General Policies

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All artwork produced by students in the Visual Communication program is a collective effort with student and instructor participation.

The school reserves the right to select and utilize quality student works for display, advertising, and promotional purposes. Typical use of student work includes, but is limited to, reproduction in the annual academic catalog, on the NCAD website, and on promotional posters and postcards.

As such, the school reserves the right to photograph student work and to request high-resolution digital copies of student work for such usage. The student retains all other rights to their work, including ownership of the original work.


All courses, content, curriculum, instructor assignments, course sequencing, course scheduling, policies and procedures, program lengths, tuition and fees, and program schedules are subject to change at the discretion of NCAD.

Changes to individual student’s sequencing of classes will only occur if deemed appropriate for a documented medical accommodation or due to class failure.

Students should notify the college of any changes to their personal contact information immediately. Correct and current contact information is crucial to effective communications between the college and the student.


It is the students’ responsibility to read all communications from the college and to respond as necessary, via their personal electronic communication tools as well as on- and off-campus mail.

It is the student’s responsibility to provide the college with up-to-date contact information, including email, phone, and postal address. Any change to their personal contact information should be communicated to the college immediately.

As members of the college and the larger community, students are expected to communicate with others using the means and manner consistent with the standards of an institution of higher education; NCAD is a place of learning, and activity which inhibits or interferes with learning or other college functions will not be permitted.

Students shall not use any means of communication to abuse, harass, threaten, bully, or otherwise harm any person. Students shall not use any means of communication to disrupt instruction, learning, or other college functions. Students’ personal use of the internet and/or electronic devices outside the classroom or other learning sites shall not be infringed; such personal use shall not constitute official college communication, and the college is not responsible for the content of students’ personal communications. However, the college reserves the right to act upon personal student communications when such communication has a negative impact upon any official function of the college, including instruction, health, safety, and public relations. Nothing in this policy shall be construed to restrict any person’s right to avail themselves of civil remedies.

NCAD must have efficient and timely methods of communicating with students. Technology advancement facilitates communication while simultaneously saving money. These advances permit information to be shared quickly and easily for the benefit of students and the college generally; the college is committed to promoting effective communication campus-wide.

NCAD recognizes the importance, frequency, and ease of students’ communication with fellow students, college administration, and members of the public. NCAD also recognizes the widespread use of the internet and electronic devices to interact with other people through text, images, and sound.

Daily Schedule

Courses may be scheduled from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. A full-time student typically attends six courses over three, four, or five days in the week. Courses typically meet once per week, and are typically scheduled at 8 to 10 a.m., 8 a.m. to 12 p.m., 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., 1 to 3 p.m., 1 to 5 p.m., 3 to 5 p.m., 5 to 7 p.m., 7 to 9 p.m. or 5 to 9 p.m. Schedules vary from semester to semester. Full-time schedules are not guaranteed for part-time, transfer, reapplying, or extended program students.


A student may be dismissed by NCAD for the following reasons:

  • Conduct or attitude that, from NCAD’s perspective, is detrimental to the school or the well-being of others
  • Failure to attend classes for a period of 30 days without school notification of withdrawal or an attendance waiver
  • Failure to comply with any NCAD policies, rules, and regulations, including but not limited to policies on attendance, harassment, satisfactory progress, student conduct, student grievances, and payment of tuition and fees when due
  • Failure to successfully pass the review process of Portfolio Review 1 (fourth semester), Portfolio Review 2 (sixth semester), or Portfolio Review 3 (ninth semester)

Dismissal means the student will be dismissed from NCAD immediately. The student will not be allowed to continue their education and may not return to the college for any reason.

In the event of suspension or termination, the college will not be held responsible for the remaining portion of the course of instruction. The college will institute the appropriate refund policy based on the terminated student’s last date of attendance.

Enrollment Policy of Nondiscrimination

As an educational organization and employer, NCAD does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, ethnic background, sexual orientation, age, sex, national origin, marital, veteran, or handicapped status. This commitment is made by NCAD and is required by federal, state, and local laws and regulations.

Grading Policy

At NCAD, grading is used as a tool that performs two interrelated functions:

  • It assesses academic, technical, and creative performance, i.e., learning
  • It communicates that information to the student

Learning is a result of the student’s own activities (reading, thinking, writing, drawing, designing, etc.), and is not directly caused by anything that an instructor does. Since the responsibility for learning lies with the student, so does the burden of demonstrating that he or she has actually achieved that learning.

