollment in courses is as accurate as possible so that we can adequately staff sections and ensure strong enrollment for an excellent student experience. RMCAD works with students to ensure that they are able to fulfill requirements and make progress toward graduation. RMCAD staff are not able to enroll students in alternate courses while they are waiting to see if a waitlisted course becomes available. RMCAD uses a variety of strategies to manage administrative waitlists to ensure that students are enrolled in courses prior to billing periods for each term. Waitlists are cleared three weeks prior to the start of each term.
Degree sequence and course prerequisites must be followed; advanced courses may not be taken until acceptable skill levels are achieved. Students may request to enroll in courses without having completed the appropriate course prerequisites in exceptional cases. A Prerequisite Waiver form is available from the Office of Academic Advising. All requests must be approved by the Academic Advisor, Program Department Chair, and the Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs prior to registration.
Failed courses should be repeated the next time the course is available. Students seeking to substitute a course, not in their catalog year must have an approved Course Substitution form available in the Academic Advising office.
Registration + Financial Aid
Following class registration, students meet with their Financial Aid Advisor to complete financial aid paperwork. Balances not covered by financial aid must be paid in full by the first day of class or be scheduled under an approved payment plan with the first payment due no later than the first day of class. Student account bills are emailed prior to the start of the semester as well as after the add/drop period and individual student accounts are viewable online through the student portal. Students are responsible for reviewing account information and reporting any discrepancies to the Student Accounts department and/or their Financial Aid Advisor.
A student who wishes to audit a course should contact the Office of Admissions. Renewal students should refer to the RMCAD Renew Program section of the catalog for complete information. Audit students are charged the standard credit hour rate for a course (see the Financial Services/Tuition portion of this catalog for exact amounts). Auditors receive a grade of “AU”. Auditors taking no other classes with RMCAD must meet the same academic requirements as students registering for credit. Financial aid is not available for audited courses.
Change of Major or Modality
Some first-year course offerings are the same for all RMCAD programs. A change of major or modality is only possible between the start of one financial aid academic year and the beginning of another. Courses completed, that are not included in the new major, cannot be credited toward that degree. Some courses may be used to fulfill the elective requirements. In order to change their major or modality, students must meet with their current Department Chair and their new Chair. Both Department Chairs will sign the Change of Enrollment form, and the student then submits the form to the Office of the Registrar. A change in major or modality may result in a change of Catalog year and estimated graduation date. A student who changes their major or modality is subject to the program requirements as specified in the catalog that is in place at the time the transfer is performed starting with their new financial aid academic year in the new program. The Change of Enrollment form is available from the Office of Academic Advising.
Undeclared Students must declare a major by the end of their first academic year, or two semesters, and prior to earning 30 credits. Earned credit hours include those from RMCAD as well as all applied transfer credit from other institutions and college credit received in high schools such as Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate. Undeclared students in the BFA track may take a maximum of six studio electives which must be approved by the Manager of Advising and a combination of liberal arts and foundations courses. It is recommended that elective credits pertain to students’ major(s) of interest. Credits earned are not guaranteed to apply to the student’s declared major. A registration hold will remain on the student enrollment record until a major has been applied to the student’s permanent record. Change of major policies will apply to declaring a major.
Elective Credit Hours
Students in program majors will be given registration priority in major coursework. Undeclared students or declared students enrolling in courses outside of their major are not guaranteed enrollment in elective courses.
Merging + Changing Classes
On occasion it may be necessary for the College, without prior notice to students, to merge sections of the same class; to cancel classes before they commence; to replace instructors; to change program requirements or class sequence; to modify course content and/or descriptions, or to change the classes required for graduation. The College will make every effort to contact students well in advance of such changes, so they are able to make any necessary alternative arrangements.
Full-time enrollment at RMCAD is defined as being registered for a minimum of 12 credit hours in a 16-week semester. Students registered for 9-11.5 credit hours in a 16-week semester are considered three-quarter time. Students registered for 6-8.5 credit hours in a 16-week semester are considered half-time. Students registered for less than 6 credits in a 16-week semester are considered less than half-time.
Full-time enrollment for graduate degree-seeking students at RMCAD is defined as being registered for a minimum of 12 credit hours in a 16-week semester.
