Academic Policies

Academic Policies

Here you'll find everything you need to know about FIDM's academic policies, including registration, adding and dropping classes, 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.

Orientation

All new students are strongly encouraged to attend on-campus orientation, during which they will be informed about college facilities, student services, and general policies, including scheduling of classes, grading, transfer of coursework, finances, and job placement.  

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 before the beginning of their first quarter or on Orientation Day with assistance from Admissions and the Education Department. Students 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. Any student who does not register for classes during this period will go through Late Registration during the first two weeks of classes.

Success Seminar Program

Success Seminar is an Orientation program that provides information and activities which 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. This seminar presents techniques to help students improve their study skills, time management, and online research skills.

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 courses in the designated time period. 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 student's program that extends beyond one quarter from the scheduled completion date may be subject to a tuition increase.

Prerequisites

Prerequisites are preliminary courses covering information that is required prior to enrolling in another course.

Student Academic Load

International students must attend a full course of study, or at least 12 units per quarter for undergraduates. Exceptions are made when a student needs less than 12 credits to complete a course of study.

Repeat Courses

Any student who fails a required class must repeat that course in order to graduate. In most cases, course books and supplies may be used when repeating the class. If any of the course books or supplies in a subsequent quarter have been changed, 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. General Studies courses may be an exception with the approval of the Department Chairperson. Credits for GNST courses that have been approved to be taken elsewhere are transferable for failed courses; however, the "F" earned at FIDM remains as part of the cumulative GPA. 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 units for an enrollment agreement. Students who change their major and complete courses that do not apply to the new major are required to complete an additional enrollment agreement 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 agreement for the units and course-related resource fees.

Adding and Dropping a Class

A Class Change Form is used to add and drop classes. Students have the first two weeks to add a class and the first three weeks to drop a class that meets for the entire quarter. Students adding a class must be officially registered in the course and elect FIDM’s Method of Book & Supply Distribution to receive books and supplies for the added class.

Between weeks four and six, Education Department approval is required to withdraw from a course which, if approved, would result in a grade of “W.” Withdrawals will be noted as a “W” on the transcript and students will be charged full tuition and fees when they re-register.

If a student does not file the paperwork to withdraw from a course by the last day of week six, his/her their 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 be an “F.” Students will have to re-register and pay tuition and fees for any courses they fail to complete.

Independent Study

To qualify for Independent Study, a student must have a strong background in the subject matter or a valid reason determined by the college, and a 3.0 grade point average at FIDM. Qualified students are allowed one Independent Study during their program; however, for special circumstances as determined by a Chairperson, additional Independent Studies can be granted. Independent Study is typically available during the second year and must be approved by the Department Chairperson or the Education Department, and the instructor.

Credit for Academically Relevant Experience (CARE)

In some cases, 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 equivalent skills, employment, military training or subject matter expertise acquired through independent learning is required.  Approval from the Dean of Academic Development is required before credit (15 units maximum) can be awarded.  Students may appeal adverse decisions with the Vice President of Education. There is a $350.00 fee for each 3-unit course accepted through the CARE program.

Internships

Internships are opportunities for students to combine academic training with employment in fields related to their course of study. Students who are interested in gaining this type of “real life” experience should meet with a Career Advisor. To qualify, students must maintain a minimum 3.0 grade point average, have proof of medical insurance, and be in the second, third, or fourth year of a FIDM undergraduate degree. Students enrolled in Professional Designation, Bachelor’s, and Master’s degree programs are eligible to apply for internships after their first quarter. Internships must be secured and paperwork completed prior to the end of the quarter preceding the internship’s start date (i.e., by the end of Winter quarter for an internship starting in Spring.) To receive academic credit, students must confirm their plans with their department prior to applying and will be asked to complete specific coursework. International students may be eligible to complete internships, subject to federal/state regulations.

In order to qualify, students should meet with a Career Advisor, must maintain a minimum 3.0 grade point average, have proof of medical insurance, and be in the second, third, or fourth year of a FIDM undergraduate degree. Students enrolled in Professional Designation and Master’s degree programs are eligible to apply for internships after their first quarter. Internships must be secured and paperwork completed prior to the end of the quarter preceding the internship’s start date (i.e., by the end of Winter quarter for an internship starting in Spring.) To receive academic credit, students must confirm their plans with their department prior to applying and will be asked to complete specific coursework. International students may be eligible to complete internships, subject to federal/state regulations.

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 grade of Pass or a minimum grade of "C-" (70%). 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 Department Advisor (LA) or the Education Department (SF, OC) for approval to receive necessary books (if applicable) distributed in the prerequisite course through College Services. Corresponding supplies may be purchased. FIDM also accepts students holding prior degrees for upper division transfer into selected programs. Check with an Admissions Advisor to confirm eligibility.

