Department Policies

Grades are an essential part of a student’s academic experience. While the primary purpose of grades is to establish an official, normalized record of students’ academic progress, they also serve other important functions. They can, for example, affect the awarding of honors, access to financial aid, and eligibility to participate in athletics. Accordingly, the Department of Architecture considers the careful and fair evaluation of student work, using grades and other formalized methods, to be a crucial part of its mission. The grading policy elaborated here is guided by University of Washington policies as well as guidelines published in the UW’s Faculty Resources on Grading (

Grade calculation and submission for all ARCH courses

  • Faculty must explain clearly how grades will be determined in each course they teach. This explanation must be included in the course syllabus distributed to all students the first day of class. Faculty may not deviate from this without informing students of changes in writing.
  • Grades should reflect the student’s academic performance in the course. University policy and federal law assert that faculty may not grade on the basis of student behavior (see In many Architecture courses; however, interpersonal interaction and contribution to overall class effort are important aspects of student learning; in these cases the student’s participation in class (but not merely attendance or behavior) can and should be evaluated.
  • For numerically-graded courses faculty should make every effort to assign grades that reflect individual student performance relative to the realistically expected range of achievement among students in the class. (See “Department of Architecture Norms for Undergraduate and Graduate Courses.)
  • Faculty must assign grades to all students in their courses by 10:00 am the Monday following the last day of exams. These can be submitted to the Department of Architecture office (by 9:00 am) using the Faculty Grade Report form, or with the Web Grade submission system (
  • Faculty who are unable to submit grades and/or studio assessments by the deadline must inform the associate chair at the time of the submission deadline. They must also provide a timeline for grade submission. In no case should grades or studio assessments be submitted after the first day of the subsequent quarter.

I, X, and N grades

  • I (Incomplete) grades should be given only in exceptional circumstances, following university policy, which states: “An Incomplete is given only when the student has been in attendance and has done satisfactory work until within two weeks of the end of the quarter and has furnished proof satisfactory to the instructor that the work cannot be completed because of illness or other circumstances beyond the student's control. A written statement of the reason for the giving of the Incomplete, listing the work which the student will need to do to remove it, must be filed by the instructor...” These statements should be submitted by faculty to the associate chair of the department at the time course grades are submitted. For undergraduate students I grades revert to 0.0 after one quarter unless the instructor has requested an extension of this time limit from the Graduation and Academic Records Office (for up to three additional quarters) or the instructor has indicated, when assigning the Incomplete grade, that a grade other than 0.0 should be recorded if the incomplete work is not completed.
  • X grades, meaning “no grade now”, should be used only in situations where it is not possible for faculty to submit a grade by the deadline. This grade is not meant for incomplete student work. X grades should be resolved as soon as possible after the quarter has been completed.
  • N grades are used only for courses that students have not completed but will be continuing in subsequent quarters (usually thesis).

S/SN and CR/NC grades

  • S/NS (Satisfactory/Not Satisfactory): Studentsmay choose to be graded on a Satisfactory (2.0 or higher for undergraduate students, 2.7 or higher for graduate students) or Not Satisfactory basis through the seventh week of the quarter. There will be no indication on the Faculty Grade Report if a student has selected the S/NS option. Facutly should submit all grades as usual. The grade will be converted to S or NS. (Note: Courses graded S/NS are not applicable to specific degree requirements, but are applicable to the 180 hours of elective credit students need to graduate.)
  • CR/NC (Credit/No Credit): Instructorsmay choose to grade an entire class on a Credit/No Credit basis. This choice depends on department approval and must be made before registration for the course occurs.

Grading issues for undergraduate courses

  • For grades below 0.7, undergraduate students receive no credit for the course.
  • I grades for undergraduate students revert to 0.0 after one quarter, see above

Grading issues for graduate courses

  • Graduate students must maintain a 3.0 cumulative GPA to graduate
  • For grades below 1.7, graduate students receive no credit for the course.
  • I grades for graduate students cannot be changed after two years
  • Students are generally ineligible to elect S/NS (satisfactory/not satisfactory) for any ARCH prefixed courses unless all other course requirements for the Master of Architecture degree (and any certificate) have been met. If the tenth day class sheet indicates a student is registered for this option, check with the student and/or graduate advisor about the appropriateness of this option. For graduate students, a grade of 2.7 or higher is recorded as S (satisfactory).