There are certain functions that grading is not designed to perform. For instance, grading cannot effectively measure a student’s effort. Instructors can only effectively assess actual performance, within a certain time frame (the duration of the class).

No Grades for Effort

Quality of performance (i.e., work product) is the metric used in the real world outside of this college, and performance is considered the universal measure of professional success. At NCAD we are attempting to prepare our students for life after college and professional careers, and our approach to assessment (i.e., grading) directly and intentionally reflects that philosophy.

At NCAD, therefore, no grades are assessed for effort.

Appropriate effort, participation, and student behavior are expected to be applied as necessary to be successful in our program. While important to the learning process, they do not have a place in the qualitative assessment of student performance or work product at NCAD.

Instructors rarely observe their students outside of the classroom or lab. They are in no position to judge how “hard” or “long” someone has studied; those judgments would be inherently and fundamentally subjective.

Further, grades do not represent an objective measure of a student’s intelligence, capabilities, talents, or potential, nor do they capture the essence of their character as a human being.

At NCAD, we believe that students should see their grades as pieces of information to be used to measure progress, rather than as external rewards or punishments, or as mechanisms of control.

Students are not their grades. At NCAD, students are strongly encouraged to avoid defining themselves in terms of a grade. Grades represent an instructor’s assessment of one or more instances of their performance or of the product of their work. Given the nature of the grading process and the limited purposes for which it is designed, the grades students receive are in no way a reflection of who they are as people or even what they are capable of achieving over a sustained period of time.

Ultimately, we strive to help students reach a level of mastery of material.

In most NCAD courses, the students have two general objectives:

  1. To master the content of the field — to acquire a certain body of information about the subject
  2. To master the process of the field — to master its methods and practices, its definition of problems, and its approach to solutions

Grade represent an educated assessment of work by a qualified instructor who applies an explicitly or implicitly weighted combination of the measurement of content and process (i.e., student work product).

At NCAD, students receive grades as a way to report, record, and provide feedback regarding the knowledge and skills demonstrated in coursework.

No Grades for Late Work

Meeting deadlines is necessary for success as a creative professional. As such, no late work will be accepted for a grade. Incomplete work can be submitted for partial credit (unless the instructor in an individual class specifically requires work to be complete to receive a grade in their class).

The only exceptions to the “no late work” policy would be if an attendance waiver is approved by the director of education. In that case, the student would be required to submit their late work according to the attendance policy outlined in detail elsewhere in this catalog. The second and final exception to the this policy would be if the student qualified and received a temporary incomplete grade. Portfolios and Grades

The full policy relating to student portfolios can be found elsewhere in this catalog. Related to grades, all students are required to post finished work samples to for each four-hour/week technical/occupational class (studio classes) each semester. Instructors in each class will give students a list of projects to post for their classes. Students will be graded on this, and failure to post work produced for classes to will result in failure of those classes.

While continuing to add to their portfolios in their classes, at the beginning of the eighth semester, as part of the Portfolio 1 class, all students will be asked to edit/curate their portfolios to better reflect their specific career objectives.

Until the eighth semester and/or Portfolio 1 class, however, work posted to student portfolios should reflect the work completed for all technical/occupational or studio classes for each semester, as required by each instructor of each class.

Incomplete Grades

An incomplete grade is recorded only at the midterm and only if the student has done satisfactory work in a course and cannot complete all assignments before the midterm because of illness or other serious problems beyond the student’s control. NCAD does not record incomplete grades for final semester grades.

Attendance Waivers and Grades

The full policy relating to attendance waivers can be found elsewhere in this catalog. As waivers relate to required coursework and grading, students remain responsible for all assignments, lectures, and tests given in each course.

If a student receives a waiver for the last two weeks of a semester and is unable to submit required final projects and assignments, they may be given an extended project deadline.

All extensions must be approved by the director of education and will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

Grade Appeals

Students may appeal a grade by submitting a written request with support documentation to the director of education no more than 60 days after the end of the term. Appeals are evaluated by the director of education on a case-by-case basis.