Transfer to Other Colleges

How credit for a course at FIDM transfers to another educational institution depends on how that college or university will accept the course and how clearly defined a student’s transfer goal is. Students who wish to explore their transfer options should consult with FIDM's Academic Support Staff in San Francisco, and Orange County or with FIDM’s Articulation Officer on the Los Angeles campus. 


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. Articulation is the planned, documented pathway between two or more colleges or universities and their academic programs. 

Articulation agreements are also called transfer agreements, transfer guides, and transfer pathways by various audiences. FIDM currently has articulation agreements with the following institutions:

California College of the Arts (San Francisco and Oakland campuses)

https://www.cca.edu/admissions/transfer/

See Articulation Guidelines. Humanities and Science Curriculum articulated for B.A.; B.F.A.; and B.Arch degrees; Interior Design curriculum articulated for B.F.A. degree. Visual Studies electives and seminar, required by CCA, can be met with articulated courses from FIDM’s A.A. design majors.

California State University system (CSU)

https://www2.calstate.edu/attend/transfer

CSU GE Certification has provided for articulation of lower division general education courses from FIDM as being readily transferable to the CSU Academic Breadth requirements systems for any of the 23 CSU campuses. Major specific coursework in the past was articulated with specific CSU campuses that provide equivalency confirmations and/or course-to-course articulation. FIDM has maintained articulation with specific CSU campuses: CSU Long Beach, CSU Northridge. Students in most instances will have to supplement FIDM course offerings with additional coursework to complete upper division transfer requirements. In the case of a program being impacted, there may be supplemental requirements.

LIM (Laboratory Institute of Merchandising)

limcollege.edu/admissions/transfer

Basis of Agreement: 1. LIM will accept all course credits earned at FIDM for which the transferring student receives a grade of C or better and will allow FIDM Student with fewer than 59 semester credits (90 quarter credits) to make up the deficiencies at LIM; 2. FIDM Graduates with an Associate’s Degree may enter LIM with full junior status. Currently, transfer pathways have been created for graduates of FIDM’s A.A. programs in Merchandising & Marketing, Visual Communications, and Merchandise Product Development.

Notre Dame de Namur University (NDNU)

ndnu.edu/admissions/transfer

Articulation agreement describes how courses taken at FIDM will transfer to meet Notre Dame de Namur University requirements for General Education and lower division major preparation. Students do not need to complete all of the requirements before transferring to NDNU.

Otis College of Art & Design

otis.edu/registration-records/transfer-credits

Foundation/Freshman Liberal Arts and Sciences Courses, Foundation Studio Courses and Architecture/ Landscape/Interiors Courses articulated to facilitate upper division transfer into the B.F.A. program in Architecture/Landscape/Interior program at Otis.

Regent's University London

regents.ac.uk/

Sufficient course content from FIDM’s Merchandise Product Development, Merchandising & Marketing, Fashion Design, Graphic Design, and Visual Communications programs articulated as equivalent to the first two years (levels 3 and 4) of the B.A. (Hons) Fashion Marketing; B.A. (Hons) Fashion Design (Marketing); B.A. (Hons) Fashion Design; and B.A. (Hons) Communication Design programs at Regent’s University.

Santa Monica College

(SMC) https://www.smc.edu/StudentServices/TransferServices/AreasofStudy/Documents/Interaction_Design/FIDM.pdf

FIDM maintains articulation with SMC to facilitate preparation for admissions to their Bachelor of Science degree in Interaction Design.

University of Phoenix

phoenix.edu/admissions/transfer_information.html

Block transfers for all FIDM majors; details of the application of transfer credit outlined on the University of Phoenix website.

For assistance in applying to graduate schools after completing a FIDM Bachelor of Science and/or Bachelor of Arts program, contact FIDM’s Articulation Officer at the Los Angeles campus to discuss the necessary requirements and application procedures.

Grades

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:

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:

FIDM's letter grades and their numerical equivalents.
Letter Grade GPA Percentage
A 4.0 93-100
A- 3.7 90-92.9
B+ 3.3 87-89.9
B 3.0 83-86.9
B- 2.7 80-82.9
C+ 2.3 77-79.9
C 2.0 73-76.9
C- 1.7 70-72.9
D+ 1.3 67-69.9
D 1.0 63-66.9
D- (Passing) 0.7 60-62.9
F (Failing) 0.0 Below 59.9
I (Incomplete) 0.0  
P (Pass) 0.0  
W (Withdrawal) 0.0  

 

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 earn a grade point average of 3.95 in any quarter, with a minimum of 12 units, 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 or instructor. 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 by the end of the following quarter the coursework has not been completed, the “I” will automatically be changed to an “F.” Incomplete grades cannot be completed once a grade of “F” is assigned.

