Academic Policies

It is the intention of the college to offer uninterrupted courses of study to its students; however, in the event that the college is unable to continue some or all academic instruction because of a natural disaster, power failure, fire, strikes, damage by the elements, or other event beyond its control, tuition and other fees are not refundable and damages not payable.

Attendance Policy

Regular attendance in all classes is required. Students are expected to arrive on time and remain in class for the entire period scheduled. The responsibility for work missed due to any type of absence rests with the student. Attendance is mandatory. Three unexcused absences will result in a student failing the class. Three late arrivals is equivalent to one unexcused absence. Any exceptions are up to the discretion of the instructor.

Pregnancy-Related Excused Absences

Students have the right to an educational environment free from discriminatory treatment based upon pregnancy-related conditions, including childbirth, false pregnancy, termination of pregnancy, pregnancy itself, or recovery from any of these conditions.

Students with pregnancy-related questions are encouraged to contact Jeremy Khuth, assistant dean of students for access and case management (, 510.594.3775) for assistance such as: larger desks or temporary access to elevators; advice about attempts to exclude students from classes, programs, or activities; excusing medically-necessary absences for pregnancy-related conditions; and options for students who will experience extended or numerous medically-necessary absences. Arrangements for international students who require extended or numerous pregnancy-related absences may require consultation with International Student Affairs and Programs.

Other Excused Absences

On rare occasions, the vice president for student affairs, associate vice president for student affairs, dean of students, assistant dean of students for access and case management, associate vice president for human resources, or associate provost may contact a faculty member to excuse a student from class due to a pending student conduct matter, a pregnancy-related condition, or a temporary prohibition from attending class. Academic advisors, program managers, and other staff may notify faculty of student absences due illness, accident, or other emergencies but do not excuse such absences.

Other than in the limited circumstances above, individual faculty members determine whether an absence is excusable. Faculty members are encouraged to clarify their absence policies via course syllabus or in-class discussion at the beginning of the semester. If a course syllabus does not make such rules clear, students should discuss any planned absences with their professors as early as possible to determine if a course schedule adjustment is needed.

Faculty may opt to excuse absences for:

  • Significant personal illness or injury (students should stay home if they are contagious)
  • Grave family emergency
  • Religious observance (with prior notice and arrangement)
  • Required court attendance (with prior notice and arrangement, where possible)
  • Required military duty (with prior notice and arrangement)

NB: The college recommends that faculty excuse absences for religious holidays, so long as students make arrangements for missed work in advance, and so long as the total number of excused and unexcused absences is not excessive.

Faculty typically do not excuse absences for:

  • Travel time for religious holiday observance
  • Voting
  • Job interviews
  • Special family events such as birthdays, anniversaries, or weddings

Faculty may place certain conditions on excused absences:

  • Students may be required to make arrangements for absences and missed work in advance, e.g., by the second week of class for religious holidays or military service, 1-2 weeks in advance for other reasons.
  • The total of excused and unexcused absences may not exceed a certain number of classes or class hours, as determined by the faculty member.
  • Students may be asked to provide documentation of their reason for missing class (other than notes for pregnancy-related absences, which should instead be provided to Suzanne Raffeld, director of access & wellness).

Students who are concerned that they are being evaluated in a manner inconsistent with the faculty member’s attendance/absence policy should follow the grade appeal process

Credit Hour Definition

An undergraduate studio credit hour at CCA consists of 2 hours in class with an average expectation of 1 hour of work outside of class each week. For a 3-unit studio class this would equate to 6 hours in class and 3 hours outside of class per week during a 15-week semester.

An undergraduate H&S/Seminar credit hour, as well as a graduate studio or seminar credit hour (with the exception of the Masters of Architecture Program), at CCA consists of 1 hour in class with an average expectation of 2 hours of work outside of class each week. For a 3-unit class this would equate to 3 hours in class and 6 hours outside of class per week during a 15-week semester.

It is important to note that the out-of-class time expectations are averages only and may vary depending on the level of the course as well as individual ability and learning style of the student.

Auditing Policy

CCA does not permit students to audit classes.

Students are advised to check their schedule on WebAdvisor before the end of the first week of the term to verify that they are enrolled in the correct classes. Those who discover that they are not registered for a class must submit a completed Add/Drop form to the Student Records Office before the end of the add/drop period if they wish to continue attending the class.

Students who have disregarded the no-audit policy at CCA, will not receive credit for courses they have unofficially attended. Students cannot petition to be retroactively registered in audited classes nor does CCA grant experiential credit. Work completed in a course while unofficially attending will not be allowed to fulfill degree or pre-requisite requirements.

Undergraduate Class Level

The number of semester units completed determines undergraduate class level:

  • First year: 0–29 units
  • Second year: 30–59 units
  • Third year: 60–89 units
  • Fourth year: 90–120 units
  • Fifth year (BArch only): 127–159 units