Academic Info & Policies

Information to help you succeed

Here you'll find almost eveything you need to know about FIDM's academic policies, including registration, adding and dropping casses, transfer of coursework, and internships. Take a few minutes to familiarize yourself with this information, and you'll be ready to succeed in the classroom.


All new students are strongly encouraged to attend on-campus orientation, during which they will be informed about college facilities and general policies, including scheduling of classes, grading, transfer of coursework, finances, and job placement. All Education Department handouts are posted on the FIDM Portal under eOrientation.

Financial Clearance

Financial clearance is the initial step in the process leading to registration for classes each quarter. All students must complete financial clearance through a Fiscal Counselor in the Student Financial Services Office. Typically, this process may include:
* Making all scheduled tuition and fee payments per their schedule of payments, including any adjustments
* Fulfilling other non-tuition financial obligations such as library fines and other book charges

* Requesting financial aid (if applicable), completing and turning in all information or other documentation requested by the student's Financial Aid Officer

* Resolving issues with other departments that are non-tuition related obligations such as I-20 status, or leave of absence paperwork

New Student Registration

New students register for classes with assistance from Admissions/Education before the beginning of their first quarter or on Orientation Day. Education Department representatives will be available at both times to advise students, who must then submit their schedules to the Registrar for final approval.

Continuing Student Registration

Registration for each upcoming quarter will take place during the latter part of the previous quarter and is done online through the FIDM Portal. All students must be financially cleared by the Financial Services Office before registering. Any student who does not register for classes during this period will go through Late Registration during the first two weeks of classes. A late fee will be charged to students submitting Late Registration Forms after the deadline.

Success Seminar Program

Success Seminar is an Orientation program that provides information and activities that will help students be successful during their first quarter. First-time college students and conditionally admitted students are required to participate. Students with college experience are also invited but are not required to attend.

First Week of Class

In order to hold an enrolled place in class, students must be present at the start of the first class session.

Student Curriculum Advisement

Students are encouraged to schedule appointments with an Education staff member to discuss their programs of study and educational goals.

Program Course Sequence/Advisement Sheets

Each student is provided with an advisement sheet, which outlines the course of instruction in proper sequence. Students who follow the sequence precisely will meet all class requirements and will complete the degree in the time contracted. Students who wish to make changes in the sequence of course requirements must have the approval of the Education Department and may have to purchase separate books or supplies. If students take courses out of sequence without approval, this may cause a delay in their graduation date. Any program that extends beyond one quarter from the completion time of this contract may be subject to a tuition increase and may result in additional book and supply charges.


Prerequisites are preliminary courses covering information that is required prior to enrolling in another course. The intent of prerequisites is to ensure that any student enrolling in a course will have obtained specific prior information that is required to successfully complete a more advanced course.

Student Academic Load

Student academic load varies according to the specific program in which the student is enrolled. Students are cautioned that enrolling in fewer than 12 units may adversely affect financial aid awards. Students considering taking more than 18 units must get approval from the Education Department and Financial Services.

Repeat Courses

Any student who fails a required class must repeat that course in order to graduate.  When a fail is recorded, book, supply, and course-related resource fees are charged to the student account.  In most cases, course books and supplies may be used when repeating the class. If the Department Chairperson has changed any of the course books or supplies in a subsequent quarter, the student will be responsible for purchasing the new items.  If a student repeats a course in which a grade of “D+, D, D-” or “F” was received, the original grade is no longer counted in the student’s cumulative grade point average calculation, but will remain as part of the permanent record and quarterly grade point average for the quarter in which the class was taken.  All repeats must be completed at FIDM. Federal financial aid may be received for only one repeat of a class for which a student has received a passing grade (“D-”or better).

Additional Courses

Additional charges are applied when the student exceeds the number of contracted units. Students who change their major and complete courses that do not apply to the new major are required to complete an additional contract for the extra units. Any student who retakes a course with a passing grade ("D-" or better) will be responsible for the full course cost, and required to complete an additional contract for the units. Book, supply, and course-related resource fees may be incurred.

Adding and Dropping a Class

Students have the first two weeks to add a class, and the first six weeks to drop a class for courses that meet for the entire quarter.  Classes may not be dropped after the sixth week of the quarter.

To officially add a class during the first two weeks of a quarter, students must:

  • Complete a Class Change Form (available from the Education Department)
  • Secure the instructor’s signature for the added class
  • If books and supplies are needed, take the Class Change Form to the Bookroom during posted hours
  • Return the Class Change Form to the Registrar’s Office

To officially drop a class during the first two weeks of a quarter, students must:

  • Complete a Class Change Form (available from the Education Department) and return the form to the Registrar’s Office
  • When the drop is recorded, bring unused books and supplies to the College Services Department to avoid incurring additional charges

To officially drop a class from weeks three through six of a quarter, students must:

  • Complete a Course Withdrawal Form: Weeks 3-6 (available from the Education Department) and return the form to the Registrar’s Office


  • Drop the class on the web through the FIDM Portal during designated hours (M – F, 7:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.) and print the drop confirmation for their records
  • When the drop is recorded, bring  unused books and supplies to the College Services Department no later than the last day of week six

For Saturday classes that meet five weeks for six hours, the deadline to add is the first class meeting, and the deadline to drop is the third class meeting. Deadline to return books and supplies from a dropped class is the Monday after the third class meeting.

