Photo Department Critique
Photography Department critique


Program and Curriculum

Type of Program / Measuring Academic Achievement

Cranbrook offers a studio program based upon individual study and research, and the actual creation of art, design, and architectural projects. Specific classes are not offered and traditional grades are not awarded; satisfactory academic progress is evaluated subjectively on a pass/fail basis by the department head. Students whose work is judged satisfactory earn 15 credit hours in a semester. Credits are recorded on permanent transcripts. A total of sixty (60) credit hours, the presentation of a satisfactory written thesis, and a museum exhibition of completed projects are required for graduation.

Course Description

The studios at Cranbrook afford an opportunity for students to make intense, personal investigations into the practice and philosophy of the fine arts. This research comprises approximately 40 percent of the academic program.

The course consists of the following:

1. Studio Work and Research. Working in individual studios, students complete self-initiated studio work by researching and creating actual works.  Working with the department head, students set forth a plan of study based on personal interests. The department head acts as mentor and advisor in monitoring the student's academic progress.  Individual critiques, both group and one-on-one with the Artist-in-Residence, are included in studio requirements.  All students prepare for annual formal reviews by faculty from other departments, as well as for their degree exhibition and Master’s Statement. Students document the finished works through photography and/or video media.

2. Assigned Projects. On infrequent occasions, a department head will assign projects to his/her student(s) as part of the particular department curriculum. These may take the form of seminars, written reports, exhibitions on or off campus, or projects undertaken with other departments.

3. Reading and Discussion. The department head assigns readings and holds seminars on works relevant to studio activity. Students are expected to read widely about timely issues within the field and to make appropriate presentations from their research.

4. Visiting Artists. The program is supplemented by visiting artists and critics who lecture and offer critiques on students' work.

5. Critical Studies Program. This program brings a Critical Studies Fellow to campus each fall to serve as a catalyst for discussion around ideas art criticism, theory, and critical writing. The program offers reading and discussion groups, studio visits, and critique, as well as special changing projects.

6. Humanities Series. Meant as a counterpoint to the studio investigation, the Academy presents the Humanities Series yearly. The Series consists of presentations, public discussions lectures, and/or performances dealing with social issues affecting architects artists, and designers.

7. Museum, Gallery, and Field Trips. Departments frequently travel to other cities, and, in some cases, other countries, to view significant exhibitions and study art of other cultures. These experiences contribute to the ongoing critical dialog in the department and provide a broader context for student’s ideas and studio work.

8. Reviews. Formal reviews of student work are conducted twice for each student during their course of study in the second and third semesters. Students present finished and in-progress work for review by 4-5 individual faculty members for a one-on-one situation. These reviews for all ten departments take place over 5 days each in the winter and early spring. The outcome of Reviews is linked to Satisfactory Academic Progress.

9. Degree Show and Master’s Statement. Students petitioning to graduate must mount a show of recent work in the Cranbrook Art Museum and complete a written Master’s Statement. Both efforts must be reviewed and approved by the department head. The Statement represents the culmination of a deliberate, well-rounded course of study and comprehensive research performed by the student in his chosen field.

The program can be undertaken only on a full-time basis for the prescribed two years. Part-time involvement or credit earned away from campus is not permitted.



Academic Requirements

Academic Progress and Attendance Requirements
All students are required to attend full time.  Students must meet a minimum of 45 clock hours comprised of studio work, research, lecture and discussion as specified by their department head (see credit distribution below).  Credits are awarded by the department head based on an evaluation of the student’s academic and artistic progress. A student is in good standing by earning fifteen credit hours per semester in the following ways:

Studio Work and Research:
12 credits per semester; one semester credit hour equals 45 hours of work in the studio. 
A minimum of 36 clock hours per week of independent studio work is expected.

Lecture and Discussion:
3 credits per semester; 3 clock hours of participation in a formal setting plus 6 clock hours of individual work and preparation outside of the formal setting, for a minimum of 9 clock hours per week, are expected.

Electives (optional):
1 credit per semester; at least 3 clock hours per week of formal participation and/or studio work and preparation is expected for students in an Elective.

Grading System
For official transcripts, the Academy employs a “pass-fail” grading system. Successful completion of a semester is recorded as “Pass” or “Pass with Distinction.” Failure is recorded as “No Credit,” and no credits are accumulated. “Incomplete” and “Withdrew” are recorded as appropriate. Students who receive “Incomplete” must resolve it within the next semester or a permanent grade of “No Credit” is recorded for the term.

Reports of passing grades are issued only by student request. Students will receive written notice whenever a grade other than “Pass” is awarded for the term.

With permission from the respective department heads, students may enroll for an elective in another department. Students will establish the criteria for credit with the elective department head, which will include attendance at critiques and lectures and individual meetings with the department head. If successfully completed, electives carry one hour of credit per semester. The evaluation process is the same as for the student’s major department. A student may enroll in only one elective per semester.

The department head and student peers evaluate student work and academic progress. Department heads conduct two reviews each semester. The midterm review is advisory; the final review determines a student’s grade for the semester. More formal review of the student’s work is conducted both in the second and fourth semester of study. Students put their work up for discussion and review by the Director, Assistant Director for Academic Programs, a selection of the Artists-in-Residence, and all Academy constituents. Students are expected to be able to articulate objectives and ideas, discuss sources and technical explorations, and describe the relevance and originality of the ideas expressed in the work. The reviews are structured to provide students the opportunity for feedback from a variety of perspectives.

