Undergraduate Academic Regulations
- Bulletin Rights and Exclusions
- Academic Calendar Policies
- Advisement Policies
- Course and Academic Credit Policies
- Registration Policies
- Attendance Policy
- Examination Policies
- Grading Policies
- Academic Standards Policies
- Academic Forgiveness Policy
- Academic Honors Policies
- Degree Conferral and Graduation Policies
- Records, Transcript, and Enrollment Certification Policies
- Notification of Student Rights under FERPA
- Academic Assessment Policy
As the chief governing body of the University, the Board of Trustees delegates the powers of the president and the faculty in accord with its policies. Subject to the review of the president and the Board of Trustees, the faculty retains legislative powers in all matters pertaining to the standards of admission, registration, instruction, research, extracurricular activities, requirements for and granting of degrees, the curricula, the discipline of students, the educational policies and standards of the University, and all other matters affecting the conduct of academic affairs.
The University reserves the right to make changes in curricula, degree requirements, course offerings, and all academic regulations whenever, in the judgment of the faculty, the president, or the Board of Trustees, such changes are in the best interest of the students and the University.
Registration at the University of South Carolina assumes the students’ acceptance of all published regulations, including both those which appear in this document and all others as applicable in any official announcement such as the Medical School Bulletin, Law School Bulletin, Graduate Studies Bulletin, the University Master Schedule of Classes, or the Carolina Community. Official policies of the University listed below are published in the Carolina Community, which is available online as well as through the Student Government Office or the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs.
- Student Rights and Freedoms within the Academic Community
- Rule of Academic Responsibility and Academic Disciplinary Procedures
- Grievance Policy and Procedures for Non-Academic Areas
- University Policy on Use of Alcohol
- University Policy on Campus Solicitation
- University Policy on Student Patent and Copyright Matters
- Student Right to Know
Unforeseen circumstances may interfere with the scheduling of a course or degree offering. Students must accept such developments even if doing so will mean a delay in some of their academic goals or a modification of those goals. The departments concerned will work closely with students facing such problems in an effort to resolve them with a minimum of difficulty.
The University reserves the right to withdraw any course because of inadequate enrollment. Additional courses may be offered upon application of a sufficient number of students; a minimum of 10 applicants is the usual requirement. Registration in any course may be closed when the maximum enrollment for efficient work has been reached.
Bulletin Rights and Exclusions
An undergraduate student may choose to obtain a degree in accordance with the curricular requirements in force for the particular degree at the time the student first enrolls as a degree-seeking student at any University campus, or under subsequent requirements published while the student is enrolled.
The student’s choice is restricted to a specific bulletin and the curricular requirements described therein. Undergraduate students have a period of eight years, inclusive an d continuous, in which to claim the rights of a specific bulletin.
Within the eight-year limit, an undergraduate student who is absent from the University for no longer than three years, and who returns to complete the program of study, shall have the right to continue under the bulletin in effect at the time of the student’s original enrollment as a degree-seeking student. Alternatively, the student may elect the degree requirements under the bulletin in effect at the time of return. If the period of absence is longer than three years, the student will be subject to the curricular requirements in force at the time of return. Under no circumstances will students be allowed to appeal to short-lived rules and regulations which were adopted and abandoned during the period of their absence.
If drastic revisions of curricula or program requirements have occurred during a student’s absence (even if for less than three years), or during the period between the student’s original enrollment as a degree-seeking student and the eventual movement to a different degree program or campus within the University, a reasonable effort will be made by the academic dean to permit the student to undertake a transitional program that is equivalent to the educational experience intended under the bulletin in force at the time of the student’s original enrollment as a degree-seeking student.
Academic Calendar Policies
The University follows an early Semester Calendar, with Fall semester beginning the Thursday of the third full week in August and ending in December before the winter break. Spring classes begin the second Monday of January, provided neither Monday is a holiday (New Years or MLK). For Fall and Spring semesters, there are 70 class days with a minimum of 2100 minutes of instruction for a standard 3 hour class-28 Tuesday and Thursday classes of 75 minutes per class meeting and 42 Monday, Wednesday, Friday classes of 50 minutes per class meeting. All nonstandard one or two day per week classes must meet the minutes of instruction requirements as part of the calendar.
The summer term consists of multiple course sessions between the spring and fall terms.
Students regularly enrolled in the University may take work applicable to their degree during the summer term. Regulations governing the regular academic year also pertain to the summer term.
A complete listing of all courses offered in the summer term will be available by April 1 on the registrar’s Web site under “Master Schedule.” Course sessions and times may vary.
Please refer to the registration calendars on the registrar’s Web site for more detailed information.
When students are accepted into the University, they are assigned an academic advisor. Students are expected to arrange to meet with their advisor at least once a semester to plan their course of study for the following semester. Students who do not know their assigned advisor should obtain this information from the appropriate departmental or academic dean’s office.
Information, advice, and interpretations of University policies offered by advisors do not supersede the official statement of policies and academic regulations described in the University Undergraduate Studies Bulletin. Exceptions to University regulations cannot be made by academic advisors. Any exceptions to the policies and regulations set forth in the University Undergraduate Studies Bulletin must be made by the appropriate College Scholastic Standards and Petitions Committee or by the dean of the college.
Records of academic progress may be kept by advisors and deans, but the only official student records are maintained by the Office of the University Registrar.
Classification of Students
Classification is based on the total number of semester credit hours earned: A student must have earned 30 hours to be classified as a sophomore, 60 for classification as a junior, and 90 for senior classification. Students are classified at the beginning of each semester and maintain that classification until the next semester begins.
For various reasons it may be impossible or inappropriate for a student to declare a major. Nevertheless, all students will receive advisement in the college most closely related to their interests and abilities. Transient students are subject to the rules of their home institution and may take course work at the University of South Carolina without a declared major. University courses are open to those seeking career advancement or life enrichment and who meet stated course prerequisites. Freshmen who have been accepted by the University, but who are unsure of academic or career goals, may need a period in which to establish their major interest. To accommodate students in these categories, courses which are usually open to students with 30 or fewer hours (freshmen) are open to all students who meet prerequisites published in the University’s Undergraduate Studies Bulletin. Students who have earned 30 semester hours and wish to continue their studies at the University of South Carolina must declare a major in a program in which they meet entrance or progression requirements.
Course of Studies
Students are expected to follow the programs outlined by their school or college as closely as possible, particularly in the first two years when satisfying basic degree requirements and prerequisites for advanced work. Students must pursue required courses in the prescribed sequence. Failure to do so may lead to future schedule difficulties, and students may find that the subjects for which they wish to enroll are either not available or are closed to students with advanced standing. Students who fail to complete successfully all freshman requirements may not enroll in courses in their major field beyond the sophomore level. Students ineligible to continue courses in their major field may take electives until the deficiency is removed. Students who enroll in classes for which prerequisites or other defined requirements have not been met may be removed from these classes. Learning-disabled students who wish to take advantage of University-approved program accommodations must have an academic advisory plan on file with the Office of Student Disability Services and the dean of the college. This plan will be formulated by the student’s academic advisor with the assistance of the Office of Student Disability Services and will contain recommended accommodations which specifically relate to and are consistent with the student’s diagnosed disability. A copy of the student’s academic advisory plan must be provided to the course instructor for the student to be eligible for a particular accommodation. Any substitutions for degree requirements recommended in the student’s academic advisory plan must be referred to the Scholastic Standards and Petitions Committee of the student’s college for action.
Changes in Curriculum
Undergraduate students interested in changing majors should contact the college or school offering the new curriculum the student intends to follow. Once all necessary permissions are obtained, the college or school that offers the new curriculum will notify the Office of the University Registrar to update the student’s record. Curriculum changes can affect loan deferment, scholarship eligibility, athletic participation eligibility, tuition and fee assessment, and international student VISA regulations. For this reason, all curriculum changes must be completed before the end of the free drop/add period in Fall and Spring Terms (in Part of Term 30), and prior to June 1 during the Summer Term. Curriculum change requests that arrive at the Office of the University Registrar after these deadlines will be processed for the following term. Exceptions to this rule may be made in the event that a change request is being made in the semester that student is graduating from the University.