Full-time enrollment for graduate certificate students at RMCAD is defined as being registered for a minimum of 6 credit hours in a 16-week semester.
RMCAD does not encourage students to take time off from their studies, but we do realize that personal issues may arise that require the student to take time off. Please refer to the Unofficial and Official College Withdrawal section to understand the implications for financial aid and other Academic Policies for full information.
Students should consult both their Academic Advisor and Financial Aid Advisor for implications of the withdrawal as well as reinstatement information. Please note that part-time enrollment or taking time off may affect financial aid and/or scholarship eligibility.
Interruption of Training for Flex Term Enrollments
A student ending a Flex A term or Flex B term academic year will automatically be placed into an Interruption of Training (IOT) status at the conclusion of their first Academic Year (two semesters). Students are required to complete the IOT form upon initial enrollment, which must include the following information: the IOT begin date and the date the student will return. All IOT Flex term students will be contacted by a Financial Aid Advisor for repackaging 7-8 weeks prior to the scheduled return date. Students who fail to return from IOT after a semester off will be automatically withdrawn from the college and required to go through the Advising re-entry process should they wish to return.
Interruption of Training for Active Military Students
In an effort to support our students who are members of the armed forces, RMCAD will allow active military personnel one additional Interruption of Training (IOT) period during a 12-month period. The combined IOT periods cannot exceed 120 days within a 12-month period. Students who fail to return from IOT will be automatically withdrawn from the college and required to go through the Advising re-entry process should they wish to return.
Return from Interruption of Training
Students who have completed an Interruption of Training (IOT) form will automatically be enrolled for the term in which they are scheduled to return. Any student coming back from an IOT who has an account balance will be required to meet with Student Accounts prior to getting packaging established for the next academic year.
Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design is an attendance-taking institution. Attendance is a measure of engagement and interaction that is academically related. Consistent attendance, class participation, and thoughtful engagement offer students the most effective opportunities to gain command of the knowledge, skills, and aptitudes for the course of study; therefore, RMCAD students are required to attend class, be prepared to work, and be on time. The primary goal of attendance is to promote student and faculty engagement, to ensure that students have an opportunity for interaction with faculty and peers regarding academic matters, and to provide students with the opportunity to engage with assignments designed to build skill, knowledge, and learning partnerships.
Due to Federal Financial Aid Guidelines, faculty must document all attendance for all students. Campus attendance is entered for each scheduled class on the same day that the course is held and must be posted by midnight mountain time (MT). Online attendance is based on student participation and submissions and is recorded by faculty on Thursdays and Mondays and must be posted by midnight MT.
Students who demonstrate poor attendance, interaction, and engagement will be contacted by their faculty member and/or Academic Program Department Chair, and by the Office of Student Affairs and/or the Office of Financial Aid Advising and/or the Office of Academic Advising. Failure to regularly participate in courses may result in being withdrawn from the course, program, and college.
RMCAD encourages all students who anticipate an absence at any time to contact their instructor(s). If a student is unable to communicate with their instructor(s), they should contact their Academic Program Department Chair and/or their Academic Advisor.
Students should also review their course syllabi for additional attendance requirements which are department-specific.
Campus Attendance Procedures
Campus students are considered present when they arrive at the physical or online synchronous class on time (no greater than 15 minutes late) and remain engaged in interaction related to lectures, active learning, assignment completion, discussion, exams, or other academic interactions for the duration of the course period, including prompt return from breaks. Failure to meet the requirements for attendance will result in the instructor marking them absent. Failure to regularly participate in class may result in a lower or failing grade as campus attendance is often directly tied to class participation, application, and understanding. Failure to attend class may also result in being withdrawn from the college.
Online Attendance Procedures
Online students are considered present for mid-week attendance when they log into the online classroom (LMS) and submit completed work for any gradable activity, including discussion posts, that addresses the assignment requirement(s); due that week on Wednesdays by 11:59 PM MT. To be considered present for the end-of-week attendance they must log in to the LMS and submit completed work for any gradable activity, including discussion posts, that addresses the assignment requirement(s); after Wednesday at 11:59 PM MT but no later than Sunday at 11:59 PM MT of that week.