For four-week/one unit electives, the deadline to add is the first class meeting, and the deadline to drop is the second class meeting. Deadline to return books and supplies from a dropped class is the Monday after the second class meeting.

If a student does not officially drop a class by the last day of week six, his/her final grade will be based on the points earned on all assignments accepted by the instructor throughout the quarter, and in many cases, that final grade may result in an “F.” A repeat fee, as well as book, supply, and course-related resource fees may be incurred.

Independent Study

To qualify for an Independent Study a student must have a strong background in the subject matter and a 3.0 grade point average at FIDM. Qualified students are allowed one Independent Study during their program. An Independent Study is available during the second year and must be approved by the Department Chairperson or the Director of Education, and the instructor.

Credit for Academically Relevent Experience (CARE)

Students may challenge courses by participating in the Credit for Academically Relevant Experience (CARE) program. Information and application forms are available to students from the Education Department at each campus. Documentation of skills, employment, or subject matter expertise acquired through independent learning is required. Approval from the Dean of Academic Development or the Vice President of Education is required before credit (15 units maximum) can be awarded. There is a $350.00 fee for each 3-unit course accepted through the CARE program.


Internships blend theory and practice. Students combine academic training with employment in fields related to their course of study. In addition, students apply classroom theory to "real life" situations and explore various career options while in their program.

Students who are interested must see a Career Advisor. Students from all majors, including international students, may apply to participate. In order to qualify, students must maintain a minimum cumulative 3.0 grade point average, have proof of medical insurance, and be in their second-to-last or last quarter of their program. Internships must be secured and paperwork completed prior to the end of the quarter preceding the internship's start date.

Approved interns must complete specific coursework to receive academic credit. In addition, international students must follow current federal guidelines.

Transfer of Coursework

Coursework taken at another accredited college will be considered if there is an equivalent course at FIDM that is required for a specific major and the grade on a course already completed elsewhere is a pass ("C-" or better).  Students must request a transfer credit evaluation from the Education Department before or during the first quarter of attendance at FIDM.  Applicants for Veterans benefits must be evaluated prior to attending the first class.  All documentation of transferred work must be submitted and evaluated prior to the start of the student's second quarter so the student can select the correct classes.  Transcripts must be official (stamped and signed by the Registrar of the college previously attended).  They become a part of the student's academic file and are not returned or copied for distribution.  If a course was transferred in to FIDM but the student enrolled in that class, once brought to the attention of the college, a grade of “W” will replace the grade earned and the transfer class stands. Students currently registered in a class for which the prerequisite course was waived, or equivalent units were transferred from another institution,  must go to their Academic Department Advisor for approval to receive necessary books (if applicable) distributed in the prerequisite course through College Services.  Corresponding supplies may be purchased.  Students must hold an appropriate Associate of Arts degree from FIDM prior to applying for upper division standing.


Transfer to Other Colleges

Students who wish to explore their transfer options should consult FIDM's Articulation Officer on the Los Angeles campus for assistance. Students graduating from FIDM must complete the graduation requirements for their specific degree. FIDM requirements, however, do not necessarily meet all lower division or general education requirements for other colleges. FIDM currently maintains articulation agreements with selected colleges with the intent of enhancing a student's transfer opportunities and currently has lower division general education courses approved by the California State Universities Chancellor's Office (verifiable at FIDM offers a transfer option to:

* AIU London, (London campus only)
* California College of the Arts
* Golden Gate University
* Laboratory Institute of Merchandising
* Mount Ida College
* OTIS College of Art and Design
* Savannah College of Art and Design
* The San Francisco School of the Arts
* University of La Verne
* University of Phoenix
* Vanguard University
* Woodbury University


Final grades are issued at the end of each quarter and are accessible through the FIDM Portal. A student's performance in a course is expressed in terms of the following letter grades, with their numerical equivalents for computation purposes. Quality of performance is reported as follows:


































                  D- (Passing)



                   F  (Failing)  


Below 59.9




    I    (Incomplete)



   P   (Pass)



   W  (Withdrawal)




Honor Roll/President's Honor Roll

Students in any quarter with a minimum of 12 units who obtain a grade point average of 3.5 will be placed on the Honor Roll. If students in both of these indicated categories obtain a grade point average of 3.95 in any quarter, they will be placed on the President's Honor Roll.

