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Spring 2021

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Massachusetts College of Art and Design is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Inc. through its Commission on Institutions of Higher Education, and also is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design. Inquiries regarding the accreditation status should be directed to the college's administrative staff.

Explanation of Grading Policy

When reviewing a student's transcript please note that there are two grading systems used at the college. Further, transcripts dated 1971-1987 are graded on a Pass/NC (fail) only system.

Additionally, the institution has had a forgiveness policy whereby all non-passing grades were removed from the student's permanent record. This policy was rescinded in 1995. Transcripts issued after that date may include non-passing grades.

It is important to note that students are not given a choice between Pass/No credit or letter grades. The policy is a standard. Therefore Massachusetts College of Art and Design has never maintained or calculated a GPA, not does it rank its students.

(P)ass Grade Transfer Description

Massachusetts College of Art and Design uses a dual grading system: Letter Grades and Pass/No Credit grades. A grade of  P (pass) is assigned as a measure of  a student gaining knowledge and competencies. The pass grade is qualitative, not quantitative. *As such, the P (pass) grade may be considered a C or better when evaluated for transfer purposes.*

Definition of Credit Types

  • Inst UG, Inst GR or MCA: Courses taken at MassArt as a matriculated student
  • Inst NM, or MCA.CE: Courses taken at MassArt as a non-matriculated student
  • Exchange: Courses taken at another institution for which students registered at MassArt according to procedures of the exchange agreement between the two institutions
  • Transfer: Courses taken at another institution which have been evaluated and deemed applicable by this college to the requirements of the student's degree program at MassArt
  • Portfolio Credit: Professional or other Life Experience as evaluated by the college to be applicable to the student's degree program

Graduation Comments

  • DI: Graduation with Distinction
  • DH: Graduation with Honors
  • AC: Academic Honors

Grade System

Two grading systems are used at the college:

  1. Letter grades (A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, C-, D, F, Incomplete, W) are given in the following courses:
    • Liberal Arts
    • Art Education
    • Fashion Design, Communication Design, Industrial Design, Animation, Illustration, and Architectural Design
    • History of Art
  2. Pass/ No Credit / Incomplete / W / grades are given in the following courses:
    • First year studio courses (Studio Foundation - SFDN)
    • Film/Video, Photography, Studio for Interrelated Media
    • Fine Arts 2D - Painting, Printmaking
    • Fine Arts 3D - Ceramics, Fibers, Glass, Jewelry/Metalsmithing, Sculpture

Grade Definitions

H Honors
A Exceptional work in all respects
B Above average work, distinguished in certain but not all respects
C Average
C- Below average
D Lowest passing grade; individual departments may set standards for the application of "D" grades toward progress in the major
F Failing work. No credit is given
PASS Work meeting all expectations for successful completion of the course

Massachusetts College of Art and Design uses a dual grading system: Letter Grades and Pass/No Credit grades. A grade of P (pass) is assigned as a measure of a student gaining knowledge and competencies. The pass grade is qualitative, not quantitative. As such, the P (pass) grade may be considered a C or better when evaluated for transfer purposes.

NC No Credit. Work that does not meet the expectations of the course
TR Transfer Credit
COM Completed (for use with non-credit workshops only)
DNC Did Not Complete (for use with non-credit workshops only)

Course Numbering

  • 100-499 Undergraduate
  • 500-999 Graduate

Academic Area Codes

  • 2DPA, FA: Painting and Drawing
  • 2DPM, PM: Printmaking
  • 3DCR, CER: Ceramics
  • 3DFB, FIB: Fibers
  • 3DGL, GL: Glass
  • 3DML, MTL: Metals
  • 3DSC, SC: Sculpture
  • 3DTD, TDA: Three Dimensional Arts
  • AETE, AE: Art Education
  • CDGD, GD: Graphic Design, Communication Design
  • CDIL, IL: Illustration
  • CSE: Artistic Experience
  • DE,DSGN: Design
  • EDAD, AD: Architectural Design
  • EDFD, FD: Fashion Design
  • EDID, ID: Industrial Design
  • GRAD: Graduate
  • HART, CSA: History of Art
  • LALW, CSC: Literature, Writing, Film Criticism
  • LAMS, CSD: Natural Sciences and Math
  • LASS, CSB: Social and Natural Sciences
  • MDES: Master of Design
  • MP: Media and Performing Art
  • MPFV, FM: Filmmaking
  • MPPH, PH: Photography
  • MPSM, SIM: Studio for Interrelated Media
  • NC: Non-Credit
  • SFDN, SF, CP: Studio Foundation
  • TRVL: Travel Course

Interstate Certification Compact

A statement appears on all transcripts of students that complete teacher education programs approved by the Massachusetts State Department of Education for inclusion in the reciprocity privileges on the Interstate Certification Compact.

Graduate Level Courses

All courses numbering in the 500s and higher are graduate level. All courses taken by matriculated graduate students are graduate level, regardless of the number. Matriculated graduate students are designated by program in each semester. Prior to Fall 2008, Continuing Education courses at the graduate level were numbered in the 300s, 400s and 500s and designated with a section number of G1.

Graduate Number Sequence

As of the Summer 2015 semester, the course numbering convention for MFA Programs changed and graduate #s for required MFA coursework will begin at the 600 level. This is not a curricular change.

Non-Credit Workshops

Beginning in the Fall 2017 term, non-credit workshops are assigned a Completed or Did Not Complete Status. Non-credit workshops taken prior to the Fall of 2017 are not included on the transcript.

Transfer Grades

Beginning in the 2015-2016 Academic Year, the college transitioned to the use of "TR" grades when transcripting transfer credits.

Communication Design

In Academic Year 2018/2019, the Graphic Design department changed its name to Communication Design.


Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, all spring 2020 classes went to a Pass/No Credit Grade System. Students were given the option to request an Equivalent Letter Grade for classes that usually carry letter grades (please see Grade System above). Equivalent Letter Grades are notated on a student's transcript, but do not replace the official Pass or No Credit grade. 

The only exception to this policy for the spring 2020 term are undergraduate classes offered through the Art Education department which students could officially earn Pass/No Credit or Letter grades.

For any questions, please email or call 617.879.7272.