Academic and Conduct Requirements
Students who fail to satisfy Academy attendance and progress requirements are notified in writing by the Dean of Admissions. A student whose performance is unsatisfactory, or whose conduct is deemed detrimental to the Cranbrook community, may be dismissed. Cranbrook expects students to conduct their personal and professional lives responsibly, ethically, and in a manner that respects the integrity of each individual and the community. The Academy publishes the Student Handbook that provides specifics on reasonable social behavior in studios and residences. Criminal or disruptive conduct, harassment, or insubordination is considered grounds for dismissal.

Probation and Dismissal
An “Unsatisfactory” midterm evaluation places the student on probation for the remainder of the semester. Probation is removed if the student’s performance has returned to “Satisfactory” at the close of the term, and a “Pass” grade is recorded for the semester. A “No Credit” grade at the end of a semester places the student on probation in the coming semester, if readmitted, until midterm. If the student has satisfied the requirements for successful completion of the previous semester, the “No Credit” grade will be changed to “Pass,” and the requisite 15 hours of credit will be awarded. Dismissal will occur if the student’s progress remains unsatisfactory.

A dismissed student may be readmitted, upon recommendation of the faculty, after the student has taken a semester off, provided the conditions resulting in the dismissal have been adjusted. If the student has been dismissed for lack of achievement, the student must show significant improvement during the time away from the Academy before readmission is granted. Dismissal appeal procedures are published in the Student Handbook, and are available from the Dean of Admissions.

Graduation Requirements
Candidates for the Cranbrook Academy of Art Master’s degree must:

  1. Earn at least sixty semester hours of credit. All credits must be earned in residence. The Academy does not accept transfer credits.
  2. Present a written Master’s Statement for faculty approval.
  3. Prepare a degree exhibition.
  4. Present the Library with a set of slides and CV documenting the two years of graduate work at the Academy.

All requirements for degrees must be completed within five calendar years of the date of matriculation. The date of matriculation is the beginning of the student’s first semester in residence.
Degrees are conferred in December and May. Diplomas are issued in May at commencement. Degree requirements completed prior to May commencement can be verified by the Dean of Admissions.
Admission to the Academy does not guarantee graduation or the awarding of a degree. Students may be dropped from enrollment or asked to remain at the Academy beyond the customary two years if their work does not meet the Academy’s standards of quality and quantity. These decisions are made at the discretion of the faculty and administration.

Non-Discrimination Policy
Cranbrook Academy of Art admits students without regard to race, sex, creed, national origin, status or political belief. The rights, privileges, programs, and activities of the Academy are available to all Academy students. The Academy does not discriminate in the administration of its educational policies, employment policies, admission policies, financial aid programs, and any other programs administered by the Academy. The non-discrimination policy also applies to disabled persons and persons with AIDS or communicable diseases, who are otherwise qualified. Questions regarding accessibility should be addressed to the Dean of Admissions.

Policy on Web Changes
Cranbrook Academy of Art makes every effort to ensure the timeliness and accuracy of the information provided on the Web site. However, the Academy reserves the right to change or adjust policies or information provided in the catalog or on the Web site at any time and without prior notice.

Transfer Credit Policy
Cranbrook Academy of Art does not accept transfer credit from any other institution. All students are required to complete their entire program of studies at the Academy.

Accreditation and Licensure
Cranbrook Academy of Art is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission North Central Association (HLC-NCA) and the National Association of Schools of Art and Design. The Architecture program is not professionally accredited. Any person may review documents describing the Academy’s accreditation and licensing by contacting Judy Dyki, Chief Librarian Registrar (248-645-3333), or Leslie Tobakos, Financial Aid & Admissions Manager (249-645-3360).

Disability Services
Students with disabilities may contact the Assistant Registrar and Student Services Coordinator or the Registrar, Financial Aid & Admissions Manager in the Academy Office to discuss their individual needs (248-645-3300). The Academy will seek to assist students to the extent possible given building, staffing and monetary restrictions and will comply with federal and state law as required.

Penalties and Institutional Policies on Copyright Infringement
Unauthorized distribution of copyrighted material, including unauthorized peer-to-peer file sharing, may subject students to civil and criminal liabilities. A summary of penalties for violation of federal copyright laws, as well as details of the Academy’s policies with respect to peer-to-peer file sharing (including disciplinary actions taken against students who engage in illegal downloading or unauthorized distribution of copyrighted materials using the Academy’s information technology system) may be obtained by contacting the Assistant Registrar and Student Services Coordinator or the Registrar, Financial Aid & Admissions Manager (248-645-3300). The MusicUnited web site provides links to many legal music pages where students can locate MP3s and other forms of digital music that are provided for free or at a small charge. links to several online services where students can legally download and watch tv shows and movies ranging from major feature films to independent short subjects. In addition, the following websites provide legal alternatives to downloading media:;

Notices to Prospective Students
In accordance with federal regulations, the following general disclosures are provided to prospective students: Notice to Prospective Students 2013-2014


3D student trip
3D Design students on a department trip to Holland