Only under unavoidable and exceptional circumstances will the faculty permit substitution for or exemption from the prescribed curricula. When it becomes necessary to request a deviation from the prescribed course of study, students should consult the dean of their college or the head of the department in which they are majoring before preparing a petition listing the substitutions or exemptions sought and the reasons for the request. Petitions are submitted on forms obtainable from the Scholastic Standards and Petitions Committee of the particular college, and must be returned to the dean of the college in which the student is enrolled. Deviations from degree requirements published in the bulletin must be approved by the student’s dean and the head of the student’s major department. The Scholastic Standards and Petitions Committee of each college functions as an appeal board in cases where agreement between the dean, department head, and the student cannot be reached.
Course and Academic Credit Policies
Courses numbered from 101 to 699 are available at different levels for undergraduate credit. Courses numbered from 700 to 899 may be taken for graduate credit only and are described in the Graduate Studies Bulletin. All courses numbered from 101 to 499 are for four-year baccalaureate degree candidates. Courses numbered from 500 to 699 may be taken by advanced undergraduate and graduate students for undergraduate or graduate credit, respectively. A 500- to 600-level course taken for undergraduate credit cannot later be awarded graduate credit.
The credit value of each course is usually determined by the amount of formal instructional time per week for one semester. At least 700 minutes of instruction (and at least twice that for laboratory time) can be expected per credit hour. The semester hour credit for each course is included in each course description.
No student suspended from the University of South Carolina for any reason may earn academic credit during the period of suspension, whether by residence elsewhere or by correspondence courses of any origin.
Remedial courses (courses numbered 100 or below) may not be used to meet degree requirements.
Credit by Examination
Currently enrolled students may obtain credit by examination in a course in which they have had no class attendance or semester standing; permission must, however, be obtained from the dean of the college or department chair in which the course is offered. A grade of not less than B on the examination is necessary in order to receive credit for the course. Examinations are not permitted in courses in which a student previously has been enrolled regularly or as an auditor. The applicant must pay to the Office of Financial Services in advance of the examination a fee of $25 per semester hour; this fee is not refundable. The Office of Financial Services will issue a receipt which must be shown to the head of the department conducting the examination, who shall immediately report the results of the examination to the Office of the University Registrar. Credits earned under this regulation are recorded with hours earned only.
Students transferring to the University from another college or university must,before enrolling in class at the University, have their transcripts evaluated by the University. It is only in the light of such evaluation that students will know definitively the transferability and equivalency of each transfer course. Degree applicability will be determined by the college or school in which the student is enrolled.
Transferability refers to the conditions under which the University accepts credit for inclusion in the student’s record. Transfer courses must have been taken at a regionally accredited post - secondary institution, or, if taken at a foreign post-secondary institution, have been recommended by a NACES - member external evaluation service. Exceptions to this rule may be made by the Office of the Registrar when state scholarship eligibility rules require inclusion.
Equivalency entails equating transfer credit, both in hours and content, to University of South Carolina coursework. The Registrar’s Office works with USC colleges and schools to coordinate the process of transfer evaluation to equate transfer courses directly to courses in the USC course catalog; to subject codes which represent subjects not offered at USC; or to subject codes that identify courses as remedial/technical/non-accredited coursework. A list of transfer equivalencies for the Columbia catalog of courses can be found at: http://www.sc.edu/about/offices_and_divisions/registrar/transfer_credits/course_equivalency.php
Applicability of credit toward a degree refers to the prerogative of academic divisions to count specific credit toward the fulfillment of a student’s degree requirements. The student’s college or school of enrollment is responsible for determining applicability.
However, a transfer course is not applicable towards any University of South Carolina academic program or degree if:
- The transfer course was essentially remedial in nature (example: Developmental English).
- The transfer course was occupational or technical in nature (examples: welding, paralegal, or radiography courses).
- A grade lower than 2.0 on a 4 point scale, or equivalent, was earned in the transfer course.
- The transfer course was taken by a degree-seeking University of South Carolina student without prior approval as described in the Earning Credit in Transient Status section of this bulletin.
- The transfer course was taken while a student was on an academic suspension from the university.
- The student received any grade other than W in an equivalent course at this university, unless the student was enrolled full time at least one year at the transfer institution.
Exceptions to the rules of applicability may be made only by petition to the dean for undergraduate studies of the College or School in which the student is majoring.
Effective Summer 2017 for all newly admitted and readmitted students,transfer grade points and GPAs will no longer appear on the USC record. Transfer course equivalencies, grades, attempted hours, and earned hours will appear on students’ advising transcript in Self Service Carolina, while only transfer earned hours will appear on the official transcript.
Earning Credit in Transient Status
Since the University is accountable for the integrity of its degrees, it is essential that degree programs be closely monitored by University faculty. Therefore, students entering the University to seek a degree should expect to complete the majority of their academic work at the University of South Carolina. Normally students who wish to earn more than a semester of credit at another institution should meet all requirements and transfer to that institution. In some programs, and with the permission of the academic dean, students may take up to 18 semester hours of courses in transient status provided they have a 2.00 USC grade point average; the courses are approved in advance by the academic advisor and dean; and the other institution is fully accredited and the course work meets University specifications for transfer credits.
Study abroad or in special academic programs within the United States may be of particular benefit to students, and the University cooperates in a variety of national and international exchange programs in which students may pursue up to a year of academic work at another institution. Special permission is granted to students in these programs with the advance approval of the academic advisor and dean.
Maximum credit limits, published in the Master Schedule of Classes, also vary according to college policy. Students will not be permitted to register for a semester load in excess of that prescribed for their program of study unless they earned an average of B or better on all courses for which they were enrolled (minimum 12 semester hours) for the preceding semester. New students are eligible for an extra course if they submit to the academic dean satisfactory evidence of equivalent academic achievement. Students eligible for an additional course on this basis must obtain prior approval for each course addition from the dean of their college. No course may be added after the last date to change course schedule or drop without a grade of W being recorded, as published in the academic and refund calendars on the registrar’s Web site. (Note: This regulation does not apply to aerospace studies, Army or naval science courses, which may be added to a course program during the regular registration period without special approval.)
Undergraduate students who are enrolled in 12 semester hours or more for the fall, spring, or summer semester are considered full-time for academic purposes. Students who have been verified as learning disabled by the Office of Student Disability Services must be enrolled in 9 semester hours or more for the fall, spring or summer semesters to be considered full-time students with regard to access to University residence halls and eligibility for financial aid, provided this is consistent with their academic advisory plan.
Graduate students who are enrolled in 9 semester hours or more for the fall, spring, or summer semester are considered full time for academic purposes.
Full-time fees for undergraduate students are calculated on 12 to 16 semester hours. Full-time status for graduate students with assistantships is determined by the dean of Graduate Studies.
Full-time benefits for veterans are determined by the Office of Veterans Services.
A student must be admitted to the University and go through the regular registration process to be eligible for auditing any course. All auditors must be admitted to the University and go through the regular registration process. Those who are not full-time students will be charged the same fees as for courses taken for academic credit.
Auditing a course consists of attending classes and listening without responsibility for any assignments or examinations. An auditor is not responsible for any assignments or examinations. No record of audit shall appear on a transcript unless a student attends 75 percent of the classes.
No credit may be earned in an audited course by examination or otherwise. No audited course may be repeated for credit at a later date except by those students who have been verified as learning disabled by the Office of Student Disability Services and whose academic advisory plan recommends auditing a specific course before it is taken for credit.
The applicant must complete the prescribed procedure for enrollment through the Office of the University Registrar before class attendance will be permitted.
Students who have registered for a course on an audit basis and who wish to change their registration to take the course for credit (or who wish to change from credit to audit) must do so no later than the last day to change course schedule or drop without a grade of W being recorded, as published in the academic and refund calendars on the registrar’s Web site.
