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For students admitted Fall 2021, a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) or Bachelor of Music (BM) from Cornish College of the Arts consists of the following distribution of credit hours:

  • Between sixty-nine and seventy-two credits in the major 

  • Forty-two credit hours of General Education Program requirements, which includes: 

    • Thirty credit hours of Humanities and Sciences coursework

    • Twelve credit hours within the Histories of the Arts (6 Cr Hrs), Professional Practice (3 Cr Hrs), and Writing Intensive requirements (3 Cr Hrs). These requirements may be fulfilled within one's major course requirements, another major, and/or through elective courses 

  • Six credits of College Elective credit hours from courses outside of the major

  • Twelve or fifteen credits of Open Elective credit hours from any discipline, including in major or General Education coursework

Catalog Year

If degree requirements change during the time a student is enrolled at Cornish, the student may choose to complete a degree under the new requirements or elect to continue under those in effect at the time of initial enrollment. The provisions of the two programs cannot be combined. To ensure graduation within four years and timely progression in class standing, students should complete between 30 and 33 credits each year and closely follow their model program. 

Class Level

Class level is based on a student’s total (career) earned credits:

Class Level



0 - 29 credits


30 - 59 credits


60 - 89 credits


90 credits and above

Academic Advising

Academic Advisors provide a wide range of services to help students complete their graduation requirements and achieve their educational goals. Advisors provide guidance regarding academic policies, course requirements, prerequisites, academic progress, and college resources. Advisors also assist with registration procedures and forms. Students are assigned to an advisor based on their department. Links to appointment scheduling pages for academic advising can be found on Compass under “Registration and Advising.”  

Change of Major

Students interested in a change of major that entails transferring to a different department should consult with their Academic Advisor as soon as they begin to consider this option.  Academic Advisors can assist students with scheduling a portfolio review/audition and facilitate a credit evaluation that helps determine how courses completed under their current program will be applied to their new program. An interdepartmental transfer may mean that additional time is needed for degree completion; it is important that students consult with their Academic Advisor regarding new degree requirements and potential changes to their anticipated graduation date.

College and Open Electives Requirement

As part of their baccalaureate degree, all undergraduates must complete at least eighteen credits of elective coursework.  

  • College Electives - six credit hours selected from any course outside a student's major, including HS-designated courses (courses housed within the Humanities and Sciences Department)

  • Open Electives - at least twelve credit hours selected from any course offered by the College

General Graduation Requirements

Candidates for the Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA)
or Bachelor of Music (BM) degree must meet these criteria:

  • Completion of at least 60 credits and final two semesters as a matriculated student-in-residence at Cornish. Credit by Exam, Prior Learning Experience, AP/CLEP/IB, and transfer credit are not considered credits completed in residence.

  • Minimum grade point average of 2.0.

  • Fulfillment of all degree requirements.

  • Conversion of all incomplete grades to final grades.

  • Submission of Graduation Application: Graduation Applications must be submitted to the Registration & Records Office by September 29 (for fall 2022 graduates) and December 2 (for spring 2023 and summer 2023 graduates).

In special circumstances, a student may be permitted to participate in commencement with degree requirements unmet if they have no more than six credits outstanding. Students should contact the Registration & Records office as soon as they realize that this situation may apply to them.

Graduation with Honors

Students who have demonstrated academic excellence over the course of their studies at Cornish are honored with the designations Summa Cum Laude, Magna Cum Laude, or Cum Laude, at the time of graduation. Honors are determined by the career grade point average as follows:



Summa Cum Laude

3.90 - 4.00

Magna Cum Laude

3.72 - 3.89

Cum Laude

3.55 - 3.71

Registration Disclaimer

Cornish College of the Arts reserves the right to change the policies, calendar, and fees regulating registration, to withdraw courses from the curriculum, to amend, alter, or modify class offerings, schedules, location, and faculty assignments at any time, and to change any other regulation affecting the student body. Cornish College of the Arts cannot guarantee that a student’s choice of classes will be available. Information contained in the catalog does not constitute a binding contract between the student and the College.