The College of Fine Arts (CFA) provides multiple layers of support for students throughout their undergraduate program for guidance, mentoring and support, including:
Academic Advisors are located in each School, and assigned to individual students (available on the Student Link under “Academic Summary”). Academic Advisors guide students through curriculum planning, degree progress, and navigating policies and procedures. Academic Advisors support students with transactional items (petitions, transfer credit, overload, etc.). Academic Advisors provide individualized University referrals for academic and personal concerns.
Faculty Mentors are CFA faculty in the student’s chosen area of artistry. The mentoring focuses on artistic development, professional practice, and co-curricular and career opportunities. Students may choose to have their studio instructor as their mentor; others will choose to expand beyond that relationship. Students are encouraged to have more than one mentor as appropriate. Students struggling to identify a mentor, or those who encounter challenges with a mentor, will work with their academic advisor, or the CFA Student Services team, to help identify an alternative.
Student Services Team
The Student Services team is available for all CFA undergraduates to discuss the student experience including: social and emotional well-being; degree exploration and tracking; Intra-University Transfer (IUT), Dual Degree program application and planning; transactional forms, policy questions, crisis intervention, Title IX issues, and overall issues that cross multiple University constituencies. Questions? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Resources During COVID
Typical Degree Sequence and Requirements
The BU Bulletin shows the general degree sequence for all academic programs. Degree requirements for each program are outlined below, and students are encouraged to use this resource frequently to plan their course selection.
Credits required for SOT BFA: 130
Credits required for Dual Degree Program: 144**
*The BFA/MA in Art Ed with Initial Licensure program requires 132 undergraduate credits plus 20 graduate credits during the first four years (152 cr total), followed by 22 graduate credits during the fifth year.
**Students enrolled in the Dual Degree Program are required to complete a minimum of 144 credits, but most often complete 160+ credits to fulfill both degrees.
Registration begins in October for the following spring semester, and in April for the following fall semester. Registration dates are assigned by class year. Be sure to work with your Advisors throughout the semester to plan your courses accordingly. You will work with them individually to plan each semester, and to help you stay on track for completion of degree requirements towards graduation.
Using the Student Link to Register
All Boston University students register for courses through the Student Link.
The Planner – an online tool that allows you to create and modify your schedule before registering for the courses – enables you to add classes to a draft schedule before registration opens. To access the planner, go to the Student Link, click “Registration” > “Reg Options” > “Plan”. You can then search for, and add courses to your Planner.
- Select the ACADEMICS tab and then select REGISTRATION.
- Enter your BU Login in the “User Name” box and your Kerberos password in the “Password” box. (Don’t know/remember this? Contact IT Help Center at email@example.com or 617-353-4357)
- Click Login. (Problems? Contact IT Help Center at firstname.lastname@example.org or 617-353-4357)
- Click REG OPTIONS under the semester you are planning for.
- Select PLAN to make your course schedule. (Don’t see the “Plan” link? You may need to update your Compliance Status. Follow the prompts in the green text above the Advising Code box.)
- Select ADD for the classes you would like to add. Continue for all classes.
- You may need to click “Continue Search From” at the bottom of the page as some courses will have sections listed on additional pages.
CFA students are encouraged to use the Degree Advice tool to monitor progress toward their degree. Degree Advice is an electronic audit which allows you to view program requirements that have been officially fulfilled, as well as those that need to be completed.
Degree Advice is an advising tool; it is not your transcript, nor notification of completion of degree requirements. Discrepancies that appear should be investigated further with either your advisor, the department, or the CFA Registrar.
- Go to the student link at bu.edu/studentlink.
- Click on Academics, and then Academic Advising.
- Log in with your Kerberos account.
Reading Your Degree Advice:
Degree Advice has a “What If” function that you can use to see the requirements for any major or minor offered at BU. This is useful if you have yet to declare a major, or are considering changing majors or minors.
The BU Hub is the University’s general education requirements for incoming freshmen matriculating Fall 2018 and later, and transfer students matriculating Fall 2020 and later. Students fulfill the requirements of the BU Hub by taking courses that contain Hub Units in a variety of areas.