Undergraduate ARCH studios

  • For undergraduate architecture studios faculty submit a numerical grade using the procedures above.
  • Faculty must also provide a thorough written assessment of each student’s performance in the studio. Faculty should submit assessments directly to each student as soon as possible after the end of the quarter, but under no circumstances after the first day of the subsequent quarter. Faculty must also submit one hard copy of each evaluation to the undergraduate program advisor who will place them in the students’ files. The undergraduate program advisor can supply sample forms for these assessments.

Graduate ARCH studios

  • Graduate studios are graded on a Credit (CR), No Credit (NC) basis and are not included in GPA calculations. Students receiving NC in a studio must repeat it before continuing in the studio sequence.
  • Within the department, the CR/NC system is supplemented with faculty assessments of performance for each student. These assessments must clearly indicate the student name and overall evaluation (see below) near the top of the first page. Faculty should submit assessments directly to each student as soon as possible after the end of the quarter, but under no circumstances after the first day of the subsequent quarter. Faculty must also submit one hard copy of each evaluation to the graduate program advisor who will place them in the students’ files. The graduate program advisor can supply sample forms for these assessments.
  • For 300-level studios evaluations are summarized with numerical ratings 1 to 5, with 3 or higher indicating that the student’s performance meets faculty expectations.
  • During the preparatory year, students who receive an evaluation of 1 or 2 (or "less than faculty expectation") in any of the 303-5 studios will be contacted by the graduate program coordinator, generally with an academic warning on the first occurrence and academic probation on the second occurrence. Academic probation decisions will be conveyed to the Graduate School.
  • Students who have received an evaluation of 1 or 2 (or "less than faculty expectation") in any of the 303-5 studios will be subject to reviewfor satisfactory progress during finals week of spring quarter. If weaknesses in design skills are apparent or if other factors are hindering the student's progress, the review panel may recommend any one of the following (as specified in Graduate School Memorandum No. 16, Continuation or Termination of Students in the Graduate School): No Action, Warn, or Probation. In some circumstances, particularly if the student has exhibited work below expectation for more than one quarter, or has not corrected the condition(s) that led to an earlier probation, the committee may recommend Final Probation or immediate Drop from the program. The review panel may also recommend that the student take an additional design studio or other course work before continuing with the regular studio sequence. Some students may be advised to take a leave of absence to reconsider their objectives; they may also be advised informally to withdraw from the program.
  • Students may appeal the review panel’s recommendations by writing to the chair of the Department of Architecture. Appeals beyond this point should follow the process outlined in Graduate School Memorandum No. 33, Academic Grievance Procedure.
  • For 500-level studios, evaluations are summarized with Commend, Pass, and Marginal Pass.
  • The Commend indicates exceptional or exemplary work. Typically there should be no more than 2 commends for every 12 students in a studio group.
  • The Pass grade indicates the student is meeting faculty expectations, and is the expected grade for the course. Other grades represent exceptional cases.
  • Marginal pass designates work significantly below faculty expectations. Students in the MArch program may not receive credit for more than one studio in which they receive a Marginal Pass. That is, a second Marginal Pass is equivalent to NC in the studio, and it must be repeated before the student can continue in the studio sequence.

Academic misconduct

  • In cases of perceived academic misconduct, the university has a procedure that should be followed rigorously. This follows from the presumption of innocence, and faculty may not use grades punitively in such cases. The university’s Faculty Resources on Grading gives helpful information about dealing both informally and formally with academic misconduct issues (

Student appeals of course grades

  • A student who believes that the instructor erred in the assignment of a grade, or who believes a grade recording error or omission has occurred must pursue resolution no later than the end of the following quarter (not including summer quarter). The process involves up to two steps; first a discussion with the instructor, and, second, failing resolution there, a written appeal within 10 days to the chair of the department (or dean of the college, in some instances).
  • The complete process is delineated in the University Policy Directory, Student Governance and Policies, Chapter 110, Scholastic Regulations. (


The Department of Architecture affirms that the design studio is the center of architectural education in the Bachelor of Arts in Architectural Studies and the Master of Architecture programs at the University of Washington. In these programs, the design studio is central as a spatial configuration, a pedagogical model, and a cultural practice. This is reflected in the space dedicated to studios, and the large number of credits and faculty contact hours the department commits to design studio courses in these programs. The department assumes that the skills and the knowledge necessary for the professional practice of architecture are developed and synthesized in the studio. While there are many non-studio courses in the department’s B. A. and M. Arch. curricula, their content integrates with the work done by students in the design studio, either in direct support of specific studio projects, or indirectly by fostering an ethos of professionalism, ethical practice, and craft that is espoused in the department’s design studios.