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. In order to graduate, a student must have a cumulative GPA of at least 2.0. Failure to do so will result in the additional cost of class(es) to raise the GPA to 2.0. FIDM academically disciplines students who fail to maintain the standard 2.0 cumulative grade point average, as follows:

Below are the academic disciplinary stages for students that fail to maintain the standard of 2.0 cumulative grade point average.

Academic disciplinary stages for students who fail to maintain a 2.0 GPA
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

 

* While a student is on probation and earns at least a 2.0 GPA for the quarter, but the cumulative is still below a 2.0 GPA. the student will remain on probation.

** While a student is on contract and earns at least a 2.0 GPA for the quarter, but the cumulative is still below a 2.0 GPA. the student will remain on contract.

*** 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.

Reinstatement Policy

A student who wishes to be reinstated and has not attended class for eight consecutive academic quarters or more, and who left in good academic standing, must complete a new application from the Student Advisement Office to re-enter the college.  Graduation requirements are 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.

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.A. degree is awarded for 181 quarter units

B.S. degree is awarded for 181 quarter units

Advanced Study 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 is awarded for 48 quarter units in:

  • Entertainment Set Design & Decoration
  • International Manufacturing & Product Development
  • Menswear

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

48 quarter unit programs

  • Beauty Industry Merchandising & Marketing

51 quarter unit programs

  • Merchandise Product Development

54 quarter unit programs

  • Apparel Industry Management

57 quarter unit programs

  • Fashion Design

60 quarter unit programs

  • Digital Media
  • Fashion Knitwear Design
  • Graphic Design
  • Social Media
  • Textile Design
  • Visual Communications

66 quarter unit programs

  • Interior Design
  • Jewelry Design

FIDM Maximum Transfer Units - Residency Requirements

Associate of Arts Maximum Transferable Units
Associate of Arts Units Maximum Transferable Units Residency Requirements (Units)
Apparel Industry Management 90 45 45
Beauty Marketing & Product Development 90 45 45
Digital Marketing 90 45 45
Digital Media* 90 45 45
Fashion Design* 90 45 45
Footwear Design & Development* 90 45 45
Graphic Design* 90 45 45
Interior Design* 90 45 45
Jewelry Design* 90 45 45
Merchandising & Marketing 90 45 45
Merchandise Product Development 90 45 45
Textile Design* 90 45 45
Visual Communications* 90 45 45

 

Associate of Arts Professional Designation Maximum Transferable Units
Associate of Arts Professional Designation Units Maximum Transferable Units Residency Requirements (Units)
Apparel Industry Management 57 27 30
Beauty Marketing & Product Development 48 18 30
Digital Marketing 60 30 30
Digital Media* 60 30 30
Fashion Design* 54 24 30
Footwear Design & Development* 63 30 33
Graphic Design* 60 30 30
Interior Design* 66 36 30
Jewelry Design* 66 36 30
Merchandising & Marketing 45 15 30
Merchandise Product Development 51 21 30
Textile Design* 60 30 30
Visual Communications* 60 30 30

 

Associate of Arts Advanced Study Maximum Transferable Units
Associate of Arts Advanced Study
(For students who have earned an A.A. degree from FIDM in a related discipline)
Units Maximum Transferable Units Residency Requirements (Units)
The Business of Denim 48 0 48
Entertainment Set Design & Decoration* 48 3 45
Fashion Design* 45 0 45
Film & TV Costume Design* 45 0 45
International Manufacturing & Product Development 48 3 45
Menswear* 48 3 45
Theatre Costume Design* 45 0 45

 

Bachelor of Science Maximum Transferable Units
Bachelor of Science
(Two-year degree completion for students who have earned an A.A. Degree from FIDM in a related discipline)
Units Maximum Transferable Units Residency Requirements (Units)
B.S. Apparel Technical Design* 91 46 45
B.S. Beauty Business Management* 91 46 45
B.S. Business Management 91 46 45

 

Bachelor of Arts Maximum Transferable Units
Bachelor of Arts
(Two-year degree completion for students who have earned an A.A. Degree from FIDM in a related discipline)
Units Maximum Transferable Units Residency Requirements (Units)
B.A. Design* 91 46 45
B.A. Digital Cinema* 91 46 45
B.A. Graphic Design* 91 46 45
B.A. Fashion Knitwear Design * 91 46 45
B.A. Interior Design* 91 46 45
B.A. Social Media 91 46 45

 