The purpose of the independent study option is to allow the student to pursue an area of academic interest not adequately covered by the regular course structure. The experience shall involve an academic product that is consistent with the student’s program of study.
Prior to enrolling in an undergraduate independent study course, a student must complete an Independent Study Contract (AS-6). The approval of the instructor, advisor, department chair, and student’s dean is required. Students then present their approved copy to the Office of the University Registrar before registering for the course. Only students who take independent study as part of their major or minor or cognate program may receive grade-point credit for independent study. All other students will receive Pass-Fail credit. Students who take independent study on a Pass-Fail basis cannot later receive grade points, even if the student transfers to another major, minor, or cognate otherwise qualifying the course work as appropriate for grade points. This ruling is not reversible by petition.
A grade point average of 2.50 or greater is required to enroll in independent study courses. The amount of credit for independent study per semester is limited to 6 hours. Independent study credits applied toward any undergraduate degree may account for no more than 10 percent of the total required credit hours for that degree.
Repetition of Course Work
When a course is repeated, both grades will be entered on the student’s permanent academic record and included in the grade point average, unless the grade forgiveness policy is applied. Course credit toward graduation will be given only once, unless otherwise stipulated in the course description. Many academic programs restrict the number of times a course may be repeated. Consult the college and department section of the bulletin for such restrictions.
International Courses (INTL) / Study Abroad
- 501 — Study Abroad—USC Exchange. (1-16) This course keeps a USC student active while on a pre-approved USC exchange program.
- 502 — Study Abroad—Non-USC Program. (1-16) This course keeps a USC student active while on a pre-approved non-USC study abroad program.
- 503 — Study Abroad—Through Another U.S. Institution. (1-16) This course keeps a USC student active while on a pre-approved non-USC study abroad program through another U.S. institution of higher education.
Senior Privilege - Enrollment in Graduate Courses
A special provision to earn graduate credit is available for USC undergraduate seniors in their final semester who need less than a normal course load to complete baccalaureate requirements. Overload enrollment that includes one or more courses under senior privilege is not allowed. Courses for graduate credit under senior privilege cannot be used toward undergraduate degree requirements. For senior privilege consideration, undergraduate seniors with a 3.00 GPA should submit to The Graduate School, for the graduate dean’s approval, form GS19 endorsed by the student’s advisor, the chair of the department offering the course, and the academic dean for that department. This action should be taken before registration.
Accelerated Degree Programs
Certain academic units offer accelerated programs whereby an undergraduate student with a GPA of 3.40 and 90 or more hours toward the baccalaureate degree may apply graduate credits to a baccalaureate program. Admission can be requested by students in consultation with their academic advisor, their undergraduate dean, and the graduate director of the proposed master’s program. An application form and associated guidelines may be obtained from The Graduate School.
Several of the University’s colleges and schools are involved with a variety of accelerated degree programs. For more information, contact:
Office of Undergraduate Admissions
Columbia, SC 29208
To be officially enrolled in the University students must be academically eligible, complete the registration process with the Office of the University Registrar, and possess a receipt issued by the Office of Financial Services for payment of current academic fees.
Students are expected to complete registration (including the payment of all required fees) by the dates prescribed in the registration calendars on the registrar’s Web site to avoid cancellation of classes and payment of a late registration fee of $5 per day ($350 maximum).
Changes in Enrollment
Adding a course, changing from credit to audit or audit to credit, changing from one section to another, and changing the number of credits in any variable credit course must be completed by the last day to change course schedule or drop without a grade of W being recorded, as published in the academic and refund calendars on the registrar’s Web site. Electing or revoking the Pass-Fail option must be completed no later than the last day for dropping a course with a grade of W, as published in the academic and refund calendars on the registrar’s Web site.
Dropping Courses and Withdrawal
Free Drop/Add Period
During the Free Drop/Add period, undergraduate students have the ability to add and remove courses from their schedule through Self Service Carolina. For each course, the Free Drop/Add period begins during the official first day of the course and extends to a minimum of 6% of the Part of Term1 in which the course is scheduled. Courses removed during the Free Drop/Add period will not be recorded on a student’s transcript. Details regarding Free Drop/Add dates can be found on the Self Service Carolina log-in page under the “Academics” sections. http://my.sc.edu/codes/
Students are prevented from dropping or adding courses during the Free Drop/Add Period if they have an active registration hold on their record.
Part of Term: Each course is associated with a specific part of the term for the semester or a specific date range in which the course is held. For example, Part of Term can refer to Full Term courses that run the full major semester (fall or spring) or Half Term courses that run only half of a major semester. Each Part of Term has specific drop/add, withdrawal, and withdrawal fail dates. Details regarding Part of Term dates can be found on the Self Service Carolina log-in page under the “Academics” sections.
Course Withdrawal Period
During the Withdrawal Period, undergraduate students have the ability to withdraw from a course with no grade penalty through Self Service Carolina. For each course, the Withdrawal Period begins after the Free Drop/Add Period and extends to a minimum of 72% of the Part of Term* in which the course is scheduled. Courses from which a student withdraws during this period are recorded on a student’s transcript as a W; however, the semester hours will not be calculated in the computation of grade point average, count towards earned hours, or count towards graded hours. Courses that have a recorded grade of W will count towards attempted hours. Details regarding course Withdrawal dates can be found on the Self Service Carolina log-in page under the “Academics” sections. https://my.sc.edu/codes/
Students are prevented from withdrawing from courses during the Withdrawal Period if they have an active registration hold on their record.
Course Withdrawal Fail Period
During the Withdrawal Fail Period, undergraduate students have the ability to withdraw from a course with a penalty grade through Self Service Carolina. For each course, the Withdrawal Fail Period begins after the Withdrawal Period and extends up to 100% of the Part of Term* in which the course is scheduled. Courses from which a student withdraws with a grade of WF during this period are treated as an F in the evaluation of academic standing, computation of grade point average, and graded hours. Details regarding course Withdrawal Fail dates can be found on the Self Service Carolina log-in page under the “Academics” sections. http://my.sc.edu/codes/
Students are prevented from withdrawing from courses during the Withdrawal Fail Period if they have an active registration hold on their record.
During and after the Withdrawal Fail Period, it may be necessary for a student to withdraw from all courses for the semester due to a significant personal hardship (e.g., medical or family emergency, prolonged illness, other medical or traumatic event). In these situations, students are able to petition for a Hardship Withdrawal from courses through the Office of the Dean of Students or the Hardship Withdrawal Committee. Each Palmetto College Campus has an equivalent hardship withdrawal process for managing petitions from students enrolled on their campus.
Hardship Withdrawal petitions, including verified documentation of hardship, submitted during the Withdrawal Fail Period until the last day of courses for the semester will be reviewed by the Office of the Dean of Students. Approved petitions will be submitted to the Office of the Registrar for grade assignments of W for all courses that semester on the student’s transcript.
The Office of the Dean of Students will notify the student’s instructors and their home college of the withdrawal.
Hardship Withdrawal petitions, including verified documentation of hardship, submitted after the last day of courses for the semester will be reviewed by the Hardship Withdrawal Committee that must include faculty and college/school representation. Approved petitions will be submitted to the Office of the Registrar for grade assignments of W for all courses that semester on the student’s transcript.
Prior to a Hardship Withdrawal decision being made, all documentation is subject to verification by the Office of the Dean of Students and/or the Hardship Withdrawal Committee, including but not limited to class attendance, class participation, or supporting documentation. If false documentation or misrepresented information is submitted, students will be referred for alleged violation of the USC Honor Code and the Hardship Withdrawal request will be denied.
A Hardship Withdrawal to selectively withdraw from some courses, while remaining enrolled in other courses, will be permitted only under exceptional circumstances and must be approved by the Office of the Dean of Students in consultation with appropriate colleges/schools. The Office of the Dean of Students will submit a report of selective withdrawal decisions for verification to the Hardship Withdrawal Committee at the end of each semester.