Graduate Auditing of Classes

As part of our ongoing career development and training, NCAD graduates can audit technical/occupational major-specific classes in their degree program for five years after graduation, free of charge.

When a graduate audits a course, it means they take the course without credit and without a grade. They do not have to take any examinations, participate in class discussion or work, or submit project work for class or instructor review.

Procedure for Auditing Classes

Graduate requests to audit courses must be reviewed and approved on a course-by-course basis by NCAD’s director of education. Seats must be available on the first day of regularly scheduled courses.

Initial enrollment in a course as an auditor must be completed before the first day of regular courses in any semester or term. Students should fill out and return an Audit Form (available from the registrar), which will then be submitted to the director of education for review and approval. Once approval has been granted, the graduates may then audit the course.

The auditor may choose to do the work required of regular attendees of the course, participate in discussion and/or critiques, and interact with both the students and the instructor similarly to all regularly enrolled students in the course.

Conduct Policies for Auditing Classes

Auditors of any class at NCAD are required to comply with all Student Conduct policies outlined in NCAD’s current Academic Catalog. Failure to do so may result in the immediate revocation of permission to audit.

Graduation Report Rates

Of the 2009 student cohort, 43% of students completed the program within 150% of the program length. For more information about our graduation rates, the median debt of students who completed the program, and other important information, please visit our website at

Graduation Requirements

NCAD will award a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree (B.F.A.) in Visual Communication, providing the following graduation requirements are met:

  • Successfully complete all courses within the scheduled program. A student is allowed to take a maximum of 201 attempted credit hours to graduate from the program.
  • Fulfill all financial obligations to the college within 15 days prior to the last day of courses.
  • Attend an exit interview in the financial aid department (if applicable).
  • Take part in all placement activities.
  • Prior to graduation, maintain satisfactory progress and attendance.
  • Successfully complete Portfolio Review 3 and get approved by the Director of Education.

Placement Reported Dates

For the 2011 student cohort, 15 of 21 graduates found employment in a related field, equaling a 71% employment rate.

Program Majors in Visual Communication

The foundation courses (semesters one through four) for all majors are identical. Upper division courses (semesters five through nine) include classes specific to the individual majors. Students will complete two majors in the Visual Communication program. For specific classes included in each program, please refer to the appropriate program grid.

Visual Communication major declaration (the process of applying for admission to their preferred dual concentration areas) will occur during the fourth semester after the student has met and discussed their goals with the director of education. The curriculum is highly specialized, and we ask all students to seriously consider their choices.

Students must specify one primary and one alternate double major combination from those available at the time of their major declaration application. The college does not offer an undeclared major option and requires a focused application portfolio directed toward specific areas of concentration (double major).

Admission is competitive. Evaluation for admission is based on criteria in effect at the time the student applies for their double major selection. The college reserves the right to refuse admittance into a specific double major combination. In the case of denial of admittance, the student may reapply for acceptance into another double major. Based on the student’s academic record, portfolio, and stated career goals, the college may place the student applicant into their alternate double major option if it is determined that it would lead to more likelihood of success within the program and after.

A minimum of five students are required to select and be accepted into any of the double major combinations for it to run.

If the minimum number is not met, any affected students will be placed in their alternate choice selection or another based on their stated career goals. Students must complete all classes in their double major choice before becoming eligible for graduation. Students who change their majors may not have the option of maintaining a full-time schedule or completing the program in the typical 36-month period.

Program Withdrawal

The withdrawal date for refund computation purposes is the last date of the student’s actual attendance. Students must complete a program withdrawal form or contact the college in writing to withdraw. If a student has not attended courses for a period of 30 days without notification of withdrawal, the student will be terminated.

The student will receive an F grade for all courses not completed during their final semester of attendance.

A student who is out of school for a time period longer than six months will go into loan repayment.

Student Portfolio Policy

A portfolio is a fundamental requirement for creative professionals. It is the single most powerful self-promotional tool, and the best and most important concrete, tangible evidence of skill and creative interest that a creative professional can have.

Consequently, as a further means of assisting our students with their objectives of achieving a creative career, and as a supplemental component of our Portfolio Review Policy, all NCAD students are required to have an active portfolio account, and to post completed work there from each technical/occupational or studio class they are enrolled in each semester.