Each student enrolled in the department’s B. A. and M. Arch. programs will be given exclusive use of a work space in a design studio as long as he or she is registered for a regular studio course, or for no less than one quarter in the master’s thesis. Other students in the department will be offered studio space on request, depending on availability.

The studio space shall function as an effective place for students to work. Students shall have 24 hour access to studios during the quarter. The studios shall be adequately furnished with desks, shared work spaces, pin-up surfaces, and digital networking to facilitate work that can be expected of students in the design studio. Students in the studio will also have access to wood and metal working facilities, computers, and a range of input and output devices housed elsewhere in the college.

The studio environment shall be conducive to faculty and student health, safety, and productivity. Studios shall be adequately lit and ventilated. Recognizing that studio spaces are subject to extraordinary usage
pressures, the department will enforce quarterly studio clean-up policies for students and work with university custodians to assure that studio spaces are adequately maintained and cleaned. Studio spaces
shall allow barrier-free access in accordance with ADA statutes. During hours when university buildings are closed, studios will be accessible by key or key code only to authorized students, faculty, and staff.

Students are expected to treat studio spaces with respect at all times. Students also must comply with rules regarding studio clean-up and the use of noxious substances in studio spaces and university



Although studio faculty are responsible for the organization and progress of the studio during the quarter, much of the work students do in a design studio is self-motivated and self-directed. Because architectural design is a complex and time-consuming process, in order to excel students must often dedicate significant time and energy to architectural design studio courses. This will often be somewhat out of proportion with the effort necessary to excel in other courses. The demands of design studio should not, however, adversely affect students’ performance in other classes, nor should it upset the appropriate balance of academic and non-academic pursuits. Faculty therefore must set fair and reasonable expectations for adequate performance in the studios, and also provide regular, productive feedback to each student on the progress of his or her work in the studio.

To accomplish this the Department of Architecture has adopted the following guidelines for design studios:
1. At the beginning of each quarter, the studio faculty shall provide written expectations for the participation and performance of students in the studio.
2. Faculty shall meet regularly with students, during scheduled studio hours—on an individual basis, as required, and in group meetings—to discuss their work in a productive manner.
3. Criticism in studio meetings and in design reviews will be constructive and educational in nature; it will concern the work produced and not its author. Adopted by the Department of Architecture Faculty, 5/30/07 2
4. Faculty shall maintain reasonable expectations as to work requirements for the studio, with the understanding that students may choose to put in more effort, as they see fit, to meet their own goals and expectations.
5. Faculty shall provide a detailed written evaluation of each student’s performance at the end of the quarter. In all cases the work produced in  the studio shall be evaluated on its merits. Because the studio is concerned with professional development, the faculty shall also evaluate the student on working methods.



Instruction in the studio shall foster a collaborative environment conducive to the mutual interests of the students and faculty. The department strongly encourages students to do as much of their studio course work in the studio as possible, in order to take advantage of the collaborative opportunities the studio space allows and to develop a strong sense of class cohesiveness.

Students in architecture design studios often spend many hours together during the course of a quarter. The studio must be a comfortable place for students to work and interact with other students and faculty. Students are expected to behave respectfully and professionally at all times in the studio. The majority does not rule in University of Washington architecture studios. Noise, music, unruly behavior and the like, if offensive to even one student in the studio, are not acceptable and must cease. Students are encouraged to make reasonable efforts to resolve personal disputes; however, any behavior inconsistent with this policy, or the University of Washington Student Conduct Code ( /conduct.html), should be referred to the studio faculty or the departmental administration.