Information regarding the University’s Withdrawal Refund Appeals procedures can be found in the Fees and Refunds section of the bulletin.
Title IX Obligations
Information contained in Hardship Withdrawal petitions is private and not shared with instructors, departments, or colleges/schools outside of the Hardship Withdrawal Committee. However, in accordance with the provisions of Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 and University policy, if sexual misconduct information is included in a student’s petition, the Office of the Dean of Students and/or the Hardship Withdrawal Committee is obligated to report the matter to USC’s Title IX coordinator.
Withdrawing via Self-Service Carolina
Students can withdraw for the semester by withdrawing from all courses on Self Service Carolina. Students are encouraged to consider the Hardship Withdrawal Process if they are withdrawing during the Withdrawal Fail Period.
Active Duty Military Withdrawal
Students in the National Guard or armed forces reserves who are placed on active duty by order of the president of the United States or the governor of their state should pursue withdrawal from courses according to the provisions of the University’s policy titled “Withdrawal of Students Called to Active Military Service” (ACAF 3.05). Active duty military personnel who are reassigned during an academic term may also invoke the provisions of this policy. http://www.sc.edu/policies/ppm/acaf305.pdf
Course Drop and Withdrawal Chart
|Name||Minimum Percentage of Class Time1||Grade||Considerations|
|Free Drop/Add Period||0-6% of classes||No Grade||
|Withdrawal Period||7-72% of classes||W grade will be recorded on transcript. W grade is not calculated in GPA.||
|Withdrawal Fail Period||73-100% of classes||WF grade will be recorded on transcript. WF grade is calculated as an F in GPA.||
|Hardship Withdrawal Period||73-100% of classes||W grades will be recorded for all courses for approved petitions Petitions are subject to review by the Office of the Dean of Students||
|After 100% of classes||W grades will be recorded for all courses for approved petitions Petitions are subject to review by the Hardship Withdrawal Committee||Financial Aid
Refund Appeals Process
It is expected that students will discharge any indebtedness to the University as quickly as possible. No diploma, certificate, enrollment verification, or transcript will be issued to or for students who have not made satisfactory settlement with the Office of Financial Services for all of their indebtedness to the University.
Students are obligated to complete all assigned work promptly, to attend class regularly, and to participate in whatever class discussion may occur.
Absence from more than 10 percent of the scheduled class sessions, whether excused or unexcused, is excessive and the instructor may choose to exact a grade penalty for such absences. It is of particular importance that a student who anticipates absences in excess of 10 percent of the scheduled class sessions receives prior approval from the instructor before the last day to change schedule as published in the academic and refund calendars on the registrar’s Web site (http://registrar.sc.edu/).
It must be emphasized that the “10 percent rule” stated above applies to both excused and unexcused absences. Faculty members should notify classes, specifically in the course syllabi, of the attendance policy which they intend to follow in each class, but it cannot be more restrictive than the “10 percent rule”. It is also recommended that the faculty include a policy statement in their syllabi requesting students to meet with the instructor early in the semester to discuss the consequences of potential excessive absences due to participation in University-sponsored events.
Faculty should consider the following events or circumstances as potentially excusable absences:
- participation in an authorized University activity (such as musical performances, academic competitions, or varsity athletic events in which the student plays a formal role in a University sanctioned event)
- required participation in military duties
- mandatory admission interviews for professional or graduate school which cannot be rescheduled
- participation in legal proceedings or administrative duties that require a student’s presence
- death or major illness in a student’s immediate family
- illness of a dependent family member
- religious holy day if listed on http://www.interfaithcalendar.org
- illness that is too severe or contagious for the student to attend class
- weather-related emergencies
The Student Ombudsperson in the Division of Student Affairs is available to assist faculty members with obtaining or verifying documentation when necessary. The faculty member has complete discretion regarding the specific nature of any accommodation offered in the event of an excused absence. Students should notify faculty members at least two weeks prior to the absence when possible. In all cases, students must contact the faculty member to request an accommodation upon return to class.
Final examinations for spring and fall semesters are held during a seven-day period at the close of each semester. Summer examinations are held during a two-day period at the close of each session. Semester examination schedules are published on the registrar’s Web site under the “Calendar” link. The results of these examinations, combined with the grades for class performance, determine the reports given at the end of the semester. No final examination may be held outside of the stated time without the special permission of the dean of the college concerned. Reading Day is specified in the University calendar and no exams, quizzes or required class attendance may be scheduled for that day.
In any course or laboratory which meets two or three times per week, no quiz, test, or examination may be given during the last two class meetings prior to the regularly scheduled examination period. In any course or laboratory which meets once a week, no quiz, test, or examination may be given during the last class meeting prior to the regular examination period. In any course or laboratory which meets more than three times per week, no quiz, test, or examination may be given during the last three class meetings prior to the regular examination period. Self-paced courses are exempt from this regulation.
If an instructor teaches more than one section of the same course, students may transfer from one examination section to another with the instructor’s permission.
Students who are absent from any final examination will be given the grade of F on the course if they have not offered an excuse acceptable to the instructor. If excused, they will be assigned a grade of I (see “I” entry under “Grading System”), and may complete the course under the conditions specified by the instructor in the “Assignment of Incomplete Grade” form.
Re-examinations for the purpose of removing an F or raising a grade are not permitted.
No early examinations are given for graduating seniors. Students who have submitted a degree application may attend the graduation ceremony. Diplomas are mailed after final examinations and after a student’s dean has verified that all degree requirements have been met.
A student with excused absences from final examinations in one semester has the privilege of deferred or special examinations and may take the deferred examination at the next regular examination period, with credit for semester standing, provided the examination is taken at the convenience of the professor. The examination must be taken within one calendar year from the time that the absence was incurred. Deferred examinations will be granted only in case of absence certified as unavoidable because of sickness or other cause, rendering attendance at final examinations impossible.
Enrollment in a course obligates the student not only for prompt completion of all work assigned but also for punctual and regular attendance and for participation in whatever class discussion may occur. It is the student’s responsibility to keep informed concerning all assignments made. Absences, whether excused or unexcused, do not absolve the student from this responsibility.
Students’ grades in their courses are determined by class standing and examination grade, combined in such proportion as the professor may decide.
Class standing is determined by the quality of a student’s work and the regularity of attendance in lectures and laboratory sessions or other exercises of the course. Grading systems in graduate and professional schools are described in the appropriate bulletins.
A, B, C, D represent passing grades in order from highest to lowest. B+, C+, D+ may also be recorded. F represents failing performance.
S and U indicate, respectively, satisfactory (passing) and unsatisfactory (failing) performance in courses carried under the Pass-Fail option. The S/U designation is used also for some research courses, workshops, and seminars in which the regular academic grades are not used. The use of the Pass-Fail grading option in such courses is indicated in their bulletin descriptions. No course carried under the Pass-Fail option will affect a student’s grade point average or the evaluation of suspension conditions.
FN (Failure-Non Attendance) and UN (Unsatisfactory-Non Attendance) grades are assigned to students who never attended or have stopped attending class but have not officially dropped or withdrawn. Faculty are required to provide a last date of attendance when assigning this grade. The grade and the last date of attendance are used in determining the recalculation of awarded funds for financial aid recipients. Reporting the last date of attendance is critical to avoid potential financial liability for the institution.
FN and UN grades are displayed and calculated as F and U grades on
the official transcript.
WF is assigned for student withdrawal from a course after the penalty deadline prescribed in the academic and refund calendars on the registrar’s Web site. (See section on “Dropping A Course.”) The grade of WF is treated as an F in the evaluation of suspension conditions and grade point average computation.
W is assigned for student withdrawal from a course after the late registration period but before the penalty date. Courses dropped during the late registration period (as published in the academic and refund calendars on the registrar’s Web site) will not be recorded on a student’s permanent record. In exceptional cases, the grade W will be used after the first seven weeks of a semester, primarily in cases of withdrawal from the University or from a course for medical reasons. (See section on “Dropping A Course.”) A grade of W will not enter into the evaluation of suspension conditions or in grade point average computation but will be recorded on a student’s permanent record.