For the purposes of attendance recording, late assignment submissions will be counted toward mid-week or end-of-week attendance for the week in which the assignment is submitted, regardless of when it was initially due. Academically related activities that occur outside of the LMS must be recorded within the LMS in order to count toward attendance. Failure to meet the requirements for attendance will result in the instructor marking the student absent. There are no excused absences for the purposes of recording attendance. Failure to regularly attend and participate in-class activities and assignments may result in a lower, or failing, grade as online attendance is often directly tied to weighted learning and assessment activities. Failure to regularly participate in class may also result in being withdrawn from the college.
Week One Attendance
Students in both campus and distance learning courses must complete an attendance activity during week one of the term. Failure to post attendance during week one of the term will result in an Automatic Withdrawal from class(es). Students not enrolled within a term will be withdrawn from the institution.
The Office of the Registrar will verify all attendance.
Students who have failed to attend a campus or distance learning course during week one as defined in the attendance policy will be administratively withdrawn from the course. If the student feels that their attendance record inaccurately reflects their attendance, they must contact the instructor and have the instructor verify with the Office of the Registrar that the student was marked as “absent” in error (see “Unofficial Withdrawals ” in Financial Aid for information regarding the return of Title IV Funding).
14-Day Non-Attendance Policy
After the drop deadline, students in a campus or distance learning course who fail to attend for a continuous period of 14 days before the Withdrawal deadline will be considered an administrative withdrawal and will receive a “W” assigned by the Office of the Registrar. Students who fail to attend a campus or distance learning course for a continuous period of 14 days after the Withdrawal deadline will receive an “FN” (Failure for Non-Attendance) grade assigned by the Office of the Registrar (see “Unofficial Withdrawals ” in Financial Aid for information regarding the return of Title IV Funding). A student who does not attend any scheduled course for 14 consecutive days will be considered unofficially withdrawn by RMCAD and the College will determine the amount of earned Title IV funding and the student’s financial obligations based on the last day of attendance.
Last Day of Attendance
The last day of attendance is the last day that a student completes an attendance activity in any course, as marked by his or her instructor. If the last day of attendance occurs in a distance learning course, this date must be supportable by an attendance activity contained in the LMS system.
Student-Initiated Withdrawal from RMCAD
Students who wish to initiate a withdrawal from RMCAD must obtain a form from the Office of Academic Advising. The withdrawal form requires signatures from the Student Accounts Office, Financial Aid and Academic Advisor, and the Registrar. No exception may be made to this policy.
If a refund is due to a student who has withdrawn from RMCAD, as determined by the Student Accounts Office according to the RMCAD refund policy, the refund will be mailed within 30 days of the student’s completion of the formal college withdrawal process.
Under certain circumstances, when a student’s health or well-being prevents continued enrollment in course(s), students are eligible to petition for a medical withdrawal. Students seeking to withdraw for non-medical reasons will need to review the RMCAD or Course Withdrawal policies and procedures. Medical withdrawal requests must be submitted no later than 8 weeks after the end of the term from which the student is petitioning for withdrawal.
Students must submit a Medical Withdrawal Form which may be obtained by their Academic Advisor.
To be eligible for a medical withdrawal, students must meet one or more of the following criteria and provide appropriate documentation, as specified below:
1. The student cannot complete the course(s) because an immediate family member has died.
Documentation: Memorial service program, notice in the paper, or copy of death certificate.
2. The student cannot successfully complete the course(s) due to an unexpected medical condition.
Documentation: Supporting documentation must be from a non-RMCAD provider or professional, who must be unrelated to the student, who is certified and/or licensed to evaluate/diagnose/assess the particular disability/medical condition.
- These professionals include, but are not limited to; medical doctors, psychologists, audiologists, ophthalmologists, and educational diagnosticians.
- Documentation must be presented on the letterhead of the professional providing the evaluation/diagnosis/assessment and include the name, address, and qualifications of the professional.
- Documentation must provide the dates during which the student was under the direct care of said professional and the limitations of the disability/medical condition and its impact on the student’s ability to complete coursework during the term from which the student is requesting the withdrawal.
3. The student has been forced to relocate for a job, there was an involuntary loss of job, or the student is no longer eligible for tuition reimbursement through the employer.