A significant portion of Hub units are satisfied through the successful completion of courses within a student’s major. The remainder of Hub units are fulfilled by taking courses of their choosing throughout the University.
General BU Hub Links:
Full Time vs. Part Time
Full time for undergraduates: 12-18 credits.
International students are only able to go part time in their final semester, or with exceptions endorsed by the International Students and Scholars Office.
Students taking under 12 credits will pay per credit. Talk with your advisor before dropping to part time—there are considerations as to how this may affect financial aid, housing, and international student status.
Undergraduate students wishing to take more than 18 credits in a given semester may request an overload by completing an overload form by the end of the semester prior to the overload. The request will be reviewed by your Advisor in the School, and reviewed by the CFA Dean’s Office. Approval to overload, with a tuition waiver, is based on academic standing and degree requirements. The expected maximum overload is for 20 credits.
- Freshmen may take up to 18 credits. Freshmen who earn above a 3.3 or higher GPA in the fall semester may take up to 20 credits in the spring with advisor’s approval and overload approval form.
- Sophomores may take up to 18 credits without authorization. Sophomores with a 3.0 or higher GPA may fill out an overload approval form with advisor’s signature to take up to 20 credits.
- Juniors may take up to 18 credits without authorization. Juniors with a 3.0 or higher GPA may fill out an overload approval form with advisor’s signature to take up to 20 credits.
- Seniors may take up to 20 credits without authorization.
Students who wish to complete coursework outside of Boston University must obtain approval from the appropriate academic department in order to transfer the credits. Pre-approval for transfer credits should be requested at least four weeks prior to registering for the transfer course, using the Transfer Course Equivalency Form below. You must acquire a syllabus from the course to accompany this form. Your official transcript from this outside institution must be submitted to the CFA Registrar, Mary Ducharme.
Please note: transfer credits cannot cover Hub units.
Internships for Credit
Internships are a common part of an undergraduate experience, regardless of your school and major.
CFA FA550, Arts Internship, is a requirement of the Arts Leadership minor, but is open to all CFA undergraduates. Many programs within the individual schools also have a built-in internship requirement. Talk to your advisor to learn more—it’s never too early to think about an internship!
An incomplete grade (“I”) is used only when the student has conferred with the instructor prior to the submission of grades and there are mutually acceptable reasons for the incomplete work. The instructor and student must both sign an Incomplete Grade Form indicating the nature of the work and the date by which the work must be completed.
If the work is not completed within 12 months of the last day of instruction in the semester in which the “I” grade is given, then the grade is permanently changed to an “F” grade.
Undergraduate Major and Minor Declaration
Students should declare their major according to their specific school’s guidelines—usually no later than the end of their sophomore year. Talk to your advisor for specifics.
Minor declaration forms are available online (bu.edu/cfa/current-students/forms-and-procedures). Students can declare minors at any time. CAS minors do not require an advisor signature, but minors in other schools (COM, Questrom, etc.) will require the signature of a minor advisor in that school.
Pass/Fail Policy for Undergraduates
The goal of this policy is to encourage intellectual exploration in areas outside of specific degree requirements and to allow undergraduate students to take up to 8 elective credits on a pass/fail basis.
Dual Degree Advising
Students can apply for a Dual Degree after they are already enrolled at BU. If you are interested in doing so, speak with the Director of Undergraduate Student Services, Brendan Hoey (email@example.com), and also with an advisor in the department you would like to major in. He will help you coordinate with your Academic Advisor and the advisor from the other school. You must have a 3.0 GPA and sophomore standing in order to apply for a Dual Degree.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: I don’t know who to go to with what – how do I start?
A: Start with your Academic Advisor and they will guide you to resources as appropriate.
Q: I just need this form signed. What do I do?
A: Fill out the form, and go to your Academic Advisor for their review. You can always talk to your Faculty Mentor to help guide you, but your Academic Advisor is the official signature you need. With that, your form will be submitted to the CFA Registrar (in the Dean’s Office) for processing.
Q: Where can I find more information about University resources?
A: There are several valuable resources available to you as a BU student. If you are unsure of how to contact the appropriate office, please contact Brendan Hoey, firstname.lastname@example.org, (617) 358-2177, Dean’s Office room 230, for assistance. A comprehensive listing of Student Resources can be found here.