I, Incomplete, is assigned at the discretion of the instructor when, in the instructor’s judgment, a student is unable to complete some portion of the assigned work in a course because of an unanticipated illness, accident, work-related responsibility, family hardship, or verified learning disability. The grade of I is not intended to give students additional time to complete course assignments unless there is some indication that the specified condition or event prevented the student from completing course assignments on time. By arrangement with the instructor, the student will have up to 12 months in which to complete the work before a permanent grade is recorded. Re-enrolling in the course will not make up an Incomplete. An Assignment of Incomplete Grade form (AS-5) must be completed by the instructor and submitted to the Office of the University Registrar explaining the reason for the I and conditions for make-up. A grade of I is not computed in calculating a student’s grade point average. After 12 months an I that has not been made up is changed to a grade of F or to the back-up grade indicated by the faculty member on the Assignment of Incomplete Grade form.
T, a Graduate School symbol, is assigned to indicate enrollment in Thesis Preparation (799) and Dissertation Preparation (899). Courses with this symbol will be counted as hours attempted and hours earned only. Grade points will not be awarded. For unsatisfactory work the grade of U should be assigned. The grade of I cannot be assigned in courses numbered 799 and 899.
AUD indicates a course was carried on an audit basis. (See section on “Auditing” for more information.)
NR, No Record, is assigned in the event that the grade is not available at the time final grades are submitted. It is a temporary mark on the transcript and must be replaced by a grade. If replacement does not occur before the last week of the spring or fall semester following the term for which the grade was recorded, a grade of F will be assigned. The NR is ignored in computing the GPA.
Academic Honor Code Violation
A transcript notation on the graded course in which the violation occurred denotes “Honor Code Violation.”
The Pass-Fail program is designed to encourage students to investigate fields outside of their major curriculum in which they have a specific personal interest without affecting their grade point average. The only grades assigned on courses taken under the Pass-Fail option are S and U; a grade of S indicates satisfactory performance, a grade of U indicates unsatisfactory progress. A student will be given credit for courses in which the grade of S is earned, but these courses will not affect the computation of the grade point average.
Specific provisions of the Pass-Fail program are as follows:
- The Pass-Fail grading system is in effect for an indefinite period of time, subject to periodic review.
- The Pass-Fail option is not available to undergraduate students whose semester or cumulative GPA is less than 2.00.
- Students are permitted to exercise the Pass-Fail option only on free elective courses.
- Students are permitted to take no more than eight courses on a Pass-Fail basis during their undergraduate career.
- A student wishing to exercise the option must have the permission of the dean of the college and the student’s academic advisor. The Pass-Fail Option form (AS-20) is used for this purpose.
- The option may be elected or revoked by the student no later than the last date for withdrawing from the course without a penalty.
- Normal prerequisites may be waived for students taking a course on a Pass-Fail basis.
- Courses taken under this option will be excluded from the calculation of the grade point average.
- A grade of S will be entered by the Office of the University Registrar for a regularly assigned passing grade; a failing grade will be registered as U.
- No course carried on a Pass-Fail basis will be counted toward the hours required for either the President’s or the Dean’s Honor List.
- A verified learning-disabled student may take on a Pass-Fail basis an elective or required course which is not in the major if the academic advisory plan so recommends the Pass-Fail option for that course. A student who desires use of this option must apply to the dean of the college at the beginning of the semester. With the approval of the academic dean, learning-disabled students may meet specific degree requirements with a satisfactory grade.
Spring 2020 Undergraduate Pass-Fail Grading
Approved by the UofSC Faculty Senate on April 1, 2020
To address complications presented by the COVID19 pandemic, the Faculty Senate Steering Committee approved the following grading accommodations for undergraduate students enrolled in Spring 2020.
- All courses will be graded as originally planned according to grading criteria in course syllabi. After grades are submitted at the end of the semester, undergraduates can choose, on a course-by-course basis, to request a pass/fail grade for the Spring 2020 semester with the exception of Graduate or professional school courses, which can be taken as pass/fail only when deemed appropriate by the program or school Dean.
- The following pass/fail scale will be used: Earned grades of A, B+, B, C+, and C will be replaced with SC, earned grades of D+ and D will be replaced with S, and an earned grade of F will be replaced with U.
- If students select the S+/S/U grading scale for a course, points will not be factored into the GPA. Courses with S+ and S will count towards earned semester hours.
- Courses graded with the S+/S/U scale, under this exception for Spring 2020, will count towards applicable curricular, major, continuation, and graduation requirements. For example, if a course requires a C or better in a prerequisite, students selecting this alternative grading scale would need an S+ in the prerequisite course.
- Faculty members will not be aware of students who select the pass/fail grading option when entering final grades. Grades will be entered in the format for which the course was approved.
- Students who previously decided to take a course on a pass/fail basis will continue on a pass/fail basis using the University’s established S/U system (e.g., S is earned if the grade is D or above and U is earned for grades below D).
- For the Spring 2020 semester, undergraduate students who choose to replace a course letter grade with the S+/S/U option must do so no later than July 1, 2020.
- This process will occur through the Office of the University Registrar. A form will be available on the University Registrar website for the student to request that a letter grade be replaced with the S+/S/U scale.
- UofSC will include a transcript note on all academic records, regardless of grading basis, indicating the extraordinary circumstances of the global public health emergency during Spring 2020.
- Because some graduate and professional programs require letter grades to be reflected on transcripts, when necessary, students will be able to request an official letter attesting to the letter grade earned in any classes that were converted to S+/S/U. This letter would attest only to grades, not to GPA. We will ensure that those who need evidence of your academic achievements this spring will be able to get it. A form will be available on the University’s website for students to request these letters.
- Students will be allowed to retake undergraduate courses in which they earned an S+, S, or U during Spring 2020. Any undergraduate courses retaken under this provision will not count towards the number of courses currently allowed by the current course grade forgiveness policy. In addition, students who were retaking a class for grade forgiveness in Spring 2020 can retake the class another semester, without penalty.
Grade Point Average
The grade point average is computed on the basis of all semester hours attempted for credit, except for credit hours carried under the Pass-Fail or audit options. Courses in which a grade of S, U, AUD, T, or W was earned are not considered in computing the GPA.
The grade points earned in any course carried with a passing grade (A, B+, B, C+, C, D+, D) are computed by multiplying the number of semester hour credits assigned to the course by a factor determined by the grade. For courses in which the grade of A was earned, the factor is 4; for B+, 3.5; for B, 3; for C+, 2.5; for C, 2; for D+, 1.5; for D, 1. The grade point average is determined by dividing the total number of semester grade points earned by the total number of semester hours attempted for credit (excepting hours carried on a Pass-Fail or audit basis). No grade points are assigned to the symbols F, S, U, WF, W, I, AUD, T, or NR.
Course Grade Forgiveness
It is the policy of the University of South Carolina that every currently enrolled, fully admitted, degree-seeking undergraduate earning a D+, D, F, or WF in a University course may take up to two undergraduate courses for a second time for the purpose of grade forgiveness. Both the first and second grades shall appear on the University permanent record, but only the second grade will be used in computing the University of South Carolina cumulative grade point average. An explanatory notice will appear on the record. Once grade forgiveness is applied to a repeated course, the action may not be revoked.
An eligible student wishing to apply the course grade forgiveness policy to a course enrollment may do so at any time during his/her undergraduate enrollment, but no applications will be honored after the degree is awarded. Grade forgiveness can only be applied once per course for a maximum of two courses (not to exceed 8 credits) on a student’s undergraduate academic record, without regard to the number of degrees sought. Under the grade forgiveness policy, the forgiven and repeated class must be taken at the University of South Carolina-Columbia campus or a Regional campus. Courses transferred from other institutions are excluded from this policy.