Documentation: Letter on letterhead from immediate supervisor or human resource administrator.
The College does not guarantee the approval of these petitions. All medical withdrawal petitions are reviewed by the Dean of Students. Decisions are final and binding.
Undergraduate Independent Study courses are intended to give upper-level exceptional students an opportunity for individualized and specialized study in an area of art or design not offered in the regular curriculum. The purpose is to explore an area of personal interest related to a student’s major field of study, wherein teaching and learning occur outside of a formal classroom setting. A junior or senior-level student with a GPA of 3.5 or higher may petition to take one three-credit Independent Study course as part of the degree program. The Independent Study Proposal Form must be accompanied by a syllabus created by the instructor and student, including a course description, calendar, rationale, goals, and objectives. The course number for all Independent Study courses is 3990; and the prefix reflects the program of study under which the course is instructed (e.g., AN 3990, FA 3990).
Independent Study courses should not be confused with low-enrollment or one-on-one courses.
Internships in Undergraduate Degree Programs
Internships for Academic Credit
Undergraduate students may earn academic credit for internship participation with enrollment in an internship course as part of their designated degree program requirement or elective credit. Students must meet the eligibility requirements and complete an Internship Learning Agreement. The Internship Learning Agreement outlines the details of the student’s proposed internship, sponsorship guidelines, start and end dates, hours of work requirements toward earning academic credit, and learning objectives. Students must obtain the Internship Learning Agreement packet from the Office of Career + Alumni Services and complete an Internship Information seminar.
Internship Eligibility and Process
Students are eligible to participate in an internship for academic credit upon approval of their program chair, completion of the Internship Information seminar, and completion of the required Internship Learning Agreement Documentation. (Please see individual degree program internship course requirements) Internship Information seminars are conducted by the Office of Career + Alumni Services and are offered several times throughout the year and by appointment. Students should seek assistance from their Academic Advisor to ensure the appropriate sequence of the internship course within their schedule.
Students must locate an internship site/sponsor that meets the requirements and guidelines identified in the Internship Learning Agreement. Assistance in locating a site/sponsor can be obtained through Career + Alumni Services, Academic Program Chairs/Heads, and faculty. Once a site/sponsor is identified and the Internship Learning Agreement has been completed, the document is then submitted to Career + Alumni Services to be processed and finally submitted to the Office of the Registrar (add/drop deadlines apply). Students must log a minimum of 135 hours to earn 3 credits. Internship hours must start in the term in which the student is registered, and any hours logged prior to the term start cannot be applied. If a student is officially registered prior to the start date of the term, and the internship site/sponsor designates a start date that occurs after the start of term, it is the responsibility of the student and site sponsor to make arrangements to ensure hours logged start in the term in which the internship is scheduled and completed within the agreed-upon time frame stated in the Internship Learning Agreement. Internships that occurred without notification and adherence to the course approval process cannot be retroactively applied toward earning academic credit for the internship course requirement or elective.
Students attending RMCAD on an F1 visa must receive school authorization for all off-campus work through Curricular Practical Training (CPT) form. The CPT can be obtained through the Office of the Registrar.
Internships for Professional Experience - Non-Credit Option
Participation in an Internship for Professional Experience - non-credit option allows for a student to participate in an internship where the site/sponsor requires the college approval or confirmation of student enrollment status in the institution or degree program but does not require the student to obtain academic credit. Internships for Professional Experience - non-credit are not overseen by the college due to the fact the student is not seeking academic credit, however, the internship can be officially recognized by the college and recorded with a notation on their transcript upon student request and successful completion of the internship.
Academic Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Requirements
See the Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) section of the catalog for complete information.
Transcripts + Diplomas
Transcripts and Diplomas are kept as permanent student records and may be obtained from the Office of the Registrar by request. Students request transcripts via the National Student Clearinghouse. The website is located at www.rmcad.edu, under “Request Transcript.” Six to eight weeks are required for processing for recent graduates.
The official transcript is signed by the Office of the Registrar and is provided in a sealed envelope. It is generally the only type of transcript acceptable for the transfer of credit. The fee for an official transcript is located at www.getmytranscript.org and is regulated by the National Student Clearinghouse.