Q: How do I contact the CFA Registrar’s Office?
A: The CFA Registrar’s Office is located in the CFA Dean’s Office, College of Fine Arts, 855 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02215. Email the CFA Registrar’s Office at email@example.com.
Courses & Registration
Q: I need to register. How do I obtain my advising code?
A: We will provide you with plenty of information as registration nears, so don’t worry. You should talk to your Faculty Mentor about courses and areas of interest that will help develop your artistry. When it is time to register, your Academic Advisor will help you with course planning and provide your Academic Advising Code.
Q: How do I declare a minor? What are my options for minoring at BU?
A: In order to declare a Minor at the College of Fine Arts you’ll need to submit the Minor Declaration Form to the Registrar in the CFA Dean’s Office. A complete listing of all Undergraduate Minors can be found on the Degree Programs page of the Boston University website. Note that all minors, inside or outside of CFA, need to be declared by the start of the junior year.
Q: How can I enroll in a class that is full or restricted registration?
A: Students who wish to enroll in a course that is full or restricted registration must email the instructor to obtain permission. Please note: the decision to grant this permission is at the discretion of the course instructor and is not guaranteed. To add or drop a course, or to change a course section, please complete the ADD/DROP form. Students are reminded to be aware of the following semester deadlines*:
Last day to Add courses to your schedule – by the end of the 2nd week of classes;
Last day to Drop courses without a ‘W’ – by the end of the 5th week of classes;
Last day to Drop courses with a ‘W’ grade – by the end of the 8th week of classes.
*Please refer to the Office of the University Registrar website for specific Semester Dates.
Q: How can I find details on the last day to add classes, drop classes and pay my bill?
A: The Office of the University Registrar updates this information and has it available under important dates. Become familiar with it! Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions regarding your degree advice. Be sure to turn in your requests to the CFA Student Records Office located in the CFA Dean’s Office, College of Fine Arts, 855 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02215. Email the CFA Records office at email@example.com.
Q: I’m not going to complete my degree requirements by my graduation date. Can I still participate in the Convocation exercises in May?
A: ALL CFA Bachelor’s degree candidates who have a maximum of 8.0 outstanding credits for the degree, may petition to walk in the May ceremony. Participation in the Convocation exercises is not guaranteed and will be reviewed on an individual basis. Registration of the remaining 8.0 credits will need to be provided with the petition request. All CFA Master’s degree candidates may only participate in the Convocation exercises if all degree requirements have been completed prior to the graduation date. All CFA Doctoral degree candidates may only participate in the Convocation exercises if all degree requirements have been completed, and a library receipt is provided documenting submission for the dissertation to the library, prior to the graduation date.
Working with my Faculty Mentor
Q: How do I identify my Faculty Mentor?
A: During the first two years your Academic Advisor will suggest a Faculty Mentor, but you always have the ability to identify and connect with a mentor on your own. As you develop both artistically and intellectually through your degree, it is expected that you will select a Faculty Mentor who best aligns with your interests and inspires growth.
Q: Can I have a Faculty Mentor outside of my major?
A: It is expected that your Faculty Mentor will have expertise in your chosen area of artistry, but you are not limited to your specific major/program of study. You can have more than one mentor!
Q: Will my Faculty Mentor have access to my grades and transcript?
A: If you would like your Faculty Mentor to have access to your academic information on the Student Link, you can grant them access through the Link. Your Academic Advisor can help you with this process. Prior to any meetings with your Faculty Mentor, you should always be prepared to provide relevant information regarding your academic record.
Q: How do I change my Faculty Mentor?
A: You can talk with your Academic Advisor, or the Director of Undergraduate Student Services in the Dean’s Office. They will help you figure out if an alternative advisor is appropriate. Please note that if you have any Title IX Concerns, you can contact the CFA Deputy Title IX Coordinator, and refer to the resources listed at bu.edu/safety. Note there are confidential and non-confidential resources included.
Transferring & Leaving BU
Q: I’m thinking of transferring into CFA? How do I do this?