This policy does not preclude students from repeating classes multiple times, in accordance with program requirements, but only the second attempt at the class may forgive the original grade of D+, D, F, or WF. Only a regular letter grade can replace a forgiven grade. Grades of W, I, S, U, or AUDIT may not replace previous grades. Grades carrying an honor code violation sanction of X are not eligible for grade forgiveness.
Established requirements for repeating classes, admission to, or progression in, specific academic programs of the University take precedence over the grade forgiveness policy. Program or progression grade point averages are not affected by this policy. Refer to the guidelines for each program for specific requirements. Courses intended to be repeated for additional credit, such as research or applied music, are not eligible for grade forgiveness. Semester honors (dean’s or president’s honor list), or academic standing (scholastic deficiency, probation, suspension), or previous grade point totals will not change retroactively as a result of applying this policy.
Students who have been granted academic forgiveness to reset the grade point average after readmission are not eligible for course grade forgiveness. Please refer to the bulletin entry titled Academic Forgiveness for Former USC Students with Less Than a 2.00 Cumulative GPA.
An eligible student wishing to apply the grade forgiveness policy may begin the process by reading the criteria which must be met and completing the necessary documentation in order to apply grade forgiveness. The criteria and documentation can be found at http://www.sc.edu/about/offices_and_divisions/registrar/transcripts_and_records/grade_forgiveness/index.php.
Note that Academic Forgiveness is not the same as Grade Forgiveness. Please refer to the bulletin entry titled Academic Forgiveness for Former USC Students with Less Than a 2.00 Cumulative GPA.
Students’ grades are reported on Self Service Carolina. Students can also access grade reports in person at the Office of the University Registrar.
Grade Change Policy
Grade changes based on transcription or computation errors shall be reported directly to the Office of the University Registrar on the appropriate grade change form signed by the instructor and the head of the student’s academic unit. Any request for a grade change must be submitted by the instructor no later than one calendar year from the date on which the grade was reported. Beyond this period, grade changes will be considered only in exceptional circumstances and must be handled through the petition procedure of the student’s college. Any other grade change request resulting from enrollment discrepancies, medical withdrawals, or perceived administrative errors (changes to W, WF, audit, credit, S/U, or to I) must be submitted on the appropriate forms with signatures and documentation to the dean of the student’s college for review through the petition procedure. This does not apply to the routine makeup and extension of an I (incomplete) and posting of a permanent grade to replace the recorded NR mark. An I turns into a grade of F after one year; an NR turns into a grade of F after one semester. Special makeup work or examinations to change grades already recorded are not permitted.
Academic Standards Policies
The following standards for continuing at the Columbia and regional campuses of the University of South Carolina apply to all undergraduate students who first enroll at the Columbia and regional campuses of the University in the fall 2008 semester or thereafter, are admitted to the Columbia and regional campuses of the University in an undergraduate degree program in the fall 2008 or thereafter, or are enrolled in the fall 2010 semester or thereafter, regardless of when first enrolled at the University. Administration of these regulations is the responsibility of the academic deans, who are not empowered to waive any of the provisions.
The record of every undergraduate student will be reviewed at the end of each fall and spring semester. Many of the individual colleges of the University have higher academic requirements for students to continue in their degree programs. However, no student will be suspended academically from the University unless he/she fails to meet the standards specified here.
A student’s academic standing is based on his/her “Total Institutional GPA” and “Total Institutional GPA Hours” which can be viewed in Self Service Carolina at the end of a student’s “Unofficial Academic Transcript” under the heading, “Transcript Totals (Undergraduate).”
When a student’s Total Insitutional GPA at the end of any semester is less than a 2.00, he or she is placed on academic probation.
First-Year Freshmen Academic Recovery Program
First-year freshmen who have less than a 2.00 Total Institutional GPA at the end of their first semester of collegiate enrollment are considered at risk. During the first six weeks of their second semester, these students must participate in an academic coaching session before being eligible to register for courses for the third semester. These sessions will provide students with assistance in academic planning, general advisement, major exploration, degree audit, self-assessments, and success strategies. This requirement is in addition to any made by the student’s college, school, or academic program.
Removal from Academic Probation
When a student’s Total Institutional GPA at the end of any semester is a 2.00 or above, he or she is not on academic probation.
Continuing on Academic Probation
Any student who is on probation at the beginning of a fall or spring semester must achieve a certain Total Institutional GPA at the end of that semester in order to avoid suspension. A student may also continue on probation and avoid suspension if the semester grade point average is 2.50 or greater. Standards for continuing on probation are based on the cumulative grade hours the student has attempted at USC. The chart below shows the grade point averages required in order to avoid suspension.
|Total Institutional GPA Hours||Placed on Probation||Continue on Probation (avoid suspension)||Removed from Probation|
|12-35||below 2.00 Total Institutional GPA||1.500 or higher Total Institutional GPA||2.00 or higher Total Institutional GPA|
|36-71||below 2.00 Total Institutional GPA||1.800 or higher Total Institutional GPA||2.00 or higher Total Institutional GPA|
|72+||below 2.00 Total Institutional GPA||only with semester reprieve (see below) or by college petition||2.00 or higher Total Institutional GPA|
Semester Reprieve: Regardless of the Total Institutional GPA, a student may continue on probation and avoid suspension if the Current Term grade point average is 2.50 or greater.
Students unable to meet the standards shown above are suspended from the University of South Carolina for one fall or spring semester and the contiguous summer (approximately eight months). Students have the right to appeal their suspension to the petitions committee of the college or school in which they were enrolled when suspended.
Returning After First Suspension
After the suspension has been served, a student will be considered for readmission by the college or school to which the student is seeking admission. A student readmitted following suspension continues on probation and is reviewed for suspension at the end of each fall and spring semester. A Current Term grade point average of 2.50 or higher must be achieved each semester until the Total Institutional GPA reaches the level above which suspension would occur (see chart).
During the first six weeks after returning from a first suspension, students must participate in an academic coaching session before being eligible to register for courses for the following semester. These sessions will provide students with the resources they need to meet their academic goals.
Returning after Subsequent Suspension
The duration of the second suspension is indefinite, and the student can be considered for readmission only after being approved for reinstatement by action of the petitions committee of the college or school to which the student is seeking admission. A favorable decision by the committee is unlikely within two years of the suspension.
Earning Academic Credit While on Suspension
A student on suspension is given an opportunity to reorder priorities and reassess his or her situation before returning. While serving suspension, a student may not be admitted to, or continue in, any academic program of the University. Credit earned at any other institution while a student is on suspension from the University may not be applied toward a degree from USC, unless approved by the Standards and Petitions Committee of the college to which the student is readmitted. Prior approvals for transient study will be revoked for suspended students.
Retention in Degree Programs
Students are reminded that the above regulations are for all undergraduate students in the University. Many colleges and schools offer degree programs that have more stringent requirements for retention in those programs. Failure to meet the academic requirements of those degree programs may result in the student being asked to leave that program. Students should consult the colleges and schools section of the Academic Bulletin to review the specific degree retention requirements
Academic Progression and Program Dismissal
Students dismissed from a program for failing to meet academic progression requirements will be reassigned to Undergraduate Studies and will be advised by the University Advising Center. Students assigned to Undergraduate Studies will have a maximum of two semesters before declaring a new program of study. At the conclusion of two semesters enrolled at full-time status, students who have not declared a major/program within a degree-granting college will have a registration hold placed and will be unable to enroll in coursework.
In addition to previously specified provisions by which a student may petition to waive the application of this suspension policy, a student suspended by this policy has the right to petition to the appropriate college scholastic standards and petitions committee to waive the application of the suspension rule at any time. Students placed on first suspension who wish to petition for a waiver of the suspension rule may petition only the committee of the college in which they were enrolled at the time of suspension.
Academic Forgiveness Policy
Academic Forgiveness for Former USC Students with Less than a 2.00 Cumulative GPA
Under certain conditions undergraduate students may apply for academic forgiveness. Academic forgiveness allows for a recalculation of the GPA to permit a student to graduate or pursue a specific academic program. In order to apply for academic forgiveness all of the following conditions must be met:
- The student has not been enrolled at any campus of the University of South Carolina for at least 48 months.