Bachelor of Arts Maximum Transferable Units
Bachelor of Arts
(One-year degree completion for students who have earned an A.A. Degree and an A.A. Advanced Study Degree from FIDM)
Units Maximum Transferable Units Residency Requirements (Units)
B.A. Professional Studies* 46 16 30

 

Bachelor's Degrees Maximum Transferable Units
Bachelor's Degrees
(for qualified transfer students)
Units Maximum Transferable Units Residency Requirements (Units)
B.A. Creative Industry Studies 181 varies 54
Other Transfer Qualified Bachelor's Degrees 181 108 73

 

Master of Business Administration Maximum Transferable Units
Master of Business Administration
(for students who have earned a FIDM degree and hold a Bachelor's Degree from an accredited college/university)
Units Maximum Transferable Units Residency Requirements (Units)
M.B.A. Business Administration 61 15 46

All programs are accredited by WASC Senior College and University Commission.

*All FIDM Art & Design majors are accredited by NASAD

Attendance

FIDM does not take attendance, and attendance does not have any direct effect on a student’s final grade; however, attending class regularly does have a positive effect on a student’s experience and overall performance. FIDM highly encourages students to attend classes regularly in order to be the most successful.

Changes to Degree Location - Completion

FIDM schedules program starts and class sections to help students meet their education goals and graduate on time. In many majors, the first year of study is offered on all campuses (LA, SF, and OC). Prior to enrolling, however, students should be aware that not all programs can be completed at all FIDM campuses. In particular, all students enrolling at the OC and SF campuses will be required to complete their second year in Los Angeles or in some majors, online. Occasionally, branch campus programs start at non-traditional times, which can cause a program to stretch beyond its published dates; these programs may also fail to maintain a minimum cohort size of five (5) students. In such a case, the program will continue but will be moved to the Los Angeles campus (919 South Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90015). FIDM also makes every effort to maintain stability in its scheduling of class days and times at the branch campuses. Sufficient numbers of class sections to accommodate demand will always be available to students in the quarters in which they are scheduled to take those classes. Once a student has enrolled at FIDM and has received his/her schedule, the day and time a class meets will not be changed without consent from at least 90% of the students enrolled in the class. Very rarely, a course section may be cancelled due to low enrollment., and in such cases, students will be offered another section of that course.

FIDM Transfer Credit Policies

Advanced Placement (AP)

Students entering from high school may apply for college credit by taking examinations given by the Advanced Placement Program of the College Entrance Examination Board. Students who have taken any of these examinations should arrange to have the results forwarded to FIDM by the College Board if the AP score is not indicated on the official high school transcript. As determined by FIDM, applicable credits will be awarded for AP scores of three (3) or higher and awarded credits may count toward general education requirements of student’s intended major.

Credit Through Standardized Testing (CLEP and DANTES)

Students may earn college credit through College Level Examination Placement (CLEP) with a Score of 50 or higher, or Defense Activity for Non-Tradition Education Support (DANTES). Examinations must have been taken before the student has been granted A.A. or B.A./B.S. degree-seeking status at FIDM.

International Baccalaureate (IB)

FIDM awards academic credit for test scores of four (4) or higher on individual higher-level IB courses. Credit is awarded at the time of matriculation and is based on the scores earned on the IB examinations. All credit awarded will be recorded on the student’s permanent record and will be included in the credit total toward degree requirements. Credit will be awarded for 100- and 200-level course work. Credits awarded may count toward general education requirements. Questions regarding IB credit equivalencies should be directed to the Chairperson of General Studies.

Military Credit

The American Council on Education (ACE) collaborates with the Department of Defense to review military training and experience and recommend appropriate college credit for members of the Armed Forces. ACE provides quality assurance and policy guidance for the Joint Services Transcript (JST) used by the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, and Coast Guard. FIDM will consider the guidelines set forth by ACE.

Transfer Credit from International Institutions

All applicants educated outside the U.S. are required to have their credentials evaluated by a recognized certification agency. These evaluations constitute non-binding advisory opinions only. FIDM makes all final determinations regarding course/grade/credit/GPA equivalencies, degree equivalencies, and the award of any transfer credit for coursework completed (as provided in FIDM’s transfer credit evaluation). 

Transfer Grade Policies

All transfer courses graded Pass/No Pass or Credit/No Credit are computed at neutral value, except in those cases where the specific grading symbol is identified by the source institution as equivalent to a grade less than C in which case it will be taken at face value. All transfer course grades or symbols used to designate unsatisfactory, failing, or non-passing work at time of withdrawal such as UW, WU, or WF are evaluated as failing grades (F) unless otherwise defined by the source institution. FIDM only awards applicable course credit for courses taken at other institutions to which the student received a grade of “C-” or higher.