A: If you are considering a transfer to CFA, please contact Brendan Hoey, firstname.lastname@example.org. In order to transfer (or add) a CFA Major, you’ll need to audition (SOM & SOT) or submit a portfolio review (SVA).
Q: I’m thinking of transferring out of CFA, but staying at BU? How do I do this?
A: This is called an Intra-University Transfer (IUT). To IUT to another school at BU, you will likely need to complete appropriate gateway criteria. Note that any CFA student receiving CFA merit aid will have that CFA portion of their aid cancelled when they transfer out of CFA. If you are considering an IUT please contact Brendan Hoey, Director of Undergraduate Student Services, email@example.com. Important: CFA students have two consecutive semesters to work on gateway criteria for another school/college at BU. After that second semester, any CFA student not making sufficient academic progress toward a CFA degree, will be reviewed for academic suspension.
Q: I want to leave CFA. Do I need to tell my Faculty Mentor?
A: You certainly can, but it’s up to you if you officially notify them or not. You don’t have to.
Q: I am considering a Leave of Absence. What is the process for doing so?
A: A leave of absence is a temporary interruption in studies, typically for a full semester. Students are withdrawn from any courses for which they are registered, and tuition is canceled in accordance with the published tuition refund schedule. Undergraduate students considering a Leave of Absence should first contact Brendan Hoey, firstname.lastname@example.org, (617) 358-2177, in the CFA Dean’s Office, room 230. In order to officially file for a Leave, students must contact the University Service Center, located at 881 Commonwealth Ave. on the ground floor. Representatives from the University Service Center can also be reached during drop in hours (during the academic year) as well as by phone (617-358-1818) and email (email@example.com). CFA students may take a total of 4 semesters of Leave of Absence. Graduate students can take up to 2 semesters of leave without approval. After that they need to petition for an extension. Graduate students need to bring their form to the CFA Student Records Office located in the CFA Dean’s Office, College of Fine Arts, 855 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02215. Email the CFA Records office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Educational Resource Center (ERC) is here to support you as you navigate the rigorous academic landscape at Boston University. A BU education will inspire and challenge you to reconsider your previously held beliefs and acquire skills that will propel you into the next phase of your life. This growth can be both exhilarating and discomforting, but we are here to support you along the way. In addition to our four core programs, we also help connect you to academic resources all across campus.
Check out our Academic Resource Guide to explore additional academic support options across BU’s campus!
Purdue OWL serves as a great free resource and reference guide for writing research papers in proper APA, MLA, or Chicago citation and format style.
Read & Write Gold is a literacy software that helps students with reading, writing, research, and organization. This software is free to download for the BU community. It is an especially useful tool for anyone, especially in language-learning classes. You can read an article about this software in BU Today.
Smarthinking™ is an online tutoring service that is available to you 24 hours a day. If you have been out of the habit of writing for a while, Smarthinking™ is a great way to jump back in. You can submit a writing assignment to their Online Writing Lab for review and critique – but don’t wait until the last minute! Submit your work early so that you have plenty of time to make revisions.
Gender Affirming Healthcare at BU Student Health: The Gender-Affirming Healthcare Team is an interdisciplinary group of providers specifically trained in affirming care for transgender and non-binary students. 617-353-3575
Resources Beyond BU
Barb Raney (email@example.com), Manager of Student Services and Undergraduate Academic Advisor for SOM, can help with any SOM students’ questions about undergraduate academic advising, major and minor requirements, graduation plans, etc.
Beth Zerega (firstname.lastname@example.org), Assistant Director for Administration and Undergraduate Academic Advisor for SVA, can help with any SVA students’ questions about undergraduate academic advising, major and minor requirements, graduation plans, etc.
Brian Dudley (email@example.com), Undergraduate Academic Advisor for SOT, can help with any SOT students’ questions about undergraduate academic advising, major and minor requirements, graduation plans, etc.
Mary Ducharme (firstname.lastname@example.org), CFA Registrar, is a resource for students with records questions including transcripts, transfer credits, and applying for graduation.
Brendan Hoey (email@example.com), Director of Undergraduate Student Services for CFA, is a resource for undergraduate students concerning both academic and personal matters. He is also the CFA liason for Dual Degree students and prospective IUT students.
Learn more about University-wide advising resources.