- The student must have been readmitted to a degree program at the University of South Carolina and must have completed at least 24 hours of approved graded course work prior to applying for academic forgiveness.
- After readmission the student must have earned a cumulative GPA of at least 2.00 and met the progression requirements of the degree program.
- The student must never before have been granted academic forgiveness.
A student who has met these conditions and desires academic forgiveness must submit a written request for academic forgiveness to the dean of the college in which the student is enrolled. After verification of the student’s eligibility, the dean shall inform the registrar that academic forgiveness has been granted to the student.
Once academic forgiveness has been granted, the following apply to the student’s academic record:
- All curriculum requirements will be in accordance with those in force at the time of or subsequent to the student’s readmission.
- The student may not receive Academic Honors upon graduation.
- The student’s grade point average is recalculated beginning with the semester in which the student was readmitted to the University. All academic hours attempted at USC will be calculated toward the GPA. The student’s GPA will be recalculated using the GPA after readmission and a 2.00 on all grade hours taken prior to readmission.
- Courses in which the student received a passing grade prior to readmission may, at the discretion of the dean, be applied toward the degree.
- The following statement shall appear on the academic record and transcript of any student granted academic forgiveness: “This student was granted academic forgiveness under the University of South Carolina Academic Forgiveness Program. The GPA has been recalculated under the criteria of this program to allow for eligibility for graduation.”
- The permanent academic record will remain an unmodified record of all work attempted at the University of South Carolina.
Academic Honors Policies
Each semester academic achievement is recognized by entering on the President’s Honor List or the Dean’s Honor List the names of students who, at the end of the previous semester, attained the following standards:
President’s Honor List: a grade point average of 4.00 earned on a minimum of 12 credited semester hours.
Dean’s Honor List: a grade point average of 3.50 or higher earned on a minimum of 12 credited semester hours.
No course carried on a Pass-Fail basis, by examination, correspondence, or exemption will be counted toward the 12 hours required for either the President’s or Dean’s Honor List
Graduation with Honors
Graduation with honors will be based on a student’s Total Institutional GPA. Honors designators are determined at the time of graduation and may not be applied retroactively.
To graduate with such honors, a student must have earned at least 60 credit hours applicable toward the degree in residence at the University, 30 credit hours for an associate degree.
The following designations indicate a consistently high level of academic achievement at USC.
Baccalaureate Degree Designations
- Summa Cum Laude: a cumulative GPA of 3.95-4.00
- Magna Cum Laude: a cumulative GPA of 3.75-3.949
- Cum Laude: a cumulative GPA of 3.50-3.749
Associate Degree Designations
- Highest Honors: a cumulative GPA of 3.95-4.00
- High Honors: a cumulative GPA of 3.75-3.949
- Honors: a cumulative GPA of 3.50-3.749
With Honors from South Carolina Honors College: Any student who completes the requirements of the Honors College, regardless of the major or undergraduate degree, is awarded that degree “With Honors from South Carolina Honors College.”
With Distinction: Any student who earns an undergraduate degree and completes the appropriate requirements will be awarded graduation “With Distinction in [that major].” For details, refer to the degree requirements of specific majors
With Leadership Distinction: Any undergraduate student who completes Leadership Distinction requirements in community service, diversity and social advocacy, global learning, professional and civic engagement, and/or research as specified by the Provost’s Office, regardless of the major or undergraduate degree, is awarded that degree “With Leadership Distinction in [that track].” For further details, contact the Office of USC Connect.
Degree Conferral and Graduation Policies
The last 25% of a student’s degree must be completed in residence at the University, and at least half of the hours in the student’s major courses and in the student’s minor courses (if applicable) must be taken at the University.
The chart below shows the minimum number of hours required to be completed in residence based on to the total number of hours required for a degree.
|Total Number of Hours Required for Degree||Minimum Number of In-residence Hours|
|60 Hours (Associates Degree)||15 Hours|
|70 Hours (Associates Degree)||18 Hours|
|120 Hours||30 Hours|
|121-124 Hours||31 Hours|
|125-128 Hours||32 Hours|
|129-132 Hours||33 Hours|
|133-136 Hours||34 Hours|
|137-140 Hours||35 Hours|
|141-144 Hours||36 Hours|
Some programs impose greater student residence and/or major requirements.
Regardless of when students enter the University, they must complete the last 25% of the degree before graduation enrolled in classes approved by the appropriate dean of the college, school, or campus from which the degree will be granted. In addition, all degree applicants are urged to confer with the deans of their respective colleges about their programs and degree requirements prior to the beginning of their last semester of residence at the University.
“In residence” means that the student was regularly enrolled at USC; completed courses offered by Columbia or one of the other campuses of the University; was a member of a class which was supervised by a regular faculty member of USC; attended classes on a regular, pre-established schedule; and in other ways conformed to the requirements which are normally connoted by the term “in residence.” In-residence requirements may not be met by courses for which credit is earned by exemption or exam, courses taken by correspondence, or courses for which transfer credit was awarded. Courses taken under the Pass-Fail option meet in-residence requirements. If the student has not established credit for the prescribed number of hours in residence, then the student is not eligible either for graduation with honors or for graduation on the basis of having completed 25% of the degree during the final semesters at the University.
All candidates for degrees and certificates must file formal applications during the last academic term before graduation with the deans of their respective colleges on forms obtained at the Office of the University Registrar or the appropriate dean’s office. Applications must be filed by the third week of the fall or spring semester in which the degree is to be awarded or within the first 10 days of the first summer session. If the student is not enrolled during the first summer session, the application must be filed within the first week of the second summer session for the student to graduate at the summer commencement.
In order to be eligible for graduation, students must meet all course requirements, be in good academic standing, meet any departmental or program requirements, and have a cumulative GPA of at least 2.00 on all work attempted at USC.
Second Baccalaureate Degree
At times the University confers a second baccalaureate degree upon candidates who have completed requirements for the second degree.
The following specifications for a second baccalaureate degree apply:
- The student must meet admission and progression requirements for the second degree, and must have received formal approval to pursue the second degree from both deans.
- All requirements for the second degree must be fulfilled.
- The additional requirements for the second degree must include a minimum of 24 semester hours beyond those required for the first degree.
- No course that satisfies a general education, major, minor, cognate, or requirement other than a free elective for the first degree may be applied to the major field of the second degree.
- The student must file a separate degree application for the second degree with the appropriate college or school.
Under this policy a student may apply for two degrees at one time or separately. In either case, the student receives two diplomas. It should be noted that a second major does not by itself lead to the conferral of a second degree.
Students who submit two degree applications for the same degree in the same college for a double major will receive one diploma.
In some degree programs, a student may elect a second major. Normally, second majors are possible only in degree programs with similar general education requirements. The second major option is not available in all colleges.
- The student must meet admission and progression requirements for the second major.
- The student must have received approval from both deans for a second major.
- All requirements for the second major must be fulfilled.
- All general education and special departmental requirements normally associated with the second major must be fulfilled.
- In cases where the first major and the second major lead to different degrees, the student must designate one as the official degree of record. A second major eliminates the cognate requirement; however, special departmental requirements normally completed as part of the cognate are not waived.
Fulfillment of the requirements for a second major are indicated on the student’s official transcript upon graduation. No notation for a second major is placed on the official transcript for course work completed after graduation.
Students who submit two degree applications for the same degree in the same college for a double major will receive one diploma*.
It is expected that students will discharge any indebtedness to the University as quickly as possible. No diploma, certificate, enrollment verification, or transcript will be issued to or for students who have not made satisfactory settlement with the Office of Financial Services for all of their indebtedness to the University.
Records, Transcript, and Enrollment Certification Policies
Change of Name or Address
It is the obligation of every student to notify the Office of the University Registrar of any change in name or address (including electronic address). Failure to do so can cause serious delay in the handling of student records and in notification of emergencies. Change of name may only be accomplished by presenting proper legal documentation.