Any member of the community, student or faculty, has the right to seek remediation for conflicts or problems in studio by contacting the studio instructor, the administration of the Department of Architecture, or the University of Washington Ombudsman ( Where informal resolution of disputes or problems is not workable they will be resolved according to procedures set out in the University of Washington Handbook (



The Department of Architecture is committed to building a faculty, staff and student body that reflects and is responsive to the gender, ethnic and cultural diversity of the broader community served by the University of Washington. Our efforts to achieve this include: effective faculty recruitment, mentoring, and retention; broad outreach to potential student applicants; teaching courses and studios that work with diverse groups of people in the community.

1.     Faculty Hiring:

a.     The University of Washington has produced extensive guidelines and advice for recruitment of faculty from underrepresented groups. The department will make use of the UW Faculty Recruitment Toolkit in all faculty searches. (

b.     The Department of Architecture Faculty Search Committee Chair will consult with the Associate Vice Provost for Faculty Advancement in the UW Office of Minority Affairs and Diversity at the outset of all faculty searches to solicit advice on advertisement language and recruitment strategy.

c.     In all searches the faculty will recruit women and minority candidates using professional and personal contacts.

2.    Faculty Retention and Development:

a.     The department chair will use discretionary funds to support faculty who attend conferences and other external academic events specifically oriented toward diversity issues.

b.     The department chair will use discretionary funds for the formation and support of a Women in Architecture group.

c.     The department chair will coordinate with the dean’s office of the College of Built Environments to create and support a Diversity in the Built Environments group.

3.    Student Recruitment and Support:

a.     The Department of Architecture will host an annual open house, advertised in local high schools and community colleges, to introduce its programs to potential applicants.

b.     The Department of Architecture will arrange for a faculty member to present regularly on the subject of architecture at local high schools to raise awareness about the profession among potential applicants to the University of Washington.

c.     The Department Executive Committee will coordinate with dean’s office of the College of Built Environment, as well as local organizations such as Coyote Central and the ACE Mentorship Program, to promote design education and career opportunities for local middle and high schools students, UW summer students, and UW freshmen and sophomores.

d.     The Department Executive Committee will coordinate with CBE to support student groups and student mentorship across disciplines.

e.     The Department Executive Committeewill consult annually with the UW Office of Minority Affairs and Diversity and the Graduate Opportunities and Minority Achievement Program and the UW Dream Project to discuss recruitment and support strategies and resources for women and minority applicants.

f.      The department will continue to seek funds to support women and minority students. Currently, the Seattle Chapter of the AIA provides funds annually to the department to assist minority students through the Student Support Fund for Diversity. The Mitsu and William O. Fukui Memorial Endowed Diversity Scholarshipprovides funds annually for minority students. Three departmental scholarships are specifically awarded to women students pursuing the professional program in Architecture.

4.    Diversity in the Architecture curriculum:

a.     The Department of Architecture will continue to offer opportunities for students to work with diverse groups of people in local communities. Two of the most important of these are the Howard S. Wright Neighborhood Design Build Studio (, which works with local non-profit organizations to build small community projects, and the Storefront Studio (, which works with local towns to revitalize main street commercial districts.

b.     The Department of Architecture Curriculum Committee will review the Architecture curriculum annually to assess the quality and extent of offerings addressing issues of diversity, and to seek opportunities to improve and expand these offerings.

c.     The Department of Architecture will continue efforts to participate in national programs supporting diversity in the curriculum. Currently faculty in the department’s Integrated Design Lab are working partnership with the College of Engineering to host a summer program for minority students, with support from the National Science Foundation’s Research Experience and Mentoring Program for Under-represented Students in STEM.

5.    Diversity in the Profession of Architecture:

a.     The department chair will work with the Department of Architecture’s Professionals Advisory Council, the Diversity Roundtable of Seattle Chapter of the American Institute of Architects, and the Northwest Chapter of the National Association of Minority Architects to promote diversity within the Department of Architecture, with the specific aims of creating an affiliated group in the Department of Architecture and supporting at least one annual event related to the issue of diversity in the department.

b.     The Department of Architecture will maintain a prominent display of diversity opportunities in Gould Hall.

6.    Diversity Plan Review and Reporting:

a.     The Department of Architecture Faculty will review this plan annually.

b.     The Department Executive Committee will prepare an annual report to the faculty on the diversity of the faculty, staff, and student body, and diversity issues in the department.