All students are required to post finished work samples to for each four-hour/week technical/occupational class (studio classes) each semester. Instructors in each class will give students a list of projects to post for their classes. Students will be graded on this, and failure to post work produced for classes to will result in failure of those classes. This work will be used as a component of student Portfolio Reviews.

All work posted to should be labeled or tagged with the semester it was created in, and with the class name that it was created for, along with a short description of the project itself.

All work should be chronologically presented on, starting with the newest work and ending with the oldest.

At the beginning of the eighth semester, as part of the Portfolio 1 class, all students will be asked to edit/curate their portfolios to better reflect their specific career objectives.

All NCAD students are required to submit current, active profile links to the NCAD director of education on request.

Teacher Certification

Teaching art at private art schools, art colleges, arts organizations, and public schools are a few of the choices available to individuals interested in a career in art education. The requirements for employment in this field vary. In addition to a college degree, these educational institutions may also require teaching or professional work experience, and some (such as public school districts) may require teacher certification.

Individuals wishing to pursue a Washington State Teacher Certification (grades K-12) must understand that the state certification regulations require individuals to complete a bachelor’s degree program from a regionally accredited institution. In order to successfully prepare our students for the design, fine art, and multimedia professions, NCAD has chosen to maintain accreditation with the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSC).

ACCSC is one of many accreditation bodies available to colleges today. However, since ACCSC is not a part of the regional accreditation organization, individuals who complete the B.F.A. degree program from our college will not be eligible to apply for teacher certification in Washington state.

Individuals who consider transferring from NCAD to a regionally accredited institution should investigate the receiving institution’s transfer credit policy. Since no two programs are the same, NCAD cannot guarantee the transfer of credits — this is solely up to the receiving school. For more information on teaching certification requirements in the state of Washington, visit the Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction website ( Individuals wanting to teach in other states should contact that state’s Department of Education for information on teacher certification requirements.


The college will issue transcripts to students at the end of each semester. Students who are no longer attending the college must complete a transcript request form and will be charged a $5 fee for each transcript requested.

If an individual has outstanding tuition or fees, library materials, or other college property, the college will hold the transcript until the balance is paid in full and/or the property is returned. Students who wish to have transcripts sent to parents or others must complete an Information Release Form with the Registrar’s Office.

Please use the following link to download a Transcript Request Form: NCAD Transcript Request Form

Transfer Credit

Credit that has been successfully completed at other U.S. accredited institutions (including AP and Running Start credits) may be transferred to NCAD if transfer situations meet the following:

  • Studio art courses must have been completed within the last 10 years. (There is no time limit on general education courses.)
  • Courses must be comparable with NCAD courses.
  • Course grade is a C+ or above.
  • Applicant can demonstrate appropriate skill.
  • Transfer course credit is equal to or above NCAD course credit.

Official transcript of grades and course outlines must be presented no later than July 15th for evaluation. Transfer credit will not be granted after the August 1st deadline. A portfolio evaluation may be required.

No more than 50% of the program may transfer. Transferring credit may reduce program length, but reduction is not guaranteed. Transferring credit may require the student to drop to a part-time status at certain times during the program.

Credit is not available for life experience.

Advanced Placement (AP) Course Credit

Standard high school courses other than AP or Running Start classes do not apply. The College Board will evaluate AP credits taken in high school for transfer credit based on the following requirements.

AP Class Score Required NCAD Equivalent
Studio Art 5 NCAD faculty review the student’s AP portfolio to determine what class the credits will be transferred for (i.e. drawing, color/form, design, etc.). Faculty reserves the right to interview the student before the transfer is approved.
Art History 5 Art Introduction (the first semester class in the Art History series)
English, Psychology, Environmental Science, Quantitative Principles 4-5 The AP course will be transferred for the appropriate NCAD general education class. NCAD faculty reserves the right to interview the student before the transfer is approved.
NCAD AP College Code: 2432

Transfer Credit From NCAD To Another College

NCAD does not concentrate on preparing students to continue their education in another field or at another school. NCAD programs are technical in nature and emphasize preparation for entry-level arts occupations, and therefore may not be transferable to other arts programs.

Students interested in transferring credits should check with the receiving institution directly to determine to what extent, if any, credits can be transferred. NCAD does not guarantee the transferability of NCAD credits.