A transcript of a student’s record carries the following information: current status; a detailed statement of the scholastic record showing courses pursued with semester hours carried, semester hours earned, grades, grade points, grade point average, and system of grading; a permanent record of all failures, Incomplete grades, and penalties (such as suspension); cumulative USC grade totals; and references to other college or universities attended, dates attended, and the total transfer credits accepted by the University of South Carolina.
Any student who needs a transcript or a certified copy of the end-of-semester grade report may complete a Transcript Request form or send a signed and dated letter containing all pertinent identifying information to the Office of the University Registrar. Official transcripts may also be requested online through Self Service Carolina. With the exception of copies made for internal use, no copy of a student’s permanent record (transcript) will be released to anyone without the student’s written consent. In addition to the written consent, each transcript request should include full name or names used, student number, current mailing address, dates of attendance, location of attendance, and date of birth to assure proper identification of the record requested.
No transcript will be issued to a student who is indebted to the University.
No partial transcript will be issued.
The nonrefundable transcript processing fee is $12.
Certification of enrollment is based upon the total number of credit hours for which a student is registered at the time of the certification request. Beginning and ending dates reported in enrollment certification conform to the official USC academic calendar dates for the term requested.
It is expected that students will discharge any indebtedness to the University as quickly as possible. No diploma, certificate, enrollment verification, or transcript will be issued to or for students who have not made satisfactory settlement with the Office of Financial Services for all of their indebtedness to the University.
Notification of Student Rights under FERPA
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) affords students certain rights with respect to their education records. These rights include:
- The right to inspect and review the student’s education records within 45 days of the day the University receives a request for access.
A student should submit to the registrar, dean, head of the academic department, or other appropriate official, a written request that identifies the record(s) the student wishes to inspect. The University official will make arrangements for access and notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected. If the records are not maintained by the University official to whom the request was submitted, that official shall advise the student of the correct official to whom the request should be addressed.
- The right to request the amendment of the student’s education records that the student believes are inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the student’s privacy rights under FERPA.
A student who wishes to ask the University to amend a record should write the University official responsible for the record, clearly identify the part of the record the student wants changed, and specify why it should be changed.
If the University decides not to amend the record as requested, the University will notify the student in writing of the decision and the student’s right to a hearing regarding the request for amendment. Additional information regarding the hearing procedures will be provided to the student when notified of the right to a hearing.
- The right to provide written consent before the University discloses personally identifiable information from the student’s education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent The University may disclose Directory Information without prior written consent, unless the student has submitted a written request to the Office of the University Registrar not to release Directory Information pertaining to him or her. Students are notified annually, both in the academic bulletins and via email, of their rights under FERPA and are provided with instructions on how to request a “Confidentiality Indicator” on their academic record which prevents the disclosure of Directory Information. A Confidentiality Indicator will be placed on the release of Directory Information filed with the University Registrar, which will remain in effect until the student files a written request to remove it. A request not to disclose Directory Information applies to the entire category of such information and cannot be selective with regard to specific items defined as Directory Information. Similarly, a request not to disclose Directory Information applies to all individuals and cannot be selective with regard to specific individuals or organizations.
- The University discloses education records without a student’s prior written consent under the FERPA exception for disclosure to school officials with legitimate educational interests. A school official is a person employed by the University in an administrative, supervisory, academic or research, or support staff position; a person or company with whom the University has contracted as its agent to provide a service instead of using University employees or officials (such as an attorney, auditor, service provider or collection agent); a person serving on the Board of Trustees; or a student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee, or assisting another school official in performing his or her tasks.
- A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibilities for the University.
- To officials of other institutions in which the student seeks or intends to enroll provided that the student had previously requested a release of his/her record;
- To authorized representatives of the U.S. Department of Education, U.S. Department of Defense (Solomon Amendment), U.S. Attorney General, the Comptroller General of the United States, state education authorities, organizations conducting studies for or on behalf of the University, and accrediting organizations; to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and its Immigration and Customs Enforcement Bureau (ICE) in order to comply with the requirements of SEVIS.
- In connection with a student’s application for, and receipt of, financial aid;
- To comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena;
- To parents of dependent students as defined by the Internal Revenue Code, Section 152;
- To appropriate parties in a health or safety emergency; or
- To the alleged victim of any crime of violence of the results of any disciplinary proceedings conducted by the University.
- The University may disclose the result of a disciplinary proceeding to a parent or guardian so long as the student is under the age of 21 at the time of the incident and the proceeding has resulted in a violation of University drug or alcohol policies, or any federal, state, or local law.
- To students currently registered in a particular class, the names and email addresses of others on the roster may be disclosed in order to participate in class discussion.
Release of Directory Information
In accordance with section 99.7 of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), the University of South Carolina provides students annual notification of their FERPA rights. The University of South Carolina has designated certain items as Directory Information. At the University of South Carolina, these items are as follows:
- Dates of Attendance
- College or School
- Primary Program of Study
- Full-time or Part-time Status
- Degree(s) Awarded Including Dates
- Honors and Award Including Dean’s and President’s List
- University Email Address
- City, State, and Zip Code Associated with a Student’s Permanent Address
The University may disclose Directory Information without prior written consent, unless the student has submitted a written request to the Office of the University Registrar not to release Directory Information pertaining to him or her. Students are notified annually, both in the academic bulletins and via email, of their rights under FERPA and are provided with instructions on how to request a “Confidentiality Indicator” on their academic record which prevents the disclosure of Directory Information. A Confidentiality Indicator will be placed on the release of Directory Information filed with the University Registrar, which will remain in effect until the student files a written request to remove it. A request not to disclose Directory Information applies to the entire category of such information and cannot be selective with regard to specific items defined as Directory Information. Similarly, a request not to disclose Directory Information applies to all individuals and cannot be selective with regard to specific individuals or organizations.
The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the University of South Carolina to comply with the requirements of FERPA.
Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20202-5901
Academic Assessment Policy
Assessment, in a university or college setting, can be interpreted to mean several things. Assessment can be the process of evaluating the success of a university in meeting its mission and goals (institutional assessment), or it can be the processes associated with evaluating student outcomes in relation to stated program goals (program assessment), or it can be course-embedded assessment techniques used to deliver information and/or evaluate student learning by observing students’ skills and abilities.
The University of South Carolina is committed to offering programs and activities that encourage students to develop both academically and socially. In order to evaluate the effectiveness of our efforts, faculty, administrators, and staff conduct ongoing assessments. The Office of Institutional Planning and Assessment assists the faculty, administration, and other staff in gathering and analyzing assessment data. Assessment, therefore, is the ongoing process of self-improvement through analyzing and evaluating all of our functions and activities.
Students, faculty, and staff play critical roles in the assessment process. Consequently, participation in assessment activities is a University priority and responsibility. The information gleaned from assessment activities is used for planning and program improvement. Many of the University’s assessment activities are mandated by external agencies. Therefore, all students wishing to receive a degree from the University of South Carolina must complete procedures required for the assessment of general education and those required by their major and/or area of concentration. If a student fails to participate in a required assessment activity, a hold may be placed on the student’s records.
Primary responsibility for the assessment of academic programs within the major or area of concentration is with the faculty of each academic unit. Information pertinent to assessment of the major or area of concentration is provided to students by the department from which the degree will be granted.
Primary responsibility for coordinating the assessment of general education is with the Office of Institutional Assessment and Compliance. The faculty is actively involved in planning assessment and using the results of assessment to evaluate the effectiveness of general education. The assessment of general education is administered through the use of exams, interviews, surveys, questionnaires, or other instruments as developed by the faculty and Office of Institutional Assessment and Compliance.
The results of any activities used for program or general education assessment may not be used for promotion and/or tenure files or for annual performance evaluations or for the evaluation of any student’s progress in a course or progress toward a degree. Assessment activities, however, are integral to the processes of teaching and learning.
For more information contact the Office of Institutional Assessment and Compliance.