Incomplete Grades

Students receiving a grade of Incomplete (“I”) must complete the coursework during the following quarter or by a specified date determined by the Education Department.  An Incomplete will be given only in cases involving extreme personal difficulties that prevent the student from completing a final project or taking the final examination.  Students must be in good standing with a “C-” grade or better, to qualify for an Incomplete grade.  If the coursework has not been completed by the end of the following quarter, the “I” will automatically be changed to an “F.” Incomplete grades cannot be completed once a grade of “F” is assigned (or earned).


When it is determined, (by the Department Chair/Director of Education and the Instructor) that a student has experienced extenuating circumstances and is unable to complete required course work during the standard ten week quarter, an incomplete grade may be submitted. An incomplete contract must be filled out and submitted to the Department Advisor (LA)/Director of Education (SF, OC, SD). This contract is an agreement between student and instructor that outlines the details of potentially how a student can receive a passing grade in a course.


Incomplete Grade Contract: When it is determined, (by the Department Chair/Director of Education and the instructor) that a student has experienced extenuating circumstances and is unable to complete required course work during the standard ten week quarter, an incomplete grade may be submitted. An incomplete contract must be filled out and submitted to the Department Advisor (LA) or Director of Education (SF, OC, SD). This contract is an agreement between the student and instructor that outlines the details of how a student can receive a passing grade in the course.


Academic Freedom

Faculty members are free to teach and discuss the facts and ideas within their curriculum which they believe to be in accord with available evidence, and to examine unpopular or controversial ideas in classroom teaching when appropriate to course content.

Academic Disciplinary Procedures

Students are expected to maintain a 2.0 grade point average at all times.  Below are the academic disciplinary stages for students that fail to maintain the standard of 2.0 cumulative grade point average.

Academic Disciplinary Stages

Academic Warning - quarterly GPA falls below a 2.0, but the cumulative GPA remains 2.0 or higher.
Academic Probation - cumulative GPA falls below a 2.0.
Academic Contract - cumulative GPA falls below a 2.0 for two quarters in a row.
Academic Dismissal - cumulative GPA falls below a 2.0 for the third consecutive quarter. Student  must apply for reinstatement.
Academic Disqualification - quarterly and cumulative GPA below 2.0 in any quarter subsequent to reinstatement


To be reinstated, students must submit a letter to the Education Department explaining their academic record and requesting readmission.  A final decision is determined by the College Review Board.  Once approved to return from dismissal, the return is expected within a year or the student will be subject to an additional meeting with the College Review Board.

The above applies to Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Arts students as well, except the online transcript will only indicate “Academic Warning,” not the other stages. For further information, please contact the Education Department on your campus.

Reinstatement Policy

A student who wishes to be reinstated and has not attended class for eight consecutive academic quarters or more, and is in good academic standing, must complete a new application from the Student Advisement Office to re-enter the college.  Graduation requirements will be determined from the catalog in effect on the date of acceptance for re-entry, and the student may incur additional costs and fees to complete the program.  Disqualified students are not eligible to be reinstated.

Definition of a Credit Hour at FIDM

A credit hour is the 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 one hour of classroom or direct faculty instruction and a minimum of two hours of out-of-class student work each week for approximately ten weeks for one quarter unit of credit.

FIDM Definition of a Credit Hour

Lecture Course
1 credit = 1 hour per week (2 hours outside preparation)
2 credits = 2 hours per week (4 hours outside preparation)
3 credits = 3 hours per week (6 hours outside preparation)

Lab Course (these are 3-unit courses)
3 credits = 2 hours lecture and 4 hours lab

Studio Course (these are 6-unit courses)
6 credits = 4 hours lecture and 8 hours studio

Internships = 3 units of credit for 80-100 hours at an institutionally approved internship site

FIDM Policy on Awarding Degrees

FIDM Degrees

A.A. degree is awarded for 90 quarter units

B.S. degree is awarded for 181 quarter units

Advanced Study A.A. is awarded for 45 quarter units in:              


            Beauty Industry Management

            Fashion Design

Film & TV Costume Design

Footwear Design

Textile Production & Development

Theatre Costume Design


Advanced Study A.A. is awarded for 48 quarter units in:

Entertainment Set Design & Decoration

International Manufacturing & Product Development



Professional Designation A.A. (transfer degree completion)  For eligible students transferring to FIDM for preparation to enter specific professional fields, the college offers:  

·         45 quarter unit programs

Merchandise Marketing

·         60 quarter unit programs

Digital Media  

Fashion Knitwear Design  

Graphic Design  

Merchandise Product Development

Textile Design 

·           63 quarter unit programs

Beauty Industry Merchandising & Marketing  

Visual Communications   

·         66 quarter unit programs

Interior Design  

·         69 quarter unit programs

Apparel Industry Management  

·         72 quarter unit programs

Fashion Design

Jewelry Design

Residency Requirements

Residency is established when a minimum of units for the major are completed while enrolled at FIDM.




Associate of Arts (A.A.)

45 units

Professional Designation (A.A.)

30 units

Advanced Study (A.A.)

45 units

Bachelor of Science (B.S.)

  • Business Management

45 units

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) 

  • Design

45 units

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)

  • Professional Studies

30 units